I'm starting a D&D campaign, and I'd like to find a piece of software for creating maps with fits with my priorities. Looking at the mapping software market, I can see lots of software for create beautiful overland maps and stuff that's generally incredibly detailed, intricate, in full colour. This absolutely not what I'm looking for!
My priorities in a piece of mapping software are as follows:
1) Available for download. - The timeframe I need it in is too short to potentially wait weeks on shipping.
2) Reasonable price point for the degree of functionality. Cheaper is obviously better, free is great, but not necessary.
3) User-friendly. Ideally I'd like something which let me put a dungeon or outdoor encounter together with just dropping and dragging, automatically fitting to a grind.
4) Fast. Kind of related to user-friendly, I guess, but I want something that works faster than drawing maps by hand on graph paper (which I am quite capable of doing).
5) Maps must be printable on a normal B&W printer printing A4 sheets.
6) Able to easily create maps with an extremely simple, old-skool look. I'm really unsure about most cartography-oriented software, because all they want to show me is incredibly complex and flash maps in full colours with finickity little graphic images all over them. I want something that creates dungeon and encounter maps that look like they came from a 1980s or early '90s TSR adventure. Simple, bold, black and white, with the traditional icons.
I suspect what I'm looking for is probably Dungeon Designer 3, but I'm told this is the foremost place for info on this kind of cartography, and I'm extremely open to opinions. Simplicity is the key here, not beauty. Unless you consider something like the maps in the original Tomb of Horrors beautiful!
Thank you for the suggestion, but no, that's the sort of software I'm looking to avoid, if it's screenshots illustrate how it typically works. I mean:
1) It's clearly not meant for B&W nor going to display well in B&W.
2) It's graphics are complicated and fussy, with floor textures, complex little images for the furnishings etc, big thick walls.
3) Not printer-friendly.
4) Full of pointless features like automated shadowing.
I mean, just to be clear, I'm looking for something that will produce classic-style dungeon and outdoor images, not modern-looking ones. Ones that could have come from the 1980s.
I suspect, though, it's not clear, user-friendly, which is good, but unless it can do images a lot less fancy than those, and a lot more printer-friendly, I don't see it as a possibility.
I'd actualy suggest Gimp. I know it can do 10,000 times more things than what you require, but it can do the simple stuff too. I'll put together a short guideline for you if you like. Do you want the blue lines, or would you prefer black?
I can't say I have "tried" to do a simple old school style of map, but Fractal Mapper is a very simple program to use. I think not matter what software you use, you might have a problem finding old style icons, so I would suggest just going for using the wingdings font as there are some nice neat symbols there.
My Finished Maps
Works in Progress(or abandoned tests)
Explanation of Layer Masks in GIMP
How to create ISO Mountains in GIMP/PS using the Smudge tool
Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
jfrazierjr - Yeah, I'm seeing that, and it seems bizarre, because those icons/symbols are still in use (you can buy pre-made maps with them used, still, and D&D4E, for example, encourages you to use them in the DMG). Oh well.
I don't want to sound like a Dungeoncrafter stock holder
(hahah, a freeware stockholder, that's something I'd do) ...
but if you use that "Classic TSR" tileset,
DC answers all your initial requirements perfectly. I mean perfectly!
OK, nuff said.
(Personally, I'd use Illustrator. But it ain't free.)