Star Wars – Game Management
Creating a Galaxy Map
This article looks at creating a custom star wars galaxy map for this blog, how I did it, what tools I used and the decisions I made to get there.
Why start this project
Originally when working with the image as a starting point I was simply cutting segments from it and using it as a reference point. In doing so I stumbled on a few points that was causing me issues from a RPG perspective.
- Not all hyperlanes I wanted to reference was shown.
- Building a coordinate system for calculating distance was vague and not as specific as I wanted for repeatability.
- Not all the planets I wanted to use were included.
Looking at all the released Star Wars maps for the roleplaying games and for the Star Wars publications, I had to choose something as a starting point. The one I have chosen to use is the Galaxy Map from the Force Awakens Beginner Box set.
This looked to be the most complete of the maps available in a format I was happy with when I started this project over a year ago. This at least shows a few of the locations from Force Awakens, and highlights locations from the movies.
Dividing Up the Galaxy
To divide up the galaxy I have chosen to use the segments of the map using a coordinate system of rows being letters and columns being numbers. This gives a unique segment of the galaxy I can then expand upon and provide more details with.
Each segment will get the following treatment:
- A entry
- A list of locations with known hyperspace routes to (or from) each location
- A unique image representing that segment in the galaxy.
- A system summary for each location
Further entries would then go into each location for more detail.
Tools to Define the Map
Here are the tools I am using to create my map, and I will go into more detail about how to use each tool and why they are solving a specific problem that I need to complete this work. I looked for a few different tools including Astrosythsis and Campaign Cartographer, but settled on something a little different that suited my needs.
- Dungeon Painter Studio – To build the final product I am using this beta tool which has a layered approach to building a map and a simple to use interface.
- GIMP – An advanced image manipulation tool used to extract the segments for processing into the map I want to use.
- d20Pro – A VTT that has a ability to import the segments and define the coordinate system so that it is consistent and repeatable for each segment.
This tool is capable of doing everything, but it is complex, and a little more advanced that what I was wanting to start with. I am using this to do the area select of the segment I am working on that gives me the approximate sizing I need. The reason for this is trying to map the entire image was not working, but doing each segment at a time got me the accuracy I was looking for.
- Use Rectangle Select tool.
- Drag from Corner of segment to opposite corner of segment so just the segment is selected.
- Control C wil copy the segment to clipboard.
This is a good Virtual TableTop (vtt) tool that has a lot of versatility. What I was able to use this project was the Map Library and to create a map based on the segment I cut in GIMP.
- Copy Segment in Gimp
- Create Map in Map Library of d20Pro
- Select “Image from Clipboard” map type
- Set pixels at 26
- Name as “GG segment”
- Module as “Star Wars/Galaxy”
This gives me a 10 x 10 square grid of every segment as a reference point.
The first column is considered the .0 and the last being .9. The Bottom row is considered the .0 and the top row the .9. This method gives me a repeatable way to determine which value to assign each location coordinates.
If a location is over a boundary, the square with the most of the location’s point is used.
Coordinate are row then column, with the row expressed as a number instead of a letter.
Though it might be easier to change that back to a letter in the next iteration to be less confusing.
Using Dungeon Painter Studio
There were a lot of things I am doing in this tool to make the most of the galaxy map project. I started out using 10 squares making up each galaxy segment so I could place. This worked quite well until I was expanding it to cover the whole galaxy and hit the size limitations of the canvas. I would only be able to do a 14×13 segment galaxy and I had a 21×20 galaxy.
With this in mind I made a change to the design, the tool has three options that make this work as I want.
- Stick to Grid (tick box)
- Allow half (tick box)
- Horizontal and Vertical bold line interval set to 5
With these selected it gives me a 32×32 map area that worked out as I ended up having 7 tiles spare across and 6 vertical, for a 21×20 map. This gives each bold square with a five by five internal grid. This is the bases of the coordinate system I am using to position all the locations.
To make this easier to work with, and manage over time, I have made everything layers so it can be managed a lot easier. Here are the root layers.
- Row – each of the galaxy segments has been grouped by its row to reduce the number of entries in the root layer.
- Major Trade Routes – each of the major trade routes has been grouped to keep the style and formatting consistent. Thick coloured lines on the source map.
- Minor Trade Routes – each of the minor trade routes has been grouped to keep the style and formatting consistent. Think lines on the source map.
- Not Show Trade Routes – each of the trade routes that are not shown but not secret. Don’t appear on the source map.
- Secret Trade Routes – planned but not used yet group for all secret routes.
- Territories – each of the territories of the base map grouped.
From top to bottom, this also sets the layer group priority so that Territories are the bottom layer of the map.
Creating a Row
A Row layer group is made up of all the Segments for that row. Each segment is named by the Row letter followed by the Column number.
Creating a Segment
A Segment contains the following objects and groups.
- Segment Label (Text Object) Size 29, Colour White, Font Teutonic, Bold on. Placed in the middle of the segment, unless a location takes that position.
- Location (group named after the location) has multiple entries, each listed alphabetically.
- Segment Boundary (line) thickness 1, Colour 999999, Transparency 100%. This is laid over the grid showing the segment outline and makes moving it around a lot easier for a visual reference of the segments.
Creating a Location
A Location is named after its reference usually a planet or star and has the components.
- Location Label (text) Font Teutonic, Size 20, Colour White, Bold On. This has the text set to the same name used to define the location.
- Location Icon (object) Using a star from a Star Wars paint set for the base location with the scale set to 30.
Note: For colonies, core worlds and deep core, have changed the colour of the text to Black.
Creating a trade route
A Trade Route layer group is made up of all the Trade Route for that type. Each route is named by the name provided by Wookieepedia or rationalisation where not listed on that site. This is also the text for the label in the group.
Creating a Major trade route
Each Trade route has the following settings.
- Route Label (text) Font Tentonie, size 29,Bold On
- Route Line (line) thickness 6, transparency 100%
The Colour of the line is unique among the major trade routes.
Creating a Minor trade route
Each Trade route has the following settings.
- Route Label (text) Font Tentonie, size 20,Bold On
- Route Line (line) thickness 3, transparency 100%
The Colour of the line is different from any of the connecting minor trade routes.
Creating a Not Shown trade route
Each Trade route has the following settings.
- Route Label (text) Font Tentonie, size 10,Bold On
- Route Line (line) thickness 1, transparency 100%
The Colour of the line is different from any of the connecting newly shown trade routes. Also try to be a different colour from the minor routes it also connects to.
Creating a Secret trade route
Not sure what I want to do here yet, its a work in progress.
Creating a Territory
Each of the Territories groups are named after the region they represent and is also used for the label inthe group, they contain the following.
- Territory Label (text) Size 40, Colour Red
- Territory Area (puddle) using image from x_oldschool_dnd floor colours to provide gradients in the different regions.
As I am intending on using the images in ongoing updates for my blog here, there are a few challenges I need to overcome.
- Uploaded images to wordpress can’t be changed – so unless I make it a reusable block and only use that for the image then I will have to reference them elsewhere.
- Some locations have more than one point of reference – this can be fixed by making subsection maps to expand those location, and giving them a different icon to use.
- Secret routes might not be show on the map at all.
- 2021-07-05 – Updating notes on caclucating the coordinate positioning.
- 2021-07-04 – Adding details for using Dungeon Painter Studio and design issues.
Game Management: Annotated Stat Block, Character Creation, Choosing a New Campaign, Creating a Galaxy Map, Ending three year campaign, GM’s Luck Roll, Running Games over Skype, Tracking Experience, 2016 Campaign
References: for Characters, for GMs, Dice, Items (Lightsabers, Modifying, Purchasing, Qualities), Knight Level Play, Mechanics (Awareness, Duty, Morality, Obligation), Movement (Personal, Planetary, Vehicles), Roles (Bounty Hunting, Investigations), Secrets (Empire, Jedi, Rebels, Sith)
The Star Wars Beginner Games: Overall Review, EotE – Escape from Mos Shuuta, This includes: The Long Arm of the Hutt, AoR – Takeover at Whisper Base, This includes: Operation: Shadowpoint, FD – Mountaintop Rescue, This includes: Lure of the Lost, FA – Discovery on Jakku , This includes: A Call for Heroes
The Published Adventures Campaign: Character Creation
(EotE) Edge of the Empire, (AoR) Age of Rebellion, (FD) Force & Destiny, (FA) The Force Awakens
Concluding a Campaign: Star Wars
This site is constantly under revision, no blog posts are final as this is a work in progress place for me to develop my game settings and rules. Some posts might be placeholders for future content, so feel free to check back later for updated information.