Strategic Primer Map Conversion Report

As I reported in last week’s Call for Strategies, I recently finished converting the map to new format and a higher resolution. Today I’d like to describe that process in somewhat more detail.

The first task in this conversion process was to get just about everything that players’ explorers had discovered or encountered already into the main map, in a more helpful form than arbitrary text. This required a bit of programming in the viewer, to make the map format expressive enough to represent the various kinds of encounters, but once the code support was there converting these “events” and copying them to the main map was fairly simple.

The second task was converting the map to a higher resolution. I wrote a program to do this, randomly distributing everything on each tile (except the rivers) among the equivalent tiles which replaced it, converting forest tile types to forests on the tiles, and (in the main map) adding “ground” Fixtures to say what kind of rock was there. This program was designed to work repeatably, so that when I ran it on the main map and the players’ maps it would distribute the tiles’ contents the same way, but I never could get that to work quite right, though it otherwise worked fine (once I fixed a bunch of design flaws).

And so the third task was to make the players’ maps match the main map. I wrote a program to identify the differences, but I still had to go through them by hand, so this took quite some time. But while tedious, this was not difficult.

The last task, which I’m still working on, and which is still more tedious and time-consuming, is “populating” the map—putting animals, abandoned mines, meadows, groves, and other things explorers may encounter onto the map, so that the table-based (Mark II) encounter model can go away soon. But unlike the previous tasks, this doesn’t require anyone to wait for it to finish.

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