Changes to Digital Map Assets

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

I began a 12-week leave of absence at the beginning of February, during which life at Paizo, the games industry, and pretty much everywhere else changed due to the advent of COVID-19 and the resulting lockdowns. When I returned from leave at the end of April, I, like everyone else, was working from home and the to-do list I had left for myself in January suddenly needed to be rewritten.

Illustration of a hand drawn dungeon map on an unrolled scroll.

Art by Nikolai Ostertag

One of the first new priorities on the post-COVID list was to help support the thousands of players who were now restricted to playing Pathfinder and Starfinder exclusively on virtual tabletop programs like Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, D20Pro, Astral, and others. While our partners running these programs have done a great job of getting as much Pathfinder and Starfinder content as they could up on their respective marketplaces, I was tasked with figuring out how we at Paizo could provide more to our customers directly.

Today, I’m happy to announce that we’re taking the first step in doing so, by updating the file format of our digital map products. Beginning with the September new releases, all digital versions of new Pathfinder Flip-Mats, Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics, Pathfinder Flip-Tiles, Starfinder Flip-Mats, and Starfinder Flip-Tiles products will contain the PDFs our customers are used to as well as VTT-friendly JPGs ready for upload and use on the virtual tabletop platform of your choice.

With over 200 existing Pathfinder and Starfinder map dating back nearly two decades, it is going to take us some time to add these JPG assets to our back catalogue, but we’re going to start that process this week as well. We plan to update a handful of Flip-Mat, Flip-Tiles, and Map Pack products each week with VTT-ready JPGs, working backwards from the August 2020 releases. Customers who own digital map products will receive an email alerting them to the changes to their downloadable assets when they are updated.


We’re still working with our partners to make these maps (as well as many other Pathfinder and Starfinder products) available for purchase natively in each platform’s content store, but in the meantime, enjoy your Pathfinder and Starfinder map products in whatever campaign you’re running on the VTT platform you like best.

Let us know how else we can support you and your fellow players in this new digital gaming landscape, and we’ll see how long my to-do list becomes

Mark Moreland
Director of Brand Strategy

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Tags: Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition Starfinder Starfinder Accessories Starfinder Roleplaying Game
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Sovereign Court

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French Fries - WOW


This is great to hear!


29 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This is really good to hear. The thing I would ask (and I know it's a big one) is to do the same for the maps in the APs. Ideally, when downloading my monthly AP, I'd like the zip file to contain a VTT friendly JPG for each of the contained maps. Trying to extract the low resolution, and often not exactly lined up to a grid correctly, maps from the APs is one of the biggest and most tedious parts of my prep. I usually search and hope that someone else has recreated the maps from scratch and sometimes get lucky.

The Exchange

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Pathfinder Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Oh man, my VTT tables thank you, and so do I.


Wow! I don’t even use the maps for that sort of thing, but I applaud the change wholeheartedly. Nice work Paizo!

Shadow Lodge

This is amazing news! Thank you, Mark, and everyone working on this!!!

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

30 people marked this as a favorite.
Phaedre wrote:
This is really good to hear. The thing I would ask (and I know it's a big one) is to do the same for the maps in the APs.

This is on our list to do, it's just a question of both figuring out the best format/resolution/etc. for these assets and digging back into hundreds of adventures to pull out the multiple maps in each to convert them. One advantage the standalone map products have over in-adventure maps is that they were originally created to be printed at 1-inch scale, meaning there's already a lot more detail in the image than there are in a lot of maps that are intended to be printed at much lower scale. So, know that we're working on it and will keep everyone posted once we have more information on our plans going forward.


Will this change be included in the Adventure Path Interactive Maps you get with the PDF? Oops ignore didn't even see the post above mine :)


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Great news! One additional thing that would be really useful for running PFS scenarios online would be for those scenarios that have maps that are put together from multiple map tiles to include one page where they are reprinted with no annotations. That way, it's easy to screen-grab the entire map instead of having to do the rather unenjoyable task of piecing it together from numerous tiles.


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

WOW! Thank you!!


This is the best news ever! THANK YOU!


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

If my brain weren't leaking out of my ears from my excitement, I would think of something much better to say than, "THANK YOU!" But I do say it with sheer enthusiasm and unbridled joy!

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

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For more on how Paizo is helping you stay safe and play on, read:
Pathfinder & Starfinder Home Gaming Guide,
Guest Blog: Online Region Resources part 1,
Guest Blog: Online Region Resources part 2,
PACG Online Play in Real Time,
Stream Overlays for Pathfinder 2E & Starfinder,
Accessories Go Digital.


What does "VTT-ready" mean?

Acquisitives

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As a little graphics geek and VTT player I have a few question regarding the new VTT maps:
1. which resolution will the VTT maps have? (px per inch)
2. will maps from non-flip-map products (e.g. adventure paths) get the same "update"?
3. If an old product got the update, did people who bought the products before will get the new maps, too?

Especially the second question would be important for me, because the current maps in the digital AP are just so low quality, that you can't print them out or use them on a VTT.

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

11 people marked this as a favorite.
Peg'giz wrote:

As a little graphics geek and VTT player I have a few question regarding the new VTT maps:

1. which resolution will the VTT maps have? (px per inch)
2. will maps from non-flip-map products (e.g. adventure paths) get the same "update"?
3. If an old product got the update, did people who bought the products before will get the new maps, too?

Especially the second question would be important for me, because the current maps in the digital AP are just so low quality, that you can't print them out or use them on a VTT.

1. 300, which should scale to the 75px per inch that Roll20 suggests for their platform, for example. We also made sure to keep every file under the 10MB limit that Roll20 has for uploads.

2. Not currently, but it's something we're looking into. Generally, we don't have these maps at as high of resolution as we do maps that were meant to be printed at a 1-inch scale, so we don't have as many levers to pull to make them look good at the file size folks need to be able to use them.

3. Anyone who owns a digital version of a product that is updated will receive the new file formats in addition to any that were previously included (which are all PDFs currently).

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

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wraithstrike wrote:
What does "VTT-ready" mean?

Previously, users had to jump through a bunch of hoops to extract the map images from our PDFs before they could upload them into a VTT application, and the edges of the map were almost always not aligned with the grid, so they had trouble lining the map up with the VTT's internal grid. We've cropped partial squares off the edges of these maps and provided them as native JPGs at as high or resolution as we could manage while still keeping them under the size limit of uploads to Roll20.


Thank you, Paizo!


Bravo! We are mid-way through Age of Ashes and since it is NOT available for Roll20, having the maps available would at least help!!


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Card Game, Lost Omens, Maps, PF Special Edition, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

This is amazing news! I’d like to echo the call for AP maps as well. I realize that old ones are pretty low-res but you could for example commission high enough resolution maps for VTT for upcoming APs so that newer material sets a higher bar of VTT friendliness.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Thank you, Mark and the whole team working on this. It is very much appreciated.


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Woo, this is great!

Will the Pawns line be getting a similar treatment?

Sovereign Court

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If my players knew how little work I do prepping for games since 2ed launched they'd be very upset. The ease with which I can whip up an encounter with 2ed is truly the best part of the version change.

Online this has been difficult because, well in person I can just grab a flip-map throw it on the table, get a few minis, the Bestiary, and run. Online it will take sometimes 20-30 minutes to get ONE image to fit.

This new change to digital maps will literally mean I will spend half as much time prepping now. Less time prepping means more time drinking and who doesn't need more time for that.

Liberty's Edge

Thank you, Paizo.

As a venture officer in Organized Play, I think that I can say that this will help me and many other GMs. It will save us time and allow us to focus more on our players rather than trying to have one map image fit.

My hope is that we will be returning sooner than later to in person gaming. However, we must face what challenges we have and I thank you for making my work as a GM easier.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Why .jpg and not a lossless and more future proof format like .png

The Exchange

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Just one more example of why I will continue to support Paizo. You truly do seem to care about what your customers and community want and need. Although I dont always agree with every single choice, you definitely have a customer for life. Thank you!


Considering that I quit purchasing Pathfinder maps when I switched from primarily in-person games to primarily online games, I'd say this is good news. Converting PDF files never felt like it was worth the effort, so I quit using them altogether and switched to a combination of (mostly) Gabriel Pickard's work and stuff from the Heroic Maps line. I love Paizo maps, though, and this will make me a customer again! Woohoo!


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Having the AP maps being able to be individually copied/pasted instead of hidden behind the PDF borders (or sliced into a million pieces when extracted) would be helpful.

I would gladly have paid a few extra bucks to be able to not do the ALT-prt-screen, paste in GIMP, trim, etc thing and then have that blue Swarm image (or labels) stuck in it.


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Nicolas Paradise wrote:
Why .jpg and not a lossless and more future proof format like .png

Size would be my guess. A lot more compression in your typical JPG than PNG.


Next level awesome!

Envoy's Alliance

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Omg thank you!!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

This is probably the best news I have heard from Paizo in more than a decade of using their products.

Thanx to all those who will be digging through all the old content maps to fix them up for VTTs.

Grand Archive

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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
MurderHobo#6226 wrote:
Nicolas Paradise wrote:
Why .jpg and not a lossless and more future proof format like .png
Size would be my guess. A lot more compression in your typical JPG than PNG.

If the maps were all textureless solid colors, PNG could actually be better compression wise, like for cartoon pictures... But Paizo's map usually have LOT of details and texture, so yeah, JPG is better.

Liberty's Edge

Thank you! Doing screen capture of PDFs is easy but one more step in our online journey we can now skip.

Sovereign Court

Awesome update! Thank you!

Scarab Sages

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as someone said above - any plans to tokenise pawn sets or bestiarys?


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If you're including APs in this, for the love of god please include clean versions that don't have any markings. Having to photoshop out the giant S's that mark secret doors is a headache.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

This will push me towards signing up for more online gaming AND make my GMing easier. Less prep, more play (especially when players zig instead of zag!) Who knows, maybe I'll start working on Organized Play for Starfinder now!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

FANTASTIC news! I'd echo the PFS and AP comments above - and don't forget the modules!

I also want to amplify the customer focus comments. I've worked in customer relations management for over 20 years and your obvious customer obsession is part of why the Pathfinder community are such rabid supporters!

Thanks so much!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
MalignantMind wrote:
If you're including APs in this, for the love of god please include clean versions that don't have any markings. Having to photoshop out the giant S's that mark secret doors is a headache.

I agree. GMs do need a players perspective view map, with all markers and specially hidden item markers removed. In the VTT the GM will add needed markers once the players have discovered the item.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Awesome! I have amassed a few image manipulation skills working through this switch to VTT but gald to see you are moving that way. But I wonder if we could look at the map usage in Organized Play program and sort of rank them that way also? Most used? Agreed start with the newest stuff but then maybe look there?

Pawns would be awesome also! :)


Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Great news! Thank you!


As someone who buys the physical product from my LGS but uses a TableTV to display the maps can I somehow get access to these upgraded map files?


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Excellent news, thanks for doing this.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps Subscriber
ograx wrote:

As someone who buys the physical product from my LGS but uses a TableTV to display the maps can I somehow get access to these upgraded map files?

Maps come in two versions: physical and digital.

If you are a subscriber to the Maps product line, you get the digital version free when your physical map ships. So if you've been a subscriber, all the free digital versions that are in your Digital Content will be automatically upgraded to the new version.

If you bought a digital version in the past, it will be automatically upgraded as well.

If you only purchased the physical version, you can buy the digital product now and it will either be the new version or else will be automatically upgraded when that map is re-released.


This is fantastic news! Thank you so much for your amazing dedication to your customers.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

That is awesome!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Wow. I was hoping for at least future releases, but going ALL the way back is extreme, unexpected, and kind of awesome!

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As a former online Venture Captain, I can tell you that this has been a much-wished for item for a long time. Thank you, thank you, thank you for implementing it.

Hmm


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

This is great, thank you!

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