Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mapping the Whole World

Ever want to map your whole game world. Not just the main campaign area but the whole world?
I'll admit it I have. I have to settle for projection problems caused by drawing a the surface of a sphere (a planet) onto a plane (the map). With modern software and computers we can draw a 3-D globe.

Here's a sample map:
Here's a couple shots of that sample world map wrapped onto and rendered on a sphere:
Not amazing since the source map was so simple and low res but definitely proof of concept. cool thing is 3D software, even something as simple as the 3D feature in newer versions of Photoshop let you draw on the globe itself.

Just have to figure out how to map relatively non-distorted hexes onto the 3D globe for a traditional hex crawl.


  1. Imagine actually printing out your campaign map onto an orrery or globe. That would be amazing.

  2. One way to minimize the distortion of hexagons is to map the hexes to an icosahedron. The twenty triangular sides can have as many hexes as you want to a side, the more hexes, the less distortion per hex. The main problems are a) that twenty spots on the globe will have pentagonal "hexes" (at the vertices of each face of the icosahedron); and b) there will be some distortion toward the edge of each face of the icosahedron.

  3. You might still be able to find materials relating to Traveller that have blank maps of the icosahedral hexmap faoladh described. Judges' Guild used to do a blank maps booklet for Traveller that had them.

    1. The traveller world map is neat but it always bothered me that the polar hexes were not hexes. Needs more hexes, 35 hexes around the equator works out to 711 mile hexes for a word the size of earth, really not a lot of utility there for ground scale or even sailing ship action.

    2. Well, the problem is that you can't cover a sphere with only hexes. It just doesn't work, geometrically. Look at a soccer ball, there are pentagons on there. The Traveller map style reduces the number of pentagons to the minimum (20, one for each vertex of an icosahedron). There are variations of the old Traveller map that have various numbers of hexes per side of the polyhedron. T5 includes full maps up to 10 hexes per side (15 per side for a half-world map, 20 per side for a 1/3-world map), with each hex representing about 1000km.