One of the nice upgrades CC3+ brought with it back when it was released was the ability to include drawing tools in your symbol catalogs. Now, this is hopefully not news to you, as this is used quite a bit in the official symbol catalogs used in most styles. But this fact does make the symbol catalog window a bit smarter, since drawing tools can do quite a bit of things, like I discussed in my article about Advanced Drawing Tools earlier this year.

This means that the tools we add to our symbol catalog doesn’t have to be limited to drawing shapes that fit the theme of the symbols in the catalog, but also tools that can do powerful things like running macros to almost everything we want.

The feature of putting drawing tools into the symbol catalog is simple enough, it is the possibilities that this opens that make it exiting.

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A few weeks ago, I hosted a live stream taking a closer look at the drawing tools. Making this the perfect time to talk a bit more about the more advanced aspects of the drawing tools and how to utilize them properly and explaining a few things in more detail than appropriate for a stream.

Examples of advanced use of drawing tools is to draw aligned fills, drawing a path and have symbols placed along it or drawing a polygon and having it filled with randomly placed symbols. Basically, a lot of the things you can do using multiple steps with regular CC3+ commands can be automated and streamlined by making a drawing tool for it.

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CA156A Example MapAs is our tradition for the Cartographer’s Annual we produce an extra issue each year and make one of them available for anyone. For 2019, the bonus issue IS the free one.

The Bonus issue “Symbol Drawing Tools” takes advantage of some recent updates to add drawing tools for mountain ranges, scattered woodlands and other terrain types to the overland styles of CC3+. The updates allow the creation of drawing tools that place randomized symbols along paths and fill polygons with a random scattering of symbols. The included mapping guide teaches you how to set up these kind of tools yourself. The example map as shown on the right was drawn with drawing tools only. No individual symbols were placed.

The bonus issue is available as a free issue and can be used by anyone with Campaign Cartographer 3 Plus. Download it from the Cartographer’s Annual Vol 13 web site.

Wild West map by Dungeon Master GazWelcome dear cartographers, to the June newsletter! Now that half of the year is over, GenCon looms on the horizon.




The Symbols in Area command was introduced in CC3+ long after most of the basic styles were created, meaning it is not used in those styles’ drawing tools. But since it is very useful for creating terrain features like scattered woodlands, why not set up some new tools to make use of it? In this little article I’ll take you through doing exactly that. As an example I’ll create a scattered deciduous woods for the Mike Schley overland style.

Symbols in Area1. Setting up the Symbols In Area command

  • First, load an existing or start a new Mike Schley overland and choose the Symbols in Area command from the Draw menu.
  • Click Browse and load the Vegetation catalog from /Symbols/Maps/Mike Schley/
  • Set the settings as shown in the screenshot on the right, then Save the setting under \System\Fillers\MS_WoodsDecid.symfill

If you want to test and possibly adjust the settings, draw a smooth polygon on the map and use the command on it after clicking OK in the Symbols in Area dialog.

Drawing Tools2. Creating a new Drawing Tool

Now we need to set up the new drawing tool for this setting.

  • Right-click the Terrain Drawing tools button and click the Advanced button.
  • Select the tool Terrain Default, Forest Decid and click New.
  • Name the new tool “Terrain Default, Woods Decid” and save it.
  • Click Command to Execute and enter the following macro:
  • SYMFILLLOAD @system\fillers\MS_WoodsDecid.symfill

  • Save the tool and you’re good to use it.

Preview3. Creating a Drawing Tool Preview.

You’ll notice that the tool doesn’t have a preview at this point. That’s because a macro-using drawing tool needs a little FCW file (CC3+ map for the preview. Let’s create this as a bonus step – it’s not really necessary but useful.

  • Load the foilowing FCW file in CC3+ from your Programdata folder (which might be different from the path show here): C:\ProgramData\Profanatsy\CC3Plus\System\Drawtools\Overland Mike Schley\Terrain Default, Forest Decid.FCW and save it in the same folder under the name Terrain Default, Woods Decid.FCW. This is the same file name as the drawing tool we created, only with a different file extension.
  • Erase all trees from the file, but leave the gray background.
  • Use the Symbols in Area command with the settings we’ve previously created, then Save the map.

And that’s all there is to creating a scattered woods drawing tool. You can do the same with pine or jungle trees, or any type of symbol you want. Here is an example created with the new drawing tool:
Example Woods

In CC3+, drawing tools are great timesavers. The basic functionality of a drawing tool is that it works as a preset that contains all the various settings required, such as line style, fill style, line width, color, sheet and layer so that when you draw using a drawing tool you don’t have to go around setting all of these manually like we did in the good old days. Drawing tools also have some built-in nice features like being able to draw two separate entities at once, being able to stay within the map border, and the option to easily edit an existing shape.

However, there is another very important feature that exists for drawing tools, and that is to attach macros to them. A drawing tool can contain an embedded macro which follow the tool and isn’t dependent on your main CC3+ macro file and can contain macros that work in tandem with what you draw using the tool, or even functionality that isn’t connected to drawing at all. Today, we’ll look at how to create these tools and have a brief look at how they can make things easier for us.

Drawing with Macros

If you have been making overland maps, you’ll probably familiar with the forest drawing tools. If you pay attention when you use them, you’ll note that they ask you to draw a smooth shape, and then fills this shape with trees after you are done drawing it. This is a macro drawing tool at work. What happens is that the tool itself is only set up to draw that forest background, but it also contain a macro that gets called when you are done drawing that calls the Fill With Symbols command to fill the area you just drew with trees. Let us make a similar macro that uses the Symbols in Area command instead. I won’t go into detail about Symbols in Area here, since this is about making a macro tool that uses the command, rather than explain the command itself, but if you need a refresher for the command, you can look at this article.

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