Greyhawk

Everything that relates to the Greyhawk campaign world

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

page8page9page10

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.

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/

Page numbering-01

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.

 

Hexed map!

Hexmap

After a lot of work trying to fit over 100 ooo hexes onto my maps and still make it work, I’m proud to announce the arrival of a hexed version of my Flanaess map. You can find the hex map on the Online map page!

There is also an offline version in the GH SYNC share, usable when you game or plan without a proper Internet connection.

My Greyhawk work continues besides my future projects with “Campaign map tiles” and “Battle map tiles”, haven’t found proper names for the projects yet. I’m still in the early phase working out the concepts and the firsts sets of introduction sets, which will probably take me a month or two. I will be posting updates on both in a few weeks time.

 

New Horizons!

Promo1_small
Life at my mapping desk have been very busy the past month, and here comes an update on what I’m up to. Two map commissions are in the final stages.  But many of you have asked me, what I will do now that my big project that brought me into Fantasy Cartography is coming to an end. So I’ll start with the new.

New views
Changing perspective by moving closer to things in the form of two new projects that will hopefully occupy a large part of my time. They are both generic fantasy and focus on maps to be used both digitally and in print. My goal is to create a system of maps that can be adapted and used in many different situations to plan, improve and illustrate your Fantasy RPG games.

My work up until now have been using techniques and even some software that are over a decade old , this in order to keep a consistent style across the Flanaess map. It is both limiting and slow, and the results are far from what can be achieved using the latest digital tools available. While I’ve been working on my big campaign map I’ve invested both time and money acquiring a new set of the best tools, and teach myself how to use the new generation of digital graphic wizardry. That is starting to pay off in better results much faster. Those of you who remember my early Flanaess area maps also remember that it took me ages to finish one. Apart from research I had to spend around 40-50 hours rendering and editing along per letter sized map. The result looked great for its time, and still looks good.

This map that tops this article took me a bit over ten hours to create, and include making 5 different versions of it covering the seasons of the year, and a season often found in fantasy lands evil cataclysm!

Much of the techniques and work-flow is something I have put in place to be able to work in an effective way, and to be able to spend more of my time on creative efforts then technical dabble trying to get the results I want. So on to what I’ve set my map making sights on for the future.

Close up
One set of maps will be of the now standard 5 ft squared maps used to depict dungeons, towns, wilderness and every other type of terrain your encounters can take place in. There are lots of good, bad and in between maps in this category. I think there is still room for improvement to be made. I’m deliberately vague with the details on this yet, because I want to hear what you would like to use. Are “big sized maps” covering a whole scene something you prefer, or do you want to be able to puzzle together scenes from small maps?
Are you most interested in printed maps for use on the game table together with your miniatures, or to use digital maps in a virtual battlefield tool. Perhaps you want to be able to plan and use the same maps in both types of play, for maximum flexibility.

Make your own world
The other scale is to put together a map covering your game world. That is something that so far only the few who have both the talent and time to invest in making a beautiful map of, either their own world, or version of a published campaign world.

What if you could have bits of professionally created terrain that can be assembled in various ways to make a map of a game world. With plains, hills forests rivers and much much more. Would that be something you would be interested in?

While I’m working on a presentation and preview set of these new gaming tools I’m really curious on what you think of this and what kind of maps, would you as a GM or player and publisher want to make use of.

The Flanaess
My work with the Flanaess is not all done yet. The Atlas is under way in the background, but has been put on a few weeks hiatus due to an hex invasion. Hexes have been a standing request by many since I started mapping the world of Greyhawk. Now I think I have finally worked out how to approach it.

Hex-test2

Here is a concept test with 12 mile numbered hexes, compatible with the PFRPG Ultimate Campaign Rules. The hex are numbered F001-001 and so on: F being “Flanaess” (opening up for more Oerth maps 😉 ) First group of numbers being the hex row, from west to east. Second group of numbers being the row of hexes from north to south. I choose this way to make it easier to find a hex, and no need to look at the side of the map. The numbers are on their own layer so they can be turned on and off independently of the hexes.

More details and concept images will be presented here during the coming months as my new projects get under way.  Thank you for your interest in my work and I hope to have a chance to make a map that will make your game better as well!

Sea of Dust

Sea of Dust

Dry Steppes

Dry Steppes