Thursday, June 22, 2017

Beautiful Maps

A year ago or so, my good friend Thorfinn Tait embarked on a personal journey to establish his Patreon business. For this, he selected the creation of new geographical maps.  Anyone who knows the world of Mystara and Thorfinn should understand why. His claim to fame originated from a wealth of game maps, updates from existing TSR's Mystara gazetteers and others (often my own more recently, and vastly improved.)  Since producing maps for Mystara as a professional cartographer just isn't a legal option due to copyright limitations, Thorfinn opted wholeheartedly to create his own mapping style for the world of Calidar. This was the same reason I shifted my efforts as a writer from Mystara.

Thorfinn initially produced poster maps for my first book, CAL1 "In Stranger Skies."  This wonderful piece of cartography came in two formats, an artful version and a stylized hex map inspired directly from the format of TSR's popular D&D gazetteer maps of the 80s and 90s. His next opportunity to emulate this feat will follow in 2018, with the next Calidar Gazetteer. Meanwhile, Thorfinn started developing more detailed and refined versions of kingdoms of the Great Caldera, Calidar's known world (see below.)

There is a plan to develop the "Dread Lands," which is everything else on the planet outside the Great Caldera: Calidar's other continents. This competes with the excitement behind opportunities to map out Calidar's three moons, Mars-like Lao-Kwei and its own watery moon, Kumoshima (settings inspired from Earth's Far East), and Mercury-like Draconia (the dragon's Hollow World.)  I posted some of his work here for your enjoyment. If you appreciate Thorfinn's maps and would like to see more in the near future, do visit his Patreon page, give feedback, and show some gratitude!

Click on these maps to get a better resolution.

Naturally, if you become a Patreon supporter, you can get access to full resolution poster maps that are truly amazing. So, on behalf of Thorfinn, I'll just say:

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Question for Game Grognards

To keep my mind off Calidar's Kickstarter, I'm working on an air combat system for skyships and fantasy monsters, using concepts introduced in CAL1 "In Stranger Skies." This concerns the effect of wind direction and strength on skyship flight speeds. Depending on conditions, a skyship movement can be halved, unaffected, increased by a half, or even doubled.

Ideally, one ought to check a skyship's speed once at the beginning of a battle round. This enables unlikely exploits, such as starting the round at max speed, immediately turning into headwinds, and continuing the rest of the move at no penalty. Simple, but lacking a modicum of realism.

The other obvious option is checking one's speed after making each turn. The question with this is: how do I compute this? Say a skyship starts the round with its speed doubled due to a favorable wind angle, allowing for a total 12 hexes of movement. Halfway through (after having spent 6 hexes) the ship's speed should now be halved due to turning into a more unfavorable wind angle. What's the best way to calculate this? I'm defining "best" as not overly complicated yet somewhat logical at least.

I'm thinking that the remaining move should be half the skyship's base move (6 hexes divided by 2) since it already spent half its MV, divided by two again due to headwinds, equals 1.5 hexes, rounded up to 2. This becomes a real pain when a skyship moves instead 1/4, 1/3, 2/3, or 3/4 of its base move, and this exercise gets done every time each skyship makes a turn. Hmmm.

Any suggestions?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Dreams Day 1

Day 1 of Calidar "Dreams of Aerie's" Kickstarter: we did very well. By the end of Day 1, we've outdone CAL1 "In Stranger Skies." All numbers were better across the board. Thank you everyone! To help continuing this success story, do feel free to pass the word around, or simply keep chatting about the project, here, on Facebook, in forums, or on Kickstarter directly.

What else can I say, but "merci!" ☺️
A good number of you did share the campaign announcement, and this helped a lot. I'm very grateful for your enthusiasm and support. Judging from the funding pattern, it looks like "Dreams" should be at least funded by the end of the event. So far, we have at least 111 visitors who watched the video; 59% of them watched it all the way through, which is pretty good actually. Out of 111 visitors, 86 are backers at this point. Compare this with "In Stranger Skies" where more than 5,000 visitors watched the video and about 400 became backers (after 30 days.) That's very encouraging, even though June is a difficult month for crowd funding.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

See You at 09:00 Central Time

See you all very soon this morning when the Kickstarter campaign launches for Calidar "Dreams of Aerie."  Search for this title on Kickstarter's home page.  I'll be back as soon as possible when the campaign launches, with the correct link.  The present one, for the preview page, will cease to work when the campaign launches.  You can also have a peek at the project preview posted on EnWorld, which reveals an extra poster map showing an "exploded view" of the aeries' upper floors on a night display of the main deck.  Until the curtains open, sit tight and enjoy the popcorn.

EDIT -- click here for the updated link.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Acute Designeritis Strikes Again

Here I am, just a few days before I launch "Dreams of Aerie's" Kickstarter campaign, looking at ways to improve the product.  I love the poster maps of the various deck plans.  They show much of the lateral outrigger masts and their unfurled sails.  On the other hand, with a landscape format, 11x17, a circular deck plan leaves out a lot of space, so I've embarked on a quest to produce an alternative map that referees will love: it adds on the outside of the main deck's top view the various upper floors of the aeries, displaying an "exploded" view of the whole.  The two images below show the original, daylight view of the main deck, and a section of the nighttime exploded view.  I'm only showing a quarter of the latter since it is a work in progress.  I'm not sure yet whether this will work, as some of the aeries have 4 floors above the main deck, which does take up a lot of real estate (pun intended) on the map sheet.

If you haven't visited the Kickstarter preview page, CLICK HERE.  There is still a bit of time left for comments and questions.  I'll be submitting the campaign for approval after elections in UK and Comey's testimony are over with, so I can see how this impacts the values of the US Dollar and the Pound Sterling (this affects the cost of printing and mailing outside the USA.)

If you are unfamiliar with the World of Calidar or the current project, check the tabs at the top of this blog for further information.