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Author Topic: Worldbuilding & Campaign Mapping: Fractal Mapper or CC3?  (Read 685 times)
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« on: May 18, 2017, 05:06:39 AM »

Hi!

I'm converting my late-80s world & campaign (scribbled on reams of paper and mapped on napkins) into shiny new bits and bytes. I'm using Adobe InDesign & Photoshop, because it's the only hammers I have. Also, I can't draw to save a zombie's life.

I think I want to commit to something like Fractal Mapper 8 or Campaign Cartographer 3 for several reasons, including:
(a) my players are tired of being handed tatty napkins and would appreciate a pretty map, and
(b) it is tricky as DM to manage a world with 100s of unconnected maps at different scales.

Neither FM8 nor CC3 are cheap, and seem to be based on old software - I wonder how future proof they are, and if they are still being developed?

Are either good for managing an ongoing campaign based on the maps generated?

Any advice/opinions on these two would be very much appreciated!
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« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2017, 08:39:09 AM »

There's actually a totally free, in terms of software, way to do this. It'll help to have a scanner machine, but if you don't have it; don't fret, patience remains a tool at your disposal.

Get the latest version of GIMP, get Elrion's Guide to Making Realistic Maps and start experimenting. If I recall, the guide will ask you to download another small program, Wilbur or something, to finish one of the steps that help make the map actually look realistic.

Admittedly, this'll take some time. Especially the part where you have to Cut & Crop the mountains to make your height map. Though, if you take the necessary time, you'll end up with a really cool and, as mentioned, realistic result.

That's his guide: Here.

Enjoy!
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« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2017, 08:57:14 AM »

Magnus Pym,
Thanks for those useful ideas. That GIMP/Wilbur map is simply terrific!

Sadly, I'm pretty terrible at drawing. I've experimented in various mediums just to confirm :-)

I'm also curious about the management side of things: as world builders we end up with many maps at different scales, and it becomes quite involved to find a particular map. Somelike like Google Earth merged with Photoshop but with worldbuilding graphics generation would be nice :-)

How do you organize your differently-scaled views?
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« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2017, 09:08:30 AM »

On his site he has another tutorial on how to create a world map's outlines. It's actually a pretty easy step where you create three layers and play with them to give you white where you want land and black where you want water. And it's absolutely custom, since you shape it.

There you go: Here.

For the more Zoomed-In / Regional map, I haven't gotten to that point yet, but there's one on the Cartographer'S Guild. Here. Personally, I'd simply translate the tricks from the realistic map guide on a regional model. I'm sure it'd require some minor tweaks, here and there, but overall I'm confident the process can remain mostly the same.
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« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2017, 09:15:01 AM »

Thank you!
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« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2017, 09:26:49 AM »

It's my pleasure.

If you'd like, and if you have the time, let us know about that campaign setting of yours. Maybe even show us your map when you've done it. Or maybe just tell us the most exciting things that happened during your adventures. There's a lot of people here who might be interested in all that and creative works, roleplaying events and other such things tend to generate interesting discussions here.
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« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2017, 04:20:55 PM »

There's a website dedicated specifically for map making and related activities: The Cartographer's Guild. Their forums are active with lots of users of various different levels of skill and interests, including many who are creating maps for RPG campaigns. It's worth looking through the lists of software and guides over there, and you can probably find someone able to answer almost any mapping related question.
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Squark
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« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2017, 09:59:44 AM »

Ghostman

There's a website dedicated specifically for map making and related activities: The Cartographer's Guild.
Yes, that's a great resource; I've already taken a good look there. Thanks!
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« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2017, 01:11:39 AM »

Maybe try Hexographer. It has a free online version. http://www.hexographer.com/
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Squark
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« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2017, 06:13:06 AM »

LD

Maybe try Hexographer. It has a free online version. http://www.hexographer.com/

Thanks, LD, will do that right now.
/Auke
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« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2017, 11:37:31 AM »

You are welcome. If you have any difficulties with it, I may be able to help troubleshoot. It's a good program!
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« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2017, 09:30:46 PM »

LD

You are welcome. If you have any difficulties with it, I may be able to help troubleshoot. It's a good program!

DL, Thanks for that kind offer! Maybe you can answer a few questions I have?

(1) Can I zoom in/out on a map so that I can edit stuff at city level up to continent level? At the moment, I have to keep track of which file contains what level of detail, locate that file and edit it.

(2) Someone mentioned the software requires a powerful PC to use, otherwise it is too slow. I don't have a superduper workstation, and this is a real concern.

(3) Can the software output high-res PDFs and/or JPGs?

Thanks in advance!
/Auke
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« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2017, 11:30:50 AM »

Magnus Pym

On his site he has another tutorial on how to create a world map's outlines. It's actually a pretty easy step where you create three layers and play with them to give you white where you want land and black where you want water. And it's absolutely custom, since you shape it.

There you go: Here.


Does this coincide with the previous tutorial? Can I take my basic outline and turn it topographical?
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« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2017, 09:03:34 PM »

AukeS

LD

You are welcome. If you have any difficulties with it, I may be able to help troubleshoot. It's a good program!

DL, Thanks for that kind offer! Maybe you can answer a few questions I have?

(1) Can I zoom in/out on a map so that I can edit stuff at city level up to continent level? At the moment, I have to keep track of which file contains what level of detail, locate that file and edit it.

(2) Someone mentioned the software requires a powerful PC to use, otherwise it is too slow. I don't have a superduper workstation, and this is a real concern. It may depend on how massive you want any one map to be.

(3) Can the software output high-res PDFs and/or JPGs?

Thanks in advance!
/Auke

Sorry, didn't log in for a few days.

Re: question (1)- Yes, you can make child maps, but they are limited to the paid version I think.
Re question (2)- I have used the program on a rather old laptop with no graphic card. It ran a bit slow, but it ran. That should not be a concern.
(3) I do not know about high-res, but I have exported PNGs with the free version. I think you can also export to PDFs. The paid version may have more features of this type.

The free version works in your browser or in a downloadable format. (There are 2 options).

« Last Edit: May 28, 2017, 10:28:12 PM by LD » Logged


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« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2017, 08:41:15 AM »

Yes, LoA. That's kind of the magic about it; even a beginner can end up with something really good looking. Like I said it does take time, especially the part where you place your mountains and level the height map.

But you can go from a white page to a realistically-looking world map with just a little bit of patience. In the process, you learn a few things.

I've been thinking about applying this tutorial to a more regional outline, but haven't gotten to it yet. I want to see if with a little bit of tweaking (Both for the rivers in Wilbur and height mapping) it can still give a good result.
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