Dungeondraft is cartography mapping software which is used to create detailed custom battle maps for role-playing games.
At the time of the review Version 1.00 – prehistoric centipede has just been released.
Prehistoric centipede is both the one year of anniversary of software development and the point at which all originally envisaged components are now feature complete.
Dungeondraft works through a combination of seamless tiling, smart line objects, and single asset (PNG files) placement to create maps. In practice, maps are created by painting which is very intuitive.
Highly detailed maps are made possible through the use of layers (based on relative height). The software does rely upon the user making the decision on which layer the asset is placed, an approach that differs from Campaign Cartographer which has default predefined layers for assets (lakes, mountains, furniture etc) but the Dungeondraft approach is effective – provided you plan ahead.
FACILITATES multi-storey buildings and multi-level lairs
The software facilitates multi-storey buildings and multi-level lairs as a mapper can overlay the next level over the top of the previous one and use transparency to see the level below whilst you create. The software includes a tiled roof generating tool that allows you to build out all levels – from basement to rooftop.
A nice feature is the inclusion of a tracing layer that allows you to sketch out your design on a piece of paper, scan it, add it as a layer and then draw your final map on top. For fans of old black and white Dungeons and Dragons adventures it provides a quick means of creating a coloured version.
When it comes to object placement Dungeondraft provides two options. The basics – select and place each object one by one and a scatter object mode which allows you to select multiple objects at a time with Dungeondraft scattering them as you move the mouse about. In the scatter mode the software allows you to randomise distance between placement and randomised size between set ranges. This is very useful and effective for the placement of trees, bushes, flowers, mushrooms, rocks and bloodstains.
To cap off a well rounded feature set, Dungeondraft includes the ability to set ambient lighting for the whole map to any RGB colour setting you like, plus the ability to place lighting (for fireplaces and torches). These too can be custom coloured and the light will respect walls and closed doors. The light will also fade to darkness once the limit you placed for the light source is reached.
The only downside of Dungeondraft is that erasing mistakes down the road isn’t possible because assets (other than smart assets) are painted onto the map they can’t be modified or deleted. If you decide that you need to change something you will have to be creative to remove it.
What’s it like?
Dungeondraft is very easy to use and should be considered as an entry point for any person wishing to create their own custom battle maps.
Within the first hour you should be be able to produce a half decent basic map without instruction. Watching a few YouTube and your competence will quickly grow and in a week or two of practice you should be capable of producing impressive results.
Exporting is simple quick and easy whether for printing, or use with virtual table tops.
The software comes with approximately 2,000 assets. Additional free assets are available from Cartography Assets, with thousands more assets available from Patreon creators Crosshead Studios and Forgotten Adventures for a modest monthly amount. Creating your own asset set is relatively straight forward for anyone able to follow instructions.
Adding assets to Dungeondraft is a simple matter of placing the folder of assets into the customer assets directory and checking the box for the asset folder in Dungeondraft.
Should I purchase Dungeondraft?
If you are looking for a piece of mapping software that can quickly produce good looking functional battle maps then Dungeondraft is definitely for you. It provides the quickest entry point for anyone to produce a decent battle map.
If you struggle for map ideas Dungeondraft includes both a room and cave random generator to get you started.
Dungeondraft can be purchased for a one-off purchase price of $30USD for PC and MacOS.