WORLDOGRAPHER: HEXOGRAPHER 2
The next version of the popular world/kingdom mapping software Hexographer! New features: true “child maps,” undo/redo, cut/copy/paste, better line/text tools.
It is hard to believe, but Hexographer is over 7 years old! My thanks to everyone for your support over the years. This project will help us take the tool to the next level! Here is what we can do with a new version:
- True “child maps.” Create a world map and from that same map create a continent level map as well as a kingdom level map. It will remain one file so most changes to one level map will be reflected in the others.
- A new architecture allows us to have undo/redo and cut/copy/paste functionality.
- A new, more realistic image set. (But it also keeps the existing sets.)
- Easier to add custom icons/images.
- Hexographer’s simple “note” functionality is expanded to allow you to detail each location as well as things about your world not tied to a location: religions, cultures, important NPCs, etc. It becomes an interactive Gazetteer!
- A number of “generators” will create details about locations upon request. Use the suggestion, expand it, generate a new one, or drop it.
- Better printing integration.
- Improved file format for integrating with other tools.
Furthermore there are a couple of other good reasons to support us:
- We’re not using a subscription model. Support us once and you don’t have to again. We don’t have many servers to support, etc., so we don’t have to require regular payments. We’ll continue to be successful by you spreading great reviews of the product.
- We’ll have a demo version when we launch. It isn’t just graphics & screenshots.
- Backing this on Kickstarter makes the product better for everyone by achieving stretch goals. More icons and extra features!
Icosahedral Projection Improvements
We’ll have more screenshots soon, but our first shows the output of a typical world map with an icosahdral projection:
This map is not modified from the initial world generation algorithm. Terrain that is split between two hexes will change both hexes’ terrain if either is changed. A “rows” hex-orientation is also supported and any number of hexes can be in each section. (You can specific how many hexagons belong on each edge of the triangle. If using a “columns” hex orientation, for best results choose a multiple of four. For “rows” any number of hexagons per triangle edge works well.)
Another new feature that may not seem like much but will improve the look of your maps is the ability to do curved lines. In the original Hexographer, lines could only look curved by placing many points and joining them together. If they were close enough they could look like a curved line but in reality they were each small straight line segments. The following image shows a cubic curve in Hexographer 2/Worldographer.
Every three points beyond the initial point (in this case the bottom one was placed first) define a curve. Each of the control points can be moved to give the curve a greater or lesser bend. In other words the line goes through every third point (1, 4, 7, …) and the other points (2, 3, 5, 6, …) are used to define the curvature.
Configuring New/Custom Map Icons
Adding new icons for use in Hexographer 2 will be much easier. The program will simply read all the files & subfolders of a pre-set folder (the location you may configure) and these images will be available to add to any Hexographer 2 map. For example, there is a features folder that holds any new map settlement/military/point-of-interest icons you wish. A terrain folder has terrain. All the configuration information will be based on the filename–so the default icon size and background color of terrain will be spelled out in the name.
So if you want to add a new scrubland terrain icon, name it “scrubland–85-125-150-58-255-1.png”. What does that mean? The numbers after the double dash are: size-r-g-b-a-elevation. Size is the percentage of a hex the icon should use, RGB are the red, green, and blue values while the A is the alpha/transparency level, and Elevation is a number between -5 and 5 to denote how high that terrain type may be, to support the elevation view (if we keep that feature).
Polygon Shadow Options
This improvement applies to polygons, ovals, lines, and curves… you’ll now have options to give youy maps drop shadows (seen above), inner shadows and blurs. These will be very configurable, as appropriate: change the color of the shadows, offsets, radius, etc. You’ll also be able to do combinations of all three.
This is the idea of being able to drill down on a map to greater levels of detail, and back up–all within the same file. We’re still refining this feature (so this may change) but the idea is that any world map file can have 4 levels: World, Continent, Kingdom and Province. Each map level is a map of the entire world, but zoomed out in such a way that the view is good for looking at the map at that level. And when you first switch between levels, you’ll be able to specify the difference. For example, you could make the the continent map 6 hexes across for every hex in the world map. Or make 9 hexes across in the kingdom map for every hex in the continent map. Etc.
When switching the map levels for the first time it will populate the next map up or down that hasn’t been created yet based on the hexes and shapes and lines on the map above or below. Changes on one level may effect the other levels depending on the object changed and what map level setting it may have.
The “shapes” controls pictured here shows off the cleaner look to Hexographer 2’s user interface. There are a bunch of additional options on the screen now (the ability to do different shadow effects covers most of them), but for the most part if you know how to work with Hexographer, you’ll know Hexographer 2. Its important to preserve what’s good in the user interface because the most common compliment of the software is how quickly people can make a first map.
However, we want to keep the tool approachable. So even those extra options for shadows are in a separate column and they don’t need to be adjusted if you don’t want a shadow. All of the controls will provide live feedback–so if you’re creating or editing a shape already on the map, you’ll see the changes on the map immediately. This is good because it lets you quickly see exactly what each setting does.