Tag 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.

First Look at the Design Map GUI

This is just a quick screen capture to show what the interface (or Graphical User Interface, or GUI) is for the Design Map Module of General Staff. Simply click on the pallet on the left and draw on the map. You can also select from a number of weathered paper effects for a background.

Screen capture of the General Staff Map Design Module (click to enlarge).

Update on the Map Design Module & a New Algorithm

The work on the Map Design Module is progressing much faster than we dared hope. Along the way we had to invent a new fast scanline fill algorithm. The two images, below, are screen captures that show how easy it is to create new maps for General Staff. To create a new area of forest or woods, simply select the ‘Draw Woods’ tool and make an outline (the program will automatically connect your starting and end points):

Screen capture from General Staff Map Design Module showing the method for creating new woods and forests. Select the tool and draw on the map grid. Click to enlarge.

After the user confirms the position and shape of the new woods or forest the program automatically fills in the area with the appropriate 19th century map graphics (thanks Ed Isenberg who did the artwork!).

Screen capture from the General Staff Map Design Module showing a new woods added to a user created map. Click to enlarge.

For this to work quickly (it happens in just a second or two) we created a new scanfill algorithm. If we were still in academia we would probably write a paper describing the algorithm and submit it to various conferences. Ah, those were the days when you could get a free trip to an academic conference!