This is part 2 of the “Creating a New Map Style” series of articles.

After we have decided on a style to create last month, let’s take a look at creating the first new pieces of artwork. One of the defining aspects of a style are fill styles it uses.

WoW Bitmap Fills1. Creating new Bitmap Fills

Let’s take a look at the bitmap fills used in the World of Wonder style, which serves as the basis for our new style. Open the CC3+ program data folder in Windows Explorer: C:\ProgramData\ProFantasy\CC3Plus and find the subfolder /Bitmaps/Tiles/Overland/Annual Worlds of Wonder/. You’ll see that it includes 9 different fills, with at four different resolutions each.

New Bitmap FillsCreate a new folder under /Bitmaps/Tiles/Overland/ called “Annual Worlds of Wonder BW”, then copy the VH resolution file of each fill over to the new folder. Remove the _VH part of all the file names. Now you can open up the individual files in a Bitmap editor (like Photoshop or Gimp to edit the textures. I’m doing some very simply operations here, converting the files to greyscale to match our idea of a black and white stlye, and I rotate some of them and/or apply a photo filter. Of course you can be as elaborate as you want, even creating complete new graphics, but for the purpose of this tutorial I’ll keep it simple.

Importing Fills2. Importing the New Fills

Let’s get the new fills into our map template. TO do so, we need to start CC3+ and load our template /Templates/Overland Maps/Wizard/Annual Worlds of Wonder BW.FCT. The select Tools > Import bitmap fill styles from the menu.

The import bitmap fills dialog comes. “Browse” to our newly created source folder and select one of the files. Check the “Create other resolutions option and set “Scaled” to 1000.00 for both width and height. To differentiate the new bitmap fills from the old ones, change the “Suffix” to _BW (for our black and white style). Then click OK and let CC3+ do its work.

Imported Fills3. Changing the Existing Fills

There are only a few entities in the template that use the old (coloured) fill styles, but even if there were more, it is easy to change them:

  • Right-click the Change Properties button and choose Change Fill Style.
  • Right-click on the map to select, then choose More > Fill Style.
  • Right-click to bring up the fill style dialog and choose “CA145_Parchment” from the Bitmap Files tab. Click Ok.
  • Right-click and choose Do It.
  • Right-click to bring up the fill style dialog again and choose “CA145_Parchment_BW”. Click Ok.

You’ll see that the parchment border of the map has turned grey. You can now do the same for each of the existing fill styles, but for this map you really only need to do it for the CA145_Ocean fill, as that is the fill of the background rectangle.

The template now shows a greyscale version of the old one and that’s how we wanted it to be. Next time we’ll start of converting the symbols of the style into the new look.
BW Template

Worlds of WonderWhile Campaign Cartographer offers a wide range of different drawing styles to use, sometimes you just want that special look that anybody else uses, and few things are more rewarding than creating your own unique mapping style. We have covered some of the process of doing this in the first Annual Volume, but quite a few features have been added to CC3+ since then and the Annual issue couldn’t cover all possible options in high detail.

So I thought that a publicly-available article series might be a good way to document the process step-by-step and in higher detail than an Annual issue can. It should also give everyone the opportunity to pitch in with questions along the way. So, let’s get started…

1. What map type to use?

The first decision to make is what type of map style we want to create. A city style? One for floorplans? I know what I’m going to do for this article, my favorite type of maps: an overland maps style.

001 Folder LocationLet’s take a look at what styles are already available in CC3+. To do this you need to open the CC3+ program data folder in Windows Explorer: C:\ProgramData\ProFantasy\CC3Plus. If you installed CC3+ in a custom location, you will need open that folder. If you don’t see the ProgramData folder at all, it may be “hidden” in Windows 10. Make sure to activate the option “Show hidden files/folders” in Windows Explorer and it should appear.

Now navigate to the Templates subfolder, then Overland Maps, then Wizard. Here you see all the different overland wizard templates listed. Each template consists of three files: The CC3+ template (FCT extension), a preview bitmap (the PNG file) and a short text info file (TXT). For most of the file you will see two sets of 3 files, one for metric units and one for imperial ones. As the template forms the basis for a map style, we will need to create a new set.

2. Creating a New Wizard Template

002 WoW FilesI find it easiest to start a new style based on an existing one. It might only be vaguely similar, but copying an existing style makes it easier to not forget necessary bits and pieces and gives you a set of styles to start from. That means we need to decide what style we want to create at this point. I am thinking January’s World’s of Wonder style would look good in black-and-white, so I decide to create such a style for this article. I locate the three files (for imperial units) in Explorer as shown on the right.

003 WoW BW FilesSelect the three files and use the clipboard to copy them (ctrl-c, then ctrl-v). Windows will rename these copies by appending “- copy” to the filename. Rename all three to the name of your new style (e.g. Annual Worlds of Wonder BW.*). Make sure the file names are all exactly the same, except for the file extension. We won’t worry about the metric version of the template yet – we can create that much later when most of the work is done.

3. A New Drawing Tool folder

004 WoW DrawtoolsAfter the template, the next important part of a style is the set of drawing tools to go with it. Again, we can create a new one by copying an existing set. Navigate to the ProgramData\ProFantasy\CC3Plus folder again and then go to System\Drawtools\. You will see a folder for each drawing style. Again, create a copy of the folder “Annual Worlds of Wonder” and rename it to “Annual Worlds of Wonder BW”. We don’t need to worry about the files in the folder at this point.

4. Setting the Template to the new Drawing Tools

Now it’s time to open CC3+ for the first time. Navigate back to the Templates/Overland Maps/Wizard and double-click the template file Annual Worlds of Wonder BW.FCT to open it in CC3+. Naturally it still looks exactly like the Worlds of Wonder style, as it’s just a plain copy of it. Select File > Drawing Properties from menu to open the Drawing Presets dialog. In the Drawing Style section select the new “Annual Worlds of Wonder BW” from the list. Basically this tells CC3+ which folder to choose the drawing tools from when you click the drawing tools buttons on the left-hand toolbar. If we now make changes in this template on the its drawing tools, they won’t affect the original Worlds of Wonder style but be restricted to the new Worlds of Wonder BW style instead.

If you have your own ideas for creating a style you can already start tinkering with the template and the drawing tool. We will continue in the next article with changing the bitmap fills that the style uses. If you have any questions concerning this article and creating your own drawing style, feel free to do so in the comments below, or – for easier discussion and more help from other users – go to the forum thread I have created for this series of articles.

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.

Continue reading »

Joe Sweeney has started a new series of video tutorials – this time on mapping a city using City Designer 3. Check it out and follow his progress on YouTube:

Caliphate of Al-GoranadaThe October issue of the Cartographer’s Annual 2018 is now available and treads new paths for us. For the first time we’ve produced an hour-long tutorial ourselves to show you how to create an overland map from start to finish, using the Mike Schley Overland style. Also included is the detailed tutorial made we created in the video.

As this is a first for us we are very much interested in your feedback. Is the presentation at 1080px (make sure to use full-screen) okay? Do you need more detail for the commands used? Would rather see long tutorials like this, or shorter pieces explaining individual commands?

You can subscribe to the Annual 2018 here. If you are already subscribed, the October issue is now available for download on your registration page.

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 »

One of the more common questions from CC3+ users is about how to extract a region from a large-scale map and develop this region as a more detailed local map.

The basics for doing this is already explained in the User Manual that comes with CC3+, but for this article, I am going to go a bit more into detail and explain the various tools and processes involved in doing this.

The basic principles behind this operation is to create a new map of the desired size, then copy over the entities from the existing map, trim down these entities to fit the new map size, and finally add additional detail to the new local map. Let us explore the tools and procedure for doing this.

The main tools you’ll need for doing this is Clipboard Copy, Trace, Break and Split, as well as some minor Node Editing.

Let us get started. For this article, I’ll use the example map from the User Manual. You’ll find this map in @Tutorials\UserManual\Example.fcw (remember that the @-sign refers to your CC3+ data directory). My goal is to take the area marked with the red rectangle and develop that into a local map of that area. The marked area here is 30 by 20 miles.

Note that all images in this tutorial are clickable to see higher resolution versions to more easily see what the text describes.

If you are new to this, I also highly recommend loading up the same tutorial map I use and try to follow along with this tutorial, exporting the same area, rather than try directly on your own map. Following along on this map lets you more easily see that things happens the way I describe them, and lets you build familiarity with the tools before starting on your own map.

There is also a video accompanying this article, showing me perform the steps described herein. Note that this video is not intended as a stand-alone video tutorial, but rather as a visual aid to help you see how things are supposed to work. You do not need to watch the video to take full advantage of this article, it is completely optional.

Continue reading »

Title CardWelcome to another detailed tutorial by Sue Daniel, looking at how you can create the shading for complex shapes – in this cased domed roofs. As the tutorial is fairly detailed we are providing it in pdf format for ease of access and printing.

Read the Creating Onion Domes tutorial by Sue Daniel.

About the author: Sue Daniel is active as a cartographer and artist both on the ProFantasy community forum and the Cartographer’s Guild. There, she has won 1 Lite Challenge and 3 Main Challenges, and just recently one of the annual Atlas Awards for most creative map in 2017. She has produced many beautiful art assets for CC3+ (such as the “Sue’s Parchments” Annual issue) and mapping in general that are free to use for anyone.

Picture 01This is the third part of my series about making an overland map in Campaign Cartographer, you can find the first two parts in earlier posts.

It is now the fun part of making maps start. Up until now we have just created the base for the map, now it is time to populate it and give it life. The first thing I do at this stage is to try to find spots in the map where there supposedly would have been cities or towns if this was the real world. Since it is a fantasy map we’re making we have to remember that the fastest way to travel before modern times is usually by water, so a lot of the cities will be situated along rivers or coasts. In the first picture you can see red circles where I want to place the first cities/towns in the map.

I’ve also marked out some red squares where the map is rather empty, those places we have to work on to make them more interesting, probably adding in something that will trigger the viewer’s imagination and make the map interesting to look at. An empty green field wont draw any attention to it, and with too many places like that in the map the end result wont trigger the imagination of the viewer.
When I’ve placed the first towns I start drawing roads between them. When the roads are in place it is easier to find new spots for more towns or villages. For example if you get a place where two roads cross each other that would be a perfect spot for a new settlement. Other good spots for settlements are next to rivers that the road will cross or next to a mountain, places where it will be natural for people to settle. Places where they can find work or trade.

Usually I divide the map into maybe three or four parts that I work on one at a time. In this way I can see the progress of the map, and it is also more fun when you can see parts of the end result early, makes it easier to keep up the work.

After you are done with the settlements it is time to take a look at those empty areas. Start by adding in some hills, or smaller mountains, add trees and other natural objects like cliffs, caves and farmland. The important thing here is to get more details in the map. At this stage I also add in things like maybe a wizard’s tower, a nomad’s camp or barbarian village. Places for adventures, places where your players would want to go.

Picture 02A good thing here is also to add new SHEET’s if needed. I for example added a SHEET for the fields because I wanted to adjust the effect on the fields texture that was different from the default one.

Whenever I make a map I always try to have a story in my head. Where is the border between the two kingdoms, are they friendly, if not maybe there should be some fortress at the border? Why is that city so far from all the others, maybe that is a free city where people go for trade, maybe they run a big slave market. Keep asking yourself all these questions when you make the map and fill in all the details and hopefully in the end you will have a great looking map with interesting details that your viewers will love to look at, and that will make them want to go places and having an adventure.

Next step would be to draw the borders between the kingdoms (I actually did this in Photoshop because I wanted a more hand drawn feeling to them) and adding text to cities, towns, kingdoms, rivers etc.

And remember keep up the mapping and good luck.

Italy CoastlinePär Lindström is a Swedish fantasy cartographer and map-maker and long time contributor to the Cartographer’s Annual. His maps appear in a wide-variety of Swedish and international role-playing publications. Here is his take on creating an overland map in CC3+.

I’ve used Campaign cartographer for a long time and have made more maps then I can remember, both for personal use and for commissions. This will be part one in a series where I will describe the process I use while making maps.

First of all you have to have an idea of what you are going to map. I usually find inspiration in many different places, it might be that I’m playing an RPG with my family and we need a map for the next session or it might just be an idea that I want to put on paper, or in this case digital paper.

Paper SketchFor this tutorial I’m going to make a map of an area that I’m calling the Three River Kingdoms. It’s an idea I’ve had for a while of an area where you have some kingdoms all separated by three large rivers.

The first thing I do before I start to map is to sketch the map on paper. You can do this both with pen and paper or you can do it digitally. The important thing is that you can have the finished sketch in digital form.

So why is this important? Well I find it so much easier to work in Campaign Cartographer 3+ (CC3+) when I already have a clear idea of what I want to complete. Especially since the order you put down symbols in are quite important. Of course you can change the order of the symbols via the commands “Bring to front” or “Send to back”, but putting things in the right order from the beginning makes your work go much smoother.

New Map WizardI usually start out by looking at some nice coastlines in Google maps, borrowing from mother earth usually gives you a much better looking map in the end. You can of course make up your own coastline if you want to but I prefer borrowing because it gives me a better end result. In this case I’ve used an area in Italy. Don’t be afraid to move things around a bit, I moved the large Island and rotated it a bit for example.

When I have the area I start drawing on top of it, sketching out some key areas like forests, mountains and rivers. Just so you will know where to add in symbols in a later step.

Next I create the file in CC3+. Since I’m making an A4 map and the pixels of an A4 map in 300 dpi is 3508×2480, that is also the size I’m making the map in CC3+. The reason for this is that when I import the sketch I know it will fit perfectly in the map.

When the map is created I’m adding a SHEET that I name SKETCH. This is where I want to place the sketch map I made earlier. Make sure that the SHEET is placed second to the top just below the SHEET BACKGROUND.

Sheet SetupCheck that the SKETCH SHEET is selected and Click Draw/Insert file from the menu and add in the file. To do this you need to first left click with the mouse in the top right corner on the map and then move the mouse curser to the bottom left corner and left click. You will now have a SHEET with your sketch map.

Now it is time to start drawing the actual map, which I will cover in my next post.

Pär lindström – CC3 user for ten years and creater of a handfull styles for the annuals. Follow his mapping days at www.instagram.com/imaginarymaps/

Previous Entries