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MonkeyInSpace

How do you guys make floorplans & maps?

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Typically I simply find artwork I like to show PCs what a place looks like.  Then I describe things as they enter a place.  Then if something visual is needed I sketch a rough idea of what I mean.

Occasionally I'll search out a commercial floorplan of some building and use that.  e.g.

csm_00_towerA_30714bf4eb.jpg

 

As a rule I don't draw anything because while it is nostalgic and traditional, it's essentially a lot of effort for something the PCs don't really see..

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Maps of mastery maps an map tiles... I have 3 sets of the night life tiles, I think 2 sets of the out post tiles, and as of 2016 I had at least one copy of every maps of mastery map ever printed (pledged at the $250 level in the bases and battle stations kickstarter, totally worth it).  Oh and I have a digital copy of every fan made wotc miniature map from the now defunct holocron website

Edited by EliasWindrider

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I don't use maps, I just make a skeleton framework for the location and scribble down a few details for each area. I find maps too restrictive, once I've drawn something out that's all it is. With a rough framework, it's much more malleable for me and can react easily to changes during play. Plus, drawing out maps takes a lot of time and effort, while a skeleton just takes me a few moments.

For example, here's my version of the Heartache Bistro on Nar Shaddaa:

UPrnQBF.png

Edited by hyperfocal
clarification

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16 minutes ago, hyperfocal said:

I don't use maps, I just make a skeleton framework for the location and scribble down a few details for each area. I find maps too restrictive, once I've drawn something out that's all it is. With a rough framework, it's much more malleable for me and can react easily to changes during play. Plus, drawing out maps takes a lot of time and effort, while a skeleton just takes me a few moments.

For example, here's my version of the Heartache Bistro on Nar Shaddaa:

UPrnQBF.png

Also easy to note any special block to getting to a room. Lock, guard etc. And reminders if rooms have special items. I need to do this for my game so I'm not squinting at the pretty map trying to remember every thing :)

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I kind of mix it up.  Most situations don't warrant a map, but a really interesting encounter with complex and/or varied opponents and objectives often gets hard to keep track of without a map of some kind (I have previously told the story on this forum of when each of the four members of my party had a radically different idea about where everything was in a simple encounter in a street).

Generally my first port of call is seeing what other people have already made and choosing something suitable (I find Pinterest to be a good resource and have collated myself a large library there).  Sometimes if I find something close I will then photoshop it to make changes I require.  Failing that I use stock imagery to pull together whatever I require and build myself something from scratch.  Examples of these latter two options can be seen here. I rather enjoy the process of map making, time consuming though it may be.  I've done a lot more for Fantasy though, as they are far more necessary in D&D/Pathfinder.  I've even scanned in my physical dungeon tiles to use as a resource, since I have nearly every terrain set but rarely play in person these days.  

If you want I can dig up a photoshop file so you can see the sort of process involved in creating a map from stock tiles and a bit of simple photoshopping.

Edited by Squirrelsan

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I could very easily just say, "What Squirrelsan said."

I find that, in far more instances than not, there's something already out there that meets my needs. Detail and scale to our tokens (custom made to match size and format of the tokens that come with the Beginner Games) aren't essential, as the maps are just to help us all verify that we're on the same page as the area's layout and relative locations of all participants (NPC's included). Tweaking and editing can be done easily enough. And, all of my maps are displayed digitally on a tv lying flat on the table, so there's no printing costs involved.

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5 hours ago, coyote6 said:

I use Google image search, mostly. :D

Always my first stop :)

5 hours ago, syrath said:

As a gm I dont use floor plans I use hastilh sketched map on wipeboard or notebook to help clarify layout but in a narrative system you do not need to be that accurate.

Very good point.

5 hours ago, 2P51 said:

Typically I simply find artwork I like to show PCs what a place looks like.  Then I describe things as they enter a place.  Then if something visual is needed I sketch a rough idea of what I mean.

Occasionally I'll search out a commercial floorplan of some building and use that.  e.g.

As a rule I don't draw anything because while it is nostalgic and traditional, it's essentially a lot of effort for something the PCs don't really see..

LOVE the idea of using commercial floorplans.

4 hours ago, Klort said:

I very rarely create detailed floor plans, but when I do I use GIMP and this guys map asset pack (http://thompsonpeters.com/eote/misc/). Otherwise I just sketch important locations on whiteboard. There's also a good deal of miscellaneous maps spread across all the books which can be useful.

YOWZER, what a great site - thank you!

3 hours ago, hyperfocal said:

I don't use maps, I just make a skeleton framework for the location and scribble down a few details for each area. I find maps too restrictive, once I've drawn something out that's all it is. With a rough framework, it's much more malleable for me and can react easily to changes during play. Plus, drawing out maps takes a lot of time and effort, while a skeleton just takes me a few moments.

For example, here's my version of the Heartache Bistro on Nar Shaddaa:

 

very nice, thank you.

2 hours ago, Nytwyng said:

I could very easily just say, "What Squirrelsan said."

I find that, in far more instances than not, there's something already out there that meets my needs. Detail and scale to our tokens (custom made to match size and format of the tokens that come with the Beginner Games) aren't essential, as the maps are just to help us all verify that we're on the same page as the area's layout and relative locations of all participants (NPC's included). Tweaking and editing can be done easily enough. And, all of my maps are displayed digitally on a tv lying flat on the table, so there's no printing costs involved.

great points.

Thanks all!

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All of the above techniques, plus one or two others. As a long-time miniatures wargamer, I've got a fair selection of wargame scenery lying about and the know-how to knock something together in a (relatively) short time period. I'll occasionally throw together a 3-D layout for an important battle, especially if said terrain plays an important role in the conflict.

Additionally, my group has a fair-sized collection of Armada & X-Wing minis, and I'll definitely throw them on the tabletop to describe relative positioning, GtA, and so forth. I find that once there's more than 5 or 6 combatants in a battle, I lack the bandwidth to administer the game and keep track of where everyone is in relation to everybody else.

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5 hours ago, Klort said:

I very rarely create detailed floor plans, but when I do I use GIMP and this guys map asset pack (http://thompsonpeters.com/eote/misc/). Otherwise I just sketch important locations on whiteboard. There's also a good deal of miscellaneous maps spread across all the books which can be useful.

This was 100% precisely what I was looking for.

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If you're willing to put in the time to learn, GIMP or Photoshop are infinitely better options than any purpose designed map making software, in my experience. Just as much (if not less) effort to learn, waaay more versatility, and you're not limited to the assets the software makes available to you. 

It is a lot of work though, especially if you like to map out everything in your games.

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5 hours ago, Tom Cruise said:

If you're willing to put in the time to learn, GIMP or Photoshop are infinitely better options than any purpose designed map making software, in my experience. Just as much (if not less) effort to learn, waaay more versatility, and you're not limited to the assets the software makes available to you. 

It is a lot of work though, especially if you like to map out everything in your games.

Hey, first off, HUGE fan of your work.

secondly, I'm reasonably competent with Gimp and the map assets above were perfect. I'm not looking to go crazy and map everything out but those will make it possible to create (say) unique ship floor plans or the cantina they lurk in.

thanks again for the replies!

Edited by MonkeyInSpace

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Yeah, when you've got a nice pack of assets it makes life a lot easier.

Mapping in either program is 99% messing with layers and layer effects, so if you have a good handle of that you'll probably be fine. If you ever wanna get more in depth, Cartographer's Guild has some excellent tutorials floating around, although it can take some digging.

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16 hours ago, AceSolo5 said:

Try checking out this guys website... 

miskafredman.com/maps

He does some awesome work, which I support on his Patreon site, & if u sign up to his newsletter he sends them out on a monthly basis :)

Those are some lovely maps! I think I may have to add my support...

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For those of us who are art-challenged, and want to be able to produce something reasonable in a short time, and are on a Mac, and don't want to pay for Photoshop...I've been using Graphic from Autodesk (formerly iDraw).  It's cheap, has all the basic vector tools, layers, etc.  One thing I like about it is the customizable grid and grid units, which often isn't available with less expensive software.

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I use all manner of tools but it's come to my attention that I can usually find better maps with google than I can create.  

I love to tinker with mapping tools:

  • Hexkit
  • Inkarnate
  • Shuffler

I even use non-traditional tools for mapping:

  • Mindnode
  • Scapple

And when push comes to shove, the old graphical editor using assets listed in this very thread:

  • Pixelmator

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On ‎5‎/‎16‎/‎2017 at 10:39 AM, jowzam said:

I just found and started using Dungeon Painter Studio.

http://store.steampowered.com/app/592260/Dungeon_Painter_Studio/

It's quite easy to use and very affordable.  It also has a ton of files available through the Steam Workshop so you have lots of content right out of the gate.

This looks interesting.

How is the scifi toolset support? The example video seems to suggest it is currently supporting fantasy more then scifi, but I'm sure that would get updated. I did see one screenshot that appears modern.

Second, is it too geared towards making floorplans, or could I make good ship deckplans with it also? As in, can I make circular or other oddly shaped rooms, not just squares?

I've been using AutoRealm for years which works fine for me, but I wouldn't mind making the move to learning something new if it was quicker (or at least not slower) and looked better.

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