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Map Maker


armydillo978
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Long shot here. Anyone know of, or has used, a simple map maker? Nothing fancy or overly pricey.

 

Just something to make 2-D tactical maps that have arrows showing unit travel, fortifications, major terrain elements. Something that can be printed out or made up in a Jpeg (so I can attach to my stories).

 

Any suggestions would be cool.

 

Oh yeah, it has to be easy enough to be used by a technologically stupid rhino with a low fustration level. That would be me. :upside:

 

Thanks

 

Bill

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You are probably going to be looking at something on the order of Microsoft Paint or a vector based drawing package like Illustrator or Canvas. The vector based packages are mostly professional tools, so they are a bit too expensive for hobbyist use (unless you also need them for work (like I do) or find them on sale).

 

You might see if the tools in the drawing package of OpenOffice.org will be good enough for you.

 

Ron

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I downloaded them and thought they were awesome.

 

Thanks for the links, Star Drifter. ::):

You're welcome. I haven't tried DC3 yet, and switched to Dungeon Forge while Dungeon Crafter was having some "down time."

 

Autorealm is generally more fun for laying out interiors or entire non-fantasy city areas. It ends up looking like MS Paint, but is at least easier to achieve that effect.

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I've seen bargain offers for "Corel Draw Classic". I know older versions of Corel Draw could take a raster image (jpeg or bmp, fr ex) and convert it to vector.

 

Then you could use a scanned map or web image as the base and add any arrows, lines, text, etc.

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Dungeon Forge

DungeonCrafter

 

And sometimes for more of a CAD like interface (still easier than CAD).

AutoRealm

 

There was one called campaign cartographer. It was alright, but I haven't played with the latest version yet. It's more geared to overland maps, though you can get add ons, or supplemental programs for dungeons and cities.

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If you have Photoshop and are fairly good at drawing with a mouse, you can do pretty well making maps. Unlike pencil-and-paper drawing, you can backstep or erase with no mess-no fuss. Also you can add nice-looking text..and there's even a way to make your test follow a road or river like on hand-drawn maps.

 

SD I think I might check out those links you posted too. I"ve been trying to make my own program, but if somebody else has done the work already, far be it from me not to enjoy a little slack. :lol:

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Campaign Cartographer 3 is great, and still probably has the most functions/add-ons out there. From your examples, for the maps you're trying to make, you would probably want the base CC3 program, the WW2 Interactive Atlas add-on, and maybe the Modern Symbol Set and Fractal Terrains. With just those options, I could whip up similar maps in minutes, depending upon complexity and accuracy (longer for real world maps, shorter for made up ones).

 

In fact, there are a couple of book authors in the UK and Spain who use CC3 to illustrate their military history books, and more than a few fantasy/sci-fiction authors who use it for their works as well.

 

Now, all that said, CC3 is the Adobe Illustrator or AutoCad of Mapping programs. It can do a lot, but like Illustrator or AutoCAD, it can have a pretty steep learning curve, particularly if you have no previous CAD experience. Interestingly enough, children without computer experience have an easier time learning to use CC3 than adults who are long time, intermiediate or even experienced computer users - because children have very few pre-conceived notions of how it should work.

 

The other downside is that even though the base program is only $45.95, each add-on runs between $30-$40 as well - and you will want the add-ons, because they introduce advanced tools that make complex maps easier.

 

EDIT: Oh yeah, when looking at using photoshop, drawing by hand or using a mapping program - consider the whats & whys of your maps. Are you going to need multiple versions of the same map, but with different details, like army movements, GM secrets, or player positions? Are you going to be using high level (IE, state, country or continent maps) maps, then be "zooming in" to detail specific areas (like cities or regions)? Do you need high resolution for you map regardless of zoom level? Is this need for a one off project, or will you have lots of projects like this?

 

The more yes's you have to those questions, the more likely you'll want to use some form of computerized mapping program, even if it's just a paint program.

 

2nd edit: fixed CC3 price

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Awesome dude, I hadn't seen the World War II component of it.

 

http://www.profantasy.com/products/ww2ia.asp

 

For about 80-90$ I'd have what I need. Now, I have to decide how many Clix, Tannhauser, Zombie, AT-43, etc figure I'd have to not get. :rolleyes: Sucks to be an obessive gamer at times.

 

Huzah! My lovely wife has just offered the use of her work scanner. That might be an interum thing till the IRS refund check rolls around next year.

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Awesome dude, I hadn't seen the World War II component of it.

 

http://www.profantasy.com/products/ww2ia.asp

 

For about 80-90$ I'd have what I need. Now, I have to decide how many Clix, Tannhauser, Zombie, AT-43, etc figure I'd have to not get. :rolleyes: Sucks to be an obessive gamer at times.

Something to be aware of - the WW2 Interactive atlas is not only an add-on to CC3, but it's a stand alone product in its own right, much as the old Forgotten Realms Atlas was. You do not need CC3 to run it, but if you do happen to have CC3, it adds some additional drawing tools and CC3 lets you edit the resulting maps. If you're a WW2 fan, it's an interesting supplement to just about any WW2 game or book, even if you never get into CC3 itself.

 

Also, the "modular" approach to CC3 and it's add-ons means that you can add functionality as you need/want them, without having to buy it all as a lump sum. The base price of the program isn't too bad for the functionality you get. And every CC3/CC2 map you've ever seen can be created with the core program - it's just harder and more time consuming to do without the add-ons.

 

However, let me stress again - CC3 has a learning curve - if you aren't prepared to take the time to learn the program, it isn't worth purchasing. As much as I love the program and would love to see everyone buy it, I'm enough of a realist to know it isn't for everyone. If you do decide to take the leap into CC3, let me know, I'll point you to all the awesome help and resources there are out there for the program.

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