I started playing with a new online group again this year and have enjoyed the first three sessions so far. GMing for a new group, using a game like Pathfinder, has really made me remember the importance of maps. I’ve been playing with a group that doesn’t really utilize battle maps with games where they don’t really matter for so long, that I am out of practice.
It excites me though because I always used to love making maps. I always sucked at it, but I still enjoyed it. After a few days of me trying to make maps on my own in MyPaint, I realized that yep, I’m still no artist. So I decided to use some Christmas money and buy a mapping program.
The first program I decided to go buy was Dundjinni. I had always liked the program and had considered buying a few a years ago, but never did. After looking at the maps that it could produce, I once again decided to give it a try and downloaded the demo and played with it for a bit. Once again I liked it and went to buy it and then I found out something unpleasant. It was no longer for sale! It seems the owner went MIA a year or so ago and no can buy it anymore. Made me sad to have the money in hand ready to give it to someone and not be able to.
Then I went over to Profantasy and started looking at Campaign Cartographer 3. I had also liked this program before but didn’t consider it at first because it is (edited for clarification) more expensive and, I felt, more of a professional’s piece of software, and I am far from a professional. However, after talking with the community and looking through some of the items, I decided to buy it. I also picked up Dungeon Designer 3 as well and then I started watching the tutorials. And boy, and I glad I did!
It has nice user made tutorials by the way, you should check them out if you are interested. However, I did run into a problem when I couldn’t get it to work properly on my Windows 7 64 laptop. I could install it and run it, but if I tried to create a new file, it dumped me out every time. I tried everything they had listed in the forums as fixes, but nothing worked. I have put in a ticket to the support guys but haven’t heard anything yet. (It has only been a day or so, and over the weekend, so I didn’t expect to.) Then I decided to give it a try on my Linux laptop using Wine and guess what, it worked with no problems. I didn’t even have to do anything special. Anyway, I hope to get that sorted out soon as well.
That being said, I am absolutely loving CC3 and DD3. It is a great piece of software that makes sense and is much easier to use that I have been led to believe. Yes it has a higher learning curve, but just after a few video tutorials I was able to make the map you see below. I think anyone could learn to use this software well. Hats off to Profantasy for a good piece of software that is worth the money!
So the first map I decided to make was, naturally, an inn. Because let’s be honest, you can never have too many inns. I mean, your PC’s are always itching to go to an inn and decide what to do next. I decided to name it The Stag Inn, since it is close to the name of one of the inns in the city the players are currently in, and I think I can just transplant them to it. Please take a look and tell me what you think. I used Dungeon Designer 3 to make the entire thing. I’m happy, but still need to figure out how to do a few things, like make the road look more like a road and connect some of the corners of the walls better.
All in all though, not a bad job for my first try. Next up, I’m going to try to make a city. And no, I did not buy City Designer as well…I’m just going to see if I can make it happen using what I have. I don’t want to spend the extra money right now just to make one city map, although, I might, since chances are good my group may go to more cities in the future. Also, why doesn’t the program come with more symbols and textures? (edited: please see the comment by Ralf below. He is right, I was not looking for the symbols int he right place, it does come with quite a lot of symbols in a wide variety.) I’ll let you know how it goes. (Edit: it is going great so far!)
Interested in my game? Check out my Obsidian Portal page!
(Edit: I updated to the post to clarify how much I am liking CC3 and DD3 and to recommend it to other people)