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!

The German OfficeProFantasy software is a small company, but our network of contributors is incredibly international ranging from part-time editors in Australia through freelance artists in Germany and Sweden to shipping and programming in the US. While the headquarters and office are in London, much of the day-to-day work is done from a small town in Germany. To give you a little insight what goes on at that German ProFantasy office, I am starting this column on the RPGMaps blog where I intend to five you a monthly status update on what is on this cartographer’s desk at the time. I hope you enjoy it, and feel free to ask any questions in the comments or over at the community forum.

Spiel’15 in Essen, the big boardgaming fair, definitely dominated the first half of October, meaning I was out of the office for a week. Prior to that, helpers had to be organized, stock brought in and assembled, and my absence to be planned for. You can read up on my time at Spiel here. Let me just say that it’s always fun, but also a very exhausting affair. Back from Essen, I was busy with putting material back into storage, settling the accounts and reporting back to HQ. Unfortunately I brought a stubborn cold back with me, which took the whole next week to leave my system. Crowds are dangerous!

Perspectives 3 StylesNext up on the desk was getting out the CC3+ compatibility update for Symbol Set 3 – Modern. This also required preparing the next update for CC3+ (version 3.69). While the majority of work, like beta-testing and building the installations, had been done before Spiel, I still had some fine-tuning to do and the actual release to prepare. As I type this, SS3 and Update 3 should be safely out and available to our users.

But the big thing lurking on my desk is another beast: Perspectives 3. After Spiel I dived back into assembling catalogs, fine-tuning symbols, creating varicolors and all such things for an add-on with thousands of symbols. I’m currently producing a rough working version, so we can tackle some necessary programming work that using isometric bitmap artwork entails.

As you can see from the little sample, Perspectives 3 will not have one, but two new bitmap artwork styles – doubling the symbol work, yay! What you can’t see is that one styles will also have 8 directional views for each symbol, instead of the 4 in Perspectives Pro. Even more, yay! Hopefully next month the cartographer will have a couple more elaborate samples of Perspectives 3 on his desk. Until then!

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