Campaign Cartographer, the Writer / Designer’s Friend (Part 1)

Writer, game designer and award-winning potato salad maker Robin D Laws has written three posts about how he uses Campaign Cartographer 3. This is the first:

Campaign Cartographer, the Writer / Designer’s Friend

Part 1 – Better than the hideous scanned-in scrawl

Here’s a paradox for you. I consider Campaign Cartographer an indispensable tool of my work as a game designer and writer and use it on a regular basis.  I am at the same time a lousy mapper. When I see the gorgeous maps produced by Profantasy’s cadre of dedicated mapmakers and by its fan community, I am reduced to fits of envy.

After all these years of using the program, I lack mapping chops because I only infrequently use it for its intended purpose. Instead, I’ve press-ganged it into service as an outlining tool. I use it to create product mock-ups, build diagrams for game books, and, most of all, visually organize my thoughts when plotting fiction projects.

Sure, as a designer of tabletop gaming products, I am occasionally called on to submit rough maps to my clients and do call on CC3 to save me time and effort on that front. Although I haven’t put in the time to to make the resulting roughs reliably attractive, the result is better than the hideous scanned-in scrawl I’d otherwise be foisting on my saintly developers.

The ability to create background fills from photographs offers a quick and dirty way to make a submitted map look suitably spiffy—at least for submission as a rough. Although I wouldn’t want to see something like the example below published in a book, it at least gives the illustrator more to go on than the crude hand-sketch I’d otherwise be handing him.

When walking around with my digital camera, I keep an eye out for interesting textures. Sometimes my inspiration for an encounter will come from the texture. I’ll build the map around the texture, then the encounter around the map. For example, shots of mossy ground got me started creating the encounter map you see above (click to enlarge).

Continue reading Part 2 – Moving stuff around >>

One Response to “Campaign Cartographer, the Writer / Designer’s Friend (Part 1)”

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