Converting a FT3 world into CC3+ (By Quenten Walker) – Part 2

This continues Quenten’s previous article about converting an FT3 world in CC3+.


Turn on the climate layer, by pressing the C button on the key at the side of your map. You will see the following picture (I have hidden everything else, except coastline). This map has only 5 biomes, but yours will most certainly have more.

We must now add a sheet for each biome – again, so we can use various effects, bitmap fills and alteration. Here I have added a sheet for each biome: (see above), including one named CLIMATE ABOVE, which is the lowest of the Climate sheets.

To make tracing the coastline easier, I have copied the whole coastline, and reassigned the copy (use P key to select the copied entities only) to Layer TEMPORARY, sheet to COASTLINE TEMPORARY and colour 2 (red).

We will work on ICE first. It is colour 29, so select that as colour, sheet CLIMATE ICE and Layer CLIMATE. Hide all sheets, except the selected sheet (CLIMATE ICE), and CLIMATE, and COASTLINE TEMPORARY.

The biomes are all outlined in black, but ignore that. Select the Ice biome, and Change Properties to sheet CLIMATE ICE. Hide the sheet CLIMATE. You will then see this, with holes in the ice biome.

Removing them is simple – Explode the multipolygon, and delete all the holes (now surrounded by a black border) and any very little ice biomes which you do not think will add anything. Viola – the holes are gone. Of course, if there was a tundra valley hidden among this biome, it would have appeared as such on the overall climate sheet (but did not). If so, instead of deleting, reassign via Change Properties to the colour required (30), and the sheet CLIMATE ABOVE (just as we did for Altitude). I have done this for 2 of them. In the picture below, I have also shown the CLIMATE TUNDRA SHEET.

However, as you can see, wherever the biome meets the coast, it doesn’t quite match (understatement here). This is why we have a temporary coastline to cut up into bits. Trace can be used, but it takes a very long time when you are tracing along a long coastline as in this continent – even to the extent of sometimes crashing the application.

So instead of Trace, I cut the temporary coast up, as well as the biome, and recombine them into a whole, with coastline preserved. The rest of the coastline is of course reserved for the next biome.

Finally, Change Properties of all the CLIMATE ICE polygons to colour 29, and the black outline disappears.
Here in detail is how it works.

1. Change Properties of the tundra biome in the CLIMATE sheet to CLIMATE TUNDRA sheet.
2. Hide all sheets except COASTLINE TEMPORARY and CLIMATE TUNDRA.
3. Explode the tundra multipolygon.
4. Cut the tundra outline at one end where it meets the coast, and the other where it re-joins the coast. Be aware though that the biome may go inland then back to the coast, so make sure your second cut is where the biome first re-joins the coast. You will see the reason I have hidden the BACKGROUND sheet, and changed the COASTLINE TEMPORARY to red, as the biome becomes black when Exploded.
5. Do the same for COASTLINE TEMPORARY at the same points as for the Biome.
6. Combine paths (right click Explode button), then do Paths to Polygon.
7. Repeat the steps above till all the areas where the biome meets the coast is done. Do not do all the cutting at once, since it makes combining it all rather tedious.
8. Delete the ‘Holes’, now outlined in black, and perhaps even turn some into another biome, using the appropriate colour (I have made some CLIMATE BOREAL, colour 82) and put them on the CLIMATE ABOVE sheet.
9. Hide all sheets except CLIMATE TUNDRA, and Change properties to colour 30. The black lines will disappear.

Here are the same two views as above with the changes made for the tundra. Repeat the steps above for all the biomes. By putting extra biomes on the CLIMATE ABOVE sheet, you can build up even more varied areas. However, if you put one biome in the CLIMATE ABOVE sheet on top of another biome in the same sheet, then you will need to put the one you want to appear on the top on another sheet eg CLIMATE ABOVE 2). This way, the order of biomes is kept as you want, and effects such as EDGE FADE, INNER will work properly.

As you can see, the biome now matches the coastline.

There will often be bare patches due to the fact that the climate terrain is not as accurately imported from FT3 as altitude is, with many discontinuous small polygons. You need to fix these up, either by adding nodes and attaching them, via Endpoint to fill in the gaps, or just using Trace. Or you may have your own favourite method. I have used a mixture of the two.

In addition, the dreaded black borders may reappear. Just Change Properties of the offending polygon to the Biome colour, and it is fixed.

Finally, the islands need to be done. If an island is completely covered by that biome, then delete the biome, and Change Properties of the temporary coastline to the biome colour, sheet name eg CLIMATE TUNDRA, Layer CLIMATE, and fill Solid.

Once you have done all this, your climate map is complete.


Unusually for a CC3+ map, we have done the rivers before the mountains. This is because while FT3 exports rivers, it only does altitude, not mountain chains as such. [You can add mountain terrain to your FT3 map, but I find the results very unsatisfactory, and rarely take altitude into account.]

For the mountains, I create a sheet, MOUNTAINS POLYGONS, putting it below CLIMATE biomes. Hide all but MOUNTAINS (the selected sheet), RIVERS, LAKES, COASTLINE and all the CONTOURS (LAND) sheets. Freeze all layers except MINERALS/MOUNTAINS Layer. Choose what colour you want for the mountains, say 34 (dark brown), with Solid fill. We can change this later.

Use the altitude contours to work out where your major mountains are. They will all be above the 300 metre contour, and occur where the altitude contours are quite close together. In fact, there may even be plateaus, like Tibet, on your map (as there is on this one).

Here is my version of a zoomed part of the map, before and after the mountains have been added.

Finally, here is the map with the mountain range polygons finished. I have turned on the Climate layer, and hidden the Altitude layer via the hyperlink buttons on the map.

One can leave it here, or give the MOUNTAIN POLYGONS Sheet a Transparency effect so the Altitude contours or climate biomes show through. I prefer to eventually replace these polygons with spine and ridge as below, placing them on a MOUNTAINS RIDGES sheet below the MOUNTAINS POLYGONS Sheet.

I also have a macro which automates this, which is freely available, and is also good for drawing cliffs for such a large scale map. The macro will be available in the blog for those interested.

Here are the mountain polygons with the main spines drawn in colour 29.

I apply my macro to these lines in turn (which must be smooth, not fractal or straight); alternatively, I could put in the ridges by hand – hence my use of the macro – hehe. After that I hide the MOUNTAINS POLYGONS Sheet.

Annual #26 Annual Fantasy Realms has this neat way of doing mountain. Another method is in Annual #24 Shaded Relief. Both these are suitable for large scale maps IMO. (2008 and 2009 annuals).

The advantage of using just lines as spined and ridges without shadowing is that the underlying layers (Climate or Altitude) show clearly underneath.

Here are the climate and altitude maps with the spines just as lines.

Finally, here is the full deal, with some names and cartouches.

Your map will have more landmasses, ocean contours more detailed and more biomes. Have fun.

Quenten Walker is a retired oncologist , and worldbuilder from the age of 11, just after discovering the Narnia books. He has used ProFantasy since the CC Pro days, and just loves making maps to tell stories about (rather than stories which require a map). He lives on an idyllic island in the middle of the Bass Strait, Australia, and regards the ProFantasy community as a second family. He can be contacted via Facebook (Quenten Walker).

One Response to “Converting a FT3 world into CC3+ (By Quenten Walker) – Part 2”

  1. Bravo, Quenten! 😀

    Thank you for taking the time and trouble to write it all down for us.