ProFantasy has been working hard for quite some time on their newest version of the world’s best mapping software: Campaign Cartographer 3+ (CC3+). Technically, it is still in beta testing. Realistically though, it is done and ready to roll. Existing users were offered an Early Adopter version (with a free upgrade to the final release) and the forums are a buzz with praise.
I have been extremely happy with CC3, but CC3+ has an impressive list of new features.
- Most significant is that CC3+ is twice as fast as CC3, fast enough to work with effects on all the time without the need for a super high-end system!
- It is fully compatible with Windows XP through Windows 8.
- User data is no longer stored in the program directory, solving forever any problems with privilege issues.
- Toolbar icons now come in various sizes (including 16×16 and 32×32), which is a particularly welcome addition for those of us who find even over-sized computer screens increasingly hard to read.
- Exports are faster and friendlier.
- Effects have been revamped and improved. A number of new effects, including Photoshop-style blends, have been included.
- An entirely new overland map-making style, by Mike Schley, has been added
- CC3+ is brimming with new resources: Styles, Symbols, Templates, Effects, and Tools. Users will be overjoyed with all these wonderful new toys!
Beyond all that, tons of work has been done behind the scenes to improve the usability. Countless bugs, big and small, have been squashed. Memory leaks have been tracked down and plugged. Code has been re-written and streamlined.
The UI has gotten some love as well. Symbols and tools have been combined and repositioned to enhance work flow. Nothing major, but lots of little things that make the software easier to use.
One feature, that I particularly like, is the addition of floating, context-sensitive text that follows the cursor. This is much easier to read than having to look down at the command line (and less distracting from the creative map-making process). More importantly, it is far more obvious to new users who may not notice that something is going on at the command line. It is this sort of new feature that I think will make the software easier for new users to learn. And I think even veteran users will appreciate it as well.
When I told Ralf that I wanted to do an article about CC3+, he sent me some info and linked a page (that wasn’t public on their site) describing CC3+. Some of that page looked to be strictly for existing users so instead of sharing the link, I’ve quoted portions hereafter.
I’d like to add that when I emailed Ralf, he responded cheerfully and in less than 24 hours! That is the kind of company ProFantasy is. Everyone there is friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and do everything they can to ensure that their users get everything they need. Even if their software weren’t as spectacular as it is, the people behind the software would make me want to support them.
Here is some info taken directly from ProFantasy about CC3+:
Campaign Cartographer 3+ is faster, easier to use and creates more attractive maps than ever before.
Award-winning cartographer Mike Schley provides you with a complete new attractive map-making style with a host of new symbols and tools. Nothing new to learn, just better looking maps.
You asked for Photoshop-style effects, now you have them. With faster, better, streamlined and consistent filters your maps will look better than ever before. You can test your effects on the drawing before applying them. And, again, CC3+ is doing the work.
CC3+ runs twice as fast as CC3 with effects off. With effects on it’s even more. A combination of hardware optimization, and eldritch programming sorcery means more map-making, less waiting – simple as that. On most machines, you can use CC3+ with effects on, all the time.
A context-sensitive floating cursor lets you know what CC3+ is thinking. Attractive, larger icons suit modern systems. The Print Wizard makes it easy to export your maps at any scale, tiled across paper . CC3+ gives you better and cleverer editing, clearer icons, and improved export.
CC3 improves and simplifies the map-making process. It puts roads, rivers, symbols and other map-making tools up front and center right where you need them. Whichever map making style you choose, the tools you need will appear, visually, and ready to go.
We’ve fixed bugs, plugged holes and cleaned up the interface. CC3+ is Windows 8 able, and it’s cleaner on the inside and outside.