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Reuniting the Band: Mapping it Out

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Until I started using Fantasy Grounds, my maps has usually been drawn freehand on either graph paper (for buildings and dungeons) or hex paper (for area maps). Most of these were simple, pencilled floorplans, though I would sometimes break out the colored pencils for area maps.

When I started the FG campaign I initially planned to simply continue drawing my maps by hand and running them through the scanner. But as soon as I tried it I could see the results were less than stellar. Hereís a sample:

Attachment 13793

As you can see, itís a bit hard to read. I tried some post-processing with Paint Shop Pro, but it really didnít help. In fact, most of my attempts made it look even worse than it did to begin with.

The other problem is that the file was huge by FG standards. The full map from above was 3 MB, which is a tad large for FG. Anything I did to reduce the file size would make the map even harder to read than it already was.

So I bit the bullet and recreated my maps in Paint Shop Pro. First I had to come up with a hex grid, since PSP didnít have one built-in. My wife came to the rescue on that, by using a CAD program to produce several hex overlays for me. Then for each map I had to make a copy of the overlay, and color in each hex with the flood-fill tool to produce my map. It sounds awful, but it only took an hour or two for each map, which was about the same time I had spent to do the old colored-pencil maps.
Hereís the same section of the campaign world as before, rendered digitally:

Attachment 13792

Itís still a long way from artistic, but at least you can read it. And the final file size was tiny - only 74 KB.

Next time around Iíll talk about dungeon maps. Thanks for reading!

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  1. Nylanfs's Avatar
    Nice, I have used Campaign Cartographer to great use in the past. And while it's quite a bit of a learning curve (larger than FG I would think), it's based upon a CAD program so if you have any familiarity with most 2d CAD prog's it should make plenty of sense.
  2. Phystus's Avatar
    Thanks for your comment!

    I looked at CC, but I haven't bought it. In part that was due to the price, and in part the learning curve. My wife has done some CAD stuff, but I haven't, and I couldn't very well have her make the maps since she's also one of my players.

    I also looked at Dundjinni, but that was around the time the developer announced they weren't doing further work on it, so I felt like there was no point in buying it. I'm not sure if they are developing it anymore or not.

    I do use Pyromancer's site to build dungeon maps. I'll talk about that in my next post...

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