Maps, and Pathfinder


Pathfinder Campaign Setting General Discussion

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I just got my copy of The End of Eternity, and flipping through the pages to check out all of the beautiful mapwork made me finally snap: what is with the lack of useful sizes? 1square = 10 feet does me no good, and to be perfectly honest, I keep my subscription running for the maps and artwork alone.

Yet it hasn't been since Rise of the Runelords that I've seen maps that I could realistically use right away. I used to print the images out, but then I moved to virtual tabletop gaming. Maybe the majority of Pathfinder DMs are used to alternative means of showing their maps, but I am by no means a talented artist (or even passable at drawing on a grid).

I want you to go back and look at the maps for Thistletop, or even Kalton Manor. One square is five feet, and it's in a big enough size (in the PDF version) that you could plop it into a VTT and run with it. Compare that to the (admittedly beautiful) Isle of Dead in the latest Pathfinder. Sure they have the Isle of Not, but that's 1/4 the page, compared to the 3/4ths that Thistletop got when it appeared.

I don't mean to disparage the good folks at Paizo, but is it cheaper to get the cartographers to work this way? Is it part of the business model to show maps as reference guides for later re-creation and nothing more?

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Can't you scale the grid on the VTT to allow for maps of any scale? I don't know the program you're using, but I know of at least one where this is possible.


yoda8myhead wrote:
Can't you scale the grid on the VTT to allow for maps of any scale? I don't know the program you're using, but I know of at least one where this is possible.

I use maptools, and while it does allow me a bit of wiggle room for sizing the map, the task becomes nigh-impossible when the squares are 10 feet instead of 5, and if the original image isn't very large then you cannot zoom in.

I guess what I really can't understand is why such nice maps are kept so small when the original, very large image is out there somewhere!

Dark Archive

I agree with this. I would rather have large, beautiful maps that are easy to work with than a lot of the other stuff that gets included in the APs.

You can take out the set pieces or a few of the new monsters from the bestiaries to make room for better maps, and I would be happier for it.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

There are three things that constrain the maps we print: cost and space and complexity.

Maps cost money, and full page maps cost more than half page maps. If an adventure has a lot of maps, we'll generally try to save some money by presenting them as smaller maps if we can get away with it. A more common problem though is space; we have a limited amount of room in each adventure to present maps and text and illustrations, and we have to balance that against each other. In the particular case of "End of Eternity," the author's adventure ran quite a bit over the 30,000 words we asked for and we had to compact the maps down a bit as a result. Finally, there's complexity. If a map is relatively simple, it's sort of a waste of the previous two considerations (space and cost) to print it full page. Several of the maps in "End of Eternity" are simple in this way; they're only a few encounter areas and those areas are pretty devoid of complex areas and clutter. As a result, they look better as half-page maps. Printed full page, they'd look kind of sparse and, in a worst-case scenario, might even look like we were padding out the adventure.

So yeah; there's a lot of different variables going into an adventure's maps, and that really begins at the author level. Some authors really get into the maps and provide us with big detailed maps that end up needing full page presentations, while others tend to focus their efforts more on the words and less on the maps. Combine that with the variables of each volume's needs, budgets, and space, and that's why some installments of Pathifnder have bigger or more detailed maps than others.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Entropi wrote:

I agree with this. I would rather have large, beautiful maps that are easy to work with than a lot of the other stuff that gets included in the APs.

You can take out the set pieces or a few of the new monsters from the bestiaries to make room for better maps, and I would be happier for it.

You might be happier, but other folk wouldn't be. We have to strive for a balance in each Pathfinder, and that means not overdoing anything, really. Now and then you'll see an issue that skews in one direction, be that a lot of big maps or a lot of monsters, but overall we have to keep things pretty balanced to try to please as many readers as possible.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

One final thing; the size of the area dictates grid scale as well. Especially in an adventure like "End of Eternity," (or in the upcoming "The Impossible Eye") where so many of the monsters are Large sized and need equally large lairs. Since we're constrained by the physical size of the page (in addition to the space the text of the adventure leaves us), that's yet another variable that impacts maps.

Maps are, also, without a doubt, THE most complex part of an adventure to produce. They combine all of the problems you get with text that you do with art, and compound both of those opportunities for error as well.


Those are some great points, and I can understand printing costs and size limitations, but you also offer many of your products digitally. What is stopping you from posting the original, high-res version of the map for those who purchased the adventure? I know you have to size them down to fit them into the books, so there must be larger scans available out there.

From a business standpoint, you could charge a few dollars extra for a hi-res map pack and essentially make money on something you've already written off as overheard. I can't imagine the people you commission for mapwork to be against that.


Is it really that much of a problem? Granted, I use Maptool only to display the maps on the second screen for the players to look at, not to use as a virtual tabletop, but can't you put a grid over the map. You can scale that grid, so you have 4 grid squares for each map square.

Grand Lodge

I am all in favor of digital map sets being available for purchase. The Map Folios are fine enough I suppose, but I want something more useful than reprints of maps already in the books, that are the same size as they were in the book. In case no one realized it, I could just use the ones in the book!

A digital map set, that has all maps in a larger size, would be a fantastic asset.


Netami wrote:

Those are some great points, and I can understand printing costs and size limitations, but you also offer many of your products digitally. What is stopping you from posting the original, high-res version of the map for those who purchased the adventure? I know you have to size them down to fit them into the books, so there must be larger scans available out there.

From a business standpoint, you could charge a few dollars extra for a hi-res map pack and essentially make money on something you've already written off as overheard. I can't imagine the people you commission for mapwork to be against that.

Believe it or not Netami, but this has been hashed, and rehashed many times - for various reasons.

The general idea that has been expressed to the consumer is that there aren't necessarily higher resolution maps available.

The maps you get are really the maps they have.

Purposefully commissioning the kind of resolution maps the fans are asking for will greatly increase the cost of the product, because that kind of detail from their cartographers will demand more money.

Many of the customers are on your side, but until someone comes up with the "magic solution" to high resolution maps for the same - if not cheaper - price, it probably won't happen.


If the official answer I am going to get is, yes, the cartographers they commission actually 1. Charge on a basis of image resolution and 2. the biggest image they go to print with maps is roughly 500 x 500, then that's fine.

But I've seen how other magazines work. Their images are huge before being squished down to fit. Even the preview images we get on the blog for some of the character art is a nice size before it gets resized. I could do side-by-sides of images extracted via adobe and the preview images and probably show better examples.

I just want you guys to know that, at least for me and probably a good minority of other DMs, running an adventure hinges entirely on whether or not we have maps available to run it. Paizo continues to be one of the best companies out there for adventures, and even Wizards recently kicked sand in our face by using TILES FOR MAPS in their Fourth Edition adventure for E3. I use a projector set-up in real life, and constantly use maptools for online play... Yes, I can zoom in, but you can only go so far before it gets grainy.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Netami wrote:

Those are some great points, and I can understand printing costs and size limitations, but you also offer many of your products digitally. What is stopping you from posting the original, high-res version of the map for those who purchased the adventure? I know you have to size them down to fit them into the books, so there must be larger scans available out there.

From a business standpoint, you could charge a few dollars extra for a hi-res map pack and essentially make money on something you've already written off as overheard. I can't imagine the people you commission for mapwork to be against that.

A hi-res version of an image or map is incredibly huge. A randomly chosen full-page map I just looked at for Pathfinder 23, for example, consists of two separate files, each of which is about 55 MB. Even if what I'm seeing isn't REALLY two separate files that's still 55 MB per full page of maps. Since the average Pathfinder has 3 or 4 pages of maps, and we do that every month... that gets out of hand really fast. And that STILL wouldn't get you maps at a high enough resolution for them to be crystal clear when they're printed out at a 1-inch per square scale. Some of the maps we run, if we were to print them out that scale, would be 25 square feet in size or larger.

As download speeds and storage capacities and print technology continue to get more awesome, of course, this might become a more feasible option for us.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Further clarification:

Our cartographers create the maps at the size they are printed in the book; they don't create them at such a level of detail that when you blow them up to 1 inch squares they'll still be crisp and clear. As I said in my last post, doing so could make a map big enough for a horse to use as a blanket. And since the current full-page size is running at 55 MB, I would assume that something equal to 25 pages would be close to 1,200 MB in size. I'm not sure our computers here at Paizo could handle that. I'm POSITIVE the one I work on would explode.


I just hang out on the map making websites and wait for people to use their Campaign Cartographer or other mapping program to do their versions of PF maps. They are usually 4 MB or smaller and work great in Maptools.

Maybe Paizo can officially sanction the work of such people until Paizo can do it themselves?

I also know I some how get a fair change in the size of maps, with still small file sizes, by simply importing from the PDF to GIMP 2, then take it to Maptools.


I honestly consider it a killer app that no one is genuinely interested in, as far as pen and paper companies go. There is no singular business out there that caters to this sort of niche and with the digital age being what it is, I only see things like this becoming more and more popular; projector setups and touch-screen surfaces are definitely going to be what the future of social gaming is done with. Whether or not offering larger versions of your maps is something worth spending Paizo resources on, I can't really be a determining factor; I am just one customer. But I can seek this out in the companies I buy from and make my requests known.

I am not asking for 55MB .pngs that are 4000 x 4000 pixels in size. I have no desire for someone to give me a map that they have painfully made sure that it will look beautiful when printing out 1inch per square. I just want something a bit larger than what we're getting, and as one of the biggest / best companies with a digital face for the public, I figured I'd see if it was something feasible.

P.S. I consider map-making communities such as the Cartographer's Guild and RPGMapShare to be a god-send. Glad to see you like them to, but it's pretty telling of the setting when people seek alternatives to the official offerings. NeonKnight's version of H1-H3 from Wizards is astounding.

Grand Lodge

Wow 55Mb is HUGE.

I just saved an image at 16x20 inches at 300 dpi as a JPG at maximum quality and it came out to 12.8Mb.

a 20x30 @300 dpi came out to 20.9Mb.

Another at 30x45 @300 dpi came out 37.6Mb

One at 40x60 @ 300 dpi came to 58.3Mb

Those maps must be HUGE!

48x96 (4 feet x 8 feet) @ 72 dpi is about 10.6Mb and not many players have an area larger than that to play on...

just pointing out useful sizes and such... it can be done.


James Jacobs wrote:
each of which is about 55 MB.

55 MB? Whoa! That would take me almost 20 seconds to download! (Well, provided you can match my connection speed, which you can't. PF downloads are agonizingly slow! ;-))


Krome wrote:

Wow 55Mb is HUGE.

I just saved an image at 16x20 inches at 300 dpi as a JPG at maximum quality and it came out to 12.8Mb.

a 20x30 @300 dpi came out to 20.9Mb.

Another at 30x45 @300 dpi came out 37.6Mb

One at 40x60 @ 300 dpi came to 58.3Mb

Those maps must be HUGE!

48x96 (4 feet x 8 feet) @ 72 dpi is about 10.6Mb and not many players have an area larger than that to play on...

just pointing out useful sizes and such... it can be done.

I'm going to take a shot in the dark, and assume the data of the maps is more "dense" than the image you tested with.


Regarding Maptool:

I'm able to size the maps (1 square = 10 feet) easily enough. They're a but low-resolution, but they're good enough I think. Is it that you want the gridlines to show or something?

Grand Lodge

Disenchanter wrote:
Krome wrote:

Wow 55Mb is HUGE.

I just saved an image at 16x20 inches at 300 dpi as a JPG at maximum quality and it came out to 12.8Mb.

a 20x30 @300 dpi came out to 20.9Mb.

Another at 30x45 @300 dpi came out 37.6Mb

One at 40x60 @ 300 dpi came to 58.3Mb

Those maps must be HUGE!

48x96 (4 feet x 8 feet) @ 72 dpi is about 10.6Mb and not many players have an area larger than that to play on...

just pointing out useful sizes and such... it can be done.

I'm going to take a shot in the dark, and assume the data of the maps is more "dense" than the image you tested with.

That I seriously doubt.

low res version of test image

to see the image I was testing on... be warned it is sexy, and yes it is mine.

The only way it would be more dense would be addition of layers. Flatten the layers and you are fine.


Krome wrote:
Disenchanter wrote:
I'm going to take a shot in the dark, and assume the data of the maps is more "dense" than the image you tested with.

That I seriously doubt.

low res version of test image

to see the image I was testing on... be warned it is sexy, and yes it is mine.

The only way it would be more dense would be addition of layers. Flatten the layers and you are fine.

Well... Let me start by saying I am unfamiliar with image manipulation.

But from what I gather, that image is about 1.8 x 1.2 inches, yes? (Just testing my understanding, no real point to it.)

And then we hit the potential problem, again if I understand image manipulation. I don't think Paizo can really flatten the layers. At least as I understand it, it would be impossible to pull out the underlying image from the map tags if they did.

Grand Lodge

Disenchanter wrote:
Krome wrote:
Disenchanter wrote:
I'm going to take a shot in the dark, and assume the data of the maps is more "dense" than the image you tested with.

That I seriously doubt.

low res version of test image

to see the image I was testing on... be warned it is sexy, and yes it is mine.

The only way it would be more dense would be addition of layers. Flatten the layers and you are fine.

Well... Let me start by saying I am unfamiliar with image manipulation.

But from what I gather, that image is about 1.8 x 1.2 inches, yes? (Just testing my understanding, no real point to it.)

And then we hit the potential problem, again if I understand image manipulation. I don't think Paizo can really flatten the layers. At least as I understand it, it would be impossible to pull out the underlying image from the map tags if they did.

lol THAT image is 5x7.5 @72 dpi. I did not feel like uploading the 4foot x 8foot image, and the 5x7.5 image already existed online. I used it to show that it is a pretty dense image so a good comparison.

They can easily flatten the image. Yes the map tags become part of the image then. But at 10Mb, you can easily have one map for PCs with no tags at all at a large size, and a second image, flattened with the tags part of the image in a smaller size for GMs. For about 11Mb you can have both images ready to use.

And I know it will come up so let me give some background of my expertise on this. I have been using Photoshop since it was called Photoshop (in other words no versions yet!) when it was originally released. I am a photographer and been shooting for 15 years and started shooting professionally with a digital camera in 1999 (when a Kodak 1.8Mp camera cost $25K). I do art and cartography for fun and giggles.

Now I expect that the biggest sticking point to using images online is the contract with the artist. Just because Paizo has a 55Mb image does not mean they are allowed to use it any way they want. Most artwork is contracted for specific uses and a company cannot use a piece of art outside the contracted use. So, in other words, Paizo might not own the rights to distribute the artwork online, and that might require a separate contract and more payments from Paizo to the artist. I do not know if this is true, but it a very common thing and would not be surprised if it is true. If so, no big deal, that ends it for me.

If they do own the artwork and can distribute it online, it really is as simple a matter of creating a couple of Actions in Photoshop and batching the images through. In a few minutes you are all done. I regularly batch through 1000 images at 8Mb each and am done in a couple of hours. Once the action is made, you can literally drop your images on a shortcut just before going home, walk out and in the morning your images are set and ready to be zipped and uploaded. On a Mac (I believe they use Macs), it is then as simple as right click on the image folders, select archive, wait one minute and it is all zipped up. Get to work at 8am and they are ready for the web team by 8:05am (in fact you can create an Automater script to do all of that for you and then the files are ready for the web team when you get to work!).

Trust me, if Paizo has the rights to digital distribution, it really is a simple matter to prepare the files.


I won't argue that you seem to know your stuff...

But with the "two image" model you're suggesting, we run into the realm of page count.

That may not matter with electronic distribution of the PDFs, but it will matter with the print distribution that the PDFs (or at least their source files... I do not know the intricacies of the Paizo print process) are used for.

And please realize, I'm not trying to argue against you. I'm just trying to temper your arguments against what I am led to believe from reading the technical responses from the Paizo staff.

I'm really hoping that this discussion between us will result in a way to get battlemap scaled images from them is some manner. :-)

Grand Lodge

Disenchanter wrote:

I won't argue that you seem to know your stuff...

But with the "two image" model you're suggesting, we run into the realm of page count.

That may not matter with electronic distribution of the PDFs, but it will matter with the print distribution that the PDFs (or at least their source files... I do not know the intricacies of the Paizo print process) are used for.

And please realize, I'm not trying to argue against you. I'm just trying to temper your arguments against what I am led to believe from reading the technical responses from the Paizo staff.

I'm really hoping that this discussion between us will result in a way to get battlemap scaled images from them is some manner. :-)

ahhh see I don't want these included in the APs. They have a Map Folio product that brings together all of the maps and most art in an AP.

I want a digital product that sells just the maps, but at sizes useful to GMs.

See, the reason I want a product like this is because all those really gorgeous awesome maps in the APs are an absolutely useless waste of space. I can't show the players the map in the book because it has the key and shows secret doors and stuff. So I have to hand draw that map on a battlemap. What we use in game is still the same crap art we have used for 20 years.

A quick hand drawn sketch is just as useful as those gorgeous maps. Because neither one will ever be used in an actual game.

BUT if I had a product that allowed me to actually USE those maps in game play... WOW!

Now also bear in mind what I want is actual maps used in the encounters. Not city maps drawn out at 1 inch = 5 feet! MOST maps where fighting actually takes place can be done on a few sheets of paper (obviously not all). The Sandpopint Glassworks (AP 1) is about 4 pages by 4 pages. Yep a lot of pages. But think of the quality of the fight! Cover! Obstacles! Ambushes! Leaping and swinging and climbing.

The cost for 16 pages using Kinkos online printing in color (for me) was about $9.50 before tax. I didn't price it, but I expect B/W copies to be about $5.00 before tax. For a LOT of GMs that is worth the price (after all if the map for a farmstead can sell for $12.50, a map guaranteed to be used in your AP should be worth that)

Grand Lodge

See my complaint with maps is I see these maps in the books and I can envision how the fight is going to go. There is cover, and places to maneuver around to get an ambush set up. Places to climb and drop onto enemy positions.

Instead the fight turns out to be a standard stand in one spot and hack and slash.

Why?

Because the map in the book shows me all kinds of environmental things that could be used. But in an actual game, I don't have the time and skill to draw out the detail needed to provide that much information. They get a crudely drawn outline of the room, a rough blob of some machinery and then the fight starts, usually with players laughing at how bad the map is.

I mean really, does Paizo really want 4/5ths of the people at that table thinking their maps are sorry pieces of crap worthy of derision?

BUT!!!!! I just remembered something. Worldworks is supposed to be making 3D maps for the APs. I have not had a chance yet to order anything. But if they are doing each of the major encounter maps, the problem is solved and I ranted for nothing. lol

OH, BTW, just so you guys know... I put Worldworks in touch with Paizo sometime ago. Paizo had never heard of Worldworks, and Worldworks was looking for an adventure publisher to team with. I suggested they get together (I even have emails to back it all up) and they did. Stupid me! Before I went into all this I should have checked on what is being done by Worldworks. Cause a 3d map is even better! lol

Grand Lodge

Well so far it appears just one 3D map from Worldworks for Howl of the Carrion King.

Still, one is better than none!

BTW everyone should go right now and have a look at their stuff it is amazing!


Krome wrote:

ahhh see I don't want these included in the APs. They have a Map Folio product that brings together all of the maps and most art in an AP.

I want a digital product that sells just the maps, but at sizes useful to GMs.

See, the reason I want a product like this is because all those really gorgeous awesome maps in the APs are an absolutely useless waste of space. I can't show the players the map in the book because it has the key and shows secret doors and stuff. So I have to hand draw that map on a battlemap. What we use in game is still the same crap art we have used for 20 years.

A quick hand drawn sketch is just as useful as those gorgeous maps. Because neither one will ever be used in an actual game.

BUT if I had a product that allowed me to actually USE those maps in game play... WOW!

Now also bear in mind what I want is actual maps used in the encounters. Not city maps drawn out at 1 inch = 5 feet! MOST maps where fighting actually takes place can be done on a few sheets of paper (obviously not all). The Sandpopint Glassworks (AP 1) is about 4 pages by 4 pages. Yep a lot of pages. But think of the quality of the fight! Cover! Obstacles! Ambushes! Leaping and swinging and climbing.

Now this is what I was getting at. Trying to outline exactly what was being proposed, and discussed. I think a lot of the previous requests weren't quite clear enough, but I had no authority to really speak on the behalf of the requester.

I think James Jacobs was looking at AP maps, and thinking that is what was being talked about. And, I believe Netami was also asking for the AP maps.

Your proposals, while relevant, are more for a completely different line.

And as long as I am clarifying things, I'm not too picky how we get battlemaps. Be it official, fan works, high resolution, "just good enough" resolution, whatever. I'm just quickly getting tired of the group having to huddle around the GM to look in his book, while he tries to cover the unexplored areas with index cards, to try and visualize what the layout really is.
I know some of the Paizo staff, at least, are under the impression that the customers are clamoring for highly detailed, drop dead gorgeous, properly scaled maps - probably hand painted on canvas. (That last part is meant as humor.)

But if y'all excuse me, I've finished rewriting and updating my resumes (two fields), and I'm off to get some sleep before getting together with the gaming group tomorrow.


Krome wrote:


I want a digital product that sells just the maps, but at sizes useful to GMs.

See, the reason I want a product like this is because all those really gorgeous awesome maps in the APs are an absolutely useless waste of space. I can't show the players the map in the book because it has the key and shows secret doors and stuff. So I have to hand draw that map on a battlemap. What we use in game is still the same crap art we have used for 20 years.

This is pretty much my sentiments exactly.

Maybe it is a fault of mine, to set a level of expectation so high for my players but I am not alright with stopping every minute or so as I draw out more corridors and rooms. My penmanship is god awful and it eats up a lot of session time. At the same time, I never put the task to my players because they are there to play, not draw maps.

I'd gladly pay for a separate file, and never expected this to be released complimentary with the APs each month. Assuming they own the rights, and the larger files, it really is just a matter of balancing the man hours against the potential business.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I believe that they are that way now. I opened a Second Darkness and copied one of the maps and it did not have the room numbers on it.

Of course, you may be referencing something else. I didn't read all the posts.

Grand Lodge

Disenchanter wrote:
I know some of the Paizo staff, at least, are under the impression that the customers are clamoring for highly detailed, drop dead gorgeous, properly scaled maps - probably hand painted on canvas. (That last part is meant as humor.)

Well, go to Mpix.com and you can have your maps printed on a variety of canvas options!

Yep what I would like to see is a new product line. I know the guys at Paizo are groaning (not ANOTHER line!).

This line would only offer a digital download, with no possible hardcopy prints. There would be two copies of each map. One small map would be for the GM and include all the keys, notations and secret doors. The second map would be scaled for 1 inch = 5 feet, if at all possible. I would also heavily suggest buying the paper minis being offered, because if for some reason you HAVE to print at 1 inch = ten feet, you can print out the paper minis to scale properly to the map.

Now I would not suggest pricing at very high prices, since the burden of printing these maps fall upon the group. A modest cost to cover incurred labor hours and perhaps some for the artist. I am thinking something around $5.00 per book.

And remember this does NOT include the artwork, just maps.

For example in Pathfinder 1, there are five maps. Even the largest is scaled for 1 inch = 5 feet, though I might change it's size in Photoshop or GIMP to be 1 inch = 10 feet to reduce the number of pages required. One map as we discussed needs 16 pages, the other three maps can be done in 9 pages (3x3) each.

Each GM can decide which maps he wants to print and in what quality. For instance, you can choose B/W to save on color ink or reduce the printing fee, scale down the opacity, again to reduce the ink used, scale down the image itself to reduce the number of pages needed.

A quick guide can be written for Photoshop and GIMP users (GIMP is free so no excuse not to get it) on different methods of image manipulation. Once you do it, you realize it is really quite easy.

Now the drawback to this product! If you choose to print every page in color for every map, you can easily spend $50 in just maps. Some groups will accept that others will prefer to choose only one or two maps to be printed out.

OR you can use a projector or virtual table top program for displaying the map.

Now that I think about it, I have a projector sitting in the closet. I wonder if I can hook it up to the laptop and use it to project a map on our 4'x8' gaming table, or the wall?


Try it, you'll love it. Any old POS projector will do and any laptop in the last ten years has a VGA port for it. Duct tape, a table, the ceiling, and you're good to go. I love it to death, and I've really become accustomed to the projection setup, which is why something like digital downloads for maps would be something I could definitely subscribe to.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Pawns Subscriber

Hmm, the maps that appear in the APs must be slightly bigger when they were created. Many of the maps appear to be scaled down. If I had made those maps myself, they would have looked hokey at that size. I feel that some were bigger maps that were worked on for excellent detail and then scaled back.

Anyway, you got my vote for a Map Folio that is higher in resolution than the printed beast. No one will deny such a thing would be better. The large 55 MB discussion is rather goofy. Single Layer Jpegs may not be pretty, but they can be a size that has enough detail for Maptools and such.

I find this request to add work to those involved at Paizo (as in getting consistent sizes with clarity), but it is a reasonable thing to ask.

I like Maps, but not having a good resolution for moving in and out is a waste.

Reminds me of my first digital photos that my program converted to 72 DPI. Never understood the concept till I went to print a few. Then I was in a shock!


Krome wrote:
Now that I think about it, I have a projector sitting in the closet. I wonder if I can hook it up to the laptop and use it to project a map on our 4'x8' gaming table, or the wall?

Absolutely. This isn't really a new idea, There is a forum dedicated to this topic, and if you'll look most of those threads dies about 2 or 3 years ago.

And they even hav a tutorial.

Depending on your technical skill, and your enthusiasm, you can even turn a LCD flatpanel monitor into a projector. ('Net show about it.)

Grand Lodge

Disenchanter wrote:
Krome wrote:
Now that I think about it, I have a projector sitting in the closet. I wonder if I can hook it up to the laptop and use it to project a map on our 4'x8' gaming table, or the wall?

Absolutely. This isn't really a new idea, There is a forum dedicated to this topic, and if you'll look most of those threads dies about 2 or 3 years ago.

And they even hav a tutorial.

Depending on your technical skill, and your enthusiasm, you can even turn a LCD flatpanel monitor into a projector. ('Net show about it.)

I know others have been doing it, I just remembered I had that old projector! lol

I will go check out those tutorials.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

One thing to note: I honestly don't know what the capabilities and procedures are for actual map file manipulation. My part of working on the maps is generally limited to asking authors to provide them, sometimes redrawing maps that authors provide that are too ugly or confusing, and then sending the finished map rough drafts to our art director, who then sends them on to the cartographer. I also proof the final maps that come back to make sure they work with the adventure.

SO! I can't really speak with authority WHY we do the maps the way we do, but I can say that changing that procedure isn't really an option while we're overworking our art department as it is by heaping so many monthly products on them AND adding additional giant hardcovers. Currently, the primary focus of what we do at Paizo remains the print product, and if we have to make choices between what is best for the print product and schedule and what might be better for the PDF... the print side wins.

And even if we DID ask for the maps to be done at a level of detail where you could print them out at a 1 inch = 1 five-foot-square ratio, not only would that make for enormous file sizes that would make the process unwieldy (I fear... again, I don't know WHY the files are so big or what happens if we shrink that size, but I suspect we can't due to the standards of publishing requirements), it would also break the bank. Building a map to be pretty and not pixelated at that scale also requires more work on the maps themselves to make them not look barren and sparse and ugly at that scale... but even if we DIDN'T take that extra step, we'd still have to pay the cartographers more since, like artwork, map payments scale with the physical size of the map.

All of which is saying that there are MANY compelling reasons to handle the maps like we currently do. Would it be possible to change those reasons and how we handle maps? Sure! But certianly not this year, when we're also launching a 576 page RPG and a 320 page bestiary. We're too busy!

Grand Lodge

James Jacobs wrote:

One thing to note: I honestly don't know what the capabilities and procedures are for actual map file manipulation. My part of working on the maps is generally limited to asking authors to provide them, sometimes redrawing maps that authors provide that are too ugly or confusing, and then sending the finished map rough drafts to our art director, who then sends them on to the cartographer. I also proof the final maps that come back to make sure they work with the adventure.

SO! I can't really speak with authority WHY we do the maps the way we do, but I can say that changing that procedure isn't really an option while we're overworking our art department as it is by heaping so many monthly products on them AND adding additional giant hardcovers. Currently, the primary focus of what we do at Paizo remains the print product, and if we have to make choices between what is best for the print product and schedule and what might be better for the PDF... the print side wins.

And even if we DID ask for the maps to be done at a level of detail where you could print them out at a 1 inch = 1 five-foot-square ratio, not only would that make for enormous file sizes that would make the process unwieldy (I fear... again, I don't know WHY the files are so big or what happens if we shrink that size, but I suspect we can't due to the standards of publishing requirements), it would also break the bank. Building a map to be pretty and not pixelated at that scale also requires more work on the maps themselves to make them not look barren and sparse and ugly at that scale... but even if we DIDN'T take that extra step, we'd still have to pay the cartographers more since, like artwork, map payments scale with the physical size of the map.

All of which is saying that there are MANY compelling reasons to handle the maps like we currently do. Would it be possible to change those reasons and how we handle maps? Sure! But certianly not this year, when we're also launching a 576 page RPG and a 320 page bestiary. We're too busy!

Well I can certainly understand the reasons. And I expected something with payment to the cartographer as well. It is good that you guys at least pay attention to that and seem to treat your artists right.

I no longer sell my images because I got tired of people paying dirt cheap for limited one time use and then using them at will however they wanted, which was a violation of the contract. To collect the money due me for the extra use would require costly law suits.


Hey all. I illustrate the GameMastery map packs and flipmats at the exact scale each time. 1 sq=5ft. Sometimes an object takes up the whole square, other times not. I also try to include a lot of detail at this level being that players most likely will put a miniature on to represent their character and I strive to make the environment exciting and realistic like the players were actually in the scene. As far as remaking the smaller maps to scale, this is something Paizo would need to make or as earlier stated, wait for someone to make their own rendition with some OTS software and upload the PDF.

As good place to plug as any, I will be at PaizoCon this year making maps. Lots of them. For you, the players. Show up, bring an idea (and $25* for each 5" x 8") and you'll get your map made and burned to a CD for you to print. What a deal. See you there.

* some maps might incur extra costs due to complexity, keep it within reason, k?

©


Ah well. I think, ultimately, I am just looking for apples in an orange grove. I think my money could be better spent elsewhere, though it begs the question: why haven't cartographers opened up their own web store somewhere?


Thought about it. Thinking about it.

Grand Lodge

We have been bugging Chris West for ages now for him to open a web store. SO, now it's your turn to be bugged!

You KNOW people here are ADDICTED to maps!

Keep the price reasonable and people WILL buy. The more reasonable the more purchases, BTW. I always figure something around $5 a download and you will see lots of people buy.

Think about it, if you charge $25 at GenCon, then everything after 5 purchases is extra money for you (well, after expenses of online site and shopping cart, but still!).

Or, if you wanted, make the maps PDFs an have Paizo sell them for you.


Thanks for the feedback and boost. Thinking has turned into fervent digital research. Wheels are turning, discussions have begun. Stay tuned. I do read these boards, so please give me feedback to what content would be appealing. Thanks!


(sorry, this rambles a bit)

As the VTT playerbase grows, the game company that finds the best way to support all the applications that can be used with its products will benefit. PDFs of the current AP maps are already passable, but Paizo could still make life easier for us VTT players by supporting the next developments in VTT: object manipulation and interactive maps.

  • If I could pay for premium maps that are VTT or print-worthy, I would draw the line at about $10 per AP chapter (12 if fully organized like I outline here).

  • The resolution need only be decent: the maptool standard is 50 pixels per square inch.

  • Details like objects, furniture, and doors should be on separate layers, because the FREE VTT software allows GMs to manipulate these things. I think this is the direction the software is moving in general.

  • If there was a distinctive look to a Pathfinder VTT character token image (say a cool border), this would only help spread the word that Pathfinder was supporting VTTs in a big way.

    Consider bundling the maps with easily repackaged artwork. For example, a simple organized directory of portraits, illustrations, objects and maps from a given AP chapter is added value that shouldn't have much overhead at all.

    My dream product as a VTT junky is to get a structural map, and separate objects, character/creature tokens in an organized directory. As the software developed and makes things like GM object manipulation and animated doors the norm (and it will, I'm already doing this) the demand for well organized VTT fodder will increase. The utility of this would also apply to people who print maps, since they could also print the furniture and objects for makeshift minis.

    This is an ambitious vision, but for an artist accustomed to working in layers, it is really not much more complex than drawing a standard AP map.

    EDIT: for those people who think that having the objects and furniture and such separate sounds like a pain, I would be pleased to see the inclusion of an image in the bundle that has all of objects placed. Yeah, that's my dream map download.

  • Grand Lodge

    Honestly that sounds doable for the most part.

    I do wonder how much actual money is out there for these kinds of products. I know there is a lot of money in the virtual world. A friend of mine made a hobby on Second Life into a job for a few years. He took images of wedding dresses and converted them into clothes on Second Life. His best year he made $100K real money.

    I was never able to master the art of getting the clothes to always fit just so. Otherwise I would be doing that too! lol I keep practicing though. lol But not sure if THAT market is still so fanatical.

    Scarab Sages

    Here is my idea, for what it's worth.

    There seems to be decent interest in this kind of product but who knows exactly how well it would do. The APs are great as they allow busy or less creative DMs to run a fully fleshed campaign. I think it is safe to say that DMs make up a solid majority of Paizo's core customer base. Isn't it? Don't they?

    Now, the folks at Paizo are busy. Of course they are, busy putting out a brand new RPG and Bestiary. I understand that.

    What if Paizo set up an item in their store that can be purchased called "Support the New DM Mapset Product" or something similar. They can sell it at an inflated price, $15 or $20 dollars maybe. This would let them judge the true interest in the product while allowing the customers to support its creation. Then once there is enough booty in the Mapset Kitty, farm out the work to someone here on the boards with a Graphic Design or whatever background. I know there are tons of them out there. I think I read about one the other day that was unemployed. They can size and adjust the quality of the images based on Paizo's specifications. Then as it is a simple product like what you see in PS Scenarios and Paper Minis all you would need is a simple cover for the PDF. You could recycle the image from the AP Product that the Mapset relates to or cut out a chunk of one of the maps to use as the cover art like we see on those products.

    Or baring a seperate product line, the money could be used to start up buying larger, higher rez maps from cartographers in the next AP. These maps would be perfect to include in a download for anyone who wanted to purchase them.

    Or just resize and adjust the quality on the maps a little so they worked well in an archive type zipped file.

    If the product failed to get enough support to launch then the money paid by customers could be transfered into a credit toward their subscriptions or a store credit as they see fit.

    Once the first one is off and it is judged that there is enough interest the price can be adjusted to a more reasonable level. This lets the customers support and help birth a product that they want to see. If there isn't enough support then there we are. "Hey guys, we tried this and it just did not garner enough support to make it feasable."

    How much effort would it take to set up an purchaseable item like this in the Pathfinder area of the online store? How much effort would it take for someone to bundle the images together to send to a Graphic Designer?

    How great would it be to once more be that awesome company that gives us DMs a product that no one else does? How awesome would it be if Paizo was the go to company for not only the 3.5 crowd but also the VTT groups? How incredible that once again Paizo makes a marketing decision based up on the feedback of their customers?

    One of the most awesome things about when the APs were in Dungeon Magazine was that I could at some time download a high resolution version of the maps. I loved the online supplements.

    Let your customers vote with their money. And then listen.

    Tam
    (purple d20 held high)

    P.S. You guys are the greatest game company in the industry today. I don't say some of these things suggesting that you do not do them. In fact, I only mention them becuase I know you do and will continue to listen to your customers.


    toyrobots wrote:

    (sorry, this rambles a bit)

    As the VTT playerbase grows, the game company that finds the best way to support all the applications that can be used with its products will benefit. PDFs of the current AP maps are already passable, but Paizo could still make life easier for us VTT players by supporting the next developments in VTT: object manipulation and interactive maps.

  • If I could pay for premium maps that are VTT or print-worthy, I would draw the line at about $10 per AP chapter (12 if fully organized like I outline here).

  • The resolution need only be decent: the maptool standard is 50 pixels per square inch.

  • Details like objects, furniture, and doors should be on separate layers, because the FREE VTT software allows GMs to manipulate these things. I think this is the direction the software is moving in general.

  • If there was a distinctive look to a Pathfinder VTT character token image (say a cool border), this would only help spread the word that Pathfinder was supporting VTTs in a big way.

    Consider bundling the maps with easily repackaged artwork. For example, a simple organized directory of portraits, illustrations, objects and maps from a given AP chapter is added value that shouldn't have much overhead at all.

    My dream product as a VTT junky is to get a structural map, and separate objects, character/creature tokens in an organized directory. As the software developed and makes things like GM object manipulation and animated doors the norm (and it will, I'm already doing this) the demand for well organized VTT fodder will increase. The utility of this would also apply to people who print maps, since they could also print the furniture and objects for makeshift minis.

    This is an ambitious vision, but for an artist accustomed to working in layers, it is really not much more complex than drawing a standard AP map.

    EDIT: for those people who think that having the objects and furniture and such separate sounds like a...

  • Seconded.. but I have these suggestions pooh poohed as too complex for the Cartographers (by other posters.

    I love the thoughts in this post however, and support them if they're possible.


    I am aware of Paizo's reservations, I tend to follow the "Better Map" threads carefully. I'm just informing them of my ideal product, something I think is worth knowing in case it becomes viable.

    For me, it isn't about whether the market exists now, but that it will grow as the technology becomes more refined and easy to use. Maptool is free. Anyone with the least curiosity about VTT play can go download it and noodle around.

    Maptool already lets me manipulate furniture, objects, and Light Sources on a map, which is great when the PCs blow out a candle or barricade a door. But digging up objects for every piece of furniture and reworking the structural map to use these features is highly time consuming. If the map were VTT-friendly scale and at least had a separate layer for objects, that is added value for VTT users.

    In the future, people are going to want a product that saves them time by enabling them to play an adventure path with a VTT quickly and easily. This can not only be done, but it is largely a matter of presentation and reorganization of existing product. The only major change would maps with slightly more detail.

    Two final points:

    Things that benefit advanced VTT use also benefit people who print maps.

    The added value discussed above would redress the issue of AP Mapset value. Currently, the AP mapsets offer me nothing as a VTT user, and so they shall go forever unpurchased.


    toyrobots wrote:


    I am aware of Paizo's reservations, I tend to follow the "Better Map" threads carefully. I'm just informing them of my ideal product, something I think is worth knowing in case it becomes viable.

    Actually, you misunderstand me.

    I have suggested similar products for similar reasons. Informing them of what I think an ideal product as well.

    It wasn't Paizo that expressed reservations, but other community members. It actually irritated me in fact, because I look to these boards as a place to daydream and brainstorm. Not every idea is practical or will see the light of day, but there is no harm in talking about them. But periodically one gets a "self-designated expert" telling you what is and what is not possible.

    Ahem- I suppose I bit back on my anger and never vented. :)

    But I think maps with objects on layers would be absolutely brilliant. I agree with all of your ideas.


    Heya, guys. I've looked at a few of the online and packaged map creating tools to see what they offer over the maps I create, not just for fantasy, but for other genres as well. They all have features to make a terrain, place objects, make a road or a path and the result is a map to guide players from point A to point B. I include a lot more detail and texture in the GameMastery maps. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING is on it's own layer in Photoshop. I like to customize the placement of objects for randomness to offer more realism into the gameplay visually.

    Due to legalities, I can't go into detail, but I have begun research and development of "something". I might be able to show it at PaizoCon.

    For another project, I am curious if enough gamers or DMs own Photoshop or something similar and would be able to use a package of images (floors, objects, creatures, etc. ) that would enable them to drag and drop things into place. Possible object expansion packs could be available as a layered PSD file, same with effects or creatures. But it depends on the end-user's software. Gimp might be an option for those who do not have Photoshop, but It might have some incompatibilities...more research to be done for sure, but a possibility. Interested? Let me know. Would you buy it? How much should it cost? This is all good info. Thanks. ©

    Grand Lodge

    well, managed to erase all that, so starting over *sigh*

    You might consider saving the image files for maps as PNGs so they are compatible with Dundjinni. That should also help to open up your market.

    Another program to look into for maps, at least decorative elements of maps, is Poser. Poser is a 3D figure program that allows you to use a character, set a pose for him/her, add clothes, set the pose, then add backgrounds, decorations, etc. By changing the camera view you can get a view from above that is useful for maps. Check out my gallery (These are not suitable for viewing at work) on Renderocity.com

    I know that some map elements for Dundjinni were created using Poser.

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