Thank you!!

I just want to take a moment to thank you all for all the great comments, emails, Facebook, Google+ and many other ways I have received so much support!

Thank you all,  and thank you for voting for me!

I hope to see some of you at Gen Con.

Anna

My ENnie vote!

ennies 2014 nomineeFirst I want to urge you to vote on who of this years nominees you want to see awarded.

So who are my favorites among this years nominees? Here are my favorite from this years nominees. These are my highly subjective opinions, based on the fact that I haven’t had the chance to play with or even see all the products nominated. So my selection will be based on my at times limited experience.

2014 Judge’s Spotlight Winners

For me the favorite in this category is:  Deep Magic - by Kobold Press. A huge 376-page tome full of great Pathfinder magic, a perfect thing for my game where I’m playing or running games!

Best Adventure

Again this is an easy pick for me:  Rise of the Drow - by AAW GAMES LLC. I pledged in their Kickstarter and I’m impressed with all the cool material as well as the adventure. Now I’m thinking about running an underdark Campaign in Greyhawk again.

Best Aid/Accessory

The Kobold crew strikes again, and its another tome full of great Magic:  Kobold Guide to Magic.

 Best Art, Interior

Here I have two nominees that I both find to be top picks for me: Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea Gods - Paizo Publishing and Shadows of Esteren Book 2 – Travels - Agate Editions. They both have lots of fantastic and to me highly inspirational art.

Best Art, Cover

Wayne Reynolds, makes fantastic cover art. This seems to be both the judges and my opinion so his art is on two of the nominees in this category this year. But I like dragons far more than were sharks so my pick is  Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Mythic Adventures - Paizo Publishing.

Best Blog

I have two favorite blogs nominated this year:  The Other Side by Timothy Brannan and  Dorkland!  by Christopher Helton. Both will give you a good amount of gaming news and thoughts, and more.

Best Cartography

Well I’m too biased to give any advice in this category ;) The other maps are beautiful and made by some of the best Cartographers in the industry that I’ve been a fan of for many years. My map of the flanaess is different on both style and scope, and even if you don’t like the “satellite” maps style, the sheer size and level of detail in my Map of the Flanaess makes it a worthy competitor for the award, in my humble opinion!

 Best Electronic Book

Well to be honest, I haven’t had the chance to see any of these books yet so I haven’t made any favorites in this category.

Best Family Game

I’ve had some experience with two of the nominees in this category:  Little Wizards -  by Crafty Games and Fate Accelerated Edition - Evil Hat Productions. Both are great fun to play and a good way to introduce newcomers or youngsters to the world of RPG’s.

Best Free Product

Since my map isn’t nominated in this category ;), I have to pick Pathfinder Module: We Be Goblins Too! - Paizo Publishing, which is a great adventure!

Best Game

Among the nominated this year is Fate Core System - from Evil Hat Productions. I haven’t had the chance to play 13th age or Numenera yet. But I’ve had the pleasure of playing Fate a couple of times and I must say I’m impressed by the fluid and narrative way of playing this game. So for me it has to be what I choose.

 Best Miniatures Product

Miniatures have never been my thing really. My lot in gaming life used to be to buy all the rulebooks, plan and run the games as the Game Master, so I made my players by and paint miniatures. Then I introduced a projector and used digital markers. So even though I love to look at miniatures, my knowledge of any of the nominees aren’t enough for me to pick any favorites.

 Best Monster/Adversary

I love the Midgard bestiary but its only nominated in its 13th age incarnation, so my pick will therefore be:  Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary 4 - Paizo Publishing. Even though I’m not much of a Cthulhu fan it has a lot of cool stuff to offer a GM set on making an impression!

Best Podcast

My favorite podcast Gamerstable isn’t nominated this year, so I’m choosing what I consider to be the 2nd best RPG podcast: All Games Considered. Great stuff, I especially like their news section!

Best Production Values

Of the nominees I have to pick: Numenera Corebook - Monte Cook Games, LLC. Monte have done a terrific job with his Numenera game so he gets my vote in this category!

Best RPG Related Product

Again this is a category where none of the products are familiar enough for me to have enough of an opinion to cast a vote.

Best Rules

I liked Fate Core System - Evil Hat Productions enough to want to see them awarded. Quick, fun, creative and easy to play, a winner in my opinion!

 Best Setting

Well you know what setting I prefer to run my games in ;). But when I’m a player I prefer to be part of games not set in Greyhawk, that way I will not spend the time being irritated about changes made to my favorite setting I have made differently. That said I haven’t played in any of the settings nominated this year, which means I need to start playing more!

Best Supplement

For me there is a sure winner in this category: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Campaign  - Paizo Publishing. This is a book I have wished I had for years, and now I have it. As a Game Master it is a treasure trove of rules and things to use in your campaign, a top pick!

Best Software

This year this is an easy category for me. Despite the fact that their is one map making program and my favorite virtual table top among the nominated, my winner is: Realm Works - Lone Wolf Development. It is a special kind of software that I have dreamt of for years, Lone Wolf Development have done a fantastic job developing Realm Works!

Best Website

This is hard one for me this year, since i haven’t visited any of the sites that much. But I’m very fond of SRD’s so I’ll give Fate SRD a nod!

Product of the Year

Among all the great products nominated this year, I will pick two: Fate Core System - Evil Hat Productions, due to its great game play experience it has given me. And Numenera Corebook - Monte Cook Games, LLC, for making a game that interested me a in a genre I used to not like at all, my hat off to Monte and Co for a great work!

That was who I voted for this year. Now I hope you go to The 2014 ENnies voting Booth and cast your votes on the entrees you want to see win!

 

More Atlas pages….

Page numbering-01First I must again thank you all for all the support and great comments coming my way, it is fantastic!

Normally this is a rather solitary occupation few people around me even understand what I’m doing, but thanks to the ENnie nomination, that has changed.

In the midst of all the things going on right now I have made three more Atlas pages are added and can be found on the Atlas page!

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