As you may recall, I’ve been completely shut off from the gaming world for about 20 years now. Since I’ve been back, I’ve been spending a great deal of time, marveling at all the new technologies, which we have at our disposal.
Over the past couple weeks, Chaotic/GM has been posting some pretty snazzy (god I’m old) battle-maps on his site. This got the juices flowing and I set about to see what I could learn about mapping on the computer.
I started out by picking up a copy of GIMP. GIMP is a powerful image manipulation application. Best of all, it’s free. The learning curve is relatively light and with it, the mapping possibilities are endless.
Through the process of my learning and discovery, I stumbled upon the Cartographers’ Guild. This is a wonderful community of not only talented but extremely friendly folks. There is a large gamer presence amongst their ranks and they are very welcoming to newcomers.
I’ve been learning quite a bit from the Cartographers’ Guild and it’s become almost an addiction to sift through various articles and tutorials. Last night, while I was doing just that, I stumbled upon something that made me smile.
Torstan’s guide to creating old-school maps in GIMP, details the process of recreating classic “blue & white” maps, like those which were featured in TSR Dungeons & Dragons adventures, back in the 1980s. It really took me back to when I first discovered role-playing games. I can remember sitting for hours, reading The Keep on the Borderlands or Tomb of Horrors and just letting my imagination run wild. I was also flooded with memories of secretly making maps on graph paper, while sitting in the back of history class.
I realize that computer mapping is fairly commonplace these days, and that I’ve been out of the loop for some time. I also realize that maps of this style aren’t much to look at, given the tools available today. However, in the past month, I’ve come across over a dozen other folks who are just now getting back into gaming. I thought I’d pass this along for any who may be interested.