If you have used Campaign Cartographer for some time, you’ve probably encountered the red X showing up in your map. Perhaps just as simple symbol missing and being replaced by a red X, or maybe your map was covered by them. Today, I’ll talk a little bit about why you may encounter this issue, what the reason behind it is, and what you can do to remedy the situation, as well as tips for avoiding it in the first place.
Hopefully after reading this, you will have a better idea on how CC3+ uses your images, and can avoid this situation in the future.

The Core Reason

The underlying reason this happens is rather simple. When you make a map in CC3+, the map will contain references to the image files used for symbols and fills. These files are not embedded in the map itself. So, every time you open up a CC3+ map, it will look at the references embedded in the map, and will then go and load these image files from your drive. However, if it cannot find these files in the location specified in the map, it won’t know what that image is supposed to look like, and it will display a red X instead indicating this. So, in other words, this happens because the image that was on your drive when you made the map is no longer there, simple as that. This isn’t an issue with CC3+ itself, it is simply a missing image file. So, what we need to look at now, is why this file may be missing. This will influence the best way to go about fixing your map.

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Last time in the developer series I started our Dynamic Dungeons project with the intention to showcase how to make some simple tools for a more fluid dungeon editing experience. In this issue, I will continue on with that project, and add some improvements to it, such as taking care that our entities are placed on the right sheets, meaning we will need to dive into sublists, and I will also automatically generate walls to go along with our floors.

As last time, I prepared a short video to show the tools in action. At the end of the video, you’ll also see that I show the classic dungeon tools correctly interacting with my entities.

To be able to follow this article series, you should have read my earlier articles in the series.

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One reason to import an image into your map is to use it as a guideline for your mapping. For example, maybe you want to import that scan of your old hand-drawn map, or importing a real world city map to re-map it in CC3+. Inserting the image is easy enough (Insert File from the Draw menu), but one of the important things when you want to use an image for reference (or using it as part of the final drawing) is to get it to scale. You could wing it, but that often comes back to bite you later, as a lot of the default sizes for effects, line widths and so on assume your map is to scale. I’ve talked about the importance of scale in an earlier article, but for this one, I’ll just focusing on scaling imported images.

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In this article in the development series, I’ll start putting the things we have learned into some proper useful commands for CC3+. I’ll be going for designing a set of dynamic dungeon tools that focuses on making the drawing of a dungeon quick and easy. In particular, I am aiming at making a set of tools that lets you draw the floorplan in a more fluid manner, and easily do things like changing the shape of a room by adding a small alcove or similar, without manually manipulating the entities. I am also making sure that the floor will always be merged to a single polygon so we avoid breaks in the fill pattern.

This will be a series of several articles, so in this first article we will be getting started with the basics. We will start by writing the code for drawing polygons, and we will see how we can merge them automatically to a larger polygon. This should give us a great starting point, which we will build upon in future articles. This short YouTube video shows a demo of what the code below achieves in CC3+.

To be able to follow this article series, you should have read my earlier articles in the series.

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The latest CC3+ update is currently in beta, and you can download it from your registration page over at the main ProFantasy website if you wish to try it out. Of course, this is a beta, so only install it if you don’t mind potentially running into glitches and other issues (this is why we test new versions before releasing them after all)

In this article, I will take a short look at the new features that appear in this version. If you have the beta installed, you will have them right now, but if not, you will get access to them when we release the finished version of the update. In any case, there are several nice new features waiting for you in this update.

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When mapping, there are times when precision matters a lot, and times when it doesn’t matter at all and simply eyeballing sizes and positions gives the best result. But in this article, I am going to talk a bit about the former, when we want perfect precision in our work, when we need that road to be exactly 10 feet wide, or entities needs to line up perfectly with each other. In CC3+ we have multiple tools available for that purpose, such as snap grid, modifiers and coordinates. I’ve talked about these things in other places before, but I’ll put all these into the context of precision work here.

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You can’t make a good dungeon without having some secrets, right? Hidden traps, secret doors, concealed corridors, illusory floors, invisible enemies and fake treasure. Now, placing invisible enemies on the map is dead simple (trick being not actually placing them at all) but how can I make a map with a secret corridor that I can reveal and hide at will, and not betraying it’s existence when it is hidden?

CC3+ has nice tools for adding corridors to your map, but you have do decide if they should break the wall or not when connecting to an existing room or corridor. And this is where the challenge begins. It is easy enough to temporarily hide something by putting it on it’s own layer so toggling the visibility of the corridor is easy, but if you chose to have it break the wall when placed, you would still have that hole there when the corridor is hidden. Now, that isn’t actually a good way to keep it secret. On the other hand, if you chose to not break the walls, then there will be walls blocking the corridor even when it is revealed, which look a bit weird, and we can’t have any of that, can we?

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One rather standard feature of most CC3+ maps that I see many people are somewhat confused over or fail to use properly is the screen. For example, I get a lot of atlas submissions that have things sticking out on the outside of the screen. Thus, I thought I would dedicate a small article to talk a little bit about this feature.

The screen is that white polygon that can be found right outside the map border on most maps. But why is it there? What is the intended functionality of it? And how to best manipulate it? And how to avoid it being part of our output when we export our map to an image? I’ll talk about all these things here, to hopefully give you a bit more insight into this feature.

Note that this article is about the screen entity found on most maps, and not the Screen Border sheet effect.

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One of the most powerful effects in CC3+ is also the least used one. And that is kind of understandable, because it is also one of the more complicated ones. So in this article, I’m going to give you a bit of an introduction to the Spatial Matrix Process (SMP) effect (Not to be confused with the RGB Matrix Effect).

SMP is a custom filter where you have a lot of control over what the effect will do, it doesn’t have a pre-defined purpose like the other effects, but can be used to create a variety of different effects. Note that some of the results you can accomplish using this effect is already implemented as separate effects, such as blur.

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While most CC3+ styles have a good selection of symbols, including multiple variations of the same symbols, such as multiple different trees, mountains, tables or statues, you can get into an issue of repetition if you need lots of these symbols.

One of the ways to alleviate this is to apply different scaling, rotation and mirroring to these symbols. Just a subtle change of scale or orientation helps reduce the monotony of a lot of the same symbols. This can of course be done manually, but CC3+ symbol catalogs contain a cool feature for helping with this, namely random transformations. Random transformations are a configurable way to automate this process on a symbol by symbol basis, ensuring that it makes sense for each symbol it is applied to. For example, it doesn’t make much sense to have a random rotation of a mountain in an overland map, that would probably look weird given the isometric view of these symbols in most styles, while a table in a tavern may benefit from free rotation. The same mountain may find use in random scaling to vary it that way instead.

You’ll find that many of the official symbol catalog already use this technique by default, but it is easy to set up yourself, either to apply it to your own custom symbols, or to existing symbols when using them.

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