Best way to make maps

Gamer Life General Discussion

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8

I'm sure this is a FAQ but give me a recommendation or three for a quick easy (hopefully inexpensive) way to make maps for PbP. Either web-based, Mac, or iPad. I don't need to have a zillion options, just something that gives me a grid and lets me make some grass and trees and a road or some dungeon rooms and a bit of furniture. I have the Battle Map 2 iPad app and it is pretty impressive. It is good at making terrain really fast, but even that takes several steps to get to a Google Drive document (which is how I was going to share the image) to self as a pdf, convert pdf to an image file (this bit took me a couple of steps), insert that into my Google document. Surely there is a better way?


There are lots of tools out there. Some free, some shareware, some commercial.

The ones I have used and enjoyed, all of which do slightly different things, are:

Gimp - Very powerful layer-based graphics editor. Essentially an open source version of Photoshop.

Inkscape - Very powerful vector-based art program. Essentially an open source version of Illustrator.

MapTools - Specifically designed to create interactive network-shared maps.

Dundjinni - I used to use this a lot. It's a tile-based graphics program specifically designed for creating RPG maps. It's got an extensive collection of tiles for everything from different types of rocks to individual furniture elements.

I used to use an intro version of CorelDraw, I can't remember what it was called, but the "trace" function allowed for extremely nice contour maps.

You can even use MS Paint in a pinch.

My go-to graphics programs at the moment are Gimp and Inkscape. Both of them require some practice though, they don't have the most friendly user interface. And, of course, you can always use Photoshop and Illustrator if you are independently wealthy or something.

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Wolfwaker: Questions about map-making advice are pretty common around here, but the upside is that there's already lots of good posts that cover issues such as which apps to use and what to do with them. :)
For starters, I would recommend giving the following two threads a read-thru:

Note that map making and map usage will be two different tasks that may not use the same software. When I make PbP maps, I do so in Photoshop, but it's MapTool in which I use them. If you plan to make your maps on a tablet, there are drawing/painting apps for iPad and Android such as Photoshop and SketchPad that cost less than $10. If you go that route, I would recommend a high-quality stylus such as either the Elago Grip or the Sensu brush.

Also, in addition to how you'll be making and using maps, you'll also want to consider other combat-related issues such as initiative and how you update your maps. this thread has some advice you might find useful on that point.

At any rate, check out some of those threads and then come back with any lingering questions you might still have. Hope this helps!

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