06_AboveCloudsThis is a bit of a personal look at this year’s travel to Indianapolis and my experience on the ProFantasy booth at GenCon. Read on if you enjoy this sort of thing.

I enjoy traveling very much, but a transatlantic flight is still a tiring thing. It takes me about 2 hours to get to Frankfurt airport from where I live, so it always means an early morning start for me. There are no direct flights to Indianapolis from Europe, so the first leg of the journey usually takes me to New York, Detroit or Chicago. Then there’s immigration, another security check and the domestic flight to Indy. All of this easily eats up 20 hours or more. As I can’t sleep on the plane, you can imagine the general state I’m in when I arrive in Indy on Tuesday evening. I have to to say though, that recent changes in the way the US handles the immigration/security checks has reduced waiting times immensely. Where I used to stand 30 minutes to 2 hours in line, I can now just walk up to an immigration terminal and get through the whole thing in 10 minutes. Great!

09_BoothArrivalWednesday is set aside for booth setup. I meet up with Doug and Tommy, who’ve driven over from Columbus the day before, and we usually start building the booth around 10am – if the booth material has arrived yet, as it had this year. Having done this for a few years, we are a practiced team and get it done pretty quickly. As we are sharing the booth with Pelgrane Press and they have a lot more to do with all the heavy books to shift, we usually manage to help them out a bit. Often there’s a problem to sort out: Electricity hasn’t been laid, tables are missing, we need more chairs, etc. which means a trip to convention services or asking around at other exhibitors. This year was fairly easy on that, but Mayfair Games were very helpful in storing some palettes we didn’t have space for. Doug is the champion in getting help – he just has a way with people.

20_ArmadaWednesday evening there’s usually a little time available where I can get in a game or two. Tommy usually brings along some good games, and this year we managed to try a session of Star Wars: Armada which neither of us has had a chance to play before. My Imperial fleet managed to decimate his rebel scum – taking on Star Destroyers in close combat is not such a promising tactic after all. Yay!

Gaming takes my mind away from the jet lag exhaustion at this point, helping to get into the 6-hours-delayed day and night rhythm. If I’d retire to the hotel room, I’d just fall asleep and later be awake most of the night. Still I start waking up at 4am and then sleep only in small bursts until it’s get time get up. By the time I’m acclimatized, it usually time to fly back home to Germany.

25_DemoRunningThursday is the big day – the actual convention starts. It’s early hours for us, since the first customers can enter the exhibitor’s hall at 9am (VIGs – very important customers – spend extra on their tickets for this privilege). Since there is usually some last minute setup to do, things to check, and the computer to boot up, I’m in the hall at 8am, the earliest time you can enter as exhibitor.

The real rush begins when the hall opens to the general public and it’s always fun to see the crowd hurrying towards the booth with limited product or special offers. Fortunately they’ve now managed to convince everyone that running though the aisles is NOT a good idea – even if it had to be through threats of removing ticket privileges. More customers start arriving at our booth around that time, and I get into my routine of explaining (“What are you selling here?”) and/or demoing CC3+ (“Can you show me how it works?”) or the add-ons (“How do I create a starship deckplan”)?

22_RedCarpetWe had the the just released Perspectives 3 installed, but unfortunately no discs or boxes yet. That always makes it a bit hard to generate interest, but I was able to demo the isometric map-making to quite a few people and they liked what they saw! It’s great to see familiar faces and get wonderful feedback from old-time customers, but the largest part of the booth work is getting new people interested in CC3+ – and that is very rewarding. We’ve added at least 60 new people to the fold of CC3+ users over the course of the show, and I am sure several of those will show up on the forum with their work or come back to the booth next year to chat about their experience.

Thursday afternoon and Friday tend to be quieter which gives us the chance to take turns to wander the halls and look around. There’s never enough time to play an actual demo game at one of the many tables, but at least you get to check out new releases, special offers and old friends at other booths.

34_EnnieThursday night is usually reserved for the ProFantasy dinner where we enjoy a good meal together with some freelance cartographers. Unfortunately Alyssa Faden couldn’t make it to GenCon this year, but Mike Schley was there. I can’t say much about it yet, but I’m happy to hint, that there’ll be some cool stuff coming up from further Schley/Profantasy cooperation.

Friday is gala night where the ENnie awards are given out in a big ceremony. ProFantasy wasn’t involved, but Pelgrane Piess always is and won an amazing number of ENnies this year. Congratulations to our booth compatriots!

43_BatmanSaturday is always the busiest day of the show and we do the bulk of our sales. Fortunately it doesn’t get rowdy, but some customers do seem to go to extremes. Thanks, Batman!

Saturday evening I reserved for gaming with friends and we got a nice playtest session in for an upcoming Tolkien-themed deduction game from Ares Games, where the Nazgûl are hunting for the hobbits on their way from Bag End to Rivendell. I got to play Frodo, but the pesky ringwraiths managed to thwart me and recovered the One Ring on the road east of Bree. So much for Middle-earth!

35_DismantlingThings start to slowly wind down on Sunday, with the exhibitor’s hall closing at 4pm. Dismantling the booth and storing everything for shipping went well this year (it can be a pain) and we waved Tommy and Doug goodbye as they headed home. For us long-distance-flyers the trip home is on Monday, giving us time to gather for the big Pelgrane dinner and some drinks in the hotel bar later. Another GenCon well done!

Somehow the trips back to Germany always prove troublesome for me. This year I ran smack into the big Delta Airlines mess up. I missed the connecting flight from Detroit to Frankfurt and had to spent the night and most of the next day in Detroit. At least on the way back it’s not so stressful, as I wisely never place any important appointments on the two days after my return from Indianapolis.

39_IndyAirport
Again it was a wonderful 4-days of gaming (well, mostly work actually, but still) and I’m looking forward to being back in Indianapolis next year!


CA116 River of LifeScorching desert, scouring dust storms and bleak landscapes are the daily lot of your adventuring party? Cruel magic has stripped most life from the surface of your world? This month’s Scorching Sun drawing style by TJ Vandel will let you map this kind of landscape in beautiful detail. Click the image on the right to see a high-detail version of the included example map.

In addition to the style, the included mapping guide gives you two tutorials on topics that come up in CC3+ mapping occasionally: How to add islands and lakes on top similar features without them getting obscured, and how to import fill styles from one drawing style into another.

The issue is now available for CC3+ from the registration page for all subscribers. If you haven’t subscribed to the Annual 2016 yet, you can do so here.

If you’ve used CC3+ on a very high resolution monitor or laptop (e.g. a Surface Pro), you will have come across the problem that the toolbar buttons and other interface parts get very, very small. This is because these parts do not scale with Windows settings and therefore remain at their fixed pixel size.

Update 7 (version 3.73) includes new high resolution icons and screen elements, and also scales toolbars and icons according to your Windows settings. This should greatly improve the usability of CC3+ on Retina-class displays. There may still be the odd glitch with text sizes at certain resolutions and dpi settings, and we will continue to work on these.

Update 7 brings your version of Campaign Cartographer 3+ up 3.73 and is available from the registration page, among the CC3+ downloads.

Tomb of Old King Akhanashen

Tomb of Old King Akhanashen by tonnichiwa

The summer is in full swing (even if it is a little cooler than usual here) and GenCon is getting very close, for ProFantasy’s annual trip to the mecca of gaming: Indianapolis. Let’s see what else has been worth of note in the Newsletter.

News

Resources

Articles

Two months ago we offered a pre-release of Perspectives 3 to our newsletter recipients and owners of Perspectives Pro. The offer was taken up enthusiastically and people started posting their first maps on the community forum just a few hours later. It also helped us to identify a few bugs, which we were able to fix, and we can now officially release Perspectives 3.

Here are a few images taken from the Profantasy forum of what users have created with Perspectives 3. Click on the images to go to the specific thread.

Tomb of Old King Akhanashen

Tomb of Old King Akhanashen by tonnichiwa

Egyptian Tomb by Shessar (with custom art)

Egyptian Tomb by Shessar (with custom art)

Temple pool by Shessar

Temple pool by Shessar

Ship's Landing by tonnichiwa

Ship’s Landing by tonnichiwa

SciFi Airlock by Dkarr (demonstrates custom textures and symbols)

SciFi Airlock by Dkarr (demonstrates custom textures and symbols)

Custom door and windows by Shessar

Custom door and windows by Shessar

Shessar has collected the custom art resources in this thread.

If you have previously installed the pre-release version of Perspectives 3, simply re-download the setup from your registration page and reinstall it. Just make sure you’ve updated CC3+ to the latest version (3.73) before you do. CC3+ Update 7 is available among your CC3+ downloads.

GenCon16It is this time of year again, the ENnie awards are being voted on and GenCon is drawing close. This year the “Best 4 Days in Gaming” are from August 4th to 7th, and of course ProFantasy will be in attendance. You’ll find us sharing with Pelgrane Press at booth #419, right next to Chaosium and Goodman Games.

We will have Perspectives 3 at the show, so f you haven’t purchased it yet and want to have a demo first, drop by and let us show you!
GenCon Exhibitor Hall

Castle_Floor 1lrgThe Vintyri Project has released another great and free add-on to CC3+: Bogie’s Mapping Objects. Here are their own words:

Bogie’s Mapping Objects includes more than 100 fills (textures) and more than 1,000 symbols (objects). In addition to general collections for dungeon and city mapping, the collection also includes Bogie’s Redthorn Tavern, generally considered to the the definitive graphical collection for mapping floor plans of taverns and inns.

Bogie is one of the leading creators of third party symbols for Dundjinni. He also is a community leader at the Cartographers Guild and an admin at the Dundjinni forums. Some of our CC3+ beta testers think that Bogie’s symbols are the finest quality they’ve ever seen. If you use the CSUAC, you already have some of his older work, which is included in it.

Horn Stars 01For several years, Bogie has been creating and posting nearly 1,300 symbols in Dundjinni format at the addresses listed above and at his own DeviantArt site. Many of his fans (including the Vintyri Project) consider his masterpiece to be the Redthorn Tavern Art Pack, a collection of about 250 symbols that give a cartographer just about anything one might need to make fantastic floor plans for taverns.

We (the Vintyri Project) have been thinking for some time that it would be great if Bogie’s collections were converted for Fractal Mapper 8 and for CC3+, to fully integrate them into both products, and, in the case of CC3+, to make them available in the multiple resolutions with which CC3+ works best.

Soulburn Castle_Floor 2lrgThe download package for Bogie’s Mapping Objects is available from the Vintyri Project page. We (ProFantasy) have cooperated with the Vintyri project to make the add-on install into CC3+ and its add-ons (DD3 and CD3) as seamlessly as possible, but please do read the installation instructions closely to avoid any problems or confusion!

All example maps here were created and are the copyright of S D McDaniel. They are used with permission. If you want to check the EULA that covers the use of Bogie’s Mapping Objects, you can find that here.
Horn Stars 02

CA115 Southern MarapiaNeed a nicely illustrated map for your campaign? Perhaps as a hand-out for your players? Or a clear-printing map for your book project? This month’s “Woodcut Maps” style might just be the thing for you. Created by TJ Vandel it takes its inspiration from early-modern woodcut prints. More than 230 new symbols let you create a wide variety of landscapes. Click the image on the right to see a high-detail version of the included example map.

The issue is now available for CC3+ from the registration page for all subscribers. If you haven’t subscribed to the Annual 2016 yet, you can do so here.

Recently we updated Character Artist 3 to be compatible with CC3+, and I jumped at the chance to work with that character builder again, doing some example drawings. I chose the characters from our 13th Age campaign, because they are such a great mix of classic (and not-so-classic) D&D-types.

Heroes Of Drakkenhall
Meet the heroes of Drakkenhall. Mostly these were easy to do with the basic Character Artist 3 options. The monster option has a lizard man figure that works great as a Dragonborn, and the halfling model doubles as a gnome just fine, if you skip the hairy feet.

Calor smilesSome player-requested changes were quick and easy to make. “Abigail has red hair, not black!” – simple, just switch out the hair symbol for the correctly colored one. Others turned out a little more complicated. “Calor should have less full lips, but with a friendlier smile” – alright, I had to break out Photoshop for that and edit one of the mouth PNGs to create a new symbol. I drew the flames on the Dragonborn’s scimitar with CC3+’s vector tools and then applied a blur sheet effects.

Overall I spent perhaps 15 minutes on each figure on average, plus another half hour composing the group shot. And while it certainly doesn’t match the players’ image of their own characters 100%, it’s still a nice visual impression of the group. I’m looking forward to their next exploits on the ruined streets of Drakkenhall!

P.S.: There is one special character that I indeed have to skip: P3358, the forgeborn fighter. That’s a character race, that CA3 does not support at the moment.

CA114 The Three Nations BelowDid you ever want to venture into the vast darkness of the subterranean landscape beneath the oceans, mountains and forests of your surface world? With Pär Lindström’s Dungeon World style you can now map this journey in detail. Cross the dense mushroom forests and the plains of moss of lichen, scale mountain ranges of stalagmites and contend with the underground nations of brainflensers and dark elves with the June issue of the Cartographer’s Annual 2016.

The issue is now available for CC3+ from the registration page for all subscribers. If you haven’t subscribed to the Annual 2016 yet, you can do so here.

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