One of the biggest challenges is the creation of a completely customizes own map for an online game. Especially for Ultima Online, which is still designed in an isometric/orthographic way. This means 3D-Engines like Unreal Engine or Unity-Engine cannot be used out of the box.
There are some basic routes which can lead you to your target. On the one hand, maps can be sketched, designed and finally graphically implemented by hand, or on the other hand, you can use the help of specific map generators, which can help you at least to mockup the map plot.
In order to find the right tool which can help me simplifying the process, I decided searching the web. Side by side with tools you’ll have to pay for are also some open source or freemium solution.
Here are some examples (Source: https://bookriot.com/best-fantasy-map-generators/):
- Azgaar’s Fantasy Map Generator (open source)
- Inkarnate (freemium and premium)
- Donjon (free)
- WorldSpinner (free for 30 days and premium)
- Wonderdraft (one time purchase)
- many more
Since Wonderdraft was in budget and I really liked its‘ design approach, I decided to pick this tool for Ultima Online Defiance freeshard. (https://uo-defiance.com)
So what is Wonderdraft? You could just say that it is a dedicated and intuitive cross platform map creation tool. According to Wonderdraft some of the features are (Source: Wonderdraft):
- Generate realistic landmasses of different types
- Brush landmasses with automatically beautified coastlines
- Draw rivers and roads that look artistic with a few clicks
- Paint groups of tree and mountain symbols painlessly
- Artistically curated default map themes
- Create aesthetic labels using presets
- Map dimensions anywhere from 512 pixels to 8192 pixels
- DRM-free software and royalty-free user-made content
- Surface Pro 4, Wacom and digital pen support