I have cartographer 3, which rocks my socks, so if you need an overland map of your world, let me know I can work with you to create this beast of a world in which you would like to mold a MUD. :D I just need a bit of building done in return ;)
I've got CC3 and Fractal Terrains as well. They're really great programs, although, I've been a little less the pleased with CC3, the artwork for things looks too… kiddish for my tastes. Fractal Terrains however, I absolutely love.
Do not click this link if you have a bandwidth limit, or a slow connection, load times will be horrible, and well… not so fun.
Fractal Terrains Display - Eridanus This is a fractal terrains map generated for MW to represent the world of Eridanus. It's built in flash using 360 degree rotational images output from Fractal Terrains.
If you're into creating maps, and want to draw some in a more traditional way I would suggest looking into the Cartographer's Guild for help and tutorials. http://www.cartographersguild.com/ A great forum with a great community of map making enthusiasts.
I've just started using CC3 and I think it's great. My only real criticism is the poor stability under Vista - I now save every few seconds! I haven't quite finished my first map, but this is what I have so far: The City of Tharn. It's not great, but for someone who isn't much of an artist or designer the software has made it possible for me to produce something reasonable without too much trouble.
Nice map Orrin. So, are you going to slap a grid on top and then build your area based on that grid? Or, do you just use it as a loose reference? I've always been interested in finding a solid building system. I used to use graph paper and colored pencils, but that gets old fast.
EDIT: I just read "slap a grid on top" and realized it might have sounded sarcastic. It wasn't meant to, it just came out that way :stare:
Maybe I'm overly picky, but all the images I see made with these programs (including Kayle's, sorry) look horribly generic. Also, it's one thing to create a map of fictional land masses and seas. It's an entirely other thing to have it actually be representative of the world that is built in the game. It seems that even the people who try to match what's actually built in game with what's represented via one of these maps, just end up kludging it anyway. Either they make the maps first, then try to build very rough approximations, or they build the world first, then etch and skew the map for detail after realizing it doesn't look as fancy as a normal map. I guess my point is this - if I see a spot on one of these maps, any spot, I want to be able to go to it, unless there's some good RP reason why I can't.
As an aside, has anyone ever taken a map made by one of these programs, then used it as a base to add layers on top of via Photoshop (or any other software)?
Nice map Orrin. So, are you going to slap a grid on top and then build your area based on that grid?
No, the MUD area is already done and wasn't built by me. What I did was map out the area room by room on paper then created the map to match based on information in the room descriptions. I'm now in the process of matching coordinates on the map to individual rooms so I can use it to provide a "minimap" for my web client.
Maybe I'm overly picky, but all the images I see made with these programs (including Kayle's, sorry) look horribly generic.
The software is just a tool so if you use the builtin symbols, effects and basic textures then sure it's going to look fairly generic. The map I linked for example just uses default effects and textures for the most part but that's because I wanted to get the layout done without spending too much time on it. If you create your own symbols and textures (using photoshop or whatever) and customise the effects in CC3 your maps will definitely not be generic. Like anything else you will get out what you put in.
I think that's being a little bit (or even far too) picky. Some graphical map is better than no graphical map, even if using stock symbols. Having a map is an excellent way of providing vision to builders (including yourself…) as a reminder of important geographical features. If there are slight (and I mean slight) variations, that's ok, almost all of the time. Looking at Orrin's map, it's probably ok if one of the little purple houses goes missing in the actual game. But it would not be ok if that wall around the cluster of colored houses were missing. Of course, the method of representing the world can drastically change what can be left out; if you have some way of representing things down to the square foot, you probably actually could put in every single house. In this instance, the map could maybe even be autogenerated from the in-game representation! (But I step ahead of myself…)
I suppose it's a matter of personal taste, but I don't think it's necessary to have every single feature that's on a map represented in game. If you want to be that literal you might as well make a coordinate based game and do away with rooms altogether. To take David's example, those coloured houses on my map (which are supposed to be market stalls!) are part of the great market. In the room descriptions in game it's described as a large and busy market full of colourful pavilions and buildings. The vast majority of the stalls and buildings don't exist as individual rooms in game, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be represented on the map, IMO.
Can you explain how this application works? Isn't that for WoW?
Sorry for the delayed response. No it's not for WoW as I'm sure you've figured out by now, it's a really in depth map making program that you can use to create anything from overland maps to cities to castles.