More than a single image….

Maps comes in many different shapes and forms showing lots of different data. Decision makers in the real world have a whole arsenal of maps showing the area of interest in a myriad ways to assist them in their job. You need to have the same support in your games! Getting the grip of a fantasy world for our D&D or Pathfinder game we might not be that interested in health rates, voting preferences, income leves and the like. But we need to know things like, road conditions, climate, good ambush places, likely dragon lairs, trade routs, city defenses and many other things.

When I mapp an area I try to create a set of maps that can cover a wide range of usage scenarios. NATURAL maps for inspiration and detail. ELEVATION maps for climate, travel conditions. SIMPLE maps as a base for displaying data of various sorts, historic maps with border movement over time, influence of an evil cult, or the territory of a dragon. PARCHMENT style to create handouts to mislead the brave adventurers.

Here is an example Hold of Ulthek in these four styles, ELEVATION, NATURAL and SIMPLE

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The map is made up of a number of different information layers which can be shown or hidden as needed. The layers can also be altered individually as needed.. For example a hex overlay can be added styled differently depending on what scale you need. Hexes with thicker lines and a mix of light and dark for large area view, or more subtle hexes for a close up.

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screenshot-hexes

and overlays can also be added to isometric views as needed.

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This was a short look at different style maps. Now I’m going to work on symbols and labels, more on that soon!

A new generation of maps!

The past two years I’ve worked hard to come up with a way of using the best of modern digital tools in order to create more useful and better looking maps for all of us who have a place beyond the normals world to visualize. It can be a campaign world for your game, a fictional world for your books or the place of your dreams and you want to have it mapped. There have been wonderful maps created for these world before by masterful cartographers that made them look fantastic. My goal is to make them more useful as well as look  great!
Here is first look at what I mean.
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 High resolution version (8000 pixels, 25MB) can be downloaded here
The Hold of Ulthek is an area roughly 300 miles across found in the northern part of Ratik in the Flanaess. It is coastal realm with a cold temperate climate, a lot of forested wilderness and fairly high mountains in the west and north.
This map is the areal view showing what the actual landscape looks like. The projection is what could be best described as “near isometric” to give both a natural perspective and equal view of the whole area.  The teser map is 8000 pixels across and gives a detailed look at the landscape. The resolution I work with is 300 ft per pixel, which is enough to give you all the necessary detail in order to know every nook and cranny of your realm. Below is a close up look at the level of detail.
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For areas that require more detailed maps, like settlements, I can create more detailed closeups using a map like this as a base.
Maps should be more than just the looks of the terrain. You might ned an elevation map, a simple maps ready to mark things like the spread of an evil cult or trade routs or anything else. To cater for this I create a whole range of data along with the looks of the terrain, elevation (both color coded and TIFF heightmap), forest cover mask, water cover mask, erosion data as masks (flow, wear and displacement), normal map, 3D mesh, guide map, shading map. Other data can be mapped as well, like geology, weather etc. Results are available in TIFF format and can be used as layers in Photoshop, GIMP or any other image editor to easily (depending on skill) create the style of map you need.
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I will present the these functions in detail over the next couple of weeks. Both in as plain terms as possible for you who just want a cool maps to use in your games. But also delve in deep for those of you who want to tinker with them to create a set of maps that are perfect for your needs.
How can I have my realm mapped like this?
Several different ways depending on your needs and your budget. You can commission me to create it according to your specifications. This is the most expensive option, but also the one that means that you decide what you want. The cost for this is $100 for an area 100 x 100 miles. For larger maps  this rate is open for discussion depending on the nature of the map. A large area with very uniform terrain like jungle or desert and not a lot of unique features can be done for less.
I will also create a Patron to work on maps my backers want me to create. So by backing you get to be part of creating maps generic and specific for a more reasonable sum of money. More backers means I can devote more time to create more maps released to everyone who backs me. Generic maps of various types is something I intend to sell on the various content markets available.
I hope you will join me on the quest to visualize fantastic realms beyond the ordinary!

Winter is Coming!

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The new season of Game of Thrones are not here for a while so I took the time to work on a winter version of the Flanaess map. It comes in a labeled and a non labeled JPG versions. You can download them from the Flanaess Map Download Page.

The files are around 120MB in size I you will probably need a download manager, links are on the download page.

Work on next generation maps are progressing well, and a presentation of my first project will be posted here in about a week. This is also going to be a presentation of what kind of maps you can commission me to do!

Spread Maps!

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A new set of Spread Maps are ready to download here.

 

JPG Full Map, 2016 revision 2

final map

The Full Map JPG are ready on the Flanaess Map Download Page. This time thanks to more powerful computer and new versions of Adobe Photoshop a Acrobat it is now possible to create a single large JPG image of the whole map. There are two versions, non-hexed and hexed.

PDF map updated!

Full Map PDF 2016 revision 2

final map

The whole map in PDF format is now available from the Download Page!
To keep the file more manageable there are now a non hex and a hexed version. JPG version will be available shortly.

 

Online maps updated!

Screenshot 2016-07-30 09.49.43

The Online Maps are the first out of the 2016 revisions of my Flanaess map. More things are coming so stay tuned!

Online map updates

Updating the Online maps today so they will be temporarily unavailable. I’m sorry for the inconvenience!

New Download Page!

w titlesA new Flanaess Map Download page is now up. I have brought together all the essential downloads to one place. The files are now hosted on Dropbox which should make downloads more reliable. But you probably still should use a download manager to make it work.

On the page are also all the source files as well. So those of you who want to create your own version or take my work in a new direction!

Lemons to Lemonade

First I must apologize for my lack of updates and almost complete absence fro the Internet the past two weeks. This has two reasons, first I have taken the plunge and upgraded to Windows 10 on my main desktop. This meant I had to back up all my data, reinstall practically everything and then restore the backups. Just copy a bit around 10TB of files back and forth and verify it, takes a couple of days. The second reason is more profound and serious.

For some time now I’ve had my doubts about the future of one of the tools I use the most, World Machine. When I started using it three years ago it was not only the software that best matched my needs, it was under intense development by its creator and improved regularly. The last 6 months have changed that picture and now it seems I have to face the fact that World Machine seems to have entered into the territory of unsupported software. I’ve heard the term Abandonware and now my beloved WM have become part of that lackluster environment. Reluctantly I’ve over time realized I have to face the music and look for alternatives, and before you fall into despair I can tell you there are alternatives!

The tools I’ve decided to go with along with Adobe Creative Suite and Vue, is Terragen from Planetside Software. Terragen have been on my radar for years and is a very capable software for creating and especially rendering virtual landscapes. The price (ten times higher than World Machine) and the fact that it lacked the sophisticated erosion features of World Machine made me hold off on Terragen. Thankfully Terragen now have added the erosion features I desired. They are still in beta but already doing the job, so I’m very hopeful and it has a much bigger developer behind it. Sometimes paying a higher price is the way to go.

So what does this means for my work?

The short answer is both good and bad, let me elaborate a bit on this. Just because World Machine isn’t developed doesn’t mean it has stopped working so ongoing projects can be continued. But some time you have to stop flogging a dead horse and move on, so I will start using Terragen as my main development platform from now on.

To learn new software takes time and complicated software even more time. Thankfully I’m going to do very much the same things and they work in similar ways which makes the task less daunting. But it will still take me a couple of months to get myself up and running with it, and new projects pushed into the future an bit. The first things to suffer from this are my Hommlet ToEE map, for this one I want to do it with a set of tools that will be around longer and let me integrate it with a wider area and the rest of the Flanaess.

Terragen gives me a huge benefit compared to World Machine, the ability to create and render using the same program, no export of conversion needed. This will speed things up and a whole range of new things possible. Terragen also supports planets, and the atmosphere around them so not even the sky is the limit. The price tag for this is steep but the investment are now made and I already have the hardware, now its just for me to spend the time and effort to get it up and running. Something I’m looking forward to, with the caveat that you will have to put up with waiting for results a bit longer. This is my way of trying to convert lemons into lemonade, thank you all for your patients.