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Friday, 6 May 2016

MappingBoard

MappingBoard

This website was no longer available on the Internet  and as it's one of my favourite programs for making maps I decided to  resurrect it.  And full credits belong to (Site Design © 2006-2014 Matthew Tyler. Images © 2007 Rob Robbins).

MappingBoard is an application for drawing wargame maps. I am not a very patient person so the idea is to have a simple, easy to use application where you can, as much as possible, just plonk terrain items down on the map and not have to change a dozen properties such as colour and width every time.

Of course, initially, you will have to set up the toolbox to be able to draw the maps that you wish, but after that, you can just draw a blacktop road with white markings, for example, straight on the map every time you need to.

If you wish to create a library of specific terrain features, such as all the hills in your terrain box, it is as simple as drawing a feature and saving it to a specific folder on your PC and it will automatically appear in the toolbox under "MyFeatures".

The Science Bit

The main idea behind MappingBoard for drawing linear features, such as the white roads with black borders in the map below, is to have a "drawing feature" that is a combination of "pens" which all draw along the same path on the map producing the desired effect. This simple premise can be used to draw roads with borders, tarmac roads with central dashed lines, railway tracks, or dirt roads that fade into the surrounding grass.

Example Map 1

Based on the map in the Command Decision scenario Buron by Doug Eaglesham

Here are samples of easy to draw terrain features in MappingBoard.


Example Map 2

A map drawn with textures.

For those who prefer a more Flames of War or Warhammer style of map. I find these very effective for maps with a small number of terrain features.

Example Map 3

The ground textures used in this map were created by David Gurrea
The water texture was created by AbsoluteCross
Based on the map in the Rapid Fire scenario Operation "Quick Anger" by Mark Piper

A map drawn with "3D" textures.

The following map is the same as the above but uses shading to produce a 3D effect.

Example Map 4

The ground textures used in this map were created by David Gurrea
The water texture was created by AbsoluteCross
Based on the map in the Rapid Fire scenario Operation "Quick Anger" by Mark Piper

More Example Maps.

One of the reasons for starting this project was to do my own versions of maps that I found hard to decipher while reading a scenario. Here are some more that I have converted.

Gavrus Map 1

Gavrus Map 2

The following is a map I drew for the computer game WarTac by Mark Ainsworth

WarTac map 1

Downloads

Download the latest installation package (version 0.9.1.1, dated: 22/12/10).

Download the previous version (version 0.9.0.1).

Documentation

Jim Baker, from Fire and Fury, has written a user manual.

Support

For questions about MappingBoard, user submitted content and to report bugs please visit the MappingBaord Yahoo! Group.

Textures

I don't include any textures in MappingBoard. However, there are loads of freely available textures on the internet (I just can't redistribute them).

  1. David Gurrea. Some very good grass, soil and cobblestone textures here.
  2. CG Textures. Lots of very good textures made from photographs
  3. AbsoluteCross. Abstract textures some of which may be suitable for maps.
  4. CSUAC Archive. All the mapping objects uploaded to the Dundjinni forums archived in one place. No longer available
  5. The Vintyri Project. A large collection of buildings - taken from a top down perspective so excellent for maps.


Using textures in MappingBoard

Maps drawn using textures can look very impressive, especially, as with the map below, when there aren't many terrain features and a plain map can look a little bare.

I spend most of my time programming so I don't include many textures in MappingBoard. However, there are loads of freely available textures on the internet (I just can't redistribute them) which can easily be used within MappingBoard.

Without textures Example Map 2 No longer available



With textures


With textures Example Map 1

The ground textures used in this map were created by David Gurrea
The water texture was created by AbsoluteCross
Based on the map in the Rapid Fire scenario Operation "Quick Anger" by Mark Piper

Using a texture


Once you have downloaded a texture you can use it straight away in MappingBoard, many however, are too big. It is a simple matter to shrink them down to between 100x100 and 200x200 pixels depending on the texture and the size of your maps. To do this you can use any paint package include Microsoft Paint which is bundled with Windows. To resize using MS Paint, open the image, select the Image->Attributes... menu item and select the requires width and height. To keep the texture seamless you need to resize both height and width by the same fraction. Most seamless textures are square so this shouldn't be difficult to calculate.

Features:

Most terrain features can be created in one step
Objects can be freely moved and adjusted once created so you don't have to get it exactly right first time
The terrain feature template is an easy to edit xml file. Features can also be added via right clicking an object on the map.
You can add drawing styles (e.g. pen and fill colour) AND whole features (e.g. a kidney shaped hill). This allows you to draw items in your terrain collection once and add them to each map with just a couple of clicks
Terrain features have a draw order so that e.g. roads are always drawn over other features*
Linear features with borders will merge borders when overlapped (e.g. see road junctions in example)*
Features such as woods can be made semi-transparent allowing them to overlap hills.
Easy to use military unit symbols
Square and Hex grids
UN obstacle symbols such as concertina barbed wire
NEW: Blended image fills to give soft edges to the terrain
* for performance reasons this occurs during export to an image file but not when editing.

There is no documentation at the moment so you'll just have to play with it and see if you like it. I will, however, list important features here.

System Requirements

A PC running Microsoft Windows XP or later
The DotNet framework version 2.0. This is probably already on your machine otherwise you can download it from here

Installation

Download the zip file and unzip the contents in a suitable place
Double click Setup.exe and follow the instructions to install

Selecting objects

Once you have several objects on the map it is sometimes difficult to select the object you want.
Use layers to organise your objects. E.g. place all hills on one layer, roads on another etc. Too many layers, however, can make it difficult to find the object you want to select.
By default clicking will select the top most object, if you hold the shift key down you can toggle through all the objects in tha current layer under the mouse.

Transparency

Area terrain (e.g. woods) can be filled with a solid colour, a tiled image, or both if you use a gif image with transparency
If both, the alpha setting will set the transparency of the solid colour only, otherwise it will set the transparency of the tiled image

"3D" Terrain

Coming soon - how to draw 3D terrain

Miscellaneous

The map is drawn on the editing screen with a small margin. This margin will not appear on the exported image so features can be drawn across the map border without having to spend precious time trying to line the end of the feature up with the edge of the map.

Drawing styles

You can draw either free hand (the default) or by sets of straight lines

Features in the pipeline

Arrowheads and other line terminators
Preview screen - showing a fully WYSIWYG version of the map.

Known Issues