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Last night, I was at a used book store, which just happens to have a large section of RPG books. During which, I came across the AD&D Dungeoneer's Survival Guide (DSG). In the DSG, it had a small section that talked about perspective mapping.

What is perspective mapping you ask? Well to put it simply, it was way to show a 3D image in a 2D space. It allowed you see spaces like you never thought about them before. It could clearly show the relationship between a landing and the area above and below it. I always thought if you looked at a perspective map and then the standard orthographic maps (most maps used in gaming are basically orthographic projections from one side only), you would find a lot of additional ideas about where things are and where things are out.

So why didn't perspective mapping take off. After all, the DSG is pretty old? I think the main issue was how hard it was to generate. After all with a standard orthographic map, you you have to draw a simple grid, you really dont' care about height. I know in the DSG, they listed two way to make perspective maps. One was to use Tracing Paper and move it around the perspective graph paper that they had copies of in the DSG. The other was a method using a photo copier. In general, I don't think either method was very easy.

Of course that was then, what about now? It seems like with all the mapping software out there, someone would have created a package that does perspective mapping. Of course, I guess it depends on if anyone thinks that perspective mapping actually has a place. I personally don't know myself. While it's very cool, it seems like much the same information can be conveyed with additional orthographic maps of different sides.

So, I have few questions for you my gentle readers. Have you ever thought about using perspective maps? If so, did you? If not, why not? Lastly, do you think that perspective mapping has any place in gaming?

No votes yet


Zandari's picture

Perspective Mapping

I think a part of the reason we don't see more perspective mapping hast to do with the move towards more use of maps/minis at the table. Perspective maps, while really pretty, never seemed to lend themselves to actual play. In a modern world, where we see folks pulling/scanning/printing maps for play with miniatures, the skewed maps are just not as useful for the art budget of a company as generating a map that can be printed easily or used on a VTT.

bonemaster's picture


@Zandari - That may very well be the reason. Although, I don't think that companies really care if you can use the map on a VTT. I do think they care maybe about how much it cost to produce something usable. I think maybe that Perspective mapping takes more time and costs more. Of course that's just speculation. Thank you for giving me your POV.

About bonemaster

bonemaster's picture


Bonemaster (aka Jeff Uurtamo) is a long time RPG gamer. He started playing back in early 1980s. The Bone Scroll is his latest attempt to give something back to the gaming community.


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