Viewingdale to Maptools: Scaling conversion
Hi there. I'm new to using mapping tools, however, with some tinkering i've found two tools that I'd really like to use in my online game. I'd like to use viewingdale for its sheer scalability and reasonable price, which is really quite useful (what with bieng poor and all), and i'd like to use maptools for all the play side of things, because of its feature set for actual play. However, I have no idea where to start with exporting my maps to vd, because I have no idea what scale to use when saving my map chunks into image files. Can someone who uses VD help me with this?
Hello Kale and welcome to the guild. You have come to the right place as there are loads of people here who can help you with general mapping and many who can help you with MapTools. Then there is me who is the dev of ViewingDale and I am very willing to help you out in all things about that app.
First of all ill point you at the fabled tut on viewingdale here at the guild. Fabled, cos it took me an eternity to get around to writing it. If you look on the menus under Quick Links is now (thanks to RobA) the keyword index which is also linked on my sig. Under ViewingDale you will see some links relevant to the app from the guilds post history.
Ok, now on to your question. What scale to use. Well ViewingDales job is to display maps at any scale. I call it scale independent. So if were talking about scales like 1:50000 or 1:1000000 or whatever then your fine, its easy. The main point is that you enter the size of the map in as real units. So lets say you have a bitmap (BMP / JPG / PNG) of 2000 pixels by 1500 pixels and the scale on the map shows a bar 400 pixels across with intervals on it that show that the 400 pixel bar is 100 miles. Ok your map is 2000 * 100 / 400 in miles => i.e. its 500 miles west/east and presumably 1500 * 100 / 400 miles => 375 miles north/south.
When you import an image in you can hit F2 for "Images and Icons" and then "Convert (Import) image". You hit the "Load Colour picture" button and find your image. Then you would do the same if it had a mask on the transparency but for a map this is unlikely. Then "Save final Image" and place it somewhere that is sensible. So create a new folder for the world that your using - like Middle_Earth, or Toril or whatever - and then go into that folder and put in the map image by naming it and letting the system save it.
Now you must create an icon for the image using the "Create New Icon from Image Wizard". You hit each button in turn. So set its name with "Icon Name". Use the "In Directory" to set the directory or create a new directory for the icon with your world name and use that. Then the next button you find the image you just created. Then in "Width" put in "500 miles" and in "Height" put in "375 miles". On a map I would click the button for "Default Origin" so that its in the corner and then hit the "Create it" button.
Your map should appear as the main icon now.
Say your map was really big tho and was 6000 x 4000 pixels. In that case I would use the included app which is in the main directory for the program called "ViewingDaleImageSplitter.exe" with the icon of 4 little boxes. If you dont have this app then you need to update to the latest version (1.08 at time of writing) and it will be there. See website about "version control".
What this app does is do the same process as described above but all on one process and it will split the image into more manageable tiles at the same time creating directories of the tile images and icons. You can pick the tile size but 512 or 1024 is a good starting bet.
Once the app has finished then load the new icon with the L key or F2 images and icons menu again and find it where you told it to be. I.e. in "Worlds/Ansium/".
In either case you should find that the scale bar at the top of the program will show it at the correct real world scale. If you have calibrated your monitor (see tut or help file) and the map was of large scale like a battle map then you can zoom in to 1:1 scale and the screen icons ought to be exactly real size on the monitor.
Anyway, the idea is to make everything in real world size regardless of the pixel dimensions of the images used to make it up.
When exporting for map tool then you need to set the scale to something like 100 pixels per 5 ft. ViewingDale makes this pretty simple. Use F4 or the "System Settings" and then the "Save Main View as picture file". Where it says "Set pixels (dots) per inch" hit the button and enter 100. Where it says scale put in 60 (Thats 1 inch picture = 60 inches real world or 5ft - i.e. standard fantasy scale) and then it will find for you the image width and height which if not large scale might be too big to be sensible. Now if someone from MapTools can say that they can import a map of non 1 inch to 5 ft scale then say so. Anyway thats the usual battle map scale image for MapTools I believe.
Though it might be said that it is not an easy app to use (at least to start with) and I think thats somewhat justifiable, I think it has the best capability for mapping a whole world at once and I think its probably fair to say that MapTool has the best playing features and its certainly the most popular playing format where the map and miniature movement is concerned so the two together is a good choice I think.
Yaay. Well, I've grabbed the basic concepts of exporting an image, but by the look of it, I have my screen size set wrongly, because the image doesnt exactly match up on the grid in GIMP. I've tried measuring it, but I cant seem to get it accurate enough to deal with the offset. I know My moniter is a 19 inch samsung 931bw, with a 16:10 ratio. Is there anyone who uses a similar moniter and knows its dimentions so i can fix this problem? Thanks
Get a real ruler or tape measure and hold up to the visible pixel area on the monitor and put in the width and height into the system settings bit. If you go to the website and download the extra art of the paper sizes...
install them, load up a sheet of A5 and then use F3 set scale and set it to 1. Then on screen should be your sheet of A5 paper at 1:1 scale. Hold up a piece of A5 paper or A4 folded in half and check the size. It should match. See end of this movie and pic below.
Now when you export the image. It will export the image to the edge of the visible window so if you need to crop it to the grid in Gimp then ensure that the grid is on with 'G' button and then export the screen view and use the Gimp crop tool. However, I think its better that you export without the grid on and use MapTools align to grid function where you set the grid offset and scale thing. Again I am no MapTool expert but I believe that it has some dynamic grid align thing.
If you need to align to the grid in ViewingDale so that you import an image of a battle map with a grid on it then import the image as normal and use the F7 key to set the center point. Put that down on one intersection of the grid and use F8, icon size, to adjust it so that it lines up with the grid. Then when you go to F5 - normal view and hit the G key and set the grid size to whatever its supposed to be it should come up aligned on top of the battle map. If you want me to make a vid of this then attach a map you have to your post and ill show you.
Okay. I cant quite get it accurate, seeing as the measurement settings for screen width and height don't do decimals, but i've gotten it to where the offset is at least relatively small (my moniters height measures out to 255.77mm) and if the offset becomes serious, i'll just have to take it into gimp and adjust it until it does fit. However, one other problem I've come across is the fact that viewingdale layers things relative to the size of the object. A smaller object always overlays one which is larger. Is there a way to manually adjust the order things are layered on the map, so i can have (for instance) my corner keeps tower actually appear over the corner keep, without having to resize the cobble tile to ridiculous proportions?
You dont need the screen width and height more accurate than a few mm. It sounds like your trying to use that to do something other than what its for. You generally size icons using the sizing screen F8. It has markers to set the size of the icon on a background grid. If your having trouble controlling the rate at which it scales using the arrow keys then press ctrl, and also ctrl and shift at the same time when using arrow keys. If the icon is a specific size you know then under F2 icons and images menu is a set size for icon button where you can enter it numerically. Adjusting the screen dimensions is there just to make it about right size on screen at 1:1 scale so that you can project the screen onto a table top and use 1:60 exact scaling for example. Also it gets the aspect ratio right on different - esp widescreen - monitors. Trying to adjust it to an accuracy of 0.01 of a mm and still feeling like you need to take it into Gimp to fix sounds just wrong. Maybe you should take some screen grabs about what your trying to do and post so we can see.
There is no manual layer ordering. The reason is simple - the program is designed to take these branches of maps which themselves have layers to them in the hierarchy and your able to reuse them in many different places. So if you had to manually do it then every time you moved one full set of layers into a group of another then you would have to manually fix up all the layering. Your saying that your keeps tower is appearing over the keep. That sounds like a good thing to me so maybe again you can take a screen grab of what the issue is.
There are some ways to make things change layer. If you have a tiled array of small icons like bits of cobble and these are supposed to be on the ground and the big towers are then under your cobble then what you can do is make your cobbled floor out of the bits and then use F2 and use the Create New Icon from Screen Image to make one single new icon which is the image of all the little cobbled tiles together. Then as one image its larger than the towers and will snap under them. The other way is to put lots of clear image around the bit of the image thats relevant so that the icon is actually much bigger than the visible part of it. Scale it so the visible bit is the right size and then the icon is big so will drop below layers of other stuff.
In the help under the "four main dialog menus" look for the "the third way..." and it will take you through some pages about it.