Recommend me a Battlemap creation tool

Nilbog

Snotling Herder
Hi All

I was after a little advice. For my game we use a local VTT on horizontal flat screen TV. I have a PC connected to this which runs Roll20 as a player client, then as a DM I use my Ipad pro to run Roll20 DM client this works ok (with a few little foibles), however the difficult I find is creating the actual maps to use. I've tried the built in creator in Roll20 and its ok, but not brilliant, so the solution I've gone for is to create the maps using the old level editor in the original NWN game, saving the result as a JPG and importing into Roll20

However, I was wondering if there are any good battlemap creation software packages out there, that create good quality results that can be used in Roll20? (I did look at other VTT solutions, but none seem to cheaply support my particular setup, which is a shame as I'd love to use dynamic maps which I don't believe roll20 supports)
 

AndromedaRPG

Explorer
I would recommend Arkenforge, located at Arkenforge – Map making, Audio and Campaign management – Map making, Audio and Campaign management. You may have already checked this out. It offers a lot of creation options (create maps from scratch or import images), works offline, offers fog of war (erase or dynamic), and zooming (independent GM and player screens). It is technically in beta, but I have found it is a solid application (please note, I have not used the audio file section yet).

It does cost $35, so I don't know if this is within your price range.

Edit: you can export the maps if you want. The program supports multiple levels as well.
 

Nebulous

Adventurer
I would recommend Arkenforge, located at Arkenforge – Map making, Audio and Campaign management – Map making, Audio and Campaign management. You may have already checked this out. It offers a lot of creation options (create maps from scratch or import images), works offline, offers fog of war (erase or dynamic), and zooming (independent GM and player screens). It is technically in beta, but I have found it is a solid application (please note, I have not used the audio file section yet).

It does cost $35, so I don't know if this is within your price range.

Edit: you can export the maps if you want. The program supports multiple levels as well.
So does it work well also if you want to print physical maps?
 

AndromedaRPG

Explorer
So does it work well also if you want to print physical maps?
I apologize , I am not near my computer to try (won't me for several hours unfortunately). As memory serves me, it can support printed maps as well with the export function. If nothing else, I do know from memory that the built in assessts are at 256 ppi; exported images should be high enough quality for print.
 

LordEntrails

Adventurer
My personal favorite, for many years, is Campaign Cartographer by ProFantasy. It is hands down the most powerful cartography tool for fantasy/fictional maps. And, not only is it powerful, but once you learn how to use it, it is very fast because of the numerous symbol catalogs and templates available. But, it is a vector CAD tool, not a bitmap image tool (like Photoshop etc), so it can have a learning curve if you try to use it like an image tool. It also is not free.
EDIT: for battlemaps, get the Dungeon Designer add-on and also the CSUAC2 and Bogie Mapping objects from the forums. Even when you are not doing dungeons, the DD add-on has battlemap/top-down tools you will want (rooms, walls, etc)

Here's a list and discussion of mapping software. Not totally up to date, but still very valid, plus you can check the latest posts for more recent choices; Map Making Software - summary
 

Zio_the_dark

The dark one :)
The price is a bit high but campaign cartographer is a very good software for this, as said before it has a steep learning curve but very powerful...
 

AndromedaRPG

Explorer
I apologize , I am not near my computer to try (won't me for several hours unfortunately). As memory serves me, it can support printed maps as well with the export function. If nothing else, I do know from memory that the built in assessts are at 256 ppi; exported images should be high enough quality for print.
I just checked Arkenforge: You can set the DPI, and can export as an image or a PDF. For the PDF, you can specify the page size. For image exports, there is a DPI option for Roll20. I haven't used these export options much, as I run my games directly from Arkenforge.
 

Nilbog

Snotling Herder
Thanks for the replies.

I've been leaning towards Arkenforge, I wouldn't use any of its VTT functionality as it doesn't run on ipad (as far as I'm aware), however if the map creation side is reasonably powerful and fairly straightforward to use it looks good.

I did consider Campaign Cartographer, but it looked my geared towards creating overland/town maps rather than the sort of 5x5 battlemaps i am after, I could be wrong though?
 

Zio_the_dark

The dark one :)
Campaign cartographer can create all types of maps you can do overland, dungeons, city, even futuristic maps...just take a look at their website.
 

jrh18

Visitor
I use Clip Studio paint with resources from patreon organizations, specifically Forgotten Adventures, but other patreons create resources too. I find that using a painting tool like CSP with layers and materials allows for a lot more control over the end map.
 

LordEntrails

Adventurer
I did consider Campaign Cartographer, but it looked my geared towards creating overland/town maps rather than the sort of 5x5 battlemaps i am after, I could be wrong though?
The core package is geared to overland maps. The City Designer has cities icons and the ability to generate random houses along a road and other "city/civilization" types of things. Dungeon Designer has what you want for dungeons AND for battle maps; top down symbols, wall and ground fills, etc.

And there are various Annuals that have different styles so you can change the look of your map as well. Plus, if you like the Way Mike Schley's maps look, then you can buy the Cities of Schley or the Dungeons of Schley add-ons to get a bunch of symbols he made in his own style plus color palettes etc so you can make maps that look near identical to his.

Also, the PF community is pretty darn amazing and friendly. Don't underestimate the importance of the community. Besides the PF forums, their is also a FB group; Campaign Cartographer 3+ Facebook User Group

I mostly do battlemaps myself, and if you want to take a look, I have some of mine posted here; quality varies, but none of them took me very long to make; Lord Entrail's Maps - Page 2

There are also a few I've posted on imgur like this one;
BUT, you have to decide what you want/need. Not every package is going to be best for everyone.
 

Nilbog

Snotling Herder
The core package is geared to overland maps. The City Designer has cities icons and the ability to generate random houses along a road and other "city/civilization" types of things. Dungeon Designer has what you want for dungeons AND for battle maps; top down symbols, wall and ground fills, etc.

And there are various Annuals that have different styles so you can change the look of your map as well. Plus, if you like the Way Mike Schley's maps look, then you can buy the Cities of Schley or the Dungeons of Schley add-ons to get a bunch of symbols he made in his own style plus color palettes etc so you can make maps that look near identical to his.

Also, the PF community is pretty darn amazing and friendly. Don't underestimate the importance of the community. Besides the PF forums, their is also a FB group; Campaign Cartographer 3+ Facebook User Group

I mostly do battlemaps myself, and if you want to take a look, I have some of mine posted here; quality varies, but none of them took me very long to make; Lord Entrail's Maps - Page 2

There are also a few I've posted on imgur like this one;
BUT, you have to decide what you want/need. Not every package is going to be best for everyone.
Your maps look amazing! CC3, loks a great package, I may have to take a peak
 

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
I like to use Dungeon Painter Studio for dungeon maps. It's a very easy tool to learn and use, and has useful features like grouping a set of tiles together (say a fully furnished room) so that you can drag it as a unit to anywhere else on the map.

For overworld maps, I prefer Wonderdraft. It's again a toolset that's easy to learn and use, and while I haven't managed to produce anything nearly as nice as @LordEntrails I'm always happy with the results from Wonderdraft, despite my dearth of artistic talent.

I tried CC3, and went though the various tutorials, but I just couldn't seem to get the hang of it. I understood how to do things in theory, but I couldn't seem to get them to come out the way I wanted in practice (or to even look good). Just my 2 cents.
 

LordEntrails

Adventurer
Your maps look amazing! CC3, loks a great package, I may have to take a peak
Thanks :)
Just make sure when you start you forget what you know about making maps in other applications and do the CC tutorials. A lot of those maps in that thread are the tutorial maps. So I did those when I had little experience with CC. IMO, that shows how easy it is to get great results.
 

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