December/2015 Summary Update Part 1
With the New Year we released the beta version of Other World Mapper! That was a big milestone for us, as it included the brand new dungeon tools, many of the changes that resulted from alpha and beta backers feedback, and a few additional small features.
With so much to report, we will be splitting this update into two parts. This first update will concentrate on the content of the Beta release and the current status. The second part will be coming within the next two weeks. It will include a dev log and will concentrate on showing the program in action. We'll also talk about our updated time lines.
Added ability to re-generate existing segments as fractals
Editing fractals segments as full segments was not part of the original goals, but we had considered adding it and it was also requested by our alpha and beta backers after working with our Alpha versions, so we added this functionality with Beta.
Previously, after creating a fractal shape, changes to the segment shape would have to do be done on a point by point basis, which is very time consuming. With Beta we introduced the ability to select and re-generate fractal segments.
Another part to this feature is to further fractalize an existing segment, not regenerating an entire segment, but creating fractal points between existing points. This feature can be particularly useful when creating a more detailed map of an area from an existing region of a map.
Implemented Add Type/Modes
We added new modes to our closed items so that in addition to creating a new item (i.e. a landmass) you can add or subtract from an existing one with the item tool. Functionally, this is very similar to our path Boolean operations support, but from a UI point of view it makes it faster and more intuitive to add or remove parts of an existing item's shape.
Collapsed move, rotate and scale into transform tool
The original UI had three different transform tools: for moving, rotating and scaling. With beta we combined all three into a new transform tool from where you can move, scale and rotate an item.
Created Presets Pallet
This is another change resulting from our alpha and beta backer feedback. All the cartography tools in Other World Mapper have many options so that you can create very custom types/styles for Landmasses, lakes, roads, etc. That gives users a lot of flexibility to create very distinct styles, but it can make using the tools a little overwhelming. To address this we had introduced a preset drop down in the items property window, but the navigation and selection wasn't as intuitive as we would have wanted. The presets needed more room, so we created a Preset Pallet in it's own dockable window. The preset palette shows a list of presets that can be applied to a tool or an existing item. We will include a varied collection of presets with Other World Mapper. As before, you can still edit the detailed properties and apply those settings to items, as well as save those presets to use again later or share with others.
Added map borders functionality
We added map borders as another overlay type to maps. Beta only included a couple of placeholder border sets, but we plan to add several with the final release.
Implemented variable grid size and projection size
In case you want to leave margin between the edge of the canvas and where the grids/projection overlay start, we added functionality to define grids and projection overlays smaller than the map size.
Added hint for actions (i.e. start branch).
This a small change, but helps greatly to make using Other World Mapper more intuitive. It includes on screen hints around the mouse cursor for actions such as finishing a shape, starting a branch, starting to follow a shape, etc. to let you know what your click is doing.
Tool Dialog Redesign
The tool dialog was redesigned to allow it to be dockable and to organize the tools by type and make the groups collapsible for a more customizable work space.
Other minor changes to UI and functionality
We also completed many small changes to the UI (toolbars, object properties), completed partially implemented functionality and cleaned up/fix bugs we and our alpha/beta backers found during testing.
Beta includes many of the dungeon tools for the dungeon stretch goal. We'll show you those tools with the upcoming dev log, so this is just a short summary.
Closed Area/Room Tool
Used to create complex closed areas (room in dungeon or perimeter of building). You can create them using new shape tools or following a path. The floor and walls can be configured to different textures, colors, widths, inner and outer shadows, etc. Note how the wall texture follows the path of the wall (it's not a flood fill).
Used to create corridors and branching corridors . It has the same options as the closed area tool so that they can be made to match with rooms.
Cave tool is similar to the landmass tool, but with specialized options and presets that work with other dungeon tools.
Used to create wall separations within closed areas and corridors . As the walls for the rooms and corridors, textures follow the path.
Used to create wells and pools.
This is a simple shape tool that can be combined with textures to create items such as structural pillars, daises, as well as room items such as tables, rugs, etc.
Stairs tool generates stairs in different styles. Beta included only a subset of this tool's functionality, but already lets you choose step amounts, widths, background color, and allows landings.
Doors and Windows Tool
Doors and window items that can be applied to the walls of rooms and corridors, and follow the shape of their walls.
With the beta version came the first batch of finalized artwork. This accounts for a little over 50% of the artwork that will be included with the first release. We showed a preview of some of this artwork with our September update, but this is the finished version that was released with Beta.
We cleaned up and completed the sketchy set that was shown with the Kickstarter. This is the core of the original artwork, but with many more symbols that originally promised (around 400).
This is the other set from the original Kickstarter artwork, an small set useful to make very simple maps (i.e. the type of map you see in books).
Basic Fantasy Set#1 (bonus)
This is the set that artist Vandel (AKA Joseph Vandel) created for us, including hundreds of terrain features, landscapes and structures, etc. 600+ symbols were included with Beta from the set, and many color variants will be added with the final release.
This set is part of the original Kickstarter artwork, but ended up being a lot larger than we originally promised, at 75+ symbols.
Dungeon SciFi (bonus) – Expansion Edition
This is a bonus set that was not part of the artwork promised with the Kickstarter. It's a set of items that can be used for a dungeon style starship/space station or generic dungeon style sci-fi map. This bonus artwork will be included for the expansion pledge tier and above.
Sci-Fi Terrain (part bonus) – Expansion Edition
This is a subset of another bonus set created by Vandel (the original expansion only called for a mini set for Sci-Fi artwork). The artwork released with beta only includes a part of this set (120+ features). We will include more color variants and more categories with the next releases. This bonus artwork will be included for the expansion pledge tier and above.
Dungeon Textures (partially transparent and opaque/skins)
This is the base set of dungeon textures to be included with Other World Mapper, as with the other set having many more than originally planned (around 90). We will likely be adding a few more with the next releases.
Overland Textures (partially transparent and opaque/skins)
This is the base set of overland map textures to be included with Other World Mapper, for a total of around 40. We will also likely add a few more with the next releases.
Note for Alpha/Beta backers: Although the beta release does not open alpha maps, we are working on a stand alone .exe to convert alpha maps to the beta format. We should have it ready for you sometime next week.
- The Three Minds Software Team