What is SquareForge?
I've been a Dungeons & Dragons player since the early 1980's. One of the things that keeps my attention on this game is the creativity that goes into it. As a dungeon master, it's my job to present a story to the other players. I get to invent fantasy worlds filled with fictitious characters, monsters, traps, riddles, and conflicts. I get to design 3D encounter areas where players strategically setup miniature figurines on the tabletop to combat my fictional opponents. All of this is done purely from the imagination with the guidance of a few rule books. This is an excellent way to exercise the creative mind.
Over the years I have put together a system for laying out encounter areas on the fly using a series of modular mapping tiles which I have created. I've designed different graphic sets for various terrain types, such as dungeons, caverns, forests and so on. After decades of toying around with these things, I recently decided to put together a marketable product and see if other RPG gamers might benefit from using them too. Much to my surprise, there seems to be a lot of folks out there who like what I've started, and are looking forward to seeing more products like these in the future.
The concept is relatively simple, and to be quite honest, it's not really a new idea at all. I originally picked up the idea from my experience designing an RPG video game about 10 years ago. The game is no longer online, but was an achievement that is probably worth mentioning. While developing the RPG video game, I came to understand that you could make an unlimited assortment of maps from just a few basic tile patterns. My original set consisted of just 16 unique patterns, although my latest set is comprised of nearly 4 times that. With 60 tile patterns, the combinations are virtually endless.
SquareForge officially launched in April of 2013 with 4 basic terrain sets, available in PDF format. I have a lot of ambition to continue releasing new terrain sets as I go. I'm also hoping to produce printed decks which will be available to purchase from the website as well. This is a time consuming project that I can pick at whenever I have the available time.
The future of SquareForge is uncertain. It doesn't cost me any money to keep the site online, and PDFs are easy enough to work with. The printed cards could be a challenge however, since the costs of production will be several thousands of dollars. I have considered using Kickstarter.com to raise funds for printing, but still haven't decided whether or not I wish to go that route. For now, I've found a company who can print-on-demand. The price is a bit higher than I'd like, but this could be a good solution for those who don't want to print the tiles from PDFs. I'm eager to see what becomes of SquareForge in the next couple of years. :)