Saturday, January 7, 2012

Sneak peak at dxContent's Map Runner

Map Runner is in the works! It's my new tile-based map editor allowing you to quickly flesh out maps for your on-going campaign. Here is a screen shot showing a dungeon I whipped up just for this blog entry:

As you can see, there are a lot of cool things you can do with Map Runner: layout hallways, rooms, doorways (with or without doors), low areas (in this example a sewer area) and place stairs.
Lets take a quick look at some of the tool menus you'll find. The first one I want to show you is the "Basic" menu. Here you can layout your halls, corners, intersections etc. Its as easy as selecting a tool and clicking on the map grid.

Another important menu is the "Doors" menu. With this tool you can add doorways and optionally fill them with various types of doors (Normal, Bars, Secret and Concealed). You can also remove doors with the Remove option.
This next menu is called "Inters'ct/Edge" (intersections & edges). With this menu you can add large open areas and large open areas with "low" areas. There is also a "crosser" tool. For the Dungeon tileset this allows you to make bridges across the low areas.

Here is one of my favorite menus, its called "Details". Many tiles have alternate versions of themselves, like round vs. square corners or in this example a room tile that can be turned into a 10x10 or 5x5 hallway.

This mapping system Is "tileset" driven. I provide you with thousands of pre-draw tiles and then using the tools they are automatically placed. But building maps by selecting from thousands of tiles is not fun... so as you can see the menus allow you specify what you want and where and the software does all the work of finding the right tile to fit your needs.

I'm making this a free tool for everyone and it will be cross-browser compatible. So if you like IE, Chrome, Safari or Firefox I've got you covered. I've left in slots for new tilesets also, so down the road I could add an outdoor tileset, a castle tileset or whatever comes in demand.

Anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas or general questions. Have a [PositiveAdjective] day!


  1. Brian - A couple of questions.
    1) what's the format of Map Runner's output? jpeg?
    2) what's the format on the tiles? png? tiff?
    3) does Map Runner have a simple text editor or an easy way to place numbers/letters on the rooms? Or do text boxes? (so I can throw a text-box in the margin next to the lava pit that says "freaking lava, blah-blah damage")
    4) Presume tiles are rotate-able.


  2. 1) Format for 1.0 beta is pure HTML and images. If you look at the sample map in the blog it is actually 100 images (a 10x10 map).
    2) Tile format is currenly jpg (80% compression) - I have 200 pixel high res originals and may upgrade the quality in a later release. Outpput tiles come in two sizes 50 and 100 pixels.
    3) If you look closely at the menus, you'll see a tab titled "Text". This menu (not built yet) will allow you to place room numbers, notes, etc.
    4) You presume correct - actually there are four versions of evry base tile (normal 90, 180 & 270 degree rotations).