Blogpost

Download links fixed!

Dropbox changed how there download links worked a couple of weeks ago and that made several of the links on the Flanaess Map Download page. I have now updated the links so they should work again. If you have issues please report to me: anna@ghmaps.net

I’m sorry for the inconvenience!

Patreon and more….

Time for an update!

I just launched my Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/annabmeyer

This will be where most of my projects will be published from now on. You will find pledge levels from $1 to $20 depending on how much you want to get involved, I’m grateful for every bit of support!

What does this mean for ghmaps.net?

My plans for this site is to be more of a home for my Greyhawk mapping and my other work will find a home on Patreon and a new website. The online map and download page will be here and expanded on. The blog will be turned into a place where I present my personal gaming set in Greyhawk ,with appropriate maps of course.

The dawn of “MeyerHawk” is near….

Website problems

There are number of issues with the website that have appeared the last couple of weeks. Dropbox have changed how their public links works, and lots of my download links are now broken.  I will fix this in a few days time, and I’m so sorry for the inconvenience.

My hosting company also shot down my contact page due to spam mail sent from it. All of the spam was sent to me, which I didn’t think was a problem for others, but I was wrong. So I need to harden it with a captcha solution. In the mean time (and in the future) you can reach me at anna@ghmaps.net.

Work update

Two projects are in the final phases, Midgard for Kobold Press which is a huge undertaking that have kept me busy for a whole year, but now there end is in sight! The other is a smaller projects for a computer game studio, that is soon done.

Two new projects on the horizon, first a project for my Patreon, that will be announced next week. The other will be announced by a Kickstarter in October, and will fulfill more than one professional dream of mine!

This fall is geared up to be the most interesting professionally I’ve experienced so far. Launching a Patreon is a huge thing for me, I’ve always dreamt of heaving a direct channel for interaction and support with all of you interested in my work. Thanks to Patreon there is now an effective way to make that happen.

A new generation of tools are coming and they will make things possible that have only been a dream before. They need investment  in the form of money and time to learn them, that is what I hope to get from Patreon. The resources to get the tools and learn how to master them.

Most importantly I need you to inspire me, together we can create some fantastic content four our hobby.

Thank you again for your support!

Almost there….

After a year of work its now time for me to show a little of what have kept me busy, Midgard, the central part this time. My first encounter with this campaign world was the Southlands two years ago. That was a huge undertaking and this is bigger and by far my biggest project on commission to date, and now I’m nearing completion after a year at my desk. It is a treat to have the chance and go back and expand on what you have done before, and this ties neatly in just north of the Southlands.

The style is a refinement of the Southlands with added symbols and details covering a much more varied landscape from the deserts of Nuria to the glaciers and fjords of the Northlands. Inspiration is key, to be a key companion to the text of the new book. World-Machine, Vue, Photoshop and Illustrator have all played a big part in this project. The map data and source- files weighs in at about 14 TB so far. The layered Photoshop terrain file is 34.6 GB and growing, and there are still a few thousands square miles left to add!

All the data are not only for this project but will form a basis for future Midgard projects as well. Below are links to the previews:

  

My role in Midgard, for this time, will start wind down in a month or so. Then I plan to have a couple of weeks vacation away from mapping with hiking, aviation themed activities and locating the most comfy patio chair for some reading. Then it is time for my next big undertaking, Patreon and a first set of maps for it. I have a hole range of ideas and I need your help to tell me what to concentrate on.

More on this in about a month, now I have to get back to the vast expanses of Midgard!

Midgard!

Time for both an update on what I’m working on and a shameless plug for a Kickstarter at the same time, the Midgard Campaign Setting.

For several months my work have been centered around Kobold Press huge Midgard update, and now things are finally starting to fall in place enough for me to have some results to show. This time it is the core parts of the setting that gets an overhaul and lots of new content designed by some of the best designers in the industry. I’m one of the cartographers honored with the task of mapping out the Midgard Campaign Setting in greater detail than ever before.

In scope this project is huge and ties in with the Southlands that is a part of the Midgard Campaign Setting I mapped a little over a year ago. The area are roughly the same size but more varied and with a larger number of features, with everything from the frosty north to the deserts of the northern coast of the Southlands. My work has to work with the Southland map I did and even more importantly build Jonathan Roberts fantastic work on the Grand Duchy and its surroundings, adding more detail and expanding the area covered both north and east.

Scale and feature size will be the same as for the Southlands map, giving a wealth of detail and still trying to leave plenty of room for the imagination of gamers to make the world their own. So far I’ve created the terrain for almost half the area, and roughly half of that have been rendered and received a first round of touch-up editing.

The Kickstarter are a huge success and is more than 600% funded and lots of great stretch goals have already funded including several extra areas that needs to be mapped, so thank you all who pledged making that happen! But there are still nine days to go and lots of super cool goals to reach! The one I’m most interested in is the Open World of Midgard, creating a DM’s Guild like program for Midgard. For a creator like me I want to see this happen for as many settings as possible opening up interesting new possibilities to create. Open World of Midgard is a backer stretch goals, the Kickstarter needs to reach 2000 backers. So if you pitch in just a dollar to make this happen it would be great, and while you’re checking it out make sure you look at all the other goodies as well.

Midgard will keep me busy this spring and then I have two smaller projects lined up this summer. In the mean time I’m honing my skills and have some new cool tricks to show you that will bring things up a notch or two. More on that in a while when I’ve have something visible to show. More then on my delayed Patreon as well, sorry about that, and with your help the Open world of Midgard can be a reality as well!

New Year – New Horizons 2017

Another year is coming to an end and it is the usual time to reflect and try to look forward. 2016 will in many ways go down in history as a very tumultuous year with big shifts in the world which is thankfully something this is not a blog about, this blog post will be about my mapping.

At the start of 2016 I had great plans as I recently had finished both my Flanaess map and the Southlands project for Kobold Press, but the future had other plans. This year I had to split my time between working on my maps and working with politics, and as the election heated up I had less and less time to devote to mapping. This was a bit of a setback that is now behind me and I can again devote a lot of time to map work.

Most of this years work have been dedicated to learning new tricks and advance my work fully into the 3D realm. To kick this off I invested in a new computer dedicated to this task which was both expensive and took some time to set up. You take a little bit of a beating if you want to bee in the forefront of technology. But after a few weeks I had a new work-horse with Nvidia Quadro Graphics and a ton of RAM and up and running along side my old desktop computer that is still fairly powerful.

I’ve invested in new software tools in the form of Terragen and a new version of VUE to complement the now rather uncertain but still great World Machine. Still have so much to learn about the new tools as well as the programs I’ve been using for years, there seems to always be room for improvement. To learn new programs is both a boon and a curse in my line of work, you get to play with a lot of super cool toys but also quickly learn the limitations. What I still struggle to accomplish is to create terrains of any reasonably size. There are now a lot of cool new terrain generating software coming out, but one common feature they all seem to have in common is to focus on tiny bits of terrain at the time. Even the smallest of campaign worlds are many thousands of square miles unlike the usual computer game level. Most of my effort is trying to best work around that limitation. World Machine, Terragen and VUE are the best in class since they support whole planets in one go, but to do that and create all the natural variations found in a fantasy world are enough to bring even the best hardware and software to its knees. To split up the task into manageable chunks are the trick, but figuring out a acceptable way to do it has taken me a couple of years and I’m still improving it.

Enough tech talk now to the actual work! My plans for 2016 was to set up a more formal Map Service, start a Patreon , create a series of example maps and start work on a new commercial project. In the end I’ve only managed to accomplish one example map and to start the new commercial project. For the last two months I’ve worked hard on a new project for Kobold Press, and just like the Southlands it is set in Midgard. That is all I can say at the moment, Kobold Press will announce more later. My examples series are so far only a single area the Hold of Ulthek from Ratik in the Flanaess.

Overall an in-between year with some advancement and progress, but mainly behind the scenes and not in areas visible to all of you who follow my work. My mapping endeavors are getting more and more recognition both in the form of general attention thorough email and on social media. I have a whole batch of emails to respond to, so if I haven’t gotten to yours yet I’m truly sorry.

2016 was the third time I attended Gen Con and the second year I worked at the Lone Wolf Development Booths. This year was also the second time I was nominated for an ENnie, for the Southlands map this time. The Southlands didn’t win Best Cartography but it won the Silver ENnie in the Best Setting Category so I got a chance to bask on stage with the whole Kobold Crew that evening.

Three main professional goals will be on my agenda for 2017. That is fewer than I’ve had before, which is probably a testament to me trying to learn from mistakes and overreaching in the past.

The first priority is to finish the Midgard project for Kobold Press this spring. It is a huge project that have kept me busy for several months now and will continue to do so for several months to come. It gives me direction and experience and to have big commercial projects to work on The drawback is that it keeps me locked up working on things that only later becomes public.

The second goal next year is to st up a Patron as a way to fund and organize my work. It is the second priority when it comes to timing, in most other ways it is my biggest goal. My friend and colleague Thorfinn Tait just started a Patreon to fund his mapping efforts which is a similar endeavor but concentrating on the World of Calidar. Thorfinn has some fantastic ideas and techniques that are in my opinion some of the best in the industry.

My Patreon will have a similar approach with pledges per map release and not per month. My target is to have 10 releases per year. Patreon will in many ways become my custom mapping service, and the way I plan to handle most projects. This will give a better and more transparent way for those who want to support me to tell me what they want me to work on. My Patreons will be able to directly influence what I work on and also receive perks in the form of additional content released only for backer of my Patreon. This will hopefully be an easier way for large ongoing fan projects to be sustained over time.

2017 will also be the year when Realm Works Content Market will open and my maps will be there. First will be a special Realm Works adaption of my Flanaess map, that will be available for free. Realm Works Content Market will probably become one of my standard places to find my work in the future, with specialized version of a lot of future projects.

Digital Content markets are already establishing themselves as major ways for gamers to acquire gaming materials like rules, source books, adventures etc. I think this trend will grow, but never replace printed books and modules that we are used to. My guess is that print and digital will live side by side and fill different roles. Printed game items will become more focused on inspiration and to be desirable for collectors. Beautiful to look at and full of inspirational long for text and glorious graphics with high quality print and binding. Digital will be geared towards use at the gaming table (physical or online) with a focus on reference, record keeping and visual representation of the game board. My goal is to try and create maps that can have a place in both these mediums.

By the end of 2017 my plan is to have successfully finished my second Midgard project, launched my Patron and have my first sets of maps on the new Content Markets. I also want to attend more conventions, Gary Con, Paizo, Con and others as well as Gen Con would be a real treat to attend. Budgetary constraints will prevent me from attending all of them but a with a bit of planning and luck I will get to some of them.

Thank you all for all your help and support, I’m looking forward to work with you on bringing worlds together this year!

Anna

Big project – Midgard mapping!

Time to spill the beans, my next project is going to be Midgard by Kobold Press. It will be my biggest commission so far and a major undertaking. I’ve spent the past couple of weeks setting things up and getting started. It will take up a majority of my time for the rest of the year and into spring.

Here is a first sneak peak:

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The detail level and scale will match the Southlands map, but a whole range of new techniques will make these maps a large step forward. Better forests, detailed rivers are a few of them. More information will be published at Kobold Press website, and the Midgard Facebook page as the project move forward.

This is one of my dream projects and a great honor to get a chance to do, the drawback is that my other plans will take longer to accomplish. So everything else I have planned (Patreon, example maps and a new website) are still being worked on but only on a limited basis.

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

ulthek-promo-2-top-down-2k

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.
ulthek-promo-1-2kpx
 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!

Flanaess-winter-thumb

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.