A few battlemap previews

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Wondering what the battlemaps in :z: will look like? Here's a quick preview of five of them.

You'll notice that we are not adopting that hideous practice of putting monster starting positions on the battlemaps. And you can't make us! It's horrible and assumes you're 6 years old.
 

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Falkus

Explorer
Wondering what the battlemaps in :z: will look like? Here's a quick preview of five of them.

Looking good! I can't wait to get my hands on the first adventure.

You'll notice that we are not adopting that hideous practice of putting monster starting positions on the battlemaps. And you can't make us! It's horrible and assumes you're 6 years old.

I really appreciate this; especially after a map with a Shadowrun adventure I'm going to be running, a map that would have been otherwise perfect to hand out to the players as a map for a battle, had a notation on it saying: 'Hidden enemies here'.
 

OnlineDM

Adventurer
Excellent! I'm glad to hear that you're not putting the monster starting positions on the maps. That makes life much easier for those of us who run these adventures using programs like MapTool.
 

Colmarr

First Post
Is there any chance of finding out:

1. Whether the maps will be available for separate download (subscriber only, of course) rather than embedded in a pdf?

2. If the answer to #1 is yes, what pixel to square ratio the maps are prepared in? 50px per square seems to work well for maptool and would make me really happy.

Oh, and :z:, just cause I saw the code in your post, and I'm a nerd that way :)

Edit:

And having now taken a closer look at the maps, I can comment that I love them, especially the elevation markings. 3D terrain is sorely missing in 4e.

I especially like the hedge maze, because it's the sort of encounter that will really showcase the power of virtual table tools (such as MapTool) and their vision-blocking abilities. If I could offer one piece of constructive criticism, it would be that many of the walls in the hedge maze (particularly on the western side) don't align with the edges of the map squares. That will make it more difficult to prepare the map for a virtual table program.
 
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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Is there any chance of finding out:

1. Whether the maps will be available for separate download (subscriber only, of course) rather than embedded in a pdf?

I thought I posted them above? Are they not showing up for you?

2. If the answer to #1 is yes, what pixel to square ratio the maps are prepared in? 50px per square seems to work well for maptool and would make me really happy.

I don't understand that maptool malarky, but print quality is about 300 DPI.

And having now taken a closer look at the maps, I can comment that I love them, especially the elevation markings. 3D terrain is sorely missing in 4e.

Useable terrain is one of our design goals. Lots of space, different elevations, etc.
 


OnlineDM

Adventurer
For what it's worth, the first map (The Docks) appears to be at a scale of 51.6 pixels per square. Really close to awesome for MapTool... but not quite there. Easy enough to resize, though (see here for the way I did it).
 

Colmarr

First Post
I thought I posted them above? Are they not showing up for you?

I was more asking whether you will continue to publish the maps separately online as jpgs (or other image formats), or whether the maps for Zeitgeist will only be available in the adventure pdfs.

I ask because I can't see anywhere in the old subscriber or new subscriber areas that the WotBS maps were separately published in image format.

If a Zeitgeist map is separately published as a jpg or image file (as you have done here), I can download that image directly into virtual table tops and use it as a battlemat.


If the map is not separately published, but exists only as part of the adventure pdf (eg at the bottom of pg 56), then:
  1. there may be some loss of quality during the process of putting the map into the pdf;
  2. the map might be skewed somehow to get it into the pdf (such as by narrowing its width but not adjusting its height); and
  3. virtual tabletop users such as myself and OnlineDM need to extract the map out of the pdf into our tabeltop program of choice and then hope that the squares on the map are actually square, which leads into:
I don't understand that maptool malarky

To clarify, the pixel to square ratio of a map is a measure of how many pixels wide each square on the map is. Think of it as zoom level. A '20px per square' map is a zoomed out map, because each square is tiny. A '100px per square' map is a zoomed in map, because each square is huge.

Most virtual tabletop programs include a 'grid' that governs movement and range. The grid, rather than the squares on the image file, is used to count PC and monster movement, range etc. Therefore, to get the maps to work with the virtual tabletop, gamers need to ensure that the pixel to square ratio on the image file matches the pixel to square ratio on the virtual tabletop grid. If it isn't, then PCs and monsters will eventually end up outside map squares.

For example, when I tried to create the githzerai monastery map from WotC's Den of the Destroyer (or indeed the keep from Keep on the Shadowfell*), I found it impossible to get the grid to line up with the squares. I concluded that the map had been squeezed at some stage so that the squares on the map weren't in fact square, thus they couldn't align with the grid (which is square).

In my ideal world, the Zeitgeist maps would be published separately as image files, with either an indication of their pixel to square ratio (ie. how many pixels long is each side of the map squares) or with every map having the same ratio. Ideally it'd be a nice even number like 30 or 50 or 100, but the actual number doesn't matter so long as we know what it is. 51.6 pixels per square is fine so long as we know it's 51.6, because that allows us to alter the virtual tabletop 'grid' to match the squares on the map without having to eyeball it.

This information should be readily available to the person who created the map because I believe it's something they set during the creation process, and it could be made a part of the work order for maps that haven't been ordered or finalised yet (ie "map of X. Each square on the map should be 50 pixels by 50 pixels".)

Now all of this is obviously above and beyond anything any other publisher that I know of does, but I ask anyway because it would be really cool if you could accomodate us.

*Yes, OnlineDM, you ultimately pointed me to the Mad Mapper version.
 
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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I was more asking whether you will continue to publish the maps separately online as jpgs (or other image formats), or whether the maps for Zeitgeist will only be available in the adventure pdfs.

I ask because I can't see anywhere in the old subscriber or new subscriber areas that the WotBS maps were separately published in image format.

If a Zeitgeist map is separately published as a jpg or image file (as you have done here), I can download that image directly into virtual table tops and use it as a battlemat.


If the map is not separately published, but exists only as part of the adventure pdf (eg at the bottom of pg 56), then:
  1. there may be some loss of quality during the process of putting the map into the pdf;
  2. the map might be skewed somehow to get it into the pdf (such as by narrowing its width but not adjusting its height); and
  3. virtual tabletop users such as myself and OnlineDM need to extract the map out of the pdf into our tabeltop program of choice and then hope that the squares on the map are actually square, which leads into:

To clarify, the pixel to square ratio of a map is a measure of how many pixels wide each square on the map is. Think of it as zoom level. A '20px per square' map is a zoomed out map, because each square is tiny. A '100px per square' map is a zoomed in map, because each square is huge.

Most virtual tabletop programs include a 'grid' that governs movement and range. The grid, rather than the squares on the image file, is used to count PC and monster movement, range etc. Therefore, to get the maps to work with the virtual tabletop, gamers need to ensure that the pixel to square ratio on the image file matches the pixel to square ratio on the virtual tabletop grid. If it isn't, then PCs and monsters will eventually end up outside map squares.

For example, when I tried to create the githzerai monastery map from WotC's Den of the Destroyer (or indeed the keep from Keep on the Shadowfell*), I found it impossible to get the grid to line up with the squares. I concluded that the map had been squeezed at some stage so that the squares on the map weren't in fact square, thus they couldn't align with the grid (which is square).

In my ideal world, the Zeitgeist maps would be published separately as image files, with either an indication of their pixel to square ratio (ie. how many pixels long is each side of the map squares) or with every map having the same ratio. Ideally it'd be a nice even number like 30 or 50 or 100, but the actual number doesn't matter so long as we know what it is. 51.6 pixels per square is fine so long as we know it's 51.6, because that allows us to alter the virtual tabletop 'grid' to match the squares on the map without having to eyeball it.

This information should be readily available to the person who created the map because I believe it's something they set during the creation process, and it could be made a part of the work order for maps that haven't been ordered or finalised yet (ie "map of X. Each square on the map should be 50 pixels by 50 pixels".)

Now all of this is obviously above and beyond anything any other publisher that I know of does, but I ask anyway because it would be really cool if you could accomodate us.

*Yes, OnlineDM, you ultimately pointed me to the Mad Mapper version.

That doesn't necessarily work because maps are commissioned by page size and DPI (eg half page, 300 DPI). The cost of a full page map is twice that of a half page map. Larger is exponentially more.

From what I understand from your description, a big map of 100 squares across which we've commissioned as a full page at 300 DPI (print quality) would actually need to be poster sized or similar and maintain the same resolution? That would cost us thousands.

Unless I'm misunderstanding you.
 

OnlineDM

Adventurer
I think that's what Colmarr's saying, yes, but here's another way of thinking about it:

If you would like to provide extra value to the members of your Silver Subscriber community (of which I will be one when my Copper expires in six weeks), release stand-along JPGs of the maps for use in virtual tabletop software, with these JPGs scaled so that one square is 50 pixels across and the squares are actually square.

When you commission the map, it's fine to commission one that's 100 squares across and fits on half a page, but it would be nice if someone with access to the original version of the image would re-scale it to the 50 pixel scale as a service to people like Colmarr and me.

It's not required, of course; we can work from the PDFs and re-size the images ourselves. But it sure would be awesome if you could make this available to subscribers! Have a map pack ZIP file with pre-formatted maps as an extra file with each PDF... awesomeness!

I'd be happy to do the re-scaling for you gratis, by the way, if that's an issue. It's not too hard to do.
 

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