Campaign Cartographer II
by Jeff Goins, Dwarven Tavern Cyberzine
Program Courtesy once again of PROFANTASY SOFTWARE
When using the older DOS version of CC Pro, the things I wish I had are all the obvious Windows-based icons and object-oriented…well, Windows! I like the portable format of the windows based program and the new CC2 of course by its very nature has that.
I ran into just a few problems off the bat because of, I found out later from tech support, a bad installation file. The problems were easily fixable and didn’t detract from the value of the program as a whole. I will mention the problems I had and where to go to fix them a bit later.
As I think EVERYONE knows, I love the previous versions of CC, DD, CD, and CC Pro, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I also swear by this version as well. It uses a very effective CAD engine to create the maps and such, and the interface uses mostly what I like to call common sense tools. It is so frustrating to use a program that was created by engineers who never actually use the programs themselves (or at least that’s how it would seem after a few minutes of using their programs). I believe the creators of CC2 are gamers who know what gamers really need. The difference is almost entirely the Windows-based interface. CC2 still maintains the right-click functionality of the previous versions, a feature I find very useful. It also features all the nifty tools and icons as any good Windows-based program should. Nothing bothers me more than a Windows program that when opened, displays a blank screen and only a few buttons. I mean, Come On! That’s what Windows is all about! Can you say GUI? Well, that is the strongest feature of CC2, it has loads of buttons and shortcut-providing icons that one can click and get results without having to search through all the menu screens. It seems like every possible aspect of map creation is represented by some kind of button or icon. Very cool.
Another great aspect of the app that differs from the older versions of CC is the colors. CC Dos is limited to line art and sixteen colors. Which worked out ok in DOS. The maps I created of Eathas in CC all look very cool, but those I’m creating in CC2 are even cooler. When selecting a color for that building, simply click on the color bar and the color appears in the symbol catalogue, as it will in your map. Custom colors can be added and the symbols can be either line art or filled for a better effect.
Editing and changing parts of a drawing is as easy as any GUI CAD program (even easier than a few I’ve used, but those reviews will come later). Adding and removing nodes of a line, changing the colors of a road, the direction of a parabolic spline, the layer of a house, the fill style of a wall, whatever, it’s right there within easy reach of a button. The machine I’m using CC2 on right now is a 486 DX2 66 Mhz Packard (yech, ptui) Bell, so the response time for the dragging and such is not as good as it could be, but that’s not the fault of CC2, it’s my machine.
As always, the tutorials are great. Very informative and helpful, a big plus there. And, even though the Windows version is a much easier interface than the DOS version, it is still a good idea to read and explore the user’s guide before getting into that major project. I applaud the technical support efforts of the creators of CC2, their web site is full of free advice, tools, and patches that many other companies would charge to access (and get it too!). It’s more like joining the company than just buying a product. They are always interested in what the consumer has to say, and will always reply to a question or problem set forth.
Now, the trouble spots. There are a few trouble areas I had with CC2 that were fixed easily enough, but my first reaction was, wow, this sucks, what am I gonna do now? I had no luck at all in updating old CC FCD files to new CC2 FCW files. I went to the web site and got the fix for that and it worked very nicely, thank you. The other problem I had was when I tried to load certain example maps, the lines would be far too thick and certain things would not show up and such. Again, no problem. The installation program just didn’t set defaults correctly and with simple advice from the web site FAQ the problem was corrected and would not be repeated. If you have any of these problems or others, email them email@example.com and they will help you.
All in all, I highly approve of CC2 as THE CAD mapper to have if you’re into the RPG thing (and other abbreviations) and would recommend it highly. Good job guys.
Copyrighted 1998 by Dwarven Tavern Cyberzine, http://www.dwarventavern.net