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Mapping Software: Worth It?
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Thread: Mapping Software: Worth It?

  1. #1
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    Mapping Software: Worth It?

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    For an upcoming campaign players' pack I drew a digital map of the immediate area with a simple paint program. It, somewhat intentionally, looks like it was made with crayons.

    Now, I'd like to do a better version, and expand the scale to the entire continent (which I'm thinking is about the size of Australia). It's hard to indicate mountains, deserts, and grasslands in a simple paint program except by using colors, plus I'd like to make the map look like a "real place" as much as possible.

    Is something like Campaign Cartographer worth $100+? Are there alternatives for the owner of a four-year-old WinXP machine and an new MacBook Pro? Should I spend my money on art classes, a Wacom tablet, and/or a scanner instead?

    Thanks for all constructive replies.
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by fmitchell View Post
    For an upcoming campaign players' pack I drew a digital map of the immediate area with a simple paint program. It, somewhat intentionally, looks like it was made with crayons.

    Now, I'd like to do a better version, and expand the scale to the entire continent (which I'm thinking is about the size of Australia). It's hard to indicate mountains, deserts, and grasslands in a simple paint program except by using colors, plus I'd like to make the map look like a "real place" as much as possible.

    Is something like Campaign Cartographer worth $100+? Are there alternatives for the owner of a four-year-old WinXP machine and an new MacBook Pro? Should I spend my money on art classes, a Wacom tablet, and/or a scanner instead?

    Thanks for all constructive replies.
    I have to answer yes that CC is worth the money, not cuz I own it, but cuz the newest version is fairly easy to use and it makes some nice looking maps. Not sure if you've been to my site and looked at the ones I have online, but if you want to see real CC3 maps, look here, here and here.

    I know there are other programs out there, but with all of the expansion software that comes from that company, it's hard not to like. Course, if you've got the talent and the time, something made with Gimp or PhotoShop will be really good too, but I don't have the time to spend on something made with those programs.

    Oh and with those maps, I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of what CC3 is capable of!
    Skunk
    a.k.a. Johnprime



  3. #3
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    it's only about 30 - 35 dollars.

    I got both cc2, and cc3, with all the trimmings, and most of the plugins, but I'm a serious worldbuilder type referee, that wants and needs all the options profantasy cc2 / cc3 gives me.

    Core rules 2.0 for D&D comes bundled with a CC2 lite called campaign mapper...but CR 2.0 is way long out of print, and only available on ebay.

    CR2.0 also has a light and easy tile based non CC2 mapper that might do.

    BEWARE CC2 / CC3 Learning curve is so steep it's a cliff, you'll need to read the manual and seriously, no lie, practice. unless you are a CAD user already.

    That being said, you can toss some icons down in less than an hour.

    Play with it a few hours a day for a month, and you'll gain in skills.

    4 months in you can do quality work a la dragon magazine if you are diligent enough.

    But it is, no lie, Campaign Cartographer is tough cause of all the options. But if you want excellent maps, it's pretty much the industry standard.

    If you don't have a few hours every few nights to play with it, and practice, or you want to just toss something down, go with paintshop / gimp, whatever, and save yourself the time.

    If you want to go pro, as a cartographer, definitely make the leap to cc2 / cc3.

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    Here are links to a number of mapping programs, which you may find useful. I prefer Dundjinni, myself.

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    Thanks for the links, but I was thinking more in terms of continent and area maps, not tactical grids. (I'll end up sketching tactical terrain on a dry-erase map anyway, so graph paper is good enough.) So far, only Campaign Cartographer seems to fit the bill. (Or a Wacom tablet and art lessons.)
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

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    Dundjinni can handle area maps. Here are some examples.



    But for world maps, you're better off with some other tool.

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    i use gametable at present, myself. i find that it is easy to use with virtually no learning curve. that's a big one for me. having said that, it's easy to scrawl maps on gametable, but they will look just like that-scrawls. quality takes some time, a bit of practice, and either source materials you can use-or a fair amount of artistic talent. fortunately for the non-talented, there are many quality premade tiles and character icons (underlays and pogs, in gametable parlance) out there for either free or cheap. and i have copies of most of them... ;D feel free to poke me about it.

    here are some links that you should check out:

    Gametable wikia page
    .

    Gametable beta-test website.

    Gametable sourceforge site.

    best of all, it's free. =D
    nijineko the gm: AG16, CoS. nijineko the player: AtG, RttToH; . The Journal of Tala'elowar Kiyiik! .
    CrystalBallLite: the best dice roller on the planet! . nijineko the archivist: the 3.x archive

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