Hello dear readers,
preparing for my Totems of the Dead game gives me the opportunity to use some software I owned for a while. This is also thanks to The Welsh Piper, his postings about some of these got me in the mood again to use them more and basically inspired my whole hexcrawl campaign idea. This is a series of posts coming up through the next few days with quick reviews of the tools I have been using in preparation of my new campaign and games in general.
FREE / $24.95
Hexographer is, as the name suggests, a mapping tool to create hex map of all shapes and sizes. Mapping with it could not be easier. You choose a terrain Icon from a palette and simply start painting. Besides this it has some great additional features that can come in handy. Hexographer can generate fully random maps based on predefined parameters that you can actually tweak to your liking to get the random maps you want. Another useful feature is the terrain wizard that lets you simply sketch out areas of the map and the wizard will automatically fill in the blank spaces. Additionally you can place Icons for features like cities or dungeons, paint rivers, lakes, borders or place styled text labels and map objects like a compass rose on your map. You can flag every icon, line or object as GM only. This way you can create a single map and by simply deselecting “show GM only objects” you have a map for the players to use. Overall Hexographer is very easy to use and you are able to create great looking hexmaps in no time. You can even import a sketch or image of a map to trace over.
Besides supporting the future development the Pro Version will give you the following:
- Run off-line.
- Change terrain & feature icons and add new custom terrain & features.
- Expand existing maps with extra hex rows/columns.
- Make child/sub-maps where 1 hex from a current map becomes between 4 to 30 hexes in the child map.
- Run the map key wizard to quickly create a map key.
- Add custom map items (Buildings & other objects on the “Map Items” tab.) The free version lets you add 10.
- Add notes to hexes.
If you want to take the mapper for a spin, there is a feature limited free version that can be run on-line as long as you want. It has all the major features, so you have almost no limitations in the maps you can create with it. There is also a quick tutorial and additional information here. The free trial should help you decide if want to pay for an upgrade. I highly recommend it as the Pro features are really useful. Especially the ability to create child maps is brilliant. You can create a basic “global” scale map, select the area to adventure in and create a “zoomed in” regional map. And if you want to zoom in further in that map to create an area with even greater detail you can do that. The map key wizard is also extremely helpful. And the ability to add your own terrain and feature icons and even add totally new terrain types is a great way to really tweak the maps appearance to your own campaign.
It has its shortcomings however. The most glaring one is the lack of an undo command for most functionalities. As far as I know there are also no keyboard shortcuts so you need to click a lot. First you select the action you want to do and then click again to do it. It is still manageable but there where many times where I wished for the ability to press a key to choose “Draw New Line” while overlaying my hex map with bigger atlas map hex grids. I also wish there was a wizard for that. And while the map key wizard is useful your settings are not saved yet and have to be redone every time you load, but this is being worked on.
Overall I can heartily recommend the Pro Version if you plan on creating hexmaps for your games regularly. For the casual user that only wants to create a single map or two the free version could be sufficient.