Isomage's Hex Mapping Tools: Wildgen and hexGIMP

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Isomage's Hex Mapping Tools: Wildgen and hexGIMP

Post by Thorf » Fri Apr 17, 2009 3:45 pm

Isomage over at the Cartographer's Guild PM'ed me this week asking for permission to use my hex art in some of his mapping tools projects. :D

The first is a random hex map generator called Wildgen, which you can find here:

http://axiscity.hexamon.net/users/isomage/wildgen/

Check it out - it's rather cool. I gather that he's in the process of converting my hex art to be compatible with AKS Hex Mapper, which in itself may interest some of you here.

He is also working on implementing my hex art in his set of tools for GIMP, called hexGIMP. It currently doesn't come with any hexes, but will soon have adaptations of mine bundled with it. You can find it here:

http://axiscity.hexamon.net/users/isomage/gimp/hexgimp/

UPDATE 2018/3/10: Isomage's site seems to have been down for some time. I have hosted a copy of his GIMP brushes on my Hex Mapping Tools page.

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Re: Isomage's Hex Mapping Tools: Wildgen and hexGIMP

Post by Chimpman » Fri Apr 17, 2009 11:56 pm

Hey, those are pretty cool :D
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Re: Isomage's Hex Mapping Tools: Wildgen and hexGIMP

Post by Andaire » Sat Apr 18, 2009 11:04 am

You are famous now Thorf 8-)
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Re: Isomage's Hex Mapping Tools: Wildgen and hexGIMP

Post by isomage » Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:04 pm

I thought I might as well introduce myself. Hi!

I'm interested in random map generation, particularly in the old TSR style. There are a few projects on my site, and Thorf has linked to two: the random wilderness generator and the GIMP hex editor. These can be used together; images made by the generator can be pasted into the terrain layer of the GIMP tool so that hexes can be changed, and rivers, cities, roads, text, etc. can be added.
Thorf wrote:I gather that he's in the process of converting my hex art to be compatible with AKS Hex Mapper, which in itself may interest some of you here.
I had been using the AKS Hex Mapper hexes in my projects, but it was only for lack of a better tileset -- now, thanks to your work, I have a perfect tileset 8-) In fact, getting all those new hexes has allowed me to get started on something which I'd been wanting to do for a long time: adding different types of environment to the random map generator.

Anyway, this forum looks pretty cool. There's not a lot of love around for the old style maps anymore, but this place looks promising.

See you around!

Edited to add: The random hex map generator defaults to a small size, and the results often don't look good that small. It's useful for quickly running through lots of samples, though, and once you find one you like the general look of the "Last seed" button can be used to re-generate it, and increasing the width and height will bring out more detail.
Last edited by isomage on Sat Apr 18, 2009 1:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Isomage's Hex Mapping Tools: Wildgen and hexGIMP

Post by Thorf » Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:23 pm

isomage wrote:I thought I might as well introduce myself. Hi!
Nice to see you here. :)
I'm interested in random map generation, particularly in the old TSR style. There are a few projects on my site, and Thorf has linked to two: the random wilderness generator and the GIMP hex editor. These can be used together; images made by the generator can be pasted into the terrain layer of the GIMP tool so that hexes can be changed, and rivers, cities, roads, text, etc. can be added.
I don't use GIMP myself (in fact I just caved in and bought the Illustrator CS4 upgrade last night :oops: ) but regardless it's very exciting to see great quality hex mapping becoming more and more accessible.

Actually there's one thing left that would make a huge difference - in fact it would put the maps on a par with my own. And that's the hex grid. Is there any way to make it transparent in GIMP? In Illustrator I have the grid set to Multiply at 75%, and my 150/150/150 (RGB) grey colour then merges with the colour of the tiles beneath it, creating a very pleasant-looking grid. It also makes the grid cut up roads and rivers in a much nicer way.
I had been using the AKS Hex Mapper hexes in my projects, but it was only for lack of a better tileset -- now, thanks to your work, I have a perfect tileset 8-) In fact, getting all those new hexes has allowed me to get started on something which I'd been wanting to do for a long time: adding different types of environment to the random map generator.
Yep, there are indeed a lot of hexes now. :lol: Kinda hard to keep track of them all - especially when I have so many revisions and updates of each one.
Anyway, this forum looks pretty cool. There's not a lot of love around for the old style maps anymore, but this place looks promising.
I think it's safe to say you'll find The Piazza to be a bastion of love for hex maps. 8-) It comes with the territory of classic D&D and Mystara. Even those of us here who prefer non-hex maps still seem to enjoy a good hex map now and then. :D

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Re: Isomage's Hex Mapping Tools: Wildgen and hexGIMP

Post by isomage » Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:43 pm

Thorf wrote:I don't use GIMP myself (in fact I just caved in and bought the Illustrator CS4 upgrade last night
Those who can, vector; those who can't, raster? :) I'd love the scalability that comes with vector graphics, but for this sort of thing I'm stuck with bitmaps because it's what I'm most familiar with.

Although... I bet I could convert your Illustrator tiles to PostScript, and procedurally generating PostScript (and hence PDF) is trivial... hmm... :twisted:
Thorf wrote:Actually there's one thing left that would make a huge difference - in fact it would put the maps on a par with my own. And that's the hex grid. Is there any way to make it transparent in GIMP? In Illustrator I have the grid set to Multiply at 75%, and my 150/150/150 (RGB) grey colour then merges with the colour of the tiles beneath it, creating a very pleasant-looking grid. It also makes the grid cut up roads and rivers in a much nicer way.
So that's how you do that! Yes, GIMP can do it, though I don't know about libGD (the library I use to compose the images in the random generator), and I will probably have to resize and re-bitmap the hexes (it currently works on the diagonals, but there's a gap in the vertical spacing between hexes which the grid covers). That's definitely worth looking into, though, because the effect is highly desirable.

Thanks!
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Re: Isomage's Hex Mapping Tools: Wildgen and hexGIMP

Post by Andaire » Sat Apr 18, 2009 3:07 pm

isomage wrote:Anyway, this forum looks pretty cool. There's not a lot of love around for the old style maps anymore, but this place looks promising.
Oh, you will find plenty of love around here, and not just from Thorf - the whole community loves those maps!
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Re: Isomage's Hex Mapping Tools: Wildgen and hexGIMP

Post by multizar » Sat Apr 18, 2009 3:56 pm

Awesome map making tool! This will make random encounters go so much smoother for me when making adventures.....great work! :D
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Re: Isomage's Hex Mapping Tools: Wildgen and hexGIMP

Post by isomage » Sun Apr 19, 2009 8:01 am

hexGIMP 0.0.3 is now up at the site, and it does the color-blending on the grid lines. If you have brushes from a previous version installed you'll need to replace them with the ones in the 0.0.3 zipfile.

I haven't brought the random generator into line with that yet -- compatibility between the two is currently broken.
My random map generators and GIMP scripts: http://axiscity.hexamon.net/users/isomage/

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Re: Isomage's Hex Mapping Tools: Wildgen and hexGIMP

Post by isomage » Sun Apr 19, 2009 10:50 am

isomage wrote: I haven't brought the random generator into line with that yet -- compatibility between the two is currently broken.
Compatibility restored. There's now a "No grid" option; if you generate a map without a grid then you can paste it onto the terrain layer in hexGIMP and get the nice color fading.

Thanks for putting me onto the grid multiplier, Thorf -- it's brilliant.

Here's an example done with the new hexGIMP:
Image
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Re: Isomage's Hex Mapping Tools: Wildgen and hexGIMP

Post by Thorf » Sun Apr 19, 2009 1:42 pm

Nice! The picture with no grid looks practically identical to how it looks to me in Illustrator when I turn off the grid layer.

A few comments about the make-up of the random generator: for the regular one, I notice you've used yellow and green grassland hexes. In Mystara maps, these hexes originated as standard grasslands (yellow) and choice grazing lands (green). I'm not sure that the distinction is really necessary over large areas, so it might be better to phase out the green grasslands tiles.

For cold environments, the glacier symbol is a bit tricky. It might be best to have it appear as the fractal peak of mountainous regions, because obviously glaciers out on the plains is just not going to happen.

For the desert environments option, how about adding badlands, and perhaps hills and mountains. It would also be interesting to have oases appearing with a very low probability in desert and rocky desert. Finally there's a sand dunes hex that could also be added in. In fact there's also a hardened clay symbol (from the Nithia maps).

The tropical option is very nice - it's great to see jungle hills put to use :) - but perhaps the desert symbol needs to be restricted to coastlines only, where it means beach rather than desert. Otherwise, seeing desert in among jungle is just a bit too strange. (Edit: perhaps it's already set this way, in which case you could make it better just by reducing the amount of sand that appears on the coasts.) You could also add swamp in to this mix.

It might take some tweaking to make the results come out great every time, but I think you're already well on the way to a really excellent tool here. :D

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Re: Isomage's Hex Mapping Tools: Wildgen and hexGIMP

Post by isomage » Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:35 am

I kind of like having both types of grassland -- the yellow one is suggestive to me of drier grassland and the green of more lush terrain. Is it really a bad idea (unrealistic, or jarringly "un-Mystaran") to have both symbols present in the same area?

Yeah, the glaciers are tricky. In some sense they ought to appear in valleys (since some valleys are eroded by them), but I think they flow downward from the mountains so shouldn't be isolated in valleys, and that's the problem here. I suspect doing them right would be difficult. Maybe they could be omitted from the generator and added manually (in hexGIMP) as desired...

Some of the symbols you suggested be added are already there (e.g., swamps in the "tropical" maps), but not every symbol is guaranteed to appear in every map, so without generating several maps it would be easy to miss some. The desert in the "tropical" one was indeed supposed to be beach; I was sort of going for desert islands, but I don't think I managed quite to pull it off.

Thanks for having a look at it. I'm going to need lots of advice, I think, about tweaking the parameters. There are all kinds of variations to look at doing -- variations by latitude AND climate, say. I'll probably just be putting up weak attempts (like the current new ones) and relying on suggestions here to help refine them :)
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Re: Isomage's Hex Mapping Tools: Wildgen and hexGIMP

Post by Seer of Yhog » Mon Apr 20, 2009 9:04 pm

I just visited your site - very nice looking tool! I'll have to try it out.
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Re: Isomage's Hex Mapping Tools: Wildgen and hexGIMP

Post by isomage » Tue Apr 21, 2009 11:45 am

Just for fun, and to put hexGIMP through its paces, here's something many of you may find familiar (click for large version)...

Image

:D
Last edited by isomage on Sat May 16, 2009 1:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Isomage's Hex Mapping Tools: Wildgen and hexGIMP

Post by Andaire » Tue Apr 21, 2009 12:27 pm

And then, Thorf makes a replica using vector graphics :D
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Re: Isomage's Hex Mapping Tools: Wildgen and hexGIMP

Post by isomage » Tue Apr 21, 2009 12:37 pm

:lol:
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Re: Isomage's Hex Mapping Tools: Wildgen and hexGIMP

Post by isomage » Sun Apr 26, 2009 4:02 am

Finally had a chance to tweak the wilderness map generator a bit. Replaced choice grazing land with grassland in the default environment, removed glaciers from the "cold" option, added badlands to the "desert" option, increased swamp frequency and decreased sand frequency in the "tropical". They're looking a bit more reasonable now, though "tropical" is still kinda crap ;)
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Re: Isomage's Hex Mapping Tools: Wildgen and hexGIMP

Post by maddog » Sun Apr 26, 2009 1:33 pm

isomage wrote:Just for fun, and to put hexGIMP through its paces, here's something many of you may find familiar (click for large version)...

Image

:D
That is truely beautifully. :) :mrgreen:
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Re: Isomage's Hex Mapping Tools: Wildgen and hexGIMP

Post by Thorf » Sun Apr 26, 2009 3:58 pm

Very nice map! :) It's getting close to what I'm putting out. Is there any way to anti-alias the edges of the road?

I like the new map generator profiles - good job.

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Re: Isomage's Hex Mapping Tools: Wildgen and hexGIMP

Post by Hugin » Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:55 pm

That random map generator is wild! I'm amazed that something like this is even possible! :!:

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Re: Isomage's Hex Mapping Tools: Wildgen and hexGIMP

Post by isomage » Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:50 am

Thorf wrote:Is there any way to anti-alias the edges of the road?
Yep. Updated original image.
Last edited by isomage on Sat May 16, 2009 12:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Isomage's Hex Mapping Tools: Wildgen and hexGIMP

Post by isomage » Thu May 14, 2009 10:17 am

hexGIMP work in progress: a hex version of the map from Joel Rosenberg's "Guardians of the Flame" series. The original map has lots of blank, open spaces, and it's been a while since the last time I read the books, so I don't know how to fill in large portions of it. I've used farmland or grassland for now. I've started re-reading, but if we happen to have any series experts here who have any suggestions, their advice would be welcome :)

Anyway, it's not quite finished, but here it is so far (I'll just update this image as I progress it):

Image
Last edited by isomage on Sat May 16, 2009 1:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Isomage's Hex Mapping Tools: Wildgen and hexGIMP

Post by Thorf » Thu May 14, 2009 5:26 pm

Very nice! I'm really quite impressed with your system, it seems to be working rather well. :D

By the way I have released the latest versions of my hex art designs over in the Mapping Tools thread in the Geographical Mapping sub-forum here.

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Re: Isomage's Hex Mapping Tools: Wildgen and hexGIMP

Post by enpeze » Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:26 pm

Very nice maps isomage. I just installed the gimp2.0 and you hexgimp4.0 and it works very good and very fast so far. only one thing. Is possible to have a higher resolution for the brushes? 72 dpi is a little bit rough, especially if observed at 150% or higher. Also for printing out the maps on a colour printer it should be higher than 72. Is this possible? Or can even gimp arrange this somehow? thanks for your help.

a second question: which text fonts do you use for the maps?

edit: I just found it out. thanks.

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Re: Isomage's Hex Mapping Tools: Wildgen and hexGIMP

Post by danbuter » Mon Nov 22, 2010 12:10 pm

I really like this. Has anyone figured how many hexes fit for 8.5"x11" paper?

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