Barbed DevilWhat it’s in the works here are Profantasy HQ at the moment do you ask? Well, apart from behind the scenes work on Campaign Cartographer itself, the ongoing Annual development and the daily routine, we are getting close to finishing the next installment of the Token Treasury series.

The artist, Rich Longmore, has delivered as wonderful new collection of nasties (and not so nasties) for your games and maps, and I am now converting them to CC3+ format, creating varicolor versions and building catalogs. Look for the release later this month! You can check out the first installment of the Token Treasury here.
Preview01

It’s an extremely busy desk that the Cartographer is dealing with at this time: Not only is the next Annual issue waiting to be published and GenCon getting very close, there is also the latest Symbol Set to finish up. Everybody is eager to get SS5 Cities of Schley into their hands and I’m happy to report that the first beta version has been sent out to the testers. The chance to pre-order Mike Schley’s new symbol set and get your hands on the early access copy will arrive very soon after GenCon. In the meantime, here are two example maps created with the color version of the Cities of Schley style:

The Town of Weepingford
SS5 Weepingford

The Village of Briarpond
SS5 Briarpond

I’m sure you all would like to know what is currently in development and when the next add-ons for CC3+ will arrive. Well, I can report that Cities of Schley is very close to completion now and that the next Token Treasury is chugging along nicely.

Cities Of SchleyCities of Schley

Mike has finished almost all the symbols for the set, and is now working on the bitmap textures that we need to go along with them, so the City Designer house tool can create matching buildings.

Sue Daniels has been helping us with creating the roof maps and as you can on the right, they look great. She’s also suggested a great way to give you more variety in the roof shapes without compromising the shadow’s on the city map (as mirroring a symbol within CC3+ would do).

TT2Token Treasury 2

Seeing that there is still a vast army of fiends and critters lurking in the shadows to pounce on hapless heroes, we’ve decided to drag a few more into the light of the virtual tabletop.

Rich Longmore is creating another set of monster tokens and I’m always delighted when a new one charges through the doorway (or slithers through a crack in the wall).

We do have a few slots for new monster available in the list, so if you have something special that you would like to see as a token, let us know in the comments below!

Orc HutYou might be wondering what yours truly has been up to now that the first Token Treasury is out. Here’s a little update about what’s on my desk.

There is of course the Cities of (Mike) Schley you’ve all been wondering about. Progress has been a little slower than expected for a while, but we are now moving along nicely again, with Mike regularly submitting new house symbols – check out the gorgeous little orcish hut here. Of course the map (shading) files for all these houses need to be created, but we do have an expert on this now, don’t we?

CrocodileSecondly, after the Token Treasury is before the Token Treasury. We are very happy with the artwork that Rich Longmore has produced and our customers seem to agree. So we’ve commissioned him for a second set and the first pieces are rolling in. Check out the gorgeous Papa Croc (my nickname) on the left.

There are a few slots left on our monster list for issue two (the list of monsters for the first issue is here), so if you have any wishes, post the below!

Finally ProFantasy will be exhibiting at a new convention (new for us that is) this year. We’ll be at UK Games Expo in Birmingham, and that wants to be organized including travel, rooms, booth space and everything that goes along with that. I’m certainly looking forward to being in Birmingham for the first time!

Let’s take another look at the two products we are working on at the moment: The Token Treasury and the new symbol set by Mike Schley.

Token Treasury

BarghestFor the token treasury, Rich Longmore keeps sending over his finished monster portraits for approval, and it’s a rare piece that we have to ask him a few adjustments for. For example see the Barghest here. The original version (left) looks great – but it felt a little too natural for, a wolverine came to my mind instead of a supernatural monster. So I asked Rich to make the face a little more unnatural (bony face, fiery eyes) and he produced the second version (right) in no time at all.

We’ve also decided to make the tokens available in round AND square formats, so Rich had to go back and add a little bits and pieces to existing ones here and there, but that’s all finished now and we are chugging along nicely. I am converting the artwork into symbols as we go along, which should make producing the final products once all graphics are done fairly straightforward.

Cities of Schley

Cities of Schley PreviewI know you are all eagerly waiting for the new Symbol Set “Cities of Schley” by Mike. You’ll be happy to hear that Mike has finished all the ink outlines of the buildings and is now working on the coloring. You can see just a tiny section of his preview here. To get an idea how detailed his work is just let me tell you that the original of this graphic is 9000 pixel across!

Once I get the colored versions, I will start adding the roof shading to the symbols so they will work with the automated lighting just as the other CD3 symbols.

Dio3 New Map WizardAs mentioned before on this blog, I am currently working on the full new version of our paper-miniature building add-on – Dioramas 3. I am pleased to report that we have a completed alpha version and release of the beta version is not far off. All the new assets are in place, and have been arranged in multiple drawing styles: two different bitmap styles and one vector style, recreating the old Pro-version style with some sheet effects added.

Next up is updating the Essentials Guide to take all the new stuff into account and producing a nice, big new example Diorama set. Checking on the Facebook community group people seem to be mostly looking for some common village buildings, so it’ll be a inn and tavern I’ll be creating – I’m looking at you, Tendril’s Oak Inn.

This will probably also mean breaking out my paper cutter, ruler and glue and getting my hands sticky to actually build the thing. It’s been a while since I’ve done that and I’m looking forward to it!

Here is the very first Dioramas building I ever designed and built, updated with the new bitmaps of Dioramas 3. It’s a rough recreation of the Sage’s Tower symbol from the “Fantasy Colors” set included in Symbol Set 1. The actual model I built has long gone the tragic way of all paper models: crumbled up and vanished into the recycling bin. But hey, now it can reincarnate as a new and prettier one.
Dio3 Sage's Tower

Dioramas ProWhat have I been up to recently, you may ask? Well, I will answer, I’ve been working to make Campaign Cartographer 3 obsolete. But, I hasten to add, only by updating everything to work with CC3+!

Campaign Cartographer 3 and CC3+

When we release a new version of Canpaign Cartographer, we go through a long process of making all the add-ons compatible. While the process continues, users need to keep CC3 and CC3+ installed to use all our add-ons. That process is nearing its end.

Dioramas Pro

The only standard add-on that wasn’t available for CC3+ yet, is Dioramas Pro. While we are also working on Dioramas 3+, we decided to release the compatibility update for Dioramas Pro, so you don’t need to keep CC3 installed for that single add-on. That compatibility update is available on the registration page now, among the other Diorama downloads. It allows you to use all the existing functionality and example maps in CC3+.

This removes the slightly frustrating issue that the popular Fantasy Mapper bundle still required you to install CC3 if you wanted to use all of its assets.
Dio 3 Textures

Dioramas 3

But of course we don’t want to stop at that. The main project I’ve been working on is updating and expanding Dioramas into a true version 3+ product, with expanded bitmap support, drawing styles and everything. To that effect, Sue Daniel has created new tiling bitmap textures to greatly expand the range of available “materials” that can be used for the models, from straw-covered floors, via adobe walls to roofs of corrugated tin.

Dioramas 3+ will be our next big release and we are excited to see all our drawing add-ons updated to full version 3 standard.

Which brings me to the final products that need to be updated: the Source Maps series.
Bellegarde 3d

The Source Maps

Remy has created compatibility updates for SM: Castles, SM: Temples, Tombs and Catacombs as well as SM: Cities and is working on one for the World War 2 Interactive Atlas. I’ve created the setup files for the formerthree and these are currently in beta-testing and – barring any major issues showing up – should be available next week.

After Dioramas 3+ we’ll be looking at giving the Source Maps products the “version 3+” treatment, though we are not entirely sure how that will look yet and how many new maps it will entail. We’ll keep you posted, but in the meantime here is a little sneak peek how parts of it may look:
Hatshepsut 3d

Old-time map This is a bit of a personal announcement by me (Ralf), meant to clear up any confusion that may arise in the coming weeks: I’m taking some time off to travel and realize my life-long dream to see Australia and New Zealand. I’ll be away for three months (from November to end of January) and my duties at ProFantasy will be taken over by Simon, Mark and – welcome to the club – Jeff Salus (Dogtag on the forum). You are in good hands!

The Cartographer’s Annual will be appearing as normal; everything is prepared for the time that I am away and should be running smoothly. In fact, you can preview the November and the December issues now, as well as the 2017 Annual. Jeff will be handling tech support and the community forum is always there with many helpful voices.

I am very much looking for my first time in the southern hemisphere and hope to bring back many inspirations for future maps. See you in February next year!

Perspectives Settins Dialog
So, where is that Perspectives 3 you are talking about so much, you ask, and rightfully so. The truth is, I was a bit hasty with my previous assessment. We ran into some hiccups with the central Perspectives dialogs and to sort them out before we could move on. The good news is, we’ve now got the beta version out to the testers now. I’m now working on the documentation (Essentials guide and help files), but we might still do a pre-release for alpha users before Perspectives 3 gets its full public release. Watch this space.

Perspective House DialogYou can see in the dialog screenshots (click them for larger versions) that we’ve significantly enlarged the previews for the isometric rooms and buildings. We’ve also simplified the setup. Where in Perspectives Pro you had a separate color setting that combined with Perspective and House settings in a way that could be a bit confusion, now the color settings are built into the others. That became possible because the wall shading is now handled through shaded polygon entities, instead of different colors. That also means that you can adjust lighting and shadows globally on the map, in a similar way to City Designer 3’s roof shading.

Bitmap A StyleHere’s a little preview of the other Perspectives 3 bitmap style, created by Kai-Uwe Wallner. It is based on the artwork for Dungeon Designer 3, and Kai-Uwe did a magnificent job in converting the dungeon artwork by Dave Allsop into 3d objects. Because he created full models of the objects, we were able to create 8 views of each symbols, doubling the number of orientations you can show them on the map.

Here is the Evil Idol symbol from the Statues catalog in its 8 variations:
Evil Idol Symbol

Apart from Perspectives 3 the Cartographer’s Annual 2016 is now full underway with the Here be Monsters and Empire of the Sun styles available for subscribers. But the coming month needs their attention too. Next month will see an isometric style, compatible with both the Herwin Wielink Isometric Dungeons from the Annual and Perspectives 3 itself. And then we have some historical houses/villas/manors floorplans in the work, as well as a woodcut-style for overland maps.

Also – even if it is hard to believe – the year’s conventions (GenCon in August and Spiel in October) already need attention. GenCon hotel bookings for exhibitors is coming in only a couple weeks, and that is a stressful time, as rooms are becomings increasingly sparse in downtown Indy. For Spiel, we are looking in what kind of anti-harassment policies are in effect at German conventions, a topic that’s not been talked about much here.

With that I leave you with a bit from the current Perspectives example map that is on my screen, a little farm or village scene created mainly with the Isometric House tool.
Perspective Village

Example DD3 Bitmap stylePerspectives is clearly dominating my desk this month, so let’s take a look at what’s coming in this new edition of one of my favorite add-ons.

Four Styles

In addition to the two old vector styles that Perspectives Pro came with (vector symbols in color and in black and white) Perspectives 3 offers two new bitmap-based style. One is based on the artwork from Dungeon Designer 3. In fact the artist, Kai-Uwe Wallner, created 3D models of almost all the DD3 symbols and exported these in 8 views to serve as our isometric symbols. This means you can create matching isometric views of your DD3 dungeon maps!

Example Bitmap Herwin WielinkThe other bitmap style was created by Herwin Wielink, in the same look as his Isometric Dungeon style from the Annual Vol 6. In fact, the two can be combined for an even greater variety of available symbols. And unlike the Annual style, floors and walls can be freely created at any angle in Perspectives 3.

Aligning Bitmaps

In fact getting bitmap styles to behave properly in isometric view has been one of the major design challenges, but we are happy to report that these have (mostly) been overcome.


Example Shadows
A little programming remains to be done, but even without it Perspectives 3 performs wonderfully in creating isometric bitmap-based maps. Doors and windows for example, just like their vector predecessors, align to angled walls by simply moving the mouse cursor over the wall baseline when placing them.

Casting Shadows

Taking a cue from City Designer 3, the Global Sun option will also create dynamic shadows and lights on the walls, allowing you to adjust these on the fly. The difference in shadows in the image on the right has been created with only a quick adjustment on the Global Sun direction.

Like in Perspectives Pro, all the these tools and styles will be available to create outdoor maps with buildings. We’ll incorporate lessons that have been learned in the Source Maps line of maps into the tools and the manual to make this even easier and quicker.

The Plan

Our plan is currently to have Perspectives 3 ready for pre-order before Christmas, and then do the full release early next year. I hope you’re looking forward to it as much as I do!

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