A “heatmap” is a visual indicator of where things are located. It’s useful to see clusters, patterns, and disbursement in how things happen to fall. In cartography, this concept can quickly tell you where things are, how many of them there are, and their density.

Though there’s no dedicated “heatmap” tool in Campaign Cartographer 3+, the software nevertheless makes generating heatmaps in your overland map superbly straightforward. If you set things up right as you draw your map, making a heatmap of key points of interest, geological phenomena, settlements, or other features takes literally seconds!

All POIIn this walkthrough, we will be using my homebrew realm of Aquilae. I’ve been working on it for three years, and will be publishing several books and atlases featuring the mapping work I’ve done for it. It’s got overkill levels of complexity, so it’s a good example of the extremes that you might go to.

It’s worth stressing that the concept of heatmaps doesn’t require anything, really, in terms of complexity or map size or scale–only that you have some points of interest that you want to have color “blossoms” around.

Setting Things Up

As the saying goes, measure once, and cut twice: this applies to nearly everything you do in CC3+, but particularly with heatmaps. If you already have a map, it may take some time to tweak things before you can generate a heatmap off of it.

Simply put, you need to make sure things are on Sheets and Layers that support your heatmapping needs. Some of this discussion is very basic for those who are already deeply familiar with sheets, layers, and creating your own, but for those who might only have ever used the default settings, let’s walk through it.

Step 1: Create Sheets for Heatmaps

You need at least one separate Sheet defined for each different color you want in your heatmaps. Any points of interest that you are comfortable having the same color “blossom” on your heatmaps may all share the same single Sheet.

For my map, I have *dozens* of different types of points of interest. But they all fit into just a handful of different colors: cyan blue for religious structures, pink for military, and so on. As a result, I have the following Sheets defined. The ones circled in red are the ones we care about in this walkthrough:

You don’t have to do this level of complexity; you only need to have at least one Sheet defined for each color you want to heatmap.

As a first step, simply create these Sheets. Leave “Active Sheet Effects” *off* for now.

Step 2: Create Layers for Heatmaps

You need at least one separate Layer for each different heatmap you want to create. Typically, this means you will end up with more heatmap Layers than heatmap Sheets.

Here are some of the Layers I’ve created to support heatmapping my overland map:

As I’ve said, my overland map example has a *lot* of detail. So I actually have 61 of these Layers defined. You can have a handful, or even one, really; whatever suits your needs. Just so long as you have one for each type of heatmap you want to create, that will work.

For now, just create these Layers.

Step 3: Assign Symbols to Sheets and Layers

If you’re just starting a new map now, you can do this as you create your map. If you are working with an existing map that you want to heatmap, you’ve got some work to do, unfortunately.

For each symbol that you want to appear on a heatmap with a color blossom, you need to make sure it is on the correct Sheet and Layer. If you’re doing this as you go, simply make sure that you have the right Sheet and Layer selected as you are placing new Symbols.

For existing maps, you have to find the Symbols you want to heatmap, and tweak their settings. Use the *Change Properties* tool, and pick the Symbols you want to heatmap. Then, in the “Change properties” dialog box, assign the Symbols to the Layer and Sheet that are appropriate. Remember that the Sheet will determine the color of the heatmap, and the Layer will determine which heatmap image you can show the Symbol in.

Here’s an example of a settlement Symbol that I want to appear as a point of interest called a “Seclusium”.

This step may take some time, if you have an existing map with a lot of Symbols.

Step 4: Heatmap Sheet Formatting

Once you have your Sheets and Layers defined, and have Symbols assigned to them, you’re ready to generate your heatmap images!

Go into your *Drawing Sheets and Effects* settings. Find one of the Sheets you have created as a heatmap sheet. Under the “Activate Sheet Effects” section on the right, click “Add…” and create a new “Outer Glow” effect for the sheet.

Next, select the newly-created effect, and click “Edit…”. Pick a bold color that will really pop up on the map. Select Range and Blur settings that make sense for the scale of your map. My map is absolutely enormous in size, so the settings in the screenshot below are likely *much* too big for most maps!

Play with these settings until you get an effect that you like. The color and other settings that I’ve used might not be what you’re looking for! At a zoomed-in scale, here’s what the effects look like for our Seclusium (note that as it’s a military point of interest, it uses a pink effect, not cyan as in the above example).

Repeat this process for each of your other heatmap Sheets. You can also use Copy and Paste to save yourself some time, and simply change the color for other Sheets.

Step 5: Generate the Heatmaps!

Time to heatmap!

First, you need to hide all of the heatmap Layers that you *don’t* want to have appear in your heatmap. Usually, this will mean hiding everything except a single Layer.

In the example below, I’ve hidden every Layer except Seclusiums.

That should be it! Now, you can export your heatmap to an image file as you normally would.

Repeat Step 5 for each other heatmap you wish to generate. I have one for each major type of point of interest in my map… over 70 total!

Jason “J. Evans” Payne is an indie RPG and fiction author and cartographer with more than three decades of experience as a DM, game designer, and author. He’s been using Campaign Cartographer and its related tools since 2015, and vastly prefers that to his day job. A father of three, he’s also been an adjunct college professor, an IT geek, and a miniatures wargamer. Check out his one-man RPG company at infiniumGameStudio.com.

If you have used Campaign Cartographer for some time, you’ve probably encountered the red X showing up in your map. Perhaps just as simple symbol missing and being replaced by a red X, or maybe your map was covered by them. Today, I’ll talk a little bit about why you may encounter this issue, what the reason behind it is, and what you can do to remedy the situation, as well as tips for avoiding it in the first place.
Hopefully after reading this, you will have a better idea on how CC3+ uses your images, and can avoid this situation in the future.

The Core Reason

The underlying reason this happens is rather simple. When you make a map in CC3+, the map will contain references to the image files used for symbols and fills. These files are not embedded in the map itself. So, every time you open up a CC3+ map, it will look at the references embedded in the map, and will then go and load these image files from your drive. However, if it cannot find these files in the location specified in the map, it won’t know what that image is supposed to look like, and it will display a red X instead indicating this. So, in other words, this happens because the image that was on your drive when you made the map is no longer there, simple as that. This isn’t an issue with CC3+ itself, it is simply a missing image file. So, what we need to look at now, is why this file may be missing. This will influence the best way to go about fixing your map.

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Last time in the developer series I started our Dynamic Dungeons project with the intention to showcase how to make some simple tools for a more fluid dungeon editing experience. In this issue, I will continue on with that project, and add some improvements to it, such as taking care that our entities are placed on the right sheets, meaning we will need to dive into sublists, and I will also automatically generate walls to go along with our floors.

As last time, I prepared a short video to show the tools in action. At the end of the video, you’ll also see that I show the classic dungeon tools correctly interacting with my entities.

To be able to follow this article series, you should have read my earlier articles in the series.

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One reason to import an image into your map is to use it as a guideline for your mapping. For example, maybe you want to import that scan of your old hand-drawn map, or importing a real world city map to re-map it in CC3+. Inserting the image is easy enough (Insert File from the Draw menu), but one of the important things when you want to use an image for reference (or using it as part of the final drawing) is to get it to scale. You could wing it, but that often comes back to bite you later, as a lot of the default sizes for effects, line widths and so on assume your map is to scale. I’ve talked about the importance of scale in an earlier article, but for this one, I’ll just focusing on scaling imported images.

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Anders Bergström – known as Lillhans on the ProFantasy forum – has astounded us at ProFantasy and the whole CC3+ community with his aquarelle-style drawings for a while now, with many of us having trouble believing that they were done in CC3+. Look at this map:

It’s so different from the usual battlemap styles (varied as they are), that everybody was wondering “how did he do it?”.

After creating an Annual style based on his work in September 2019, he’s now spilling even more secrets in the following article “Doodles & Drawings”. Let’s hand over to him:

Doodles & Drawings

A while back, it was suggested that I write an article about the train of thought and process of using Campaign Cartographer in what has to be among the least time-efficient ways possible. That is, using it to the best of my abilities. Not too long after, there was also a request for a tutorial being made and while a completely different script was already in the making for the first article, I figured I might as well splice thoughts and ideas. Then, a third request for popping the hood of my faux hand-drawn endeavours prompted yet another consideration of focus and approach and – would you believe it – a third iteration seemed more appropriate after all.

Anyway, here is the rather lengthy introduction. Don’t worry: there will also be some kind-of-technical stuff further down the line. And that stuff is going to be rather lengthy as well, I guess.

Continue reading the pdf article…

About the author: Occasional map-finisher, sometimes character sheet filler, and at least once every two decades talking with the others about putting the band back together. It’s probably for the best not to mention I one time was in the jury (when they still had those) for the Eurovision song contest national selections.

In this article in the development series, I’ll start putting the things we have learned into some proper useful commands for CC3+. I’ll be going for designing a set of dynamic dungeon tools that focuses on making the drawing of a dungeon quick and easy. In particular, I am aiming at making a set of tools that lets you draw the floorplan in a more fluid manner, and easily do things like changing the shape of a room by adding a small alcove or similar, without manually manipulating the entities. I am also making sure that the floor will always be merged to a single polygon so we avoid breaks in the fill pattern.

This will be a series of several articles, so in this first article we will be getting started with the basics. We will start by writing the code for drawing polygons, and we will see how we can merge them automatically to a larger polygon. This should give us a great starting point, which we will build upon in future articles. This short YouTube video shows a demo of what the code below achieves in CC3+.

To be able to follow this article series, you should have read my earlier articles in the series.

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The latest CC3+ update is currently in beta, and you can download it from your registration page over at the main ProFantasy website if you wish to try it out. Of course, this is a beta, so only install it if you don’t mind potentially running into glitches and other issues (this is why we test new versions before releasing them after all)

In this article, I will take a short look at the new features that appear in this version. If you have the beta installed, you will have them right now, but if not, you will get access to them when we release the finished version of the update. In any case, there are several nice new features waiting for you in this update.

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When mapping, there are times when precision matters a lot, and times when it doesn’t matter at all and simply eyeballing sizes and positions gives the best result. But in this article, I am going to talk a bit about the former, when we want perfect precision in our work, when we need that road to be exactly 10 feet wide, or entities needs to line up perfectly with each other. In CC3+ we have multiple tools available for that purpose, such as snap grid, modifiers and coordinates. I’ve talked about these things in other places before, but I’ll put all these into the context of precision work here.

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Following the Live Mapping: Repeating Textures session, recently presented by Ralf Schemmann, I will be writing a short series of blogs, or a series of short blogs, illustrating how I go about generating my own seamless tiles.  My methods are similar to those described by Ralf in the Live Mapping session, but I thought you might like to know a bit more about the workflow I use.

In this first blog I will be covering how I make seamless textures in CC3 using the available symbols from a chosen style.  This is one of the quickest ways to make a new seamless tile since it involves no drawing or any kind of work in any app other than CC3.

To make things even easier I have made a new template, which you can download from the link below and place in your C:\ProgramData\Profantasy\CC3Plus\Templates\Other folder:

Symbol Tile Generator.FCT

This is a very simple template, consisting of a black square on the BACKGROUND sheet, and the frozen MAP BORDER layer.  This black square is where you will be making your new seamless tile and will automatically define the extent of the export when it is time to export your new tile.

There is a series of red lines on a sheet and layer that are both called CROP MARKS.  These are also frozen so that you don’t end up picking them at any point and moving them around.  They are helpful guides intended to show you the extent of the tile you are making once the black square is all but covered in symbols.

The template is loosely based on the Mike Schley Overland style, and is designed to generate tiles that are 1000 px x 1000 px, but it can be used to generate symbol tiles in any style if you locate the relevant symbol catalogue by browsing the directory and adjust the export size.

For this example I will use the MS overland trees to create a seamless tile that I can use in conjunction with the published tree fills that come with the style.  This will help to break up any unwanted tile patterns caused by mapping extensive areas of unbroken forest using only the published tree fills.

The first step is to pick the set of symbols you want to use, and start pasting them all over the black square at the default symbol size (usually 1) until there is no more black to be seen between the symbols.  Don’t worry about pasting them so that they are in the correct order.  Just cover the black square.

Use Symbols-Sort Symbols In Map , right click in the view window and pick All, then press D for do it.

Now to move this block of trees and copy it so that we move the edges to the centre, just as Ralf did with his sand texture in the Live Mapping session referenced at the top of this blog.

Turn the SNAP and GRID buttons on and make sure you have the 50 mile, 2 snap grid selected when you right click the GRID button.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pick the Move tool and select all the trees with a box selection and press D for do it.  Then pick the trees at the central snap point and move that point to one of the four corners.  It doesn’t matter which one, as long as you snap the central point to one of the corners, like this.

 

Using the Copy tool, copy and paste this block of trees 3 times from this corner to all the other corners.

Once you have done this sort the symbols again as above, and hopefully you will have something that looks a bit like this

Now for the magical part.

File-Save as… Pick the PNG Bitmap file option in the Save as type: box, and open the Options dialog.  The template you are using has been set up to generate 1000 x 1000 pixel sized tiles, so set the height and width of the export to 1000 x 1000.  Make sure the checkboxes are ticked as shown, and CC3 will automatically export just the area covered by the black square, and no more or less than that.

I exported my example fill to a subfolder within the Bitmaps\Tiles folder.  I called my personal folder User, but you can call yours whatever you like.  It’s yours.

Ralf covered how to import your new fills in the Live Mapping session linked to at the top of this article, so I won’t make this article any longer than it needs to be by repeating it again right here.

This is the result of importing my new fill and drawing my first polygon with it.  Remember that I said the template is designed to give you a tile that is 1000 x 1000 map units?  Combine this information with the fact that symbols and fills are ideally imported to overland maps at a resolution of 20 pixels per map unit, and you get a scale of 50 map units to set for your new fill.  this should perfectly match the scale of the original symbols you used to create the fill in the first place.

When you have had a practice using just one random collection, try mixing collections, or even using a background texture and spacing out your trees.  You can also do this with other symbols, so you could try hills or mountains

Love a world with monsters, mystery, and supernatural horror around every corner? Love the 1920s? Dying to run a campaign speaking in Old Tyme radio announcer voice? Oh, yes, then this annual should be the inspiration you need for your next Cthulhu themed tabletop game. You guessed it readers, I’ve been trying to get my gaming group to play Cthulhu for a few years now. Maybe this latest map will finally help them along to love and crave the Lovecraftian universe I have for so many years.
2017 ProFantasy Cthulhu City Annual
[Download the FCW file]
This annual allows a game master to create a Cthulhu inspired city easily with pre-made city street grid symbols. After laying out a few street grid symbols, and adding a street or two using the road drawing tool to connect the grids and also finish off the outer sections, laying out the building symbols on this map was so easy, since aligning them with the roads isn’t part of this particular map style aesthetic. I placed the symbols and named them all while creating a dark adventure in mind for my players.

This setting is a particular favorite of mine, so this annual is one of my favorites of the year. Speaking of… All the Annuals 2017 has come to a close. But wait! There’s more!! Stick around for the bonus annual… Sue Daniel’s Parchments.

About the author: Lorelei was my very first D&D character I created more years back than i’d like to remember. When I decided to venture into creating maps for my and others rpgs, I thought I owed it to her to name myself Lorelei Cartography, since it was her that led me to the wonderful world of tabletop gaming in the first place. Since then I have been honored to have worked with companies such as WizKids, Pelgrane Press, and ProFantasy.

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