Publication Date: Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Tutorial: Map Building in Fantasy Grounds Unity

Adventure map building in Fantasy Grounds unity

In 2019 the folks over at Smiteworks started a Kickstarter to help fund the next generation of the virtual tabletop role-playing application: Fantasy Grounds. The new generation of the virtual tabletop software would leverage the Unity game engine system, which would empower Fantasy Grounds with new features such as line-of-sight map rendering and dynamic lighting for role-playing maps.

One of the great features in Fantasy Grounds Unity that this tutorial deals with, is the ability to create adventure maps within Fantasy Grounds itself. Ether by drawing the map yourself, or with the use of Art Assets.

Studio WyldFurr has been producing art assets for the creation of role-playing adventure maps for a number of years. Creating Map Tiles, Map Cards, and Object Tokens to fill in those maps. A new initiative will convert a number of those art asset packs into Application Modules that can be activated inside Fantasy Grounds Unity. Once activated the module with provide the Game Master with art assets that he or she can use to create adventure maps.

This tutorial is dedicated to explaining how to leverage those art assets inside Fantasy Grounds Unity.

Avatar: TailzI would firstly like to thank my wonderful supporters on Patreon, without whom I would not have made this tutorial. But a special shout out goes to Carl Palmer, who encouraged me to follow up on the new features in the Unity version of Fantasy Grounds.

NOTE: At the moment the Fantasy Grounds Art Asset Modules discussed in this tutorial are only available to Patreon supporters of Studio WyldFurr. If you don’t know how to install a module into Fantasy Grounds Unity, check out our tutorial that shows you how.

At this point I’m going to make some basic assumptions.

  • First, you have one of our art assets modules installed (if you don’t know how to install a module into Fantasy Grounds Unity, check out this tutorial).
  • Second, you have a basic understanding of how to use Fantasy Grounds Unity.
  • Third, your creating a map inside your own campaign where you are the Game Master.

Step #1: Setup the Map Canvas

Building an adventure map inside Fantasy Grounds Unity is pretty easy as long as you follow a few basic steps. The first step is to create a blank map canvas. To do this you will need to open the Images Panel, this can be opened by clicking on the Images button in the right-hand side menu list (for this tutorial I am using the Theme: FG Wood, your theme might look a little different).

Click on the Images button to open the images panel
Right click inside the Images Panel list area, from the popup menu click on the Create Item option.

With the Images Panel open, to create a new blank map canvas right-click inside the panels list area. A popup menu will appear, from that menu click on the Create Item option.

A new panel will pop up, this will be the new blank map canvas. The canvas will be titled << New Image >> and will be completely blank. The first thing we want to do is set the map grid so that everything we place on the canvas snaps to a set distance. This also sets the map’s in-game measurement grid as well.

All Studio WyldFurr art assets (except for our isometric maps) use a grid distance of 180 pixels per every 5ft of distance. To set this measurement you will need to click on the Grid button in the canvas pallet that is located on the right-hand side of your new blank image. Once the Grid button is clicked, the pallet options will change and display the settings fields for the map grid.

By default the grid is set to a 50-pixel square grid, change this to be a 180-pixel square grid.

The default values for Distance Multiplier, Distance Suffix, and Raw Distance can be left as they are. Those default settings will configure the map grid to a 5ft grid space, which is what all Studio WyldFurr art assets are designed for.

Now go back to the top of your blank image and change << New Image >> to an appropriate name for the map you want to build.

Click on the Grid button and set the grid to 180 x 180 pixels.

Step #2: Set up a Workspace

Now that the blank map canvas is set up and ready, it is time to go looking for your art assets and to set up a workspace that will make building your map easy. But first, let us find the assets you want to use…

Down the bottom of the application window, click on the Assets button to opens the Assets Panel. Doing so will cause the Assets Panel to popup and display all of the Asset Packages you have installed.

Click on the Assets Button to open the Assets Panel

At this point, I assume you have one of our Art Asset Modules for Fantasy Grounds Unity installed. If you don’t, you might want to quickly read our tutorial about installing a module into Fantasy Grounds. Or if you don’t have one of our Art Asset Packages specifically designed for Fantasy Grounds Unity, you can read about how you can get your hands on our Art Asset packages as a Patreon supporter of the studio.

Find the asset pack you want to use, then double click on it's icon to open it.

At the top of the Assets Panel, click on the Images button to filter the Assets Packages to those which are Image Assets. Then search through those Assets Packs for the package you wish to use. Once you have found it, double click on its icon to view its contents.

For this example, I’m going to use the Cult of Ohzv package that was converted into a Fantasy Grounds Art Asset Pack.

Once you have double-clicked the icon for the asset package you want to use, the contents of the asset pack will be displayed in the panel. Now is the time that you will want to begin setting up your workspace, as you will want access to the art assets and the blank map canvas at the same time.

The best workspace gives you a large area to view the map canvas you are working on, with a side panel of assets that you can easily drag-n-drop onto the map canvas. Move the image panel open to the top left of the window, then re-size the panel by clicking and dragging the bottom right corner of the panel. Do the same thing with the Assets Panel so that the Assets Panel takes up about one-fourth of the window width, and the Map Canvas takes up the other three-fourths of the window width (see screen capture below).

That is the workspace setup that our artist Tailz uses when he is building maps in Fantasy Grounds Unity.

Change the size of each window to setup a workspace for map building.

Step #3: Setup the Tile Stamping Tool

Now that we have our map canvas and art assets ready, the next step is to begin stamping down assets and building the map. To do this we need to set up and use the Tile Stamping Tool.

To do this click on the Layers mode icon in the Canvas Panel, then click on the Tile Stamper Icon to activate the tile stamper mode. Now the next part is rather important, you need to drag-n-drop an art asset into the template square for the Tile Stamper tool. Doing so configures the Tile Stamper tool to stamp down assets using the size and scale of that tile. If you don’t do this, the tiles will stamp down at a wonky size.

Configure the Tile Stamp Tool. Then drag-n-drop art assets onto the blank map canvas.

With a tile in the Tile Stamper Template, you can begin placing tiles onto the map canvas. You can do this in two ways, if you mouse over the canvas and just click, the Tile Stamp tool will stamp down whatever art asset is currently in the tool template. This can be very boring to constantly stamp down the same art asset.

Instead, drag-n-drop different art assets directly from the Assets Panel directly onto the map canvas. Doing so will stamp down that art asset. Each asset that is dragged in will use the current template for its size (that is why setting the template first is important).

As each art asset is stamped onto the map, each art asset is inserted as a layer in the canvas pallet. I recommend adding in some folders to help sort all the layers. Our artist Tailz uses the following structure: Ground, Floor, Walls, and Objects. Or in the case of ready-made rooms such as the Cult of Ohzv, using folders to separate levels or buildings is another method to keep track of all the layers.

That is pretty much all there is to it. Just drag in a new art asset, move it into position, and repeat to build up a map.

Instruction Video

When we released the Map Tiles Sample Pack we also released a small tutorial video demonstrating how to use the Map Tiles Sample Pack in Fantasy Grounds Unity. The video which is now up on our YouTube Channel, will walk you through creating maps with map tiles in Fantasy Grounds Unity.

Hints & Tips

We recommend you read the Fantasy Grounds Unity manual, browse the Fantasy Grounds Forum, or visit Fantasy Grounds College if you want more detailed information about how to use Fantasy Grounds Unity. But here are a few pointers for map building.

  • Mouse Left Button: Click and hold on a placed art asset to move it about the map.
  • Middle Mouse Button: Pan around the map.
  • Mouse Wheel: Zoom in and out on the map on the mouse pointer location.
  • Rotate Art Asset: The selected art asset will display a number of small boxes at the corners and one at the top on the end of a black line. Click and hold on the box at the end of the line, then drag to rotate the art asset.
  • Scale Art Asset: Click and drag on one of the boxes of a selected art asset to change its size.
  • Avoid the Selection Tool: Besides the Tile Stamper Tool Icon is the Selection Tool icon. Avoid using the Selection Tool as we have found it sometimes changes the size of placed wall tiles. We are not sure if this is a bug or a feature in Fantasy Grounds Unity. But for the moment, just use the Tile Stamper Tool and avoid using the Selection Tool.
  • Folders: As each art asset is placed on the map canvas, it creates a layer in the Layers Pallet. To make sorting placed artwork easy, sort layers into folders. We use the following folders: Features, Walls, Floor, Ground.