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"What application....." Topic

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1,160 hits since 22 Sep 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

ODGW Kenny Sponsoring Member of TMP22 Sep 2017 9:37 a.m. PST

…. Can I use to create 2D terrain and maps.

Thanks in advance.

forwardmarchstudios22 Sep 2017 9:46 a.m. PST

Do you intend to print them out afterwards? Or use them only on a computer? Also, how realistic do you want the map to be? I'm working on a way to do this for a set of Napoleonic rules.


The first two maps were made with paper squares beneath plexiglas, with contour lines drawn on with markers on the glass.

ODGW Kenny Sponsoring Member of TMP22 Sep 2017 10:17 a.m. PST

Yes, I intend to print them at a professional printer. The more realistic the better.


Skarper22 Sep 2017 10:22 a.m. PST

Any good drawing package will do. Photoshop is the best known but expensive. There are many free ones too. I use Seashore but is is out of date and not supported any more. Still works though.

Once you have an app you can get along with, make sure you use layers and save your basic files. If you want to move a river or add some trees it will be easier if you have saved the layers. May be an obvious point but I didn't at first and it was a right pain trying to fix it later.

emckinney22 Sep 2017 10:54 a.m. PST

If you're asking this question, the needed skills will take a long, long time to learn.

Check out the Board Games Maps topic on CSW link or look for similar topics on BGG.

forwardmarchstudios22 Sep 2017 7:21 p.m. PST

You can also make maps pretty easily by using poster frames and permanent markers. I made this map board in about ten minutes.


As you can see, there is a plethora of very complex terrain on there. I didn't even have to plan it out; that's the beauty of doing maps by hand. You just add contour lines until it feels right, then figure out all the subtleties during game play. Of course, you need to be able to figure out LOS on a map like this. It's easy enough once you learn how to do it. The simple stuff can be figured out with an easy on-board test, and really complicated questions can be determined with a piece of graph paper in a minute or two. Maybe less. If you're practiced.

UshCha23 Sep 2017 1:38 a.m. PST

emckinney has it, digital drawing is a skill like scratch building. CADDS wise I think you can get Turdocad 3 or similar which allows precise 2D drawings but is not a painting package and ist free.

timurilank23 Sep 2017 6:39 a.m. PST


Excellent references at that link.
I liked the options offered at the University of Paris.


Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Sep 2017 9:59 p.m. PST

Campaign Cartographer is one.

Russ Lockwood24 Sep 2017 1:32 p.m. PST

I'd recommend Hexographer. Upside: Easy to use 2D program. Downside: graphics fill hexes and icons are like old SPI from 70s and 80s. Still $32 USD, if I recall right. I *recall* (dangerous) an online version for free testing.

Note: He has a new version with much, much, much better graphics in beta. Can't wait for a 1.0 version!

You can print with or without hexgrids. I am not sure how large you can go -- question better asked of the programmer.

I also own his Cityographer and Dungeonographer.

Wolfhag06 Mar 2018 11:25 a.m. PST

I took an old paint tarp and spray painted it various shades of green and light brown. For additional features that do not block LOS like trenches, gullies, and roads I use different colored pastel chalks to hand draw. I can do it for any terrain type and match to scale models. The chalk goes on and wipes off very easily. Contour lines can be hand drawn too.

You can take any image and put it into Psotrazor and select the size you want. The program will divide the image up into single pdf pages you print off and assemble.


Andy ONeill06 Mar 2018 12:19 p.m. PST

I'm currently writing the General Staff map editor.
This is some way off completion and is purely intended for the game.
I can tell you, drawing good looking maps is really hard.
Unless you're a natural.

I use inkscape for graphics manipulation. One of the big features is the ability to "trace" a bitmap and give you a vector svg.
You can then use that itself or export to xaml.
Xaml can then be used in wpf – which is what i work in.
You could build a library of such paths which are scale-able.
You could overlay bunch of em over a background scan.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP06 Mar 2018 5:24 p.m. PST

Why not? Are the mat and terrain police still active?

Andy ONeill07 Mar 2018 10:45 a.m. PST

Why not what?

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2018 12:29 p.m. PST

I wasn't responding to your useful post, but the thread question as if there was only one application for the 2D maps…

Andy ONeill08 Mar 2018 3:55 a.m. PST

Oh, I see.
I was just a bit confused by what you meant.

Yes there are many options. Most of which are time consuming. You might find combining one or two best.
Depending on criteria.

I hadn't really considered the possibility that someone might want to use our mapping outside the game but maybe it's worth offering the facility.
The intent is to deliver bitmap effect picture rather than vector which means it wouldn't scale well ( at the moment ).
The objects on screen as you design are vector so I could perhaps export as xps document which could be printed to higher res.
I dunno if that'd really be worth the effort but I suppose a posterised map could be a pretty cool game aid.

Another couple of options are bing maps and google earth.
Assuming it's a real bit of the world and the data is there.
Bing maps will give you elevation data and you can do 3d look from that.
Or you could go with bing/google satellite view.
I assumed anyone asking would have considered them but it's an easy option if you can live with modern buildings and roads or a remote spot.

If you were doing this commercially, there's software can interact with a sand table.
For complicated elevation, you can grab elevation data from somewhere (like bing ) and convert it to colour heat gradient, low to high.
There's a .net control intended to be used with bing which I think you could probably 3d-look-ise such data with.

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