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SW GM Creating a Galaxy Map

Star Wars – Game Management

Creating a Galaxy Map

  • sw-ffg-b-fa Force Awakend
  • Wookieepedia

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.

Starting Point

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.

SW Galaxy map
Star Wars Map of the Galaxy

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.
Using GIMP

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.
GIMP Logo
GIMP Logo
Using d20Pro

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.

d20Pro title
d20Pro Title
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.

Dungeon Painter Studio
Dungeon Painter Studio
Map Settings

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.

Creating Layers

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.

Design Issues

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.

Content Updates

  • 2021-07-05 – Updating notes on caclucating the coordinate positioning.
  • 2021-07-04 – Adding details for using Dungeon Painter Studio and design issues.
Star Wars RPG

SW Menu: Adventure, New Rules, Adversary, Companies, Droid, Equipment, Galaxy Map, Location, Vehicle

Campaign: NPCs, Timeline

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

Character Builds: Bounty Hunter (Assassin, Gadgeteer, Martial Artist, Operator, Skip Tracer, Survivalist) Technician (Droid Tech)

References: for Characters, for GMs, Item Qualities, Empire, Jedi, Rebels, Sith

Creating a Campaign: (1) Rules and Setting, (2) Characters and Timeline, (3) Fringers Storyline, (4) Rebels Storyline, (5) Force Storyline, (6) Mandalorian Storyline

SW Adventures

Campaigns: 2011 West End Games Edition, WEG to Fantasy Flight Games

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

The Beta Rule Adventures: Crates of Krayts (EotE), Operation: Shell Game (AoR), Lost Knowledge (FD)

The Core Rule Adventures: Trouble Brewing (EotE), Perlemian Haul (AoR), Lessons from the Past (FD)

The Game Master Kit Adventures: Debts to Pay (EotE), Dead in the Water (AoR), Hidden Depths (FD)

The Published Adventures: Beyond the Rim (EotE), Onslaught at Arda I (AoR), Chronicles of the Gatekeeper (FD), The Jewel of Yavin (EotE), Friends Like These (AoR), Ghosts of Dathomir (FD)

(EotE) Edge of the Empire, (AoR) Age of Rebellion, (FD) Force & Destiny, (FA) The Force Awakens

Game Management

GM – Choosing a New Campaign, Downtime Uses, GM’s Luck Roll, House Rules, Running Games over Skype, Sandbox vs Linear, Table Rules, Tracking Experience

Annotated Stat Blocks: Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, Pathfinder 2, Star Wars FFG

Creating a Campaign: D&D Mystara Design, Genesys, Pathfinder, Pathfinder 2 TRAP Design, Shadowrun, Star Wars

Character Creation: Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder 2, Star Wars Beta, Star Wars FFG

Concluding a Campaign: Star Wars

Virtual Table Top (VTT) Software – d20Pro: Installation, Realm Works: Players and their Characters, Using for D&D, Realm Created

Library of Books

B5, d20 System, Pathfinder, SW

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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.

General Links

Basic Links: Who Am I?, Home, Game Tools, Game Session Videos, My Campaigns, My Library, Site Map, Subscription Information

Game Systems: Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder 1 & 2, Shadowrun, Star Wars. Other Game Systems

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By thedarkelf007

I am a long term gamer, I run 6 RPG's a fortnight, host board game, card game and LANs each about once a quarter and have an addiction to buying more games. Games I am currently running are Pathfinder (1st and 2nd Edition) and Dungeons and Dragons (5th Edition).

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