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treehouse
2nd of May, 2010, 01:45
I just downloaded MapTool (http://www.rptools.net/index.php?page=maptool) this morning, and I'm pretty sure I'm done using Dundjinni for 95% of my play-by-post mapping needs.

It is, quite frankly, badass. You can take existing map images (as in, completed maps that are posted on the web as a .jpg or whatever), overlay a grid on them and then snap player and monster tokens to that grid. It'll even throw out grid coords.

Go get it now. And then go download this (http://blog.mnology.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/mapping_objects.torrent) (intentionally free) art torrent.

Explosive Cheese
2nd of May, 2010, 03:09
Great timing tree, just in time for me to get used to it for my game. I've got no spatial percption at all, and can use all graphical help I can get when it comes time for combat. And I'm far too lazy to create the maps myself.

Thanks!

BigRedRod
2nd of May, 2010, 03:14
You can take existing map images (as in, completed maps that are posted on the web as a .jpg or whatever), overlay a grid on them and then snap player and monster tokens to that grid.

That sounds exactly like the no-bullshit mapping thing I've been wanting.

Although finding/altering/making the source images will still be a pain.

LeadPal
2nd of May, 2010, 04:18
I only found MapTool a month ago and haven't really played with it, but really, just a glance makes Dundjinni look like crap. The only parts of Dundjinni that I'll continue to use are the objects--otherwise, I'm done with the program.

zachol
2nd of May, 2010, 04:36
Ooo.

Although it still would be nice to have a good, y'know, mapping program to draw maps.

Edit: After poking at it, this looks extremely interesting.

treehouse
2nd of May, 2010, 07:11
I avoided the program at first because I've used a much older build of it, which wasn't nearly as nice. They have really put some time into this thing though.

Honestly, the ability to use maps I find online is reason alone to use it over Dundjinni (I just don't have the kind of time I used to for things like cartography, and my map-making skills have always been garbage anyway), but I've been playing with it on and off all day, and the awesome discoveries continue to mount. You can put monster tokens in a 'hidden' layer, so that they show up for you but not in your image exports. When you put down an object as a token you can give it notes (like health, for instance - gone are the days of having to keep track of shit like that in a status thread in my DM subforums). Hell, you can put health bars over the tokens to give the players a general idea of how healthy or wounded a given NPC/monster is.

This is really going to be quite nice. Once I've learned how to use it it's going to cut my prep time and combat resolution time in half, and probably result in prettier maps to boot.

I can't stop babbling about it. The only thing that will suck is not having any of the Dundjinni art - all of those objects and textures are in proprietary file formats that can't be outside of the program. I also don't see any wall bevel tools, but I'm not raising a fuss about it - DJ's auto-bevel looks wonky sometimes anyway.

treehouse
2nd of May, 2010, 07:41
Okay, first problem I've noticed (and this is a big one) - you can't export an image of the entire map at the moment, only what is on your screen.

This is a pretty big problem, although I see some possible workarounds.

Mercutio
2nd of May, 2010, 10:34
I feel bad for keeping MapTool a secret from you for so long, tree. I've been a fan for a long time, and my growing disillusionment with Dundjinni coupled with my growing skill with GIMP pretty much shifted me away from the program anyway.

The only limiting factor, as zachol noted, is finding maps to use. Although that won't/shouldn't be much of a problem if you look at Dundjinni's forums (lots of good usable maps), RPGMapshare, FourUglyMonsters, and plenty of other places like that. I still like making maps, so I'll use the DJ user art and GIMP, but using Maptools to adjudicate combat is an excellent idea.

treehouse
2nd of May, 2010, 12:01
You've mentioned it before - as I said above, I dismissed it over my experiences with a much earlier build. It's gotten quite a bit of polish since then. I agree that its feature list pretty much blows Dundjinni out of the water. Once you factor in that one is free and the other is not, there's really no choice.

I'm still concerned about the lack of a robust export feature. I'm literally only going to be able to show what I can see on my laptop screen, which isn't a lot. I can take several screen shots of a large map and then stitch them together with Windows Live Photo Gallery, but the coords might get fucked up if it's not done properly, and it's time-consuming. Why they haven't included a feature that automates this is baffling.

zachol
2nd of May, 2010, 12:54
I strongly suspect you're missing some obscure command. Probably something like, "you need to draw a rectangle with a certain tool defining the current view; if you don't, export defaults to what is visible." I think this is partially intended for people with huge maps of sprawling complexes, or multiple levels of a building on the same "layer," where you would want to be able to select a large portion of the map (but not all of it) to export.

If it's just the case that you can't, then... well, I've no clue. Can't imagine how they'd not do something about that.

Explosive Cheese
2nd of May, 2010, 13:09
You've probably already considered this, but from the little bit that I've been playing around on this thing, you should be able to zoom out and then export the screenshot. Of course, if your screen is too small, then the resolution of an epic sized map will be crappy. Which I'm guessing is one your problems. I'll be shutting up now.

treehouse
2nd of May, 2010, 14:43
That's actually exactly my problem, EC.

I checked on the forums and it's definitely a shortcoming of the program rather than a command I'm missing. Java only renders what is visible on the screen; some commercial products that are Java-run (such as Dundjinni) will cache off-screen renders and piece them together automatically for full map exports. MapTool does not.

It's not a deal breaker for me, it just means an extra 5 minute step when I'm working on large maps.

Explosive Cheese
2nd of May, 2010, 14:53
Luckily for me, my computer screen is big enough that I don't expect resolution to be a problem. If it does become one, I may be in trouble, because I suck pretty hard at image manipulation.

Actually... Maybe by fiddling around with macros and java/perl I can find a way to automate the process. I'm thinking have the macro zoom and export portions of the map so that everything is covered, and use an external script to stitch them together. That's the kind of thing I'm pretty good with. I might fiddle around with this at some point. If I get something working, I can post the code here.

Edit: After a bit of brief browsing, I have been unable to find macro commands for viewing and exporting, which seems strange. Supposedly the macros are the strongest part of this tool, and yet I can't find some very basic ones...

Edit2: Found one command that allows a changing of the view (goto), but no such luck on export. You'd think a basic command of the gui would be included in the macro functions...

Mercutio
2nd of May, 2010, 21:10
Tree - you could try to find a free third party screencapture program. There are plenty of them out there, and some of them are pretty good.

EDIT - Nevermind, I see that you would have the same problem effectively - stitching together smaller pics into a bigger one.

Tashalar
2nd of May, 2010, 22:05
How about you send the maptool file (if something like that exists) to someone with a really, really large screen and he exports for you?

Please note that I don't really know the stuff I'm talking about (in this case at least).

treehouse
2nd of May, 2010, 23:20
My guess is that the maptool files only reference the art you use, so the person on the other end would open up a map with a bunch of placeholder images in it. Just like in Dundjinni...

Bleh.

Like I said, this is not a big enough problem to avoid the product. It still saves me hours and hours of map-making if I can take another person's map, throw a grid and tokens on there and track all of the NPC stats in the same place. I'll do five minutes of photo stitching per round to avoid the bigger tasks.

Another problem I noticed last night, and this one I'm sure is just ineptitude - I can't seem to figure out how to rotate objects. I can set their facing north-south-east-west or on the vertices, but I can't find the 'free rotate' option. Eight directions of facing just isn't enough to get a naturally placed object every time.

Edit: just discovered the answer to my above problem - right click an object to bring up a menu, click 'Set Facing'. Then hold down CTRL while moving your mouse for full 360 degree rotation.

Explosive Cheese
3rd of May, 2010, 10:43
Oh Tree, you've probably seen this already, but you can gain a slightly bigger image size by going fullscreen (ctrl-shift-enter). Since almost half the screen is taken up by various panels normally, this might be helpful to you. Or not.

Edit: So it seems that the macros can only be used for output to the chat window, and not to access most of the programs functions. I don't think you could manipulate zoom or exportation, or other similar features, using macros. To my mind, this is a pretty ridiculous limitation of th macros. It wouldn't take to long to allow access to the GUI commands from macros. If it were opensource (is it?) I bet I could hack it myself. I just wonder why no one has seen fit to do so already... At any rate, short of using macros of the computer system (where you automate mouse movement, clicks and button presses), I don't see a way to automate the process of stitching together an image from parts.

BigRedRod
11th of May, 2010, 18:01
I stumbled onto this (http://inkwellideas.com/). Somebody actual asked DMs what they want in software for dungeon mapping. Hopefully it'll stretch to generic encounter mapping (As really, ninety percent of my encounters seem to be in locales which nobody has considered making combat scale maps for).

Interesting