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Greenfish Relief Map Generator

Create quick-and-dirty relief maps for small campaign settings.

Greenfish Map Example

Greenfish Map Example

Here’s a fancy bit of free software: The Greenfish Relief Map Generator (v1.4; Snapfile link).

You can create quick-and-dirty relief maps, with user-defined parameters for land to water ratio, number of towns, and map colours. You can define the pixel dimensions of the map (the default is 640×480, but I like 1024×768; for simplicity, I recommend a scale of 1 pixel = 1 mile). You can also save your custom parameters to a profile, which you can reload the next time you run the tool. As an added bonus, you can export the results as bitmaps.

The town name database is essentially a plain text file of names. I use EBoN to create random names in a language I want, then cut-and-paste the results into their own text file. Greenfish lets you assign the town DB you want to use, so you can vary the language of town names from map to map.

On the downside, Greenfish does not draw rivers (though it will create lakes). Also, landmasses often continue “off-map,” meaning that the tool does a good job of creating sub-continents, but not so well with continents or what we might consider a “global” view.

That said, this tool is great for creating campaign areas or “regional maps” quickly and without the fuss of generating an entire game world. If you’re industrious, you could create several maps and “stitch” them together with an image editing software. This requires some time and effort, but if you start with a bunch of small maps, you can create fairly compelling results.

Use this tool if you just want a campaign area, as opposed to an entire global map. It’s fast, it’s customisable, and it’s free.

Categories: Mapping, Worldbuilding Tags: ,
  1. Stattick
    June 21st, 2010 at 23:05 | #1

    The link (http://greenfish.extra.hu/downloads.php) appears to be broken.

  2. June 22nd, 2010 at 06:37 | #2

    @Stattick : Thanks for pointing this out. I’ll see if I can contact the authors – they might let me host the download here.

  3. November 4th, 2010 at 19:01 | #3

    It looks like it’s back up here: http://greenfish.xtreemhost.com/downloads.php

  4. November 4th, 2010 at 19:47 | #4

    @DrDucker : Thanks, DrDucker. I’ve updated the link. What a…relief ;)

  5. August 22nd, 2012 at 11:42 | #5

    Hi Erin,

    it looks like the link (nearly two years old, in principle) is gone again. I’m getting some kind of gossip site when I try to follow it.

    Keith

  6. August 22nd, 2012 at 11:44 | #6

    @Keith Davies

    Well, the original link was down, I hadn’t looked at the second link. When I did, though, I got a google malware warning, and going through another workstation (that wasn’t my workstation at the office) got me to a file not found message.

    K

  7. August 25th, 2012 at 10:44 | #7

    @Keith Davies : Good catch – thanks for pointing this out. I’d gladly host the file here, but can’t contact the author(s). In the meantime, it’s mirrored:

    * http://www.softpedia.com/get/Multimedia/Graphic/Graphic-Others/Greenfish-Relief-Map-Generator.shtml
    * http://www.snapfiles.com/get/gfreliefmap.html

    I’ve updated the links above with the snapfile download.

  8. Turbodesas
    September 24th, 2012 at 00:11 | #8

    How do I make my generated maps look like the example on your article? The sea and the colours are different.

  9. September 26th, 2012 at 06:18 | #9

    @Turbodesas : Good question – something that I’ve been meaning to address for awhile. I hope this Greenfish tutorial helps.

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