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Thread: I Love Maps

  1. #11
    Guild Adept icosahedron's Avatar
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    Not quite sure what spacio-mechanical skills are, CB, but I'm guessing that maybe like me, you have a 'white noise generator' in your arm, scrambling signals and preventing your hand from drawing what's in your brain?

    If so, it sounds like you would find a tile-mapper useful. Check out Viewingdale, Dundjinni and Dungeonforge (the ones I'm familiar with - there are others). You just place pre-drawn, pre-scaled objects on a grid, adjusting the layout until you get something you like. The objects are generally designed by someone else who knows what components are needed and you just add them from a menu. If you want somwething more artistic, you could use the finished tile map as a template for drawing a more freestyle map.

    Tilemappers are particularly good for rectangular forts and castles.
    Mapping a Traveller ATU.

    See my (fantasy-based) apprenticeship blog at:

    http://www.viewing.ltd.uk/cgi-bin/vi...forums&sx=1024

    Look for Chit Chat, Sandmann's blog. Enjoy.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by icosahedron View Post
    Not quite sure what spacio-mechanical skills are, CB, but I'm guessing that maybe like me, you have a 'white noise generator' in your arm, scrambling signals and preventing your hand from drawing what's in your brain?

    If so, it sounds like you would find a tile-mapper useful. Check out Viewingdale, Dundjinni and Dungeonforge (the ones I'm familiar with - there are others). You just place pre-drawn, pre-scaled objects on a grid, adjusting the layout until you get something you like. The objects are generally designed by someone else who knows what components are needed and you just add them from a menu. If you want somwething more artistic, you could use the finished tile map as a template for drawing a more freestyle map.

    Tilemappers are particularly good for rectangular forts and castles.
    Hi icosahedron! It's good to see you rolling around here. Thanks for the suggestions. I have more trouble than just drawing. I don't do well visualizing spacial relationships or mechanical processes. It's true that I have trouble drawing something that I see or visualize. When I was a kid my father, who was mechanical engineer, tried to teach me to draw by starting with someone that had relatively simple lines, and it was a struggle. So I do have that problem. I used to draw a person by making a circle for the head, a long rectangle for the neck, a larger circle for the body, and two long triangles splayed out at an angle from the lower circle for the legs. My mother once asked me where the arms were, and I said that they were down at the sides. I sometimes amuse my D&D players by drawing one of those "people" again on the battle mat.

    I also though have trouble concretely visualizing how something physical of my own creation looks in the first place.

    I was thinking that I might upload a map or two from my campaign world to show people what my drawing actually looks like. Is there a particular forum here for that? Thanks!

  3. #13
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CelestialBarbarian View Post
    I was thinking that I might upload a map or two from my campaign world to show people what my drawing actually looks like. Is there a particular forum here for that? Thanks!
    If they are considered finished, you can upload them to the 'Finished Maps' forum. If you are still working/tweaking them then they can be uploaded to one of the various WIP forums.
    My Finished Maps | My Challenge Maps | Ghoraja Juun, my largely stagnated campaign setting.

    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Steel General View Post
    If they are considered finished, you can upload them to the 'Finished Maps' forum. If you are still working/tweaking them then they can be uploaded to one of the various WIP forums.
    Thanks General! I haven't mapped out the whole world, but I have large segments finished. I've drawn it in pieces over the last 30 years.

  5. #15
      Immolate is offline
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    Welcome CB, and although you're tired of hearing this, there are probably a dozen tricks to overcome every challenge. A lot of us are handicapped in one way or the other. I'm color-blind, for example. If you present your work incrementally, there will always be someone to tell you what you did wrong, if anything. You can do a little at a time, as time permits, and you may eventually realize that there is little you can't do (except proofread my work apparently) with sufficient determination and craft.

    I'm an old fart too btw. I started playing D&D with my best friend and his brother when I was 16 in 1978. We still play today, every week on Wednesday night, although we've added a few people over the years. You'd be surprised just how many of the members here are crusty and dusty.

    Anyway, I think that sharing your past work is a good first step. See how much you can learn that way and it won't cost you much time. Most folks here would rather take a month helping you along, step by step, than a couple of days doing it for you. The reason for that is, when you help someone overcome their obstacles, you not only feel good about your investment, but you've also made a friend that might last a good, long time.

    I also guarantee you that any map you make with your hands will be better than anything any of us can do, because it will be true to your vision. Don't get me wrong... the pros can put more zip and pop into a map than you can ingest in one viewing, but all of that is technique, and technique is a matter of clicking buttons and changing numbers until something unexpected happens. Just like I can paint a miniature that makes my friends ogle at my "mad skillz", in spite of my color-blindness, most things can be taught with a simple, objective rule or two.

    What if someone told you that a house, city, country, continent, picture, fort, castle or dog will always look about right if you make it 4 wide and 3 high? Call it the NTSC rule. I'm not sure why that's true, but it is. A standard sheet of paper has a ratio of 3.09:4, or 4:3.09 if you'd like. Not a coincidence. You may not be able to draw a box representing a house in a town, or a city block, and be able to judge it "right" by looking at it, but you have math skills, and you can easily measure and determine that it is 4:3.

    You'd also be surprised how often those of us with perfectly functional spacial/mechanical skills do ourselves grave injury with them. More often than not, my spacial/mechanical skills have afforded me the opportunity to say to myself, "This is gonna hurt," just before it does. Give me someone who knows the rules and when they can be safely broken against someone who has "talent" but doesn't know the rules any day.

    Anyway, welcome again, and I hope you find what you need here. If you do decide to take my advice and give it another try, let me know so I can wade in and give you the benefit of my imperfect advise. I'm not as pervasive in these forums as some of the folks here, and don't know everything that's going on. Good luck my friend.
    Last edited by Immolate; 07-07-2009 at 10:27 PM.

  6. #16
    Guild Adept icosahedron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CelestialBarbarian View Post
    Hi icosahedron! It's good to see you rolling around here.
    Hmm. You have me at a disadvantage there - unless a manipulation of your handle results in a traveller for the new era?

    Thanks for the suggestions. I have more trouble than just drawing. I don't do well visualizing spacial relationships or mechanical processes.
    I have a knack for that. Gimme a machine, or even a drawing of a machine and I can see how it works, or doesn't work. I'm happy to help with anything you're trying to draw - I just can't draw it myself, for some reason. Although I have to say the advice and tools I have picked up here have helped tremendously.

    It's true that I have trouble drawing something that I see or visualize. When I was a kid my father, who was mechanical engineer, tried to teach me to draw by starting with someone that had relatively simple lines, and it was a struggle. So I do have that problem. I used to draw a person by making a circle for the head, a long rectangle for the neck, a larger circle for the body, and two long triangles splayed out at an angle from the lower circle for the legs. My mother once asked me where the arms were, and I said that they were down at the sides. I sometimes amuse my D&D players by drawing one of those "people" again on the battle mat.

    I also though have trouble concretely visualizing how something physical of my own creation looks in the first place.
    I think we all have that problem to some extent. I made some rough sketches of a castle years ago, and when I came to draw them out properly recently, I found that certain things just didn't 'work', so I had to redesign parts of it. That's what WIP (work in process) forums are for.

    I was thinking that I might upload a map or two from my campaign world to show people what my drawing actually looks like. Is there a particular forum here for that? Thanks!
    Mapping a Traveller ATU.

    See my (fantasy-based) apprenticeship blog at:

    http://www.viewing.ltd.uk/cgi-bin/vi...forums&sx=1024

    Look for Chit Chat, Sandmann's blog. Enjoy.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Immolate View Post
    Welcome CB, and although you're tired of hearing this, there are probably a dozen tricks to overcome every challenge. A lot of us are handicapped in one way or the other. I'm color-blind, for example. If you present your work incrementally, there will always be someone to tell you what you did wrong, if anything. You can do a little at a time, as time permits, and you may eventually realize that there is little you can't do (except proofread my work apparently) with sufficient determination and craft.

    I'm an old fart too btw. I started playing D&D with my best friend and his brother when I was 16 in 1978. We still play today, every week on Wednesday night, although we've added a few people over the years. You'd be surprised just how many of the members here are crusty and dusty.

    Anyway, I think that sharing your past work is a good first step. See how much you can learn that way and it won't cost you much time. Most folks here would rather take a month helping you along, step by step, than a couple of days doing it for you. The reason for that is, when you help someone overcome their obstacles, you not only feel good about your investment, but you've also made a friend that might last a good, long time.

    I also guarantee you that any map you make with your hands will be better than anything any of us can do, because it will be true to your vision. Don't get me wrong... the pros can put more zip and pop into a map than you can ingest in one viewing, but all of that is technique, and technique is a matter of clicking buttons and changing numbers until something unexpected happens. Just like I can paint a miniature that makes my friends ogle at my "mad skillz", in spite of my color-blindness, most things can be taught with a simple, objective rule or two.

    What if someone told you that a house, city, country, continent, picture, fort, castle or dog will always look about right if you make it 4 wide and 3 high? Call it the NTSC rule. I'm not sure why that's true, but it is. A standard sheet of paper has a ratio of 3.09:4, or 4:3.09 if you'd like. Not a coincidence. You may not be able to draw a box representing a house in a town, or a city block, and be able to judge it "right" by looking at it, but you have math skills, and you can easily measure and determine that it is 4:3.

    You'd also be surprised how often those of us with perfectly functional spacial/mechanical skills do ourselves grave injury with them. More often than not, my spacial/mechanical skills have afforded me the opportunity to say to myself, "This is gonna hurt," just before it does. Give me someone who knows the rules and when they can be safely broken against someone who has "talent" but doesn't know the rules any day.

    Anyway, welcome again, and I hope you find what you need here. If you do decide to take my advice and give it another try, let me know so I can wade in and give you the benefit of my imperfect advise. I'm not as pervasive in these forums as some of the folks here, and don't know everything that's going on. Good luck my friend.
    Quote Originally Posted by icosahedron View Post
    Hmm. You have me at a disadvantage there - unless a manipulation of your handle results in a traveller for the new era?



    I have a knack for that. Gimme a machine, or even a drawing of a machine and I can see how it works, or doesn't work. I'm happy to help with anything you're trying to draw - I just can't draw it myself, for some reason. Although I have to say the advice and tools I have picked up here have helped tremendously.



    I think we all have that problem to some extent. I made some rough sketches of a castle years ago, and when I came to draw them out properly recently, I found that certain things just didn't 'work', so I had to redesign parts of it. That's what WIP (work in process) forums are for.
    Thanks Immolate and icosahedron!

    This morning I scanned all 19 sections of the maps of the large northern continent of my campaign world. It took me a good three hours. It's amazing how slow the scanner operates (and how often I had to rescan something). This afternoon I remembered that I have a sketch of my large southern continent too, so I scanned those four sections as well. I really should be packing--or grading the 20 or so student papers submitted this past Monday--but I wanted to get all these things (and the last batch of photos my mother sent me by snail mail, from 2003, which I found while packing) before I packed up everything.

    I'm not sure where to post them. The first 17 sections are pretty well finished, as it section 19. Section 18, which lays between 17 and 19, has only a mountain range that runs from Section 17 south through 18 into 19, the southern half of a lake that starts on Section 17, and the northern half of a lake that continues onto Section 19, but no other features. So I'm not sure if it's really finished, but it's not really a work in progress either as I haven't worked on it or made any progress in a couple of decades. (Section 3 is the oldest, and I created it originally in 1978, although I did make some changes in the early 1980s). Sections 20-24, which show the south continent, have much less detail than Sections 1-17 and 19, but again I haven't done anything on them since the mid-1980s (and indeed only ever worked on them the time I drew them), so they're not really works in progress either.

    I must admit that I'm curious to see what people think. I emulated the old maps drawn by J.R.R. Tolkien himself for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, which I'd read for the first time earlier in the 1970s. I think if you can read one of his sketchy little maps you might be able to read one of mine, but I'd have to say that I have substantially less skill than even he had at map-making. When new players come and I show them a map for the first time, I'm never sure if they can even see it as map or not. (That reminds me of one time I was driving somewhere with my girlfriend back in the 1990s "navigating" only to learn that she really couldn't read even a real map, much less one of my hand-drawn imitations! )

    Immolate, it's nice to meet another old-time D&D player. I turned 18 in 1978 so I'm even a little older! It's been a long time since I found many players in person who weren't substantially younger than I am. I wonder if I'll still be playing at 70 or 80?! I have moved around a bit so there's no way that I'm still playing with the same people. I started in college in Urbana back in 1978, and then brought it back to Chicago for the Christmas break. I DMed for one player on breaks back in Chicago for about the next five years, but then moved to Denver in 1983. I played in various groups there, rarely lasting more than a year if that. I moved to Iowa in 1991 and played less there, although toward the end I did manage to remain in one group for nearly two years, and ran my own campaign for about a year, maybe a year and a half. The first group actually had shifted away from D&D before the end. We switched to d20 Star Wars for a while, and then to d20 Call of Cthulu with a Charlies' Angels theme. I actually stopped attending when we stopped playing Star Wars. I meant to return but I never did before I moved. My own campaign was going strong though when I left, and we played late into evening (or the next morning) about two days before I moved to Virginia.

    Here I've been in many, many groups, much more than in Iowa and maybe even more than in VA, as the internet makes finding groups easier, but very few of them last beyond a year, if that. Often a player gets a bug to DM, has a good starting story idea, but then finds that DMing requires a lot of work between sessions, and gives up. I've seen that pattern repeatedly in all the places I've lived. I started running my current campaign though as soon as I moved here, and although I don't have any of the original members, I'm still running the campaign 7 years later. The two guys currently in the group started in 2003, within months of each other, so they've been in it for more than 6 years now.

    My new place will be about 12 miles west of here, and only two miles from the home of one of the two players, so that will be much more convenient for him, especially now that he has a new daughter to raise. I hope too that moving further out from DC will open up the possibility of getting some new players from farther out too. In most places 12 miles wouldn't make a difference, but the traffic is so bad here that it actually does. I stopped going to a bunch of the many groups I tried in the area because the drive just too far too long through such bad traffic. Unless you live here or in LA, it's hard to conceive of how bad the traffic really is. I cannot tell you how often I've wished I really were a celestial barbarian (and not just a human barbarian) so that I could just fly over the traffic mess.

    I doubt that anyone will want to design these two sites for me, but I thought it was worth a try. It actually started out with EN World sending its first email newsletter. I guess I signed up for EN World ages ago, but forgot about it until they sent the email. The email mentioned a project finished by Open Design (a dwarven city) and I talked to the head of the group, who publishes Kobold Quarterly, about them designing sites like these, and he suggested I check here instead. I figured that I'd better do it before I forgot it again--before the move.

    I must say that this is a great community and that everyone has been welcoming and encouraging. Of course you might not be quite as encouraging once you see my maps!

  8. #18
      Immolate is offline
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    Sometimes it's easy to forget just how lucky I am to have the same guys together after so many years. It isn't like our professional lives have been parallel. One's a homicide detective, another owns a financial planning firm, another a chain of comic book stores, application support, software development, theme park design. We're all over the map, but without exception, the weekly game is one of best parts of our lives.

    Can't wait to see your stuff!

  9. #19
    Guild Novice The Good Doctor's Avatar
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    Post Spatial skills

    Most of what you've been speaking about sounds like what Howard Gardner calls Multiple Intelligences. Do you find yourself more global or linear? Have you had an organizational testing done (such as Gregorc's)? What's your preferred input method - audio, visual, or kinesthetic? Learning styles / methods is one of my interests....

    Nice to see another DnD player -- 1977, though right now only have 1 semi regular and another who only plays between terms. As I've had to return to school to become re-employable myself, that can be an issue. What do you teach? I did my BS in History, and worked as a research assistant for awhile. My love of history and cartography, of course, is wonderfully sated by my DnD sessions; I just wish there were more hours in the weekend! Heh heh

    Post the work on your album. Let's take a look. Mine aren't up to most of those grand masters who stride these halls, but I do pick up a few ideas. And these grand masters are very kind.
    "Wherever you go, there you are." -- Buckaroo Banzai

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Good Doctor View Post
    Most of what you've been speaking about sounds like what Howard Gardner calls Multiple Intelligences. Do you find yourself more global or linear? Have you had an organizational testing done (such as Gregorc's)? What's your preferred input method - audio, visual, or kinesthetic? Learning styles / methods is one of my interests....

    Nice to see another DnD player -- 1977, though right now only have 1 semi regular and another who only plays between terms. As I've had to return to school to become re-employable myself, that can be an issue. What do you teach? I did my BS in History, and worked as a research assistant for awhile. My love of history and cartography, of course, is wonderfully sated by my DnD sessions; I just wish there were more hours in the weekend! Heh heh

    Post the work on your album. Let's take a look. Mine aren't up to most of those grand masters who stride these halls, but I do pick up a few ideas. And these grand masters are very kind.
    Hi Doctor! Thanks for the welcome! It's rare for me to find someone who started playing D&D before I did! In fact it's been many years since I come across anyone else who has. When you said, "only have 1 semi regular and another who only plays between terms" do you refer to two different players for whom you DM?

    I've heard the term "multiple intelligences" but don't know Gardner's work (or Gregorc's) so I'm not familiar with his particular use of "global" vs. "linear" or his distinctions among "visual," "audio," and "kinesthetic." If kinesthetic refers to learning by touching, then I'd say it's almost certainly the way I learn least. As for choosing between visual and audio, does reading count as visual (as it is in the general sense of the term) or audio? I'm much more likely to learn how something works, for instance, by reading about it than by looking at it. As for between global and linear, using the general meanings of the terms I think both ways: I think in terms of the big picture, and I think in a logical, linear fashion. That's one of the problems with intellectuals and field-specific jargon: the jargon often has meanings far removed from the original, general meaning of the word. Take "rational" in economics as an example. In general "rational" refers to thinking logically; in economics, however, it simply refers to acting purposefully. Field-specific jargon often causes a great deal of confusion when first trying to teach the field.

    Speaking of teaching, I currently teach both economics and accounting. I have my B.S. in Accountancy, an MT (Master of Taxation, a graduate degree in tax law), and an M.A. in history (major field US since the Civil War, minor fields in Russian history [Kievan and Soviet] and economics). I've also been in Ph.D. programs in history (fields in US history since 1920, American economic history, and European Economic History since 1700) and economics. Difficulty creating topics small enough to research and write (that anyone would want to publish) pretty much drove me out of both Ph.D. programs. I taught history for a decade during my first Ph.D. program, and I've also taught rhetoric.

    Where are these albums located? Thanks!

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