CC3+ Update

Our estimate for the release of CC3+ was “in the first half of the year,” which, like many software deadlines, whizzed past at an unedifying speed.  So, time for an update. We aim to release CC+ in mid August, at GenCon. Character Artist 3 purchasers entitled to a free upgrade will get an alpha version to download (optionally) before then.

new large icons interface

First, technical stuff – the main reasons for the delay.

We want to make CC3+ as future proof as possible, and we have to keep an eye on Microsoft operating systems and development environments. In addition, Mike Riddle (the developer of the CC CAD engine) became available for a few weeks’ work. This was an umissable opportunity. So, he’s massaged the assembly code, worked around bugs in Visual Studio 2013, and even persuaded the Microsoft team to include bug fixes. It now compiles with vs2013. This doesn’t guarantee functionality with future versions of Windows, but makes it much easier to fix if there are issues. This gives Joe Slayton more tools and compilation enhancements, too.

We are moving all resources away from the program files folder and into the Windows-specified location, which is a quite a knotty problem. We are also switching from registry entries to human readable files where possible, and finalising changes to the effects architecture. We can’t update all the templates until the effects are nailed down.

The main improvements are listed here, with notes from me as to what this really means.

Speed: CC3+ runs twice as fast as CC3. A combination of hardware optimisation and eldritch programming sorcery means more map-making, less waiting – simple as that. [The main benefit is that you can work with effects on on most machines, most of the time. so WYSIWYG]

Style: Award-winning cartographer Mike Schley provides you with a complete new attractive map-making style. Nothing new to learn, just better looking maps. [nothing new to learn, just nicer looking maps]

Effects: You asked for PhotoShop-style effects, now you have them, with faster, better, streamlined and consistent filters your maps will look better than ever before. You can test your effects on the drawing before applying them. And, again, CC3+ is doing the work. [we’ve been inspired by map-makers such as Par Lindstrom who have created maps in CC3 then done more work in Photoshop]

Ease: A context-sensitive floating cursor lets you know what CC3+ is thinking. [I thought this would be annoying, but now it’s indispensible.]The Print Wizard makes it easy to export your maps at any scale, tiled across paper [I use this mainly with a PDF printer]. CC3+ also gives you better and cleverer editing, clearer icons, and you can drag and drop images from the internet.

Integration: CC3+ puts roads, rivers, symbols and other map-making tools up front and center right where you need them. Whatever map making style you choose, the tools you need will appear, visually, and ready to go. [We’ve added the drawing tools to the symbol catalog window, in an order which reflects your process flow. This is more intutive and speeds up map creation. It’s also easier for new map makers.]

Clarity: We’ve fixed bugs, plugged holes and cleaned up the interface. CC3+ is Windows 8 able, and it’s cleaner on the inside and outside. [CC3+ also gives us a platform to improve all the add-ons, too and release Perspectives and Dioramas, too]

24 Responses to “CC3+ Update”

  1. Take your time guys; I rather wait longer and get a better, less-buggy, full-featured and future-proof app.

  2. I am really looking forward to this. It looks well worth the wait!!

  3. This sounds absolutely wonderful, and no rush. The finish line is in sight!

  4. I cannot wait, but have to agree with the folks above. Take your time, make it right. Cannot wait to see this in action!!

  5. Curses! Still no Linux version, then. It does sound like your plan might make it more WINE-friendly, though – I’m up for some testing if you need a Linux box or 2.

  6. Sounding good guys. As with the others, while I’m quite anxious to get my hands on the updated I can wait to make sure it’s as good as it can be.

  7. Better to measure twice and cut once. Take your time. I have a tendancy to blame myself when I hit a frustrating wall so I appreciate as smooth a ride as possible. Please do not cut a corner.

    I use the last machine running XP in the world (I guess) and it will remain so while I am without a budget to upgrade. [My writing computer runs on a 2000 Linux distribution OS & Corel Suite – remember Netscape?] It would be great to have my writing and cartography together on the same computer….

    Thanks for keeping us updated, and for a great product.

  8. This are the second (the first was the wonderful symbol set 4) great news this year from your house! Yes, take your time to surprise us with your great product update.

  9. I’m looking forward to this but I’m curious about some things after reading the blog entry.

    How will the switch to resources not in the program folder work in regards to the current expansions and such, since those install in the program folder?

    Will you be able to just install CC3+ so it upgrades the previous CC3 instillation or have away so every thing doesn’t need to be reinstalled again like the various expansions, etc. ?

  10. Thanks for all your hard work. Same sentiments as many of the others: I’m really looking forward to the update/upgrade, but take the time necessary to work out (most of) the bugs.

    Also, as with DetectiveClayton, I prefer to work in a Linux environment (Xubuntu-14.04) and it would be great if CC3+ could run in the WINE environment. I’ll be a tester as well, if it will help.

  11. Any chance that there will be a Mac version of CC3+?
    If not: Will you test compatibility to Parallels for Mac?

    Thanks in advance!

  12. It’s impossible not to get excited about the upcoming CC3+. You guys are going way past what I expected in changes & improvements. My creative fingers are already itching!

  13. Hi! I’m hoping CC3+ isn’t going to be another expensive add-on…..

  14. Really looking forward to the new version!

  15. I’m not sure about Parallels, but I use CC3 on a VMware virtual machine on a Mac without any trouble.

    While I also would love a native Mac version, I work for a software company that just completed a multi-platform porting project and it took a team of six almost three years to finish. I doubt the CC3 codebase is quite as complex, but it’s still an enormous project when you started with only one platform in mind.

  16. PLEASE leave us with an option to continue using the current “all files in one folder hive” format. I *DESPISE* Windows telling me where my files should go, and bypass it at every available opportunity.

  17. Great to hear it. I used on Win8 but do notice shutdowns. Absolutely love the program. Keep it coming.

  18. Hello!
    Please, don’t feel rushed, I’m simple a bit impatient and curious about CC3+ and can’t wait ;), but, with only 4 days to GenCon, may I modestly ask, any news on this? Especially on the alpha version for CA3 purchasers?

  19. It would perhaps be best not to publish any release dates, tentative as they may be. Each one just whizzes by without CC3+… no matter how many times a day I check

  20. I hope this version will work with Hero Labs.

  21. Oh man… I sure hope that the stuff is not in the “documents”, “users” etc. folders… and if you do… make sure that you can run the stuff when you are NOT online/connected to the server but have server side profiles. Some tools I have behave really cranky when I am not in the network.


  22. If you’re putting stuff in “the Windows-specified location”, please, please, please have an install option to put the data and user files/folders where I want them. Despite what MS thinks, I really don’t want everything jacked into my windows profile.


  23. still no picker tool? seriously… so there’s new shiny icons, whoopty do. Can you make the tools actually usable at least? It shouldn’t be a chore to select individual components and modify them.

    [-] and now you’re trying to charge again for a graphical update. [-]

    Edit: Removed part of the complaint irrelevant to the issue at hand.

  24. Dan, I’m sorry if your disappointed with the software, but it’s not only a graphical update, there’s usability improvements (the help text on the cursor of example) and a high speed increase.

    For a picker tool, use the picker on the left toolbar (Extract Properties). You can also right-click that button and use “Draw Like” to start drawing something in another entity’ style right away.

    For editing any object, use the Change Properties command.

    If you still don’t like it, take advantage of our “Satisfaction Guarantee”