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Greenfish Relief Map Tutorial

Another episode of How To Do Things…

In a comment to the Greenfish Relief Map Generator post, blog Reader Turbodesas asks, “How do I make my generated maps look like the example on your article? The sea and the colours are different.”

Indeed they are. The Greenfish default settings are different from the settings I used to create the example map in the post. For those interested in How To Do Things, here’s what I did.

Installation

Download the Greenfish Relief Map Generator. I’m linking to my post, which has links to download mirrors in the comments section. [1] The programme doesn’t require an install–save the “gfmapgen140.zip” file and extract it into its own directory.

Quick and Dirty

  1. Download the “chimera_atlasRelief” file and extract it into your Greenfish directory.
  2. Launch Greenfish by double-clicking on “mapgen.exe”
    Greenfish Relief Map Main Screen
  3. Click on the “Load preset from file” icon (this the folder icon, second from the left above)
  4. Browse to your Greenfish directory and select “chimera_atlasRelief.rmg” from the dialogue box.
  5. This should transform your map into something like this:
    Greenfish Relief Map Chimera style
  6. Done. Note the difference in colour, as well as the Size and other parms.

Under the Hood

The Chimera Atlas Relief file is simply a package of presets that you can use for Greenfish–you can easily create your own. For the sake of example, I’ll use Chimera settings to explain the process below:

  1. Launch Greenfish; by default, you’re presented with the “Parameters” tab (see upper-left, just below the title bar)
  2. In the Size boxes, enter the map dimensions in pixels. I use multiples of 125 so I can fit the results into my Hex Templates.
  3. Experiment with “Diversity of relief,” “Amount of water,” and “Amount of towns.” Results display on the map as you change them, so you can tweak the numbers to come up with something you like. Ignore “Town database” for now–we’ll come back to that.
  4. Click on the “Style” tab.
  5. The Style tab contains your colours, grid, and text settings. Let’s start with the colours.
  6. To change a colour, click on the colour box to open the Windows Color box. Select “Define Custom Colors” for each setting. Here are the RGB colours in the Chimera file:
    Sea min: 101, 123, 146
    Sea max: 182, 206, 210
    Plain: 99, 123, 61
    Hill: 196, 179, 110
    Mountain: 146, 112, 48
    Land border: 207, 223, 226
    Map frame: 0, 0, 0
    Grid: 30, 48, 8
    Town name: 35, 35, 56
  7. Set the “Grid size” to 125 (again, this makes it easy to map against our Hex Templates).
  8. Set “Shadows” to 25; “Town mark size” to 4; and “Town name size” to 8 (of course, you’re free to experiment, but these are the values I like).

Towns

Greenfish creates “towns” with little coloured dots. You can’t control where they appear, though you can control the frequency via the “Amount of towns” figure in the “Parameters” tab.

You can also control the naming of the towns via a text file of random names, set in the “Town database” field on the “Parameters” tab. I use EBoN to generate a random number of towns in whatever language I want, then save the results to a text file. You can just as easily create your own town database by creating a text file with one town name per line–just save it in the Greenfish directory for easy access.

To satisfy my OCD, I use the following key for towns, based on colour:

  • Red – Fortress
  • Blue – Town
  • Green (italic) – Town (walled)
  • White (underscore) – Point of Interest (ruin/dungeon)

Final Words

Greenfish creates a ready-made map of a campaign area, based on the size parameters you define.

However, there are caveats: you have very little control over the Greenfish output. You can’t control town placement, Greenfish won’t draw rivers, and it’s very difficult to “stitch” multiple maps together, which means that the map you create is pretty much a stand-alone unit.

But on the plus side, Greenfish is a nifty little tool for creating manageable settings. Aside from the nice relief colours and adjustable grid, I like the random placement of towns, as it forces me to come up with population distributions that I wouldn’t think of on my own.

So – let’s see your maps…

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  1. I’m posting mirrors because the original site no longer seems to resolve. I’d host the file here, but can’t contact the authors for permission, so existing mirrors are the best bet for finding the file. If the mirrors don’t work, try Googling “Greenfish Relief Map” for the executable.

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