Accompanying CC3+ and it’s addons are a host of different symbols, all arranged neatly into symbol catalogs. These catalogs are arranged by map type, map style, and symbol theme/content. For example, there is one symbol catalog containing structure symbols from the Mike Schley Overland style, while a completely different symbol catalog contains furniture symbols from the standard DD3 dungeon style. Generally, these catalogs are arranged in such a way that clicking the various symbol catalog buttons (the toolbar right above your mapping area) loads different symbol catalogs relevant to the current map type and style. And if you need a symbol catalog from a different style, you can always click the Load Symbol Catalog button and browse for a different symbol catalog manually.

But did you know that CC3+ allows you to easily manage these catalogs and their content? For example, you can create a new catalog containing all your favorite symbols, collecting symbols from different styles and even map types into one catalog. In this article, I’ll guide you trough making such a custom catalog; for this example, I’ll be making a catalog that collects all the statue symbols from the various dungeon styles I have available to me. I often use statues as dungeon/floorplan dressing, and it would be great to have all of these available in one place. This catalog will mix symbols from different styles, so not every symbol in this catalog will work in every map obviously, but you can often mix symbols from different styles with great success.

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This is the second article in my series about XP development. To understand this article properly, you should be familiar with the contents of the previous articles.

In this article, we’ll talk about how we can manipulate our drawing. In CC3+, a drawing is really a series of entities, so we are going to have a closer look at what an entity really is, how to create new entities in the map, and how to access and manipulate existing entities.

Entities

Everything in a CC3+ map is an entity; a symbol, a line, a landmass and so on. This term should be well known to all CC3+ mappers, as it is the term used in official documentation. However, it isn’t just these visible things that are entities, almost everything stored in a CC3+ drawing is an entity, such as a map note or an effect. We can view an entity as a data container for one specific thing or aspect of our map.

When working on an XP, you are almost always going to be handling entities. After all, manipulating entities is needed no matter what you want to do with the drawing, including extracting information from it, so understanding how to work with these is very important.

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Many gamers use some kind of digital solution such as virtual table-top software to display maps on a projector or computer screen even when running a local game (as opposed to running a game over the internet, where such software is pretty much required). All of these software solutions have their advantages and disadvantages, but  CC3+ itself may actually be a very good solution, depending on your needs. Now, just to start with the limitations, CC3+ don’t have any kind of remote viewing/projecting options, so this do require that you share the screen you are actually working on (This can be a secondary screen/projector that is set up to mirror yours, or it can be done through screen sharing software, which allow others to see your screen even over the internet).

So, why would you use CC3+ for this? What advantages does it have over other VTT software? Well, the main reason CC3+ is good for this is that this is where you made your map in the first place. This means that the map is fully interactive, and you have all your regular CC3+ tools available to you to manipulate the map during play. If you export the map from CC3+ to an image file for use in a VTT program, then everything becomes static. In CC3+ you can hide or show sheets and layers, you can move symbols and edit whatever you need to do.

Of course, CC3+ isn’t optimized for use during play, while a VTT program is made just for that purpose, so some things are probably a bit more complicated to do in CC3+, so it is up to you if the flexibility CC3+ offer with regards to what you can do with your map during game play is worth it. For this article, I’ll showcase a few features of CC3+ that helps you during play.

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Usually we make a map in CC3+, and when done, we export it to an image or print it, turning it into a static thing. This is required when we wish to use the map outside of CC3+, but it also takes away many fun things we can do with the map.
CC3+ does allow us to make really dynamic maps however, maps that change based on triggers in the map. I’ve already talked about a simple version of this in the article on Showing and Hiding Map Features, but let us take this much further and make a map with a large selection of interactive elements.

Now, before reading any further, I strongly suggest that you download the example map and give it a good try before reading further (requires DD3). Another much simpler example shows moving lights (Works without DD3).

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In CC3+, drawing tools are great timesavers. The basic functionality of a drawing tool is that it works as a preset that contains all the various settings required, such as line style, fill style, line width, color, sheet and layer so that when you draw using a drawing tool you don’t have to go around setting all of these manually like we did in the good old days. Drawing tools also have some built-in nice features like being able to draw two separate entities at once, being able to stay within the map border, and the option to easily edit an existing shape.

However, there is another very important feature that exists for drawing tools, and that is to attach macros to them. A drawing tool can contain an embedded macro which follow the tool and isn’t dependent on your main CC3+ macro file and can contain macros that work in tandem with what you draw using the tool, or even functionality that isn’t connected to drawing at all. Today, we’ll look at how to create these tools and have a brief look at how they can make things easier for us.

Drawing with Macros

If you have been making overland maps, you’ll probably familiar with the forest drawing tools. If you pay attention when you use them, you’ll note that they ask you to draw a smooth shape, and then fills this shape with trees after you are done drawing it. This is a macro drawing tool at work. What happens is that the tool itself is only set up to draw that forest background, but it also contain a macro that gets called when you are done drawing that calls the Fill With Symbols command to fill the area you just drew with trees. Let us make a similar macro that uses the Symbols in Area command instead. I won’t go into detail about Symbols in Area here, since this is about making a macro tool that uses the command, rather than explain the command itself, but if you need a refresher for the command, you can look at this article.

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VersionA new version of CC3+ is available now, fixing a few bugs and preparing CC3+ for the next releases.

Version Notes

CC3+ Version 3.89
=================
– Fixed grids not aligning correctly to snap points
– Fixed drawing tools not displaying preview
– Fixed Common sheet not being selectable in sheet dialog
– Fixed TEXPORT, TFIND, and TREPLACE not showing dialogs

CC3+ Version 3.88
=================
– Fixed bug with wall-cutting symbols not working properly

Larger fill displaysA new update for Campaign Cartographer 3+ is now available. We’ve done a lot of internal work (small bug fixes and improvements), but also improved some user interface issues and added a convenient new feature.

User Interface

Bitmap fill styles will now be displayed in a much larger format in any of the dialogs. That makes it much easier to recognize or judge one of the many detailed bitmap fills available in the template you are working on.

Resizing the drawing areaNew Command

Have you ever wanted to enlarge or shrink the area of the map you’ve been working on? The new “Resize Drawing Area” command (available from the File menu) will now make this much easier and quicker. Just type in the new map dimensions, and the map border and background will scale to the new size, without affecting any of the content you’ve already drawn. From there you can add new content and enlarge the existing features with the help of the editing tools.

You can download the update from your registration page. It is available among the CC3+ files on the Downloads tab.

Version Notes

Here are the version notes for Update 18:

CC3+ Version 3.87
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– Added SCALEMAPEXT and SCALEMAPEXTM commands to scale map template things (MAP BORDER, BACKGROUND, and SCREEN).
– Added TOGL and TOGLF commands to toggle visibility of a specified layer.
– Added JPEGOPT, DWGOPT, EMFOPT, and FCWOPT commands to allow direct access to save options for the major file types.
– Added SYMPTFILTER command to support point filtering on symbol import. This change may reduce artifacts for some kinds of symbol creation.
– Added LISTCMDS command to list all of the available commands in the system (main program and XPs).
– Changed internal image representation to allow for more efficient imaging operations.
– Removed some unused legacy DLLs to reduce disk footprint.
– ZOOMSEL command should work better than it used to.
– Fixed crash with hotspots in symbols when the layer for the symbol reference is hidden.
– Fixed XML parser usage to properly serialize boolean values.
– Fixed rename problem with sheets that could cause effects to be added to the wrong sheet.
– Fixed out of memory error that could happen with certain drawings.
– Fixed memory corruption that could occur when reading an invalid drawing tool file.
– Fixed memory corruption and possible crash when dropping text longer than 4090 characters.
– Now visibly rejects attempts to drop unknown file types onto a drawing.
– Dropping a picture onto a drawing while holding down the Shift key now allows rotating and scaling the image.
– Dropping a picture onto a drawing from a browser no longer generates an old-style image entity.
– Widened the drop portion of fill style preview combo boxes to make it easier to read style names.
– Updated PNG loaders to improve protection against certain malformed image files.
– Built with Visual Studio 2017. Some code elements should be a bit faster.
– MenuConfig utility now offers better support for special path characters (#$@) in file names.
– Options button on Save As will respond better on higher-dpi displays.
– Floating prompt now displays better on higher-dpi displays (has a different visual appearance as well).
– Traveller sector importer now handles the new-style Traveller 5 sector file format.

A map in itself conveys a lot of useful information. It shows you the lay of the land, the location of terrain features, the names of various locations, and so on. But you often have lots of additional information that doesn’t fit on the map itself, such as GM-only information about the traps in the dungeon, lore information about the different places, statistics, and so on. All of this is things you may wish to have at your fingertips when using the map. So, let us explore various ways you can easily provide extra information with a map.

Map Notes

CC3+ has a built-in system for storing notes along with your map. These are not visible in the map itself, but embedded in the map file, and can be brought up when needed.

To access the list of map notes, either click the Map Notes button on the toolbar, or select Drawing Properties from the File menu and then hit the Map Notes button in the dialog. This will bring up a dialog showing the list of all map notes for this map. From here, you can select any map note and click OK to show that map note, or you can hit edit to change it. You can also create new map notes from here. Continue reading »

Update 16 to CC3+ just released (get it from your registration page), and with it comes a long list of added commands and fixes. Let us have a look at those new commands, and discuss how to use them in your mapping efforts.

I’ve divided this post into two different sections. The first part describes the new features that are useful in your mapping, while the second describe the more technical commands. I recommend you give both sections a view, but many users will probably want to just glance over the technical section and see what is relevant for them.

Do note that all the new commands in this update is presently only available as command line commands, which you must type manually on the CC3+ command line, they are not available in the menus or toolbars yet. Don’t let this discourage you however, as using a command from the command line is just a case of typing in the command on your keyboard and hitting enter (as long as you are not currently in the middle of another command). The rest is just doing as the command line tells you, which you should be familiar with from many other commands already.

The Fun Stuff

Contours from raster images

So, let us start with one of the more exiting additions to CC3+. Previously, if you wanted to import a map you had drawn in another program into CC3+, you would have to import it as a background image, and then manually trace over it with the drawing tools to recreate the map in CC3+, as there was no way for CC3+ to generate proper drawing entities from your image, such as landmasses.

However, with the new CONTOURSM command, this has changed. To start out with expectations for this command, what this command does is to find edges in your image, where edges are defined as transparent vs non-transparent pixels. This makes it a nice command to automatically convert an image of a landmass into a CC3+ polygon, but it is not a general solution for converting any kind of image and get all the details converted to CC3+. So, what this command mainly does is that it saves you from manually tracing the outline of your landmass. For anyone who have done this with a complicated landmass, they should quickly realize how big of a time saver this is.

So, to explain the use of this command, here is a brief mini-tutorial on its use. I will take an image of an island and turn that into a proper CC3+ editable drawing entity.

Note that even if this tutorial uses a landmass as an example, the use of this command is not limited to landmasses.

    1. Before we begin in CC3+, we need an image of our landmass. I’ve used the below image for this. However, as I mentioned above, CC3+ detects the edges based on transparent vs non-transparent pixels, so I can’t just insert this image. I need to edit it in an image editor first, and make the seas transparent and the landmass a solid color. Since this is a CC3+ tutorial and not a tutorial on image editing, I won’t go into the details here, but generally you should be able to just load the image into your favorite image editor, and then use the magic wand or similar selection tools with a reasonable tolerance to select sea areas and make them transparent. The second image below shows my landmass after this process.

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Campaign Cartographer 3+ is a product in constant evolution, with new features, both small and large, typically gets added for every update. For this article, I want to have a look at some of these features and give a short introduction on how you can start experimenting with them.

Some of the new features have already been covered in other places. For example the new improvements to the Symbols Along command where documented in the February 2018 Annual – Dungeon Walls and I wrote a Command of the Week article on the new Symbols in Area command. For those into macro writing, I have also covered the new Get Extents commands.

Perspective Scaling

Probably the largest addition in the latest update is the new PSCALE commands. These haven’t been added to the menu yet, so you need to type them in on the command line, but they are a series of commands that are intended to help you make pseudo-perspective maps by automatically changing the scale of a symbol depending where it is on the screen. This command was developed in response to several such maps appearing in the forums. Let us start with an example image to show what the command can do.

So, looking at this image, you can see that the symbols closer to the bottom of the image is larger than the ones near the top, which provides a pseudo-perspective look on things. While it is certainly possible to do this manually, this example was made by using the PSCALE commands.

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