HeavyMetal Map - Now SHipping!
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Map (or HMMap for short) is the latest in the HeavyMetal
program series, and the first designed to be primarily a graphics-based program,
rather than a calculation-based program. The main purpose of the program is to
design and print map sheets based on standard BattleTech map sheets. The
quality graphics included with the program make it a snap to make maps with
better graphics than has been possible in the past, and to add some truly unique
features to both standard and custom maps.
HeavyMetal Map is the only Official BattleTech map design program.
As you've come to expect from all of the HeavyMetal programs, HeavyMetal Map
gives you all the tools to design, including both standard, tournament-legal
terrain types, as well as advanced terrains and other features not previously
available on any CBT map.
With HeavyMetal Map, you will have available approximately 60 data files
covering published CBT maps from all of the map compilations. You will also be
able to download additional, user-submitted graphics and more from the
HeavyMetal Map Additional Graphics page.
Please check out the specific features and screenshots (click on the screen
Special Computer Requirements for HMMap
Due to the large amount of graphics loaded during use, HeavyMetal Map has higher
system requirements than the other HeavyMetal programs. Be sure to check out the
HeavyMetal Map User's Guide
You don't have to buy the program to check out all the neat features in the
program. You can download the full HMMap User's Guide in PDF format, as supplied
with the program. It has screen captures, everything you need to use and get the
most out of the program, including examples of more complex graphics that can be
used to make incredible maps. So please take a look at the
HMMap User's Guide (it's about
5.5 MB in
size); we think you'll be impressed!
Note: Please note that a PDF-reader program such as Adobe Acrobat Reader
or Foxit Reader is required to view the User's Guide, online or after receiving
the program. HMMap includes the very lightweight and fast
Reader 2.0, in case you don't have a PDF-reader.
HeavyMetal Map Features
- An extensive Userís Manual in PDF format is supplied, which not only
gives complete instructions on using the program, but also examples on how
to obtain certain effects and a how-to section for making your own 2D and 3D
- Over 1,000 high-quality graphics are included with the program,
organized into palettes, so as to accommodate computers of various
- In addition to printing maps, an optional Map Data Sheet can be printed,
which outlines all the items on the map sheet, along with their location,
rules and a sample graphic.
- Add-On graphics allow scaling of any graphic, such as a DropShip, to
cover multiple hexes and print basically any size desired.
- Colorful logos, as included with HeavyMetal Plus, have been specially
adapted to allow users to add Clan and House logos on their favorite
building complex, courtyard, or to denote ownership or objectives on the
- All official terrain types are included, and in addition many new
graphics, such as railroad, Maglev monorail and canal are provided.
- Most graphics can be flipped and mirrored, meaning that you can vary the
appearance from hex to hex, even while using the same graphic.
- Graphics are added in layers, with over ten layers providing great
flexibility and the ability to add several different items within the same
hex or area.
- HeavyMetal Map includes a Random Map generator feature, which can place
woods, lakes, shores, rough and levels in random locations on the map.
Choose the percent of each terrain type, or let HMMap do its own thing with
the ďIím feeling luckyĒ feature.
- Most or all of the standard published maps are already entered in for
you; print them out, or use them as a basis for making your new designs.
- You have complete control over the printout, including the type and
color of hex lines and text that is printed on the map. You can even choose
to include building rating, CF and height, rating and height only, height
only, or none of the above (in case you only want your GameMaster to know).
- Zoom in while working on the map, or view the entire map at once. Either
way, full resolution map previews are available at the touch of a function
- Maps can be automatically printed to multiple sheets (as standard size
maps rarely fit on a single sheet), or high-resolution images can be made
for printing at a print shop or for other uses.
The CD Package
HeavyMetal Map has been packaged for sale in out our
New Slim DVD case, a high-quality DVD case, which
looks better, is much stronger, ships better and has more convenient room for
the instructions insert, than standard CD jewel cases. The thumbnail shown below
is from a scan of the package; click on it to see an
The Main Screen
HeavyMetal Map's main screen is centered around map
design, with the center of the screen being devoted to
the working design map. To the left are the group and
graphic buttons, from which you choose the graphics to
draw on the map. To the right is a preview of the
graphic selected, along with additional information
concerning it. I use 1280 x 960 screen resolution on
my computer, and it's great. However, you don't have
to use that high a resolution to use the program. The
screenshots below show 800 x 600 (left) and 1024 x 768
(right) screen resolutions:
While I like to design while showing the entire map at once, you can zoom in
to see areas closer during design, and even temporarily hide the graphic preview
to show more of the map. The screen shot below shows a relatively low screen
resolution, but with the map zoomed in and the preview hidden:
Graphics are organized into Groups or Layers. There are several purposes for
this. It is easier to find the graphic you're looking for (there can be over 800
graphics available at one time), so the graphics are separate into groups. For
example, there are Terrain graphics, Features, Details, Water, three kinds of
Paths, and more. Each is drawn in order when the map is viewed or printed, so
there is also a defined order for them. Features (houses, trees) always cover
Terrain, and Details always cover features, for example. This layered approach
results in the ability to have extremely detailed hexes, with up to10 different
types of graphics or information shown in a given hex. The partial screen shot
at the left below shows the groups or layers available, while the one at right
shows some of the graphics available in the Features group:
Roads, rivers, multi-hex buildings and other such graphics are considered
Path graphics in HMMap. Rather than search through dozens of graphics, choosing
the one to fit the road graphic needed, then flip or mirror it to fit the
situation, path graphics in HMMap are drawn in a rubber-band line mode. That is,
you click on where you want the path to begin, then as you move the mouse
pointer, the road rubber-bands to the hex locations where the road can logically
extend to, as the screenshot below shows. Continuing on to another hex at a
different angle is accomplished by single mouse clicks. Roads and other path
graphics are extremely easy to place in this way, yet look very
professional and detailed.
The Open Screen has a map preview, so that you don't have to just rely on the
filename to be sure you're loading the map you want, as you also have some basic
information about the map, as well as a small picture of what the map looks
While designing your map, it's nice to get a very close look of how the
detail will appear. You have two zoom levels, a Full Map Preview, at half
resolution, and four quarter maps, at full resolution. At full resolution
especially, you can see every pixel that will appear in printouts and saved
images. Half resolution is still a great view of your work, and you can scroll
to see the entire map. The two screenshots of map previews below are only on an
800 x 600 resolution screen, yet show great detail. The left shot is a portion
of a Full Map Preview, while the right one is a Quarter Map Preview:
The best map design is not much good unless you have a way of using it
outside the program. HeavyMetal Map gives you a number of ways to do this, the
first being to print your maps. As you are probably aware, a standard BattleTech map sheet is approximately 18" x 22", meaning that most of us will
not have a printer capable of printing them as a single sheet. HMMap helps you
in this area, separating the map into as many sheets as necessary to print to
your desired size, which you can then cut and tape together. Using standard
letter size paper, nine sheets are required to print a standard size map, as
shown in the screenshot of the Print dialog box below:
The map preview to the right of the screen shows exactly what each sheet will
contain. If you have a larger format printer, or would like to print other size
maps, the sheet boundaries change accordingly. You can even print a single,
letter-size sheet with the entire map on it, for reference or other uses. While
nine sheets is a lot of paper, you can cut that back to only four sheets, if you
accept a hex size just 1/8" smaller than standard; still playable, and less
cutting and taping.
Of course if you're lucky enough to have a large format printer, you can
print entire map sheets as a single sheet. You can also save such printouts as
files, and take them to your local print shop, to let them print out the large
sheet. You can also specify large size maps, and have many other options as
Although HMMap does not include PDF-making software, you can easily download
any PDF-maker such as pdf995
to make your own. The image below links to a full size PDF map made using the
program, which can then be printed by any system able to use PDF files:
Map Information Sheet
The Information Data Sheet is an optional sheet that can be printed, and
which has all pertinent information on terrain features and other graphics on
the map, including the rules and hex locations they occupy. The sample map data
sheet linked to below is for the very complex demo map
used here, to give you an idea of what information is included on it:
Making BMP and JPG Images
Another great feature of HMMap is the ability to save you maps as half
resolution BMP images, or full or half resolution JPG images. In fact, you can
specify a smaller JPG size as well, to suit you needs. A full-resolution JPG,
with a quality of only 20 (to keep file size down), is shown below, so you can
look at the detail.
Please note that this preview is much lower quality than you will be
able to produce, as a higher JPG quality will eliminate the JPG "artifacts" that
occur on this image. Examine the small map section to the right, above, to see
what full JPG quality can give you. Although it's only a small portion of the
map, the level of detail is consistent across the map.
So, making an image of a single map isn't enough for you? You can make
full-resolution images of up to four maps and save them for future use or
printing (possibly by a print shop). The Multi-Map Image Screen allows you to
specify up to four maps, flipping or mirroring any or all as desired, and then
make either a low-resolution or high-resolution image (resulting in an image
size as large as 6145 x 7549 pixels).
HMMap even takes care of the hex numbering for you; although you can keep the
individual map numbering, you can have the program renumber the four-map combo
starting at the upper left, renumbering the other maps as required (even with
the mirroring and flipping) to have a continuous progress of numbers.
HMMap even helps you create custom maps quickly and easily with its Random
Map Designer screen. For this screen (shown below), you can specify what
percentage you would like woods hexes to occupy, water, elevation levels and
more. Once you've made your settings, making a new random map with those
settings is only a function key stroke away.
HMMap also provides an "I'm Feeling Lucky!" button, that sets all of the
random factors for you, resulting in a truly random map. And when it does that,
it still maintains your manual settings for you.
Map Properties and Options
You have complete control over the maps you create, from what background
graphics, if any, are used, to the style and thickness of hex lines, to the font
size and color for text located within the hex, and much more. The Map
Properties is where you specify this information, which is saved with your map.
You can also enter information about the map, giving it a title, and giving
yourself credit, and that information will show up at the bottom left of the
map, just as it does for published maps.
An unique feature of HMMap is its ability to place any BMP, JPG or GIF image
anywhere on the map, resize it, even stretch it, as well even as flip and mirror
it. This is done separately from the map graphics (which are organized into
palettes), and add-on graphics go over all other graphics on the map. This is
great for adding DropShips, large industrial complex, large craters and other
types of graphics to the map. Plus, these can easily be placed on standard maps,
and their locations changed as well. The program includes six high-quality
DropShip images, as well as many House and Clan logos that can be added for use
to indicate ownership or objectives. In the screenshot below, the Kurita emblem
and the Union DropShip are add-on graphics included with the program:
Customizable Graphics and Palettes
Although HMMap comes with approximately 1,000 graphics for use in palettes
(groups of graphics) and elsewhere, those so inclined can add their own
graphics, and even develop entire palettes. You could develop your own land,
lake and woods graphics to represent a non-earthly world, for example. Each map
is saved with information about what palette was used in designing it, so the
palette changes automatically when required. The screenshot below shows the
Palette Management Screen, where you customize and create your own graphics and
Help System / User's Guide
HeavyMetal Map is a bit different than the other HeavyMetal programs in a
number of ways. One of them is that lack of a traditional Windows help file. Our
research indicates that few people actually use this very helpful system, and
there is a lot of information we'd like to get across to those using the
program. Therefore, we decided on using a very comprehensive User's Guide in PDF
format instead. Approximately 100 pages in length, this easy-to-use guide is
always available on your computer, and unlike traditional help files, is easily
printed in its entirety for hardcopy reference. It is fully indexed and has a
table of contents, linked to the topics themselves.
What's even better is that you can download the User's Guide right now,
without even buying the program. We are confident that HeavyMetal Map is so
complete, yet easy to use, and feel that the best way for you to see this is to
be able to browse through the User's Guide. So, the best way to learn more about
HMMap is to:
HMMap Additional Graphics Web Page
As we receive contributions from users of HMMap of individual hex graphics,
entire palette graphics sets and add-on graphics, we will be adding them to the
HMMap Additional Graphics page on this web site, where you will be able to download
additional graphics for use with your programs, all at no cost. Some graphics
are available now, while others will be shortly. Make sure you stop by to take a
And Much More...
There are too many screens and features to show here on this web page, not to
mention all of the available graphics. The best way for you to get a better and
closer look at the program is to download the HMMap User's Guide using the link
above. I believe you will be impressed with the thought that has gone into this
program, and will find it the very best way possible to make your own quality
maps for use when playing BattleTech.
Order HeavyMetal Map Today!
Heard enough? Order HeavyMetal Map Now for immediate shipment!