View Full Version : Mountaintop views for player map and Google Earth for GM map?

02-22-2010, 12:33 AM
I'm working on a Metamorphosis Alpha scenario for GaryCon II and wanted to get some help using real-world sources for my maps.

For those not familiar with MA, it's arguably the first published science fiction RPG. The players are descendants of a starship crew that have mutated and forgotten their origins, like Heinlein's Orphans in the Sky and Aldiss's Non-Stop. The ship is divided into levels (with artificial gravity so that they're stacked like a layer cake). Each level is half a mile high, and connected by inclined ramps leading up to the level above. For those who do know MA, there's a chance that Jim Ward, the game's creator, will play in this scenario so I want to make it as awesome and 21st century as possible!

My idea is that, as the characters gain access to a lower level, they'll start out on the top of one of these inclined ramps, looking down 2,600 feet at the landscape spread out below. I'm thinking that I could use a panoramic photo from a mountaintop as a player handout to show them what they see, and suggest some potential areas they might want to go and explore. This view from Mount Kobau in Vancouver (http://www.johnharveyphoto.com/CathedralRoadTrip/ViewFromMountainTopLg.jpg) and this one of somewhere in Hawaii (http://lh4.ggpht.com/_1c27pWWFDpA/RykpHKSubKI/AAAAAAAACKc/RPPeDBobTDw/overview,+ohua.jpg) are examples I found with Google image search, although I'm not sure what height they're taken from.

Then I'm thinking I'd use Google Earth to get a view of the area shown in the photo, scaled properly for my hex map (1 mile across). Is there a guide out there to using Google Earth or Google Map to get images that are scaled for different wilderness map hex sizes?

Any resources or tips for finding images that I could link to specific locations would also be most appreciated!

02-22-2010, 06:26 PM
Welcome to the guild and nice idea for a project.

Not exactly sure what your asking for with the GEMaps. Do you want to get satellite view straight down and scaled right ? I would use a topo image like google maps in satellite mode or a NASA pic or something. When its an oblique view then you need google earth or a 3D app like Blender with a height map rendered out. Can you sketch the idea ?

02-22-2010, 09:50 PM
Hi Redrobes,

Thanks, glad to be here! I was turned on to the Guild by an esteemed player in my Original D&D group, Greengoat (http://muleabides.wordpress.com/2009/10/29/dungeon-of-the-green-goat/).

With Google Earth, I realized that tilting the view and setting the height to 2600 ft. would give a pretty good version of what I'm looking for as a player handout: a simulation of the view from a height half a mile above a relatively flat landscape, where locations in the foreground are distinct, major features in the midground can be seen, and only contours of the far distance are visible.

For the GM map, I'd just go with a straight down satellite view of the same landscape. The trick there will just be figuring out the right scaling to use so I know how many miles a 1-inch area of the image covers (hopefully in some gameable unit).

02-22-2010, 10:09 PM
I can't help with your request but just wanted to say good luck with the game. Sounds awesome...especially if Jim Ward shows for your session. How cool is that? If you're not feeling too proprietary about your materials I, for one, would love for you to post them when you get them done...or after the event at least. Have fun!

02-22-2010, 11:17 PM
Hi Mearrin,

Thanks! You should definitely consider going to Gary Con if at all possible - Jim Ward is a regular, as are Tom Wham, Rob Kuntz, Luke Gygax, Tim Kask, and others I'm forgetting, and they are collectively running too many awesome events in every time slot to choose from.

I'm planning to run this scenario at Gen Con this year as well - if you'll be there let me know and I'll save you a seat! If not, I'll post details afterwards (the folks at the MA forum have also been calling for them) and will post the images I've been talking about here as soon as I work 'em out - since I'll be using real locations the surprises won't so much be what geography is where but what I decide it means (towns full of radiation, roadways seeded with killer plants, etc.)

Another player map I'm thinking of creating would be a hexless adaptation of the sample level map from the original MA 1e rules, on the theory that this is the level the PCs are from and they've conquered it thoroughly enough to know where to go if they need recruits, information, etc. I'll probably wind up drawing that with pen and ink in my cruddy way, unless someone else feels inspired to do so...