Maps get their aspect ratio changed

edited December 2009 in Bug Reports


  • WoozleWozzle
    Posts: 9

    I've been setting up my new campaign and added two maps for it. Both maps had their aspect ratio changed in the google maps api but loaded fine when I click the button to look at the original image. Is this a known problem that always happens or a temporary bug? If it's a known problem, what ratio is supported?

    Also, I've seen a post or two about maps being made smaller, what's the maximum resolution that will be used unchanged with the google maps api?
  • ChainsawXIV
    Posts: 529 edited December 2009
    As described on the map submission screen, your map should be square to avoid distortion. The background color of the map viewer is E6E2DF, if you want to pad it out to squareness seamlessly, rather than cropping it down. It would be cool if it padded or cropped for you, but the instructions do tell you it will be distorted, so in my mind that's more of a feature request than a bug.

    As for map scaling, regardless of the original image dimensions, when you submit a map it is sampled into the overall image dimensions used for each of the zoom levels. For normal users, this means 256x256, 512x512, and 1024x1024. Maps created by Ascendant members have two additional zoom levels, 2048x2048, and 4096x4096. If you submit a map smaller than this, it will be scaled up, if it is bigger, it will be scaled down. The original is also kept on hand, unchanged, which is what you get when you click the link for that.

    The scaling process isn't exactly intuitive - from playing with regular google maps, you'd expect the scale to be arbitrary, based on the size of your submitted image - but it makes sense from a technical perspective. For best results, I suggest submitting an original that you've adjusted to the dimensions of your highest resolution zoom level (1024x1024, or 4096x4096), so you're sure you're happy with it close up. The system will do the rest. This is what I did on "my campaign map":, and it came out well.
    Post edited by ChainsawXIV on
  • numinophile
    Posts: 1
    I'm an ascendant member and am only getting 3 levels of zoom. Is there anything I need to do when uploading?
  • Idabrius
    Posts: 51
    The extra levels were removed. However, if you right click and "view image," you'll be able to see your map without ANY scaling.
  • shidarin
    Posts: 11
    If maps didn't distort the aspect ratio and had the additional zoom levels, that would be a serious incentive to go ascendent. Right now I just ignore the maps tab.
  • gnunn
    Posts: 423
    Hey, I just wanted to follow up on this because it appears that the maps for ascendant members did, in-fact have 2 of their zoom levels and their maximum size removed. Was it for resource reasons? I have to be honest, I finally paid for an ascendant membership after getting a few months free and one of the things I was looking forward to was having the ability to upload a world map at a resolution that would be readable/functional even given its broad scope.

    I appreciate the fact that I can view the unscaled image outside of the Googlemaps frame, but the map uploader is telling me the largest image I can even upload to the map page is 1024 x 1024 pixels.

    This site has so many wonderful things going for it, besides the map feature that make it definitely worth $40 / year, but I was just wondering why and when this decision was made.
  • Micah
    Posts: 894
    Good question.

    We used to offer 5 levels of zoom for the map, but found that it was simply too taxing on the map processing server. The map processing is by far the most intensive thing we do, and it's exponential on the level of zoom. So, a 5x zoom takes 16x more resources than a 3x zoom. We don't mind paying for the extra storage, but the load on the server was just too much. We made the switch a couple months ago. I didn't make a big announcement, as I didn't want to send out an email just to say, "Hey! We've reduced our features!" But, I'm happy (like here) to explain why we did it.

    Since then, though, we've added several new Ascendant-only features, and we continue to do so. My hope is that the full, total value of an Ascendant membership outweighs the small disappointments like the changes we had to do for maps.
  • gnunn
    Posts: 423
    Thanks for the update Micah... I certainly do feel the Ascendant level membership is worth it even without the additional map features.

    One follow-up question on the map though. I just uploaded a map at the maximum suggested size of 1024 x 1024 pixels, however, the way the zoom window is set up, The entire map is visible on the middle zoom level, making the furthest zoom out impractical because I can see everything I can see at the middle zoom, just smaller and surrounded by grey space.

    Is there currently a way to upload a larger map so that it will fill the screen at the furthest zoom out? how fixed is the 1024 x 1024 pixel size limit? I tried uploading the same map at the old 4096 x 4096 pixel size and while I can view the raw image and the thumbnail on my map page, It doesn't show up in the Googlemap frame.

    "Here's the link to my map":
  • Micah
    Posts: 894 edited March 2010
    The way the map processing works is to split the image into a bunch of 256x256 pieces, called tiles. Each zoom level has 4^(n-1) tiles, so for zooms 1-3 it's: 1, 4, 16, (and 64, 256 for 4 & 5 zooms). Fully zoomed out is always 1 tile at 256x256. The 1024x1024 corresponds to the zoom-3 image( 16 tiles, 4 on a side, 4x256 = 1024px) So, even with a higher resolution image, it will still get scaled down to 1024 max for the level 3 zoom.

    I'm really sorry about this. It's such a cool feature, and we'd love to offer the higher levels of zoom. But, the resources required to chop ("tile") the images are simply too much. We already have a dedicated server for this, and it sits idle most of the time waiting for maps to be uploaded, then maxes to 100% CPU and memory when tiling. It would run out of memory on the zoom 4 & 5 images, and we just can't justify spending way more money for a beefier server that sits there doing nothing most of the time.

    I've spent several days trying to find a way to make the tiling process less memory intensive, with no success. Plus, while I'm tinkering with that, I'm not working on other things. Finally we decided that there were other, more pressing features that needed to be worked on, so we had to make the hard choice and cut the higher zoom levels.

    When I have more free time to work on it, I'd like to try and get those higher zoom levels back. But, to be honest, every day I have less free time, and the TODO pile grows larger and larger. There are an infinite number of features to add, so we have to prioritize some over others.

    The other option is to spin up the expensive dedicated server, but as I said we can't justify the cost at this point. Maybe someday.
    Post edited by Micah on
  • gnunn
    Posts: 423
    Okay, that makes sense... but it still results in only 2 zoom levels that are of any actual use. Having a single 256 x 256 tile displayed in a frame that will fully display a 512 x 512 array consisting of four 256 x 256 tiles means the furthest zoom out is just adding to the load on your servers without providing a use for the viewer. Under the current restraints, you would probably be better off only having zooms 2 & 3 and saving yourself the little bit of extra space and resources taken up by zoom 1. Granted, it would take time to make the change which would probably be better used on other things...
  • Micah
    Posts: 894
    Bingo! Time is our #1 resource. By removing that full zoom out, we'd save 1 256x256 tile per map, saving about 10KB of space each, which is negligible, and the processing to make it is tiny. It's making the 64 and 256 tiles for the higher zooms that kill us.

    I'd rather spend that time making cool stuff :)

    Thanks for listening.
  • gnunn
    Posts: 423
    "I can't resist...":
  • shidarin
    Posts: 11
    Thanks for the explanation Micah. I won't lie and say I'm not disappointed, but the explanation certainly makes sense. I hope at some future date you guys find a way to implement maps in a more useful fashion, but until then the other new features are certainly welcome as well :) As always, thanks for working so hard on the site.
  • sandman
    Posts: 155
    I concur with what shidarin said.

    I hope you can bring the other zoom levels one day, but until then keep working on cool stuff to improve this wonderful site.

    Thanks for taking the time to explain Micah.
  • Idabrius
    Posts: 51
    Again, I'd just like to point out that you can view whatever image from the source. For example, my MASSIVE map of Atva Arun
  • SkidAce
    Posts: 830
    To clarify, new maps don't get the extra levels of zoom correct? Cause older maps still have it. This would make sense since it is the processing (during upload) of the map that you said was resource intensive.
  • Calion
    Posts: 137
    Yeah, I hate to say this, but for the Map feature to be useful to me, I really need to be able to zoom in pretty closely on my map. I suppose I can chop my map up into pieces and upload them separately...
  • Terawatt
    Posts: 3
    I realize I am a little late to this party, but I saw the comment about a dedicated server, specifically "We already have a dedicated server for this, and it sits idle most of the time waiting for maps to be uploaded, then maxes to 100% CPU and memory when tiling." Obviously I don't know much about your environment on the back end, what you're running, etc but have you guys ever considered virtualizing this server with something like the VMware? That way this server could share its resources and when not in use the other servers can have access to them, then when someone uploads a map, the server can grab those resources again. Making sure its configured so that it doesn't slow the other servers down when it runs will be a concern, but should be something that is easily addressed.

    I know VMware isn't the cheapest thing on the planet, but there is a free version that has a few less features and obviously there are alternatives from Microsoft and a few others out there. Might be worth investigating if you haven't already.
  • Greenbeard
    Posts: 3 edited July 2015
    Any progress made in the 6 years since this thread was originated? Currently there are 3 zoom levels, and the middle zoom shows the full map. Zooming out only gains white space. Zooming in isn't quite enough to be useful. Did that whole kickstarter thing put useable maps farther down the list?
    Post edited by Greenbeard on
  • Maesenko
    Posts: 325
    What manner of unholy necromancy be this!?

    Joking aside, maps are still square, there are 5 levels of zoom. Old maps from before the Reforge update need to be reuploaded to fix them to the new 5 level format.

    And yes, it's still a bit of a mess. But with the change of hands, hopefully we'll see something better soon.
    Unfortunately, that's all I've got for ya.



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