Building A Better World – The Tome of Ultimate Mapping

[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.

10 Responses to “Building A Better World – The Tome of Ultimate Mapping”

  1. Very pleased that this is now available! A long wait but I’m sure it will be worth it.

    If we buy the PDF product now will be get a discount on the hard-copy version when this is released?

  2. @Bill,

    It’s a bit early to say – we don’t know the costs of production and sale price of the paper Tome, but on past form I think it’s likely we’ll give a discount to people who have an e-version.

  3. Very much looking forward to this!

  4. Awesome! I’ve been waiting for this for quite some time (I own the current TouM, though haven’t had time to read it yet) since I own all v3 of Profantasy apps/add-ons.

    While we are on the subject: is there any chance you could also provide a .mobi or .epub version?
    I would love to be able to read this in my Kindle, and I’m sure many other people would as well.

  5. By the way: Congratulations Remy on being chosen for these tasks!!! You deserve it!

  6. @Gonzo,

    I’ll check out the mobile formats. The major problem with these that I can see right now is the formatting though.
    The Tome is laid out for the print medium, with numbered pages, references to page numbers, etc, while these mobile formats are designed for a flowing, page-less layout. This means that to get a good mobile version, it will take quite a bit of work for a book this size. Positions of images, sidebars, etc, is also something that requires a lot of work to get correctly for this kind of book in those formats. In other words, it is anything but a straight automatic conversion to make it available in those formats.

    (Obviously, even if I find that I can make the book in those formats, it is up to ProFantasy if they desire it, or if it is worth it)

  7. Congratulations Remy!

    One aspect of blogging that I really enjoy is that when I organize my thoughts on paper, I tend to actually learn something in the process. I suspect the same will be true for you in that by updating the Tome, you will expand your own knowledge along the way. Your desire to read the new Tome and learn something new from it won’t go unfulfilled after all. You may even gain more that you would have if someone else had written it.

    I can’t wait to see what you come up!

  8. [...] Remy Monsen is now laying out the latest Tome of Ultimate Mapping. We hope it will be ready in April. Everyone who bought the Tome after the release of CC3 will get a free update. He wrote about the Tome last month. [...]

  9. Any news on a release date?

  10. We are looking at the 20th of this month.

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