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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Grids are a necessity when you are making your battle maps and it is easy to add a grid in CC3+ through the Draw Menu (Hex or Square Overlay). And this is quite OK for many maps, but with just a little bit more work, one can make it much prettier. For example, a common desire is to only have the grid visible over the floors in the rooms, where the characters can actually walk. And maybe you have a tiled floor and want the grid aligned to that? In this article, I am going to discuss some of the things you can do with your grid.

 

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Color Key is one of those effects that can be a bit difficult to see an immediate use for. Effects like Glow, Edge Fade, Transparency and so on are very clear already from the name, and it is easy to think of scenarios where those effects would be useful. But what of the Color Key, what can we really use it for? When does it make sense to use it? It’s not quite as clear.

I didn’t really use this effect myself in the beginning, but I’ve been using it more and more over the years as I have found that it can really simplify the work process to get the look I need.

The main idea behind Color Key is that it can be used to remove parts of a sheet, allowing the sheet below to shine through. This can be done to punch hole in things, for example, you can use it to punch a hole in the landmass to see the sea fill below (creating a lake), you can punch a hole in the roof or wall of a building to see the interior, you can use it to remove the parts of the grid you don’t want and so on. But instead of actually deleting anything from the map, the Color Key is just an effect that can be later moved or removed, for example making it much easier to reshape that hole in the wall as opposed to if you had actually edited the wall entity itself.

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In my latest live stream, I did use the RGB Matrix Process effect quite a lot for changing the colors of fills ans symbols. I this article, I’ll dive a bit more into this effect and describe it in a bit more detail.

The effect itself is just a basic color-replacement effect, but all those text fields with numbers can look quite a bit daunting when you open it up for the first time, but you can use it to make some nice results. You can see some examples in this older blog article where I also touch briefly on this effect, but today I’m going to explain it in a bit more detail.

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Ever wanted to have something appear as a being inscribed into the wall or floor instead of appearing on top of it? With a little bit of manipulation and a few effects, we can turn any vector symbol or basic shape into such an inscription.

We can then use this technique to decorate floors in a dungeon, or used with both walls and floors in a perspective drawing, netting us some nice way of adding decorations without overusing symbols.
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When using CC3+, you may have encountered symbols with behavior, like houses that aligns to and offsets from the wall and doors that align to, resizes themselves to match and cut holes in dungeon walls. These are what CC3+ calls smart symbols. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at these symbols and we’ll have a look at how to make our own smart symbols. I’ll be using DD3 here, but this functionality is not restricted to DD3, and can be used in any kind of map CC3+ can produce.

Try it out

Before making our own smart symbols, to see the existing ones in use, try out how dungeon door reacts to differently sized walls. Start with a new small DD3 dungeon, draw a wall using the wall drawing tool (I recommend you right-click Default Wall and pick a nice looking one) at any angle. Then, make sure Snap (bottom right corner) is turned off and then pick any door from the Wall features catalog and hover the cursor over the wall. The door symbol should rotate to match the angle of the wall, and once you click, you’ll notice that it actually cuts the wall where it places the door. These are two of the features of smart symbols, aligning to existing entities and cutting lines.

This article is also available in a video version.

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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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