CA181 Terraneo PeninsulaA Happy New Year to all you cartographers out there. We are excited to start into the new year with the 16th year of the Cartographer’s Annual, and a crossover issue on both Campaign Cartographer 3+ and Fractal Terrains 3+.

The style “Fractal Worlds” is an adaptation of the Jerion map that Sue Daniel developed in her One-Day Worldbuilder Annual issue. It makes use of the improved export features in FT3+ to produce an export that you can build on in CC3+. Or you can start fresh in CC3+ and create maps that mimic the look by hand, instead of relying on the automated world creation of FT3+.

The January issue is now available for all subscribers from their registration page. If you haven’t subscribed to the Annual 2021 yet, you can do so here.

Please note that the 2022 is still available at the discounted early-subscriber rate until January 10th.

We are happy to announce a new version of Fractal Terrains: Fractal Terrains 3+.

Joe Slayton has been hard at work to update Fractal Terrains with a 64-bit core, greatly improving the speed and editing detail of his world building tool, while also adding more functionality and ironing out various kinks. This version is a free upgrade to Fractal Terrains and available from your registration page among the other Fractal Terrains 3 downloads. As it is a 64-bit software and uses a different setup architecture from FT3, it is a complete new install, meaning you can install it in addition to FT3 and uninstall that older version at your leisure.

Here are the release notes on 3.5.1, the version number of Fractal Terrains 3+:

FT3+ Verion 3.5.1

– Includes “The One-Day Worldbuilder” Annual issue by Sue Daniel (CC3+ required).
– Added export settings for common CC+3 styles (Mike Schley, Jon Roberts, Herwin Wielink).
– Added FT3-style CC3+ export setting “Jherion”
– Fixed river generation.
– Fixed CC3+ export settings save.
– Fixed CC3+ export setting advanced contours.
– Fixed crash with Expand Land in Offset.
– Fixed crash with climate painting toolbar.
– Fixed some visual elements in dialogs being offset from their ocrrect location.
– Color Key will now update correctly on changes.
– Explicit coastline map feature now available on Advanced export options.
– Fixed crash with odd-sized selection import.
– Prescale offset editing is now on by default.
– What once was large, now is small. World editing preselects are now 1024, 4096, and 8192 instead of 256, 512, 1024.

FT3+ Version 3.5.0

– 64-bit (higher resolutions possible).
– Faster calculation and rendering.
– Uses @FT3Cfg.xml for saving settings.
– Single application look, better matching the OS defaults.
– Better CC3 output (better geometry, better rivers).
– Handles FCW templates better, including sheets and reading compressed templates.
– Added ProFantasy-style normal map calculation.
– Added Equal Earth map projection.
– Color key should better fit its window.
– Globe bar can be resized.

We’ve also added four fast and easy CC3+ export settings that give you a beautiful base to work from in CC3+’s most poular drawing styles.

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.

Continue reading »

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.


  • 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.


  • 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.

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