I have no artistic talent. I wish I did, but I don't. I game with many people that do, and when I see them do amazing things I really wish I could as well, but I can't. Unfortunately this extends to map making. Christian who I game with regularly comes out with amazing color maps when he runs games. Those maps really serve to enhance the gaming experience by getting everyone on the same page by presenting a lot of specific information and presenting it in a way that is visually appealing. For a long time that was something I have been unable to do. Mapping is a necessity to a certain extent so I have provided some maps, but while they might have been accurate and specific they most certainly were not visually appealing.
So I did what many do when faced with a seemingly insurmountable problem in modern age, I turned to technology. For the modern gamer who is similarly artistically challenged there are several options for mapping.
The first one I tried was Dundjinni. The program was fairly affordable at $39.95 and the example maps looked great. I really enjoyed the program at first, and did a couple of maps with it. There are a lot of symbol expansion packs both by the makers of the program and by the people that use it. But I found the software ill fitted for doing large scale maps such as I needed for continents and worlds so I decided to look around for a different program.
Here are the maps that I made using Dundjinni. The first one is a camp, the second a cathedral. Click on the image to view the full size. Please feel free to right click and select save as to save the image and use it in your own game.
The next software I decided to get was Campaign Cartographer. Now I had heard the reputation of CC as being very powerful but very difficult to use. As it turns out it is also very expensive. Fortunetly I was able to pick up a copy of the old CC2 software used. I knew it wouldn't be as good as the recently released CC3, but if it was too hard to use it probably wasn't going to be for me anyway.
As adverstised CC was very difficult to use. The interface can be somewhat overwhelming at first, but I was please to find that the program's potency was not exagerated. It took me a while, but finally I was able to produce my first map. Here it is, try not to laugh.
Like I said, it was my first map.
CC has many different parts to it and one was called City Designer. I thought I'd give that one a try next. Here is the town I made with that, and I was more pleased with how it came out than with the previous map.
CC is a great program and I keep finding more and more great features the more I use it. At its most basic it helps out artistically challenged people like me, and at its full potential it produces professional looking maps to rival anything put out by any gaming company out there. There is an amazing community that has developed over at the Cartographer's Guild. Those guys really know what they are doing and are happy to help people new to CC and other mapping programs. Those guys do some really amazing work.
As for me I am hoping my maps continue to get better. I'll be posting more maps regularly under the Cartographer's Corner heading so keep an eye out.
Gnomecast #11 – Player Intent - [image: Gnomecast #11 – Player Intent] Welcome to the Gnomecast, the Gnome Stew’s tabletop gaming advice podcast. Here we talk with the other gnomes abo...
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