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Cone Of Negative Energy is an independent publisher of fine tabletop adventure games and other ephemera by Cecil Howe and a myriad friends.

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Hex Kit: Help

The Basics:

The toolbox is on the left, the canvas is on the right.

Your primary way of making hex maps in Hex Kit is by using the various tools in the toolbox (left) to paint, rotate, and flip tiles on the canvas (right.) These are separate windows to allow you to resize and move each of them however you need.

Let’s start by going through each of the top buttons.

This is the Paint Mode toggle button; clicking it enables you to paint tiles directly to the canvas, as well as rotating, flipping, erasing and more.

This is the Display Paint Mode toggle button; clicking it will enable painting and deleting fog of war tiles that cover the canvas in the Display Window.

Next, take a look at the Paint Mode tools:

Paintbrush: allows you to paint tiles onto the canvas. While using the paintbrush you can right click on a tile to rotate it, or hold shift and right click to flip it.

Eraser: allows you to erase a tile. You can also undo the last few actions by pressing ctrl+z.

Clear Tile: allows you to completely delete each each tile on every layer of a specific hex. For example, if you have added 5 layers to your map and a hex has tiles on each of the 5 layers, you can use this tool to delete each tile without having to cycle through the layers. The deletions begin on the layer you have currently selected.

Information Tool: used to switch to the information toolbox where you can add and edit layers, toggle information hovering, and turn hex numbers on or off. You can set default selector color and label options in the Settings menu.

Rotate Tool: used for rotating tiles. Hexes can be rotated clockwise by right clicking with the rotate tool. They can be rotated counter-clockwise by left clicking with the rotate tool.

Flip Tool: used to flip tiles horizontally.

Zoom: for getting very close and intimate with your maps, or backing off. Left click to zoom in, right click to zoom out. You can also cycle through zooming into 100%, 75%, 50%, and 25% by pressing the 1, 2, 3, and 4 keys respectively.

Dropper Tool: allows you to pick a tile to repaint. As soon as you use this tool to select a tile, the tile will show as selected in the tile box and you will automatically switch to the paintbrush tool.

Next, the Display Paint Mode tools.

Paintbrush: allows you to paint fog of war tiles over the existing tiles on the canvas. The tile box has several tiles to choose from, but you can use the tileset dropdown box and paint any tile for fog of war.

Eraser: allows you to erase fog of war tiles.

Zoom: works just like it does in Paint Mode; left click to zoom in and right click to zoom out.

Working With Layers.

This is the layer box and it allows you to add or delete stacked layers to your map. You will use it mostly when working with tiles that have transparent backgrounds such as coastal tiles and icons. Clicking the black plus sign will add a new layer and prompt you to name it. Each layer must have a unique name. The red minus sign will delete the currently selected layer. Clicking the eye will toggle a layer as visible or not. Keep in mind that when you export a GM facing map hidden layers will appear on the final map, but exporting a player facing map will only output items that are visible.

Painting Tiles.

This box on the tool bar is where you will spend most of your time. The dropdown box will allow you to select which tileset you are working with, while the two icons with squares change the size each tile appears in the box and allows you to see more tiles without scrolling. Clicking the arrow button will take you back a step in tile categories.

Tiles are arranged in steps from broad categories to specific categories to single tiles. Whichever you have selected will be painted to your canvas among all tiles in the following steps. For example, the coastline tiles from The Black Spot are a broad category of tiles (Fig A.), and if you select it to paint you will paint random tiles from each of the specific categories and single tiles that make up the entire category.

(Fig A.) Selecting the coasts and painting yields a wide variety of different tiles.

By double clicking a tile, you can move from the broadest category of that tile to the next, more specific categories of it. For example, double clicking the coastal tiles (Fig B.) shows there to be several different styles of coasts including rocky ones, sandy ones, lakes, and more. From here you can select one of these specific categories and paint randomly from those tiles only. Notice that in the following image there are no sandy coasts, lakes, or islands like there are in the image above.

(Fig B.) Painting only with the rough coast tiles, a specific category.

Double clicking a specific category might unveil even more tile categories or simply show the individual tiles that make up a specific category. You can select and paint (Fig C.) with single tiles if you wish, or you can cherry pick single tiles, specific categories, or even broad categories by holding ctrl+left click or shift+left click when selecting tiles.

(Fig C.) You can paint with only a single tile, for some reason!

Adding New Columns And Rows To The Canvas.

By hovering your mouse over and of the four sides of the canvas two buttons will appear; a plus sign and a minus sign. Clicking the plus sign will add a column or row to your map, while clicking the minus sign will remove a column or row.

Working With The Information Tool.

The Information Tool allows you to give your hexes labels and information, as well as (not shown) numerical coordinates.

Background will change the background color of the canvas from white to black. Show All Labels will hide or show all tiles on the map, or they can be shown or hidden individually through the Show Label check box. Hover Tile Info will show whatever is in the Data box when you hover your mouse over a tile. And you can change the font of your labels using the Font selector.

The label options allow you to customize each label individually. Font Size and Color change the size and color of each label, naturally, while the Border Color and Background Color options change the appearance of the box surrounding the label. How transparent the label box is can be altered with the Opacity option; 1 being completely solid and 0 being completely invisible and each decimal between altering that accordingly. For example, an opacity of .5 will make the box 50% transparent.

The Horizontal Offset and Vertical Offset options change where the label appears on the hex. For vertical offset, changing this to a positive number will move the label down while a negative number moves it up. Horizontally, a positive number moves the label right and a negative number moves the label left.

Watch This Video For A More In-Depth Tutorial.

This is an older tutorial and does not have many of the functions mentioned on this page. I promise a new tutorial is coming – Cecil.


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