Monday, February 13, 2023

Inkscape for Rapid Mapping

The other day, I posted this picture of a castle and lamented that I didn't have a map. 

With Inkscape, it's easy to do a map or at least block out areas for a map. 

I took the photo and imported it into Inkscape. My next step was to decide what size I wanted the image to be. I picked about 8.5" by 11". This gives me all of the white space around the castle to build the exterior areas which might be important to the user. 

So, how does Inkscape help build a map from a photo of a drawing? 


My first step was to make a series of rectangles the same size as the tower bases in the image. As I did each rectangle, I duplicated it and turned the duplicate 90 degrees. I did not adjust for the depth-wise adjustment of the towers. I could have but didn't want to make it too complex. 

The corner of one rectangle met the corner of its duplicate, leaving an open square. Once I had done that for every box, I tried to do the same for the central palace-like area. 

Once I was done, I put a red box or rectangle in that open space between the two grey rectangles. This allows me to map out a proportional arrangement of the structures with no measuring of anything. I deleted the grey rectangles and roughed out the walls between the towers. This is far from a perfect match, but it is very close. 

On the right-hand side of the map, you can see that I moved one tower very significantly. I just thought it looked better. Also, the drawing shows a series of buildings that divided the structure in half. I removed them so there would be an open space inside. 

Of course, some of my towers are circular. I simply replaced a few squares with circles. The trick here is to make the circles slightly larger than the squares they replaced. 

The final step was to connect everything together using the Union tool. 

In some cases, I think I made mistakes. The two front center towers are far less imposing on the map. In other cases, I ran the union process only to realize the pieces didn't mesh up, and I had to undo it so I could make adjustments. 

This is far from a perfect process, but it's good enough to get a general idea of the arrangement of the map. Later, I will dress up the Castle and then cut it back to show levels and interior spaces. 

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Full of S*** on Valentine's Day

This post originally appeared on Valentine's Day, 2014. 
As a child, my favorite "toy" was a black corduroy tuxedo. It must have been a hand-me-down from lord knows who. It had black pants with a red stripe down the leg, and more importantly, a matching black vest.
With my toy blaster, it made the most epic Han Solo costume ever.
Not that I wore it for Halloween. It was my "Everyday Han Solo" costume. I wore it to school, and I wore it to church. I wore it winter, summer fall, and spring. I wore the hell out of that thing.
I wore it until it was ridiculously small on me; and even then, I did not give it up. I willed that thing to fit me for the opening of Return of the Jedi. I managed to hold on to it for years, no matter how hard my mom tried to dispose of it.
I told Jennifer this story, long before we ever got married. She laughed and said, "You are so funny but so full of shit."
My only reply was to pull the sad, little suit out of my closet and show it to her. She was so shocked and surprised, her eyes rolled back into her head.
On this Valentine's Day, I don't have any eye-rolling revelations, a tux, or wacky surprises in the closet, Jennifer Kitty Viverito. Only a great story about fun times. Thank you, today and every day, for laughing with me.

Macaulay - Great Books, Lousy Pictures

I'm tired tonight. I glanced over at my bookshelf an noticed a set of books by Dunder Mifflin.

On closer inspection, that was wrong. Very wrong. These books are by the amazing David Macaulay and published by Houghton Mifflin Company or HMCo. Each one illustrates a historically themed location, such as Castle, City, Mill, and Pyramid. The pen and ink drawings are spectacular.

I received Castle from my parents as a birthday present. The other three I picked up on Amazon, very cheaply. I plan on buying one every few months to complete the collection. I prefer the black-and-white editions, on paper, but he has updated the series in color and has many titles available for readers. 

Fast forward to something I didn't know. Some of them were adapted into documentaries by Unicorn Productions. Even better, they are on Youtube.

I have yet to find a better streaming source, but if I find these elsewhere, I will let you know. 



Roman City:

Mill Times:


I was going to watch a little Netflix, but this is much better. 

Last month, I pledged to take all ads down from These Old Games with the exception of DriveThruRPG ads. In that process, an informal poll revealed that most people didn't know that the text links to AbeBooks were ads at all. It kind of explains why this ad format received no traction here. As an experiment, I will continue to offer Abebooks ads and label them like so: 

David Macaulay on AbeBooks. 

Clicking the link will take you to the website and perform a search for all David Macaulay available. I do receive remuneration for purchases made through the links. Additional links below. 

Monday, February 6, 2023


The past two nights, I took a couple of hours off, disconnected from the electronic world to pursue things I really enjoy. By setting aside this time, I managed to complete a couple of tasks that no longer seem like tasks. 

You see a lot of what I think right here, but you can follow what I do in two other places, Ko-Fi, and Locals. Each outlet is for different aspects of the things I enjoy. Locals is the easier of the three outlets. I talk about several of my other hobbies, from gardening to artwork to travel. Ko-Fi is for a project I am working on, a rule-set agnostic campaign setting based on the romantic period. It is odd and quirky and I hope to garner some backers over there to support it. Of course, there will always be a blog where I post about any game topic that strikes my fancy.