Recently, I acquired a copy of Profantasy’s Tome of Ultimate Mapping. This PDF is an indispensable resource for anyone who uses the various Profantasy products to create their fantasy maps.
The ToUM was produced a number of years ago and designed to cover the “pro” version of the products that were in use back then. Even so, much of the information contained within is still quite relevant to the newer versions (with the obvious exception of new features that have come out since then).
Now is the Time to Buy!
Remy Monsen (Profantasy forums moderator) has been tasked with updating the Tome, so as to cover these newer programs. In the “Profantasy blog, it states:
The updated Tome will be available as a free download to anyone who bought it after CC3 was first released.
That means that if you buy it now, you receive both the current version plus the new version (when it becomes available) for the same price. Often, when such updates occur, wonderful bits are lost in the process. I didn’t want to risk this, so I picked up the Tome now in order to get both versions.
There isn’t any official ETA yet on the release of the new Tome, but Remy says it will be Soon.
What does the Tome include?
- A 512-page cross-referenced and bookmarked pdf covering all of the ProFantasy products in detail.
- Style guides to create maps like those created by master mappers.
- Tips, hints techniques on map creation, symbol management and draw tools.
- Complete command reference spreadsheet and tables.
- 50MB Support files
What Do These Support Files Consist Of?
- Tutorial files.
- Sudbury mini-Pack, 12 bitmaps, 1 PDF, 9 templates, 7 drawing tools, 1 symbol catalog
- 6 other parchment/paper bitmaps.
- 12 templates that use those bitmaps – the templates include all new frames, cartouches, scalebars, and directional indicators.
- Master mapper Ralf Schemmann’s drawing template and tools. The tools are built into hotspots on the map key.
- A folder of eight symbol catalogs for use in hand drawn maps on the new templates.
- Three catalogs of symbols.
- A catalog of cartouches
- Assorted drawing tools and symbol catalogs created for, or created from, the tutorials in the Tome
- A big file of example drawings, some never seen before and not available anywhere else. The examples include a grand cave with adventure material.
The CD version also includes the latest update files for those without a broadband connection.
What Products are Covered?
- Campaign Cartographer
- Dungeon Design
- City Designer
- Fractal Terrains
- Character Artist
- Source Maps: Castles!
- Source Maps: World War 2 Interactive Atlas
- Symbol Set 1: Fantasy Overland
- Symbol Set 2: Fantasy Floorplans
- Symbol Set 3: Modern
To be honest, the presentation left a great deal to be desired. This is a complaint that I have with all Profantasy documentation.
- The fonts used are hard to look at for long periods.
- There is far too much white space.
- The sidebar information is often redundant. Even where it’s not, the info would do better in the main text.
- The graphics are often grainy.
- Sample maps and images are strewn throughout the document at random, instead of using examples that are relevant to the section being discussed. Except where used as examples, these maps and images are just a distraction and really should be moved out of the PDF into the support files folder.
- Simple tasks are discussed in great detail while complex concepts are glossed over.
While these things may be bothersome, they are (for the most part) merely aesthetics. A revision by a professional technical writer would certainly improve the readability. But the benefit of a resource like this comes from the information not from the presentation. And the information is spot on.
Every product has an overview and a description of each of its functions. Key features are covered in detail. Step-by-step walk-throughs are often included. There is more than enough to get a new user up and running in each of the programs discussed.
Beyond that, the support files are amazing. There are templates, drawing tools, symbol catalogs, and tutorials to enhance all levels of map making.
For $18.95, the Tome of Ultimate Mapping is a fantastic deal. I highly recommend it.