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Mapcraft - Fantasy map designer

WorldGen - SciFi universe generator

Mapcraft Web - Web based fantasy map designer

All code for the project is released under the GPL, and is copyright Samuel Penn.

The text on this wiki is dual licensed CC-BY-SA and GPL.

You can contact the author at



Mapcraft is still in development, and is considered to be very much alpha software. It should be stable, however many of the desired features are yet to be implemented, and some which do work, either have no GUI or are rough around the edges.

The current aim is to tidy up the existing features so that they work well from the GUI without requiring in depth knowledge from the user, and to port the backend so that maps are stored in a database rather than in files.

Current Features

Graphics Support

Hexagonal and Square maps

Mapcraft uses tiled maps rather than vectors, mostly for simplicity, but it also avoids the problem vector maps have that they get significantly slower the more detailed they become.

Maps can be specified to use either square tiles or hexagons, depending on the style preferred by the user. Square tiles are better suited to indoor maps, whilst hexagons tend to be used for large scale world maps.

A well designed vector map will generally look better than a well designed tiled map, but few maps are well designed, and a small tile size can alleviate most of the problems.

Vectors for Rivers and Roads

Rivers and roads are represented as vectors on the map, so they are not constrained to the tile grid. All paths can have a name associated with it, and can be given a specified width, colour and style.

Town Objects

Sites (called 'things' in Mapcraft) such as towns, cities, mines etc are shown as free floating objects which aren't restricted to the tile grid.

World Maps

World maps can be generated ready for outputting to 3D modelling software. See this gallery for some examples. Much of the work on world maps was to support the autogeneration of worlds for a science fiction universe. This work has been moved to WorldGen.

Backend features

Xalan Plugin

There is a Xalan plugin which allows maps to be generated from an XML call. This is used by Yagsbook to automatically generate maps from RPG documentation.

For example, an article about a particular city can link to a map, and specify that it wants a small map displayed of the region around the city.

XML Data files

All map data is currently stored in XML files making them reasonably easy to parse.

Object meta data

Most objects in the map can have metadata associated with it. For example, a town or city can record its population, allegiance or background information.

Planned Features

Graphics Support

More GUI Options

Currently not all features are supported by a GUI interface - this needs to be rectified though it is not high on the priority list.

Backend Features

Database support

Currently it is difficult to support very large maps - in the order of thousands of tiles across. The code has recently been re-written to support multiple storage formats, and there is work in progress to add database support to Mapcraft.

This will enable maps to be transparently tiled, keeping only the necessary parts in memory. The plan is to allow world maps tens of thousands of tiles across.


Automatically generate map statistics, such as populations per region.

mapcraft/features.txt · Last modified: 2015/02/04 22:39 (external edit)