Category Archives: Map Design Module

Map Editor Now Supports Vector Graphics, Multiple Drawing Layers and Drawing Tablets!

Screen capture showing support for multiple drawing layers and vector graphics in the Map Editor. Click to enlarge.

Normally, following game development is about as exciting as watching paint dry. I should know as I’ve created a good number of games and I’ve painted my fair share of walls. But, I am completely blown away by the enhancements that Andy O’Neill has made to the General Staff Map Editor. The above screen capture of the Map Editor shows just a few. Andy has added support for Microsoft Windows Ink which includes support for drawing tablets and styluses.

The Map Editor now also uses multiple drawing layers (just like PhotoShop). This allows for infinite levels of undo. In the above screen capture you can see how the road snakes through the forest. And, speaking of the forest, Andy’s new ‘tree algorithm’ looks fantastic (when you draw a forest the trees magically grow before your eyes).

If you would like to follow along with the new developments, Grogheads has kindly given us a space on the forum for posting updates: http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=21270.0. There are now four pages of updates and screenshots. Please feel free to drop by, take a look and post a comment or request a feature.

How to Import Scanned Maps Into the General Staff Wargaming System Video Tutorial

We just completed the second tutorial video: How to Import Scanned Maps Into the General Staff Wargaming System. These video tutorials are available both on YouTube and they are accessible directly from the General Staff Map Design Module itself. Many thanks to Jason A. Stuart for the narration and Ed Isenberg for the tremendous video editing.

A Map of Waterloo Created by an Eyewitness

Screen shot of the Map of Waterloo painted by an Eyewitness from Antiques Roadshow. This image has been brightened and the contrast increased for legibility. Click to Enlarge.

I happened to be watching Antiques Roadshow from Exeter on BBC America last night when this extraordinary map of the battle of Waterloo was presented. Though it bears no date or signature, it clearly was painted, “by an Eyewitness” shortly after the battle itself. I was immediately struck by the lettering  and how similar it was to our efforts in General Staff to recreate the look and feel of 19th century maps for our wargames.

Below is the link to the entire segment hosted on the BBC web site:

Link to Antiques Roadshow BBC clip, “Map of Waterloo A beautifully detailed map of the 1815 Battle of Waterloo drawn by an unnamed eyewitness.”

How to Add Scale to Created Maps

One of the many interesting features in the General Staff Wargaming System is the ability to import maps from old atlases or from the internet. While we intend to film a complete instructional video (we’re thinking of including a set of instructional videos explaining how to use the Army Editor, Map Editor and Scenario Editor) we thought we would first share a sneak peek of how to import a map from an old atlas.

An integral part of my office library, a well-worn volume of “The Official Military Atlas of the Civil War”

The “The Official Military Atlas of the Civil War” is one of my favorite books and, like many Grognards, I have dreamed about maneuvering units across these famous maps. I recently realized that I now had all the tools to do exactly that with the General Staff Wargaming System.  First I scanned the map I wanted (the First Bull Run / Manassas battlefield) using an inexpensive flat-bed scanner attached to an ink-jet printer. Then I imported it into the General Staff Map Editor using the built-in feature.

Next, measure the distance between two key geographic points on the map using your trusty Rock Island Arsenal Museum & Gift Shop souvenir plastic ruler.

Measure the distance between key geographic features using a ruler.

Next look up the scale of the map at the bottom:

The scale of this map is 2,000 feet to the inch.

Use Google to do the math (yes, this is actually a programming assignment that is often assigned to first semester college students in CS1).

Three inches = 6,000 feet. Convert to meters.

Just learned that the reprint of the Official Atlas of the Civil War was printed 10% smaller than the original so 3 inches actually equal 5,400 feet!

Next, select the ‘Add Map Scale’ feature in the General Staff Map Editor.

Select the ‘Add Map Scale’ menu item.

Click and drag a line on the map between the same two key geographic features that you previously measured and enter the length in meters:

Enter the length of the line you just drew on the map in meters.

And – voila! – General Staff automatically calculates the map scale:

General Staff calculates and displays the scale of the map you just imported.