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Author zMapper
ewarwoowar
cabalist

Joined: Jul 21, 2008
Posts: 40
From: West Sussex
Posted: 23-07-2008 12:21   
Anyone used it? Is it any good?

I've been using GUEMap for quite some time but it is very limited in its design abilities and the author appears not to be actively working on it any more, hence I'm looking for an alternative.

Any other mapping software out there that people are using?

Cheers.


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royston
ranger

Joined: Jul 14, 2007
Posts: 1217
From: Felixstowe, Suffolk.
Posted: 23-07-2008 12:45   
I recommend Serif DrawPlus.

You can lock in compass point directions and end up with something resembling the London Underground Map.

It is very flexible when you discover new areas. You do not have to erase everything just move it about a bit.


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royston
ranger

Joined: Jul 14, 2007
Posts: 1217
From: Felixstowe, Suffolk.
Posted: 23-07-2008 14:31   
It's going to be interesting to see what Blib recommends

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blib
explorer

Joined: Jan 01, 2007
Posts: 531
From: N.London (just)
Posted: 23-07-2008 16:31   
Maps are for wimps.

Carry on.


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Crazyfool
Wizard



Joined: Sep 16, 2001
Posts: 789
From: Llanelli
Posted: 23-07-2008 18:54   
I can honestly say I have never made a map in my life.

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palaceboy
cabalist

Joined: Jun 25, 2007
Posts: 47
Posted: 23-07-2008 22:07   
i recommend you bribe Armand he has mapped the land.

[ This Message was edited by: palaceboy on 23-07-2008 22:08 ]


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Armand
explorer

Joined: Nov 20, 2006
Posts: 530
Posted: 24-07-2008 11:16   
I use OpenOffice Draw which sounds similar to the software Royston recommended. Its open source and free from here:

http://www.openoffice.org

I don't think the auto-map programs that come with mud clients like zMUD are very good at handling MUD2's rather complex map layout such as: rooms where the directions don't reverse (e.g. going n then s from cave will take you to rapids), rooms with identical names/descriptions (e.g. maze of hedges), rooms with descriptions that randomly change (e.g. graveyard), rooms with identical descriptions where you can't even drop markers (e.g. blizzard), and areas where the directions themselves change between resets (e.g. swamp).

With OpenOffice Draw I use different coloured lines to distinguish between compass directions and other directions (mainly jump, but also some other specialised ones e.g. where you need to ENTER something). I use red arrows to represent one-way directions (i.e. where reversing the direction won't take you back to where you started), and I add text to lines to represent something that blocks the way between two rooms (e.g. doors, rain, bookcase, narrow passages).

If you do decide to go with OpenOffice Draw, I have a mapping template I can send you to get you started.

[ This Message was edited by: Armand on 24-07-2008 11:20 ]


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royston
ranger

Joined: Jul 14, 2007
Posts: 1217
From: Felixstowe, Suffolk.
Posted: 24-07-2008 12:22   
I am downloading OpenOffice to compare the two. It has the undeniable advantage of being free. I am a bit worried that Armand has to show one way directions in red.

In DrawPlus you can bend the communicating lines through 90 degrees (several if necessary) to accomodate routes that are not 'opposites'.

There is always difficulties in depicting routes that are not compass points. Like Armand I use different colours.

Ill let you know my findings.



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blib
explorer

Joined: Jan 01, 2007
Posts: 531
From: N.London (just)
Posted: 24-07-2008 12:51   
Quote:

On 24-07-2008 11:16, Armand wrote:
red arrows



I saw the Red Arrows at The Farnborough Airshow last Sunday. They were great!

[ This Message was edited by: blib on 24-07-2008 12:51 ]


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royston
ranger

Joined: Jul 14, 2007
Posts: 1217
From: Felixstowe, Suffolk.
Posted: 24-07-2008 14:10   
Well I have had a look. I don't want to give too much away, in case Blib finally works out how to draw a map.

Both programs do much the same job. DrawPlus has just three advanages that I can see. (1) Whether you use a circular shape or a recangular shape for a room, you can lock the lines shown for the route to and from the room to the side of the room itself. That means that, if for any reason you want to move the room to another position, the line stays attached. You can arrange these locking postions to compass positions on the edge of a room. (2) you can make an overlapping grid (like grid lines on as OS map)so that the rooms can be arranged neatly in straight lines where the grid lines cross. These grid lines will not be printed. And (3) While I found that you can indeed 'bend' the lines at 90 degrees on both programs, on DrawPlus you can bend them at any angle, particularly at 45 degrees. That means that you need only one line to join one room to another, when for instance one is N to the other in one direction and the other is SW to the one in the opposite direction.

DrawPlus costs ?54.99 at Amazon while OpenOffice is free. I am not sure that the extra advantage of one is worth the extra cost.

I find there is a lot of satisfaction in making the maps particularly if they look neat. I try to follow the tenets of Harry Beck in keeping the rooms in line and joining them only with horizontal or vertical lines or those at 45 dgrees.

One thing is certain, once they are drawn they are hardly ever needed to be used. A fter all, you need one eye on the monitor, one on the keyboard and one on the map. True, they do enable you to make a better mental image of the Land. But the fun is in exploring the land and making the maps.

http://www.design-technology.info/alevelsubsite/page5.htm



[ This Message was edited by: royston on 24-07-2008 14:23 ]


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Armand
explorer

Joined: Nov 20, 2006
Posts: 530
Posted: 25-07-2008 10:52   
(1) and (2) can also be done in OpenOffice. (1) is not immediately obvious, as you have to set up your box with "snap points" at the various compass points. My template has that already set up.

I prefer the idea of using red arrows to represent one way directions because its more intuitive what it means when you glance at the page. Also, I have a system of priorities for which directions I will show on the map (i.e. often there are several directions that take you to the same place, but I only ever show the one which I consider to be "best"). So in general the red arrows work quite well, although there are some locations (particularly outdoor parts of the pagoda area) where its a bit messy.


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Armand
explorer

Joined: Nov 20, 2006
Posts: 530
Posted: 25-07-2008 10:58   
My order of preference when faced with multiple direction options are:

1. Reversible
2. One letter (N is better than NE)
3. Compass (N is better than J or U unless the latter obviously makes more sense like a building with multiple storeys)
4. Layout preference (what looks best)

I will rule out step by step all directions which don't meet the above criteria until I am left with only one.


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Karya
Arch-Witch



Joined: May 28, 2005
Posts: 156
Posted: 25-07-2008 20:37   
Armand & Royston,

Would either or both of you like to put together an article about mapping and using the software you mentioned? There's probably two articles in there.

Articles for Muddled Times that is.


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Crowley
pioneer

Joined: Apr 14, 2003
Posts: 421
From: Birmingham
Posted: 25-07-2008 22:04   
I still have the hard copies of the maps Xena sent me about 8 years ago! Bless her socks. His socks, even. Dear ol' Dave.
_________________
*Fiz the necromancess says "I've been advised by everyone in the game to ignore you, Crowley".


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Armand
explorer

Joined: Nov 20, 2006
Posts: 530
Posted: 26-07-2008 01:14   
I've been intending to write a mapping article for ages. I'll try to find some time to get it done, but not sure it'll be in time for the next issue.

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royston
ranger

Joined: Jul 14, 2007
Posts: 1217
From: Felixstowe, Suffolk.
Posted: 26-07-2008 07:32   
I am very happy to have a go.


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Thwomp
Wizard



Joined: Sep 14, 2001
Posts: 32
Posted: 27-07-2008 13:17   
Despite all this technological wizardry, there's something special about 10-year-old, coffee (or is it blood?) stained, pencil-drawn maps.

They reek of long gone resets and are scarred with time. Just like a debauched painting, they are a window into the sin of the soul.



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blib
explorer

Joined: Jan 01, 2007
Posts: 531
From: N.London (just)
Posted: 27-07-2008 21:08   
Quote:

On 26-07-2008 01:14, Armand wrote:
I've been intending to write a mapping article for ages.




Someone, please shoot me. Shoot me now!


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gobstopper
pilgrim

Joined: Jun 13, 2008
Posts: 21
Posted: 29-07-2008 11:21   
Blimey there are actually programs for mapping?! I say if your mapping get down and dirty with a pencil - I thought you people were supposed to be oldschool! (Crazyfool can do the same even if he isn't mapping). The only map I have used was a drawing of the land I found on some website when I was starting - very handy!

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royston
ranger

Joined: Jul 14, 2007
Posts: 1217
From: Felixstowe, Suffolk.
Posted: 29-07-2008 16:18   
I cannot understand all this inverse snobbery about mapping. Being able to draw and use a map does not make you a good MUD player but then neither does having it all in one?s mind and looking down on those who do use maps, make you a better one.

Yes, and I can see the attachment you feel to a rough old pencil drawn, dog eared, scrappy piece of paper, ten or more years old and, as suggested, covered in coffee and blood stains. There is a lot of emotion here.

I do not pretend that the maps are essential for play or even used a lot in the game . I very rarely consult mine. Like most players I think, I have routes set in my mind and gradually learn short cuts. I recently checked some of my so called routes and found, to my surprise, they differed from those shown on my maps. That says it all.

So why bother? I find mapping is an end to itself. It has all to do with a desire to explore and being creative. It may not be the prime object of the game but I regard it as a additional enjoyable facet. There is a great deal of satisfaction in producing something that has some basis of practicability and is also pleasing to the eye.

A map of the whole land surface from Dragon Island to the Giants and from The Formal Gardens to the Isle of Woe, including Redwoods, North Mountain and the Pag gardens, on one single sheet of A4 paper may not have much practical use, but it is the nearest thing to a work of art that I am likely to produce.

_________________


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