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Thread: ViewingDale Questions

  1. #1
      Kasim is offline
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    Post ViewingDale Questions

    Hello everyone,

    I'm new here but have been an avid gamer for quite some time. Since I've traditionally been stuck as the GM of games, I've been compiling a massive amount of maps and campaign information, all on paper though.

    Well, due to graduating college and moving to an entirely new local I'm going to take the time and document the campaign world. I imagine it'll take some time to either find a gaming group or form my own, this will be a good use of my energy.

    I've been researching various programs for the past week that will enable me to easily create my maps. Criteria that I'm expecting, in no certain order:

    -Low cost, no $599 programs. I'd be willing to fork over about $50 for a program that makes my life easier. Time=Money right? But it is afterall only a hobby.
    -Easy to work with, although I have CAD experience I don't want to make this a project that's 99% learning and 1% never finishing..
    -Pleasing to the eye, no it doesn't have to be photorealistic but it must be easy enough for an amateur to use that people will know what they are looking at without me spending hours tweaking graphics.
    -Robust enough to allow me to not be forced to resuse images out of lack of options. Nothing bugs me worse then a map made of repetative objects.
    -Zoomable and scalable so that I can use one map for the entire world without seams such as my paper maps.

    I've been looking at ViewingDale as it seems to meet these criteria better than most. So this leads me to ask a few questions since the forums there are giving me an error and some unbiased opinions will be nice. (Yeah you can chime in too RedRobes)

    I have downloaded the trial version and played with it for a few minutes. I've watched the videos and checked out all the screenshots. I've also tried registering on the forums there, but have an error atm.

    -Is there a full blown tutorial and good documentation with ViewingDale?
    -It says that this is infinately zoomable, in practice does this lend to a great way to build a entire campaign map in one chunk instead of seams with maps pasted side by side? Do objects dissapear at certain zoom levels and if not, does this lag computers badly once maps get too complex? (We're talking a campaign world with dozens of cities, and probably millions of objects, roads, buildings, notes, ect.)
    -How do you make the landforms? Although the sample islands look very impressive, I already know the shape and terrain of my map. I could refit my campaign to an existing map, but for several reasons, I'd rather not. I see how to place objects but how do you create the land and mountains itself? Will this be viewable in DragonFlight or will that require an entire rebuild of the map once GeoTerSys is launched? This isn't really needed but would be nice to show players the topography.
    -How hard is it to go back and edit the landforms? For example if 2 years from now I decide that a region needs to be reshaped for campaign purposes, will it be a major pain?

    I do plan on making things as realistic as possible, continental drift, mountains in the right place, vocanoes where they should be, places of frequent earthquakes, weather and climate, ecology, the works.

    I really like the ability to use one program for all my mapping, including the interiors and dungeons like I'm seeing in ViewingDale. I do plan on posting my documentation to a website for my players or to give other GMs some ideas. Hopefully, I can come up with something of quality. Thanks in advance for the help.

    Edit: Oh, and am I off base? Is there a better program that would fit my needs?
    Last edited by Kasim; 03-10-2008 at 02:49 PM.

  2. #2
      Robbie is offline
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    Turns out the developer of Viewingdale is a regular here, I'm sure he'll be along shortly to give ya all ya need.
    Robbie Powell - Site Admin

  3. #3
      Redrobes is offline
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    Hello Kasim - I guess I had better chime in a bit... BTW I have just attended to the forum login issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kasim View Post
    Is there a full blown tutorial and good documentation with ViewingDale?
    There is a full help system which comes with the program which explains a lot more about how it works and fits together, but the tutorials are on the web. There are a few key concepts to digest and then it all becomes quite routine. Theres a short steep learning curve and then it flattens very quickly as there are just a few things to get used to and then its lots of the same kind of thing from there on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kasim View Post
    It says that this is infinately zoomable, in practice does this lend to a great way to build a entire campaign map in one chunk instead of seams with maps pasted side by side?
    It's near infinite of course. About 0.1mm to something much larger than planetary. Maps are built in a hierarchy of levels at different details as you have them where smaller maps are always correctly composited in the scene. Because everything is of no fixed scale all maps whether scanned, digital or made with icons can be put together.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kasim View Post
    Do objects dissapear at certain zoom levels and if not, does this lag computers badly once maps get too complex?
    Yes - its commonly known as level of detail. There is a slider to control how much fades out. You can go from about a pixel to about half the screen. The maps are all based on a hierarchy with bounds. All the children of an icon should be within the bounds of the parent. The app does a tree search and clips and fades out anything too small or off the sides. The pathological case is when all of the icons are the same size and large enough to be displayed. In that instance it will render about 100,000 for a frame per second. When distributed more evenly it will render an infinite number of icons based on hard drive capacity and not map complexity. Its designed to render universes down to the blade of grass and still maintain full frame rate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kasim View Post
    How do you make the landforms?
    The app runs on icons which have bitmaps associated with them. The images can be up to 2K pix square or you can tile them for any sized bitmap. So you can scan and load in a large paper based map. Or you can use lots of smaller bits of terrain placed in hap-hazard fashion to create a terrain, or you can use a large computer generated terrain like what GTS is designed to make.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kasim View Post
    ...how do you create the land and mountains itself? Will this be viewable in DragonFlight...
    ViewingDale is a 2D app only. (Well at least for now...) If you want to see a terrain in 3D using DF you need a height bitmap. The free Instant Islands will give you one for the specific color map is produces. Otherwise you have to make or obtain one. The idea eventually is to have GTS create a DVD of a base terrain with the height info so that VDale can use that in 2D or maybe launch DF to give the 3D view of it at a hotlink position. Theres some possibility that there would be height map data for some of the large icons like bits of castle etc which could be added to the base terrain for rendering in 3D in DF.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kasim View Post
    How hard is it to go back and edit the landforms? For example if 2 years from now I decide that a region needs to be reshaped for campaign purposes, will it be a major pain?
    That depends on how you build it. It could be if you make it out of lots of small splats.

    One more thing I would like to add at this convenient point. I was going to wait another week or so but iCon2008 is about to start on March 21st to March 28th. Its an online convention for digital mapping and playing over the net using VTT's.

    Like last year, theres going to be a more complete demo released for that which includes enough networking to connect live for demos + more demo icons etc. I was also going to do a special heavily reduced price for the app over iCon to the end of March. So for any CG member signed up before and including this day its going to be £12 or about $25 & that includes postage.

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    Community Leader Facebook Connected delgondahntelius's Avatar
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    but I have to sign up for iCon to get the discount, right?
    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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      Redrobes is offline
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    Nope - if your already signed up here on or before today then ill discount it over the iCon period - to end of March. I was going to do this next week but I'll have to try to do this ASAP I guess. I'll post a link if your interested.

    So little time Apologies if any of my posts are a bit terse - I have to grab 5 mins here and there to keep up.

    Edit -- But sign up for iCon anyway !

  6. #6
      Kasim is offline
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    Thank you for your quick response.

    The more I look at your program, the more I'm loving the possibilities. At first I was merely looking for a mapping program but it appears this opens up new doors.

    I also had no idea iCon existed, I'll definately be checking it out more this week and seeing about signing up for some of the events.

    Like last year, theres going to be a more complete demo released for that which includes enough networking to connect live for demos + more demo icons etc. I was also going to do a special heavily reduced price for the app over iCon to the end of March. So for any CG member signed up before and including this day its going to be £12 or about $25 & that includes postage.
    I'm pretty confident that I'll be taking part in your iCon promotion. If you can post any specifics about the demos or a link to find the detailed information, that would be great. It would be incredibly helpful to see things in action.

  7. #7
      Redrobes is offline
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    I have changed the web page to add a new link right at the bottom of the purchase tab which links to a protected page where you can now order it with the discount. I'll PM you, Del and any member here who wants the code to get at the button if you so desire.

    I am running the same iCon demo as last year but I would like to double check that its still all good to go. By the end of the week I should have it ready and available.

    It was good fun last year. We had almost all of the big guns turn out. Kepli of Dunjinni, Heruca of Battlegrounds, Trevor & Dorpond of RPTools, Emryys of GRiP to name a few plus others who make digital adventures and other digital aids. There were loads of games played via different VTTs, a few contests, a few freebies and give aways and then there is the round table discussion where there is a big conference / debate about RPG's and VTTs etc and what WotC might be doing with 4E and this year will probably revolve around the new 3D networked app they have due in May. And its all free and you don't even have to get off the couch to attend. All you need is broadband and a mic headset.

    Time is marching. I had better get more prepared for it

    Edit -- Just reviewing the calendar, there seems to be quite a lot of modern and sci-fi this year. Who was it getting excited about playing Traveller ? Ravells ? Theres games for that in both GRiP and FGII + Babylon5 game running too.
    Last edited by Redrobes; 03-10-2008 at 09:04 PM.

  8. #8
      Kasim is offline
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    I have changed the web page to add a new link right at the bottom of the purchase tab which links to a protected page where you can now order it with the discount. I'll PM you, Del and any member here who wants the code to get at the button if you so desire.

    I am running the same iCon demo as last year but I would like to double check that its still all good to go. By the end of the week I should have it ready and available.
    Yes, I would like a promo code. It would be nice to have the full blown version to experiment with before iCon so that I can ask more informed questions or get everything out of it possible. Lookign forward to it.

  9. #9
      Redrobes is offline
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    I have posted a PM (actually one yesterday and one today too). PM is Private Messages - link to them in top right under the Welcome, Kasim bit. Do you have a few unread ones there ? If I post it on the forum then everyone inc all guests etc would be able to use it. If your not seeing it then ill just email or use some other means to get them to you.

    This is an incentive to be a genuine former CGuild member or iCon member. I love this site because people are really passionate about the maps and actually doing some. Theres a lot of hot air, watching and especially (Grrr) expecting somebody else to do it on a lot of other sites. This place buzzes so much I can hardly keep up with all the posts.

  10. #10
      Kasim is offline
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    Yeah there was two messages from you waiting...

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