Chop up a map into even pieces?

Hey folks, I've started up a Patreon where I will be putting up stuff for people to download free. Not advertising here, just wondered if some of the folks here could help with an export problem.

The map below is the one I'm offering, and optimized in terms of export for Roll20, the only VTT I have any real experience with. I'd also like to add an option for people to download printable sections of it for use as battlemaps. The ideal size for letter-sized or A4 printing, from what I understand, is 100 X 80, and this map is 300 X 240, which means I'd need nine evenly-sized exports.

Is there a way to do this? I found an old Youtube video by Joe Sweeney which recommends using grid squares to do it, but that only works if you want square exports.

As a secondary question: I've stayed away from the highly artistic style used by a lot of mapmakers because I wanted a practical map that is easy for GMs to use, although the more artistic style is certainly beautiful. Does anyone have any opinions on this? Would the GMs among you prefer a cleaner style like this, or the prettier styles that seem to dominate the net?


DoubleDoublejmabbott

Comments

  • MonsenMonsen 🖼️ 44 images Cartographer Administrator
    edited April 23

    I did make a script for tile exports that is part of annual issue 129. It is probably overkill for 9 tiles, but it can do the job, you only need to slightly modify it so it doesn't piece the tiles back together when done (the main idea with this script was to be able to export larger images than CC3+ can handle in one go).

    But for just 9 tiles, the manual option is just as simple. Set yourself up a new snap grid that is 100 by 80, turn on snap and cursor snap, and then just run a rectangular section export manually 9 times. You just need to remember which sections you have done when clicking the corners for the next, the snap grid should ensure the sizes gets perfect with no hassle. (Obviously, the pixel dimensions needs to be set up correctly in the export dialog as well, but CC3+ remembers these, so just set them up correctly [using the correct 5:4 ratio matching your map pieces] for the first segment)

    Autumn Getty
  • I'm still trying to figure out which I prefer for different situations myself, but I think I've hit upon a couple preferences:

    Printing it off for table-top play? I prefer simpler to save my ink when printing.

    Playing in Roll20 (or other vtt)? I prefer a bit more fancy - but sometimes when there's a little too much I hesitate because some random pieces of decoration I might want to alter, and can't.

    Here is a site of another person who makes a lot of cleaner layouts. I do find them pretty as well in their own way.

    https://dysonlogos.blog/maps/

    Autumn Getty
  • From a long-time GM's perspective, what I'm looking for in a map I'll be using to run a game is something clear enough that I can find the information I need immediately, and if necessary on-the-fly. Fancy artwork's all fine and good, but if it takes me ten minutes to work out where all the entryways are to this room/cave/building/etc., that's not a good GM's map to me!

    That's not to say a map can't be good-looking as well as practically useful. From the very first D&D maps I drew, back in 1977 or so, I've always used colour and shading as additional GM's visual aids. On published scenario maps going back to my first Judges Guild products (the earliest available for D&D, basically), the ones I used, or hoped to use, are all hand-coloured, so I could tell at a glance just what - or who - was where. And it's great to have the assets of CC3+ to play around with now when constructing any maps, of course.

    Where a map might also be used as a visual aid for players though, up to and including a tabletop battle-map, something more artistic would be preferable, to help give the setting more flavour. In later times, I sometimes used 3D cast or papercraft scenery this way as well. With 3D cast minis, it makes sense, and helps folks get a better idea of scale, I think. This, of course, is not a cheap or quick option!

    One thing I did find in using 3D terrain was it helped to have a GM's map, and then a much simpler sketch-style map so I knew what bits of terrain needed to go where, to speed up the tabletop construction process, and I developed this in CC3 (as it then was) using the simpler option of darker (sometimes coloured) lines on a white background, as it didn't need anything fancy, being just for my own reference.

    Autumn Getty
  • My technique is contrary to how the manual tells you to size the map and is normally based on wanting a map set printed on 11 x 17 inch paper.

    1. Determine the area I want to model.
    2. Buy or download the topographic maps I want.
    3. Decide on the hex size I want to use. It is typically 250, 333, 500, 1000, or 3000m depending on unit scale and time period.
    4. Assemble them digitally. They map at this point will likely be larger than I will need. At this point I note the dimensions of the map. Some of them are quite large.
    5. Define the area I want to model and cut it out of the main map. When I do this, I determine the map dimensions by ensuring the area I want to be covered. I use a cropping tool to define the map size I want and then move it around so the modeled area is contained. I may crop the map so it is multiples of 11 x 17 inch blocks.
    6. Save the cropped map as a BMP, JPG, or PNG.
    7. Open the map in CC3+.
    8. Using the Grid tool, estimate how big I think the hex has to be. Let's say it's a 1:50000 map and I want the hexes to be 1000m hexes. I make a guess as to how big the grid should be and compare it to the grid squares on the map. I want either the side to side or top to bottom lines of the hex to line up with grid squares. When I to that point, then I save the map and print it to CutePDF in however many 11 x 17 sheets I want it to be in.
    9. I print out the first map sheet and then measure the grid. I check the grid to make sure the counter size fits in (typically 1/2 inch, but I am going bigger now). I undo and construct the grid as necessary to get the hex to be the size of the grid square. (Grid squares aren't squares, their trapezoids.) The grid needs to match only in height or width
    10. If the hex fits the counter I start working on the map. If not, have to redefine the size of the map.
    11. Repeat as necessary. sometimes, the map might only be on a single sheet. If so and the map is smaller than 11 x 17, I just resize the base map so it is that size, which may make it bigger that the original map scale. The happy thing here is the hexes are now larger, but the counter stays the same size, so there is more room to to play. Sometimes I have to reduce the size of the map, but the main thing is I always want it to be a multiple of 11 x 17.
    12. I did one map the way the manual tells you to do it, so let's say I had a map that was 125km tall and 80km wide. That distance might work on well for the hexes, but when it comes to printing out the map I get a lot of white space around the borders and I don't want that because it wastes money when I start printing.

    I don't care about the distance measuring abilities on the CC3+ map in the program, because the scale is defined by the hex, for example 1 hex = 500m.

    So when you print out the map as a PDF and specify the tiles, say 4 wide x 5 tall and 11 x 17 inch paper, the printing process to CutePDF spits on 20 sheets sized at 11 x 17. I then export the pages as JPG. Then I center them on a 12 x 18 inch size sheet of paper together with cut marks and send to the printer and they cut and fold the map for me.


    It may not be pretty, but it works for me. One of my home printers easily prints edge to edge, so I don't have to go through all that crap if I am just printing for myself. Of course, I may choose to print the map out on 12 x 18 or 13 x 19 inch paper in order to make the hexes larger. In that case, I may have to trim the maps.

    Autumn Getty
  • Monsen, I didn't think of using that annual to do this. It's a good idea. I've avoided scripts because I'm not very techy, but I suppose I'll have to learn how. Thanks for the second suggestion as well, I"m going to try that for the moment.

  • There is a great macro written by Joe Sweeney that will chop the map up into pieces (as far as pics go, not FCW's).

    I have expanded on it so it is a lot more generic than Joe's and it works fine for me. I use the anyintiles part.

    MACRO 8INTILES

    GN nColScale 12

    GN nRowScale -12

    GL sName Tile

    GL sName ^DTile Name: (Tile)

    GP pStart ^DStart at:

    GN nCol ^DColumns:

    GN nRow ^DRows:

    GN nRowCount 0

    IFERR MacroDone

    HIDESHT PrintGrid8inchM

    :RowLoop

    GN nColCount 0

    :ColLoop

    GL sFileName c:\Tiles\

    APND sFileName sName

    APND sFileName nRowCount

    APND sFileName _

    APND sFileName nColCount

    APND sFileName .PNG

    GP pTL ref pStart @nColScale*nColCount,nRowScale*nRowCount

    GP pBR ref pTL @nColScale,nRowScale

    WBSM sFileName

    pTL

    pBR

    GN nColCount nColCount+1

    IFP nCol-nColCount ColLoop

    GN nRowCount nRowCount+1

    IFP nRow-nRowCount RowLoop

    :MacroDone

    SHOWSHT PrintGrid8inchM

    ENDM


    MACRO LETTERTILES

    GN nColScale 15

    GN nRowScale -12

    GL sName Tile

    GL sName ^DTile Name: (Tile)

    GP pStart ^DStart at:

    GN nCol ^DColumns:

    GN nRow ^DRows:

    GN nRowCount 0

    IFERR MacroDone

    HIDESHT PrintGridLetterM

    :RowLoop

    GN nColCount 0

    :ColLoop

    GL sFileName c:\Tiles\

    APND sFileName sName

    APND sFileName nRowCount

    APND sFileName _

    APND sFileName nColCount

    APND sFileName .PNG

    GP pTL ref pStart @nColScale*nColCount,nRowScale*nRowCount

    GP pBR ref pTL @nColScale,nRowScale

    WBSM sFileName

    pTL

    pBR

    GN nColCount nColCount+1

    IFP nCol-nColCount ColLoop

    GN nRowCount nRowCount+1

    IFP nRow-nRowCount RowLoop

    :MacroDone

    SHOWSHT PrintGridLetterM

    ENDM


    MACRO 50inTILES

    GN nColScale 50

    GN nRowScale -50

    GL sName Tile

    GL sName ^DTile Name: (Tile)

    GP pStart ^DStart at:

    GN nCol ^DColumns:

    GN nRow ^DRows:

    GN nRowCount 0

    IFERR MacroDone

    HIDESHT PrintGrid8inchM

    :RowLoop

    GN nColCount 0

    :ColLoop

    GL sFileName c:\Tiles\

    APND sFileName sName

    APND sFileName nRowCount

    APND sFileName _

    APND sFileName nColCount

    APND sFileName .PNG

    GP pTL ref pStart @nColScale*nColCount,nRowScale*nRowCount

    GP pBR ref pTL @nColScale,nRowScale

    WBSM sFileName

    pTL

    pBR

    GN nColCount nColCount+1

    IFP nCol-nColCount ColLoop

    GN nRowCount nRowCount+1

    IFP nRow-nRowCount RowLoop

    :MacroDone

    SHOWSHT PrintGrid8inchM

    ENDM


    MACRO 1600inTILES

    GN nColScale 1600

    GN nRowScale -1600

    GL sName Tile

    GL sName ^DTile Name: (Tile)

    GP pStart ^DStart at:

    GN nCol ^DColumns:

    GN nRow ^DRows:

    GN nRowCount 0

    IFERR MacroDone

    HIDESHT PrintGrid8inchM

    :RowLoop

    GN nColCount 0

    :ColLoop

    GL sFileName c:\Tiles\

    APND sFileName sName

    APND sFileName nRowCount

    APND sFileName _

    APND sFileName nColCount

    APND sFileName .PNG

    GP pTL ref pStart @nColScale*nColCount,nRowScale*nRowCount

    GP pBR ref pTL @nColScale,nRowScale

    WBSM sFileName

    pTL

    pBR

    GN nColCount nColCount+1

    IFP nCol-nColCount ColLoop

    GN nRowCount nRowCount+1

    IFP nRow-nRowCount RowLoop

    :MacroDone

    SHOWSHT PrintGrid8inchM

    ENDM


    MACRO anyinTILES

    GN nColScale ^DColumn Scale:

    GN nRowScale ^DRow Scale (must be negative):

    GL sName Tile

    GL sName ^DTile Name: (Tile)

    GP pStart ^DStart at:

    GN nCol ^DColumns:

    GN nRow ^DRows:

    GN nRowCount 0

    IFERR MacroDone

    HIDESHT PrintGrid8inchM

    :RowLoop

    GN nColCount 0

    :ColLoop

    GL sFileName c:\Tiles\

    APND sFileName sName

    APND sFileName nRowCount

    APND sFileName _

    APND sFileName nColCount+1

    APND sFileName .PNG

    GP pTL ref pStart @nColScale*nColCount,nRowScale*nRowCount

    GP pBR ref pTL @nColScale,nRowScale

    WBSM sFileName

    pTL

    pBR

    GN nColCount nColCount+1

    IFP nCol-nColCount ColLoop

    GN nRowCount nRowCount+1

    IFP nRow-nRowCount RowLoop

    :MacroDone

    SHOWSHT PrintGrid8inchM

    ENDM

  • I like Dyson Logos' map style quite a bit. It's one of the reasons I was thinking of a simpler style.

Sign In or Register to comment.