Another few days, another few tests. I've been running some renders on both the creative and survival servers using Tectonicus with some good success. The detail from this renderer is quite good, but of course with detail can come longer render time and a larger file size. I've been testing various maximum zoom and number of zoom levels available, along with file type and compression options.
Tectonicus enables us to render players and signs on the map also if we wish. On the maps below I've rendered myself and Sorontar, along with a couple of signs.
The options for signs can be (a) none, (b) all, or (c) special. Special signs are those which both start and finish with any of the following characters:
You can see some examples of how these can be used while still maintaining the visual appeal of the signs by clicking on the sign icons in the below maps.
At this stage I'm leaning towards this as an ongoing solution, subject to finding the sweet spot for the creative server.
Regular Survival Server
I've uploaded what's probably the sweet spot at the moment - provides 6 zoom levels, uses jpg compression at 90% and takes about 36-40 minutes to render with output file sizes below. It's on dropbox as it was easier for me atm. Hopefully the viewing performance is ok.
Day: TOG Minecraft Survival World Map (Day) - 3 March 2011
Night: TOG Minecraft Survival World Map (Night) - 3 March 2011
I'd propose that special signs be rendered on the map, with the expectation that people won't go crazy such that you can't see the map for the sign icons. Players would not be rendered unless enough people want that, and then only those who request they be displayed (as not everyone will want their location / secret base highlighted).
Regular Creative Server
Rendered a couple of times so far - last being 3.5 GB, so obviously need some more testing to find hopefully the sweet spot. Render times are very long, 7 hours for the last one. Caching is implemented, so that should speed things up a bit once I find the best settings and it takes effect.
So, looking for some feedback on the map that's up. Good / bad / too detailed / not detailed enough / like players or signs rendered / too many or few zoom levels?
EDIT: Click on spawn point for stats, and use the link button to generate a link specific to the zoom and focal point you are viewing.