Published on March 21st, 2010 22:03
[This entry was translated from the Spanish version, which you can find here]
Yesterday I got the opportunity of knowing a new map tool for use in tabletop RPGs, but didn’t have the time to test all the details it have because it was kinda late. Today I have a little more time, so I dedicated a great amount of time to explore completely the tool and test all the details it have. I even build a map I was needing! So, as I enjoy sharing the good and nice discoveries I wanna share this great tool.
The web is called Battlemapr [link] and it’s operated by @forrestHat and @theweem, completely in english but you’ll see that you don’t need a great knowledge of the language to handle it, cause it is pretty easy to use. As soon as you load the main page, you’ll find videos explaining the changes to the newest version (v.0.2.1) and a big green button to launch the app. The interesting thing in this tool is that it doesn’t require any downloads nor installation, because it’s web based so you get a faster bugs solving and can be launched in almost any computer with an Internet connection no matter the O.S [I use Ubuntu Linux 10.04 and it works great]. Now, you can open an account to use you own tiles in the tool and save your maps!
The Tools inside the tool
Beginning with the creation panel, we will find a lot of easy-to-use tools that allow us to create maps very quickly and with a great quality. First of all, at the left side you’ll find an 8×10 white board where we’re gonna work, this will be our canvas. It works as an image editor, since at the right panel you’ll find 4 tools: the brush, that allow you to fill only 1 square, all the canvas or erase something, the layers which allows you to choose where to work, giving you 3 options so you can place one or more tiles on top. This is really useful since you can input some tiles that not fill one square over another one that does, and the upper will have a background color, so with this you can make a lot of things more and go beyond the tiles you can use there. Each layer is represented by a line followed by an eye, the eye let you show or hide a layer so you can see what is in which one. You can click the eye to turn on/off the layer. Also the layers are organized from left to right being the left one the lower one, the next the middle and the right one the upper. After the layers we’ll find the grid, a simple tool that allow us to show or hide the grid in the canvas, so you can chose to show it as complete lines, crosses in the corners only or not show it at all. After that, you’ll find the pages. Through this tool you can create different sizes of maps, joining together several 8×10 pages. Usually you begin working on the center page (there are a total of 9 pages, so you can make 24×30 maps) and depending on where do you need to expand your map, you just click that page and continue working there.
Under all this you’ll find the tiles you can use, not much right now, but now you can open an account and create your own tiles using GIMP or Photoshop and uploading them to the page in a 300×300 .png format. In the tool you can open the menu and choose which set to use, there’re 3 right now: Main, User Submitted and My Tiles. You simply click the tile you need and use it in the grid to the left.
The page allows you to export the final result as a PDF file (to be opened with Adobe Reader or some other .pdf reader) or as an image archive in .JPEG, generally both with the name “map”, in case you save it and didn’t remember in which folder you do that. the PDF version is highly polished with a really high quality to be printed and used in battle. It split the image in the pages you use to build it and its already scaled down to 1 inch each square. In the JPEG result you’ll find the whole map joint together so you can see it and use it in web or something like that. Its also possible to save this version and then split it up with PosterRazor, but the final result its exactly the same as if you export it in .pdf.
There are two more buttons now save map and new map. The save map feature only works to people with an account in the page, so go and register, its free and let you save and register your own tiles.
For me, this is a really useful tool for anyone playing RPG and for any RPG as well. The final results are HQ images easy to manipulate for printing or use in virtual campaigns in sites as Obsidian Portal. All the tools are really easy to use and you learn to use them really fast. Even thou if you need any help or have doubts about the development of the site contact them through Twitter [@battlemapr] or in the Twitter accounts of the developers [at the beggining of the entry]
Let’s wait the tool keep evolving with the help of the community and they create more things to make it bigger, and who knows? Maybe even a Spanish version as well!
I hope you visit the page and test it, is the best you can do to help improving the site and the tool.
Cheers and good haunt!