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View Full Version : Question about next software to purchase - CD3 for CC3, or Fractal Mapper?



Felonius
05-18-2010, 03:24 PM
This is my first real post on these forums, so first off, hello, and thanks so much to everyone involved with the site for providing such an amazing resource for us cartography enthusiasts.

Now the real question:

I recently purchased CC3, and for $45.00, it was a fabulous investment. I am absolutely IN LOVE with it for doing overland maps. It took me about a week and a half of fairly steady work (2-3 hours a day at nights), and a fairly healthy dose of tutorials to really get the "feel" for the software, but I now feel if not like a master, at least competent with its basic features. For overland mapping, it's great, and for dungeon/battle grid maps, it's easy as pie, assuming you have good textures on hand (and with all of the free textures out there on the Interwebs, it's a piece of cake). So for overland mapping and dungeon mapping, CC3 is exactly what I was looking for.

Here's my current problem: I want to now do cities.

And because I didn't want to spend more money for something I wasn't sure I was going to like, I procured a "trial" version of City Designer 3--and was fairly unimpressed with the tools it adds to CC3. Yes, the house creation and easy "street creation" tools were okay, but like a lot of cartography, it's not the tools, it's the artwork that's important. One of the things that CC3 was awesome for in overland was the ability to quickly add textures to nearly anything on the map. But I couldn't see a quick, easy way to add custom textures and objects to the house and street tools in CD3--meaning that if I didn't like the default symbols and artwork styles, it didn't seem like a worthwhile investment. In this case, I'd rather put together a bunch of custom artwork as raster images, and import them in CC3 as a symbol set, and not even bother with CD3.

Now I've looked at some cities done in Fractal Mapper 8 that didn't look super impressive--but they were competent, and the "default" style seemed fairly appropriate to what I wanted to do for city maps.

So, my question is, have I missed something cool with CD3 that I don't know about? Is it easier than I think to create/import new house styles that match what I want for maps? I thought City Designer 3 would be the next logical purchase for me, since I have already spent the time to learn CC3's interface, and CD3 is just an extension of it--but there's no reason to pay for tools if I can't get the artwork and texture styles in it (I'd just stick with CC3 flying solo).

Most people I've seen opinions of Fractal Mapper seem to think that it's generally inferior to CC3 in terms of overall quality of final product, but also seem to think it's easier. Also, Fractal Mapper has a bunch of free "add ons" like the global map creator (that CC3 doesn't have). In other words, FM8 seems like it's more of a "Swiss Army" application, but not as robust, whereas CC3 with CD3 is more of a precision tool, but narrowly focused, with high output quality.

At this point, the cheaper price, and the "Swiss Army" approach of FM8 makes it seem more appealing for my city map creation needs--but again, I don't want to throw away the "learning curve" knowledge of CC3.

Can someone give a realistic assessment of the pros and cons of doing city mapping in CC3 w/CD3 compared to Fractal Mapper 8?

Any advice from the kind gentlemen and ladies of Cartographer's Guild?

Felonius
05-18-2010, 03:58 PM
Having now looked at Dundjiinni with the Campaign Map Pack, it seems like it might enter the realm of possibility too.......

Gamerprinter
05-18-2010, 04:00 PM
You'll need to wait for Gandwarf to chime in about CD3 - he's the forum's master with that app (has some tutorials in the forum, if you still have that trial version of CD3.)

Mark Olivia swears by Fractal Mapper, so you should speak to him about that. Both Gandwarf and Mark Olivia are members of the site.

Me, I don't care for CAD software, I have better luck with Xara Xtreme my app of choice, followed by Photoshop or GIMP. The former is a vector drawing application, while the latter two are image editors. (Though I own both Fractal Mapper 8 and CC3).

GP

PS: I've heard that Dundjinni is going out of business, so that might put a kink in your aspirations for that software.

Clercon
05-18-2010, 04:23 PM
I own both CC3 and CD3. I must say that I nerly never use CC3 for overland mapping cause I feel I get more creative freedom in Photohop. But when it comes to creating cities I think CD3 is a blast. In CD3 you get loads of more texture to play around with. You also get some good tools to create houses by your design. You also get a tool that you can use to fill the streets with random houses in a very easy way. You can see one of my towns here http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?10055-Alvhem. So I'm very satisfied with CD3 and I think it gives you more value for your money then CC3.

NeonKnight
05-18-2010, 07:49 PM
Yeah,CD3 gives lots of tools, and importing art/BMP?PNG styles is simple, as is creating your own styles which can be used with the program.

OldGuy
05-18-2010, 10:04 PM
I have CC3 and DD3 and will be getting CD3 shortly. All the profantasy stuff is fantastic. I also have Dundjinni and it looks great but I haven't used it much.

Be sure to get CSUAC. It works with both.

Aval Penworth
05-18-2010, 10:34 PM
I use CD3 a lot in combination with Photoshop (you could use gimp). It is great for getting a lot done in a short space of time. Check out my finished maps album link in my sig if you want. But also check out GWs stuff for the mack-daddy samples...might take you a while to get to that level of mastery though;)

MadCartographer
05-18-2010, 11:12 PM
You can also use these files:
http://www.rptoolstutorials.net/?page_id=23

Grab the Bit Torrent files. It's a HUGE image repository that is perfect for CC3 and all it's add ons. (BTW, I have all the add ons for CC3, I'm a huge fan of CC3).

Mark Oliva
05-19-2010, 01:52 AM
I went from CC3 to FM8 and wouldn't consider going back again for any kind of map. The main reason for dropping CC3 was that FM8 maps are portable and CC3 maps aren't. Beyond that, the learning curve for FM8 is about 10% of the learning curve for CC3 with the end map result being about the same, regardless of whether you're mapping overland, cities or villages or dungeons. However, any map I can make with CC3 I also can make with FM8 in about 25% of the time.

The clue to knowing whether FM8 is for you is to try it out. It doesnn't cost anything to do that. First go to:

http://www.nbos.com/nox/index.php?action=1001&id=144

and download the trial version of FM8. It's identical to the full version with two exceptions:

1) You can't save maps.
2) It has a small symbol library.

But that's adequate for a learning trial.

Then go to:

http://www.nbos.com/nox/index.php?action=1001&id=125

and download the free FM8 Manual/Tutorial (PDF). Work your way through it. It takes about a day. Once you're done, you will know all of the basics of FM8. You will be well set to make just about any FM8 vector map you want. If you're like me, you won't be all that impressed, because vector maps - from FM8 or CC3 - were left behind by the RPG industry more than a decade ago. The really good FM8 and CC3 maps are raster maps. So, next. go here:

http://www.vintyri.org/vintyri/tu1.htm

and download our free 200+ page FM8 raster mapping tutorial. Other people who have done it tell us that it takes about two days to do. Once you've done that, you will have mastered about 90% of FM8, and you should be able to produce all kinds of excellent raster maps.

At that point, you can throw FM8 and CC3 into the scales and weigh which is best for you.


Be sure to get CSUAC. It works with both.

Unfortunately, the CSUAC no longer is available.

Dundjinni is not necessarily going out of business, but it has come to a dead end. The current version 1.07 was released six years ago. Dundjinni Enterprises announced two years ago that the long promised Version 2.0 has been laid on ice indefinitely. So ... the question of how long Dundjinni will stick around certainly is valid. No one at Dundjinni Enterprises has been offering answers.

All of that notwithstanding ... I have Dundjinni too and use it at times. It's an excellent program for making great dungeon and encounter scenarios, but it's limited when it comes to overland mapping or mapping cities, villages, etc. However, if you want to get a feel for it, download the free trial version from:

http://www.dundjinni.com

loongtim
05-19-2010, 01:59 AM
Use the "House" button (upper left on the toolbar) to make any shaped/sized house you want. You can also use the "Extra" options to add more flavor to your buildings. If you don't like any of the styles they offer, you can use "Change Properties" to pick any fill style for the building. I'm not sure if that's what you're looking for, but it should give you a fair amount of flexibility.

Felonius
05-19-2010, 05:09 PM
Thanks so much for the advice so far, everyone.

Tell me, Mark, does FM8 do the lighting/texture/sheet effects like CC3? Not that they'd do it in the same way, of course, but are the basic abilities about the same? Meaning can you do blur effects, fade effects, texturizing effects, bevel effects, etc.?

OldGuy
05-19-2010, 11:13 PM
Unfortunately, the CSUAC no longer is available.
I hope that's not the case. I was at GM's Apprentice (http://gmsapprentice.com) recently (2 weeks ago maybe) and it was up and running. I just checked and am receiving "Server Not Found" messages now. Has he moved or just taken it down?

If the later, hopefully someone will take up hosting it. It's too wonderful a resource to let disappear.

Mark Oliva
05-20-2010, 02:14 AM
Thanks so much for the advice so far, everyone.

Tell me, Mark, does FM8 do the lighting/texture/sheet effects like CC3? Not that they'd do it in the same way, of course, but are the basic abilities about the same? Meaning can you do blur effects, fade effects, texturizing effects, bevel effects, etc.?

Yes. That answer is too short for the system, so this sentence adds more characters.

Mark Oliva
05-20-2010, 02:25 AM
RE: CSUAC no longer being available.


I hope that's not the case. I was at GM's Apprentice (http://gmsapprentice.com) recently (2 weeks ago maybe) and it was up and running. I just checked and am receiving "Server Not Found" messages now. Has he moved or just taken it down?

If the later, hopefully someone will take up hosting it. It's too wonderful a resource to let disappear.

It's Cecil Solomon's site. As far as I can determine, Cecil hasn't explained anywhere why he pulled the site. However, with the CSUAC license conditions that Cecil established, onecan't simply throw the CSUAC up to another web site for downloading. Unfortunately.

However, another, slower way to get at the objects is with the thread "Monthly Archive by Sendorian" on the Dundjinni site. Go to:

http://www.dundjinni.com/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=11001&PN=1&TPN=1

Elric's mirror of the CSUAC site at:

http://www.halerecordings.com/forums/local_links.php?catid=28

also appears to have vanished.

Felonius
05-22-2010, 02:35 AM
Thanks again for everyone's input. I ended up purchasing City Designer 3 to go with my existing CC3 purchase.

Mark, after looking at the Fractal Mapper 8 demo, I was extremely impressed, and I think I would recommend it to anyone getting started in doing fantasy mapmaking. It's fast, it's easy to transfer experience from existing vector/art editing software, and has a reasonable number of good filters/effects.

The two I didn't see--that ultimately pushed me to CD3--was the edge fade, and inner edge fade effects that can be applied using sheets in CC3/CD3. Maybe the demo didn't have them and the full product did, but those two effects are my lifeblood for overland maps. Particularly when I'm trying to blend/fade contour lines, or other effects. Without them, my maps just wouldn't look the same.

If I were to recommend a product to someone who is wanting something easy, and isn't really trying to make "professional level" maps, however, I would say Fractal Mapper 8 over CC3/CD3.