23 Mar 2014
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!