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Thread: What is the Most Popular Mapping Program?

  1. #1
    Eru
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    Question What is the Most Popular Mapping Program?

    What do you guys think is the most popular mapping program, the one with the most users? I'm not looking for the "best", which is highly subjective, but actually and objectively the program that is currently used most frequently by gamers to create usable fantasy maps (usable means that Paint need not apply).

    Has anyone seen published stats from the major companies on the size of their user base?

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      Koor is offline
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    Well, considering you are asking about the most widely used program in use by games, not specifically mappers, It probably would be paint. Most dm's would just hand draw a quick sketch, or crank something out in paint instead of investing the time and (or) money into getting a better program.

    Im thinking amongst individuals who take more pride in their maps, but only use a general purpose graphics utility, it's probably going to be photoshop. Yeah, I know, it's too expensive for common users, but about 95% of photoshop users are using a pirated copy.

    When it comes to map specific programs, I've seen alot of CC2 users out there. It's been around for quite some time, while CC3 has been out for just a little over a year.

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      ravells is offline
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    I know it doesn't quite answer your question, but there is a good comparison of various vector packages in wikipedia, here

    In terms of most popular, in my experience, at the hobby level it's CC2 (and now CC3) and at the professional level either photoshop or illustrator or both.

    Ravs

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      Arcana is offline
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    I think dundjinni has proliferated the market as well given how well it was marketed...I never fully switched to dundjinni because its not really geared towards world building, but more on local area mapping such as building interior and exterior, and battlemap type maps, which I actually don't do a lot of. But Dundjinni is definitely a force to be reckoned with on the popularity list...We've got a lot of great folks from dundjinni community over here too.
    Robbie Powell - Site Admin

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    Eru
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    Thanks for the insights.

    To give a brief background, the site I've been working on (and the inspiration for the alias I'm using here) is Eruvian.com. It's an attempt to build a web-based system to allow individual gamers to publish their homebrewed gaming content in a simple, standardized, and searchable format. Beyond that it is specifically designed to facilitate collaborative world-building. The vision is to see if tens, hundreds, or even thousands of creative GMs are willing to work together to build one or more campaign settings with unheard-of detail. We're hoping that many hands will make light work, providing high-quality, detailed content built, reviewed, and used by the gaming community itself.

    One challenge of the project is that it would be best if there was a single, standardized format for maps. If 100 different people submit maps, and they are in four or five different formats, then Eruvian's users will have to have four or five different mapmaking tools in order to be able to edit them (the maps are meant to be easily customizable, so we're delivering the actual map files to our users in addition to visible PNGs showing what the files contain).

    At the moment, I've chosen to start off with CC, simply because it is highly accessible for mapmakers (no need for a graphic arts education or ton of money), specifically designed for these kinds of maps, and it is totally accessible for users (CC has a free printer & viewer). It's also because it seemed the most flexible - I've done overland, city, and combat-level maps in the same tool.

    However, ultimately it will be the Eruvian community's decision as to what to standardize on, with Eruvian.com encouraging or enforcing that standard. The site's only been open 5 days and discussion has already begun around standards, with CC and Inkscape being the two primary contenders so far.

    Given the feedback here, I think I'll continue to encourage CC and see how it all unfolds. I may also invite the major software providers to influence the community as well.

    Anyway, thanks again for your opinions, and if anyone else has any others I'd love to hear them! =)

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    Post Interesting project, Eru...

    Interesting project, Eru - I'm going to check it out, register an account to see how this plays out.

    Although I may or may not get completely involved, I like the ideas. Its worth checking out.

    Thanks
    Gamer Printshop - We print RPG Maps for Game Masters!
    http://www.gamer-printshop.com

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      RobA is offline
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    I'd lean toward Inkscape, or more specifically SVG, as it is an "open" file format. Users have many ways to view SVG, even in-browser, and if needed can edit it with one of many applications.

    -Rob A>

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    Eru
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    SVG...excellent tip Rob, I'll add it to the discussion over there. You also bring up a good point in that it is the file format itself that is most important, with the tool(s) simply being a mean(s) to view and/or edit it.

    Thanks!

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      RobA is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eru View Post
    SVG...excellent tip Rob, I'll add it to the discussion over there. You also bring up a good point in that it is the file format itself that is most important, with the tool(s) simply being a mean(s) to view and/or edit it.
    File format has been the most annoying thing about any of the "fantasy" mapping tools I have tried. Each publisher seems to have their own, proprietary format. Be it CC2 or 3, Dundjinni, Dungeonforge, or Autorealm, I hate to change from one to the other because I loose all my time investment in the maps I have made.

    Now I just try to do everything in Inkscape (SVG) and GIMP.

    -Rob A>

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