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Is There a .PCX Conversion?


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When I first started doing computer graphics, the program I had saved in .PCX format. I have gazillions of pieces of artwork in .PCX that I would like to pull into Paint Dot Net. Because obviously, one can do SO much more with PDN than with a program which ran under DOS and used only 4 MB memory! (Hey, and the computer I was doing them on had a positively HUGE 20 MB (yes MB, not GB!) hard drive!)

 

Any chance of this?

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Okay....

 

If you are not a science fiction afficianado, this will make no sense. Anne McCaffrey, author of the Dragonriders of Pern(tm) series was a very dear friend of mine and my husband's. I used to run a fan organization.

 

In 1987, Annie stayed with us the week before a convention. In that time, our house was decorated in "Early Pern" with maps and things all over the walls. Annie studied one of them, and said, "What's this?" And we said, "It's a Threadfall Map -- to help us track when and where Thread falls." (Thread is the main menace in the series.) And she nodded sagely, and we went on to have the convention.

 

Anne had mentioned she was working on the next book on the series, which told how the planet, Pern, was settled, and how the Dragons came to be developed as a renewable air force against the Threads.

 

A couple weeks after the convention, I got an email from her. "Hi. I have just dropped Thread on the unsuspecting site of First Landing. Now to you all. When and where does it fall next?"

 

And we said, "GLEEP!" because we had no idea... we hadn't finished the charts yet. I wrote back, "Uhm, where do you need it to fall for your story purposes, and we'll come up with a justification." And she said, "No, I liked the charts I saw at FenFaire. Dragonsdawn will conform to your charts."  And we said, "GLEEP!" because my poor suitcase-sized Osborne One (64K of RAM! TWO 183K SSDD 5.25" floppy drives!) was not up to that level of computing. So I borrowed my Mom's Toshiba 1100+ laptop (640K of RAM (who could ever need more?) and two 720K 3.5" floppy drives, and borrowed a copy of Lotus 1-2-3 from a developer friend, and started calculating. My husband figured out the formula. We discovered 640K of RAM was not enough. So the calculations had to be done one column at a time, transfer the formula to the next column, tell it to work, set a timer for 4 minutes, pick up book, and read. Timer goes BING, move formula to next column and repeat. There were 365 columns.

 

Once the calculations were done, I had to translate them into something readable by a non-engineer. A friend drew the map of Pern, including the 10 time zones that weren't shown in The Atlas of Pern, after my geologist Dad helped us figure out what should be there. An oceanographer friend helped us sort out where the oceanic currents would be. I later reduced the map and scanned it, and cleaned it up using Windows Paint. We had sixteen overlays for this map which showed where all the Threadfalls would be. And I created, from Harry's calculations, an ephemeris, so that Anne simply had to select the date she wanted, check the ephemeris, which told her which map to look at, and gave the times of the Falls in local time and Benden Weyr (residence of the Heroes) time. 

 

Several years later, I colorized the map, using PhotoFinish, which was a major improvement on Paint, but everything was still on a single layer, which made edits or changes a royal pain.

 

So it occurred to me a bit ago, that pulling it into PDN and separating everything out into layers could be useful. Land on one layer, oceans on another, lettering on a third, ocean currents on a fourth, latitude and longitude lines on a fifth, and so forth. It's a bit of a bear.

 

Which is what I am working on now. When I get it separated out, and neatened up, then I want to look at putting in all the mountains and other landforms. And then I plan to do a flattened version, trim off the extra bits, and turn it into a globe with Shape 3D.

 

This is the original colorized version, from a PCX file, which I had to reduce to 35% of size in order for it to upload. Also reduced a B&W overlay of the Thread.

 

The PCX converter appears to work very nicely.

 

 

01color4_small.jpg

MAP01F01smaller.jpg

Edited by Marilynx
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That is an awesome story! Thank you for sharing it and the images with us. To be honest - I'm a bit gob-smacked 😲

 

I love making maps too. I create them for roleplaying games.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Marilynx said:

Anne McCaffrey, author of the Dragonriders of Pern(tm) series

Hi @Marilynx

I remember that series from many years ago. I remember enjoying them as much as John Carter of Mars,The Land of Xanth series, and of course Lord of the Rings. Hope you don't run out of memory for your project this time. This is the kind of project I like working on to keep me busy, Enjoy the task  (kind of like a puzzle). Because your original files are PCX, it should make segregating into layers very easy.

 

Do you not know about web hosting sites that you can upload your images to?

Edited by AndrewDavid

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Ego Eram Reputo said:

That is an awesome story! Thank you for sharing it and the images with us. To be honest - I'm a bit gob-smacked 😲

 

I love making maps too. I create them for roleplaying games.

 

Anne was our friend for 33 years. We never knew what might turn up on our doorstep, from a manuscript she wanted checked for continuity to the book she dedicated to us, an Arthurian YA called Black Horses for the King. (If you want to know something about Dark Ages farriary (horseshoeing), that's a good book for it. Anne ran a farrier's school for awhile, in her copious quantities of spare time.

 

I'm going to be hunting through the various features of PDN for ways to do mountains and show forestlands and things like that. I'm sure there's stuff there that will do it. 

 

I've considered using the clone tool and finding pieces off Google Maps that I could clone into place, but I'd rather do originals.

 

I'd love to see some of your roleplaying maps. What games do you play? (And I bet you are familiar with the Cartographer's Guild, https://www.cartographersguild.com/ , yes?)

Edited by Marilynx
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7 hours ago, AndrewDavid said:

Hi @Marilynx

I remember that series from many years ago. I remember enjoying them as much as John Carter of Mars,The Land of Xanth series, and of course Lord of the Rings. Hope you don't run out of memory for your project this time. This is the kind of project I like working on to keep me busy, Enjoy the task  (kind of like a puzzle). Because your original files are PCX, it should make segregating into layers very easy.

 

Do you not know about web hosting sites that you can upload your images to?

 

Edgar Rice Burroughs and Andre Norton were two of my earliest authors to read. I found Xanth much later, and enjoyed the puns -- although I think his earlier books in the series were better. Interestingly, my oncologist learned to speak English by reading Tolkien, and we used to discuss Hobbits while she was doing all sorts of horrible things to me. (I have been cancer-free since 2013, thank goodness.)

 

I know about hosting sites, but got burned by Photobucket, and haven't tried any others.

 

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Posted (edited)

Hi again @Marilynx

I was going to suggest NickPicHost but for now their service is suspended. I also use Deviant and Postimage.io. I remember losing my pics on Photobucket for awhile, but they did come back with some fancy code I can't remember at this time. I just checked. They want 5$ per month to upload, but all my old uploads are still there,

 

About Paint.Net plugins to use to create your map. There is really only one to satisfy your needs and of course it is

It has a 2D option that allows you to create something like this (Close to what you want).

 

perthmap-by-andrewdavid007-Small-Copyrig

 

@Pixey Let me know if the image is too big. I can't tell what size its displaying as. The host site is making it difficult to create a link. What I mean to say is usually they provide thumbnail links, but not anymore. 2nd edit - changed the size and uploaded to different website.

 

Edited by AndrewDavid
Added comment for Pixey / Pic Updated

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15 hours ago, AndrewDavid said:

Hi again @Marilynx

I was going to suggest NickPicHost but for now their service is suspended. I also use Deviant and Postimage.io. I remember losing my pics on Photobucket for awhile, but they did come back with some fancy code I can't remember at this time. I just checked. They want 5$ per month to upload, but all my old uploads are still there,

 

About Paint.Net plugins to use to create your map. There is really only one to satisfy your needs and of course it is

It has a 2D option that allows you to create something like this (Close to what you want).

 

 

 

Yep! I already have Planetoid as part of my plug-ins but have not had reason to seriously play with it. 

 

I will have to dig out my Atlas of Pern to see what mountains are where and what forests, etc. 

 

I haven't checked -- do you know if there are any tutorials for using Planetoid? Some of you folks have an almost instintive knowledge of how to use some of these more complex plug-ins. I fear I'm not that good.

 

 

 

BTW -- please restore the copyright info to the map you tinkered with -- I have always been extremely careful about Anne's copyrights. Even if she is deceased. 

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Hi again @Marilynx

Pic Updated as requested.

 

Help file for planetoid is included in the plugin. Once you start playing with it, you will find it quite easy. The authors are still around to answer any questions you might have.

If you run into any difficultly, the forum surely will have an answer. A search for "Pern Map" on google provided several examples.

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4 hours ago, AndrewDavid said:

Hi again @Marilynx

Pic Updated as requested.

 

Help file for planetoid is included in the plugin. Once you start playing with it, you will find it quite easy. The authors are still around to answer any questions you might have.

If you run into any difficultly, the forum surely will have an answer. A search for "Pern Map" on google provided several examples.

 

Thanks for the update.

I am currently going through the 17+ books in the Dragonriders series and pulling geographic descriptions. I'll work from those, the same way the author of the Atlas did, but it will be handy to look at her work. Anne wrote a number of books after the Atlas was published, so I want to find the later additions.  My father, a geologist, worked out the geology of the back half of Pern, and also told me that Ista (the island) was likely the Ceylon of Pern, lots of gemstones, rubies, emeralds, sapphire, etc. Anne included that in Dragonsdawn

 

When I finish pulling my map into PDN, it may get interesting.

 

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On 5/31/2021 at 4:40 AM, AndrewDavid said:

but they did come back with some fancy code I can't remember at this time.

 

They 'twigged on' to that code we used and we can no longer use it.  I'm afraid to use Photo-bucket these days will be $5 a month.

 

On 5/31/2021 at 4:40 AM, AndrewDavid said:

Postimage.io.

 

This should read Postimages — free image hosting / image upload

 

On 5/31/2021 at 4:40 AM, AndrewDavid said:

 Let me know if the image is too big. I can't tell what size its displaying as.

 

The size is perfect @AndrewDavid :)  To see the size of an image, just 'right click' on it (then pick Inspect) and a menu will appear.  Scroll down and you will see the size of the image 👍

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How I made Jennifer & Halle in Paint.net

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On 5/31/2021 at 6:19 PM, Marilynx said:

I'd love to see some of your roleplaying maps. What games do you play? (And I bet you are familiar with the Cartographer's Guild, https://www.cartographersguild.com/ , yes?)

 

I play DM in a group at work. We play three lunchtimes a week. It's a hombrewed (simplified) version of DnD. Action rolls are all based on 3d6 and there are no classes.

 

My current campaign map is below. The group has spent six months adventuring between Ozol to Baris. I have the whole wolrd mapped out, so if they ever travel by sea I've got a destination already prepped. (Nerd? Me??)

 

World-Map-A3-mecan-penninsula-enlargemen

 

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18 hours ago, Ego Eram Reputo said:

 

I play DM in a group at work. We play three lunchtimes a week. It's a hombrewed (simplified) version of DnD. Action rolls are all based on 3d6 and there are no classes.

 

My current campaign map is below. The group has spent six months adventuring between Ozol to Baris. I have the whole wolrd mapped out, so if they ever travel by sea I've got a destination already prepped. (Nerd? Me??)

 

World-Map-A3-mecan-penninsula-enlargemen

 

 

Nicel! I love the map! How did you create those mountains and hills and things? 

 

I'm not a DnDer myself, but have plenty of friends who are -- one who even wrote his own game, called Wizard's Realm. (When a group decided to do costumes for a localish convention, I was one of the prime seamstresses for it. And I do maps for my own universe(s). 

 

Have you done a tutorial for this kind of map-making that I have missed? I did go looking, but I keep having arguments with the forum search engine. 

 

That is SO cool.

 

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On 6/3/2021 at 11:45 AM, Marilynx said:

How did you create those mountains and hills and things? 

 

The base is from an unpublished plugin I've been playing with for a few years :mrgreen: The rest is 13 steps long - half of which I no longer remember. I'm struggling to even read the notes I wrote :(

 

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5 hours ago, Ego Eram Reputo said:

 

The base is from an unpublished plugin I've been playing with for a few years :mrgreen: The rest is 13 steps long - half of which I no longer remember. I'm struggling to even read the notes I wrote :(

 

 

Oh. Dear. One of THOSE. In going through some of my .PCX files, I discovered a whole bunch of things that I remember doing, but no longer remember HOW.  And cryptic notes to oneself are even worse.

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@Ego Eram Reputo, @Marilynx

Have you seen this map generating website?

 

https://www.redblobgames.com/maps/mapgen4/

 

Perhaps @Ego Eram Reputo can convert it to a Paint.Net plugin. I read that it is open source and posted to GitHub. May be a daunting project though.

 

Reading his web page, he refers to 3 other websites I have yet to look at.

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23 hours ago, AndrewDavid said:

@Ego Eram Reputo, @Marilynx

Have you seen this map generating website?

 

https://www.redblobgames.com/maps/mapgen4/

 

Perhaps @Ego Eram Reputo can convert it to a Paint.Net plugin. I read that it is open source and posted to GitHub. May be a daunting project though.

 

Reading his web page, he refers to 3 other websites I have yet to look at.

 

Oh, that is SO neat! Yeah, I wish it was a PDN plug-in, because I'm not sure how I would get the mountains and things positioned on MY maps. But oh! THat's gonna be fun to play with, regardless!

 

I've been over at Cartographer's Guild, reading and looking for tips -- but most of them use PhotoShop. What I would love is something which could give real topographic appearance, like this, which is a topo map of Ireland swiped from Wikimedia. File:Topography Ireland.jpg

 

 

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14 hours ago, Marilynx said:

What I would love is something which could give real topographic appearance,

 

I'll PM you the plugin I mentioned previously. Along with whatever I can decipher from my notes :)

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