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Fan made boards for commercial games

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Oracle
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This is probably not the right place for this post but I couldn't find a more appropriate forum.

I was playing Iron Dragon on the weekend with a bunch of World of Warcraft players, and we got to talking about making an Empire Builder port in the World of Warcraft world.

I know there's a lot of fan made maps for Formula De, so I was wondering if anyone here knows if there's anything similar with fan made maps for Empire Builder.

If not, I'm kind of stuck on the first step. I have a 1280x1024 map of the gameworld with a lot of texture detail but none of the political divisions or cities marked. I need to convert it into something that looks like an Empire Builder map and is suitable for printing at gameboard size. Anyone with some desktop publishing skills have any tips for getting started with that?

Jpwoo
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Fan made boards for commercial games

First you should probably get Either Photoshop (Expensive) or a free program called the Gimp.

300 dpi (dots per inch) is usually fine for desktop publishing print quality. I usually go down to 72 dpi, it is smaller file sizes and I don't mind the quality dropoff for prototypes or something only a few people are going to use.

You are going to want to use layers. consider these panes of glass with paint on them of your words and graphics. They are useful so you can move text around, or adjust your empire building dots.

There are lots of photoshop tutorial sites. Though I can't recommend a good one for the basics.

Oracle
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Fan made boards for commercial games

Jpwoo wrote:
First you should probably get Either Photoshop (Expensive) or a free program called the Gimp.

Thanks, I have photoshop elements and a fair bit of experience using it.

Photo editing is not useful for this project.

The original map is here so you can see what I'm dealing with. I need to make it look like an Empire Builder map.

The six marked cities on that map will be my major cities in EB. There's various regions, plenty of small and medium cities, and a transportation mechanic between the two land masses that will have to be added. A photo editor is not the right tool for this job.

I was thinking more of using corel draw, but my question is not about the tools to use, it's how to do the job in more high level terms. The tools are of secondary importantance.

I don't have the aritistic skill to copy a map into corel draw.

I was also wondering if anyone knows of an empire builder community that produces fan-made maps like there is with Formula De tracks.

seo
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Fan made boards for commercial games

I don't know any of the games, other than the pic you posted and an Empire Builder map I found on the BGG, so I'm not sure I get your idea.

What you need is the WoW map you linked to, but with the textures removed, a more linear style, and the dot pattern of the Empire Builder board added?

I can easily draw the map in CorelDraw (let me know which version you are using), and add the dot pattern. A Corel image can be scaled up to whichever size you want without any quality drop, since it's vectorial art.

Is something like this what you're aiming for?

Seo

Jpwoo
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Fan made boards for commercial games

Quote:
Thanks, I have photoshop elements and a fair bit of experience using it.

Photoshop is a different program and considerably more powerful.

Corel Draw looks like it can do the job. (As we can see!)

Quote:
I was thinking more of using corel draw, but my question is not about the tools to use, it's how to do the job in more high level terms. The tools are of secondary importantance.

Knowing what tool you are using would help people give more practical advice.

You shouldn't have to be able to draw well with any of your choices. Hopefully the tools in the program will do the heavy lifting.

Oracle
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Fan made boards for commercial games

seo wrote:
What you need is the WoW map you linked to, but with the textures removed, a more linear style, and the dot pattern of the Empire Builder board added?

Right.

seo wrote:
I can easily draw the map in CorelDraw (let me know which version you are using), and add the dot pattern. A Corel image can be scaled up to whichever size you want without any quality drop, since it's vectorial art.

I have CorelDraw 8. If you draw in the grid pattern will it be easily adjustable?

seo wrote:
Is something like this what you're aiming for?

Yes, that's amazing :)

How did you do it? Just tracing with a draw pen?

The dot pitch will have to be much smaller for Empire Builder, around 3/8" apart with the map 20" wide. Presumably that's just scaling a grid value somewhere though. From that, I think I should be able to add the smaller cities and political boundaries. I'd obviously want the 2 continents a lot closer together so I don't have half the map empty space.

In some places I'll need to replace the dots with other terrain markings from empire builder (hills, forests, etc). Will that be easy with the way the grid is made?

Thanks

Jason

koshianok
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Fan made boards for commercial games

I use both PhotoShop and Corel, however there is a another solution. I use the vector graphics in Word quite allot. This is the same map drawn in word. It took less than five minutes to do. I think that word is often overlooked, but it has some very good features.

It would be very easy to add an overlay of hexes or dot to this map in word as well.

seo
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Fan made boards for commercial games

Oracle wrote:
I have CorelDraw 8. If you draw in the grid pattern will it be easily adjustable?

The easiest way would be to draw it right from scratch. ;-)
If you can send me the measures you want, I'll draw the map for you in a couple minutes. Post map size, distance from dot to dot and dot size.
If you still need to adjust the dot size after the grid is drawn, the easiest method is aplying a white border to the dots and adjust the border width: the wider the width, the more it will cover, and the smaller the dots will be.

I'll send you the map in one layer, the grid on another, and the cities and text on another, so it's easier for you to make adjustments. If things get too messy, you can always ask for more help. :-)

Oracle wrote:
How did you do it? Just tracing with a draw pen?

Here's the easiest method:
a) place the bitmap refference (the map you linked to)
b) lock the map position (in the Arrange menu, or the context menu)
c) click outside the map to deselect (to avoid autotracing)
d) select the Bézier tool (the second pencil)
e) zoom into the map, and start tracing. Just point and click, point and click, point and click. No need for dexterity. What you're drawing is actually a many-sided irregular polygon that matches the map shape. This is easy to do even with a mouse, though a Wacom tablet speeds the process. ;-) Once you finish one closed area, go for the next. To add rivers or borders (which are not closed paths), just do the same, but switch to the arrow and back to the Bézier tool, so the program knows they're independent objects.

Oracle wrote:
The dot pitch will have to be much smaller for Empire Builder, around 3/8" apart with the map 20" wide. Presumably that's just scaling a grid value somewhere though. From that, I think I should be able to add the smaller cities and political boundaries. I'd obviously want the 2 continents a lot closer together so I don't have half the map empty space.

OK. That was a quick response to my previous request for measures! ;-) Just let me know the dot size you want.

Oracle wrote:
In some places I'll need to replace the dots with other terrain markings from empire builder (hills, forests, etc). Will that be easy with the way the grid is made?

Just place the other elements over the grid. If you need to, individual dots from the grid could be removed.

I have to go now, but I'll send you the map later.

Saludos,

Seo

OutsideLime
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Fan made boards for commercial games

Quote:
This is easy to do even with a mouse, though a Wacom tablet speeds the process. ;-)

Ahh the tablet... love it... it quadrupled my speed in Photoshop and Illustrator...

~Josh

seo
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Fan made boards for commercial games

OutsideLime wrote:
Quote:
This is easy to do even with a mouse, though a Wacom tablet speeds the process. ;-)

Ahh the tablet... love it... it quadrupled my speed in Photoshop and Illustrator...

~Josh
Not to mention the important stuff, like House of the Dead and Collapse. ;-)

Jpwoo
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Fan made boards for commercial games

I love my wacom...I just wish I had sprumg for the bigger one!

seo
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OK. The map is ready. You can download it from here.

It's a Croel 8 file, with everything in layers and with names so it's easier to handle. If you want the dots bigger just add a border and adjust the size.
I also included a purple cube, as I think that's what's on the Empire Builder board image I saw.

The continents are all independently drawn, so you can move them around.

Enjoy!

Seo

Oracle
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Fan made boards for commercial games

seo wrote:
OK. The map is ready. You can download it from here.

Thank you,

Unfortunately I'm having trouble opening the file. I get a font substitution screen since I don't have all the fonts you used, and then when I click "ok" to allow the substitution the program crashes out with the message "CorelDRAW has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience." and closes.

I've tried several times and downloaded the file with Firefox and IE in case one of the browsers was corrupting the file. I've also tried importing it instead of opening it and changing the new fonts it wanted to use to other fonts.

I can see the image in the preview window of the open dialog.

Do you have any suggestions?

Jason

seo
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Fan made boards for commercial games

Oracle wrote:
Unfortunately I'm having trouble opening the file.

Try with this file. I replaced the font with Arial, and saved as Corel 7 (I'm working with v12, maybe the problem is produced by saving as v8).

Let me know if it works. We'll find a way. :-)

Seo

Oracle
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Fan made boards for commercial games

seo wrote:
Oracle wrote:
Unfortunately I'm having trouble opening the file.

Try with this file. I replaced the font with Arial, and saved as Corel 7 (I'm working with v12, maybe the problem is produced by saving as v8).

Let me know if it works. We'll find a way. :-)

Seo

I can open the file now, and it looks wonderful. The grid is behaving strangely, the right 1/3rd of the board has no dots. When I select any dot, it selects all the dots, including the empty spaces where there are none on the right. I stretched the whole grid field so now the board is covered but there's also the empty space extending well off to the right.

How did you make the grid? I'm going to have to tweak the spacing between dots to get it where it should be and I can't see how to adjust it.

Thank you again,

Jason

seo
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Fan made boards for commercial games

The grid is just a bunch of circles, combined as a single object. It covers all the board (and about 1 inch outside it, all around), so you can stretch it to the exact size you need by dragging the corner handlers, and move it to the exact placement required. Treat it as if it where a plain rectangle. Don't use the side handlers, or the grid will loose the correct width:height ratio.

The problem with part of the grid not showing is probably due to lack of memory or something. It shows fine on my screen, and should print without problem. Try changing the zoom level, or with the full screen preview, or simply accept that Corel fails to show it but it is there. I have suffered similar problems with complex objects in the past (the current release has solved this problem, AFAIK).

If editing turns impossible (or too hard) send me the instructions and I'll be glad to do it for you.

Seo

Oracle
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Fan made boards for commercial games

I've been playing with the file, and I can't make my grid in a useful way. I tried making a small section of it which I can copy and past to keep doubling the size. That's hard because the vertical and horizontal step sizes are different (side length vs height of an equilateral triangle).

I don't want to ask you to make the changes because I'm sure this won't be the last time, but can you offer some help on how I can do it myself?

Thanks again,
Jason

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