Spiel Hall EntranceThe “Internationale Spieletage 2014” in Essen (short version: Spiel’14), the second big convention of the year (after GenCon) is over and we had another great and busy show. Many new CC3 users were added to the fold, and I talked to a lot of users, answering specific questions, helping with technical problems and demoing new stuff (yes, including CC3+). Here’s the report I prepared for Simon and Mark on my return.

I arrived at Spiel on Wednesday as usual, and picked up Gordon on the way to help me set up. Unfortunately the tables I had ordered from the Messe where not there - apparently some other exhibitor nicked them for their own booth - so we had to leave part for Thursday morning when the replacement furniture was there. Not a big problem, we were quickly done before the show opened.

Setup completeI wasn't too thrilled with our booth placement, as we were in the middle of mostly LARP booths, and the big booth across the aisle blocked part of the view unto our place. I'll try to talk to Merz Verlag next year to get us more among the pen & paper rpgs again. Those are pretty scattered around the hall though, with lots of space taken up by food & drink places. The same hall layout as last year was in use, with some moving around.

But my concerns seemed unfounded, as both Thursday and Friday proved pretty busy, both being busier than the respective days in 2013 by a good margin. Saturday was weird. We had a few very early customers and then nothing at all until well into the afternoon, when it suddenly picked up again. Overall it came out to slightly less than last year. Sunday was the quietest day, as is often the case, but we also did quite a bit better than last year. We had a big train drivers' strike on the weekend, which led to a shortage of parking space around the halls on Saturday. This probably had an effect on attendance, but I can't really say how much. Saturday did seem somewhat less crowded than previous years.

CC3+ sample mapThe vast majority of customers were new to CC3. More than 80% of sales included a CC3, and only very few of those were people upgrading from CC2 Pro. The Mike Schley/13th Age sample map I had on the table drew quite a lot of positive remarks and we told a lot of people about the upcoming CC3+.

The Free Annual with every order certainly provided the impetus for some people to buy at the show. As you can see from the numbers, Annual Vol 6 was a very popular choice - because of the Herwin Wielink isometric dungeon style. The big example map of that on the wall drew a lot of interest and it was nice to be able to tell people "buy CC3 and choose this as your free Annual" and you're set to draw this.

Demo computerThe Starter Bundle remains very popular, with some people swapping in a Character Artist or Cosmographer for either City or Dungeon Designer. Some people went for the 4 for 3 bundle from there, basically getting another product for a few more Euros.

I demoed quite a bit, mostly CC3, DD3, CD3, CC3+, Cosmographer, Character Artist, FT3 and Perspectives, in about this order of demand. Comments from existing users were mostly favourable, with only a very few "it is too difficult" concerns.

Gordon and Carsten were a great help as always. I even had a third helper on Saturday (Michael), but since it was a bit quieter than usual, that wasn't really necessary at all. Take down on Sunday evening was done in lightning speed. As the exhibitor parking was right below the halls, we just carried the stuff to the car. I was out of the halls and away 20 minutes after closing time.

 

Dwarven OutpostThis month’s symbol pack is brought to you by fantasy cartographer TJ Vandel, also known as Schwarzkreuz on the Cartographer’s Guild forum.

We loved his idea of creating a dungeon symbol set specifically for dwarves. The style works on its own, but can also be used as an extension to the Dungeons of Schley style from Symbol Set 4, as TJ has carefully crafted the symbols and textures to mesh with Mike Schley’s wonderful artwork, without sacrificing his own touch. 190 symbols, 29 textures and more than 50 new drawing tools allow your dig deep into the mountains and fortify your halls in fine dwarven style!

As a subscriber you can download the September Annual issue from your registration page. If you haven’t subscribed to the Annual 2014, you can do so here.

Axis and HorizonWhile we are feverishly working to get CC3+ out to you, here’s another example of Mike Schley‘s overland style that is included in that next version of Campaign Cartographer. We created the map in the process of testing , and while we won’t give a fixed release date, let’s just say we’re getting very close now.

The map is a redo of Lee Moyer‘s gorgeous map for Pelgrane Press’ and Fire Opal Media’s 13th Age game. You can download the original here. The map shows the Dragon Empire, the game’s broadly defined, high-magic fantasy setting of a powerful human empire beset by troubles on all sides.

Click on the map to download a hi-res version suitable for printing
The Dragon Empire

CA93 EthiopiaWe are very happy to release another great Annual issue by Pär Lindström. Originally designed for the adventure collection Mythos Expeditions by Pelgrane Press, the style came out too beautiful to not make it into an Annual issue. The style lets you depict the itinerary and visited locations for modern journeys or expeditions as would be found in many modern horror or pulp adventures.

Quick and easy to use the Modern Journeys style lets you whip up a gorgeously illustrated maps in minutes. Choose from 150 Symbols to depict your locations, show the travel routes and identify the mode of transportation used.

As a subscriber you can download the September Annual issue from your registration page. If you haven’t subscribed to the Annual 2014, you can do so here.

GenConThe bags are packed and we are ready to head out across the pond to Indianapolis. What for? GenCon of course, the best four days in gaming!

As always ProFantasy will be sharing the booth with Pelgrane Press. Like last year we are right at the front of the hall: Booth 101 across from Paizo and Pathfinder. Come find us there, to get the latest products and news. See you in Indy!

USA with RiversThe August Annual is here and introduces a new resource and method for importing real-world data in CC3. Not relying on Fractal Terrains 3, we take public domain vector data from the Natural Earth project (in ESRI format for the initiated) and convert it to DXF files, which in turn can be imported into CC3.

This opens the door to easily include real-world coastlines, country and state borders, rivers and all sorts of other data in your CC3 map. You can just create your own beautiful map of earth or a specific country, or use it as a basis for alternate earths, possible futures and other deviations.

As a subscriber you can download the August Annual issue from your registration page. If you haven’t subscribed to the Annual 2014, you can do so here.

Does Not Fit The Gaming TableItalian boardgame company VentoNuovo Games has been publishing Block & Hex wargames for a couple of years, and they’ve been using Campaign Cartographer 3 for two of these now (Blocks in the East and Blocks in the West). Recently I helped them out a little with some technical support and advice (just within my normal job) and they then asked me whether I’d like a copy of the recent map. Sure, I said, it’s always nice to look at the finished thing.

What I did NOT expect was to get this huge poster in the mail, that won’t even fit my gaming table! It looks gorgeous and I have trouble getting an adequate photo of the thing. Many thanks to Emanuele and VentoNuovo Games for this!
Detail Shot

Example Map: ScotlandDear Cartographers, welcome to the July newsletter!

An update on CC3+, new issues of the annual, and great maps from our users are highlights of this month’s newsletter.

And for a limited time, we are offering our four symbols sets at chunky 25% off from the ProFantasy Store.

News

Resources

Map-making articles

The Tomb of the Witch-KingWe are very happy to announce the winners of our recent “Lairs” competition. This time we asked Annual contributor and accomplished fantasy cartographer Pär Lindström to be our judge. Here’s his verdict:

I was asked by Simon to be the Judge in the latest competition (April to June 2014). I gladly accepted, and actually felt quite honoured that he asked me.
First of all I must say that I am impressed by the overall quality that the community has, and selecting one winning piece wasn’t an easy task.
When deciding which map I thought was the best I looked for what I would have liked to see in an adventure. That didn’t really make the choice easier but after having looked at the maps for a long time there were three maps that kind of stuck out. The Tomb of the Witch-King, the Necromancer’s lair and the Troglodyte lair.
And in the end, having to choose between three very good maps, I decided for The Tomb of the Witch-King as the winner. What I really like with that map is the general layout, the flow of the map. Also the water makes a very good contrast to the rest of the map which makes it catch your eyes. When I look at it I really want to use it for my players to explore, which usually is my children, and maybe having them fight a skeleton or two.

Congratulations to our winner Gary Barker (Raiko), who receives an Unlimited Patron License, meaning he’ll be automatically getting any past and future Campaign Cartographer-related ProFantasy products for free.

And not to forget the runners up: Oliver Piotrowski (o1i) with For his Necromancer’s Lair and Flavio Hickel (anomiecoalition) with the Troglodyte Lair. They each win a $100 voucher for the ProFantasy web store.

Thanks to all participants for your amazing work!

Our estimate for the release of CC3+ was “in the first half of the year,” which, like many software deadlines, whizzed past at an unedifying speed.  So, time for an update. We aim to release CC+ in mid August, at GenCon. Character Artist 3 purchasers entitled to a free upgrade will get an alpha version to download (optionally) before then.

new large icons interface

First, technical stuff – the main reasons for the delay.

We want to make CC3+ as future proof as possible, and we have to keep an eye on Microsoft operating systems and development environments. In addition, Mike Riddle (the developer of the CC CAD engine) became available for a few weeks’ work. This was an umissable opportunity. So, he’s massaged the assembly code, worked around bugs in Visual Studio 2013, and even persuaded the Microsoft team to include bug fixes. It now compiles with vs2013. This doesn’t guarantee functionality with future versions of Windows, but makes it much easier to fix if there are issues. This gives Joe Slayton more tools and compilation enhancements, too.

We are moving all resources away from the program files folder and into the Windows-specified location, which is a quite a knotty problem. We are also switching from registry entries to human readable files where possible, and finalising changes to the effects architecture. We can’t update all the templates until the effects are nailed down.

The main improvements are listed here, with notes from me as to what this really means.

Speed: CC3+ runs twice as fast as CC3. A combination of hardware optimisation and eldritch programming sorcery means more map-making, less waiting – simple as that. [The main benefit is that you can work with effects on on most machines, most of the time. so WYSIWYG]

Style: Award-winning cartographer Mike Schley provides you with a complete new attractive map-making style. Nothing new to learn, just better looking maps. [nothing new to learn, just nicer looking maps]

Effects: You asked for PhotoShop-style effects, now you have them, with faster, better, streamlined and consistent filters your maps will look better than ever before. You can test your effects on the drawing before applying them. And, again, CC3+ is doing the work. [we've been inspired by map-makers such as Par Lindstrom who have created maps in CC3 then done more work in Photoshop]

Ease: A context-sensitive floating cursor lets you know what CC3+ is thinking. [I thought this would be annoying, but now it's indispensible.]The Print Wizard makes it easy to export your maps at any scale, tiled across paper [I use this mainly with a PDF printer]. CC3+ also gives you better and cleverer editing, clearer icons, and you can drag and drop images from the internet.

Integration: CC3+ puts roads, rivers, symbols and other map-making tools up front and center right where you need them. Whatever map making style you choose, the tools you need will appear, visually, and ready to go. [We've added the drawing tools to the symbol catalog window, in an order which reflects your process flow. This is more intutive and speeds up map creation. It's also easier for new map makers.]

Clarity: We’ve fixed bugs, plugged holes and cleaned up the interface. CC3+ is Windows 8 able, and it’s cleaner on the inside and outside. [CC3+ also gives us a platform to improve all the add-ons, too and release Perspectives and Dioramas, too]

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