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CC2 Day 6: Final Day, Final Thoughts


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3 April 2002page first published

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©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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Planting forests is about the last step, except for the inevitable clean-up of mistakes you notice when you think you're done.

screenshot of Campaign Cartographer, showing the final map

(For instance: One of the last touches I added to the map was a small marsh near a southern river. I used a standard marsh symbol, but I resized it on the fly to fit in the space available. A few moments later, I added a trading outpost in the southern mountains. The goof I made is not noticing that after resizing the marsh, my symbols were in the wrong size! The trading outpost looked fine when I put it down, but later - when I see it in zoomed-out mode - I see that it's teeny teeny tiny...)

I've thought about putting text labels on the map - identifying countries and cities - but I've crowded the map so much that I don't know where I'd put the text. So for now, I've settled for just printing the name of the island - Jovialitan - in large type across the top of the map.

Campaigning with this Map

A lot of the options at this stage depend on personal preference. For a fantasy campaign, you could quite easily use Campaign Cartographer to manage your campaign - creating symbols for units, and moving them from place to place on the map. I think (haven't tried this myself!) you could even create multiple layers - one for each turn - so that at the end of the campaign, you'd have all your battle maps ready to go.

You can even give the map in electronic file format to the other players in the campaign. As long as they have the free demo version of Campaign Cartographer, they can view it in software and make print-outs - they just can't save any of their changes. The files aren't too large. My map file, for instance, is just over 100K (you can download it, if you'd like).

You can also link the map to other maps by creating "hotspots." For instance, on my map, clicking on Fishmen Island might lead to a separate detailed map of that island (when I get around to making one!). Or - going the other direction - there might be a global map with a hotspot that leads to this map. You could end up with a network of maps: continents, regions, cities, buildings, dungeons, and so forth...

a hexgrid has been imposed over the hobbitlands

Or let's say that you want to print the map out, and use cardboard markers of some kind to track units and their movements. In that case, a grid of some sort can be useful. Campaign Cartographer supports both square and hexagonal grids, with or without numbering, in any size desired.

a 15mm Goblin patrols the Goblinlands

One of the interesting things about Campaign Cartographer's CAD orientation is that you can virtually zoom in on the map as much as you like - the lines don't become blurry or pixelated, because they always remain fixed-width lines.

map printed on one page, with 15mm figures shown for scale

In practical terms, this means that you can print the map out in different sizes and it still looks good. For instance, I printed the map out first as a one-page print-out. Then I took the same map and told the software to print it out to fit on 4 sheets of paper. It prints four panels, almost to the edge of each sheet, which can be trimmed and fit together to make a large map. I could just as easily have asked for a map on 6 or 9 sheets of paper, or to a particular scale.

map printed on four pages, with 15mm figures shown for scale

(In doing the print-outs, I discovered a bug in the software when I found that my text title wouldn't print across multiple sheets. I've notified ProFantasy, and they've told me of a work-around - converting the text to polygons.)

The Bottom Line

At this point, I feel like I know the software well enough to make my next map in considerably less time, but I certainly don't feel like I've mastered everything about this program! The interface takes time to learn, but if you're willing to put time into it, I think anyone can learn to make good maps.

Fishman Island printed out, with a 15mm Fishman Spider Rider (Evil Gong)

One thing to keep in mind: Campaign Cartographer is not an art tool. The software uses a default 256-color palette, and the standard symbols are simple and utilitarian rather than works of art. If beautiful maps are required, one option is to export the maps in jpeg or png formats and add artistic touches using another program. Those with artistic skills can design their own symbols and color palettes.

Campaign Cartographer is a big hit with role-players, but does it provide a service for wargamers? I think so. Wargaming is a lot more fun when it's part of an ongoing campaign, and this software (once learned) makes it easier for referees to create maps - and to reproduce those maps in as many varieties and editions as needed.

the final map