Mr. Xanadu’s Cool Tools
The Xanadu Report
Who doesn’t love a cool gadget or app that can do all sorts of superfluous things? I for one literally have an entire folder dedicated to them on Google Chrome (Don’t you dare judge me!) A good lot of them are used for roleplaying on Ongoing Worlds. Most of them don’t actually contribute to the actual writing, they’re mostly used for expanded universe content (I wrote a rather lengthy article on that a while back). I figured, just for the fun of it, I’d put them up here for you guys to use.
It’s a real potpourri of gadgets, most of which aren’t useful unless you’re making expanded universe content. My suggestion is to use some of those particular gadgets to get started on an expanded universe!
Anywho, here’s a few of Mr. Xanadu’s cool tools, each with a screencap of the tool (and a look at Mr Xanadu’s sweet sweet browser theme). Click on the screenshot to go to the tool! Everything here I have used personally and I can guarantee you that they are all free, and there are no strings attached.
Family Crest Generator
Created and hosted by MyTribe101.com
This is a rather useful tool that I’ve used a few times for short stories, and to make that righteous crest that heads up my articles. It uses a simple GUI to create an emblem for a family (or in my case, a pseudonym). It uses authentic designs from historic family crests to create a shield that actually has a meaning behind it.
Recommendation: Use this to make crests for the families or clans in your game, or maybe to make crests for nations/empire.
Created by Lars Ruoff
This one I’ve used dozens of times before. It’s a flag creator that lets you…..create flags! (If you guessed that it lets you draft plans for houses, you were dead wrong). It has an extremely simple GUI that lets you create a unique flag for a nation, corporation, family, etc. An interesting feature is that it saves your flag online as an SVG file so that you can pull it up any time (WARNING: Your browser must support SVG files to use this app. The app will tell you if it does or doesn’t upon loading the page).
Recommendation: Make a unique flag for your nations! This app is perfect for games about empires or nations!
Picture Customization Tools
Created and hosted by BigHugeLabs.com
This is a collection of apps, rather than a single one. I decided to post these together as documenting all of them was a task I didn’t have the patience for (I already told you to stop judging me!) This site hosts a collection of fun tools to make custom pictures, ranging from movie posters to ID tags. There’s dozens of interesting tools here, so I can only really recommend you check them out for yourself and experiment!
Recommendation: Honestly, there’s no end to what you can do with these. It’s limited only by your imagination.
Created by Kevin Gill
This is a fun tool that I’ve used only once or twice. It’s a unique tool that lets you create a 3D model of a planet. The GUI can get a little confusing (I recommend this to people with patience), but in the end you have a 3D model of an extraterrestrial planet, an Earth of a distant future, or some sort of colony. You’re also able to take screenshots and full screen captures of your planet, so you could use it in a post or maybe even as a game icon!
Recommendation: Sci-fi games, obviously. Make a picture of your colony, homeworld, or maybe the target of an invasion!
Created by Maciej Kurant
This is a tool that has saved me from total mental failure brought on by the stress of thinking of a good sounding acronym. One of my most eponymous characters, the Autonomous LEarning Compute (ALEC), was born through this. This is a fairly simple tool, put in the words you want to use (and check those that are required in the phrase), set the parameters (like what kinds of names you want to use), then BOOM, acronyms! Be warned that some will be hilarious (I once had some pretty interesting suggestions involving animals for a strategic defense program).
Recommendation: It’s an acronym creator, so honestly, it’s only limited by your imagination.
Created and Hosted by Donjon
This one is a godsend for anyone that’s tried to make a map for their fictional land. It will create a unique map based on your parameters (how much of the world is water/land, are there rivers? Etc.) This has come in handy numerous times and has definitely saved my hair from pulling out during a failed attempt to make a map in MS Paint. This process may take a bit, and sometimes Donjon’s server might be busy with other requests, so be patient, the end result is well worth the wait! For best results, turn off the hex grid, turn off geography, rivers, cities and castles, and turn of ‘label map’, which will create a basic map that can be edited later.
Recommendation: This is extremely useful for fantasy games that need a map of their land. It’s honestly good for any game that needs to show the players what the lay of the land is.
I hope you guys can find some use of these interesting tools! I’d love to see some of your handiwork in the comments!