Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Why Wired doesn't Understand Gamers.

I like Wired's Maplab, it always has something odd for the reader.

Here is something titledYou Won’t Believe How Insanely Detailed This Guy’s Fictional Maps Are. Seriously.

Well except when I looked at them, my first thought yes I would believe that.

My name is Gort, I'm a mapalholic.

Like a lot of D&D players I like drawing maps.  Insanely detailed maps.
This is part of what I keep calling mega city II, not that it's the second city I've designed, but because it's the second insane one.  The first one had less thought and both generations of that one is somewhere in a folder.  Along with a much crazier world map.

This is part, because it was basically too large for my computer at the time to manipulate in paint. It's about 20 or so of these maps, where a pixel was 2.5 feet.  A lot of it was an exercise, I experimented with ways to cut and paste cityscapes together.  There are a lot of short cuts you can use.  Yet as anyone who has ever been a DM knows, you usually make up stories as you go along. So I also have some detailed breakdowns of the city.  No I never labelled every hut.  Truthfully, I've yet to even do a ballpark on population.   However I did do some neighborhoods in detail.  The Palace is fairly detailed. The major merchants and lords are detailed.  All the temples are fleshed out, as well as the inns.

I like the detail.  It allows me to run a lot of city adventures, as I know what's beyond that wall. A quite burglary of an illusionist, followed by a chase and then a meeting with a fence at midnight in the gardens.  I can use it as quick clip art.  With a little monkeying about, I can even print out a city square, for that big fight.  All that detail let's me set up a big meet at the Salmon Theater.

Yeah It takes a bit to get used to the symbols so you can pick out a hearth or the jakes.  Yellow lines are topographical if that helps at all.

Absurdly detailed maps isn't enough either.  I have neighborhood overviews. I have Rogue Territories.

I have maps sketching out the age of each section.  I have maps of which major lord rules which area, as well as what each's attitude towards enforcing laws is.  Once again, I'll make the excuse that a lot of it was a bit of an experiment with just what you can do when it's electronic.

   I was trying to engage people with handouts.  Those last four maps were for me.  The players usually worked off of this map, unless they spent points on local knowledge. It's the "we fly map."

Oh and that isn't all, what good is a city without a land?  None of those are as detailed, more just vague kingdoms. 

There are a lot of good uses for an electronic city map.  You can do the alternate world with the ruined city.  You can even pull of time travel fairly easy.

Now the sick thing is,  I have a larger map I once made, when experimenting with geomorphs. I decided I needed a cube city  So I made a cube geomorph and patched together an absurd number of floors, without realizing that even with random monsters it was simply too large to ever explore.  Every room was a chore to map and then the description of up and down areas just made it impossible.  I still consider revisiting that idea sometime, I think the key would be doing it all electronically. 

Anyways.  I think that is why wired magazine just doesn't get gamers.


  1. If you like insanely detailed maps, take a look at this:

  2. Thank you, that is exactly the type of insanity I love. The type of Z, K and V filled place names that fill a file cabinet, but which I rarely ever look at, open ended projects always being open ended. I'm jealous of this guy's dedication, but not quite jealous enough to dust off my computer skills and set up my own site.

    I think the people at Wired have no idea how much stuff like this is out there.

    I've yet to construct my own language or wall myself up in a crawl space,like Bad Ronald, so I like to think I have it under control.