Saturday, April 16, 2011

A day of mapping

I spent my time working on mapping today. I am using a tool called Campaign Cartographer. Last weekend I had watched some video tutorials, and had taken a stab at a first map. When I went back to that map today, I wasn't totally happy with it.

So I decided to start a new map and try to learn more about the product. After some initial frustration, I finally started to get the hang of it--at least on a basic level that should allow me to produce maps that I'm satisified with. Some aspects of the interface are not very intuitive. For instance, I am still not sure how to select and move something within a layer or sheet.

I am currently working on my fifth map, and I think this one may be a keeper. I'd estimate that it's about 60-70% done. I just figured out how to create text along a curve, and now I'm trying to figure out how to apply glow and other filters to text. The key breakthrough for me was figuring out sheets (which are like super-layers).

It's been pretty fun to see the terrain features from my imagination crystalize on the map. It actually pulled me a little closer to the world. For instance, as I was drawing the Elite district of the City from the story, I actually felt a little resentful that their large, nice homes took up so much space around Hemisphere Lake, when I know that their population is less than the smaller, run down Warrens section.

This brings up one key value proposition of CC: the clip art. You get a pretty nice selection of clip art--enough to make nearly any type of map. This includes terrain features as well as buildings. I'll tell you what though: you still want more. The company offers several packages of clip art updates, and I definitely see the appeal. In fact, if you were to purchase their entire suite of clip art, you could rack up over $800. It's crazy, but I see the temptation.

I hope to have an example map to post soon. I'm a little reluctant to post any works in progress.

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