Dungeons on Automatic

Dungeons on Automatic is a new blog written by Kyle Norton.  He has recoded a random dungeon generator for GURPS Dungeon Fantasy. Find that post HERE.  It uses the same generator as Donjon but he has changed the code for GURPS instead of D&D.  You can download it and use it offline and it is really a lot of fun to play with!

Here are some screen shots of a random result. Go check it out and have some fun!

7 inch Cave Battle Tiles

I’m currently working on the caves and I’m not satisfied with how they currently look.

The problem is where the floor meets the walls.  Bevel won’t work because it is lighted.  So one Bevel will be darker than the other and then they cave walls won’t match when you rotate them.  Because it is six sides I can’t really do multiple walls and change the lighting dynamics.  Not only does that require an extreme amount of work (like crazy amount) it still will be a problem with some of the cavern options.

This is kind of what it is gong to look like.  Mind you I’ve added no detailing to the cave floor.  My focus is on the wall effects.  I want to offer the same background texture as the dungeon Battle Tiles that way they will match seamlessly.  I will make transition tiles as well.

As for professionally getting these printed I think I’m going to make them into A1 or A0 posters and hand cut and mount them myself.

RPG Hexagon Battlegrid by PWORK Wargames

RPG Hexagon Battlegrid by PWORK Wargames

Sometimes living in the UK makes it difficult to get RPG items compared to when I lived in the States.  One of those items is a Hex Grid Mat to use for GURPS.  The Chessex ones can cost up to £50.00 or more after shipping.  I’ve seen some others for £35.00 so I was getting frustrated at the lack of Battlemaps for GURPS.  There are many square mats out there for D&D and other games but they lack the functionality of the hex which I have always found better for tactical games.

I noticed that PWORK had a square mat for 21,00 € and I have purchased their products in the past so I contacted them and asked if they would design a hex grid mat that had the dimensions of 1in (25.4mm)  from flat to flat, and 1.15 in (29.33) from corner to corner per hex. They were more than happy to oblige for a small design fee and for less than £35.00 I now have the Hexagon Battlegrid currently speeding its way to me!

I will have it in my hands before the Dungeon Fantasy Box Set arrives which I’ve been told has been shipped to the European distributors.

 

Battle Tile Tokens

To reduce the extremely large number of tiles I’m creating I’m adding tokens around the tiles.  It may use a bit more ink but it also allows you to get more out of your photo paper as well.  The tokens will allow you to place stairs, traps, treasure, etc. anywhere you want on your tiles.

Door Tokens

 These three style door tokens will allow you place your doors within any area on the tiles for the wider Vertical Corridors.  Carefully cut them out with a hobby knife using proper safety procedures and you can then either glue one side and fold in half on the grey dotted line or cut them in half and glue them on to thicker card. The backs of the tokens will have information on the type of door.  To make this easier and more customizable for those of you using the tiles all token pdf’s will be form fillable. Which means you can enter your own data. The center token in the picture above is how they will all look with blank data fields where as the other two is a representation of how they will look with the information inserted by the user.

Test it out on this pdf for yourself!  You will have to download the pdf, Google Docs won’t let you use the form features in the preview.

Because the Horizontal Corridors have to be slightly reduced in width I have created two types of door tokens for each door type. These also will have a form option on the reverse side.

Here are some of the options you can place from getting from one level to another.  I manipulated the pit images in photoshop.  The top one is a pit down to another corridor directly below it and the bottom one is just a deep pit.  I probably should have placed a skeleton on the bottom for scale. If you fold the pit symbols on the grey lines and glue the trap door parts together then glue the bottom (pitt symbol) to a piece of thick card you can have a pit tile with a working door!

Now to make sure that the pdf’s can be used by both A4 and 8.5″x11″ I’ve placed a red rectangle on my sheet representing the size of 8.5″ by 11″. This will make sure none of the pieces will be cut off due to size. Everyone will have to print them with no margins though.

I’d be interested to know what kind of tokens people would like to see.

How to Label Battle Tiles

I’ve gotten a few suggestions on labeling the tiles but I’ve not yet decided exactly how I am going to do it.

Number of corridor connections depending on the width of the corridors and the direction they are facing (horizontal or vertical)

I am kind of curious how someone who could turn these into a random generator would label these.  I’m almost tempted to break it down per wall connection as the room walls follow the different wall connection points as such…

This gives a possible of 11 points that a wall can connect to. Although the chances of needing most of them are slim.

For the most part if you’re making a dunging with the majority of it with the double width corridors you will be using the Double and possible the Irregular Double wall connections.

I’d like to come up with some kind of labeling system that would allow me to label them in a clockwise direction starting at the top of the hex.  That way if I realise I forgot an option it won’t end up at the end of the list with other odd sorts but would at least be grouped with tiles that are similar in some aspects.  Also a system like that might come in handy if ever I find someone willing to make a random dungeon generator with these tiles.

So the photo above would be categorized from the top of the hex with a Double Wide Left side Vertical wall, next side is Left Side Double Corridor , then nothing, then a Double Wide Corridor, 5th side also a double wide corridor then nothing.

The middle tile would have nothing, nothing, Right Side Double Corridor Wall, Open space, Left Side Horizontal Double Corridor, nothing.

The last tile would have nothing, Double Wide Corridor, Double Wide Horizontal Corridor, Double Wide Vertical Corridor, Double Wide Horizontal Corridor, Nothing.

Now to somehow figure out how to use that in some kind of labeling.  I’m up for any suggestions!  If you think you have an easier solution please let me know.

7″ Battle Tiles

I’ve gotten some positive feedback from my 7″ tiles so I thought maybe I could round them out a bit more before continuing on with the 4″ battle tiles.  To organise things I started to plan out some of the shapes in Adobe illustrator.  Here are just some of the tiles I’ve come up with for double wide corridors (6′)

So just a few!  I’ve color coded them based on how many corridor connections are available.  Here is just a quick example of what could be created with these tiles.

I’ve also been cleaning up the tiles a bit by adding another layer to hide unused grids. I think it looks much cleaner with the new build.

I’ve also been working on adding a bit of dirt and grime, not to all tiles as you really need generic tiles, but just a few of them. By creating a ‘Dirt’ layer with different transparencies and edge faders it can make some tiles look really disused.

Also with Campaign Cartographer I can easily change the backgrounds to allow for different style maps.

Want to plan your dungeon?  Check out my hex graph paper that I made in Illustrator.

Now this is where I’m going to get a bit cheeky.  I’d like to offer these in black & White OSR style which Profantasy Software has in The Cartographer’s Annual 2015 so if you can spare the dosh and donate a couple of quid (dollars) then I’ll be able to get a few new styles and offer those up for free like I do with all my hobby designs.

paypal.me/JCMorrison

 

Hand Drawn Map

I got bored at work so I drew this dungeon using tiles from the 4″ Hex Geomorphs.  The nice thing about hand drawing them is it allowed me to see that I could come up with a few new tiles that will increase the modular construction of the dungeons.  This is only like my second time trying the cross hatch fill that is really popular these days. I still need more practice at it.

I made a portrait and landscape versions of the hex grid in Adobe Illustrator and you can download the pdf HERE

My Thoughts on 4″ Hex Tiles

Last time I discussed, in my own disorganised way, my thoughts on 7″ hex tiles.  Now I’m going to delve into the 4″ hex tile.  As I’ve stated a few times before the thought first came to me when I saw the Tabletop Hex Terrain Toolkit on Kickstarter. This is going to be a great tool for making some wonderful terrain for both RPG’s and Wargames.  However the scale is just slightly off for my tastes (as discussed here).  I may eventually redesign the tool for use with proper one inch horizontal hexes, until then I am making four inch tiles to use for my GURPS Dungeon Fantasy games.

The 4″ Tiles can only support single and double width corridors (1 hex = 3′) compared to the three widths in the 7″ tiles.  Also the number of connections is reduced dramatically to the four examples in the following image, compared to the 9 images for 7″ tiles.

Corridor options

Although there are fewer options I don’t think the four inch tiles are inferior to the seven inch.  The four inch tiles will certainly allow for more dense dungeons, and with a bit of thought and planning will be able to offer some very complex designs. Also you can make any Hex Dungeon look just like any Square dungeon.  All it takes is manipulating the width of the horizontal corridors. If the corridors are the same width they will not match up when a horizontal corridor attaches to a vertical corridor.  The horizontal corridor will be too wide.

Both horizontal and vertical corridors are the same width, the horizontal is too wide

The horizontal corridor is now slightly smaller than the vertical. H: 3.43, V: 3.9

I can live with this slight alteration as it now gives me more options when designing.  I can now have corridors that turn at 90° just like you would with a square tiled dungeon.

90° left hand turn

Single width corridors and room tiles, just a fraction of the possibilities

An example of what can be made 1 hex = 3′ (1 meter)

What I like from the example above is how at any given time the orientation of the dungeon can turn 60° giving the dungeon a more natural feel.  If you’re digging a dungeon why would you limit yourself to a grid? Also once you add the double width corridors your increasing your options and complexity.  I’ll be adding more as I have time.

I’ve got plans to make full 3D dungeons using the 4 inch tiles and plaster molds such as those you can get from Hirst Arts, Linka World, and 4bot Industries. The issue is I will have to make a lot of custom pieces and custom molds so I’m going to be shelving this project for the mean time.

I think switching from the 7″ to the 4″ tiles was the right choice for me. When I get time I will go ahead and place the 30+ 7″ colour tiles I’ve already made if anyone is interested in trying them out.  I’ll do the same for the 4″ but not until I get a large amount ready.

Pro

  • You can make dense dungeons without so many extra tiles
  • Easier to store
  • Can produce more random results
  • Easier to use “Fog of War” effect

Con

  • Only single and double wide corridors, no triple
  • No irregular/offset corridors
  • Floor textures may not align properly
  • Custom 3D parts

Profantasy Software

Mapping with Master Hexes

Hexomorfo System

Hirst Arts

4bot Industries

My Thoughts on 7″ Hex Battle Tiles

In my last post I gave a brief overview of how my different hex dungeon maps evolved.  This time I just want to discuss briefly on some hex maps but mostly the 7 inch hex tile.  There are two ways to place a hex onto a map.  Vertical and Horizontal sometimes referred to Flat to Flat and Point to Point.  Now if you are using your map for miniatures the standard movement is 1 inch for the base.  If you want to the distance from top of your tile to the bottom of the tile to be 1 inch this means you have two different possible sizes for your hex.  However most people would just stick with the 1 inch distance flat to flat as that will perfectly allow even miniatures with round bases to fit within the entirety of the hex.  Not to mention that a 1 inch Vertical hex tile is the industry standard for miniature bases.

I’ve heard some people refer to them the opposite way but I view it as the direction of travel in a straight line via the flat edge.  Very few games that I can recall use the Horizontal grid.  I’ve mostly seen older wargames that use counters, Star Maps (although can use both), and probably most recognised in the gaming community Icosahedral World Maps.  I’m sure I’m missing a few.

icosahedral world map using Horizontal Hex Grid

However if your playing with miniatures on a battle map you really want to have a facing edge.  Also I play GURPS which uses Vertical Hexes if players want to use battle maps. So that narrowed my choices down to, well, one.

Now in my previous posts I’ve mentioned how I used hex grids on square mats and the problems that can lead to as you need duplicate maps for each directions as each square would have half hexes and quarter hexes.  It really wasn’t ideal.

1) Square tile, hex grid
2) Rooms cut to fit, hex grid
3) Flower Tiles
4) Hex Tiles

I did experiment with Flower Tiles.  I liked Flower Tiles as they are interlocking but you would require a larger number of varied tiles to make a proper system and it was just too much.  I wanted something simpler.

Flower Tiles

Flower Tiles interlocking

Then I came across the idea, after discussions with Andorax (a World Works Games forum user), to use Hex Tiles.  This allowed me to rotate the hexes in any direction and have all the tiles line up.  The only thing we disagreed on was whether to use Horizontal or Vertical.  I prefer the Vertical so I went with that.

There is a great blog post by Phil Wright “Mapping with Master Hexes” where he goes into in depth detail about how to choose the proper tile size.  I’d like to say I did the same thing but honestly I just got lucky.  I wanted to fit a tile on a sheet of paper with as little waste so for A4 or US 8.5×11 that ended up being a 7″ Vertical Tile.  I’ve made dozens of these tiles and even printed out a few on good quality photo paper. Most Wargames are done in 6 inch sections however that just won’t work with a 6 inch hex tile. As with a square tile the 6 inch hex tile has too many irregularities for it to be functional. 4″, 7″ are best.  you could use 10″ and 13″ but that is starting to get a bit large for me.  5″ hexes would also be feasible but it personally did not suit me.

7″ Vertical Hex tile made in Campaign Cartographer 3

120° Corridor

The Horizontal corridor is not as wide as the Vertical corridor

Now I refused to be confined to all my corridors turning at 60° and 120°.  However because of the 120° angle of the outer edges it means that the corridors meet at a slant. If the walls are all the same, then the walls cutting across the angle wouldn’t match up with the walls that hit it flat on.  So this means all horizontal, or cross cutting would be a better term, corridors have to be slightly smaller.  I’m crap at maths, I’m a visual guy so I kept scaling until it looked right.  It is roughly 13-15% difference in size depending on the width of the corridors.

First off I should clarify that in GURPS each hex is 3 feet.  Which is about the area that a normal human would occupy.  So with the seven inch tiles it allowed me to have 3′, 6′, and 9′ corridors and with the 7 inch tile I could off an array of options of how the corridors connect.

Corridor connecting guide for 7 inch tiles

I also experimented on how to use a standard dungeon map and force it onto the 7 inch tiles.  This takes away modularity but makes for some fun map tiles that only work for a specific map.

This map was randomly generated using http://donjon.bin.sh/d20/dungeon/ then placed into multiple 7 inch battle tiles

How a few tiles repeated over and over can create a maze.

Pro’s and Con’s of the 7″ Tiles

Pro

  • multiple corridor widths
  • multiple connecting points
  • able to make both large and small rooms
  • quick to assemble

Con

  • Dense dungeons with small rooms require many special tiles that will contain a whole room plus many half or quarter rooms.  This would require plenty of planning and tiles with specific use.
  • tiles may reveal rooms which have not been discovered
  • if full 3D can get heavy

However with my purchase of Kickstarter for Tabletop Hex Terrain I’ve started to think about moving to smaller 4 inch hex tiles.  However not just flat tiles but full three dimensional dungeons.  This idea was reinforced when the Hexomorfo System was released. Plus 4 inch tiles would allow me to fit the wargaming niche as well because I could build them in one foot sections. However 4 inch battle tiles is a discussion for another post.

LINKS

Game Dev “Vertical vs. Horizontal”

Mapping with Master Hexes by Phil Wright.  This is a great blog post and gets more indepth than I did for the actual reason for the size of my tiles.

Bat in the Attic “Mapping with Hexes”

Understanding Hexagon Tiles

Red Blog Games

Hexagon Measurement Calculator

 

HEXOMORFO SYSTEM

HEXOMORFO SYSTEM is created by Eneko Menica and Eneko Palencia and the design is similar to what I have been working on for the new Tabletop Hex Terrain.  I’m really pleased as this shows me I was on the right track! They have made it available for 15mm and 25/28mm miniatures.  I like to see that Hex Dungeons are catching on!  They have even mentioned that they may be making more designs!