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profitofrage
2011-02-04, 08:38 AM
Ok im new to the PbP system, but ive ran many games before. Now heres my issue. Im running a Dark Heresy game, and this system is meant to be used with minitures. Being sci fi most of the combat involves measuring ranges of weapons and seeing who is and is not out of cover. How can i expect my squishy players (only level 2) to be able to use cover / tactics if they cannot see where they are in relation to the enemies. I Can describe where they are and whats occuring..but in the end no matter how well i describe it it will always be abstract...or worse breaks into me listing out bullet points on how far away something is..whats the in the way..e.t.c e.t.c
How does the playground usually get around this sort of thing?
Is there any free online software that can easily make battle maps or the like?

true_shinken
2011-02-04, 09:00 AM
Draw a map and post it online.

Jair Barik
2011-02-04, 09:03 AM
Also make sure you use a labelled grid placed over the map to allow the players to give clear indications of where they move and to make measuring distance easy.

profitofrage
2011-02-04, 09:20 AM
Thats all well and good, but is there anything more static? or reliable. rather then depending on my poor drawing.

Ellardin
2011-02-04, 09:31 AM
Just write the map out with Microsoft excel.....upload to google docs.....then post a link to the PbP, make sure that everyone can edit and view the linked material, that should solve your problem.

profitofrage
2011-02-04, 09:32 AM
Write the map out in excel? i was unaware you could draw in excel...let alone get those squares in it to turn to squares without manually setting each of them.

Eldan
2011-02-04, 09:34 AM
The setting to squares isn't that hard: highlight all cells, then set cell width and height to the same number.

The "drawing" is then mostly done by colouring the square background. It gives very simplistic maps, but it's also fast. If you make a screenshot and upload the product into a graphics program (even paint works) you can also add some more things, if you want.

profitofrage
2011-02-04, 09:38 AM
mmmm that s very helpful. would give a great method of showing approximate distance.
are there no map making methods out there? like programs that can do all this for you?

Psyren
2011-02-04, 09:41 AM
Does anyone have experience with Maptool? (http://rptools.net/) I was thinking of knuckling down and learning how to use it, in particular since I love macros so much. Supposedly it can model things like light sources and visibility/line of sight as well.

And my number one suggestion for PbP games - finish them!

true_shinken
2011-02-04, 09:42 AM
mmmm that s very helpful. would give a great method of showing approximate distance.
are there no map making methods out there? like programs that can do all this for you?

There are, but I don't know any that are editable by a large amount of people. Googledocs + excel, though, works wonders.

profitofrage
2011-02-04, 09:44 AM
@Psyren
I would love to learn how to use that, though the images i see there wouldnt fit very well to warhammer 40k :(

@true_shinken
I was unaware that you could allow people to edit the document via google docs. though i dont really like the idea of blocks. if only there was some way i could get ahold of some tasty 40k top down images or markers.

Hyudra
2011-02-04, 12:49 PM
I'm kind of geeky about how I run battles. I use excel to create a grid with labels along the top and bottom, roughly sketch out the map with the 'background color' option (coloring in squares as red, green, dark green, etc) screenshot it, and then paste the screenshot into my photoshop program of choice. From there, I break it down into layers (using the 'highlight RGB' tool to cut out the gray lines that make up the grid itself, and paste it as a separate layer) and then do a google search for grass, stone, wall, brick textures, and so on. The players get individual icons on a separate layer. What this means is that I can cut & paste the icons to new locations each time someone moves without removing sections of the background or grid each time I do so.

In the end, it takes about ten minutes to put together (and remember, PbP is slower so you do have time to do this) and only about 30 seconds to a minute to move an icon, save it, upload to Tinypic or whatever & post/edit in the new map.

A much easier route would be to use Google Docs. You can create a spreadsheet, resize the squares so they form a grid, and block out sections of the map using the background color tool. You can then use symbols or just write in names (center horizontally & vertically for tidiness) and cut-paste them to new positions as the battle takes place. The nice thing about google docs is, giving your players a link to the spreadsheet, they can view it at any point in time, and you don't need to repost any image each time the map updates. Added bonus, you can give players editing permission and let them do the changes themselves (there's a history feature so you can backtrack to a certain point in time).

A sample, no guarantee it'll work:
Sample D&D battle map on Google Docs (https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?pli=1&hl=en&hl=en&key=t44S2Ku1Myon6gAUxJ1qvGg&authkey=CMHdjesC#gid=0)

Savannah
2011-02-04, 02:25 PM
Does anyone have experience with Maptool? (http://rptools.net/) I was thinking of knuckling down and learning how to use it, in particular since I love macros so much. Supposedly it can model things like light sources and visibility/line of sight as well.

I've used it, but only for making simple maps, none of the fancy macros. For example:
http://img121.imageshack.us/img121/5130/burialchamber.png

http://img717.imageshack.us/img717/3650/southcavernsmall.png

http://img52.imageshack.us/img52/7249/centralchamber.png
I like it pretty well. The letters and numbers were added in photoshop, by the way.


@Psyren
I would love to learn how to use that, though the images i see there wouldnt fit very well to warhammer 40k :(

You would have to find textures and icons that fit your game, but you can use any that you want. It doesn't have to be fantasy.

To be honest, while I like snazzy maps, a simple map can be much easier to read and use in the game.