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Mapmaking 101 - Bismuth's Three Rules for Mini-map Images

by Bismuth

1) The image on the mini-map should be distinct and easily recognizable.

2) In the regular view (map editor or playing the game) the terrain should appear completely natural, with no odd or unusual features as a result of the image. Ideally, the “Image” is not even noticeable or recognizable while playing.

3) The image in the mini-map should be related to the theme of the scenario.

For example, in Camargue of Rohan, the mini-map clearly shows a bold prancing horse. Playing the game you see an irregularly shaped mountain lake, including inflow and outflow of water, sandy beaches, rocks, etc. And the whole theme of the story revolves around a mountain village of horsemen, building up supplies of armor for the knights of their kin in the lowlands.

Step-by-Step on Transferring an Image to a Stronghold Map

Begin with the photo or design you wish to transfer to the map. In this case, the scanned the image of a horse from a wall calendar.

Using a graphics program, open the image and “trace” a line around it. Here I used MS Photodraw but many programs will work.

One the trace is complete, it can be separated from the image.

Separately, prepare a line grid of suitable size. This one is 14x14 square.

Combining the traced image with the grid created a guide for transferring the image to a map.

In the map editor, a map must also be prepared with a grid. Here a grid approximately 14x14 square is laid out on a fresh map. Only the intersections are marked with rock. Plus numbers are “written” in along the edges.

Now the image can be traced on the map in the editor. Since the goal here is a lake in the shape of a horse, I am tracing the line with river.

The completed trace is filled in, grid of rock removed then the rest of the terrain shaping can be done.

Images can be created using water, stone or fortifications. Examples


Orc Caves


Drakensberg


Hand of God (still under development)

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