Mapmaking with level editors, part 2
In the last post on using level editors for mapmaking, I mentioned the Disciples II editor as an easy-to-use editor, but also with some flaws since the game (and editor) is from 2002.
Since then, I’ve tried to see what else can I do with this editor, believing there is more than meets the eye to this low-res editor. The Steam versions of the game and editor are unfortunately not fully compatible with newer versions of Windows, even with setting windowed mode on, and compatibility settings all the way to Windows XP or even 98SE. The GOG version is a little better, with no issues when it comes to playing the game itself, but when I tried to launch the editor, the overlay was horrible on full screen. Luckily, using the windowed version is easier to implement for mapmaking, and I had no issues with it whatsoever.
Upon launching the editor, and creating a new quest, you are given a blank map with one of the five races: Empire (basically humans), Elves, Mountain Clans (Dwarves), Legion of the Damned (Devils/Demons) and Undead Hordes.
It can be tedious to fill out the whole map by yourself, but there is a <randomize> button to fill out everything from terrain, water, mountains, structures, forests and everything in between.
With that setup, I continued to tweak the randomized map until I was satisfied with a frame. Recall that the map is isometric, and the corners are left black, therefore the majority of the map still has to be more-or-less on the center.
The editor is easy to use, but it does not feature a zoom in/out function, nor an export feature.
Hence, in order to use a map that is larger than a single editor screen, I’ve captured several screens from the same map using the build-in Snipping tool, cropped the editor part (or you can just capture the map part), and then concatenated the multiple map parts in a photo editing software such as Photoshop.
With a little effort, you can easily create a really nice looking fantasy map, that could be used for your games, either as a handout, or as world/region map in general.
The image below is a composite map comprised of several captures, with no additional edits.
You can of course use fancy filters or borders to make it look the way you want, but even like this it will suffice, especially for a game that lasts a couple of sessions. Next time, I will continue on this map, or maybe start a new map with this editor, or look up another game with a cool level editor.