Monday 24 May 2010

Hex Mapping the World *mwah hah hah*

I'm sure this is old hat to many of you, but I recently found a thread on boardgamegeek about mapping a sphere with hexes. Post 11 is the real meat of it.

Apparently you use an icosahedron as the base, then divide each triangular face into hexes, dymaxion map style. The points where the three faces meet? They're always going to be pentagons, although that might come in handy if you want particular nodes of power at certain places in the game world.

Of course, no mention of such a project in our circles would be complete without a suitable link to the Tao of D&D (just for the passing few who haven't yet stood stunned at the sight of a man gradually hexmaking an entire fantasy Earth, and then using those maps to model pre-modern systems of trade on a planetary scale).

Related, but less likely to be of interest to anyone other than me. Awww, what a cute little hex map of England. Anyone know how I can blow that up to a useful size without it pixelating horribly?


  1. Might be worth emailing the guy or posting to his blog asking about a higher resolution version. I've had good luck with similar requests in the past. Most people seem happy to share. All that work pays off more if others are using it too.

  2. Thank you. I was just about to launch into a bit of mapping today, after completing the SpiralMadonna illo. This will come in handy--I really like the nodes produced by this method, they'll be very useful. Very useful.

  3. What about this hex map in the shape of a d20?

  4. He posted the image in as a .png, but his libhex library is able to export as a .svg - which would be scalable to whatever size you want without loss.

  5. The problem with most hex world (or even continent) maps I've seen is that most of them are just regular map projections (such as the Mercator) with hexes overlaid. I also would like a world hex map, but I want all those hexes to have equal areas, and projections like the Mercator distort areas.

    Currently, I'm working on a hex map of the United States, but I'm treating it as if the US is centered on the triangular face of an icosohedron. This way, the area distortion will be at a minimum, but I do get some shape distortion at the sides because I'm treating the east/west lines as completely horizontal. That makes right angles work at the center, (96 W longitude) but they slant noticeably as you move out to the sides (60W and 132W).

  6. Yes the Tao of D&D is just staggeringly amazing in it's obsessiveness about that hex map thing. Like picking at a bad tooth I just have to follow it.


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