An Appeal: Please stop using 10ft squares on maps


Product Discussion

Silver Crusade

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As someone who uses tokens/minuatures as well as plays often on virtual tabletops, I've gotta say that every time I see a map in a module with 10ft squares I cry out in utter frustration. Every time you do this, it's so much extra work on my part as the GM to go and try and scale this map properly so that I can use figures or use it on a virtual tabletop and not run into countless problems trying to figure out spacing, reach, token size, ect.

Paizo, I love you guys, but please, you're killing me with the 10 ft. Maps. I just spent the past 5 hours just trying to perfect the maps from Jade Regent 4 when it should have taken like 30 minutes.

Shadow Lodge

This should be easier to deal with on a VTT - they have their own grid.

Just space out the squares so that you have a 2x2 square grid inside every 1 square on the map.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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We use 5 foot squares as often as we can and as often as it's appropriate... but in the cases where you see us use 10 foot squares... that's the right choice for the map. Especially when we're trying to provide maps of particularly large locations that at 5 foot squares wouldn't fit on a half page or full page map. (And printing multiple pages of maps isn't an option, really, since that reduces wordcount and increases the amount of words we need due to there being more encounter areas...)

Silver Crusade

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James Jacobs wrote:
We use 5 foot squares as often as we can and as often as it's appropriate... but in the cases where you see us use 10 foot squares... that's the right choice for the map. Especially when we're trying to provide maps of particularly large locations that at 5 foot squares wouldn't fit on a half page or full page map. (And printing multiple pages of maps isn't an option, really, since that reduces wordcount and increases the amount of words we need due to there being more encounter areas...)

Would you at least consider making digital map packs with 5ft scaling for those of us that use programs? It's much easier to utilize the map when it's 5ft because it means I don't have to re-scale it in a photo-editing program. And honestly I'd pay for the convenience.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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Is there a reason Paizo couldn't use a smaller grid on the same size map, so the space thing is not an issue? Maybe leave the 10 ft marks darker but use a lighter indicator for the 5 ft squares within?

It also strikes me that perhaps module designers should be asked to not use maps that are so huge it causes scaling issues--if its something hard for the GM to use then it shouldn't be in a module, as the whole point of modules is to make life easier for the GM. Frankly, if Paizo's modules are creating extra work for GMs (like 5 hours to make a map usable for the game) then they're doing it wrong.

I recall a recent session where 10 foot scaling caused a whole bunch of confusion for players and GM alike.... and it was an intended combat map... and the confusion really made the scene both slow down and break down. In the module's climax no less!


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Elamdri wrote:

As someone who uses tokens/minuatures as well as plays often on virtual tabletops, I've gotta say that every time I see a map in a module with 10ft squares I cry out in utter frustration. Every time you do this, it's so much extra work on my part as the GM to go and try and scale this map properly so that I can use figures or use it on a virtual tabletop and not run into countless problems trying to figure out spacing, reach, token size, ect.

Paizo, I love you guys, but please, you're killing me with the 10 ft. Maps. I just spent the past 5 hours just trying to perfect the maps from Jade Regent 4 when it should have taken like 30 minutes.

Which VTT are you using? I use MapTool. Scaling a JPEG map copied out of a PDF for 5' squares, 10' squares, 20' squares is equally easy. Takes maybe 5 minutes, once you get the hang of it.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yep, I use MapTool and this is a non issue. 10 seconds to scale a five foot map, 11 seconds to scale a ten foot map.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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DeathQuaker wrote:

Is there a reason Paizo couldn't use a smaller grid on the same size map, so the space thing is not an issue? Maybe leave the 10 ft marks darker but use a lighter indicator for the 5 ft squares within?

It also strikes me that perhaps module designers should be asked to not use maps that are so huge it causes scaling issues--if its something hard for the GM to use then it shouldn't be in a module, as the whole point of modules is to make life easier for the GM. Frankly, if Paizo's modules are creating extra work for GMs (like 5 hours to make a map usable for the game) then they're doing it wrong.

I recall a recent session where 10 foot scaling caused a whole bunch of confusion for players and GM alike.... and it was an intended combat map... and the confusion really made the scene both slow down and break down. In the module's climax no less!

The smaller the grid size gets, the more the grid becomes either hard to read or starts to clutter the map, making everything BUT the grid hard to read.

And we do generally ask module writers to avoid 10 foot squares, but sometimes it's not an option. Especially given foes like giants and the like who tend to build on large scales.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Elamdri wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
We use 5 foot squares as often as we can and as often as it's appropriate... but in the cases where you see us use 10 foot squares... that's the right choice for the map. Especially when we're trying to provide maps of particularly large locations that at 5 foot squares wouldn't fit on a half page or full page map. (And printing multiple pages of maps isn't an option, really, since that reduces wordcount and increases the amount of words we need due to there being more encounter areas...)
Would you at least consider making digital map packs with 5ft scaling for those of us that use programs? It's much easier to utilize the map when it's 5ft because it means I don't have to re-scale it in a photo-editing program. And honestly I'd pay for the convenience.

It's sounding like there's already VTTs out there that make this pretty easy.

Adding extra grids would be an extra amount of work that I'm not all that sure we have time and resources to do... but that's more of a question for the art team than me.

Grand Lodge

I've done it in Roll20. It really isn't much extra work.

Dark Archive

It's not, but it makes them look poorly online. I use the map pack that comes with their RoTRL PDF set, and on one particular map I had 25 foot squares that I was having to blow up. To say my castle looked pixalated would be an understatement.

I guess the better appeal would be "with the PDF sets, can you offer maps that already adjust the scale for online players?"


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

You should see the 20ft squares in Slumbering Tsar. The overview maps are 20ft squares, then there are area detail maps that zoom in to the 10ft square level, which I then build on a 5ft square battlemat.

It's wicked fun when corridors and rooms that are actually 5ft are thrown into the mix, consuming 1/2 a square on the detail maps. Why? Because Greg Vaughan is a spiteful, evil, hateful author who likes to do this primarily on diagonals and curved areas. I love how much suffering he's able to pack into this book and we're all at a loss now that he's retired.


Anguish wrote:
I love how much suffering he's able to pack into this book and we're all at a loss now that he's retired.

Greg Vaughan is retired? :O I thought he was just in medical school and would be reducing his output...


Anguish wrote:

You should see the 20ft squares in Slumbering Tsar. The overview maps are 20ft squares, then there are area detail maps that zoom in to the 10ft square level, which I then build on a 5ft square battlemat.

It's wicked fun when corridors and rooms that are actually 5ft are thrown into the mix, consuming 1/2 a square on the detail maps. Why? Because Greg Vaughan is a spiteful, evil, hateful author who likes to do this primarily on diagonals and curved areas. I love how much suffering he's able to pack into this book and we're all at a loss now that he's retired.

Converting maps to 5ft scale is part of what's keeping me from running Rappan Athuk right now. The other part is trying to redraw the maps to hide secret areas, but they go somewhat hand-in-hand. Especially when you suck with photoshop and the like.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

For those players wanting to redraw maps... I will note Profantasy is working on a new version of Campaign Cartographer (CC3+) slated to come out later this year. This CAD based program is vector based so issues of rescaling isn't a problem. The newer version should resolve a lot of old issues like memory problems and be easier to use. Just FYI. I have used CC3 for years and while yes it is a challenge to learn, once you get used to it, it is a great tool.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Daethor wrote:
Anguish wrote:
I love how much suffering he's able to pack into this book and we're all at a loss now that he's retired.
Greg Vaughan is retired? :O I thought he was just in medical school and would be reducing his output...

Seems to me his output is reduced to 0. While it may not be official, it sure seems he's dropped off the face of the planet. I can't imagine either medical school or being a doctor leaves much time to write RPG material.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It's not an issue in Roll20. Maybe you need a new VTT?


I hope Paizo rejects the OP's request.

I don't want maps (and notably - locations) to suffer because Paizo is now saddled to 5 ft. squares only.

Some things are big. I want to see 'em, and I want 'em mapped.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Anguish wrote:
Daethor wrote:
Anguish wrote:
I love how much suffering he's able to pack into this book and we're all at a loss now that he's retired.
Greg Vaughan is retired? :O I thought he was just in medical school and would be reducing his output...
Seems to me his output is reduced to 0. While it may not be official, it sure seems he's dropped off the face of the planet. I can't imagine either medical school or being a doctor leaves much time to write RPG material.

His output isn't down to zero, but it's low. He just did "The Midnight Isles" with me for Wrath of the Righteous, and he's got some support articles in upcoming Adventure Paths, but for the time being he has indeed reduced his writing while he's in medical school.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Arnwyn wrote:

I hope Paizo rejects the OP's request.

I don't want maps (and notably - locations) to suffer because Paizo is now saddled to 5 ft. squares only.

Some things are big. I want to see 'em, and I want 'em mapped.

I've been running with the assumption he's meant maps intended for combat. Not all maps--like, it would be silly to do a combat scale overland map.

I know the problem my group hit was a map--not even that big--that was solely intended for combat but was in 10 foot scale. It just threw us all for a loop.


DeathQuaker wrote:
I've been running with the assumption he's meant maps intended for combat.

Me too. My post doesn't change. I hope the request is rejected.

(James already mentioned what I'm talking about earlier in the thread - e.g. giantish architecture.)

Some things just have big architecture. I expect to see them, mapped/gridded and all. 10 ft. squares... or even bigger, if the area demands it. For combat.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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We will continue to use larger scale squares for maps when it's appropriate. That means we'll continue to try to limit things to 5 foot squares when we can, but it's not going to be possible in every case.


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Mapmaker Jonathan Roberts, who does the "Fantastic Maps" series for Rite Publishing, has a VERY handy post on rescaling maps for use in VTTs.

He gives directions for Photoshop and Gimp; I use them with Paint.net, and it's very helpful.


In that case, would it be possible to get alternate map images with higher resolution included with the AP PDFs? Some of the larger maps become painfully distorted when you try to use them for VTTs.

The Glassworks in Rise of the Runelords is a good example. It's a gorgeous map but to make it useable for VTT you need to enlarge it by about 300%-400%. The end result isn't pretty.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Kudaku wrote:

In that case, would it be possible to get alternate map images with higher resolution included with the AP PDFs? Some of the larger maps become painfully distorted when you try to use them for VTTs.

The Glassworks in Rise of the Runelords is a good example. It's a gorgeous map but to make it useable for VTT you need to enlarge it by about 300%-400%. The end result isn't pretty.

The resolutions of the maps in the PDFs are as high as the resolution gets. To do higher resolution ones would require us to have ordered the map at that resolution, which isn't really viable for us for file size management and other reasons.


I've tested Paizo's Game Space briefly and I noticed that the map used there (Black Fang's dungeon) is extremely friendly to zooming in and out, much more so than similar maps usually are when attached to PDFs as image files. I actually did a comparison between the Beginner PDF flipmat and the map used in Game Space when it first came out because I was amazed by the quality difference.

Gary Teter made a post on the topic while discussing maps in Game Space back in 2012.

Gary Teter wrote:
(...)The source for this map is about 200 megabytes. It's higher resolution than what we put in our PDFs. This is the original art we send to the printer. Maximum resolution.(...)

I was wondering if, long-term, it was possible to get access to similar image files as the ones you use (or plan to use in the future) for Game Space?

Edit: accidentally linked to post #18 instead of #21, should be linking correctly now.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Anguish wrote:
Daethor wrote:
Anguish wrote:
I love how much suffering he's able to pack into this book and we're all at a loss now that he's retired.
Greg Vaughan is retired? :O I thought he was just in medical school and would be reducing his output...
Seems to me his output is reduced to 0. While it may not be official, it sure seems he's dropped off the face of the planet. I can't imagine either medical school or being a doctor leaves much time to write RPG material.
His output isn't down to zero, but it's low. He just did "The Midnight Isles" with me for Wrath of the Righteous, and he's got some support articles in upcoming Adventure Paths, but for the time being he has indeed reduced his writing while he's in medical school.

Thanks for the input James. I do appreciate it.

I've been avoiding reading anything about Wrath of the Righteous on the basis that I hope to be playing it eventually.

I'm on a reduced-macabre diet these days without Logue, with Vaughan mostly MIA and with Pett... doing whatever he's doing that isn't making up for the other two.


DeathQuaker wrote:
For those players wanting to redraw maps... I will note Profantasy is working on a new version of Campaign Cartographer (CC3+) slated to come out later this year. This CAD based program is vector based so issues of rescaling isn't a problem. The newer version should resolve a lot of old issues like memory problems and be easier to use. Just FYI. I have used CC3 for years and while yes it is a challenge to learn, once you get used to it, it is a great tool.

So... I shouldn't buy CC3 right now, then? I was looking into it, since I can't figure out how to do my mapping in photoshop, but it's an expensive piece of software, considering that I'd need CC3, DD3, and CD3 to do everything I need to do. That's $120 right there.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Unruly wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:
For those players wanting to redraw maps... I will note Profantasy is working on a new version of Campaign Cartographer (CC3+) slated to come out later this year. This CAD based program is vector based so issues of rescaling isn't a problem. The newer version should resolve a lot of old issues like memory problems and be easier to use. Just FYI. I have used CC3 for years and while yes it is a challenge to learn, once you get used to it, it is a great tool.
So... I shouldn't buy CC3 right now, then? I was looking into it, since I can't figure out how to do my mapping in photoshop, but it's an expensive piece of software, considering that I'd need CC3, DD3, and CD3 to do everything I need to do. That's $120 right there.

Yes, I would suggest waiting until the new version comes out if you don't already own any of their products (people who already own it will get the new version at a discount but not completely free).

Also note when you do buy it, the programs you want can be purchased as a bundle for $99, which will save you 20%. While this might go up at the release of CC3+, I don't expect the CC3+ price to increase dramatically, nor the price of the bundles it's part of.

I will also note while the product is somewhat expensive -- you're talking about stuff based on high-end engineering software. You're getting what you are paying for. Profantasy is VERY good about making sure their customers get more than their money's worth --- when they were working on updating CD3, for example, I had bought City Designer Pro (its predecessor), and they updated it for free since I had bought it just before the newer version came out (AFAIK that isn't happening for CC3+ though, it's just being discounted for existing owners as I noted--although it might be worth checking). They had a thing going recently that if you bought their new Character Artist you'd get CC3+ free when it came out (I just didn't want Character Artist or I would have sprung at that). They will also sometimes randomly send you links to download free symbol packs and stuff. Customer service is very responsive too.

Sorry to go OT everyone else, but Unruly, I hope that helps.

Speaking of... if there is a map y'all need redrawn, I can try to do it in CC3 if you want, with the caveat of "when I have time." And of course with the agreement that since the designs concepts are Paizo's, that you would use them for personal use only.


James Jacobs wrote:
The resolutions of the maps in the PDFs are as high as the resolution gets. To do higher resolution ones would require us to have ordered the map at that resolution, which isn't really viable for us for file size management and other reasons.

I'm sure there are other considerations like cost. However, please, don't discount the digital distribution channel. I started my career in printing and digital was often an after thought or something that came later. There are amazing ways to couple the two worlds that aren't that expensive with what you get in return and often are their own revenue streams.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I had give up with CC3 when I couldn't print it properly. I really don't know how to scale the thing or print only a part of the "world" that I had made. I use Posterazer right now, copying and pasting the images on Paint before pulling the paint file to expand. (I count squares...)

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

thaX wrote:
I had give up with CC3 when I couldn't print it properly. I really don't know how to scale the thing or print only a part of the "world" that I had made. I use Posterazer right now, copying and pasting the images on Paint before pulling the paint file to expand. (I count squares...)

While you should be able to use it direct from program,I usually export the file to JPEG or PNG before printing. there is a function that lets you export only a section as well. Scaling is set when you create your map and you can create the grid scale at the same time under the grid button. A scale unit in CC3 is defaulted to a mile (km in metric mode) and a foot in CD3 and DD3.

Should I start a CC3 thread?

Shadow Lodge

DeathQuaker wrote:
Should I start a CC3 thread?

Yes please.

Digital Products Assistant

Kudaku wrote:

I've tested Paizo's Game Space briefly and I noticed that the map used there (Black Fang's dungeon) is extremely friendly to zooming in and out, much more so than similar maps usually are when attached to PDFs as image files. I actually did a comparison between the Beginner PDF flipmat and the map used in Game Space when it first came out because I was amazed by the quality difference.

Gary Teter made a post on the topic while discussing maps in Game Space back in 2012.

Gary Teter wrote:
(...)The source for this map is about 200 megabytes. It's higher resolution than what we put in our PDFs. This is the original art we send to the printer. Maximum resolution.(...)

I was wondering if, long-term, it was possible to get access to similar image files as the ones you use (or plan to use in the future) for Game Space?

Edit: accidentally linked to post #18 instead of #21, should be linking correctly now.

To give some context: The maps currently available in Game Space are from our Flip-Mats. These maps are actually ordered to fit a scale that is 1"x1", so they are significantly higher in resolution than the maps seen in our Adventure Paths/Modules/et cetera. The maps included in those products are created a scale that best fits their space on the printed page and are not nearly as large natively. For our PDF products we export at a standard resolution (150 dpi) as a middle ground to accommodate customers using the PDFs on screen and for printing. We have no current plans to provide them in an alternate format.


Chris Lambertz wrote:
To give some context: The maps currently available in Game Space are from our Flip-Mats. These maps are actually ordered to fit a scale that is 1"x1", so they are significantly higher in resolution than the maps seen in our Adventure Paths/Modules/et cetera. The maps included in those products are created a scale that best fits their space on the printed page and are not nearly as large natively. For our PDF products we export at a standard resolution (150 dpi) as a middle ground to accommodate customers using the PDFs on screen and for printing. We have no current plans to provide them in an alternate format.

I see! Is there a chance that you could include both standard resolution (150) and higher resolution for the VTT users in the Interactive Map PDF, for instance?

Also, won't the low DPI cause a problem if the maps you include in adventure paths such as Rise of the Runelords will have excess pixelation when used on Game Space?


I wonder how much additional work it would be to allow for a HD-pdf download option and bump up the dpi to 300 or even 600 dpi? The file size would be substantially larger, but it seems like the pdfs are rendered on demand in any case to stamp the user's identity onto the pdf.


I don't think i understand the OPs exact problem. It seems easy enough to just size the map to the 5 foot grid and then double its dimensions. I would imagine this to be done in two minutes tops, unless your program doesn't let you scale things numerically.


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I don't understand the OP problem either. It's trivial to align the border when preparing a map for a VTT.

In particular, I am against the suggestion that maps should be smaller to accommodate 5' squares. I like big , sprawling maps because they give enough distance in encounters to allow movement to be a substantial tactical consideration. I really hate runningg encounters in 30x30ft rooms.

Ken

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Has Paizo looked into the Realmworks beta and seen if the Scenario maps can be used within that program or adjusted to it somehow?

Shadow Lodge

I don't mind the 10' squares. I extract the image from the PDF, feed it into AutoCAD, add the 5' lines, then print it out on the plotter.

Where I get frustrated is that the plotter is for 22x34 prints, and most of the maps are about 25x37.

Dark Archive

I play most of my RPG games online now and I am currently running Reign of Winter. Half the maps are useless for me. I have to rebuild them in Roll20 using tiles. The big maps when I try to enlarge lose the resolution to be usable. I would like to see hi res maps to make the GM life easier.

Is there a way to enlarge a map without losing the resolution? An easy way that is.


lastgrasp wrote:
Is there a way to enlarge a map without losing the resolution? An easy way that is.

Not sure what the res is in the pdfs, but as far as enlargement goes, no. If you have really expensive software like photoshop you can get some decent interpolation (that means the program will try to make the enlarged pixels look as smooth as possible), but that only works up to a certain point and hits its limits pretty fast instead of pixely it will get blurry then, but there is no way to create data where there is none.

By how much do you need to enlarge maps to use them?

Dark Archive

I need the maps to fit the five foot grid on Roll20. The first two book for Reign of Winter I was able to extract the gridless maps from the interactive file and enlarge them. They weren't great looking but were very usable. For Maiden, Mother, Crone they were not usable. 10 foot grids and not possible to enlarge without looking very poor.

For book 3 I had to create the maps from terrain and objects which takes a very long time. I've started prepping book 4 and same issues as the last book.

It would be nice to have higher res maps. I run adventure path because they require less prep as far as writing. Now if the prep for maps were on par they would be perfect.


I feel your pain on the 10 foot squares, but you can enlarge and shrink the grid size on Roll20 - it helps somewhat.
Of course, if you shrink the grid too much it becomes quite hard to make out what's happening.

For reference, this is what Glassworks looks like on Roll20 with the default grid. The picture's been extracted from the PDF as a png file and not adjusted. I placed some tokens in the main workshop so you get an idea of the scale.

Link and map illustration posted purely for illustration purposes - if this conflicts with the Paizo rules please let me know and I'll take it down immediately.

Dark Archive

I know you can adjust the grid size but then you can't make out the tokens all that well.


I'm trying to import maps into Roll20 for Spires of Xin-Shalast right now. This is a real pain, and is taking much longer than it needs to in the modern world. I have yet to solve the great mystery of how to get a 10'-scale map aligned in Roll20, and I really wish I didn't have to. Please, please, pleeeeeease stop using 10' maps, especially in electronic products.

Either that or get GameSpace working. I'd gladly pay money for fully-functional maps and stat blocks, so I don't have to go through this drudgery. If that's not an option, please consider selling Roll20 packages of the AP materials.

-Matt

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