Old Style Map
Well, I managed to pull this one off. The One Day Worldbuilder Annual for use of Fractal Terrains 3, Wilbur and of course Campaign Cartographer 3 is designed, for the most part, with people like me in mind. Believable geography of a map, fantasy or not, has often given me headaches. Those of us that remember the great “River Debates” in other mapping forums remember how, as a mapper with little to no knowledge of what a believable map should look like, the fear was real. This isn’t really much of an issue for me, since I usually stick to dungeon and village mapping, though I do have overland map of my own homebrew fantasy – it has some of the MOST unbelievable geographical locations!

(Download the whole set of files and exports for this map.)

So, starting out with this I was a bit unsure of my skills in Fractal Terrains 3, Master Mapper or not, and decided to grab one of the ready-made worlds provided with the annual. I made some minor changes here and there, but for the most part, kept it near to the original. I was early on following along in the guide, of which I HIGHLY recommend you do, that I ran into some trouble saving as an mdr file. I ended up doing a repair on my FT3 and reinstalling Wilbur and all was well again. Also, I made sure to always open a file as administrator as recommended by Sue Daniel. Speaking of……I managed to follow along and get myself a pretty neat little world I was pretty happy with. I was even surprised with how easy I was able to use Wilbur for my intended purposes through Sue’s simple step by step instructions.

I decided to do a CC3+ map using both a vector map exported from FT3 and also an imported bitmap image background map. I did run into a bit of trouble that Sue helped sort out for me, but otherwise, I managed to complete this project on my own with the Mapping Guide. I thought it would be nice to show beginner users that by following along, step by step, anyone can create a fantastic world so I’ve included all the style maps within my one CC3+ fcw file. Just hide the style sheets and text style (I’ve done two) you don’t want. My favorites in the bunch are the Old Style and the Volcanic Style. Oh, and the dark parchment. Which are yours?

One of my favorite player visualizations is a spinning globe. Nothing makes a world come so alive when the players are able to properly visualize the entire planet.

This is also why I prefer to always start my new worlds in Fractal Terrains, as it lets me get a proper grip on the planet before I move on. Starting directly with a flat map in CC3+ gives so many possibilities for missteps when mapping a sphere, and I also just love to click through the auto-generated FT3 worlds until I find the perfect one. When I picked the world for my current campaign world of Virana, I probably clicked through hundreds of generated worlds and tweaked the settings a dozen times before I found the right one.

Now, this article isn’t about creating your FT3 world however, but rather on how to best make one of those nice spinning globes you can use to show it off.

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The November 2019 Annual issue is a very special one this year – it contains a huge tutorial and tool pack created full by Sue Daniel, which teaches you the techniques to create amazing world maps with a combination of Fractal Terrains 3 and Campaign Cartographer 3+. Like this one…

With more than 40 pages of detailed instructions, three full-fledged example maps each in a variety of styles, support files for FT3 and CC3+ and a whole bunch of pre-generated FT3 worlds for you to play with, the content of this issue is huge. And even if you don’t Fractal Terrains 3 yourself, the included CC3+ maps are a treasure trove in themselves.

If you haven’t done so already, you can subscribe to the Annual 2019 here. If you are already subscribed, the November issue is available for download on your registration page now.

Overland MapWelcome to the February newsletter! Apart from an update to Fractal Terrains and a new column by Remy Monsen, we have two cartography articles from our Annual contributors – a feature we will continue in future months.

News

  • A new version of Fractal Terrains 3 is available: 3.0.21 which improves the Finding Rivers function, ensuring they always appear. You can download an update from your registration page.
  • The February issue of the Cartographer’s Annual 2018 is available. The symbol pack Dungeon Walls allows you to create detailed and varied walls for your underground complexes.
  • The January issue of the Annual 2018 offered a hex-version of Mike Schley’s overland style from CC3+.
  • The Community Mapping Project is running a mapping competition. Anyone submitting a map to the project in February participates, so there is still time.

Resources

  • In his new column Command Spotlight Remy Monsen takes a look at Line styles and properties in CC3+.
  • Articles

    FT DemoWe’ve updated the Fractal Terrains demo to version 3, so you can try out the new functionality of our random world builder at your leisure.

    You can download the 14-day-trial version of FT3 from our demo page.

    More information on Fractal Terrain 3 is available on its product page.

    Fractal Terrains 3 World

    The final Annual issue for 2011 is here: A combined texture pack for Fractal Terrains 3 and Campaign Cartographer 3. Give your FT world a new look with the textured climate shader or draw climate maps of your regions in CC3.
    FT3 World Map with new Climate Textures

    Stay tuned for the Cartographer’s Annual 2012!

    This is a follow-up to Creating a Fractal Terrains world with Terraformer Part 1.

    You can download the whole tutorial as a PDF –  Steps to doing a barren world in Fractal Terrains.

    Moving the drawing to Campaign Cartographer 3 / Cosmographer 3

    Step 10 – From here on out, I will be using CC3. This is a great program that I have come to rely on to create all of my maps. I should note that the steps outlined here are taken directly from the “Terraformer for Fractal Terrains Pro Users Manual” created by Bill Roach. It’s an excellent guide, and I would recommend that anyone using Fractal Terrains pick this up as a reference source. The guide is available from the Registered User’s Area.

    Continue reading »

    Fractal Terrains 3, the latest version of our world-building software is out now. It is even more robust, features an improved interface, increased speed and more export features.

    FT3 is designed to create entire worlds from scratch, starting with a flat sphere or real world data, but it’s with its random world creation that FT3 comes into its own. You can change colour, lighting and random settings, and choose physical parameters such as the size of your world, then just scan through the effectively infinite possibilities until you get one you like.

    My main use for Fractal Terrains, aside from creating entire worlds for Ashen Stars, is to pick out islands, with rivers, to import into my own campaign world. It really does feel like your are exploring when you seek out the perfect world or landmass, though of course you can use the editing tools to shave off continents, flatten mountains and fill in depressions. The most megalomaniac-friendly command though, is Planetary Bombartment – the ability to crater your world with asteroids.

    Terraformer is a free add-on for Fractal Terrains 3 by Bill Roach. In this article, Michael G describes how he used Terraformer to create a good looking world in a matter of minutes.

    Steps to creating a world in Fractal Terrains

    Step 1 – I normally start with the “synthetic world” planet type. I really don’t care much for the other world types, so I tend not to use them.

    Step 2- In this example, I am using the standard defaults. For most of my maps, I tend to make the peaks higher and the valleys a little shallower to accentuate the peaks. Using the Brownian Noise or Ridged Multifractal methods generally generate the best maps when doing rock type worlds, at least in my opinion. I generally stick to Ridged Multifractal, but that is a personal preference. To flatten out the landscape, I lower the peaks and create shallower valleys.

    Step 3 – Once the world has been generated, I select the “Map” menu, go to the “Show Other Shader” submenu, and then select “Show Image Climate”. In this particular instance, I’m looking to create an airless world so the selection of the surface is critical to conveying that theme.

    Step 4 – Once the “Show Image Climate” menu item is selected, it brings up the default color scheme, which is seen in the background. I select the “Load Image from Disk” option at the bottom, as I don’t want the generic color model that is being used. In the Terraformer directory, I select the “T050_Image_Climates” folder and open that up. Again, I’m looking to convey a barren, airless, rocky planetary surface.

    Step 5 – Since I’m looking for barren and airless, I selected the image “TC239” from the list and load that as the landscape.

    Step 6 – Once it is selected, you will see how the surface will look in the preview window. This is what I am looking for, so I simply hit “OK” at the top right.

    Step 7 – Once the redraw is complete, I can now see how the colors have been applied to the surface. It looks pretty good right now, and I think I have captured the essence of what I was looking for in terms of the planetary background.

    Step 8 – At this point, I go over to “File” and select “Export World” and then I select “Cosmographer Pro Template”, making sure I put the map in a location I can find it again. There is no “Cosmographer 3” option, but don’t worry about it, as the file type is the same.

    Step 9 – To easily find my maps again, I created a folder called “My Maps” which I placed right on the desktop. As you can see, I’ve tried lots of different iterations of my maps, and I’ve created quite a few other types of maps in Cosmographer 3 (CC3) as well. In this case I will just list this as “Testing 123”. You can see that it automatically fills out the type of format, in this case a *.fcw file. As a hard lesson learned, I found it is absolutely critical to make sure you increase the pixel count to something around 4096, as you can see in the bottom left of the pop up box. If you don’t select a higher pixel count, the final figure once you bring it into CC3 will not be a very good base figure, and will look pixelated.

    Step 9A – A neat little trick, if I want to add more character to my worlds, especially to moon surfaces or rocky outer planets, is to select the “Planetary Bombardment” option under the “Tools/ Actions” menu. I’ve done that here as an example.  

    Step 9B – When selecting the “Planetary Bombardment” option, to really get an easily recognizable cratering pattern, I tend towards to the 2500 to 3000 “total craters” option. Choosing fewer craters tends to hide them, while adding more just completely overwhelms the surface features I have, which I don’t want either. I usually leave the defaults for the other settings, as I don’t think they add much to the final product. Once I’ve made my selections, I simply press “OK” and the program runs the simulation and applies the impact craters.

    Step 9C – Once the bombardment has been added, the surface takes on a nice, randomly distributed pattern of impact craters. I actually could have lowered the amount of impacts slightly (maybe to around 1500 – 2000 or so) and I think I still would have been happy with the results. Any lower and they probably would not have shown up well.

    Part 2 will cover export into CC3