Mystara Web Map

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Mystara Web Map

Postby Wangalade » Mon Feb 27, 2017 9:39 am

I am making a web app for Mystara as a final Project for my Geography degree at CSUN. As part of my project I am sending out a survey about the the usefulness of the karameikos map that appeared in the 1981 Expert Set. I just started a new blog where I go into a lot more detail about the project, and plan to continue to log the status of it as I progress. you can find the blog entry at 42ducktape.blogspot.com or go straight to the survey at https://surv.es/puPpaeiAJrpi7K55b
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Re: Mystara Web Map

Postby Sturm » Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:33 pm

About mapping, you may want to check the dedicated subforum viewforum.php?f=22 and Thorfinn Tait's blog http://mystara.thorfmaps.com/
Also some of the questions on your survey could be answered by the Demography of Karameikos article by Simone Neri in Threshold magazine 1 http://pandius.com/Threshold_1.pdf or by my article The Unknown World Trail Map on Threshold issue 13 http://pandius.com/Threshold_13.pdf , even if we may have different approaches on the numbers.
Answered the survey anyway.
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Re: Mystara Web Map

Postby Wangalade » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:47 pm

I'm aware and appreciate of all the great work that has already been done by Thorf and others; my goal here is to make a interactive web map and show how it can be an improvement over static paper or digital maps. I wasn't sure whether I should post in the maps forum or not; I figured I might get more responses here.

I've only caught up to threshold issue 6 or so. I think the magazine is fantastic, but I just haven't had a lot of time to read it lately. I'm not looking for data to build the setting, that has already been done. The survey is intended as an analysis of how well the original paper map communicates to the reader.
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Re: Mystara Web Map

Postby Chimpman » Tue Feb 28, 2017 12:23 am

I ran through the survey as well. I found that I wanted to answer several of the questions differently, based on how the map was going to be used (and in many of the questions I could come up with different scenarios for using the map).

For example, as a player I want something very different from my map than I do as a DM. IMO hex maps work great for a DM because they can use them to plan things out pretty specifically. As a DM I can figure out how long it takes to get somewhere, what obstacles might be encountered along the way, etc... As a player I think I would want a handout map that was a little more stylized (something that Campaign cartographer would put out) verses something with more meaningful metrics.

Also the question about what level of map I wanted is highly dependent upon what I want to do with that map. Will it be used for world building? Will it be used for an adventure? What kind of campaign is being run (standard dungeon crawl, vs mass combat/war machine)? I realize that the survey is probably designed specifically to make people think about those issues, but I still felt like I couldn't answer some of the questions appropriately.

Anyway, cheers! I hope you come back here to fill us in on the results once the survey has been completed.

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Re: Mystara Web Map

Postby Sturm » Tue Feb 28, 2017 9:26 am

Indeed an interactive web map seems a fantastic idea, but maybe to start it would be better to use only canon informations, so anything included in Gazetteer 1 probably, to make it a reference map for players, or to summarize the "common knowledge" inhabitants of Karameikos have about their nation.
For DMs maybe another map could be useful, with more informations not immediately available to players.
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Re: Mystara Web Map

Postby mindszenty » Wed Mar 01, 2017 8:03 pm

Hello, Wangalade!
I did an interactive map of Mystara myself, maybe it might be of some assistance to you.
Currently it is located here: http://dkourmyshov.github.io/mystaramap/
(note that background image is large and not tiled, so there might be some delay in loading.)
I used both canon and fanon information in attempt to understand how it all come together.
On the other hand, it is overview map of the whole world, and I understand your intention is to focus on the Known World in much detail?
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Re: Mystara Web Map

Postby Wangalade » Tue Mar 07, 2017 11:53 pm

mindszenty wrote:Hello, Wangalade!
I did an interactive map of Mystara myself, maybe it might be of some assistance to you.
Currently it is located here: http://dkourmyshov.github.io/mystaramap/
(note that background image is large and not tiled, so there might be some delay in loading.)
I used both canon and fanon information in attempt to understand how it all come together.
On the other hand, it is overview map of the whole world, and I understand your intention is to focus on the Known World in much detail?


I saw that map when you first posted it,and I think it is a good start. It will be tiled, but i'm going to leave most of the world undetailed at first, and just focus on karameikos and slowly add to it. I want something that might be more useful during a game, with the ability to plan routes, accurately describe the environment(elevation, weather, vegetation, etc), and have all the information about certain locales in one place.

Sturm wrote:Indeed an interactive web map seems a fantastic idea, but maybe to start it would be better to use only canon informations, so anything included in Gazetteer 1 probably, to make it a reference map for players, or to summarize the "common knowledge" inhabitants of Karameikos have about their nation.
For DMs maybe another map could be useful, with more informations not immediately available to players.


That is one of the reasons I am starting with Karameikos; I am going to use only canon information, which will still be useful for me because karameikos in my campaign is pretty much unchanged from canon. I would like to have multiple versions, and even the ability for dms to make edits, but that will be sometime in the distant future, as I am only creating the basic application for my project. As far as what canon I will include, i am going to use a different method. I am taking the older material as my primary source and only including things from the newer material if it doesn't contradict the older material. One example is the discrepancy between the population given in the expert set for karameikos vs the gazetteer; I will be using the 5000 number. Though I did read somewhere, I think it was on these forums, that the 5000 number would represent heads of households, so the actual population would be much higher. I might go that route, but then I would have to apply that to every other population center.
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Re: Mystara Web Map

Postby Khedrac » Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:09 pm

Remember when mapping Karameikos that the hills are wooded.

The Gazetteer makes it quite clear that the hills are (pretty much all) covered in woods, but when Gaz1 was printed the "wooded hills" hex symbol had not been introduced and was not used.
As such, if (like the Trail Maps) you combine the map for Karameikos with others which had the expanded symbol set you need to change the hills symbol used for most of Karameikos.

Yes, the TM is wrong by the canon of the text of Gaz1 - who knew that Mystara what so confusing?
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Re: Mystara Web Map

Postby Ashtagon » Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:19 pm

You might want to make your opening walls of text more user-friendly. I chose not to read them because text on top of complex pictures is actually very hard to read (and so I am told, painful for some people). As a result, by the point where the site wanted to interact meaningfully with me, I was unclear as to what i was being asked about.

Also, why is your site trying to collect our real-world location? Unless your site is a sat-nav app, it has no business asking for that data.
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Re: Mystara Web Map

Postby Big Mac » Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:52 pm

Wangalade wrote:I am making a web app for Mystara as a final Project for my Geography degree at CSUN. As part of my project I am sending out a survey about the the usefulness of the karameikos map that appeared in the 1981 Expert Set. I just started a new blog where I go into a lot more detail about the project, and plan to continue to log the status of it as I progress. you can find the blog entry at 42ducktape.blogspot.com or go straight to the survey at https://surv.es/puPpaeiAJrpi7K55b


Hi Wangalade,

Welcome to The Piazza.

You might want to pop over to the Introduce yourself here topic and say "hi" to people over there. (You might also want to pop links to your survey (or this topic) and your blog in your forum signature.

If you are doing a Geography degree, you might want to have a look at Anna Meyer's online Greyhawk maps (she has plenty of others) and have a look at some of the things that she has added to her maps.

I especially like the way that she has used heraldry and typefaces to "sell" the concept that certain areas have different sorts of cultures in them, although I'm not sure that same trick would work in a Mystara context.

Another feature of hers that I like is that you can use the roads and sea-lanes to see how a group of player characters can move around the world. and the different types of roads and sizes of city are fairly intuitive.

If you are going to go for an app, you can go beyond that sort of stuff and let people pull up all sorts of data...as well as let people follow roads, from one city to another. Perhaps you could build in some sort of "route planning" feature that could plot a route from one side of Mystara to the other.

You might also want to have a look at what the World of Warcraft fans are up to. The tabletop community for World of Warcraft, is a lot smaller than the one for Mystara, but the MMO fans are massively active. You will find a ton of online maps with all sorts of features that you can turn on and off. That should give you a lot of inspiration. (And you could also post links to ones you like to see if people would be interested in similar gizmos for Mystara.)
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Re: Mystara Web Map

Postby Wangalade » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:25 am

Ashtagon wrote:You might want to make your opening walls of text more user-friendly. I chose not to read them because text on top of complex pictures is actually very hard to read (and so I am told, painful for some people). As a result, by the point where the site wanted to interact meaningfully with me, I was unclear as to what i was being asked about.

Also, why is your site trying to collect our real-world location? Unless your site is a sat-nav app, it has no business asking for that data.


yeah, other people had the same issues, and I wanted to change it after wards, but a few people had already finished it, and I wanted to get consistent results, so i have left it as is. As far as getting your location data, I couln't figure out a way to not collect it. That type of data won't be considered in my final paper. At this point I've already got all the data I need and will probably be taking down the survey in a few days.

Big Mac wrote: you might want to have a look at Anna Meyer's online Greyhawk maps (she has plenty of others) and have a look at some of the things that she has added to her maps.

I especially like the way that she has used heraldry and typefaces to "sell" the concept that certain areas have different sorts of cultures in them, although I'm not sure that same trick would work in a Mystara context.

Another feature of hers that I like is that you can use the roads and sea-lanes to see how a group of player characters can move around the world. and the different types of roads and sizes of city are fairly intuitive.

If you are going to go for an app, you can go beyond that sort of stuff and let people pull up all sorts of data...as well as let people follow roads, from one city to another. Perhaps you could build in some sort of "route planning" feature that could plot a route from one side of Mystara to the other.


As far as Anna Meyer's maps are concerned, I think they are beautiful and obviously took a tremendous amount of dedication and work, but if I were playing in the world of Greyhawk, they wouldn't prove that useful to me. I don't want to sound pretentious, but most of the works of fantasy cartographers are not functionally impressive. They can be visually impressive, as in the case of Meyer's work, though not all of them are. Most fantasy maps also have terrible cartographic style, though I must say that Meyer's work is an exception and generally follows standard cartographic principles. But as far as functionality, fantasy cartography remain in the stone age. When the rest of the cartographic community is changing every six months, fantasy maps are still trying to emulate decades old maps. Even if new technology is used, the end result still looks the same as it always has, and doesn't improve on functionality. As a DM I want to be able to look at a map and know information about a population, infrastructure, local environments, and so much more. Essentially I want to be able to use a map in a fashion that will mitigate my need to look up information in my notes or some book.

This is part of the reason I am building a web map. I do want to include the features you suggested, such as routing, but I will probably only implement basic functionality before the end of the semester. Some of things I want to include are a travel routing system that takes speed and terrain and road condition into account, a hexagon layer with detailed info for each hexagon about climate, biome, etc, a dynamic trade system, point locations for monster lairs and population centers, detailed town and city maps(which would just be incorporated into the basemap), and a hill shaded elevation layer.
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Re: Mystara Web Map

Postby Sturm » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:16 am

Wangalade wrote:This is part of the reason I am building a web map. I do want to include the features you suggested, such as routing, but I will probably only implement basic functionality before the end of the semester. Some of things I want to include are a travel routing system that takes speed and terrain and road condition into account, a hexagon layer with detailed info for each hexagon about climate, biome, etc, a dynamic trade system, point locations for monster lairs and population centers, detailed town and city maps(which would just be incorporated into the basemap), and a hill shaded elevation layer.


You are perfectly correct here and indeed fantasy maps with such features would be much more useful. The reason they have not been done yet is probably just due to the relatively small public fantasy rpg has, and considering we only had paper maps, creating detailed digital maps as Anna Meyer did in Greyhawk or Thorf did in Mystara was already a huge step forward..
A company like Wizards could in theory do much more, but they do not seem very interested in investing more time and money on D&D.
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Re: Mystara Web Map

Postby Wangalade » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:57 pm

The web map is up. right now it is just a basemap composed of a few different replica maps created by Thorf. I wrote a blog post explaining the process.
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Re: Mystara Web Map

Postby Wangalade » Sun Mar 26, 2017 3:57 am

I've updated the map. There are markers with popups for a few locations now. please check it out and let me know what you think. Keep in mind that it is a work in progress, I could still use input on how best to display the data in addition to what data is actually necessary.
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