The new Master’s Toolkit

Hey folks!

After over a year of redesign and development, we’ll be updating the public version of the Toolkit in approx. 24 hours. As you can imagine, there’s a lot of changes, so there’s a couple of things you’ll need to know going into it.

FIRST OF ALL

The experience is very different. It’s essentially a whole new software, and there may be a bit of a learning curve. A pdf manual, FAQ and a video will be available shortly, but even with those you veterans might want to give it some time to accustom to. If you are proficient and experienced with our old design and have a game coming up soon, please DO NOT UPDATE just yet. Make sure you have time to get to know the new system and its quirks before you take the leap, there is some warming up in order, but once you get used to it, we guarantee you will never want to look back.

Now, onto the new stuff:

USER INTERFACE

UI: A completely new and lightweight interface has been implemented to make the toolkit easier to run, and more intuitive to use. Most of the new UI has been finalized and there should be minimal changes moving forward. We thank our users Tidal Waveforms and Zalkenai for their involvement in the new design. It is fresh, efficient and modern. We’ve tried to take on the mantra of ‘Clear and unambiguous’, so if you notice anything that breaks this, definitely let us know!

We have gone through a lot of different iterations of different modules but now all of them are under the same design and style.
The biggest change came to the Soundscapes module, as this has been completely redesigned.

The Ambience Player window of the Master's Toolkit. Three presets are active in the player, with one expanded to show several ambience tracks
Introducing the modular ambience system

Instead of hard coded presets, you can hot swap parts of a preset, and a completely modular design lets you be able to fine tune what your encounters and maps would truly sound like. Proximity-based audio is also available, letting you place soundscapes directly onto your maps, so a campfire would only crackle in your ears, if you are sitting next to it.

An ambieince preset is placed on a map. An outer blue circle shows the sound falloff zone, and an inner green circle shows the zone where the volume is at maximum
A placed ambience preset. Blue is falloff radius, green is max volume
The Scenario module has been removed and will not return in its old form. We have heard and seen you using the toolkit over the years, we experienced using it too, and having two separate modules to create maps and run encounters no longer seems intuitive. Now instead of plugins, simply all functions are easily accessible and with the palette tool gone, we welcome the “hand”, the tool to let you build and edit anything on your maps.

A small section of a map is visible with the Cartographer 'Hand' window in the forefront
Goodbye object wheel 🙁

 

Yes, we are sad to say that both the palette tool and the object wheel are no more. They served us well for three faithful years, but we no longer have palettes. As we expanded our features, we kept battling the object wheel to accommodate easy-to-access controls on it so we needed a change. They will spend the remainder of their days in the Arkenforge Valhalla, reminiscing about the good old days with the old Pack Creator.
A window system has been implemented, with 2+ monitor support (up to 8 maximum) for extra productivity, and various accessibility features have been implemented to make sure that the Toolkit is visible and understandable for everyone, regardless of hardware.

The Accessibility panel in the Master's Toolkit. UI scale is set to 150%, and the OpenDyslexic font is enabled. Various UI recolouring options are also shown
New accessibility options,. OpenDyslexic font option, along with UI scaling and UI recolouring options.

 

CONTENT

We have redesigned the way we store and read content. You won’t need to put on a kettle after launch anymore, as the toolkit now boots near instantly! The redesign means that we needed to rebuild all of our previous packs to the new format. All packs are being updated to only be useable with the new Toolkit, so if you’re staying with the current public version, make sure to not update any of your content packs either.
The entire Toolkit now runs on a pure file/folder system, so you’ll never need to worry about building palettes when importing your content ever again! We’ve made the new import process much more seamless, and given a few new options of content import types:

The Import Content window of the Master's Toolkit is open. The 'Mapping Assets' tab is open
Drag your imported content directly into your content library!

NOTES

Encyclopedia is now not just for quests. Tokens are officially in! You will need to make a note with a token attached, vision configured and drop them onto your map. HP bar can be set to easily oversee your battles.

A demon token is shown on a map. The token has a circular health bar around it. The health bar is green, and approximately 3/4 full
TOKENS!!!!!
The purpose of your notes is now in your hands as well, as we have also applied our modular design to note elements, allowing you to create notes with the exact structure you want!. Embed media, interlink notes to maps, soundscapes to notes, maps to maps, go wild!

The note for a Dragon Demon is shown on screen. Stat fields are shown, as well as descriptive text, vision, and media fields
Notes look a LOT better now

INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY

We’ve added two new features to greatly increase productivity – the Arkenbar, and fully customisable hotkeys!
The Arkenbar is always available at the right side of your screen. You can drag any content here for instant access, letting you have all your important material prepped and ready to go for your sessions.

A screenshot of the top of the Arkenbar. Several different content types are visible
The Arkenbar – diligently storing any type of content you require.
Next up is our new hotkey system. Not only can almost every function in the Toolkit have a hotkey assigned to it, but ANY content in the Toolkit can also be assigned a custom hotkey that can be used at any time.

THE ROAD TO SUCCESS

67 thoughts on “The new Master’s Toolkit”

  1. I did not see it mentioned here…
    If we update now will our current content stay organized as it is or conformed into the new storage/organizational format?

  2. Is the content only organised based on the pack its contained in? No more organising by type (walls, floor, tree, etc)? Or am I missing a sorting option?

    1. Content is currently only organised by folder structure. Using the search functionality is currently the best way to find content.
      We’ll be releasing patches in the future that should organise content a little better 🙂

  3. I just updated to the new Master’s Toolkit and opened a map I created using the old toolkit. The only content that is NOT missing are the tokens I imported. The map is otherwise entirely empty. It gives me the option to replace each item of missing content with what I assume are the new assets. However, I see no way to add/ place objects to maps using the new Toolkit. How can I add anything to the map in Cartographer using the new Master’s Toolkit? It is not clear at all.

    1. Hey Kingshades!

      We’ve had some issues with the pack updates not applying correctly. We’ll have this fixed soon, and then your maps should load in fine 🙂

  4. Yes this just screwed up the file structure. Only two maps were imported in and the rest were not. How do I initiate import of all old maps at start up? Doing it manually didnt work

    1. Was the issue that your Maps aren’t visible in the map browser, or that the content in those maps isn’t appearing?

      If it’s the latter, we’ll have pack updates out soon that should fix the issues 🙂

      1. Hi. Sorry for late reply. The problem was, the new version did not import all of the maps from the older version. Only 2 out of 6 were imported. And even then, it wasn’t very useable since it kept asking about missing files. None of the PNGs loaded. I kept tried to do it manually, but it didn’t work. So I deleted it and installed an earlier version since I have a session going on during weekends.

  5. bad_reverb

    Looks like I’m having the same issue. All my imported content is not showing on my map (except my tiles and player tokens) and a whole level is gone, in addition. I’m a little concerned about this, as I have a game next weekend. 🙁 I’m excited to learned how to work the new updates. Just anxious to get my map back and working.

    1. We’re working on getting everything back up and running 🙂
      Packs should be fixed shortly. Your imported content will hopefully appear correctly in a patch or two.

  6. Tylor McGowan

    So I’m a fool, and didn’t read this before launching my game tonight. Ahh well, My players are cool and we’re understanding when I had 30 minutes to learn parts of a new software. All-in-all I’m getting used to it. Likewise, some map packs were not present, leaving me with only about 50% content. Many items were not able to populate and needed to be replaced. So far, the only thing that frustrated me was the soundscapes. All the content was gone. It still had names of my presets, but there was no content. I was able to load in some music off my desktop, but the sound effects and ambiance was gone. I am excited to learn about the hotkey function, as well as the token “notes” aspect, that is going to be quite handy. Thank you Arkenforge team! Keep up the hard work. 😁

  7. As mentioned by others, there is a bunch of stuff missing on my maps. There’s even a bunch of stuff missing from the sample maps that came with the Master’s Toolkit.
    I just purchased the toolkit not very long ago and was getting the hang of it. I’ve imported a lot of stuff and made a bunch of packs and palettes.
    Aside from that, I’ve been mucking around in the new toolkit and I am happy/unhappy with some of the changes. I know you guys have some updates to work on and will be busy with that. I have some things to mention or suggest that I’ve seen as I learn this new update:
    1. The hand tool. I liked the wheel tool that was in there. It seemed pretty intuitive to me. I can get used to the hand tool and like it so far but the window for it could be a little bigger or adjustable in size.
    2. The “eye” icon for hide/unhide of things makes it harder to tell what is hidden/unhidden. Before the update an item would have a blue outline around it if it was hidden. It was easy to see just looking at the map what was hidden. With the update, you would have to click on each item to see if it is hidden/unhidden. Not very user friendly. I run a D&D session and build a lot of maps in advance of my sessions and it was nice to see what was hidden by just looking at it when I would revisit a map to make changes or tweak it depending on what was going on in my scenario.
    3a. Adding stuff to maps. I liked the palette but didn’t like the fact that it was in the way a lot of times when building maps. I’m hoping the new update will be just as organized(if not more), as the palettes when adding things.
    3b. I don’t like how when you add items to the map you have to add it to the content library first to select it. I liked the way you were able to add things to the map by the media import function which opens up a window and I can select it. Sometimes I find an item on the web. For example a chair. I download it, click media import, select it and it gets added to the map. If I don’t like how it looks, I just delete it from the map and where I downloaded it to and it’s gone. With the update, I have to add it to the content library, look/search for it, and select it to add to map. If I don’t like it, I delete it from the map and then have to delete it from the library and where I downloaded it to which makes a few extra steps that are not useful. Maybe add a window that comes up when adding something not in the content library that asks if you want to add it to the library?
    4. The floating object addition. Love it! Would like to be able to have a choice to make something that is floating move either left/right OR up/down instead of just up/down.
    5. Shake/spin. Love it! No gripes.
    6. Window based windows for everything. Love it! I love the fact that you can minimize a window when working on something. Thank you for this!
    7. Arkenbar. Love it! Having stuff readily available on a sidebar is a breath of fresh air. Only gripe is when I’m working on a map and drag something to the sidebar the map screen moves when I’m dragging which makes me have to drag the screen back to where I was on the map.
    8. Scenario mode gone. Thank you! Happy to have one section to run a session where everything is right there for easy access.
    Aside from a few gripes I’m really liking what I’ve seen so far and appreciate all you guys have put into this. Keep up the good work. Sorry for the long comment/rant. May have more as I learn about this great piece of software.

    1. Thanks for all the feedback 🙂
      Regarding point #2, holding ALT will show everything that’s hidden. The outline system was a bit too resource intensive unfortuantely.

  8. Tiffany Cox

    so when i updated, and found the maps, it will load them but it just doesnt actually load them. just loads of missing assets. currently cant make maps

  9. Byronovich

    Well, the Update option showed up and 1/2 before my session (has always been plenty of time for an update and to reload) …so I updated and now, two days later, still downloading and trying to update The Wild and Towns and Cities packs (which has been a waste of time – twice!). And the only content I have to work with is Essentials. So…..ALL OF MY MAPS are useless – missing content of every type – none of the community packs are available – so much for my campaign! So, I tried to recreate a map for a game I’ve had to postpone twice now, and the toolset crashed. To say that I am not impressed is an understatement. How can you justify releasing an “update” that makes all existing content null and void!?

    1. We apologise for the inconvenience. We’ve got a huge number of people hitting our update server, so downloads are running incredibly slowly.

      We’re working on getting the new packs up and running 🙂 Most of the official content packs should be good to go if you reinstall them

  10. JackTheDungeonMaster

    Whenever I try and upload a map from my computer its all blurry and poor quality. I pull a lot of maps from different places and put them in Arkenforge to adjust and add things. How can I prevent them from being blurry and poor quality?

  11. bigbaddaboom

    is Dungeons Deep, Ice and Snow, and the quarantine pack getting updated? Is there anyway to get community packs working again? Can I help in any way?

      1. Tipsy Dungeoneering Guild

        sweet thanks for the quick reply… I’m pretty excited about using this software with obs/discord, I even set up a frame with alphanumeric grid to allow calling out where they want to move to (18in w x 12in h)

  12. Give it a few hours and you will find your way with the new design. Works like a charm for me. As I’m also work on my new Macbook, the toolkit crashes every time when I hit cancel in a browsing menu. For instance, if you open up the “content import”, then hit “cancel” in the browsing menu, the toolkit crash and does a force close. Any idea on that?
    I can imagine that you will first fix issues on the windows version.

  13. Give it a couple of hours and the new design works very nice. Good job!
    I was wondering if the DPS integration is still possible or will it be scheduled for an upcoming update?
    Also, when I use my new Macbook the Master Toolkit crashes every time when I click on cancel in a browse windows. For instance, open “import content” > “upload” and click on “cancel” in the browse menu. Then It looks like a force quite on the app. Did not test this yet on the windows laptop tbh.

  14. Hi there, I’ve tried to update Towns and Cities about 5 times now and it keeps freezing at 100% download so the install never happens. I’ve tried repairing the launcher, and the launcher is currently updated. Any suggestions?

  15. Travok Helljaw

    Hi there,
    I’m a new user and have been playing around with the map maker in the new toolkit. I’ve been attempting to place objects on the map, but am having trouble with a number of things right off the bat:
    – Segments sometimes do and don’t connect up with one rooms/halls.
    – Some objects, when placed, have aspects that are transparent.
    – When I place an object, room, or hall, that object cannot be tweaked or moved again as it is not possible to actually select the object.
    – Some modular objects with multiple layers have tiles that seem to be disconnected from the actual image (ex. modular objects in Dungeons of Pain content pack like “Dwarven small way” in “City of Dwarves”).

    I’m hoping that these are either temporary glitches or are on my end due to my lack of experience with the software (in which case I am looking forward to the pdf guide and tutorial videos)! Appreciate any help I can get! Thanks!

  16. Not sure if this is the place to ask but is there a forum or message board for Arkenforge? Is there a place to share content with others? I made some status tokens and would like to share with the community.

  17. Hi. Sorry for late reply. The problem was, the new version did not import all of the maps from the older version. Only 2 out of 6 were imported. And even then, it wasn’t very useable since it kept asking about missing files. None of the PNGs loaded. I kept tried to do it manually, but it didn’t work. So I deleted it and installed an earlier version since I have a session going on during weekends.

  18. Hello,

    I’m very frustrated with the new update, several maps and hours of work are almost useless at this point and I’ve had to cancel the last of two session of our campaign as well.

    -Do community packs work any more? I’ve got quite a bit of missing content I cannot replace or access. I’ve deleted any re-imported several community packs numerous times to no avail even with the all toolkit and launcher updated to the most current version.

    -Can you save grouped objects any more? I’ve figured out how to select multiple assets and move together them but can’t figure out how to save them. I’ve also noticed that the scale is off when you manipulate grouped objects. For instance, if I put a crown asset on a skeleton asset and group them, when I try to reduce the size, the crown scales down differently and is no longer positioned on the skeleton’s head.

    -It seems like some assets don’t have light barriers built in any more? For example, If you want to use a door, you have to then add a light barrier on top of the door then try to manipulate them both which is tedious.

    -I miss the Arken-wheel, it made it it much easier to manipulate smaller assets on the map. Now if you are zoomed too far out and try to manipulate an asset, all five white dots sit on top of each other.

    I feel like Sisyphus who just got his rock to the top of the hill only to watch it roll down again when it comes to fixing all my maps. Apologies for rant, I’ve greatly enjoyed your tool to this point.

    1. Thanks for the feedback!

      – Community packs are being updated. Shouldn’t be too long before they’re ready to go.

      – Right click on a grouped asset and select ‘save as group preset’. The scaling issue is a new one that we’ll investigate!

      – All assets still work the same. You may just need to head to the Lighting menu on the Hand and turn on shadows

      – We’ve had a few folks now lament the loss of the Hand. Unfortunately it was a necessary removal. We should be able to sort out the issue of manipulating small assets.

      1. Thank you for the response Nathan, I appreciate it.

        I have a great deal of respect for you and your team’s creativity, dedication and commitment and this product.

        Keep the faith!

  19. Mattyperry1983

    What has happened to Arkenforge? it has suddenly become terrible to use. i don’t have access to all my purchased content anymore, only a couple of the packs i have purchased actually work now. None of the community packs are working and all my maps are showing missing assets. i don’t like this new Arkenforge unfortunately. Back to Dungeondraft i go

    1. This is a temporary issue that we’re working on fixing. Apologies for the issues that you’re experiencing.

      It shouldn’t be too long before all packs are back up and running properly.

      1. Mattyperry1983

        Thanks Nathan, apologies if i came across a bit rude. It has been a while since i used the software and i guess i was just a little surprised at how different everything was. I am an avid fan of your product and have used it for a while now, i am sure i will get to grips with the new layout and how it all works. Thank you

  20. It’s unusable. There are no tutorials or help of any kind beyond a very basic pdf file. The extra packs I’ve added can’t be found or used. The downloadable community maps do nothing but throw errors. I’m thinking of going back to graph paper and a ruler.

  21. kwanzanaut

    Hey All!

    I see all of the comments above, and I’ve built some pretty intense maps. I guess up until tonight I was operating off of one of the older patches, and I got an automatic update tonight. I’ve lost everything. My custom maps are there with only content I’ve uploaded, my Arkenforge can’t find any of the content packs, and it won’t let me upload what I have. Pretty disappointed, and it feels like I’ve tried everything. Bummed because I have a game coming up tonight – and can’t seem to do anything to fix it. Any help would be amazing!

    1. kwanzanaut

      Update: Got everything up and running. Had to uninstall and reinstall a few times. Do like the new U/I – there is a lot of potential here and excited to work through it!

  22. Nytemare007

    Hello, pretty new to this but did have a chance to play with the old version and am finding the new update taking longer to build anything. Mostly having issues with manipulation of object, put one down and the white dots sometime show up other times are nowhere around, then times when they are i click and drag the object, instead of resizing, goes flying out of view. Also other times I can not ever reclick the object to do anything with it, I can sometimes get it to work again by selecting something to put down and just deselecting. I understand new programming has bug but taking 20-30 minutes to make a bed larger is frustrating to say the least.

    1. That definitely sounds incredibly frustrating!

      Are you experiencing these issues on Windows or Mac? Feel free to jump into our Discord at discord.gg/arkenforge and we’ll try and get you all sorted 🙂

  23. Hello, I had a great deal of content loaded in from creator “Dimetrianos,” but it seems, no matter how many times I delete and re-install those community packs, they simply do not load in. At LEAST half of the assets within my maps are missing, as I used a lot of their models and assets for my maps. Any news on when this will be fixed? If it won’t be fixed, that’s really disheartening and I may delete the software altogether, as I spent dozens of hours editing my maps to be just so.

      1. Thanks for the quick reply. However, it seems the “download all the packs” link is broken. Any help you can give for that? also, Torsten’s Letters and Numbers and DPS Rubble, among other DPS packs seem to not exist on your website anymore, and some of those were literally the entire foundation of my a few of my maps.

          1. I tried to install one of the community packs. I used the import pack feature. It installed but I can’t find them anywhere.

          2. You should be able to find the content under the ‘official packs’ tab in the Cartographer module

          3. Hello, unfortunately that is the same link that the one in the store leads to and for some reason it’s just not working. Even if I choose “Open link in a new tab,” the new tab opens for a milisecond and immediately closes. A name doesn’t even pop up.

          4. Still don’t see them. In file explorer under this path: C:\Arkenforge\ArkenforgeData\Packs\DimetrianosTorsten’s Numbers & Letters\Media\Cartographer
            It is empty. Under C:\Arkenforge\ArkenforgeData\Packs\Dungeons Deep\Media\Cartographer\Effects\Objects it has both rwfile and rwmeta in them.

          5. For some reason clicking the link doesn’t seem to work, but copy/pasting the link into your browser should start the download

  24. radioactive_beaver

    Honestly have loved and championed your software for years now. This new setup you got had me rushing around last night as I tried to prepare for my session. I ended up just using inkarnate because unlike your claims I feel like nothing is intuitive. I can’t find how to create tiles, walls, etc… let alone bring in objects. Its like i see an empty program with nothing to offer. I feel like if you are moving forward it should be easier to pick up. I’m sure I can figure it all out by just reviewing a how to but i should be able to get something on the map without it and right now its basically a broken piece of software as far as i’m concerned until i have time to relearn your new “intuitive system”

    1. We realise it is a big change. It’s basically a v2.0 of the Toolkit, and it’s gonna take a bit of time to get the hang of the new UI, especially after years of something quite different.

      We’re still working through the Toolkit to get things easier to understand, so hopefully once you’re able to take the time to learn the new system it’ll be a lot better than the previous one 🙂

  25. Knight5923

    Maybe I’m just missing it, but in this new setup is there no eye dropper tool anymore? I’m trying to expand on a map I started before the update, and the ability to just pick up a customized floor tile or wall would be a hell of a lot easier than trying to recreate it all from scratch.

    1. The eyedropper tool has been removed, as it’s no longer necessary.
      You can now select the content you want to pick up, then set a placement mode directly from the hand to start placing it down.

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