More Atlas pages….

Page numbering-01Three more Atlas pages are added and can be found here! 

ENnie voting have begun!

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From today until July 30 the voting is open at : http://www.ennie-awards.com/vote/

So grab your chance to to cast your vote for the game products, sites, podcasts software and more, that you like!

I’ve been overwhelmed by all the supportive comments coming my way since the nominees were announced, thank you so much it means alot to me.

ENnie nomination and Gen Con

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My Map of the Flanaess have been nominated for an 2014 ENnie award for best cartography!

Its an impressive list of nominees and I urge you to check it out  at http://www.ennie-awards.com/blog and be ready to cast your vote from July 20 to July 30!

It made me very proud and it also mean that I will go to Gen Con this year. Thank you all for all the help and support you have given me, it means a lot and I couldn’t have done it without it.

The past couple of days have been a bit tumultuous, since I’m doing the finishing touches on two projects and then receiving a unusual amount of correspondence. So if you have sent me an email and I haven’t gotten back to you yet I’m sorry, I will get back to you soon.

The days I’m at Gen Con are from the Friday the 15th to Monday the 18th. Most of the time I will spend to meet as many of gaming friends that I normally don’t get a chance to meet face to face. So if you’re at gencon don’t hesitate to send me a message!

 

 

Campaign Maps 2.0 sneak peak….

It has been a long time since I made any updates and announcements. So after some delays caused by my involvement in other projects, here is a first sneak peak at my next generation of Campaign Maps – 2.0!

Those of you who have followed my work for some time knows that so far my work have been based on a technique and tools that I started using in the late 90′s. During at least the latter half of that time I have been drooling over all the new fantastic tools that have  been introduced. I stuck with my old trusted Bryce until I had finished mapping the entire Flanaess sub continent.

In between my shifts the past couple of years I have tried to teach myself how to use the latest generation of  Digital World Building tools. With a mapping project for Kobold Press just finished I had the time to finish first full scale work flow test. My goal is to be able to take any type of large area fantasy map, and without having to spend years on it, use it as a base for a highly detailed map. For this I will use Photoshop CC 2014 and World Machine 2.3.

The first step is to create a “grayscale” (no pun intended ;) map from my Flanaess map.

height map

This is done by hand to smooth it out a bit and make sure there are no spikes. It is a large size image with over 20 000 pixels across in order to provide enough accuracy.  It will be used in World Machine as a way to provide the base elevation for on which the terrain is created, and do so for each point across a thousands of miles of virtual CG Flanaess.

To see what this can do lets look at the fishing Village Salt Harbor, on the Nyr Dyv south coast of Nyr Dyv in the Vale, a part of  the Duchy of Urnst. That looks like this on my Flaness map.

Salt Harbor Valley 1.0

 

The red square indicates the area shown below in a screenshot from World Machine. Lets start with a top down view:

Salt Harbor Valley from the top

And to show that this is indeed a 3D virtual terrain, here is a view from the south:

 

Salt Harbor Valley from the south

And a view from the north:

Salt Harbor Valley from the north

Note that these are only preview screenshots from within World Machine, and shows what the imported terrain can look like. The Cairn Hills don’t even have the right color, vegetation are either missing or only shown with green. The tw0 shots above shows an area roughly 20 miles across. Below is a what a preview of an area 1 mile across can look like.

Salt Harbor Valley closeup

This is only raw material that can be used to render high quality map of large areas and close ups detailed enough to show buildings. Time for me to try and find the right place for my keep!

So what good are this, other than keeping a fantasy mapping fanatic glued to her desk? My plan is to start offering a map commission service. For a fee I can make your creation come to life as maps only seen in the movies! This will be a great opportunity have your world professionally mapped. Whether you are a game publisher or a gamer if you have some fantasy world you want to have mapped.

There will be both large area overview maps and close up map creation available. All maps will be delivered as high resolution images that can be used large or small.  Details haven’t been finalized yet and I will post more information along with examples of finished maps.

Thanks again for all the support and interest in my work!
 

A few more Atlas maps added

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Three more Atlas maps are added today 8, 9 and 10. They are available as layered PDF’s in either Letter or A4 size. 12 mile hexes are on a separate layer that you can turn on or off just like the other layers. You can download them on the Atlas page.

Its my goal to finish a few more maps each week so the whole Atlas can be finished by the end of the year.

Ocean test maps…..

ocean test1

Testing what maps, and especially ocean maps using World Machine, can look like. This first image is a raw render looks like when its different parts have been merged using Photoshop.

My Flanaess maps you have seen me present here  for over a decade now have used tools and techniques from the 90′s. For the past couple of years I have worked to replace my trusted and tried old Bryce 5 with much more powerful and modern tools. Instead of spending days literary hand painting the terrain fractals onto tiny pieces of land, and then render small sections at a time. I can now in the same file work on either a whole world in one go, or tweak a tiny detail. Then I can render the files needed in a fraction of the time it used to take.

At the moment most of my time is devoted to creating templates macros and textures. Creating the building blocks and workflows I need to be able to crank out maps efficiently, that looks great. That means a lot of time in World Machine setting up devices and macros. Below is a screenshot of what a map file can look like, while I’m working with it. World Machine works by creating a kind of recipe for what the world looks like, and you can then export things like a top down, color map, shadow map and even a 3D mesh object of the terrain.

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By combining the results from World Machine in Photoshop and then applying a bit of texture and other magic, the results can look really impressive. Below are some quick tests with texture and even some forest and rivers added to see if it works.

ocean test2

So far I’m quite pleased with the results, and when I get more used to working this way the results will look even better. Even the shoreline in the picture above is starting to look good, and with more than one texture and some careful touch up it will be achieved what wanted.

This test was primarily to try and work out how to map large bodies of waters, like lakes and oceans. So here comes a closer look at what an ocean map, from shore to some depth can look like.

ocean test3

This was all for today. Next week there will be a few more pages of the Atlas, and also some more about one of my upcoming projects.

Have a great weekend everyone!

 

a few more things…

Today have been a day of website updates. First is something that in a way is return of the past. Most of you remember the old letter sized area maps, and now they are back in the form of the Atlas which now have been given a home on the site at: http://ghmaps.net/greyhawk-maps/atlas-of-the-flanaess/

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So please have a look and tell me what you think. Its not much of the Atlas done yet, but my goal is to keep up the release of new pages every week for the rest of the year.

The Greyhawk maps Project Page have been updated to better reflect the state of my Flanaess mapping project. There are also some new glimpses of a Greyhawk project I’ve been testing out………

That was it for today, more will come soon!

Final Stage…..

final mapI dreamed about making a detailed map of the Greyhawk campaign setting since bought the boxed set in 1983 and started running games set in it. After a decade of dabbling with pen and paper I found the digital tools I needed when Bryce (3D terrain software) came out in 1996. After a year or so of struggling to figure out how to realize my vision of how a campaign map for a fantasy role playing world should look like, I had learned enough to get to work.

I researched and mapped as a hobby and slowly got more and more done over the years. After I moved to California in 2010 I started to work on my project full time. After three years of hard work my quest to map the Flanaess, home of the World of Greyhawk D&D Campaign, have been brought to a successful final stage. Thanks to all the great support I’ve received form the Greyhawk fan community I’ve been able to complete my Flanaess map, thank you all for all your help!

The wall map is done and is available as a PDF, JPG, PSD
and PSB download and also in an online version. The last version underway is a PDF Atlas with the big map divided into Letter/A4 sized bits. My hope is to have the Atlas done by the end of 2014. All of this released as Creative Commons available for free download.

This is not the end I still have a number of Greyhawk mapping projects I want to do. The first one I call Seasons……..

Season preview1

A new look at the Flanaess we know so well….

Season preview4

Winter plains of Ull, and a frosty Ket……

Season preview3

 

 

Flanaess Atlas update

A lot of behind the scenes work is taking place at mapping HQ at the moment. Most of my time is devoted to my overland hex map project. At the moment it is basic workflow, templates, textures and things that are very dull and aren’t much to show or talk about but are a necessary part of my kind of work.

Atlas Page A4The Flanaess Atlas is also coming along, and now its time to look at page set up. I’ve decided to try and make separate versions for Letter and A4 to be able to make maximum use of the page. It is a bit extra work, but worth it to try and please both U.S. and international Greyhawk fans.

The PDF’s are layered and the hexes are on a separate layer so you can turn them on or off. Each page is around 5MB which means that the whole Atlas will be around 500MB. Its a bit much, I’ll try and compress it a bit more. To make a decision in the trade off between quality and size is a major hassle, since I look the the original and don’t want to sacrifice too much of it.

My workaround will be to first make separate PDF’s for each page for print. Then to make a separate combined version for digital use that is more compressed.

You can download the test pages here:
Atlas test page Letter

Atlas test page A4

Flanaess map Legend

Flaness Map Legend 2014

Here is something I should have published long ago but forgot to, the legend for the Flanaess map. It on the map but it can be handy to have a separate one along side the map. There will be a print friendly version coming, I’m making one for the Atlas version of the map.