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Years ago, I used Dundjinni to create battlemaps for the game I ran. However, each individual map was restricted in size such that it corresponded to the size of a piece of normal 8.5" x 11", and this meant I had to create a bunch of different maps, eyeballing them so that they'd be able to be printed separately and then joined up, which was frustrating and also required taping the map pieces together if I wanted to lay out a full dungeon level, or even just a large room. The software gave me very nice looking maps but simply couldn't create maps of the size I wanted.

I've got access to a large plotter at work which allows me to print out full-sized battlemaps (a little over 3' wide, however long I want). So far I've used a workaround where I convert maps to images, join all the images together in something like Paint, then print that image out to the plotter, but even this requires a lot of trial and error to get the scale right so that 1 square = 1 inch. I'd rather just find some mapping software that would handle all this for me.

Something like Dungeongrapher is a nice mapping utility and useful for creating dungeon maps like you'd find in a module, but is a little too basic and colorless for the types of battlemaps I want. I want full color with nice art.

Is there any mapping software out there that supports creating full-color, detailed battle maps of large size such that they can be printed on a plotter?

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No idea, but AutoRealm might work? –  Pureferret Feb 2 '12 at 22:35

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I hate to say it, but is there any reason why you just aren't using Photoshop (or a free equivalent like Gimp)? You seem to be a more advanced mapper, and that is the route that I would recommend. I don't know if Photoshop elements would be enough to fit what you are looking to do, but I can't think of a better graphics program for large scale mapping.

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I haven't tried Photoshop due to the price. I've never tried Gimp. I'll check it out. One nice things about the mapping programs is that they tend to be quick and easy to lay things out in a grid style, and I'm not sure if a more freeform tool like Photoshop would make it as easy. –  Sterno Dec 15 '11 at 3:46
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So most programs like that have a "snap to" feature which means that you can snap your imported graphics to a 1 in (or whatever size) grid. They also generally have a patterns feature which you can use to populate/overly a grid onto the map objects themselves. One grid tool for gimp is located here –  Xphile Dec 15 '11 at 5:01
    
+1 for GIMP. This is the first battlemap I ever made (though I do have previous casual GIMP experience) and it only took about an hour. –  dpatchery Dec 16 '11 at 13:55
    
Waiting to accept the answer until I have time to actually try this out, but it looks promising. –  Sterno Dec 16 '11 at 14:28
    
+1 for Photoshop / Gimp. It's a good skill to have regardless. –  James Dec 16 '11 at 15:44

I will add Inkscape to the list of general image editors for this purpose. What makes it different from Gimp and Photoshop is that it uses vector (as opposed to raster) graphics. This means that everything is stored as shapes (a line from point to point), and not pixels (a bunch of black pixels in a row).

Vector graphics can be scaled infinitely, so you can print them at any resolution you want, and have the added benefit of being small file sizes. The vectors also make grid-based editing very simple, as you can draw lines from grid to grid, etc.

And last but not least, it's completely free and Open Source!

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Admittedly, I haven't tried to print anything from Inkscape on a plotter, but you can export images at any resolution, so it shouldn't be too difficult a process. –  dlras2 Dec 18 '11 at 21:25

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