Chaotic Cartography

Been a crazy month…

My cat had to be rushed to the ER again, this time with an actual urinary blockage. They cleared it with a urethra tube, but now he MUST be on prescription urinary foods from now on. I don’t mind the extra cost of those, it’s mainly that he’s a stubborn little cuss who doesn’t want to eat it. It will take awhile to transition him.

“Eat your dinner!” “No, it’s yucky!”

As a result, I had to cancel my plans to attend the Portland Retro Game Expo. I just didn’t have anyone available who could both house-sit and cat-monitor, and we’d have been far too worried about him to enjoy the trip.

Oh well, at least that means I can focus on getting the game ready for beta testing. 🙂

My work on ancillary items continues. I finished the reference card. The game is sufficiently complex enough to warrant one for the various keys, and I realized that many of the in-game icons may need to be detailed. I did them up in black and white and then put them on the card. I may also, if I have the memory space, expand the in-game help page to include the icons and their meanings.

The other task, which I have long put off, is creating a map. Every good vintage CRPG has a map. The challenge is to create one that is professional and artistic but also doesn’t spoil the game. I also had to finish the in game maps and stitch them together to figure out what the land actually looked like.

I already had the perfect software for the job; Campaign Cartographer, from ProFantasy Software. In fact, I’ve been an owner of the software way back to their first version that ran in DOS 6.11. They used the core engine of a CAD system to build it, so it’s a very complicated and powerful tool with a VERY high learning curve.

One challenge I had to overcome how to print the map. I don’t think I can afford to have cloth maps. (This place makes them but that’s expensive. I’d have to crowdsource fund that.) So I’m working with the idea of printing it on 11×17 paper ($1.18 at your local Office Depot) and then two-folding it. That should be affordable and the results pleasing.

I’ve run into a similar issue with the manuals. Doing embossed style covers with foil print and rich textured paper like the old Ultima manuals is considered “special custom” printing these days, which means you probably have minimum print runs of 500 and likely four-figure costs. For a hobby project, I just can’t justify that.

Anyway, here is the map!

I created the map by taking giant tile block map and used it as a background layer, which then allowed me to trace coastlines and add other land features. I started out VERY detailed but I realized that everything would be too small to see at the print scale. So I started over and used fixed scales and just made it more general.

I’m sure there is more that I could do to pretty it up… There’s LOTS of threads online about using Campaign Cartographer to achieve certain effects. But overall I’m pleased and willing to move on with it as is.

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5 Responses to Chaotic Cartography

  1. arthurdawg says:

    I like it! The map looks very nice.

    And I hope you cat feels better soon.

    • adamantyr says:

      Thank you! Jack is doing well. I got some litter that changes color to indicate your cat’s general levels of acid or alkalinity, and so far it’s showing up at normal levels, which is a relief to see.

      He will get a urinalysis in a month so we can see how he’s doing. He won’t enjoy that. Two trips to the ER have made him terrified of the vet now. :/

  2. TD Bauer says:

    I came across you and your project from the Unknown Realms discussion over on the Lemon 64 Forums.

    Looks like a sweet project you are working on! Love the map!

  3. I’ve found your game the same way also, but just today. I’m going to read your posts in free time as it looks like a very interesting journey in itself. I’m also working on a cRPG (but for C64) from 2012, hopefully I will finish a first milestone demo this year which is still far away from the progress you did :).

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