Sunday, April 10, 2011

Started a map

I started a map yesterday. I am using a product called Campaign Cartographer. I sort of splurged on it and got their world builder bundle, which features the base product, a dungeon mapper, a city mapper and a fractal terrain generator. I'm not sure whether I really need all of those products, but the bundle name called to I answered the call.

I had watched their tutorial videos on their website, so I figured I would jump in and see what I could do. Well, I felt a bit lost at first. But I managed to stumble through it and now I have something that may develop into a final map.

The key value proposition for the software in my mind is the way it allows you to draw with curves and then fills in details for you, the glow effect that it has (which seems like it is the cornerstone of many appealing effects), and the rich library of symbols that it offers. The layering system that it uses (called sheets) is also useful because it creates a sensible set of layers by default, and then provides a nice interface to manage and interact with them. Keep in mind that I'm not a photoshop whiz, so I can't really say whether a product like this would be justifiable for that type of person.

So far I've got a basic continent layed out, and I have filled in the northern desert area. Next will be the western Witch Crags region, eastern mountains and southern plains. After that I'll add rivers and then the next adventure will begin: the City itself. I'm not sure how integrated the City builder and basic product are, so that will be a new frontier for me. At worst I could do them separately and combine them in a paint program, but I am hoping for better integration than that.


  1. Do you have any plans (or is it even possible) to use the dungeon mapper for an inside view of the wizards tower?

  2. Hmm... Good idea. I'll have to give it a try. I wonder if maps are always a good thing, or whether people might start to wonder whether they've purchased a Dungeons and Dragons adventure module if I include a ton of maps. Maybe the trick is to include everything but the world map at the end of the novel, so that people don't get intimidated or think that the story requires following along on the maps.
    I think the challenge for the software might be the shape of the exterior of the Wizard Tower (and having the rooms conform to it), but if the product is worth its price, it should handle that challenge well (hopefully).
    The other issue is that the Tower map will underscore a disconnect between the cover image (where the Tower is shown as round) and the way it is described in the novel (square-ish). Hopefully people will be able to live with that. The reason for this is that I was happy with the cover as a whole, and didn't want to draw out the process (and possibly pay more) by insisting on a Tower image that is faithful to the book.

  3. Thank you for offering your insight into the software - I'll definitely check it out. And good luck (and congrats!) on your map. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product. :)

  4. No problem, Jeffrey. I'll post more about it as I get deeper into it.

  5. If there are any naysayers about the shape of the tower then they can be reminded that it is a wizards tower and having a different internal design than the external shape implies really isn't far fetched in a city that constantly changes the realm it is located in.

  6. True. :-) I will have to try out the Dungeon Mapper. I have yet to even install it.