Over the weekend I was away in Ottawa for a one-day workshop (it wasn’t game related). While hanging out in my hotel room, I started designing the world of the as yet untitled game in map form. I enjoy drawing maps so this was sort of a logical thing for me to do while working with this new game’s setting. Of course, I decided to draw in pen rather than pencil, so I ended up designing the map on three separate sheets of paper; none of those were really the finished product (and one is more of a listing of words rather than an actual map now).
My plan was to redraw it once I got home and then scan it. But somewhere along the way I had a better idea: why not just find a map-making program and draw it on the computer instead?
I looked into several programs, including Campaign Cartographer 3 (which looked pretty neat) and Dundjinni before deciding on giving AutoREALM a try. Of the three, AutoREALM is covered under the GNU General Public License and was available as a free download, so having never designed a map using anything more complicated than Paint I decided it was the one to try for now. I may consider giving one of the other programs a try in the future, but until then I’m going to play around with AutoREALM.
So anyway, after downloading the program and checking out a quick tutorial, I was able to successfully recreate the map I designed in Ottawa:
I know the map isn’t perfect. Some of the areas are tough to read and the edges of the map are just white space because I didn’t design them. But I had a lot of fun drawing this (both in pen and on AutoREALM). I didn’t actually come up with all the names for things either; my programmer friend helped me brainstorm the place names while I was in Ottawa.
The best part about this map is that it’s helping me visualize the set-up for the game, particularly with the story and levels. It’s giving me a great starting point for character backgrounds. What’s more, the map also has some of the unique level-specific features of the game on it. The final game might not be laid out like this, but at least I have a starting point.