Customizing Templates

Whenever you start a new map in CC3+, it is always based on an existing template. But did you know you can easily create your own custom templates, ensuring that it already comes configured with your custom sheets and effects setup, your own fills, and more?

A template in CC3+ is really just a map. When you create a new map, what happens is that CC3+ makes a copy of the template for you as the starting point of your new map. So editing a template is just as simple as editing a map, the only trick with templates is knowing where to find them and where to put them.

Customizing templates is also the first step to creating your own custom style, which have been covered in other articles.

When editing templates, I always recommend you make your own copy of them, don’t overwrite the ones that came with the program. If you do, the only way to get the originals back is a reinstall of the software. Additionally, official templates may be replaced during an update, leading you to losing your changes.

Where are the templates and how to open them?

All the templates are found in the Templates sub-directory of your main CC3+ data directory. On a default install this means C:\ProgramData\ProFantasy\CC3Plus\Templates (Don’t confuse ProgramData with Program Files, they’re not the same thing). Remember that in CC3+, the @ symbols refer to the data directory, so we normally write the path to the Templates directory as @Templates.

Inside @Templates, you’ll find folders for the different map types you can make. What you have here depends on what products you have installed. Inside each folder you’ll find two things, templates (files with the FCT file extension) and folders, at least one of which is named Wizard.

The template files you find here and in every subdirectory except Wizard are what we call pre-defined templates. They are made to use exactly as they are, and come in predefined sizes. In contrast to the wizard templates, when you create a new map from a pre-defined template you don’t get to pick background or size or anything, you just use it exactly as it is set up.

The more interesting templates are the ones found in the Wizard sub-folder however. These templates are the one used by the new map wizard, and allows you to pick the settings like size and background when you make a map from them. Technically, the templates files themselves are using the exact same format regardless of type, it is just that the Wizard templates have been made with certain expectations in mind to make them work properly with the new map Wizard. You’ll find exactly one template in here for every choice you see in the new map wizard for the appropriate type.

To open up a template for editing in CC3+, you use the regular open map command from the menu or the toolbar, but in the file open dialog, make sure to switch the file type to CC3+ FCT Template. Opening it this way will bring it into the editor just like any map. To avoid accidentally saving over the official original, I recommend immediately using File -> Save As and save it under a new name. Just put it into the same directory you originally opened it from (make sure to give it a new name) and again, make sure to change the file type to Campaign Cartographer 3 FCT Template, or it will save it as a regular map file which won’t show up in the wizard.

Editing the Template

After opening it, you edit the template just as any other map. Of course, remember that you are working on a template for future maps, so you don’t want to actually start mapping, but if you want to have the same compass rose on all maps, or some other kind of decorations, perhaps a box for a legend or whatever you want, you can put it in now.

You can also add additional sheets and effects to the the template, sheets will stay in the same order in the map that they are in the template.

Another common thing to do is to import more fill styles into the template, for example if you want to take advantage form drawing tools from a different style, you’ll also need the fills, so if you have your template already prepared for that, it is less work when you use the tools in your map later. I do recommend not going overboard though. Don’t simply throw every fill style in there, limit it to those you are likely to use with that template. Keep in mind that a template is for basing multiple maps on, so it doesn’t make sense to throw in fills you may only use in a single map in the future, in that case it is better to just add them to that particular map when needed.

Saving the Template

If you took my advice earlier and just hit Save As and saved it as a template in the same directory as your source template, all you need to do is to hit save and be done. But there are options here of course. One obvious choice to do as I just said and keep the template in the same directory as the original. This means it shows up in the list of templates for that map type, ready to be used.
But, another good option is to collect all your personal template in your own folder. Under @Templates, you can make a new folder for yourself, for example calling it My Templates, or just use your name or whatever. Then, inside that folder, make another folder called Wizard, and then save your new template inside there. Now, you have a nice list in the new map wizard that is only your own templates instead of mixing it in with those rather long lists of templates you get if you have everything installed. Whatever you called that first folder under @Templates will show up as a map type in the list on the first step of the new map wizard.

Of course, if your map is intended to be a pre-defined map instead of a wizard map, you don’t put it inside the Wizard sub-folder, but just leaves it directly in your map type folder.

Additional Wizard Files

A Wizard template have two additional files it needs for the new map wizard. That is, the template will work just as fine without it, but the wizard won’t be able to show the preview and the map information. Basically, these are a descriptive text file and a png image file with the same name as the template file. You’ll see these if you open up the wizard folder in windows file explorer.

The preview image is usually about 250×200 pixels.

The text file contains the map units on the first line, than just free-form descriptive text on the following lines.

If your template is a subtle modification of an existing template, you may just wish to make a copy of the files for that template and rename them.

Note that if these files are missing, the preview the dialog will simply not update when you select your template, the preview and text will just continue displaying whatever it showed for the previous template.

If I change the template, does that change existing maps?

As I talked about earlier, when you make a new map in CC3+, the map is actually a copy of the template it is based on. But this copy do not have any connections back to the template it came from. This means that if you later change the source template, for example to add new sheets or fills to it, this will not affect the existing maps in any way. This is also why you should never move or rename art files after you have used them once. If you for example decide to rename the folder where your custom fills reside, it isn’t good enough to just update the file references in the template, but you’ll have to do so in every map that use the old location as well.

 

If you have questions regarding the content of this article, please use the ProFantasy forums. It can take a long time before comments on the blog gets noticed, especially for older articles. The forums on the other hand, I frequent daily.

 

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