Monthly Archives: September 2019

Wonderdraft – first impressions

As a D&D Dungeon Master I occationally need to create maps, and I discovered Wonderdraft. I have tried it a bit and I will make notes in this post (and update as I learn) hoping it could be useful for other people thinking about getting Wonderdraft.

Initial productivity

I spent a few hours the first evening I got Wonderdraft and I produced two real maps for my D&D campaign. One is a town, and I think I need to learn more to make good town maps, but it is ok. The other one is a more black and white map with towns, paths, mountains, rivers and a few named places.

One feature that surprised me was that I can import a picture (a PNG scan of a map) and it makes a map of it. It does not get good, but at least you get the basics. If you have a map with coasts and forests and towns and you just want the proportions right this is useful.

I learnt a little later that you can rotate a symbol using they keys: . and , before placing it.


The Wonderdraft web page is quite clear that a powerful computer with a decent GPU is needed or recommended. I have tried a few different computers and reasonably small maps (1920×1280).

  • Painfully slow
    • Mac Book Pro Mid 2010
    • NUC 54250WYKH (4th generation i5), 2013 (Ubuntu)
  • Working fine
    • MacBook Air 2014
    • MacBook Air 2015
  • Working perfectly
    • NUC Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK (8th gen i7), 2018 (Windows)

What I am saying here is that for my initial, not so large or complex maps, I am satisfied with the performance of 2014 computers and newer, running macOS and Windows: Wonderdraft was snappy and immediate. With the painfully slow machines there is a 1s latency on everything. But it works.

Map size matters much though! I tried some assets on the MacBook from 2010 and used 800×600 maps. Then performance was acceptable (although I had occational crashes).

Extra Assets

There is a community for extra free assets with Wonderdraft. I did things backwards, but I recommend you make it easy for yourself.

  • Click “community links” in the menu
  • Click “Mythkeeper”
  • Install Mythkeeper (macOS and Windows only)
  • Run Mythkeeper

I started working with manual downloads, manual unzip, manual placement of folders in my asset-folder, and Mythkeeper simplifies it all very much.

Chromebook (Acer R13) as developer computer

I got myself a Chromebook (Acer R13 with ARM CPU, because I like to make it difficult for myself) quite a while ago, and it has been a mixed experience.

Now, however, with Chrome OS 76, I am actually rather satisfied both the the Acer R13 and with Chrome OS and the things I want to do finally just work!

General Laptop Aspects

Thinking about my Acer R13 as a laptop, it is quite decent:

  • very good battery time (although it drains when left it sleeping for long)
  • very quick startup/shutdown
  • simple to use Google login and Google docs
  • display, keyboard and touchpad is fine, weight is low, it is silent
  • chrome OS works well
  • performance is acceptable (mostly web browsing)

Developer and productivity aspects

I do web development, using Node.js, Vue, git and a web browser (it is a quite simple and limited toolset). This now works very well.

  • “Linux (beta)” works out of the box for my purposes (it is now finally stable on R13).
  • lxterminal gets me a simple tabbed terminal application.
  • Chrome OS 76 comes with virtual desks (very convenient).
  • nodejs (for ARM8) works perfectly

A few things to note about the Linux environment

  • it runs in a container, you can run more than one if you want, but the default container is Debian stretch (9.9) which is all good for me
  • since it is a container, you don’t access it at “localhost” but rather an IP that you get running “hostname -I” (for web development purposes or admin-UI)
  • the files in your linux home directory are accessible directly from ChromeOS under “Linux Files”, if you want to open something in Chrome, use Ctrl+O and just browse normally (it just works, it is just simple)


If you need a decent laptop at a good price, and you want Linux on it, a Chromebook is a very realistic option.