Using Multiple Symbol Styles

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?

The One-Off Approach

If you just need to open a single symbol catalog or two for some individual symbols, the easiest is to simply hit the Open Symbol Catalog button and browse to the symbol catalog you need. Clicking the button should open a standard windows file open dialog in the folder where the currently open symbol catalog resides. You’ll probably want to hit the parent directory/up button one or two times to get out of the folder for the current style, then burrow into the appropriate catalog. All the catalogs resides in various sub-directories under the Symbols directory in your main CC3+ installation directory. The top-level directory under Symbols is the map type, then there are subfolders for each style.

How to find the symbol I am looking for?

Of course, browsing catalogs like this is not the best way if you are browsing for symbols to use. If you want to look at what is available, I advice you to open a new Windows File Explorer window, and then navigate to the Symbols directory. This will be located in C:\ProgramData\ProFantasy\CC3Plus\Symbols by default unless you changed it during the installer, the easiest way to get there is to just copy and past that path into the file explorer address bar (Don’t confuse ProgramData for Program Files, those are NOT the same).

Now, with your explorer in the right folder, use the search box. For best results and to exclude seeing CC3+’s 4 copies of each symbol in different resolution, make your search query like this: *mountain*_HI.png
Replace mountain with whatever you search for. Explorer should now show you a nice search result with preview images. When you find something you like, find the path of it. There are multiple approaches, but one way is to right click and select Properties, and then check the Location in the dialog. Keep in mind that this is the location of the image file, not the symbol catalog using it. For most styles, the symbol catalog is one level up, the images are in a subfolder to keep the structure a bit cleaner. The symbol catalog is usually named something very similar to that innermost directory the image resides in. Whit this info, you should be able to find the right symbol catalog easily enough.

Modifying the Symbol Filters

If you want a lot of symbols from the same style, the easiest approach is to modify the filters CC3+ uses to display matching symbol catalogs. This allow you to tell CC3+ to start displaying Jon Roberts dungeon symbols when you click the symbol catalog buttons, even if you work within a DD3 style map. For this trick to work well, you need to know the filter you are searching for, how to find it is described below, but for now, let us assume that you work in a DD3 style map (filter: DD3 Color) and now want to use Jon Roberts dungeons style symbols (filter: CA54).

Now, click the Symbol Catalog Settings button, then click Advanced in the Dialog. You should notice the text entry field labeled master filter. Change this from DD3 Color to CA54 and hit the Find now button. You can now pick any Jon Roberts catalog from the list on the Left. Note that if it asks you to save changes, say No.

Of course, you may want the actual symbol catalog buttons to show the Jon Roberts catalogs instead of doing the above manually each time you change the catalog, so for a bit more durable solution, right click Symbol Style Toggle and pick the Master Filter Settings option from the popup menu. This shows a dialog with a whole list of filters in it. Now, what you want to do is to make sure the top one is DD3 Color, and the second one is CA54. Then change the number at the top to 2. This means we are only interested in the top two, and whatever is in the other boxes below will be ignored. Hit OK.

Now, hit one of the symbol catalog buttons, like Furniture . It should load the standard DD3 catalog. Now, just left click Symbol Style Toggle and the symbol catalog window should immediately switch to the Jon Roberts symbols. repeatedly clicking the toggle button will toggle back and forth between the styles. You should also notice that clicking the different symbol catalog buttons will keep the current style. Of course, you can add more than 2 styles to the master filter list if you so please, but the more you add here, the more times you need to click the toggle button to complete a round, so it is generally not a good idea to fill the list with nice-to-haves.

Now, this works best when combining different styles of the same map type because how the symbol catalog buttons work. For example, there is no button in the dungeon menu that will load mountain symbols. If you wish to combine styles across map types, you can still do it the same way with filling out the master filter list and using symbol style toggle, but instead of clicking a symbol catalog button, click the Symbol Catalog Settings button as this will display all the symbol catalogs in the current style (no need to go to advanced and edit the filter manually once you have set up the master filter list). Not that each time you hit the toggle button, you will probably get a dialog telling you to pick a symbol catalog, but with an empty list. This is because it tries to stick to the same symbol type when you hit the symbol style toggle button, so if it displaying a furniture catalog and you toggle to an overland style, it will try to load the furniture catalog in that style, but none exists, so the list is blank. Whenever this happen, just close the dialog and proceed normally.

Note that what you do here now is NOT permanent. The list of master filters will be lost the next time you load the map, or the next time you click any of the add-on buttons in the toolbar to switch between overland, dungeon, city and so on. This also means that if you make a mistake you don’t know how to fix, just save your map, close down CC3+, and then start it again.

Some more information about the filters can be found in this article.

How can I find the filter strings?

The easiest way to find the filter string for any given style is to start a new map in that style, then immediately click the Symbol Catalog Settings button, then click Advanced in the Dialog. You can now clearly read the filter in the Master filter text field.

The Permanent Solution

Sometimes, you want a map that is supposed to be a combination of two or three set styles, and you don’t plan on “shopping around” for symbols beyond that. So, what you really wish is to make that list of master filters we made above permanent and always load along with your map.

And that’s quite easy once you understand what we did above.

Start by making the master filter list with the filters you need, such as DD3 Color and CA54 in our example. Then, in the Master Filters dialog, hit the Save button and give it a nice name, making sure NOT to overwrite one of the existing settings, you don’t want to risk messing up the configuration of existing styles. (To see the list of existing filter lists, you can hit the Load button). I elected to call mine for RM_DD3_CA54 (The RM is just a personal prefix, keeps all my personal settings grouped in the list).

Once it is saved, you can always restore it by just loading it, but we want to go one step further here, we want the map to always load that setting whenever it is loaded. This is done by modifying the OnOpenMacro for the map. To do this, click Map Notes , pick OnOpenMacro from the list, and hit Edit.

In this macro, you should normally find a line saying SYMICONFLOAD xxxxx. xxxxxx here is the name of a master filter list, the kind we saved above. In the example image, the list loaded is DD3, which you could also manually load using the Load button in the Master Filters dialog. Here, you can just replace DD3 with your own filter list, RM_DD3_CA54 in my example, and CC3+ will load this list every time the map is opened.

The SYMICONFLOAD line can often be found sharing a line with the SYMICONMR command like here, or on it’s own line. That doesn’t matter, just change the name of the list to load, leave the rest as it is.

If you don’t have an OnOpenMacro in the map notes dialog, you can create one. And if the SYMICONFLOAD line is missing, you can add it on it’s own line at the bottom. Just make sure the macro contains exactly one empty line at the bottom where you can place the cursor, not two or more.

Note that while this solution loads the specified filter list every time the map is loaded, clicking the add-on buttons (overland, city, dungeon, etc) will still replace it with a default one. To get it back, you need to reload the map, or you can just open the Master Filters dialog and load the setting from there. The latter option is also possible for other maps in which you haven’t modified the OnOpenMacro.

The permanent permanent solution

If you frequently make new maps based on the same combination of styles, you can create a new template for this combination by making a copy of an existing template, and then edit the OnOpenMacro AND OnNewMacro in that template, making the SYMICONFLOAD change as described above. Now all new maps based on this template will have the setting from the beginning. If you go to the trouble of making a template, you’ll probably want to import the fill styles from both styles too, but we haven’t covered fill styles in this article.


One Response to “Using Multiple Symbol Styles”

  1. Thanks Remy, this is really helpful.
    This is exactly the kind of thing that I’ve been meaning to look up since getting back into CC3.
    I’ve just been muddling through selecting symbol catalogues manually.