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Suggestion: Multiple Map Layers

Score + 118
1430718125
I am a map making fanatic... Nothing makes a game, in my opinion, more immersive than when your map looks good. So I tweak and I twitch and I shift and I place, and I come up with some pretty impressive things. This is the Gladius, a map for my Star Wars Saga Edition game, and it is made completely from public roll20 assets, for example: (That is a cropped screen shot of it, as my players would see it if the dynamic lighting were turned off. Made as much to scale as possible, so that sucker is kinda big.) Anyway, I use a lot of layering and such to get it to look just right. In this case, the map layer actually consists of around, I'd say, 5 layers? I have to do a lot of playing around with the "To Front" and "To Back" to do it, and that makes it really hard at times. I wish that I had multiple "map layers" that I could select. Of if instead of just "To Front" and "To Back" I had things like, "Down One" or "Up One" These maps already take me 2, sometimes 3, hours to put together. (That isn't counting the stuff on the GM layer of course) We know that multiple layers already exist, or we couldn't multi-layer and then manipulate it by "To Front" and "To Back" but we have no easy interface to access it. For me, even using the "To Back" and "To Front" Method, I think the minimum number of map layers should be at least 4. 1. Background 2. Walls 3. Platforms 4. Features This would, not only, make making maps from the bits and pieces of public assets easier, but it would allow people to customize maps to their needs instead of just buying flat pre-made maps and then shoe horning their game into them. Also this doesn't limit maps to just a few genres, which is a great thing because you have some slim pickings if you aren't doing fantasy around here.
1430718951
Here is another map that my players were actually running through, to show you how the multi-layer method can also help... In this case it was an underground temple that started in a series of caves to a moss covered area that had a temple filled with elaborate carpets that held a secret my players had to discover... Again, easier layer access would have been so helpful... This looked really good to them when they went through it with dynamic lighting on by the way.
1430725979
Gold
Forum Champion
Nice map examples, Henry! Note: A bit of terminology for Roll20, the stacking of objects within a layer (Map Layer or Token Layer) is sometimes called: Z-order. You change the z-order with "To Front" and "To Back" commands. I agree it would be nice to have greater control of shuffling the z-order around! Here are some related suggestions, that you might want to also read and consider voting. The other suggestions are not identical to yours. Foreground Map Layer <a href="https://app.roll20.net/forum/post/1241955/foregrou" rel="nofollow">https://app.roll20.net/forum/post/1241955/foregrou</a>... Could we have a Stealth Layer <a href="https://app.roll20.net/forum/post/1421474/could-we" rel="nofollow">https://app.roll20.net/forum/post/1421474/could-we</a>...
1430846869

Edited 1430846883
A further thought on this topic, what if there was something similar to the Photoshop or Pixlr layer method? Meaning you have a window that allows the GM to see the layers that exist, move them around, name them what the GM wants, can lock a layer, and control whether the layer is visible to players or not. This would accomplish what Henry is requesting and be a method that is intuitive and familiar to many people.
+1 I wholeheartedly agree! Adding even just the capability to move objects/assets 'up one layer' or 'down one layer' would be tremendously helpful.
+1
1469456290
this is exactly what I am talking about! Having Layers would be game changing. Thanks man. +1
This really needs to get done.&nbsp; It would make things like dynamic lighting and darkvision much more manageable to recreate.&nbsp; It would allow DMs to overlay color auras that color the whole screen AND tokens, allowing simulation of neat lighting effects without limiting ability to select and move tokens.
1496648062
Yea I like any idea that would improve the selectivity of genras in the map making options and choices, I run multigenra games and it is hard putting together maps other than fantasy. Layering options might also allow for making a trandimensional map with interposing layers representing characters crossing dimensional boundaries that co-mingle or overlap locations based on layers so two tokens can occupy the same square(hex) and yet not appear to to the players, wich kinda kills the immersion when you have to move someone elses token to get to yours constantly. &nbsp;
1496659538
Yeah. Non fantasy in Roll20 is freaking hard. That ain't going to change though. The Roll20 team is endorsed by WotC. The chance of them putting any focus on anything non-fantasy is next to nothing. We're second class citizens and we know it. Heh.
+1 While I'm not exactly the greatest map maker, I do have multiple friends who do spend hours making maps on roll20. I'm sure that if they had more control over this 'z-order' wouldn't take nearly as long to make these maps & the ability to move perspective throughout different layers could also be of some use.
+1 from me. I mainly play fantasy, and more map layers is something I really want. More layers would help with things like encounters where height differences matter.
+3 Thread&nbsp; &nbsp;- wondrous Item, legendary&nbsp;
I would love it they could add a Layer to make dynamic lighting easier Some maps, Like mazes can take forever to add the walls, even for small maps, something simple like below Base Map (Ugly but quick) Lighting map, showing obstructions (walls in this case) in grey, and non obstructed areas in white The second layer took less than 2 minutes to make, vs almost an hour just adding in the walls directly in roll20
1587173739
Gold
Forum Champion
Shaun B. said: I would love it they could add a Layer to make dynamic lighting easier Some maps, Like mazes can take forever to add the walls, even for small maps, something simple like below... The second layer took less than 2 minutes to make, vs almost an hour just adding in the walls directly in roll20 That would be great to add on Roll20 as a default feature. You can do it, but you need Pro account and API access. You run the API script called "WALLS" on a SVG file of your image 2. It converts it to matching Roll20 dynamic lighting walls-building code. You paste that code in your table chat, on the same page that has the matching maze map of same size, and it builds those DL Roll20 walls for you in seconds. Walls API script - community created, I believe by The Aaron. Very powerful. Requires Roll20 subscription. You can even subscribe simply for the 1 month needed to build the walls on PRO and then go back to PLUS and continue using the map pages that you'd made in that higher-paid month of prep.
1587210540

Edited 1587210653
+1 from me. Map layers would be so beneficial! My thoughts on how and why it’s needed: Yes, you can have multiple floors set next to each other and use Fog of War, but there are so many situations that BEG for multiple layer functionality. Just a few things to consider: TREETOP/CANOPY COVER: Being able to place your token "under" the tree canopy making it clearer that they have cover from flying creature sight, etc. would be great! MULTI-LEVEL FIGHTS: Having multiple maps only works well when each floor is solid. What happens when the ranger goes up to the Inn balcony to shoot DOWN at the fight? Makes for a really difficult time when their map no longer shows where people are, and having to duplicate moves across multiple maps gets ridiculous. NAVAL COMBAT: Have someone in the crow's nest as a sniper? it would be useful if you could have those sails, etc "covering" people below to help figure out line of sight, wouldn't it? URBAN ENCOUNTER: Have someone inside the building, in the street, on the second floor, and someone on the rooftop/balcony? wouldn't it be great if you could layer them up so everyone is on one map, but when someone moves out from under some cover, the people above can see it? AMAZING! If this was a Pro feature alongside dynamic lighting, I would subscribe in a HEARTBEAT. I cannot express how sad I became when I realized that the GM layer was only visible to the GM. I have found the GM layer to be invaluable in its own right, but layering trees, etc to give a realistic perspective to my map prior to my first session, just to realize my players were not seeing ANY of it, broke my heart a little...
1587250083
5 years going and this thread still gets attention. Heh.
+1. I've been struggling to use assets in a new campaign. The only workaround I've found is to group the assets as I build up the layers.&nbsp;
1587425860
Zachare S.
Pro
API Scripter
I really wish I could create my own layers and order them, and give them classifications like the current layers: GM, Token, Map is great for classifications. Dynamic Lighting *could* stick to only one layer and it wouldn't cause me an issue. Heck, if it was even just a list of items that are on the map (which you can name, and select Player Visible or not), and reorder them on a list like Photoshop can, that would be fricken GAME changing for me. I like hiding stuff, but it can be a nightmare to manage with this UI.
Other sites have this: why so slow Roll20? It should have happened years ago instead of some of the useless stuff that's been worried about.
1588112477

Edited 1588112525
+1 Yes to more map layers. And ideally with the ability to show/hide them and reorder them, too in the same way you can do with photoshop layers.
1614445338
SᵃᵛᵃǤᵉ
Pro
Sheet Author
API Scripter
Honestly, map layers should include a VBL (vision blocking layer) MBL (movement blocking layer) and a combination of the two.
1614515409
+1
1614536538
Just to say: We've been QUEUED!!!! It took us 5 years, but we did it!
1618193689
I'm glad this has been queued. I've got all my players set to GM so I can use the GM layer for things like trees and rock overhangs while keeping them transparent for the overlay and solid on the map layer (placed same size and shape on both layers gives the desired effect). Being able to revert them back to players so private messages are actually private in game would be wonderful.
1618238134

Edited 1618238195
Below is the pasted portions of my own similar idea for layering. Link to the original post It occurred to me that most maps, even simple ones are multi-layered. Let's take your basic outdoor map. Let's say the map is layer 1/0 with 1 being ground level and 0 being things like ditches, trenches, holes, and waterways. Now let's assume you plop down a token on the map layer. The map is on 0 and the token is on 1. Okay great. As it stands that token is on the map layer, on top of the map, and the player is on top of it. But let's say you want some treetops. Those would still be on the map layer but would be above the player. Now let's also suppose there are tree trunks and those are built into the map. How do handle this? Okay, let's say we had a paint tool. This tool could paint elevations. In addition, tokens could have elevation properties. Let's take a few examples: bridge (begins: L1 ends: L1&nbsp;opacity 100%), tree trunk&nbsp; (begins: L1&nbsp;ends: L2&nbsp;opacity 100%), treetop (begins: L2&nbsp;ends: L3&nbsp;opacity 20%). balcony (begins: L2 ends: L2&nbsp;opacity 100%). Supposing our GM had a map with a river on it and he placed a bridge token over that river. As said before the bride would be on layer 1 and the river under the bridge would be forced to layer 0. Now, let's say you have a troll and put the troll on level 0. You could place the troll anywhere on the map and that would be fine but placing him at the bridge would put him under the bridge and out of sight. Now let's say Dar decides to fill his canteen at the river. The GM knows this puts Dar on level 0 and puts him there. Dar will then see the troll but his two companions on the bridge would not, at least not until the troll comes charging out to eat Dar.&nbsp; That sounds good but isn't having to manually move creatures from one layer to another a pain? Yep. This is where the paint tool comes in. The GM takes the fuzzy paint tool and paints the river down. This makes the river level 0 with gradient sides sloping upward. Any PC or NPC placed in that location would take on the level 0 property.&nbsp; This would make it easy to reveal things to levitating players who can see into 2nd story windows, items/creatures hidden by terrain, etc. It occurred to me that you could place tokens on the map at a layer above the player level and set those tokens to go transparent when the player or something of interest is under them. By this I mean that trees would have treetops but those would go transparent when the player moves under them. Likewise, a building could have a roof until the player looks in or enters the building. Areas of the building the player can't see could be covered by a roof rather than just dark.
1618243481
Jay Hova said: Below is the pasted portions of my own similar idea for layering. Link to the original post It occurred to me that most maps, even simple ones are multi-layered. Let's take your basic outdoor map. Let's say the map is layer 1/0 with 1 being ground level and 0 being things like ditches, trenches, holes, and waterways. Now let's assume you plop down a token on the map layer. The map is on 0 and the token is on 1. Okay great. As it stands that token is on the map layer, on top of the map, and the player is on top of it. But let's say you want some treetops. Those would still be on the map layer but would be above the player. Now let's also suppose there are tree trunks and those are built into the map. How do handle this? Okay, let's say we had a paint tool. This tool could paint elevations. In addition, tokens could have elevation properties. Let's take a few examples: bridge (begins: L1 ends: L1&nbsp;opacity 100%), tree trunk&nbsp; (begins: L1&nbsp;ends: L2&nbsp;opacity 100%), treetop (begins: L2&nbsp;ends: L3&nbsp;opacity 20%). balcony (begins: L2 ends: L2&nbsp;opacity 100%). Supposing our GM had a map with a river on it and he placed a bridge token over that river. As said before the bride would be on layer 1 and the river under the bridge would be forced to layer 0. Now, let's say you have a troll and put the troll on level 0. You could place the troll anywhere on the map and that would be fine but placing him at the bridge would put him under the bridge and out of sight. Now let's say Dar decides to fill his canteen at the river. The GM knows this puts Dar on level 0 and puts him there. Dar will then see the troll but his two companions on the bridge would not, at least not until the troll comes charging out to eat Dar.&nbsp; That sounds good but isn't having to manually move creatures from one layer to another a pain? Yep. This is where the paint tool comes in. The GM takes the fuzzy paint tool and paints the river down. This makes the river level 0 with gradient sides sloping upward. Any PC or NPC placed in that location would take on the level 0 property.&nbsp; This would make it easy to reveal things to levitating players who can see into 2nd story windows, items/creatures hidden by terrain, etc. It occurred to me that you could place tokens on the map at a layer above the player level and set those tokens to go transparent when the player or something of interest is under them. By this I mean that trees would have treetops but those would go transparent when the player moves under them. Likewise, a building could have a roof until the player looks in or enters the building. Areas of the building the player can't see could be covered by a roof rather than just dark. Uh, I don't really think that this is similar. Your proposal is much more technical and complicated than, "Give me more layers to work with."
1618327305

Edited 1618333732
To an extent yes. I am suggesting additions to the idea of layers. Also to a great extent, I am suggesting an idea for taking a 2D map and converting it to a 3D map. We already use a paint tool to create walls. The idea of a fuzzy tool was a means of future-proofing the idea so that at some time in the future sloping areas can be defined.
1618590989
+1 I would have a weather layer.
+1
1621276151
John P
KS Backer
I would LOVE the idea of layers, including better z-order functionality.
1622354107
Ruhar
Plus
I totally agree with you, Henry W. I am constantly juggling items between Map, Token, and GM before I get everything finalized. I also find moving to the front or back very clunky since doing so is all the way back or all the way front. Then you have to adjust everything else. I feel like I am trying to create delicate art but only allowed to use a sledgehammer and chainsaw.
1625006235
+1 rhrnbjdt an issue that I run into a lot, just multiple layers would be nice too Explorer mode exposes the map and I want some objects to only be viewable in detail with player sight or with a lightsource nearby. If I put it all on objects/tokens layer, it becomes impossible to sort through the tokens since they overlap horribly in this formatting
1627850315
+1 I'd love to see multiple map layers. Even if there was only 1 extra, like one for the base map layout, and the 2nd for furniture and other objects that aren't intended to be moved around, but could be should the need arise without accidental selection of them because they are on the objects layer.
1629993002
Nice! I mam excited to see where this goes