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Subject: Map-making tool, the Osprey-style? rss

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Ingo Ahrens
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Hi folks,
not sure this is the right place to ask but I don't know better

I guess many if not most here in this forum are familiar with the books by Osprey Publishing. I especially like the maps of battlefields that are provided mostly in the Campaign and Essential History series, both the 3D- and "flat"-style maps. I wonder if there's a software tool available for making such maps myself, preferrably the flat-style.
(For reference, check http://www.ospreypublishing.com/members/ and hit "Map of the week" for a tiny example of such a map, couldn't find a bigger one on the web)

Does anyone know such a tool? I know I can use Photoshop & the like, make brushes for the military units and such, but that's a lot of initial work and maybe someone already did that before me Google didn't get me anything useful, but maybe I just don't know the magic keywords...

Thanks for any hints!
 
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Herb Petro
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There are several software packages designed just for map making, and focused on games in particular (though I think they are used more often for RPGs).

The best known may be Campaign Cartographer at http://www.profantasy.com/

I recommend the open source AutoRealm at http://autorealm.sourceforge.net/ and http://www.gryc.ws/autorealm.htm -- there is lots of help available via the Yahoo Group at http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/autorealm/

Some others include:

Dundjinni at http://www.dundjinni.com/

Fractal Mapper at http://www.nbos.com/

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Herb Petro
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If you need NATO style map symbols, a great source is http://www.mapsymbs.com/
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Todd Pytel
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I would highly recommend you spend some time at The Cartographer's Guild:

http://www.cartographersguild.com

That's more oriented towards fantasy RPG map-making, but the techniques there should be adaptable to battle maps as well. While there's some use of Campaign Cartographer and other commercial mapmaking software there, most people at the site work in Photoshop or GIMP. As sophisticated as some of those packages are (and CC is quite sophisticated), they never give you the freedom and power you'll get with a more general-purpose graphics program. Browse the "Finished Maps" section of the forum to get a feel for just how amazing some of the projects there can be.
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