While creating an example pdf for the February Annual issue, I accidentally printed it in grayscale. I thought the result has quite a charm of its own:
Black and White Example from the Annual 62

The February issue of the Annual 2012 elaborates on a style introduced in Cosmographer 3: The satellite view overland map. This large-scale, straight overhead style evokes the view a satellite might have on the landscape below. Seamlessly-tiling textures are smoothed together through sheet effects to create the image of an unbroken, natural landscape.

Example of the Annual Satellite style

The source for the textures is taken from public domain images made available by NASA through their Visible Earth website. The texture are carefully crafted from these originals and made into CC3 bitmap fill styles.

While it served as an inspiration, Cosmographer 3 is not required to make full use of this style. See the Annual 2012 site for more information on this style.

Check out this large-scale (A2) example map created in the Annual Overland Satellite style.

The February issue is available for subscribers now!

News

The Cartographer’s Annual 2012 subscription is out now. See previews of January, February,  and March, and the the Annual 2012 site.

The Cartographer’s Annual 2011 is out now – read a summary of the monthly content here.

Articles

Art Preview

This is one female paper doll for Character Artist 3.

 

 

 

We are considering to organize a crowd-sourced map project, to release under a non-commercial license. What do you think it should be? Here’s one idea:

A crowd-sourced interactive atlas

We could start with a basic world or continent map, perhaps created in FT3, then distribute sections for detailing. Or perhaps, people could draw different maps from the perspective of different characters / races in the world. You could submit other maps (cities, inns, etc) for inclusion in the Atlas, and detail areas which interest you.

Alternatively, we could create symbols sets, drawing tools, or even an add-on from crowd-sourced materials.

Post your ideas in the comments, and let us know if you’d be willing to contribute, edit or organize.

Every year, we bundle up our annual subscription and offer it as a singleeasy install, and it’s available now.

I scoured the readme files and found that our latest collection include:

  • 10 map-making styles with 486 drawing tools.
  • 108 fill styles and textures
  • 28 templates
  • 45 maps
  • 2238 symbols in 41 catalogs
  • 55 pages of map-making guides
  • 18 effect settings, new commands, a font Fractal Terrains 3 textures and a converter
Overland Pespectives style

The style pack Overland Perspectives gives you a beautiful vector drawing style set up to create perspective landscape maps.

Symbol Pack Dungeons

The symbol pack Dungeons contains more than 1500 new high-detail bitmap symbols for your dungeon and outdoor floorplans.

Jonathans Roberts Style

The style pack Jonathan Roberts Overland contains a complete new overland style created by fantasy cartographer Jonathan Roberts.

Jonathans Roberts Style

The style pack 1930s Travel Guide contains a new floorplan drawing style for maps reminiscent of 1930s travel guides.

Modern Street Map

The style pack Modern Road and Street Maps contains a new drawing style for modern road atlas style maps.

Dragonbone Lair

The style pack Jon Roberts’ Dungeons contains a new drawing style for dungeon floorplans and battlemaps.

Mine Diorama

The map pack Mine Diorama contains a new complete, customizable diorama set.

Vertical Dungeon Geomorphs

The style pack Vertical Dungeon Geomorphs contains ready-to-use geomorph tiles and the style to create more of your own.

Military Operations Style

The style pack Miltary Operations contains a new style for modern and near-future operational maps.

Treasure Maps Style
The style pack Treasure Maps contains a new style for local-area player handouts and treasure maps .
Moe's Dive

The map pack Moe’s Dive contains two high-detail maps and a composite CD3/DD3 template.

Portsmouth

The style pack 1930s Street Maps contains a new drawing style for pulp and horror games set in the 1930s.

FT3 Climate Shader

The tool pack Climate Textures contains a set of seamlessly tiling bitmap textures for use in FT3 and CC3.

 

[Ed: The updated Tome will be available as a free download to anyone who bought it after CC3 was first released .]

[Ed Update: Anybody who purchased the Tome in 2012, i.e. possibly influenced by this article, will get the upgrade free. However, throughout 2012 the new Tome has grown very significantly and, to support its continued development, we have decided that a small upgrade charge is reasonable.]

by Remy Monsen

I am sitting here writing on the final parts of the new version of the Tome of Ultimate Mapping. That’s right, the release of the tome shouldn’t bee too far into the future.

For the old-timers, and many of the newer users, you already know what the tome is all about. But for the rest of you, the tome is a rather large volume containing tutorials, tips & tricks and reference material for the complete collection of ProFantasy’s software.

This is an updated version of the previous tome. I’ve updated tutorials and information that is still useful in CC3, and added new CC3 content to take full advantage of all the new features in CC3 compared with CC2 Pro. The same goes for the new features from the various v3 add-ons available.
Right now, the book focus on all the current versions of the various programs, that is Campaign Cartographer 3, Dungeon Designer 3, City Designer 3, Cosmographer 3, Symbol Set 1 v3, Symbol Set 2 v3 and the compatibility updates for Dioramas Pro, Character Artist Pro, Perspectives Pro, Symbol Set 3 and the Source Maps series. The plan is to update the tutorials based on the compatibility updates to the proper v3 versions as the updates for those add-ons are released. Therefore, the tome will only be available as an electronic pdf file for now, with a print version released after all add-ons have been updated to proper v3 versions, since a printed book is a bit more difficult to provide a patch for compared to a pdf file!

The tome helps you make better maps with CC3, but also teach you how to be a better CC3 user. The tutorials stretch from making a basic overland map to how to customize the CC3 menu files and write your own macro commands. In-between this, we have a look at how to create the various types of symbols available in CC3, many tips for using the sheet effects, and much more. The Tome goes through each of the add-ons in turn, taking care to make the book useful even if you don’t have all the add-ons, but at the same time helping to tie the add-ons a little bit closer together.

The tome itself is designed to be a resource for most CC3 users, regardless of proficiency level, although if you are just starting out with CC3, I would recommend working through the manual first to get a grip on the basics of CC3.

Writing the new version of the tome has been a fun and interesting process. I remember when I first read the original tome myself, written by Master Mapper Allyn Bowker. It was filled from cover to cover with all kinds of interesting stuff about CC2 Pro. I was a novice user back then, and I was really impressed by all the fantastic maps I could make using the information in the Tome. It discussed techniques I never would have thought of on my own, and it opened my eyes for many of the capabilities of the various add-ons for CC2 Pro. Fast forward a few years, CC3 comes along, and the style of maps one could make changed radically. I still found the old Tome to be highly useful, but I was also hoping ProFantasy would create an updated version soon. I was rather proficient in the usage of CC3, but I was really looking forward to learning even more of the software.

Then one day, an email arrives from Simon, asking me if I would update the CC3 Manual to match the latest version, and bring the Tome into the CC3 era. I was a bit surprised actually and a bit unsure what to do. Here I am, eagerly waiting for the book to be made so that I can read it and learn from it, and suddenly I am actually being asked to write the thing? Well, I did some thinking, and after a short while I concluded that I did have the have the necessary skills to do it. I know CC3 and its add-ons quite well, and I have  experience writing technical documentation (I am a teacher by trade, employed as an assistant professor at one of the larger university colleges in Norway, so I do write articles and sometimes even books for use by my students). So, I told Simon yes, and got to work. I started by updating the CC3 manual, which have been available for some time now, and then moved on to the tome. To be honest, it was a lot more work than I could ever have imagined when I started, but it was a very interesting process, and I learned quite a bit more about the programs in the process. I think the end result ended up pretty good, and I hope you all agree when the book is published, and that the book will do as the title of this post says, helping you make better worlds with ProFantasy’s software.

This post discusses business information which will probably not be of interest to most readers. Another article will cover our product development plans for 2012.

The Economy

It was a tough time for the world economy, including the Eurozone, the UK and the USA, our primary market. My view is that while the economy has a negative effect on sales for many businesses, the effect of the economy on individual businesses is less pronounced than other factors, some of which are under the control of the business owners. Other businesses (Domino’s Pizza for example) positively benefit from downturns. Psychology suggests that we are much more likely to attribute positive results with our own endeavours, and negative results with external factors. So, anything I say here is pretty much speculation. Take the salt provided.

Our Sales

So this year, our UK sales in pounds were within a gnat’s whisker of 2010 and 2009, when adjusted for inflation. This is pretty good. I’d like to say it’s all down to our business choices, despite the downturn, but I think there is an element of the Domino’s Pizza about the roleplaying hobby – it’s one of the best-value pastimes there is. People get hours and hours of use of our of software and their games, and it’s a lot cheaper than going out. I’ve said facetiously that the RPG industry slogan should be “There’s never been a better time to enter a world of fantasy.”

Only a neglible fraction of our sales are through distribution, and this hasn’t changed. However, retail sales are disproportionately CC3, so it’s still worthwhile continuing this. Another interesting phenomenon is that while annual sales of CC3 (our entry product) increased by 6%, the average sale declined slightly as if to compensate.

We did release a new product – FT3 – but the upgrade was modestly priced, reducing our potential revenue, and because it’s such a widely accepted product among CC3 users, it was mainly upgrades. 2012 will be different – we’ve got three products in the pipeline.

Ralf says that convention sales are down a bit, but that overall the quality of maps has increased. Ralf and I think that the size of the table top roleplaying game market is stable, or even shrinking, but that the existing participants are older, wealthier and more committed than before. I am hoping that market leader Wizards of the Coasts new version of Dungeons and Dragons will expand the market, as that helps everyone.

The Website

Site visits increased about 30% since 2009, as has the average time on the site, the number of pages per visit. We achieved more than 450,000 unique visitors in 2011. We did a lot of work earlier in the year using Google Analytics to increase our conversion rate; it definitely increased as result, but nonetheless the conversion rate was lower than in 2010.  I suspect that has more to do with the nature of the visitors, though I speculate that people are taking longer to decide and are spending their money more carefully. We updated our copy rather carefully, too, and have plans to revamp the website based on our recent poll.

 Other RPG Cartography Companies

It remains true that we are the only company producing cartography software for the RPG industry full time.

In our tiny industry, we think of other rpg map-makers as colleagues rather than rivals, so we were sad to see that, according to forum posts, Dundjinni has not been on sale for while. There has been no update since March last year. We’ve tried to reach the owner, Mindy, to no avail. It’s sad particularly because of the excellent community which built up around the software, creating new art which the CC3 community could also use. (This situation may change – I hope it does – so check their website to make sure.)

NBOS continues to produce Fractal Mapper, and Ed Diana released a new version of Astrosynthesis which he made compatible with the latest Fractal Terrains 3.

 Miscellany

  • There is a definite seasonal sales trend over the years. The spikes for product releases just about even out, though the Annual subscription helps our December sales disproportionately. I’d be very interested to hear if this pattern is repeated in other related companies.

  • The relative sales between the UK, USA and the rest of the world have remained unchanged now for at least three years.
  • The proportion of download sales has increased from about 25% to 30% from 2010 to 2011
  • We’ve sold to 92 countries in the past two years including Cameroon, Albania, and Reunion.

 

 

We’ve started into 2012 with our new Annual subscription and a combined map pack for creating dungeons on the table. “Combined” because it contains the tools for doing it either as a “flat” 2d version or – if you are into building your own paper models – as a 3D model.
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