A few years ago, I decided to play some old-school dungeon crawlers that I had missed out on as a kid, so I started looking for a software tool to replace traditional pencil-and-paper mapping. Unfortunately, none of the readily available solutions were to my liking. Spreadsheet applications (a popular choice among many cRPG enthusiasts) are too fiddly and slow to work with, and the dungeon mapping tools I could find were either overcomplicated, too bare-bones, unattractive, or just didn’t have the type of keyboard-driven interface I was looking for.
And that last point is the critical one. A grid-based cRPG with say ten 32×32 dungeons has 10,240 cells in total. Supposing only 30–50% of those are cells that you can actually visit, that’s still three to five thousand little squares to map during the course of a single playthrough. You can easily spend 20–40 hours to complete a classic cRPG, and often much longer! Because of this, it’s reasonable to expect the same level of efficiency and ergonomics from any dungeon mapping tool that one would from any professional editing software.
When designing Gridmonger, my main goal was to make map creation an as efficient and enjoyable experience as possible. The basic idea was simple: most classic cRPGs are keyboard-driven, therefore mapping them has to be keyboard-driven as well. Ideally, you would not even have to lift your fingers from the keyboard while simultaneously playing and mapping the game!
Let me stress this again: Gridmonger is meant to be used while playing the game. While other programs might bedazzle you with a large variety of features, Gridmonger’s scope is purposefully kept small and focused. It aims to do one thing, and do it exceedingly well:
Be the ultimate keyboard-driven grid-based cRPG mapping companion!
I do hope you will have as much fun mongering grids with the program as I had developing it!