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.

 

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

August Abandoned Structures

Download InstructionsWe continue with our free monthly content for Campaign Cartographer 3+. This month Mike Schley added the results of all the wars between the Orcs and the Elves to his overland style: Once lively, now abandoned cities, towns and villages, destroyed keeps, cursed crossroads and haunted graveyards can now adorn your maps.

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.

Orcish Settlements

Download InstructionsAs promised we are continuing with our free monthly content for Campaign Cartographer 3+. This month Mike Schley added the ancient foes of June’s elves to his overland style: the Orcs. From sprawling orcish cities, via towns and castles, down to villages, camps and even a necropolis, you can now populate your map with their settlements.

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). Both June and July content is included in the one download.

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

Jason Payne from the CC3+ community has documented the overland mapping for his Realm of Aquilae fantasy setting in a terrain mapping guide, which you can get as a “pay what you like” product on DriveThruPG.com. It can be a useful resource for anyone creating their own terrain setup in CC3+. Check it out!
Aquilae

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