Mapping Cities with CC3+ by Jay Johnson – Part 2

We continue Jay Johnson’t city mapping article with part 2. Go here for part 1.

CM2-1Building Construction Techniques

I think we are at the point where I should talk about some of my building construction methods. Here are some techniques for making complex structures utilizing the HBT.


The first building we will construct is what I will call the Building with Enclosed Courtyard. The technique I used for this can be used to construct all kinds of variations and is also what I used to construct the city walls around Melekhir. We will refer to this technique as splicing.

First choose the building style you want in the HBT. Ensure the House shape is set to option nine which is the trapezoid shape and the Roof type to option one which is gable.

Now we will draw the first section of the building. Notice how I tapered the walls in towards what will be the inside edge. I do this so as we splice additional sections to our building the corners of the previous section will not protrude outside the edges of the next section.

Time to add the next section. Bring up the HBT (it should have the same settings in it).
1) Click on the outside corner of the first section. This will start section two.
2) Drag the line to your desired length and left click.
3) Make the next side, dragging the line to your desired width. I like to taper back towards the first section some to ensure the inside corner will stay within the boundaries of section three. When you have the proper width and position, left click.
4) It is time for the final side. Drag the line to the inside edge of section one (diagonally opposed to where we started). Ensure the width remains constant over the length of section two and that the cursor is positioned at the inside edge of section one, then left click.

Good, the section is complete. If we did this correctly we should have ridgelines that match up and a valley in the proper place where the sections meet.

Use the same steps as we did for section two to make section three.

For the finale, we will make section four. Bring up our friend Mr. HBT and click insert.
1) Left click on the outer edge corner of section three to start section four.
2) Drag the line to the outer corner of section one and left click.
3) Drag the line diagonally across section one to the inside edge. When the width is correct and you are positioned on the inside edge of section one, left click.
4) Drag the line to the inside edge of section three. Ensure the width remains constant over the length of section four and you are positioned on the inside edge of section three, then left click.

Wow! We finished the building. Pat yourself on the back! Using this simple technique, we can create a wide variety of house shapes.

Here is a shot of the Old Port from my map of Melekhir. You can see the city wall that follows the shoreline then traces the inside edge of the port and separates it from the city. I used the same splicing technique we just learned to make a continuous wall around the city that weaves this way and that. When adding a section, you always want to start on the outside edge of the bend and finish on the inside edge. After you use this technique a few times you will understand why I do it that way.

Making a Three-Way Intersection

Next, we will make a section that comes off one of the corners of our structure at a 45-degree angle like I did in the port facility above. Let’s open the HBT. We will leave the Roof type set at gable and select the first radio button in the Extra group.

Now we will create a gable on one of the sides of the building we just completed. After we create the gable we will use the Move, Scale, Rotate tool to turn and move it to come off one of the corners at a 45-degree angle. After it is positioned we can use the splicing technique to add sections to it if we desire.

Stacking and Burying

The next techniques we will discuss are stacking and burying. Stacking is placing something on top of an object, and burying is placing it under an object.


We will use the burying technique to add a shed roof addition to our structure. To do this we will create a house on top of our structure then send it back. Be sure the ridgeline and half of the building will be completely covered by the structure you are sending it behind.

Draw the building using the HBT where we want the shed roof addition. After we complete it, we will use the Send to Back tool to place it behind the structure we are adding it to. We could also accomplish this by assigning the shed addition to a sheet that is above the sheet our structure is on in the sheets list (which is below the structure as viewed on the map).


Now we will use the stacking technique to add a tower to our structure. Open the HBT and select House shape 10 which is the hexagon. I have Roof type 1 selected, but the roof type doesn’t matter for a hexagon-shaped building. Click on insert and let’s place the tower.

1) Position the crosshairs over the desired position for the tower and left click.
2) Drag it to the desired size and orientation then left click.
3) If the tower is not quite where we want, no problem, we can just reposition it (we can also use the Ctrl key to resize if we need to when we reposition).
4) Use the Change Properties tool to add it to a level above the ground floor building level.

On the subject of sheets…
I use separate sheets with their own effects for each building level. If you haven’t already, create a sheet for building level two. Make sure you position this sheet (in the sheet list) below the sheet you use for your ground level buildings so the buildings on this sheet will be above the ground level buildings on the map. Add the effects to the sheet you just created. You can copy them from the default buildings sheet and adjust them as necessary. When you finish, click the Change Properties tool and select the tower we just added. Add it to the sheet you just created for second level buildings. You can see how, by using these simple techniques, we can create some rather complex structures.

Adding Details
Little details add a great deal to a map. Look at these two images. The first is with trees and pathways in the courtyards. The second is without them. How much difference do these details make in your opinion? In my opinion, they make a big difference.

Another detail you can work on is your shadows. I adjusted the shadow settings on my buildings so they intrude more into the streets. The places where the streets are covered in shadow creates a sense of danger and mystery, don’t you think.

The City Mapping article by Jay Johnson will continue next month.

Download Mapping Cities Parts 1 and 2 as a pdf.

Jay Johnson is an aspiring author working on an epic fantasy series. He has always loved maps and, like many of us, was introduced to fantasy cartography through the works of J. R. R. Tolkien. His map-making has become an integral part of his writing process — a process he says often seems more like discovery than creation.

2 Responses to “Mapping Cities with CC3+ by Jay Johnson – Part 2”

  1. A great read, and very well thought out. Looking forward to the next instalment.

    Thank you for sharing 🙂

  2. Thanks Sue