Map Tutorial - Tracing over an Image sub-section
Step 1 - Deciding what to build.
As with anything, it is good to have clear idea what we are trying to do before we do it. For the purposes of this tutorial, I have settled on the UK. The first thing to do is obviously to find a decent image that we can work from - decent for our purposes means something large and clear, but with enough detail to provide us with the outlines we require. I was lucky enough to find this image <http://sillysoft.net/maps/tutorial/uk.gif> using Google's excellent image search, so we'll use this as our model.
Usually it's best to resize your image to the best proportions before starting. The larger the better, but take into account that not everyone has a big screen, and Lux's built in Chat window will be taking some space as well. A maximum width of 800-1000 and height of 500-700 pixels is recommended.
Lux maps, as you probably know, use polygons to create countries, and groups of countries make up continents. This works globally, but as we are representing the UK only here, we'll need to redefine some terms. The logical thing to do would be to call each country in the UK a continent, and each county (area, state, whatever) will become it's own country.
Step 2 - Start the Editor and load your Tracing Image
Lux includes a Map Editor that can be used to create maps. Open it by going to the File menu and selecting Map Editor. Next you should go to the Editor menu and select Load Tracing Image. Navigate to your image and select it.
NOTE: This tool is NOT for setting a theme, it is only for tracing purposes within the map editor.
Step 3 - Drawing countries
Now start tracing the outlines on the map. We will start with Wales, as that is the smallest and easiest of our five "continents". Start adding points around the outline of the first area simply by clicking. The fewer points you use the better in general - this particular map makes this very easy, as the outlines already have nice straight edges, but for other maps, you needn't be 100% geographically correct, we are looking to reproduce a recognizable shape more than anything else. Too many points will not only make lining up neighboring areas more time-consuming, but will increase the overall load time of the file in Lux. Once you have all but one point of an area complete, press the spacebar to seal it up and create your polygon.
You should be aware that Lux automatically adds a thin border around each country, so we need to allow for this when mapping, we don't want each polygon to be slap up against it's neighbor. Leave a little gap between countries, and make this gap a little bigger where continent divisions will exist.
You can switch the Map Editor into 'Edit Shapes' mode to drag each point to fine tune a polygon's shape if necessary.
Step 4 - Connecting countries.
From the combo-box at the bottom of the Map Editor select the Connect Countries option. Click on one country and drag into another to connect them. Repeat till all the connections you want have been added. This is the easiest and most common place to make mistakes, so be sure you go over your map again and again to make sure all connections are correct. Correct connections will shorten the time your map spends in the mapLAB testing room.
TIP: Control-click on a connection line to delete it.