You can’t make a good dungeon without having some secrets, right? Hidden traps, secret doors, concealed corridors, illusory floors, invisible enemies and fake treasure. Now, placing invisible enemies on the map is dead simple (trick being not actually placing them at all) but how can I make a map with a secret corridor that I can reveal and hide at will, and not betraying it’s existence when it is hidden?

CC3+ has nice tools for adding corridors to your map, but you have do decide if they should break the wall or not when connecting to an existing room or corridor. And this is where the challenge begins. It is easy enough to temporarily hide something by putting it on it’s own layer so toggling the visibility of the corridor is easy, but if you chose to have it break the wall when placed, you would still have that hole there when the corridor is hidden. Now, that isn’t actually a good way to keep it secret. On the other hand, if you chose to not break the walls, then there will be walls blocking the corridor even when it is revealed, which look a bit weird, and we can’t have any of that, can we?

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One rather standard feature of most CC3+ maps that I see many people are somewhat confused over or fail to use properly is the screen. For example, I get a lot of atlas submissions that have things sticking out on the outside of the screen. Thus, I thought I would dedicate a small article to talk a little bit about this feature.

The screen is that white polygon that can be found right outside the map border on most maps. But why is it there? What is the intended functionality of it? And how to best manipulate it? And how to avoid it being part of our output when we export our map to an image? I’ll talk about all these things here, to hopefully give you a bit more insight into this feature.

Note that this article is about the screen entity found on most maps, and not the Screen Border sheet effect.

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One of the most powerful effects in CC3+ is also the least used one. And that is kind of understandable, because it is also one of the more complicated ones. So in this article, I’m going to give you a bit of an introduction to the Spatial Matrix Process (SMP) effect (Not to be confused with the RGB Matrix Effect).

SMP is a custom filter where you have a lot of control over what the effect will do, it doesn’t have a pre-defined purpose like the other effects, but can be used to create a variety of different effects. Note that some of the results you can accomplish using this effect is already implemented as separate effects, such as blur.

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Grids are a necessity when you are making your battle maps and it is easy to add a grid in CC3+ through the Draw Menu (Hex or Square Overlay). And this is quite OK for many maps, but with just a little bit more work, one can make it much prettier. For example, a common desire is to only have the grid visible over the floors in the rooms, where the characters can actually walk. And maybe you have a tiled floor and want the grid aligned to that? In this article, I am going to discuss some of the things you can do with your grid.

 

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Community Atlas WorldThe community atlas project just finished it’s 500th map competition. The competition was all about making a dungeon with a fire an/or ice theme. 18 people participated, handing in a total of 30 maps. The voting is now over, but all the maps can be seen in the voting thread.

Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to everyone who participated in the contest.

The winners are as follows, and all won vouchers to the ProFantasy store, sponsored by ProFantasy Software Ltd and JimP from the forums.

Best Map:

Coils of the Cold Coroner by Autumn Getty

2nd Place:

The Temple of the Burning Ice by AleD

3rd Place:

Kristol Caverns by Loopysue

4th Place:

The Fire of Lielt’ma by daperdepa

5th Place:

Klodevig’s Gauntlet by Lillhans

 

500th Atlas Map:

The 500th atlas map was randomly drawn between the maps of the contestants still eligible for a prize. And the winner of this honor was

Fifth Summer Palace of the Winter Queen by Wyvern

 

Great work everyone, and thanks form the Community Atlas Project for all the new wonderful maps for the atlas.

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In my latest live stream, I did use the RGB Matrix Process effect quite a lot for changing the colors of fills ans symbols. I this article, I’ll dive a bit more into this effect and describe it in a bit more detail.

The effect itself is just a basic color-replacement effect, but all those text fields with numbers can look quite a bit daunting when you open it up for the first time, but you can use it to make some nice results. You can see some examples in this older blog article where I also touch briefly on this effect, but today I’m going to explain it in a bit more detail.

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When using CC3+, you may have encountered symbols with behavior, like houses that aligns to and offsets from the wall and doors that align to, resizes themselves to match and cut holes in dungeon walls. These are what CC3+ calls smart symbols. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at these symbols and we’ll have a look at how to make our own smart symbols. I’ll be using DD3 here, but this functionality is not restricted to DD3, and can be used in any kind of map CC3+ can produce.

Try it out

Before making our own smart symbols, to see the existing ones in use, try out how dungeon door reacts to differently sized walls. Start with a new small DD3 dungeon, draw a wall using the wall drawing tool (I recommend you right-click Default Wall and pick a nice looking one) at any angle. Then, make sure Snap (bottom right corner) is turned off and then pick any door from the Wall features catalog and hover the cursor over the wall. The door symbol should rotate to match the angle of the wall, and once you click, you’ll notice that it actually cuts the wall where it places the door. These are two of the features of smart symbols, aligning to existing entities and cutting lines.

This article is also available in a video version.

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In CC3+, each template is designed for a single style, which comes with it’s own symbols, fills and tools, while the resources belonging to other styles are not directly visible in the GUI.

This is intended behavior, because it puts the chosen style in focus. You know that all the elements you are being offered are designed to work with that style and fit with the visual design of the style. This behavior is both a blessing and a curse. Keeping the focus on the style is good. If you own everything, you’ll have about 40.000 different raster symbols (and a lot of vector symbols too, but I don’t have the count), you really don’t want to filter through all of these all the time when working on your map to find the ones matching your current map style, that’s just hugely impractical. But every now and then you want to be able to mix map styles, and you know of a couple of styles that work very well together. How can you easily access all the symbols from these styles?

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Welcome to part 4 of the Shore and Ocean Effects for Overland Maps series.

The example map for this part may already be familiar to you, since it is Arumnia, which was used in Part 3 to demonstrate Rhumb lines.

This time I will use the same map to show you a fast and easy way to add beaches, and a couple of alternative ways of using a drop shadow effect.  The FCW file for this version of the map will be available at the end of the article. Continue reading »

Welcome to the third part in the Shore and Ocean Effects for Overland Maps series.

In this part we well be focussing on adding rhumb lines to beautify a relatively smooth ocean texture.

Arumnia, the example map used in this tutorial, was drawn in the John Roberts overland style, which was recently included with the core CC3 app as part of Update 25.  If your software is up to date you do not need to own any of the annuals or add-ons to make use of the FCW file included in this blog. Continue reading »

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