This is the fourth article in my series about XP development. To understand this article properly, you should be familiar with the contents of the previous articles.

In this article, I’ll be taking a closer look at how to interface with some of CC3+’s own functionality, in this case how to set CC3+ variables and how to call native CC3+ commands from an XP. I’ll be showing you how to use the SetVar and ExecScriptCopy API calls.

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In CC3+, each template is designed for a single style, which comes with it’s own symbols, fills and tools, while the resources belonging to other styles are not directly visible in the GUI.

This is intended behavior, because it puts the chosen style in focus. You know that all the elements you are being offered are designed to work with that style and fit with the visual design of the style. This behavior is both a blessing and a curse. Keeping the focus on the style is good. If you own everything, you’ll have about 40.000 different raster symbols (and a lot of vector symbols too, but I don’t have the count), you really don’t want to filter through all of these all the time when working on your map to find the ones matching your current map style, that’s just hugely impractical. But every now and then you want to be able to mix map styles, and you know of a couple of styles that work very well together. How can you easily access all the symbols from these styles?

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One of the features for CC3+ symbol catalogs is the ability to arrange these into groups, and then set this group to place random symbols from the group, or apply random transformations to them, like rotations or minor scaling to give variety to otherwise identical symbols.

But, what if you are making a particular map, and you need some other kind of grouping? For example, when placing trees you want to randomly place Decid, Pine and Jungle trees among each other? There are no predefined group like this in most symbol catalogs. Well, for that you can quite easily set up your own personal random collection just for the current map (or you can save it into a symbol catalog if you want it available later).

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So, here you are, having just prepared the main location for tonight’s adventure. But then it dawns on you, you have no idea when players will actually visit this location. They may even drop by multiple times.

Well, today we’ll be having a look into how to set up effects to it is easy to switch between day and night views of the same map. In the day scene, we will be using regular wall shadow effects to have the buildings and symbols cast shadows, while the night seen will use the point light system in CC3+ to have light sources in the scene that causes the symbols to cast shadows. We will be using this to show how symbols around a fire casts shadows away from the fire, and how we can have lights coming from the windows.

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Last time, we discussed how to do ruined walls in Perspectives 3. In this article, we’ll continue on the ruined perspectives track, and this time I will be looking at how to make battlements.

Battlements have been an important defensive feature of castles and keeps for hundreds of years. The crenelations gave archers on the wall a way to shoot at incoming enemies, while still having ample cover available to them. It would be a real miss if we couldn’t have these important features on our castles. We don’t want our fantasy castles to be too easily overrun, right?

I’ll start by making the actual battlements, and then I’ll turn them into ruins. For this, we will use a very different technique from last time, a technique that can also be applied to all manners of custom objects, not just ruins.

This article is also available as a video, if you prefer that format, or simply need to see me perform some of the steps from the article. Continue reading »

Perspectives 3 is a great add-on. It can be really rewarding to see your building appear in all it’s 3-dimensional glory.

There are some interesting challenges when mapping in the isometric view offered by Perspectives 3 however, and that is based on the fact that while the drawing might look 3-dimensional, it is actually still a flat surface. What Perspective does is to use angles in such a way as to make things appear 3-dimensional when it is not. As long as we can use the premade tools, we don’t have to worry too much about this, but these tools have their limits. For example, they are great for creating a house with, but there aren’t any easy tool to draw a ruined, crumbling wall. And it is a this point we need to start drawing some elements ourselves, and that can get a bit tricky when working in the isometric perspective.

In this article, I’ll discuss how to draw various elements to make a convincing ruin. It is based on the keep I made in this thread.

This article is also available as a video.

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Last month, I talked about how to bring your DD3 map into various Virtual Table Top (VTT) systems. Now, that is all well and good, but simply exporting a flat image from CC3+ to a VTT do have some limitation. For example, if you make a beautiful forest, the player token would be walking atop your trees, and the players wouldn’t see what is below the trees. In the real world, when you take a walk in the forest, you actually see the forest floor, not the treetops. Same happens when your characters encounters this mysterious house in the forest. Your gorgeous maps shows the scene, and as with any outdoor map, seen from above, the map shows the roof of the house. Then your players announce they are going inside. What now?

There are two ways of handling this. The first is just to have separate maps, one for inside the house, and another for outside. Then you can just load the inside map whenever the players enter the house. But what if someone stays outside and someone goes inside? Well, you could have an identical map still showing the outside, but now revealing the insides of the house instead of the roof. But this approach still means you need to move the player/monster tokens from one map to the next.

The other approach is to have items in your battlemaps that can be hidden to show additional features. This is something we are quite used to doing inside CC3+ by hiding and showing sheets, and the subject of an earlier article. This is a very nice approach, but it is also a bit trickier. The problem here is that when we export a map from CC3+, we end up with a flat image file, we lose things like sheets and layer. There are image formats supporting layers, but CC3+ can’t export to these, nor can the VTT software import them, so we need to do it differently.

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Virtual tabletops (VTTs) are a great way of playing role-playing games together when you can’t meet physically. They make it easier to play with people from all over the world, and are a nice substitute when it becomes impossible to bring the old gang together in the same location any more.

One of the main attractions for these programs when compared to general-purpose meeting/teleconference software is their focus on displaying maps to the the players, enabling you to fight your miniature battles digitally. And maps are always an important aspect in most role playing games. I myself actually use VTT software to display the battle maps, even if my group always meet physically at my place and roll physical dice, because I can more easily do things like display the map on a projector, and only display what the players see (automatic fog-of-war/lighting/sight ranges).

So, today we will look at how to take those dungeon maps you’ve lovingly crafted in DD3 and make them available for use in the a VTT environment. Now, there are lots of different VTT software to choose from out there, and I can’t really cover them all, but I’ve tried to cover some of the more popular ones, such as MapTool, Fantasy Grounds, Roll20 and D20Pro. And many things, especially all the various concerns when exporting the map from DD3 will be the same for most software solutions, so this article should help you out no matter the system.

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One of my favorite player visualizations is a spinning globe. Nothing makes a world come so alive when the players are able to properly visualize the entire planet.

This is also why I prefer to always start my new worlds in Fractal Terrains, as it lets me get a proper grip on the planet before I move on. Starting directly with a flat map in CC3+ gives so many possibilities for missteps when mapping a sphere, and I also just love to click through the auto-generated FT3 worlds until I find the perfect one. When I picked the world for my current campaign world of Virana, I probably clicked through hundreds of generated worlds and tweaked the settings a dozen times before I found the right one.

Now, this article isn’t about creating your FT3 world however, but rather on how to best make one of those nice spinning globes you can use to show it off.

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In my previous installment of this series, I talked about, among other things, composite symbols made up from multiple raster images. This is cool and all, but it raises one interesting question; what about effects? When you place a symbol, all parts of that symbol is grouped together into one entity, which lives on a single sheet.

If you make a symbol that contains a small cottage, with a tree and a few bushes outside, you’ll probably want different shadow lengths on each of these components. But, to do that, you need different sheets, right?

This is where multi-sheet symbols come in. Basically, a multi-sheet symbol is a symbol that gets split into multiple symbols when you place it, thereby putting each component of the symbol on the appropriate sheet. This may sound a bit like exploding a symbol, but with multi-sheet symbols, it is the designer of the symbol that decides which sheet each part should go on without any manual intervention from the symbol user.

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