March 27, 2009

Glorious MapTools! Part I

I've been harping on an on about MapTools on the KenzerCo forums for a while now and have offered to set up a demo for new users if they so desire. That hasn't happened, but I thought I'd make up some very basic tutorials so a new user could get "hooked up" with using MapTools for an online game of HackMaster. While it's easy to use, there is (of course) a small learning curve..which is to be expected with any new piece of software.

There are some excellent tutorials available on the web, but most have to deal with some of what are called the "Development Candidates", different add-ons to the future version 1.3 release. I wish they'd just get on with saying "enough" and spit out an official 1.3 Release. With all of the updating and adding of files it's really easy to get players and GMs using different versions which will prove incompatable. For that reason I usually stick with version 1.2.

Why use MapTools? In a nutshell it's the best program I have found for running a game online. There are others and I've tried some. Heck, I spent a lot of money on Fantasy Grounds and a ton of time making a special HackMaster customization skin for the thing. In the end I found it a resource hog which caused problems for some of the players and it crashed all too often. There are other great programs out there....I'm sure of it....but MapTools is free and simply works so it's got my vote of confidence.

To start, I suggest going ahead and updating/installing Java. Get the newest version for your operating system.....oh, yes....did I forget to mention that MapTools is cross platform? So now us Windows people can game with Mac users....assuming you're into that kind of thing.

Once you're there, please go to Don't go to


Now that you're on the right page, go over to the "Downloads" tab and click on "Maptools". The page will open up with 1,000,001 options for downloading MapTools builds. Scroll down until you see "" That is the current Release version of the MapTools Program. There are some great version 1.3 builds, but it is far too easy to get people working off of other versions and then you "waste" a good half hour trying to get everyone on the same program. That's 30 minutes of gaming you could be missing out on!

Download the zip file and extract it and install. If you need help with that...go ask someone else since that's not what I'm trying to teach here.

NEXT: Getting Connected!

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