Mapping Tiles with CC3+ – Part 2 – Drawing Tiles

Campaign Cartographer is not designed to be a tile-based mapper, rather it is designed to be fully free-form where you can shape things as you want. But sometimes, having a set of pre-made tiles available can allow us to throw together a map quickly, or to serve as inspiration.

Last month, we looked at planning the basic structure for our tiles. Planning is always important, especially with something like making tiles, because we need a structured approach if we want them to actually fit nicely together.

In this installment, we’ll get into drawing a few example tiles using the template we created in part 1. I’ll continue on with the file from part 1. It does require Cosmographer to see the existing sample tile, but the templates in it doesn’t require anything but plain CC3+ and can thus be used with any style. There are two variants of the template in the file. Basically, they’re the same thing, just two different way of representing the connections depending on preference. You can use either one.

Now, there are a couple of very important things about those template lines, so let us just remind ourselves of that before we start:

  • They are all nicely placed on the current snap grid of the drawing. This makes it much easier to use them as visual guides and let snaps in CC3+ do detail work, rather than have to use modifiers (like endpoint) to target the lines all the time. Modifiers are great, but if I am to draw a lot of tiles, I’d rather be able to use the snap grid for most of the tasks.
  • They are on their own Sheet. This allow me to move them up or down in the drawing order, easily controlling what they will appear on top of. It can often be helpful while working to keep them at the very top. They can also be easily hidden by hiding the sheet, and if needed, I can apply a transparency effect or similar to them as well to be able to both keep them on top, but also see through them.
  • They are on their own Layer. Just as with the Sheet, a Layer is a good way of hiding things when not needed, but the more important thing here is that a layer can be frozen. When the template is on a frozen layer, they are simply not interactable by editing commands, meaning you don’t accidentally delete your template even if deleting something from the drawing. (Note that they are still accessible from info-commands, like List.)

Now, the way to use this template is simply to draw on top of it, using it as a guide, and when you are done with a tile, simply move it to the side away from the template. Because the template lines are on a frozen layer, this lets you very easily move just the tile, but the template remains behind for the next tile, and you don’t end up with the template lines as a part of every tile.

To make sure the template is always visible while drawing, let us move it to the top of the drawing order. In the Sheets and Effects dialog, find the TILE TEMPLATE sheet (or whatever you have named your sheet) and move it to the bottom of the list (Remember, CC3+ goes through that list from top to bottom, so for anything to appear on top of everything else, it needs to be the last thing CC3+ draws, which is the last item in the list).

If you like, you can also add a transparency effect at this point, setting it to 50% opacity should be good, but this step is completely optional, and don’t affect the resulting tiles.

Now, just go ahead and draw a new tile on top of the template lines, but keep in mind that exits should only go where marked on the template. Additionally, do not draw any outside walls at the edge of the template. Interior walls do not need to follow the red lines, as long as the exits line up properly. Also keep in mind that the edges of the rooms at the edge of the tile are not the end of the room, there will be more of that room on another tile, so avoid placing things that block of access unless that is intentional.

You can use drawing tools, like floor and wall drawing tools when drawing the tile, but do not use the room or corridor commands from Dungeon Designer as they create external walls we do not need. Instead use the floor drawing tools (Usually named “Floor, Something Somthing” in most styles, or “Deck, Something Else” in Sci-Fi tools). Likewise, use the wall tools (“Wall, Something” or “Bulkhead, Something”) for the walls. Or, if you feel like it, simply use standard lines and polygons and set properties manually, but in that case, make sure to use the right sheets and layers.

Also, since these tiles are meant to connect, be consistent about the choice of fill styles for walls and floors, you don’t want to have too many different options or you’ll limit the ways the tiles can be combined.

Another thing to consider, especially if you intend to export them as images to use, don’t include effects that exit the tile. If you have a shadow from a symbol on one tile that extends beyond the edge of the tile, well that shadow won’t be on the other tiles, so when you assemble them you get a shadow that just suddenly stops. Keep all effects entirely within each tile unless the tiles will be used as advanced symbols in CC3+ (We will cover this in a later article)

You may want to turn off snap temporarily when placing symbols, but remember to turn it back on again for walls and floors.

Here’s the room I drew:

Now, after drawing the tile, simply move it out of the way using the standard Move,Scale,Rotate command. Start by making sure Snap is on (I recommend setting snap divisions back to 1 for this and the next step – see part 1 if you need a reminder on how to configure the snap grid), then, using the move command, simply draw a selection rectangle around the entire tile. Since the template lines are on a frozen layer, they won’t be included. Then just complete the command normally and move the tile out of the way. I recommend just having an area for all the finished tiles, and to place them down with space in-between them to make it easier to select them later. Note that the reason why snap needs to be on at this point is that we need to keep having the tile aligned with the snap grid as we move it. If it gets out of alignment with the snap grid, it gets very hard to line up the tiles when you are using them later.

I drew a few more tiles so I could put down an outer edge for a complete space station. I am planning on rotating the tiles, which is why there is only two more pieces:

While 4 tiles doesn’t give us much variation, at least these four ones should let me build a standard rectangular structure just to show how these work. Simply use the Copy command, select a tile, and place it down where you want it. The snap grid should make aligning the tiles very easily. If you find they don’t align, that is usually due to the tile you try to copy not being properly placed on the snap grid. I recommend making the origin point for the copy the exact center of the tile, as this allows you to rotate it around this point to easily place rotated copies.

Do note that was you place the copy, you’ll only see outlines on the cursor. Don’t worry too much about this for now, this isn’t the way we will use the tiles in the end, but the outlines should be good enough to guide you to place them in the right position.

So, after placing a few copies of each of my tiles, and rotating as needed, this is my little station. Not much to look at, since my tiles are simple, and only 4 of them leaves little variation, and my station doesn’t even have an entrance, but it do shows my tiles working nicely.

And with that, I am bringing this part to a close. We now have our template, and we know how to design our tiles. However, we’ll want a better way to use the tiles than the copying them like this, which we will address in future installments of the series. The map file from this article is available for download, but do note that you do need Cosmographer 3 and the HiSpace Deckplans annuals to be able to view it.


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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