Thursday, October 12, 2017

Creating Starfinder RPG maps from actual maps

Hi everyone,

Have had a bunch of things going on lately - and time to share updates on those!

One item - we've been enjoying playing Starfinder!

We have more to say about how and why we've been enjoying the game - but a quick write-up on one things we've been up to....  And, that's creating *maps* for our Starfinder sessions.

A challenge (early on) with Starfinder is that there aren't very many modules released yet.  And, even if there is an old adventure module to use (from D&D or Pathfinder or something like that) - the maps might not be quite what we need.

So....  We've been taking actual maps - from Google Maps - and then converting them for game use.

It works out pretty well!

(As a quick Spoiler Alert - we've been playing a Pathfinder - Starfinder hybrid.  A top secret wormhole has connected the Starfinder space station home base for the party with a fantasy (pre-gun-powder) world setting.  So, we're eager to make maps which match.  That being said, the same tricks here would work to make higher tech looking maps for a 100% Starfinder campaign.)

1) We picked an area with interesting geography (we actually picked the LA basin -- and in this example, showing what things looked like when we used an area around Pasadena).

 Here's our map with all of the roads and signs turned on.

2) Then, we went into Google Maps and with the options, turned off roads and signs.

Here's how the map looks when we turned those off.  (Or course you can still see in the satellite image where the major roads are -- but this is cool because we can use these for our RPG road locations).

3) Then, we grabbed a screen-shot of the Google maps.

4) With that finished, it was tablet time.  We used our iPad to and Pencil to draw over the top of the map - tracing the features we thought were useful.  We used the app "Procreate".  Here's how things ended up.

Here's how our drawing turned out.  We had looked a bit at JRR Tolkien's maps and noticed that he drew little mountains and shaded them.  So, we tried to do the same thing....

Some thoughts for improving....

- We could certainly have a layer of hex's or grids in the iPad app and have those as part of the map
- We could also use icons instead of our hand-drawn things if a more crisp image was important

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