Let's see how Inkarnate 2.0 was implemented, which now offers many new options for creating fantasy RPG maps.
It's been over a year since our last article on Inkarnate, so why do we go back to this map making site?
Well, recently, Inkarnate is out of its beta version, thus introducing a wealth of new styles and elements to the maps. The changes are significant and, in my opinion, we can really talk about an Inkarnate 2.0.
In general, I must say that the new tools made available to users are very useful and allow you to draw very diversified maps. Furthermore, it is now possible to use Inkarnate to draw not only the map of a world, a region or a city, but also to create the map of a dungeon or, in any case, of a small area in which to set a battle in a game. role.
Let's see in more detail what has changed e what are the new features of this Inkarnate 2.0. I state that what I will describe will be the functionalities accessible to my profile and my subscription to Inkarnate, which costs $25 year.
In the meantime, if you like, you can check out our Inkarnate articles and tutorials. THU e Thu we explain how to draw the streets. THU e Thu we explain how to draw a village. THU there is the tutorial on how to draw a river e Thu explanations on the use of backgrounds and colors. This article, then, explains the new additions of the frozen landscapes, while this delves into the options for oriental maps. Finally, this article speaks of Inkarnate in general.
Battle maps in Inkarnate 2.0
One of the major innovations proposed by Inkarnate 2.0 is the creation of maps of environments on a reduced scale and seen from above.
This type of environments are perfect to be used as ground for combat, in role-playing games where a fight on the grid is possible. Also, compared to regional or city maps, combat maps are used much more frequently within a campaign or role-playing session. Therefore, the fact that Inkarnate now allows you to create battle maps could really change the life of those masters who play mostly online and therefore need maps to use on sites like Roll20.
To create a battle map, just select the option Fantasy Battlemal - Beta when you press the "Create new map". At that point, it will be possible to choose the resolution of the map (1k, 2k, 4k) and its size. Then clicking on the "Create maps“, You will go to the work screen.
The Inkarnate 2.0 work screen is quite similar to the one present in the first version of the site, but it also presents several new features.
the options Layers e Shape
First, in this version of the site it is much easier to check the drawing layers with the option Layers, on the right. Here you can choose between types of levels: Objects, background e background. In each of these labels the elements you have inserted in each level are visible and, if you need them, you can make the elements of a level temporarily invisible, so that you can work more easily on the elements of another level.
The shapes that you can draw by hand on the map are also more varied, visible on the bar at the top, under the words Shape. Here, in fact, you can choose between three forms: edgy, circle e grid blocks. The shape edgy it is excellent for obtaining an irregular outline, typical of rocks and certain sea coasts. Instead, the grid blocks it is excellent for those who want to have a greater stylization of the map, such as to follow the combat grid. There circle on the other hand, it is very versatile, excellent for doing fast jobs at large dimensions and jobs of up to small dimensions.
Inkarnate's gem: the Stamp tool
The real gem of the battle map, however, are the Stamp tool, selectable from the tower icon on the left of the screen. The Stamp tool they contain the objects that can be inserted in a battle map, ranging from the walls of buildings or dungeons, to stairs, rocks, trees, bushes. There are also several elements to create specific environments. The most particular are those for underwater environments, such as corals, starfish and shells, followed by those suitable for creating a desert.
We then have a large selection of items of furniture for the interior of the houses, ranging from rustic tavern elements, to the objects of a camp or a market, up to the luxurious furnishings of a royal palace. There are also elements of their own themed settings, such as the furnishings of a prison, a sewer, a cemetery, a mine or a temple. We also have the elements of a dwarven or elven palace, a wizard's laboratory, a train or a steampunk building. Another very interesting option is broken objects, perfect for populating a ruined building.
In addition, many of the elements presented, such as a pipe full of water or a stone, then offer different suboptions of the same object, allowing for greater customization. You can see it well in the image below, in which the 24 different spell effects have been opened (which can be closed by clicking on hide in the first effect).
The final touches: Path tool and grids
Another very interesting element, which will bear fruit especially in the maps of regions, are the Path tool, that is the tools for drawing stylized paths. There are three options: Solid draw a solid line, Dots creates a road with a line made up of many dots, while dashes draw a dashed line. With the bars below, then, you can customize your paths, increasing or decreasing their thickness, opacity and space between a dot / line and another.
Finally, the grids applicable on maps. In fact, not only the classic squares or hexagons are present, but an orthogonal grid has also been added.
Regional maps in Inkarnate 2.0
As always, even in Inkarnate 2.0 it is possible to draw maps of large areas. The site offers four options: Fantasy Regional HD, Fantasy World, Parking World e Fantasy Regional Classic.
While all four of these maps have the same general characteristics and work, in broad terms, like battle maps, they each have different options when it comes to Stamp tool.
The maps Fantasy Regional HD
The maps Fantasy Regional HD they want to give the feeling of a map of a relatively small area, like a city or a region, but seen in great detail. For this reason, we have a good variety of mountains, hills and vegetation of various kinds with many visual details, which if well managed can also create the landscapes of an orthogonal battle map.
There are also tons of options for city maps, which include both single objects such as cathedrals and clock towers, as well as multiple objects, such as the different townhouse options you can see in the image below. In addition, to the elven, dwarven, orc, desert or jungle cities that we also had in the beta version of Inkarnate, there have also been added options for cities inspired by Chinese and Japanese and Viking architecture.
Also, many elements, such as cliffs or waterfalls, are represented by different angles, so as to allow you to create maps or landscapes in perspective.
The maps Fantasy World
The maps Fantasy World they are suitable for representing very large areas of territory and for this reason they have rendered stylized elements such as cities, In which Fantasy Regional HD instead they are represented in a very detailed way.
On the natural elements front, the maps Fantasy World have more choice in terms of mountains and trees, including both map options Fantasy Regional HD, both more stylized elements. On the front, instead, of the cities, they do not have the option of inserting individual buildings, but an abstract image, representative of the settlement.
In line with this greater abstraction and adherence with the typical stylistic features of hand-drawn maps, Inkarnate 2.0 also includes a whole series of others symbols e decorations to be included in the maps Fantasy World. For example, we can insert drawings of mythological beasts, heraldic symbols, or icons of settlements.
The maps Parking World
The maps of the category Parking World they are designed to give the idea of a map drawn with ink on parchment. We are therefore faced with a type of map with gods Stamp tool very stylized and, generally, less varied.
We have quite a wide variety of naturalistic elements such as mountains and trees, while all the symbols relating to places and artificial settlements are very abstract. We can therefore see a series of icons to indicate human villages, ranging from abstract rhombuses or circles, to more detailed drawings. Several were then provided abstract symbols to indicate particular places, such as ruins, temples, places belonging to guilds or factions, or shops.
The maps Fantasy Regional Classic
Finally, the maps Fantasy Regional Classic the maps that can be created with the beta version of Inkarnate. So we see mountains, trees and buildings made with a slightly more cartoonish style and a rather reduced choice.
Although currently this type of map is not the best among those proposed, it is still very useful for old users who want to update their old maps, without necessarily having to recreate them from scratch in a new version.
The next news of Inkarnate 2.0
Although Inkarnate is no longer in beta, the team that created it is continuing to develop significant improvements and new options. As announced in the Facebook page . of Inkarnate, in fact, in the coming months we will see three other types of maps.
The first is the one that, personally, I look forward to with more trepidation, namely the Watercolor city style. This type of map, in fact, will allow cities to be drawn not in orthogonal perspective, but with a top view. This map style will allow you to delineate cities with much more precision.
The second is the Battlemaps 2.0 Style, which is a new style of battle maps. The biggest difference, from what I understand from the view of the image, are above all the colors, much more varied, and the possibility of integrating the objects more with the background.
The third is the Watercolor Battlemap Style. It is always a type of battle map, but with a different design style and colors. The visual effect seems very nice to me, but I will wait to have this option on hand to better understand what will change.
Two conclusive words
Personally, I have already used Inkarnate when it was still in its beta version and have always enjoyed drawing city and region maps, although at first I needed some tutorials to familiarize myself with the available options.
I must say this Inkarnate 2.0 is generally simpler and more intuitive to use and also presents many more options compared to those of the beta version. Furthermore, the addition of the battle maps it has been providential, especially in this period when I can only play online.
In recent months, therefore, I have started creating a large number of maps for my campaigns a Pathfinder 2, and I must say that I found myself very well. The maps exported as images are in high definition and keep a great look even on Roll20 and give a good idea of what the characters will see.
I'm really impressed with the work done by the Inkarnate creative team and can't wait to see their new maps.