One of the nice upgrades CC3+ brought with it back when it was released was the ability to include drawing tools in your symbol catalogs. Now, this is hopefully not news to you, as this is used quite a bit in the official symbol catalogs used in most styles. But this fact does make the symbol catalog window a bit smarter, since drawing tools can do quite a bit of things, like I discussed in my article about Advanced Drawing Tools earlier this year.

This means that the tools we add to our symbol catalog doesn’t have to be limited to drawing shapes that fit the theme of the symbols in the catalog, but also tools that can do powerful things like running macros to almost everything we want.

The feature of putting drawing tools into the symbol catalog is simple enough, it is the possibilities that this opens that make it exiting.

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There are several ways to organize your maps, both inside and outside of CC3+. We’ve previously talked about linking your maps together to make a navigable atlas, and how to index your maps to make them easy to search to find the map you want. Today, I’ll talk about the bookmark feature in CC3+. Using bookmarks, you can create lists of maps, for examples maps belonging together, or maps with a common theme. For example, in the community atlas, I have bookmarks for the different types of maps, for example one bookmark set that contains all the overland maps, one the contains all the dungeon maps, and so on.

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Dear fellow map-makers! May is here and we are looking forward to the summer.

News

  • The free monthly symbols for this month are a special highlight, as Mike Schley has created some amazing structure symbols for a Dark Empire in his overland style.
  • The May issue of the Annual 2022 is available, featuring an overlay style for computer networks and other electronic systems.

Resources

Articles

  • We have a new Master Mapper in our roster of awesome cartographers. Read about the work of Hans Anders Bergström, our Master Mapper of 2021.
  • As travel restriction are being lifted and events are happening at a larger scale again, you’ll find ProFantasy at GenCon again this year, meaning we have to travel to Indianapolis.

Reminders

What’s a good fantasy world without an evil empire that wants to rule everything with an iron fist? Iron gates, spiky towers and gloomy buildings rise from bleak lands where this empire holds sway. 20 new stucture symbols by Mike Schley give you the tools to depict the settlements and fortifications of a militaristic Dark Empire in May’s symbol catalog.

To download the free content go to your registration page and on the Downloads tab, click the download button for Campaign Cartographer 3 Plus. Mike’s new symbols are the last link in the list. All the content up to and including April 2022 is included in the one download.

You can always check the available monthly content on our dedicated page.

With this month’s of free content by Mike Schley you can build a great wall around your kingdom to protect it against the barbarian hordes outside. You will find 40 new symbols in this month’s catalog to construct a continuous series of walls, tower, gates and forts in Mike Schley’s overland style of CC3+.

To download the free content go to your registration page and on the Downloads tab, click the download button for Campaign Cartographer 3 Plus. Mike’s new symbols are the last link in the list (see image on the right). All the content up to and including January 2022 is included in the one download.

You can always check the available monthly content on our dedicated page

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.


Download InstructionsFor this year’s final month of free content by Mike Schley, we climb up the steep slopes of the mountains high up into the clouds. Mike has created new volcanoes, waterfalls, wooded mesas (tepui), strange rock formations, and the clouds themselves for the Mountain Symbols pack that adds 20 new symbols to the Mike Schley overland style of CC3+.

To download the free content go to your registration page and on the Downloads tab, click the download button for Campaign Cartographer 3 Plus. Mike’s new symbols are the last link in the list (see image on the right). All the content up to and including December 2021 is included in the one download.

You can always check the available monthly content on our dedicated page

The Parched Lands

Download InstructionsWith this month’s free content by Mike Schley, we travel inland from the the shores of the ocean into the blasted vastness of the great deserts. You will find dunes, cacti, half-buried statues and of course giant worms in the Desert Symbols pack that adds 20 new symbols to the Mike Schley overland style of CC3+.

To download the free content go to your registration page and on the Downloads tab, click the download button for Campaign Cartographer 3 Plus. Mike’s new symbols are the last link in the list (see image on the right). All the content up to and including November 2021 is included in the one download.

You can always check the available monthly content on our dedicated page.

With this month’s free content by Mike Schley, we venture out into the vastness of the ocean. Ships, islands, sea monsters and other ocean features make up the Coastal Symbols pack that builds upon the symbols of the Mike Schley overland style of CC3+.

Download InstructionsTo download the free content go to your registration page and on the Downloads tab, click the download button for Campaign Cartographer 3 Plus. Mike’s new symbols are the last link in the list (see image on the right). All the content up to and including October 2021 is included in the one download.

You can always check the available monthly content on our dedicated page.

Example September

Download InstructionsWe continue with our free monthly content for Campaign Cartographer 3+. This month Mike Schley added the the thrid party of the classical fanasy trio his overland style: The Dwarves and their mostly underground cities, strongholds, mines and outposts.

To download the free content go to your registration page and on the Downloads tab, click the download button for Campaign Cartographer 3 Plus. Mike’s new symbols are the last link in the list (see image on the right). All the content so far is included in the one download.

You can always check the available monthly content on our dedicated page.

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