Friday, September 26, 2008

A Random Map Generator

I've recently received a few requests about my random map generator I created and some of its capabilities. Actually There are 2 map generators- one written in Visio VBA and another (more powerful but lacking the graphical templates at the moment) one written in VBNET.

I attempted to make them as versatile as I could. The map shapes can be scaled to a particular hex size (This one is 1.25" hexes) and any paper size (this is 36" x 24") as well as labeling the hexes and including a hex center dot if desired. As a bonus, after it is randomly generated, I can edit the various layers in Visio, adding labels and special touches to the maps.

These are example maps I generated using my VBA application. I used a different technique to create the VBNET mapgen templates, and I haven't updated them yet. In addition, the generation routines themselves I haven't ported over yet to the VBNet program.

With the VBA program, there are various parameters that can be input, such as woods density, rivers, streams, roads, houses, fields, walls, etc etc. I am only limited in the graphical templates I currently have made (These are early building icons- without the shading for example).

A random generator is a good way to lay out a basic map, which you can then edit and make better to fit whatever particular scenario you desire. It makes your life as a wargamer so much easier when you have to generate a battle for 900th time in that huge campaign game.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Magnet Ready Material

I was at a kind of impasse for my campaign game because of space restraints. I needed to be able to hang it up on a wall out of the way of the miniatures table battles it produces. After awhile of poking around and trial and error (aka SWAG) I think I've found an easy way.
I found a material that is easily cut-able that is called "magnet-ready". If looks exactly like a sheet magnet and cuts with scissors easily. This allows me to create my Vini Vidi Vici hex pieces so that I can stick them on a metal board, and allow me to also deploy magnetic counters on top of them. This allows me to hang the campaign map on the wall.

Here are the layers of what how to make this happen:
1. A 3' x 4' piece of sheet metal (or magnetic dry erase board), with a 1" hex grid in blue mounted to it (this is the encircling ocean that the templates above are placed over and spaced out with).
2. Nine templates (like those above), each printed out on my color printer. From the back of the template to the front, here are the layers of materials:
a) Magnetic sheet magnet cut to a close approximation of the hex template.
b) Magnetic ready sheet cut to fit the template (including the edges- this gives the template a heft and allows for the edges to be butted together when deployed on the sea map.)
c) The color print out of the template itself.

The templates stick to the metal sheet nice and tightly. I can now use 1/2" magnets for unit counters/markers on top of the templates. I will use 1/2" magentic strip with a color printout of the counter attached to it for this purpose.

Now I am working on the counters. I'll try to get a picture of a whole setup when I get it all together.