Finding Maps: Virtual Tabletop Tips, Part 2

Posted in EpicTable Blog on January 8, 2008 at 1:19 am

If you’re using a virtual tabletop (or “VT”), you have the option of playing on maps that are much nicer-looking than a wet-erase mat. “Yeah, but I’m not an artist…” you say. The good news is, you don’t have to be. There are a lot of resources out there for the VT map-maker. I’ll introduce you to some of them in this post.

Do-It-Yourself Mapping

Let me preface this with the disclaimer that I’m not the most dedicated mapmaker out there, nor the most talented. Until recently, I’ve mostly resorted to graph paper and repurposing maps from printed publications. I have, on a few occasions, downloaded trials of popular map making software and poured a weekend of my life into trying to make a good map. All these efforts came to naught until I found Dundjinni. If you haven’t seen it, I’d recommend you check it out. I’m not what you’d call artistically gifted, but even I can make maps that I’m reasonably happy with–and can do so reasonably quickly. The Dundjinni forum is an active community of people who are genuinely talented and happy to share their techniques. I consider Dundjinni pretty indispensible. (One warning: if you’re on Vista, the road to a working Dundjinni installation is a little long. I’ve been running it in on Windows XP in a VMWare VM since my move to Vista, which is tolerable, but not optimal. The problem is not Dundjinni but the version of Java it uses vs. that which ships with Vista. There’s both a patch in the works as well as a workaround recently posted.)

Textures

If you’re making your own maps, eventually you’re going to go looking for new textures. The best places I’ve found so far:

  • Spiral Graphics – Lots of really high-quality, tileable textures. This is pretty easily my favorite texture site.
  • BurningWell – These are often not tileable, but there’s some interesting stuff here.
  • PixelPoke – There aren’t many textures here, and I don’t know how active the site is, but I like the metal textures. I haven’t figured out what I want to do with them, but….

Ready-made Maps

If you’re looking for maps that someone’s already made….

Lots more out there

This is by no means all that’s out there. It just gives you a taste of some of the resources available to you as you go about creating or assembling a map collection for your virtual tabletop.

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