$35.00
Recommend
13 
 Thumb up
 Hide
29 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

Wargames» Forums » General

Subject: Wargame map design help rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Matteo Harris
msg tools
I've got a couple of weeks before school starts again and being bored I decided to make some war games maps (Don't judge me). I am half-way through a simple point to point map of Normandy in 1944, simply using a historical map and Word for boxes and lines (So, other than drawing, the most basic way) While these may never be used for a functioning game (although that is certainly my intention), I would like to develop the skills needed for the future.

I would say I am very computer literate, and quick to learn, with decent experience and skill in photoshop.

Specifically I would like to make some hex maps of the Spanish civil war, and have roughly planned them out on paper, after reading Antony Beevor's book on the civil war (Which wasnt very good in my opinion! Has anyone else read it?). If anyone has experience with map design on this scale, what software would you recommend, do you have any tips for a relative beginner and are there good guides or tutorials for map design out there?
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kurt Keckley
United States
Bakersfield
California
flag msg tools
designer
Fields of Despair - GMT P500.
mbmbmbmbmb
If I could go back and do it all over again, the first thing I would do is learn Adobe Illustrator and InDesign. Adobe Illustrator is the program of choice for the map pros. InDesign is used for graphics, rules etc.

Best of luck in your endeavor.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul
Switzerland
Basel
Basel Stadt
flag msg tools
designer
"Capitaine Conan," by Roger Vercel (1934).
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
If I could go back and do it all over again, the first thing I would do is learn Adobe Illustrator and InDesign. Adobe Illustrator is the program of choice for the map pros.


I'd second this. I bit the bullet two years ago and switched over to AI--wow was that painful. Now that I'm comfortable with it the results are worth all the pain of learning. Once you get a system down for your layers and organization it also speeds things up considerably.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Train
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
mbmbmbmbmb
I agree it's probably worth the time and effort to learn Adobe Illustrator (but not the expense, perhaps).
Personally, I use OpenOffice (or its sibling, LibreOffice) for my maps and counters - it's free, does whatever I need it to do pretty easily, converts to other file formats without trouble, etc..
Of course, my maps and counters are fairly simple, but perfectly OK for DTP and home playtest use in my view.

There are people here who swear by Inkscape or GIMP, both of which are free and quite powerful but they are too complex for me to use easily (which just means I haven't invested the time to do it).

Brian
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pelle Nilsson
Sweden
Linköping
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
I would start with Inkscape and Gimp. When /if you run out of features you can save up for the expensive pro tools.

There are some excellent tutorials for both, and you can google my extensions for Inkscape countersheets and hexmaps (totally optional of course).
12 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Train
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
mbmbmbmbmb
Okay, so Pelle was the "people" I had in mind, and here he is!

(and he's quite good at what he does)

Brian
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pelle Nilsson
Sweden
Linköping
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
ltmurnau wrote:
Okay, so Pelle was the "people" I had in mind, and here he is!

(and he's quite good at what he does)


I'm like a moth drawn to anything that is an opportunity to geek out about software around here.

I have no art-skills, so I could never make a good map, but I know what Inkscape can do, and how to find my way around it, and that it is not the application that is limiting me, so I have no incentive to switch. (Although I have experimented with a few other free alternatives just for fun.)

As for Gimp I can't imagine there are many good reasons to not use it. Not that I use it very much because I tend to stick to vectors. But it can do really a lot of things and new versions tend to add new features before I can find the time to learn the old ones.

There is also another free option that I think do a bit of both vectors and bitmaps that is popular with people making digital games, called Krita. It was a bit too unfamiliar for me so I never tried it much or heard of it being used for boardgames.

Anyway, in general I think if you are somewhat computer-literate it is never a big problem to switch from application A to B, and I can't think of a reason it would not be good to try more than one. So why not start with the free ones and then go from there? That is enough reason that I always start with the free tools. Then, sometimes, I upgrade to something that costs me money. And sometimes not, like in these cases. But I totally see that there can be reasons to do so, when the time is right, for someone else. Exposing the brain to different solutions is just good for you anyway.

And now that I am not on my phone, as evident from the amount of text here, I can link to my extensions:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/299033/inkscape-extensi...

BTW it is possible to use something like the Adobe-tools to make the artwork to use for my countersheets-extension, with just a bare minimum of setting up the templates in Inkscape. And you can use the hexmap-extension just to generate a grid that is then imported into Illustrator, so you do not have to use some inferior way of generating hex-grids. So even if OP decides to start with the expensive apps, that is no reason to not automate the countersheets or get some good vector hex-grids (rather than, say, bitmap hex-grids, or bad vector hex-grids ).
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pelle Nilsson
Sweden
Linköping
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
The free alternatives for those too lazy to google:
https://inkscape.org/en/
http://www.gimp.org/

... and also (popular with others, not my favorites):
https://www.libreoffice.org/
https://www.scribus.net/
https://krita.org/en/

... and for the adventurous:
https://www.blender.org/

8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
L. SCHMITT
France
Alsace
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I'd suggest to learn one of both types, freeware ore not, so as to mix them :

- the bitmap software, aka Photoshop or The Gimp
- the "object" software ( I don't know the English word for the French "vectoriel" ), like Illustrator ( this one is a wonder ).

Indesign is practical for rules layout and countersheets.

Quote:
Personally, I use OpenOffice (or its sibling, LibreOffice) for my maps and counters - it's free, does whatever I need it to do pretty easily, converts to other file formats without trouble, etc..

So true. With just Open Office, you can produce maps and counters that can match many professional designs.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Luke Phillips
Australia
Perth
Western Australia
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
+1 for Inkscape and Gimp

(and +1 for Pelle's hexmap extension)
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
L. SCHMITT
France
Alsace
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
What is the point of a "hex map extension" ? Grids made with Illustrator and Open Office are just perfect.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pelle Nilsson
Sweden
Linköping
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
santino el cato wrote:
What is the point of a "hex map extension" ? Grids made with Illustrator and Open Office are just perfect.


They are? I could not find a good grid-creator, so I wrote one. The ones I tried generated hexagons with overlapping borders, or hex-sides that were connected in other ways, so it was a lot of work to try to just edit or copy or delete a few hex-sides in the middle of the grid. And none seemed to create sheets with things well separated into layers to make it easy to edit.

So this extension creates every hex-side as an individual (non-overlapping) vector object that you can for instance remove or copy or change the style of.

The backgrounds for all hexes are separate from the sides (and of course in a separate layer). Can be used to quickly set background colors or textures (or copied/moved to a layer above the map for other effects).

You can get a layer with just smaller "calthrops" at the corners between hexes, as is used in some games (or for parts of some maps). Someone requested that. Not sure I ever used it.

Center-dots are generated.

It can optionally create rectangles instead of hexagons for a brick pattern map. Someone else requested that, but I can see how it can be useful.

You can create maps that tile horizontally and/or vertically with half-hexes/rectangles generated along the edges.

There are lots of different ways to number the hex coordinates with letters and numbers (but other tools do that as well of course, and some probably better).

Of course if all you need is a grid that you will never edit then there are many generators that will do that and even a bitmap grid can be good enough perhaps.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eddy Sterckx
Belgium
Vilvoorde
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
pelni wrote:


I use Scribus for map & rules layout and card design. Shallow learning curve and it does everything I want it to do.

As to graphics : I draw like a 3-year old, so there's no need for me to use anything more fancy than an old version of PaintShop Pro that came free on a games dvd some years ago.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Lowry
United States
Sunnyvale
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
santino el cato wrote:
- the "object" software ( I don't know the English word for the French "vectoriel" ), like Illustrator ( this one is a wonder ).

Vector graphics. Personally, I recommend CorelDraw for that.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matteo Harris
msg tools
Thanks for all the advice guys. I have started experimenting with Inkscape and its early days but I am really liking it so far!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Carl Paradis
Canada
Ste-Thérèse
Québec
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
I am using Adobe Illustrator.

If you decide to go that way I can give you some of my ".ai" templates (maps with hex grids, counters, event cards etc...), this will make things go much faster for you initially, by checking out how these were done.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Carl Paradis
Canada
Ste-Thérèse
Québec
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
p38_Lightning wrote:
. Adobe Illustrator is the program of choice for the map pros. InDesign is used for graphics, rules etc.


Like Kurt said.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Morten Lund
Denmark
Århus
Denmark
flag msg tools
designer
Yes, Beware the Geek bringing gifts!
mbmbmbmbmb
licinius wrote:
I am using Adobe Illustrator.

If you decide to go that way I can give you some of my ".ai" templates (maps with hex grids, counters, event cards etc...), this will make things go much faster for you initially, by checking out how these were done.



Uuuuh! Me too! I would love those - I would love to see how you do it
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Samy
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
flag msg tools
Chaaaarge!!
badge
First Image Ever of a Hydrogen Atom's Electron Cloud
mbmbmbmbmb
Oo, me three. I took a wrong turn once with Photoshop, although it probably has more vector support than I realize.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Carl Paradis
Canada
Ste-Thérèse
Québec
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Ok guys, BGG mail to me, and I'll make some of my latest .ai files available from a share in my Dropbox.

At least you'll have some nice map hex-templates layouts.
IMHO my counter, card and game tables files are not too bad either.

Photoshop? I don't use it, but some is needed for extra good textures on maps: more talented people do that stuff for me.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Lind
United States
North Chesterfield
Virginia
flag msg tools
My favorite response to anyone's question about how did something happen.
badge
Really, Mom, I was just sittin' here mindin' my own business!
mbmbmbmbmb
You can do hex maps in Open Office?!

santino el cato wrote:
What is the point of a "hex map extension" ? Grids made with Illustrator and Open Office are just perfect.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Train
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
mbmbmbmbmb
I use a pre-made hex grid, available in pdf or a number of other formats, as a base layer in an OpenOffice drawing document. Position it and lock the layer, then add layers on top - I usually go "landforms" (mountains, forest, swamp etc.), then rivers, then towns/cities, then roads.

Brian
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
L. SCHMITT
France
Alsace
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
You can do hex maps in Open Office?!

I once created a grid and I can change its size at will. So yes you can.
This is an old ( indulge the saturation of the hill... ) two parts mounted map with an Open Office made grid. You can see the two borders fit perfectly as I said earlier. The hillside effect is made with The Gimp and I could not replicate it in Photoshop, so I still have both as complementary tools.

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
L. SCHMITT
France
Alsace
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
A white caltrop hexgrid in Illustrator, for a work in progress ( some roads and artificial ground, maybe builidng shadows, are still missing at this point ). I find it practical as black lines tend to merge with the background in urban zones. Once again, the buidings are a mix of Photoshop ( texture, shapes ) and Illustrator ( for the lines and the details ).



In both cases, I had to be careful as theses small maps have to be isomorphic on at least some of their sides.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Cameron Taylor
New Zealand
Auckland
flag msg tools
Die Ostfront, 1941–1945
badge
So serious...
mbmbmbmbmb
santino el cato wrote:
A white caltrop hexgrid in Illustrator, for a work in progress ( some roads and artificial ground, maybe builidng shadows, are still missing at this point ). I find it practical as black lines tend to merge with the background in urban zones. Once again, the buidings are a mix of Photoshop ( texture, shapes ) and Illustrator ( for the lines and the details ).



In both cases, I had to be careful as theses small maps have to be isomorphic on at least some of their sides.


Holy crap!

Could I trouble you for a tutorial on how to make that?
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.