Author Topic: Official LOS maps format.  (Read 5396 times)

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Offline smokingwreckage

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Official LOS maps format.
« on: April 14, 2011, 04:54:39 AM »
I was wondering if Clark had ideas on this. How would LOS present its maps to the public? Is the New LOS going to be all shiny and packaged in a box with interlocking cardboard tiles? All other questions aside, what about the maps?

I ask because if it were to go with download-and-print of pretty new maps, or with printed paper maps like the Star Wars collectible miniatures game, I might know a guy who knows a guy who could do some pretty nice mapping with textures, details, and easy replication. A mate is into print-and-play miniatures and the associated community. These days a home user can also buy a cutting machine that cuts out very intricate shapes using a digital template, and again, I know a guy who can do that and is into that community.

I bring this up in part because of the "OK for 15 years ago" comment. An upgrade of the map graphics to the kind of fidelity and variety that people weaned on modern computer games are used to might go some ways to polishing up the image of NeoLOS. Importantly, it may not be either expensive or time intensive to get a new look - both the grid and the tile segment layout lend themselves to letting the computer do the grunt work (tiles and textures) and spending artistic talent on eye-candy (high-fi tile textures, extra detailing, a nice stone texture for the "blank" areas, general bling.)

(I was also thinking that the print-and-play community would be a potentially excellent market for the LOS fiction and game engine. They're already messing with tight indoor spaces with grids, after all.)

Offline Clark

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Re: Official LOS maps format.
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2011, 07:14:41 AM »
I'm still trying to wrap my head around this.  In my own little fantasy world I would have Tom redo the original templates in the copper we had for the Template Packs, print a whack load of them and put them out in the marketplace.  Then everyone would be working off the same set of tiles.

Otherwise, I am working on putting the tiles into Exel so that one can copy and paste them into whatever pattern you want.

Plus, I want to take the template art and format it for download and printing.  Each is 4" square which makes each set of 2x3 fit tightly on legal size paper.  If Avery or whomever makes sticky paper in legal size then you just print it out, stick it on 1/4" foam core, Maptac it and cut it into the individual templates.  The downside of this is that there would be no puzzle pieces interlinks to hold the board together.

The fourth possibility is to publish scenario maps in a format that can be downloaded and printed on a large format printer.  You can go to your local Kinkos that has a printer that can print on a rolling sheet that is something like 48" wide.

If #1 could be done then I think a modest profit would be appropirate, and with new art we could generate generic fantasy dungeon crawls as well as outdoor terrain . Otherwise, we put it out there on the internet.

What you have to understand is that the only thing we "ripped off" from Space Hulk is the grid that imposes some sanity on a miniature warfare gaming system.  One can grumble about the artwork but I think our templates are - physically - far superior to anything GW came up with. It was only years later that I noticed a flaw in that you can't off-set our templates by 2" to simulate a hex grid. That would open up a bunch of new possibilities in terms of map design and new templates.

Offline YojimboUsaka

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Re: Official LOS maps format.
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2011, 08:26:06 AM »
I like both actually.  Not everyone will want to do the print and play option.  Requires some effort and a decent amount of set up before you play for the first time.  Awesome for those do it yourself types though.  Premade maps look really nice and can be made semi-modular.

I printed out a bunch of tiles for rooms/hallways/etc and stuck them to magnetic sheeting.  Looks good, stays put on a metal white board really well and can be put away with the map intact.


Offline grendeljd

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Re: Official LOS maps format.
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2011, 08:29:54 AM »
I don't know if many people have had a peek at my scenarios I posted in the Rules n' docs or not, but I have made up a basic template of every 'official' tile currently existing in LoS using Adobe Illustrator [sister program to photoshop]. In the scenarios, they are shrunk down, but it is extremely easy to take each tile as an individual object and scale them up to playing/printing size.

Currently they are all in greyscale and there aren't any cool details on them such as floor grates, textures, etc. BUT, it is easy to add colour and add any other detail to them. Now that I have done the grunt work to make them, its also veeerrrry easy to makes changes to create wholly new ones. Personally, I was thinking about making some corridors that are two squares wide...

Oh yeah, they can all be saved to a pdf format for downloading by the masses, but I don't have any better ideas on how to get them printed or placed onto interlocking cutouts.
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Offline Kindred

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Re: Official LOS maps format.
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2011, 09:40:40 AM »
actually, the magnetic backing idea is pretty cool...

Offline grendeljd

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Re: Official LOS maps format.
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2011, 09:53:44 AM »
I like it too - is it hard to acquire a decent sized plate of magnetic sheeting? Is it expensive?
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Offline smokingwreckage

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Re: Official LOS maps format.
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2011, 10:00:09 AM »
EDIT: magnetic wouldn't blow away, or need interlocking, but it does need an appropriate base, either metal or that magnetic plastic sheet. On with my long-winded post....

One thing that printable maps can do is free you to make any damn map that could go on a grid. More on that later.

A simpler option would be to get grendel here to spruce up the illustrator tiles and stick them in properly constrained PDFs so they print at the right scale. I know that can be done, but it was years ago that I studied Graphic Design. Yes, I have studied many things, all poorly.

Point being, that a simple PDF with essentially the original tiles but on smooth-sided rather than interlocking squares would let cheapskates get going pretty easily.

The original interlocking tiles are great and excellent in component quality on that heavy card but the graphics could use refinement. I don't hate the original art, just sayin'.

I have never played Space Hulk, just so everyone knows. For all I know it could be smurf combat on a hex grid.  ;)

Even so, pretty maps on thin paper have been OK with the Star Wars CMG crowd, and would allow square-grid, close quarter, "outdoor" maps and other novelties; similar range constraints, same movement rules, but novel environments. You and the designer/artist could then visually present some fleshed-out ideas of parts of the LOS universe: Infranite caverns? Privateer asteroid tunnel complexes? Room to room fighting in Vologorod or wherever it was the Fantasians and UNE were fighting? The ancient ruined guts of a Kraf ship? In addition to scenarios that played those out using the tile system, you could present new artwork and layouts the tiles couldn't do. The art isn't just about being pretty, it's about getting people's imaginations fired up, getting them to think and feel as though LOS was its own "reality" they could borrow for their various battles and stories. Basically the visual aspect of giving people an imagined world to play their games in. In that respect the chance to tie beautiful evocative artwork into your game and its war-stories is actually really valuable. To digress a little, and go back to the tiles, this is one reason why really extravagant tiles could (depending on your approach) make sense: that's the world they're playing in. By making it gorgeous (in a claustrophobic, horrible way) you invite people back. By making it, say, paintable textured 3D tiles, you invite them to participate, to make parts of the game into their own artwork.

Just some thoughts.

Clark, the wide format idea occurred to me. But that would IMO only miss the do-it-yourself-for-nix benefits. I guess a major question is how do you see the game being packaged, marketed, sold? At one end of the scale the models, a half-A4 rulebook and printed paper versions of the old tiles might fight in a large blister or small box. Way out the other end you could have gorgeous textured plastic or resin versions of the tiles in a deluxe box with new sculpts and a big colour rulebook. Then there's just re-releasing the Black Box EXACTLY as it was, which has a certain audacity, a kind of "this game rocked your socks 15 years ago and now it's back, without one lick of stupid wimpy 21st century garbage, to kick your arse again." Hell, maybe all of these approaches could be taken.


Offline smokingwreckage

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Re: Official LOS maps format.
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2011, 10:01:39 AM »
Sign writers used to use magnetic sheet in large quantities. It might be fairly cheap bought in that venue.

EDIT: new thread in boards and terrain to discuss materials, where I've posted links to examples of magnetic sheet for price, quality, etc., discussion.

http://los.turtleshellprod.co m/index.php?topic=102.0
« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 10:14:12 AM by smokingwreckage »

Offline Kindred

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Re: Official LOS maps format.
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2011, 10:38:58 AM »
BTW: The use of magnetic tile son a steel board also allows for the use of magnets in the base of figures, which prevents accidental sliding and knocking...

Offline Clark

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Re: Official LOS maps format.
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2011, 10:51:51 AM »
Plus, you could play LOS on your fridge door! :-*

Intriguing idea but realistically, how many people have a steel desk to play on, or are willing to buy a piece of sheet metal?

Offline smokingwreckage

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Re: Official LOS maps format.
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2011, 11:02:08 AM »
You can get this magical plastic sheet, much like sheet magnet, that won't stick to metal, but magnets stick to it. And the obvious solution, Clark, is to play LOS on the bonnet of your car.

Offline Clark

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Re: Official LOS maps format.
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2011, 11:08:44 AM »
LOS: Deathproof edition!  :P

Offline Dave Chase

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Re: Official LOS maps format.
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2011, 01:28:35 PM »
MageKnight: Dungeons and HeroClix used large paper maps that folded down to the size of the old Traveller LBB.

The HeroClix ones were usually a set location but could be easily placed side by side to make cities or shopping areas.

The Dungeons one had entry/exits that were open and could match up to other maps, so you could make a rolling dungeon if one wanted.

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Offline YojimboUsaka

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Re: Official LOS maps format.
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2011, 07:18:37 PM »
They sell metal white-boards at most office supply stores in various sizes.  I picked up a  couple 3' x 4' boards for roughly $50 on sale. 

Very handy as I can put the maps away without packing up all the tiles.

Something like these guys are doing would be very cool.  They make 1 and 1 1/2 inch grids.
http://www.adventurers-atlas.com/2010/10/asteroid-mining-complex/

I know the DnD4 folks are putting out tons of terrain/scenario maps so there would be a market for the same in a sci-fi settign as well.

Charles

Offline Clark

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Re: Official LOS maps format.
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2011, 09:14:52 PM »
I think I will drop by Kinko's this weekend or next. I've used the large format printer a cuple of times. I walked in with a letter sized image and blew it up to something like 4' x 3'.

The printer they use is 48" wide on a roll, so as long as you want. It was something like $5 or $10 to print it out, but I can't remember. That gives you any map up to 11 tiles wide by as many long as you like (maybe 12 tiles depending on the margins of the printer).  That strikes me as the simplest solution for thise gamers who are not the DIY types.

For those who are, there any number of ways to skin a cat. The trick is to stop the templates from sliding around as you play. Maybe there is some sort of strange, commerically available fasteners that could hold them together?

There is the magnetuc option.

I was thinking of printing to foamcore, put velcro tabs on the bottom, and then play on a sheet of green felt that every miniature gamer has.

More industrious is to blow the templates up to 150% and then fashion walls out of 40 mm insulation foam or the like. At that size they wouldn't tend to slide about anyways but it is easy to fasten connecting walls by bending a paper clip into an oversized staple and inserting the legs into the tops of the connecting walls.

Well, if Tom is going to touch up the Painting Guide, perhaps the crew here can come up with a DIY template guide?

As I mentioned, the large format printer would be the easiest for those who don't want to mess with DIY.

The templates themselves would probably easy to ressurect with only two catches related to the fact that the die cutting process has some pretty steep economies of scale that require print runs in the thousand:

1) I don't have thousands of dollars to invest and
2) Even if I did, where the hell do I put, say, 6000 template packs?

This, of course, goes back to the more fundamental question of how to distribute the figs and dead trees (books, counters, maps).

As for re-releasing the Black or Blue, it is a couple orders or magnitude more complex than just the templates but doable if relying on a full service company to handle it the way we largely did for the first print run. The problem is the same as above but you are looking at $30,000 or more to do 2000 units and they take up around 500 cubic feet or something like eight 4' pallets full.