The next version of Campaign Cartographer, CC3+, is in late beta. We were hoping for a release this year, but that’s looking less likely. You can read about the new version here. new large icons interface

We’ve got two show-stopping bugs to deal with before we release the CC3+ beta to a wider audience.

Who is this audience?

We released Character Artist 3 this time last year, and until 1st January 2014 offered free CC3+ upgrade protection to purchasers. Character Artist 3 users will be able to download the beta version and give us feedback as soon as our two big bugs are dealt with. It’s impossible for us to tell when that will be, but I hope it’s in the next couple of weeks. If you are in this category, we’ll send you an email, and update your registration page with the new version. When the new version is finished, you’ll get a new update.

When this wider beta test is completed, we’ll release the upgrade, but we absolutely don’t want to release it until we are sure it’s solid on all operating systems.

CC3+ incorporates a new complete symbol set from expert cartographer Mike Schley. We’ve worked with a number of professional cartographers to create Campaign Cartographer styles, and the process is now pretty slick. We are either adapting an existing style (as with our recent World War 2 annual issue) or creating one from scratch. This is the process:

1. We take a cartographer’s existing map, or the cartographer develops a new map style, always by creating a small map sample. Here is an early one Mike Schley produced for the new CC3+ overland style.

CC3+_SampleMap_New

 

2. Once we’ve approved this, the cartographer adds more symbols and tools to the example map, and then does more as stand alone files. For a full ad–on or symbol set, this is a very big job. Usually the cartographer works in Photoshop, with layers on, so we can easily extract elements to create CC symbols and drawing tools.

3. Once the map-maker has finished, Ralf duplicates the style in CC, developing the set of drawing tools and adding effects to match the original.

MikeSchleyPreview

mountain range

4. Ralf creates the full set of symbol catalogs in all resolutions, with varicolour areas.

new large icons interface

The very first example map we did with Campaign Cartographer was of my campaign setting, the Jaw Peninsula, and we intend to continue this tradition with CC3+. You can see the history of the map here and Ralf has rendered the eastern section of the map in his new style. Click the image for the full high-resolution map.

Jaw Peninsula East Close

And here is a close up

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And just to give you an idea of how detailed the symbols are – little works of art – here is a close up. Click for extreme close up.

Jaw Peninsula East Detail

I’ve started to play a simple and easy to understand roleplaying game with my two oldest children (this is also the reason that the names in the map are all in Swedish, they don’t read English). And of course no game can be really appreciated without a world map to look at.

So I decided to make one while trying out the April annual style from Profantasy, made by the artist Herwin Wielink.

It is always hard to start working with a new style, it takes a while just to get used to the style itself. What graphics are included, fields, desert, marshes, rivers, forests and so on. A good thing is to just create a couple of test maps to get used to the style, to get the feeling of it. In this case I did that, but not only on purpose. I’ve read on a lot of places that people complain that CC3 can be a bit unstable, that it sometimes crashes a lot.

Well I’ve never experienced that, apart from with one of my more ambitious projects where the actual file grew too large for CC3 to handle. But with this particular style I actually had two crashes where I had to restart the whole project from the start again. That has never happened before and it was probably just a coincidence that it happened now, but I guess that the end result ended up better because of this. You can say that I learned from the mistakes in the two earlier maps, so I didn’t need to repeat them in the final map. [Editor's notice: If you ever lose your map, look for autosave.fcw in your CC3 folder.]

The graphics in the style are absolutely gorgeous and mountains, forests and other symbols really melt into the background in a great way that kind of hides the fact that the map is made in CC3. The only other CC3 style I can think of that accomplishes this as good as this one is the 2011 March annual overland style by Jonathan Roberts.

I also like the colour palette a lot in the style. Sometimes I think that maps made in CC3 can be bit cartoonish when it comes to colour, this particular style though has a really nice dark feeling about it. I like that.

Overall the style was very easy to use, the selection of textures and symbols are vast so you can really get some great variation into the map. And variation is very good if you want to make a map that is unique and nice to look at.

As usual I’ve done the labeling in Photoshop, I just can’t get it to work satisfactory in CC3, but that is probably because of me and not the program. The font is the same though as the one included in the style.

(Originally posted on mappingworlds.wordpress.com)

Biohazard Symbol
Joe Sweeney, the avid mapper behind the Battle Maps Tiles from the 2010 Annual, is working on a new sci-fi battle map tiles pack. We will be making this available through the Annual later in the year. The set he is building already contains well over 100 new textures and scores of signage overlays for floors: access zones, radiation danger, chemical areas, shuttle landing zones, overhead automated cranes, etc.

Before he completes all the graphics work and begins developing the battle map tiles, Joe would like to know what sort of signage you’d like to see. How about a “no aliens” floor zone sign? Or perhaps “white, red, green zone” signs for those Paranoia games? Get creative. Get practical. Think of all the signs (and textures) you would love to see in your next sci-fi mapping project and email your ideas to jsweeney@storyweaver.com or post them in the comments below.

Albion Map
I recently had the pleasure to create a map for Silver Branch Games‘ upcoming Albion game.

Tim Gray had created a map for his setting in CC2 Pro a while ago and approached me at Dragonmeet for a re-working in one of CC3′s newer styles.

As it will be printed in black and white, we decided on the standard CC3 b&w vector style and this this the result. I’m pretty happy how it turned out:
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