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Friday, March 31, 2017

DungeonFog - RPG Mapmaker

We're going to check out DungeonFog, a D&D mapmaking program that is being kickstarted right now. They made their goal in about 4 days, so if you want to jump in, now's the time

I messed around with Roll20 a little bit a few months ago. Roll20 lets you play online, draw maps, all sorts of stuff. It was cool but extremely complicated. From what I understand, it adds a lot of prep work to a task that already has too much prep work involved.

I have made maps in Photoshop, but they're pretty craptastic. I would love to be able to make some nice maps with a simple program, especially for my online games.

DungeonFog purports to be such a program! The guy who made DungeonFog was nice enough to let me mess around with the pre-alpha version.

I decided to try to use DungeonFog to make the Yawning Portal - the bar from the new D&D adventure, Tales From the Yawning Portal. It’s a bar with a huge well in it that leads to the megadungeon known as Undermountain.

This thing is nice and simple. There are just a few elements to deal with. There are stages, floors and props. You select areas for the floors to fill in. Props are dragged and dropped right onto the map. My favorite prop is the dude in the cage.

Then in the edit section, there are different types of floors. There are also stages, which is your sort of main background that you put floors on top of. The stages are very nicely done. I slapped together a montage of my favorites:

I really like the rock one, in particular.

In the beginning, I was a little confused. You have to draw/outline the squares you want to use, and then fill it with the floor you selected. I had a bit of a hard time actually getting it to use the floor I wanted. After a few minutes of tinkering I got the basic idea of how it worked. Once I got going, it was ridiculously easy.

I love how you can rotate objects and make them larger or smaller. This isn’t some namby-pamby rotation, either. This goes right down to the degree. 

To rotate, you need to use your mouse wheel. I am using a laptop, which has no mouse wheel. I plugged in a mouse and it worked fine.

The other thing was that my laptop started to get warm after about 45 minutes. This thing is 4 years old and I had another very large program running, so maybe this won’t be a problem for anyone else.

I was really impressed with the whole thing. They have a lot of detailed little things. An oven! Three different cutting boards! A blood stain and a spill stain.

It took me about a half hour to make this Yawning Portal map:

That's not too shabby, am I right? Sometimes you see maps online that people made with some program and they look really cheesy and weird. To me, this really does look a bit like a program that creates maps in the style of Mike Schley.

When you’re done, you can turn it into an image. The image it generates has the DungeonFog watermark on the bottom, which is pretty large.

See how many squares that is? If this is 5 feet per square, that's 25 feet long! I can crop that out, but some people might not like having that on their map.

To me, this thing seems ideal for people making DMs Guild adventures. You can make your own maps! Maybe now we won’t see any more hand-drawn maps in the D&D Encounters adventures.

I wanted to make something stupid in DungeonFog for this article. I whipped up a goofy dungeon hallway loaded with stuff. I timed myself. It took me three minutes.

Three minutes! That’s the thing I like most about this program. You can make nice maps very quickly.

Apparently they are adding a lot more. You can play online with it, it somehow generates DM notes, all sorts of stuff. Honestly, the mapmaker is good enough on its own that even if they didn't deliver anything else it would be worth it.

The kickstarter has already funded (!), 4 days after it began, so I guess we'll be seeing more of DungeonFog..

If you think this might be something you want, check out their kickstarter right here.


Zingbob Co said...

Hey Sean, BTW. You can import maps into Roll20, so you can use DungeonFog to make the maps and bring them into Roll20 for token usage, dynamic lighting, and rolling.

Sean said...

Aha! That's pretty cool, people could use those big Schley maps.

Zingbob Co said...

Indeed! Those are actually what I use for a lot of my games, they're especially useful in games like PotA, SKT, or TftYP when you've got these big dungeon crawls.