Chatter #5: August 27, 2000

12/14/2001 — I started the Chatter section on July 27, 2000 when I noticed that the rest of my site was sometimes getting cluttered with lots of text. I'm a talkative guy, after all! So now I talk about my life here, instead of all over the place. Originally this was one huge section, but in December of 2001 it simply became too large to remain as one page, and I broke it into dated sections, as you can see. —>PM

Cool Stuff

I was away, but now I'm back. Still haven't had a chance to think much about a major redesign—is the site really that bad? What needs the most fixing? I probably should go and look at other RQ sites and see what's popular—and also what I like best, of course.

There hasn't been much free time lately, but I have given some thought to the write-up for my most recent scenario (provisionally titled "A Breath of Evil"). I'd like to give it as thorough a presentation as "To Kill A Monster". The problem: unlike TKAM, I can't just download a couple of village maps from Irony Games and draw a few modifications on them. The new adventure requires a very specific set of features, and there's no way I can get around creating at least one and probably three completely original maps.

Unfortunately I just can't draw. Really. And I don't really know anyone who could draw for me—well, I do know a couple of artists but one is basically an impressionist (can you imagine that, an impressionistic campagn map? Hmm, could be an interesting plot hook...), and the other one I don't know that well.

I tried using a simple painting program to make a basic regional map; drew a simple triangle as a mountain, and then copied and pasted it over and over. Ditto for trees. It soon became clear that the result would be very lame. I started looking for other options.

The Warcraft 2 map editor suggested itself almost immediately. It makes very pretty-looking trees, mountains, farms, etc. On the down side, it is not very flexible, it wouldn't allow me to make black & white maps, and it wouldn't allow me to easily create a view of the whole map at once in a useful format. After a couple of tries to make a decent map, I decided to look elsewhere.

A web search quickly turned up a mapping program spcifically designed for roleplayers. Called Campaign Cartographer, it apparently had a lot of features. Unfortunately it was also reportedly hard to use, and on top of that cost 70 pounds UK—about $126, if I remember.

I am not spending over $100 on a fantasy mapping program. Period.

But while wandering around in I saw a mention of a program called AutoREALM—which supposedly did almost everything that Campaign Cartographer did, but was easier to use, could export to common graphic formats and (best of all) was FREE!

Well, when I found the AutoREALM site there was a glitch—I couldn't download. But after a quick email to the author he fixed it, and although I still haven't had a chance to do more than play with the program I have to say that it's GREAT!

Oh yeah—I almost forgot. Here's the URL: Andy Gryc Software - AutoREALM. Download it now, and THANKS, ANDY! This is the sort of thing that keeps the net fun.

Shameful Admissions

My fiancee Teri doesn't agree with me on this, but personally I'm glad that Rich won—he deserved it. Am I the only one who noticed that the whole thing was a lot like a roleplaying game? Particularly a live-action SIL-type game?

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[email protected] Copyright 2001 by Peter Maranci. Revised: December 14, 2001. version 1.0