Iso maps in maptool

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torstan
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Iso maps in maptool

Post by torstan »

Okay, so we've all seen the DDi trailers and the iso-maps look pretty. One lesser know fact is that you can already do this in maptool. Here's a screenshot of the plan map:

Image

... and here's a shot of the iso map:

Image

Note These are not photoshoped or gimped - these are screenshots straight out of maptool.

For those that are interested, the campaign file for this (1.1.b31) can be found here:

http://gallery.rptools.net/v/contrib/torstan/screenshots/isotest_cmpgn.html

So what I had to do to get this to work was to set the token to gridless and make sure my base map image looked right. That meant rotating the map image by 45 degrees and shrinking it vertically by 50%. I did a little bit of shading of the chasm because I couldn't help but put in a 3D iamge, but this is extra eye candy.

The movement measurements are out at present - but you can count the squares yourself without too much hassle.

Also the vision radii are still circles rather than ellipses.

Other than that, it works fine!

Apologies for derailing the Maptool for Game Developer Thread.

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Post by nwelte1 »

:shock:

Wow... I will have to make iso maps. To rotate it did you take a screen shot and move into an image program and then rotate. OR did you rotate in maptool?

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Post by dorpond »

Very interesting... *thinking*

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Post by Hawke »

The trivial part is setting up the grid / light stuff... but if we could setup some way to automatically throw in a map and have it convert your standard dungeon crawl to this iso map we'd be sitting pretty well off... especially if you could swap between views as needed.

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Vry
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Post by Vry »

Here's my quick test of Iso in Maptool.

Image

Have no idea how I'd put VBL on something like this, but it looks neat.

Next time I'll know better and leave the grid baked into the map though. I'm too used to MapTool handling that for me, this whole gridless thing is disorienting.

Edit: Reworked it a bit. changed the bases and added the grid onto the map so I could tell what should be where in MapTool.
Last edited by Vry on Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Jector
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Post by Jector »

Iso will work close to correctly with VBL except that the vision will be thrown off by the view being projected from the belt area. If vision can be placed at the base of the icon, it should work fine.
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Post by nwelte1 »

Vry wrote:Here's my quick test of Iso in Maptool.

Have no idea how I'd put VBL on something like this, but it looks neat.

Next time I'll know better and leave the grid baked into the map though. I'm too used to MapTool handling that for me, this whole gridless thing is disorienting.


You must have some iso wall pieces. Where did you get them?

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Post by nwelte1 »

Can't load the file you posted.

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Post by snikle »

I wonder if you could have some sort of setting for ISO maps, then use a couple of lines (maybe set two points on a line) to set up the correct grid system. So essentially you would draw a couple of the grid lines, and MT calculates the correct grids for the rest of the map. Then use that grid to base movement off of.
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Post by Steel Rat »

That looks pretty darn good, Vry, but what about wall transparency and such?

I don't relish the thought of re-rendering all the stuff I've done in Iso. And even when that's done, they're not truly isometric, there's always some distortion, which his more apparent on longer items with straight lines.
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Vry
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Post by Vry »

Anything that someone can walk behind is a problem like this.

I think some isometric games used a kind of cut-out style on forward walls so that you can see behind them. Could also have those walls be semi-transparent on the maps.

Once MapTool gets the ability to place a layer above the tokens those walls could be separate pieces, lot of extra work and files to keep up with like that though.

The thought of having to re-render everything is what kept me from trying iso for so long. These weren't too bad, but all the furniture... *shudder*
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Post by torstan »

Wow, I opened a can of worms and then went to bed. That's a pretty stunning map Vry!

First off - an apology.

I am a cretin (and was also a little unsober having come back from a friends leaving do). I gave you all the wrong ratios. The correct settings to get an iso map are:

1. rotate 45 degrees (I got this right at least)
2. squash vertically by 57.73%

This should give a bit more head room on those squares. My aopoliges for screwing that up.

@nwelte1: created both maps from scratch in Gimp - a free image editor. It can easily take a layer, rotate it and squash it. I then did a bit of psot work on the iso map to make the chasm look 3D. The file I pointed to above will load into b31 if you save it somewhere and load it straight in as a campaign. When you say 'it won't load' can you give some more information?

@Vry: The VBL shouldn't be too much of an issue on that map. I'd just lay the lines of VBL where the walls touch the ground.

So there are a few issues that currently don't work with an iso map in maptool.

The grid:
@snikle: We don't need any fancy grid setting system. It is just a diamond pattern (see mine and Vry's maps) that can be set just like the square or hex patterns we currently have. It's possible to go without for the time being, but really it is needed for light - and to a lesser extent area of effect spells - but these can still be drawn in by hand.

@Jector: You are dead right. As the vision comes directly from the centre of the image, it is out of kilter for iso. You'll see that the area my elf can see is actually different in the two maps above, even though he is standing in the same square. I think this might be possible to work around with the current settings, but of curse the ideal setting would be for maptool to undertand that the image stands on a diamond square base and that vision comes from the centre of that. This is essentially the same practical question of calculating vision for a token with a huge pike that overhangs his square. It all depends on how you define the square base of a large image. This shouldn't be too tricky to fix/workaround?

Right, they are the easy ones. The tricky ones are really endemic to iso views. Firstly, transparency and iso objects. Best way to understand this is play Diablo. All items you find on the ground are smaller than a character - therefore you can always see your token (sprite). All walls are larger - and go transparent when you are behind them. That's going to be a living nightmare to code in I would assume. However, it would be possible to have walls as objects. They can be solid as people walk up to them, and as they walk past them the GM can hide them, perhaps just leaving their footprint drawn on the map.

Note - DDI has not shown any 3D walls, just 2D floorplans rotated to an iso view with a couple of 3D tokens dropped on it. And people are falling over themselves to call it pretty. There's not a huge amount of eye candy required to impress people.

Hmm, that starts a thought. Those dungeon tiles on the DDi vidoe trailer are on general release - it would be pretty straightforward to mock up a similar trailer with the same tiles in maptool and show a person walking through a dungeon - but with dynamic FOW! ... and for free! ... not to mention - already available.... Just a thought :)

There are two things that remain that are going to be a problem. Firstly z-ordering of images. If my elf is standing further forward than your goblin, then the image of his head should be over the image of the goblin's feet. That's fine, I just use Arrange -> Move to top to make sure my elf token is above your goblin. However when my elf moves round behind your goblin, then we need the goblin image to be on top. This can be done by using Arrange->bring to fron on the goblin image, but this kind of avoids the issue that this will bring the goblin on top of every other token and item on the map. You almost certainly don't need that.

To take this one step further - consider objects. Now they are currently on the object layer, and so behind all tokens. Think how weird that's going to look when your barbarian moves behind the sarcophagus and we can still see his feet. No 'Move to back' option here.

This would require maptool to be able to set a tokens z-ordering by the row of the grid the token is on. So people and tokens further up the grid (towards the top of the screen) have a lower z-ordering. The ordering whould drop one for every row they go up. If two things are on the same row, then a token is in front of an object - just like now. There should also be a manual adjustment possible of +/- 1 to z-ordering, so that you can have tokens that do look like they are standing on sarcophagi - because your barbarian decided to jump onto it this time, rather than walk around the back. That adjustment of +/-1 should be able to do all the legwork that 'move to top...' and 'move to bottom...' currently do for top down views.

Finally, there's the VBL issue. Basically, if my elf moves one square further north on the iso image above - his head disappear because it is in VBL. That's a pain. This would be solved by having maptool check - is the token's vision centre in VBL or not? If it is - the player can see the whole image of their token.

I'd like that setting anyway for top down as it would mean that top-down minis wouldn't keep losing their hands/swords/pikes in the walls as they walk around.

So that's my thoughts on the problems of an iso view:
1. The grid
2. How to make walls look pretty without making it unwieldy - and note that DDi doesn't look like it's going to have 3D walls at all.
3. How to deal with sensible z-ordering
4. tokens (an objects) losing their upper sections in VBL.

Hope those thoughts are useful to people.

/stirs the can of worms

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torstan
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Post by torstan »

@hawke: at the moment I'm pretty sure there will be an image magick command that would let you convert the map using the two steps of rotate an squash. That allow you to quickly convert a large map at the moment without too much trouble - but yes - having a plan/iso button in maptool would rock.

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Post by Amaril »

For some reason, I'm compelled to pull out my old Baldur's Gate CD-ROMs.

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Post by Orchard »

It makes me wish that Diablo 2 had a map editor that I could use and pull screenshots from / export from. That would produce decent isometric stuff.
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