04. Creating World/Kingdom Maps

Worldographer World/Kingdom Setup Screen

Go to the File Menu and select New World/Kingdom map.  You will see a dialog similar to the following:

Worldographer World/Kingdom setup screen.

Worldographer World/Kingdom setup screen.

To generate a map, change the settings as desired (see below for a description of all options), and click the Generate Map button. A dialog box showing the progress will appear. This dialog box displays the status of the map generation as parts of the map are created. Click the Cancel button to stop map creation.

Often, it is easiest to get the hang of new software by just using the default settings and giving it a try, then starting over with a few changes, and repeating a few more times.  Worldographer makes this easy because generating a map is very quick.  Below are more detailed instructions & explanations.

Hex Orientation

This option orients the maps so that either columns or rows line up, as shown here:

Hex orientations.

Hex orientations.

Worldographer’s grid can be turned off, or switched to squares.  For World/Kingdom maps and Settlement maps, the terrain will still be hex based however even with a square grid on top. Battlemats use squares by default with floor tiles based on squares, but the grid can be switched to hex or turned off.

Note: When switching between the two formats on the World/Kingdom setup screen, the Hex Height and Hex Width must be manually swapped, otherwise the map will appear distorted.

Map Projection

The two choices (Flat vs. Icosahedral) have a tremendous impact on the map layout. “Flat” is a typical flat map, resembling other maps on this page. “Icosahedral” is a projection of a spherical map on a flat surface. Here is an example (this is set up to be very small as an example–typically you would not make a map this small):

A small icosahedral map projection.

A small icosahedral map projection.

Flat Map Projection

Flat map projection enables the author to set the Hexes Wide and Hexes High (as shown above) to set the size of the map.

Icosahedral Map Projection

Worldographer supports a Flat Map projection and an Icosahedral projection (shown above) which was made popular in the Traveller game system as well as the Worldbuilder’s Guide Book among others. Visualize a d20 unrolled and flattened into 20 triangular sections.

When this option is chosen, Triangle Side Size replaces Hexes Wide and Hexes High (as shown below). This value changes the number of tiles that comprise each side of each triangular section.  It represents how many hexes are on each side of of each triangle section of the icosahedral map.

Options for an icosahedral map.

Options for an icosahedral map.

Hexes Wide & High

These fields are displayed when Map Projection: Flat is selected. See above for an example.

The size of the map is determined by the number of rows and columns specified.

Note: Worldographer does not enforce any particular scale. A hex can represent any number of miles (or other unit) desired. But we have an article regarding setting up an earth-sized world.

Triangle Size

This field is displayed when Map Projection: Icosahedral is selected.

This value determines how many tiles each triangle edge will have.

This feature may require experimentation on the map creator’s part. Create a map using the default value, then create additional maps with different values to get the size you’d like.

Icosahedral maps with row hex orientations work best with even numbered triangle sizes, but icosahedral maps with column hex orientations work best with triangle sizes that are multiples of 4.

Hex Width & Height (pixels)

These values indicate the size of each hex on screen and on paper (if printed).

These can be any values the author desires. There is no right or wrong. The suggestions at the bottom of the screen (see the first image above) provide guidance on sizing symmetrical hexagons, but if using isometric icons it may be desired to not use symmetrical polygons to force a perspective.

These values are not locked at creation time. At any time during map editing, the values may be changed in the Mini-Map area.

Note: The distance between the vertices of a hex will be larger than the distance between side if the hex is symmetrical.

Initial View Level

One major feature in Worldographer Pro is the ability to have multiple map view levels in one map file. This enables the author to create a World map view with only major features, a Continent level map (which contains the entire world map, not just a continent, but on a smaller scale per hex and more features), and a Kingdom level map which can have every village and point of interest.

The map may be created using any of the view levels. See the Map Levels section below for instructions on creating the other view levels once a map has been created.

All One Terrain

Select the All One Terrain radio button to produce a map where all tiles are filled with the terrain type indicated in the terrain drop-down list.

The All One Terrain and Generate Terrain radio buttons are a set – only one may be chosen at any time.

Generate Terrain

Alternately, the map can contain randomly generated terrain. The following options determine the parameters used to create the map.

Is One Region / Is A Full World

Selecting “Is a full world” will use Worldographer’s random world generation algorithm to create a world using the percentages set below this radio button (Land Frequency, Mountain Frequency, etc.).

Selecting “Is one region” will use the settings from the adjacent Configure button.

Configure button

Clicking this button opens the Region Settings dialog box:

Region settings dialog box allows you to set how much of any 11 terrains are used in a new map.

Region settings dialog box allows you to set how much of any 11 terrains are used in a new map.

This dialog box enables the author to change the values used to generate region maps.

The list on the left contains 11 terrain types that are used to generate the map. When a new choice is made in one of the drop-down lists, the corresponding column heading is changed to match. This list is limited to 11 choices.

For each row, the number in each column is the percent chance that the terrain type of that column will be randomly chosen to populate a tile adjacent to the current tile. The values of each row must add up to 100 or less. The 11th column is automatically set so the row adds up to 100.

Note: If a value is set to zero (0), this indicates that terrain type will not be randomly selected when choosing a type.

How Region Map Generation Works

5% of the tiles are randomly set based on their total frequencies.

Then a tile is randomly selected, and an adjacent populated tile is used to determine the type of a selected tile, e.g., if a tile is Flat Desert Rocky, there is a 26% chance an adjacent tile will also be Flat Desert Rocky, 10% Flat Desert sandy, 4% Flat Grassland, etc.

This repeats until all tiles are populated.

Land Frequency

For Full World map generation, this value is the percentage of tiles which will contain some form of land terrain; the remainder will contain water terrain.

Mountain Frequency

For Full World map generation, this is the percentage of land which will contain mountain terrain. The remainder will contain non-mountain terrain.

Vegetation Frequency

The percentage of land which will contain forest terrain when doing Full World map generation. The remainder will contain non-forest terrain.

Icy

When doing Full World map generation, this value changes how wide the “arctic” area will be near the north and south “poles” (top and bottom of the map).

Tropical

For Full World map generation, this value changes how wide a “tropical” area is in the middle of the map, between the two poles.

How World Generation Works

A number of land masses are placed on the map until the desired land frequency is roughly met.  Where these overlap, hills appear.  If there are multiple overlaps, mountains will appear.  Additional clusters of hills & mountains are added until the mountain frequency is met.  Clusters of vegetation are added to meet the vegetation frequency.  Then terrain near the poles are made “icy” based on the icy setting and forests are made evergreen. (A setting of 100 would create an ice world.)  Finally, areas near the equator are made tropical (forests are shifted to tropical from deciduous) based on that setting.

#Nations

This pre-populates the number of nations to be generated in the “World Info” dialog (accessed from the Data menu).  When you create a new world map, Worldographer automatically generates a number of Nations, Cultures, and Religions which you can fully edit.  (Or ignore if only using the program as a map editor.)  #Nations is also used when using the Generate Nations/Empires function in the Generate menu.

Note: This value can be changed at the time nations are generated. See Generate Nations/Empires for more details.

Terrain Icons

Worldographer makes it easy to make maps in three styles: Classic (flat icon graphics like those in many 1980s RPG products), Isometric (more detailed graphics like those in strategy computer games), and 1st Edition/World graphics. Select Classic to use the 1st Edition/World graphics and see our Creating 1st Edition/World Style Maps video.

Map Levels

Worldographer supports 3 levels of World/Kingdom maps which are versions of the same map that differ in scale and details.

Let’s start with a World map. (See above for instructions on how to do this.)

This map represents an entire world and is normally high level. Each tile may encompass many miles on the ground:

Small portion of a world map.

Small portion of a world map.

In the Mini-Map toolbox (see Section 6 Mini Map for details) a different level may be selected. (Note: this is a Pro version feature.) If we choose Continent, Worldographer automatically makes a copy of the World map and expands it. For instance, if the expansion is 3 tiles (you can pick any number up to 30), each tile on the World map is replaced with 3 tiles across (for a total of 9) on the Continent map. This may resemble something like this:

Continent level map made from a world map with a 3 hex to 1 ratio.

Continent level map made from a world map with a 3 hex to 1 ratio.

Note that Worldographer displays the tile borders of the World map with the expanded tiles inside each. Configure this using the View Option’s drawer’s configure grid button.

Now select Kingdom in the Mini Map. This produces a third map, and this one has tile borders for the both the World and Continent maps displayed. This may resemble the following:

Kingdom level map made from a continent map with a 3 hex to 1 ratio.

Why is this useful?

This feature allows the author to design a world at a very high level and not worry yet about the details.

Then the author can drill down to the Continent level, which shows more detail. Finally, the Kingdom level provides the most detail.
Using the Mini Map toolbox, the author can switch between the levels as desired.

Note: This example started with the World and expanded it. The map can be started at the Continent or Kingdom level. If starting at the Kingdom level, switching to Continent produces a map where the features of the Kingdom map are compacted. Smaller features may be set to not appear in the Continent map. (See the Features drawer’s World, Continent, and Kingdom checkboxes for details to set Features to not appear on some view levels.  The same can be done with Labels and Shapes via similar checkboxes on those drawers.

Switching to World view compacts the map even more.

Important Note: All three maps are stored inside the same file, which eliminates needing to keep track of a different file for each level.

Note/Information

The menu bar has a Data menu with a World Info item.  Choosing that with a world map open shows a list of Cultures, Nations, and Religions plus an Intro area & Timelines area.  Expand the Cultures, Nations, and Religions sections to see details of each one generated by the software.  Customize the results to your preference or erase them completely and fill in exactly what you had in mind. Or ignore this feature and use Worldographer only as a map maker.

World Information dialog.

World Information dialog. Worldographer generates this data, which you can fully revise or ignore.

Worldographer will export this data via the File menu’s Export Notes/Information To HTML option. See the menu options explained page for information regarding exporting this feature.