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Thread: ViewingDale Questions

  1. #11
      Kasim is offline
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    Does anyone have any images of things they've done in ViewingDale? It'd be interesting to see more possibilities and styles.

  2. #12
      Redrobes is offline
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    I don't think anyone else uses it here.

    All of my entries to the challenges have had some parts done using it.
    December
    January
    February
    March

    Most of the months have involved me using an image editor to generate the base texture and then all of the icons on top are done with the app.

    In December I used it additionally to generate height map elements by sprinkling rock height maps down over the base and then using DragonFlight to get that in 3D. The base was drawn with a pen, scanned, filled with textures and then the barrels, bags, skeletons etc were done on top with VDale.

    Jan, I chose to do a 3D one. The gems and mounting lugs for them were placed on top with it.

    Both Feb and March I am using a texture script to generate the base floor from texture layers and placing all the items on top with the app. If the floor were a dungeon then it could easily be done with it, I could have done this months floor using it but as I have posted in the thread the script I use is so easy that I am lazy enough to get that to do it instead. You will also see that the entries are usually quite high res and that its rendering all the items even if they are quite small. See the tray, plate and spoon in room 4 for example. The problem there is that I am so used to getting everything at proper scale that a spoon in a 125ft dungeon needs the res.

    For sure, ViewingDale is weak at doing terrain. It can do it but it takes a lot of splat icons to make it look good. To be fair, there are not many apps which I would say were really good at that job either. The ones I could name are never mentioned here and cost a lot. So thats why I am trying to fix that with GTS where I can generate whole worlds at immense detail on DVD's.

    The program is very effective where lots of items need to be grouped. Villages, cities, dungeons, buildings etc.

    Maybe the best thing would be if you were to indicate what style maps you like or intend to make and I could suggest where it would or would not fit. I tend to use a variety of tools of which this program is but one. However it is a tool for which there are no other substitutes. You see a lot of planet scale world maps and village / city maps here. What you don't get are much regional maps or maps of cities where the city is small in comparison with the total map size. Or going the other way, you don't see many maps of small parts of cities, a street where the buildings are mapped. These are both areas where this app excels because you can zoom in from a city to street level or out to regional level. Not that it would exactly make the whole map for you in its entirety but it will zoom it such that everything is all in relation so that its easy to make one. If you start with a high res house and put a street of them together then it would render that street exactly for you in city scale and that street would be accurate in regional scale too. The point is that you don't have to do any work in those situations and therefore makes those maps more than just doable, but easy where usually they would be boring and quite tricky to get right. In any case nobody does them because if something changes in the city then the region map would have to be updated but with VDale thats done for you. I really should do a demo / tutorial about this sort of thing but lets get the iCon thing done first.

  3. #13
      Kasim is offline
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    Most of the months have involved me using an image editor to generate the base texture and then all of the icons on top are done with the app.
    I started doing some work with the newest version of GIMP 2. I'm guessing that it will be easier or smarter to create the land/topography/water itself with another program such as GIMP and then bring it into VD to start adding features such as forests, buildings and roads.

    Yeah it's very apparent that I'm a noob when it comes to technology. One of the problems I envision with doing this method is that it will create problems. When I create a map in GIMP and then import it, what will it look like as I zoom in further and further? The oceans and beaches in GIMP that look okay at that zoom level will possibly look horrid at the level of detail VD is capable at working in. I'd have to create the GIMP map at the same level of detail I plan on zooming into, correct?

    I'm kind of hoping some other people who use ViewingDale can chime in, giving some tips or strategies. Especially tips geared towards someone who's never used any of these programs before.

    Maybe the best thing would be if you were to indicate what style maps you like or intend to make and I could suggest where it would or would not fit.
    Well since VD is capable of doing infinite zooms, I was planning on mapping the entire planet in one shot, filling in details as I go or need. But since experimenting with the demo, I notied that I can take the section of land given to me and add onto it. So my plan has evolved into mapping half of the main continent to start. (A much smaller fraction of the land mass) Then filling in the details of the areas as time permits and the campaign requires. Later, completing the main continent and onward.

    I tend to use a variety of tools of which this program is but one.
    I'm trying to keep the amount of tools and at the same time, the learning curve to a minimum. If I have to figure out half a dozen programs and how they interrelate, I won't ever get the project off the ground. For the simplest of examples, see the uknown of how my map made in GIMP will react when imported into VD.

    You see a lot of planet scale world maps and village / city maps here. What you don't get are much regional maps or maps of cities where the city is small in comparison with the total map size. Or going the other way, you don't see many maps of small parts of cities, a street where the buildings are mapped. These are both areas where this app excels because you can zoom in from a city to street level or out to regional level. Not that it would exactly make the whole map for you in its entirety but it will zoom it such that everything is all in relation so that its easy to make one. If you start with a high res house and put a street of them together then it would render that street exactly for you in city scale and that street would be accurate in regional scale too. The point is that you don't have to do any work in those situations and therefore makes those maps more than just doable, but easy where usually they would be boring and quite tricky to get right. In any case nobody does them because if something changes in the city then the region map would have to be updated but with VDale thats done for you. I really should do a demo / tutorial about this sort of thing but lets get the iCon thing done first.
    That's exactly why I'm pursuing ViewingDale. It means I can do a single map and zoom in or out as needed. A caravan traveling overland to the next town? Great, zoom out a bit and you can plot the distance, terrain and get a great visual. Wow, ambushed at the bridge. Zoom in and you can see the terrain, plop down some tokens for the bandits and the caravan. Let the players see their situation and even maneuver tokens that way. When they get to town and decide to wander into an Inn, simply zoom in and open up the interior view of the inn. Wow, they found the dungeon that the inn keeper was trying to keep secret. Open it up and let them head on in for some dungeon crawling.

    Seamless gaming, at my home using a projector, second monitor or second computer or over the net using the interface.

    VD seems to do a good job of managing the map on many levels. If I did this in another program alone, I would have to create a new map at the planet level, a new map for each and every region and then yet more maps for every town, city, dungeon at any level of zoom that I might need to use.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails ViewingDale Questions-vdss1.jpg   ViewingDale Questions-vdss2.jpg   ViewingDale Questions-vdss3.jpg   ViewingDale Questions-vdss4.jpg  

  4. #14
      Kasim is offline
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    One of the struggles going on in my mind right now is how to hand elevation and terrain.

    I kind of like Tareth's approach with triangular arrow shaped markers that are set up to act like contour lines. This lets you see not only contours but also the direction of the slope. I imagine this would be quite doable by creating an icon in VD then putting them down just like any other. One unknown for me is how it will look on the grand scale when zooming out very far. Another is how difficult and repetative it will be to place all these in such a large map. The last being what kind of load will it be on the computer to have these hundreds of thousands of little arrows on the map in addition to everything else. Will it be possible to make a single icon out of the hill for example to ease the load?
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  5. #15
      Kasim is offline
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    Slade uses what I'd think of a more traditional cartographer's mountain symbol. The only problem I would see with this type of marker is that as you zoom in there wouldn't be any map, just a big black shaded in area.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails ViewingDale Questions-sladesmountains.jpg  

  6. #16
      Redrobes is offline
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    Hi Kasim, Gosh lots of questions there to pick up. What I did yesterday is mail a few people here to ask if I could use their maps to make a demo. I have had several responses with an ok. So I went ahead and did it. I hope that its ok with the others and if not I will remove the link.

    I have made a movie showing what its basically all about. So I have taken RobA's progressive detail world maps which show how you might get the basic forms in at world scale. Then lower down there is Tareth and Landorl's maps to shoe mid range detail. Then I took Hapimeses city and Simonutp's tower to show smaller scale stuff and then I added some more tokens at human scale.

    Link to Video

    Most players should be able to play this but if you have issues then I would recommend VLC. Oh and there is no sound on it.

    For those interested it was made with CamStudio and MediaCoder.
    Last edited by Redrobes; 01-04-2009 at 09:20 AM.

  7. #17
      Redrobes is offline
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    Here is a demo using Tareths map with the diamond contours.

    Link to Video

    What I have done is make a clear icon. You use these a lot. They are useful for grouping child icons together. I am using the pathing tool too. That drops icons down where the mouse travels with adjustable parameters like tracking and random rotations. In this instance its set up for rotating them based on mouse direction. So it drops contours where the diamonds point along perpendicular to the contour. Finally I am showing the effect of child cut off where the size of child icons can be shown and when they are faded out.

    Once all of the diamonds are on their own clear icon as a parent then the following apply. When the parent clear icon is off of the screen then the app does not even consider the diamonds. So when the mountain is off screen it plays no part in slowing down the map. Also when the parent clear icon is too small and is itself faded out then all the grand children like the diamonds are not considered too. So when looking at the whole world all those diamonds are not slowing it down. Therefore only when you are looking at that area and at a scale that they would be seen is when the program draws them. By that reasoning you can have a lot of stuff on the map providing its grouped into levels that are of similar scale and similar position. I.e you parent people to houses, houses to cities, cities to regions, regions to continents and continents to worlds etc. If you parent all people to the entire world then its going to run very slow (Which is the way the majority of other mapping programs work !)
    Last edited by Redrobes; 01-04-2009 at 09:20 AM.

  8. #18
      Kasim is offline
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    Wow, that just makes me want to see more..

    I have made a movie showing what its basically all about. So I have taken RobA's progressive detail world maps which show how you might get the basic forms in at world scale. Then lower down there is Tareth and Landorl's maps to shoe mid range detail. Then I took Hapimeses city and Simonutp's tower to show smaller scale stuff and then I added some more tokens at human scale.

    That's pretty much what I'm hoping to do, but I'll be aiming for no seams. If I do all the detail in VD, I'm thinking that it'll work out. Can you see any problems created by doing something like his city in all VD icons instead of an imported image? I'll just need to create an invisible parent to place them on, correct?

  9. #19
      Redrobes is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kasim View Post
    That's pretty much what I'm hoping to do, but I'll be aiming for no seams. If I do all the detail in VD, I'm thinking that it'll work out. Can you see any problems created by doing something like his city in all VD icons instead of an imported image? I'll just need to create an invisible parent to place them on, correct?
    Yes thats right, remember everything is a branch on a big tree. So don't try to group everything all on one twig. Make a street in clear parent, put some houses on it. Attach the clear parent to the city base map. When the clear street is off of the side then no houses need to be drawn. I knew a movie would explain it a little better.

    IMO to do full seamless I would still use bitmaps to do base terrain. Keep it simple and get the basic shapes in using that, keep to a limited palette. Then it will fit together ok. There are some extra functions within the app for helping a little there too. Once you have the thing all mapped out to a really basic level then you can get the app to make a new icon out of a screen image. It will get all the scale right and then you can attach that new icon back into the place it came from. Now editing this smaller area you can add stuff to it until you have that area done in patch icons / splats / new artwork etc. Then you can replace the image of the basic map to clear and it will be a clear parent sitting on the base map at the correct scale etc. Thats a more advanced technique but thats basically how you do it.

    BTW. I have just made and uploaded the icon08 demo. Do you want to test that out say Monday evening ? You can grab that :-

    ViewingDale iCon08 demo app

    Email me with a time. Say 23:00 by the tycho clock maybe or whatever you have free.

    Edit -- I should add that time should be UTC (so many timezones...). Also on my forum and the four ugly monsters there are the details of the iCon08 Ventrilo server settings. If your able then get a headset and mic and you can talk. We can do it by chat but its not so easy with the type lag.
    Last edited by Redrobes; 03-16-2008 at 06:36 PM.

  10. #20
    Community Leader Facebook Connected delgondahntelius's Avatar
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    Well.. I've ordered it .. I think everyone else should do the same
    Don't Forget!! Rate a Tutorial Today; Add a TAG to a thread today; CLICK on a GOOGLE ADLINK once today!

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