Map making tools & tips
I also to make a post about my map making tools I use, and share the tips I came to use while mapmaking (I'm still new at it and learning along the way)
A few points I want to talk about : sketching/planning your map, using the map editor and the utility tool, measuring, publishing
* Using a drawing software
I use Inkscape for most of my drawing process. https://inkscape.org/en/
Inkscape is an open-source program, for vector drawing, equivalent to Adobe Illustrator.
I am personally more used and comfortable wih Inkscape than Illustrator, and find it faster for the easy tasks I need to do in this workflow. However, I'm sure you can do the same with Illustrator.
So this is what my file looks like.
There are some good tools to use within the software, such as :
: using layers to organize your document. I use 1 layer per element (map image, lanes, ore, ...)
You can also hide them, lock, change the transparency of a layer, ...
: I also use the built-in units system to measure the dimensions of what I am drawing.
When importing an image into Inkscape, a OpenRA cell is about 10 cells. I just adjust the scale so it is perfectly 10px. From there on, anything will be measured with that scale : width of a lane, distances, ...
: you can also superpose a grid over your drawing. Of course, will be a 10px grid, with a primary grid every 10 cells.
I also add another red grid every 50 cells. Therefore, I can quickly now the coordinates of an object by looking at the grid.
: you can snap to the grid, but also to other objects
: for symetry purposes
: I just draw a line, and see the length in pixels.
: when done, you can export a selection. I usually add another "export" layer, and draw 1% transparent rectangle as a selection.
* Inkscape Template File
Here's an Inkscape file, with prepared layers, sized objects and ore patches(10px/cell), and defined colors the 3 environments.
Link to the .SVG file : http://s000.tinyupload.com/?file_id=928 ... 7576224126
* Map editor / Utility tool
- increase map size
, to get more room (beware -2)
I like to see my whole map as a canvas. Increasing the space a lot allows me to get more space, if i suddently need to expand my map a bit, or leave some copy-pastable assets in the additional area.
You can even make yourself a "default" starting map, with already a lot of assets.
You need to open a terminal where your Utility.exe is (in your installed folder), then type (or copy paste) :
OpenRA.Utility.exe ra --resize-map MAPFILE WIDTH HEIGHT
For instance :
OpenRA.Utility.exe ra --resize-map ./Jungle-Law_v0-4b.oramap 170 170 (./ if you put the .oramap in the same folder, otherwise you need to write the whole path)
- copy paste
to reuse assets, cliffs, roads, ore patches, ...
- use versions
I suggest to save a new version every change, and to keep the old ones in an "old" folder. Also because there is no "Undo" button !!
- eco measuring
To measure the amount of an ore patch, copy it somewhere else, and calculate the difference.
- quick sketching
I use water tiles to quick sketch : for instance axes, circles, planned areas (obstacle, ore, ...).
For more precision, I read on the grid (in Inkscape) a few keypoints, that I precisely draw in the editor. Then I draw between those points.
Sometimes I use some highly visible actors (the orange hay stack), to note some areas (finished areas, to-do areas, ...)
- grid color
: I also changed the grid color to gray, for eye comfort.
can be overwritten by setting it in your installed OpenRA folder : OpenRA\mods\ra\tilesets\temperat.yaml for instance, then change HeightDebugColors: 555555
I use http://imgur.com/
, then go to my uploaded images, click the one I want to upload : gives you several links.
Choose the one that says BBCode, and you can even choose a thumbnail size.
For screeenshooting, I think native Windows would work, or the OpenRA screenshot command, but I use "Greenshot" software and works well. Then combine images on my image editor.