The InKarnate tabletop RPG web app has opened up testing for its fantasy map maker feature, which may prove to be the most effective map making solution yet.
The InKarnate tabletop RPG web app has been in development for a couple of years - we interviewed them back in 2012 when they were running a Kickstarter campaign - and has recently opened the gates for early access alpha testing of its map maker. Having tried it out myself, I can safely say that I wish I had access to this tool years ago.
Inspired by fantasy maps dating as far back as Tolkien, every world-building Dungeon Master wants to create a slick-looking map of his adventure setting. Unfortunately, most don't have the artistic talent to pull off something that looks decent, and the software alternatives that I've come across over the years can't produce an image that doesn't obviously look computer-generated and are often cumbersome to use. InKarnate's World Builder is a simple and intuitive web app that runs right in your web browser and allows you to quickly create a map that actually looks decent. If you have some artistic inclination, the results can even be near-professional.
To demonstrate what the World Builder can produce, I've included two images: a map of Game of Throne's Westeros, which comes included in the World Builder demo, and a map of the mystical island of Montréal, which I created myself.
Speaking with The Escapist, InKarnate's Marc Hutcheson explained that the feedback his team is collecting will help shape what features to prioritize. "The testing is helping us hone in on where to spend our efforts going forward," he said. Once the World Builder is in a place the team is happy with, the next stage will likely be to submit InKarnate's Dungeon Builder to a similar testing process, Hutcheson explained. "Our current strategy is to release smaller components and then build on that and improve it over time."
Apart from the World Builder, InKarnate will also include a virtual tabletop, and the ability to create characters, write adventures, and build campaigns. Anyone interested in trying out the alpha can sign up at InKarnate.com.