DungeonDraft vs. Campaign Cartographer 3+


Off-Topic Discussions


Hello fellow gamers. I started making custom maps with Campaign Cartographer 2, and while it had a steep learning curve, and was a tad ugly, it got the job done. I stepped away from cartography for a while, but am ready to dive back in. I'm looking for thoughts, suggestions, and opinions on what cartography software is "best." I've narrowed it down to DungeonDraft and Campaign Cartographer 3+.

I've played around a bit with DD, and also have ample experience with the earlier iteration of CC. I'm not concerned with learning curves - this is an obsession of mine, and I will spend an unhealthy amount of time working on whatever software I end up going with. At first glance, DD looks to be a simpler program to use and gets the job done, while CC 3+ seems to be more time-intensive and expensive, but also produces more visually pleasing maps. I'm at a crossroads.

What do you fine folk think about these two options? Pros and cons for example. Any hidden flaws I might run into. Etc. etc.

As an aside, I also use (and love) Dungeon Alchemist, but it's a bit too "shiny" for what I'm looking for in my games.

Thank you for any advice you have!

Scarab Sages

Like you I enjoy making maps (so much so I started my own Facebook page to share maps with a select few people). And, like you, I started on CC2.

However, I progressed to CC3+ years ago. From what I recall of CC2, CC3+ isn't too much different. More refined, maybe. And it's got plenty more symbol sets and styles. And the ProFantasy website offers some pretty good assistance.

I'd never heard of Dungeon Draft, so can't really compare the two. One of the main problems I have with CC3+ is the tendency to freeze or close the program when your maps start getting overly large and complex. Part of that is my old computer, though.


Thank you Ser Zombie. Right now I'm leaning heavily towards CC3 because a) I already have a good handle on it, and b) it looks like I can do much more with it. For example, I like doing cutaway maps - a buddy who likes DungeonDraft told me that that program may not be a good option for cutaways. Also, DD has a long load time when you have a lot of custom assets loaded (I do).


Oh, a second question if you don't mind my asking! Do you have any go-to sites for CC3+ assets? DungeonDraft has the Forgotten Adventures site for example, and I could always Google CC3+ assets, but since you've been using this software for a while, do you have any sound advice? I like to have many, many assets. 50 desks, 100 chairs, all sorts of statues, multiple floor/door/window types, magic doodads, toilet/bath fixtures, you name it. So if there's a really good source for my 3rd-party assets, I'd very much appreciate finding them.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

I also have no experience with DungeonDraft. Looking at it very quickly the takeaway is that it appears to produce some nice battlemap style maps but is not easily expandable to other types of fantasy maps (e.g., cities, overland). Looks like it has a great asset library.

I have been a CC3+ (and its predecessors) user for many, many years and have been very happy with it. What it can do, compared to CC2, is much, much nicer looking stuff and if you're already used to figuring out how to use CC2 you can use CC3. Because it is a fantasy mapper UI over CAD, it still can take a lot of steps and a lot of frustration and shenanigans to get exactly what you want, especially if it's something complex, but nonetheless you can also really do anything you want with it and once you get the feel for it (as you are aware) it is great. Tutorials abound on their site and on YouTube. I'm also just a big fan of Profantasy as a company--they have very responsive customer service and have never tried to screw their customers over with weird DRM or licensing shenanigans (I bought CC3 and was able to upgrade to CC3+ for free when it first came out). You really get what you pay for with them in my experience and I am happy to throw some money at them when I am able. (Which is not to say that you should, per se, just that I would and I don't say that lightly.)

At the risk of continuing to sound like a commercial (I am really not, I swear), if you're doing primarily battlemaps I would definitely pay for the additional Dungeon Designer add on, as well as the Dungeons of Schley Symbol Set (which is $25). Right now CC3 plus the City Designer and Dungeon Designer addons are on sale for $74, or slightly more than the cost of a good high end video game. There are additional assets you can purchase (symbol sets and various things in their Cartographer's Annuals). City Designer is also super amazing.

As for free assets, Profantasy often gives free updates to their existing stuff, and the community is very active. Here is a list of free community resources on their forum. You can also run some searches for assets people have made both in a general search engine and in their forum. You can also make your own in the program without too much difficulty, either drawing your own or converting an image (I think either a BMP or PNG, but don't quote me on that).


DeathQuaker wrote:

I also have no experience with DungeonDraft. Looking at it very quickly the takeaway is that it appears to produce some nice battlemap style maps but is not easily expandable to other types of fantasy maps (e.g., cities, overland). Looks like it has a great asset library.

I have been a CC3+ (and its predecessors) user for many, many years and have been very happy with it. What it can do, compared to CC2, is much, much nicer looking stuff and if you're already used to figuring out how to use CC2 you can use CC3. Because it is a fantasy mapper UI over CAD, it still can take a lot of steps and a lot of frustration and shenanigans to get exactly what you want, especially if it's something complex, but nonetheless you can also really do anything you want with it and once you get the feel for it (as you are aware) it is great. Tutorials abound on their site and on YouTube. I'm also just a big fan of Profantasy as a company--they have very responsive customer service and have never tried to screw their customers over with weird DRM or licensing shenanigans (I bought CC3 and was able to upgrade to CC3+ for free when it first came out). You really get what you pay for with them in my experience and I am happy to throw some money at them when I am able. (Which is not to say that you should, per se, just that I would and I don't say that lightly.)

At the risk of continuing to sound like a commercial (I am really not, I swear), if you're doing primarily battlemaps I would definitely pay for the additional Dungeon Designer add on, as well as the Dungeons of Schley Symbol Set (which is $25). Right now CC3 plus the City Designer and Dungeon Designer addons are on sale for $74, or slightly more than the cost of a good high end video game. There are additional assets you can purchase (symbol sets and various things in their Cartographer's Annuals). City Designer is also super amazing.

As for free assets, Profantasy often gives free...

Many thanks to you wise DeathQauker, that was most informative. I am intimately familiar with CC2, and am glad that my hard-fought knowledge will carry over. I actually went ahead and bought the bundle including CC3+, Character Artist (don't think I'll ever use it, but hey), City Designer, Dungeon Designer 3, Perspectives 3 (huh?), Symbol Set 1, and Symbol Set 2. I also sprang for Symbol Set 4 - Dungeons of Schley, because it looked amazing.

Thanks for the free asset link, it's much obliged.

Now I just have to install this monstrosity. Between all the add-ons, I count ~20 different .exe files I'll need to run. But hey I grew up on CC, and if it's half as good as it looks and everyone says, that's a small price to pay. (That and the $175, but who's counting).

Scarab Sages

Generic Villain wrote:
Oh, a second question if you don't mind my asking! Do you have any go-to sites for CC3+ assets? DungeonDraft has the Forgotten Adventures site for example, and I could always Google CC3+ assets, but since you've been using this software for a while, do you have any sound advice? I like to have many, many assets. 50 desks, 100 chairs, all sorts of statues, multiple floor/door/window types, magic doodads, toilet/bath fixtures, you name it. So if there's a really good source for my 3rd-party assets, I'd very much appreciate finding them.

I've enhanced my CC3+ a lot. The City Designer. The Dungeon Designer. And bought most of the symbol add-ons and several Annuals. Between those, I typically have most of the stuff I need.

I have, on occasion, done searches for certain symbols (especially stairs, which CC3 has been kind of weak on) so I know there's stuff out there. Specific websites I don't know, other than the ProFantasy message forums where people sometimes post links to stuff. I know there are ways to turn stuff into symbols, but my old-man brain never was conducive to learning such esoteric sorcery.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Nice, Generic Villain! Hope you share some of the stuff you come up with in the gamer talk or homebrew forums. It does take awhile to install all those exes but fortunately I recall last time I reinstalled on a newer computer it didn't take too long.

Perspectives 3 I think is the isometric mapping tool. So if you want to make something a little more 3d looking, it should be handy. I've never used it but I've seen really nice stuff people have made with it.


Aberzombie wrote:

I've enhanced my CC3+ a lot. The City Designer. The Dungeon Designer. And bought most of the symbol add-ons and several Annuals. Between those, I typically have most of the stuff I need.

I have, on occasion, done searches for certain symbols (especially stairs, which CC3 has been kind of weak on) so I know there's stuff out there. Specific websites I don't know, other than the ProFantasy message forums where people sometimes post links to stuff.

I was looking at the Annuals. I'm going to install what I have now and see how satisfied I am, but can definitely see myself springing for future additions. Especially if they're stingy with stairs. I like having a wide range of stair options.

Aberzombie wrote:


I know there are ways to turn stuff into symbols, but my old-man brain never was conducive to learning such esoteric sorcery.

I assure you it's not your old-man brain. Way back when I still used CC2, I did indeed figure out how to make custom symbols, but he process with utterly convoluted. Also the stuff I made was nothing compared to what the professionals produced. And now, 10+ years later, I have no intention of trying to re-learn that process. I'll just throw money at pre-made assets instead, thank you very much.


DeathQuaker wrote:

Nice, Generic Villain! Hope you share some of the stuff you come up with in the gamer talk or homebrew forums. It does take awhile to install all those exes but fortunately I recall last time I reinstalled on a newer computer it didn't take too long.

Perspectives 3 I think is the isometric mapping tool. So if you want to make something a little more 3d looking, it should be handy. I've never used it but I've seen really nice stuff people have made with it.

I may just do that. My old CC2 maps are embarrassing, if only because of the sheer ugliness of being 90% black lines. After I install CC3, I plan on remaking a few of my favorite maps. Those might be worth posting.

Thanks for the info on Perspectives. I could see that being neat for designing handouts and such.

Scarab Sages

DeathQuaker wrote:


Perspectives 3 I think is the isometric mapping tool. So if you want to make something a little more 3d looking, it should be handy. I've never used it but I've seen really nice stuff people have made with it.

The most recent of the Symbol Sets (#6 I think) is also for creating Isometric maps. I haven't bought it yet, but I've been tempted. I don't think you need Perspectives to use it, but haven't looked into it too much to be sure.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Aberzombie wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:


Perspectives 3 I think is the isometric mapping tool. So if you want to make something a little more 3d looking, it should be handy. I've never used it but I've seen really nice stuff people have made with it.
The most recent of the Symbol Sets (#6 I think) is also for creating Isometric maps. I haven't bought it yet, but I've been tempted. I don't think you need Perspectives to use it, but haven't looked into it too much to be sure.

Per their blog about the Isometric Cities set, "Symbol Set 6 can be used with or without City Designer 3 and Perspectives 3."

My general sense is that the Symbol Sets will always work with CC3+ alone--and you can even use the pngs included in them without CC3+--but they will work better with the add-ons that provide specialized tools for certain map projects. So like you could buy the SS2: Fantasy Floorplans set if you don't have Dungeon Designer 3, and you could still use the symbols in it with CC3, it's just that with DD3 as well it is easier to set up the dungeon map to begin with to get going.

And yes, it looks AWESOME. I have a big ol coffee table book of old hand-drawn city maps that this reminds me of and it would be fun to use this to recreate some (and/or use them to riff off of for my own maps).

In general, I love the partnership they've made with Mike Schley, who is an amazing cartographer in his own right. All the stuff they've put out with his work, including what IIRC was a free overland set, has been top notch and has become my go-to set of symbols for a lot of my projects.


Would either of you helpful folk have any recommendations on additional asset packs that are really useful? Like you Aberzombie, I love having a wide variety of stairs. But really, I'm an omnivore when it comes to symbols - I'll take anything if it's well-designed and appealing.

Right now I have C3+, Character Artist, City Designer, Dungeon Designer 3, Perspectives 3, Symbol Set 1, Symbol Set 2, and Symbol Set 4 - Dungeons of Schley. I believe there are also things called Annuals that I can buy? I'm not sure how those work, I haven't had the time to research them yet. I haven't even had the time to install the thing for that matter, but soon.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

1. I would install what you've got first--which is a lot--and see what you have to work with before getting anything else. You've already got a ton of assets between all of those things, and you might want to see what you like and what you use before paying for any more.

2. When it's time to look at other stuff, what kind of maps do you want to make most?


DeathQuaker wrote:

1. I would install what you've got first--which is a lot--and see what you have to work with before getting anything else. You've already got a ton of assets between all of those things, and you might want to see what you like and what you use before paying for any more.

2. When it's time to look at other stuff, what kind of maps do you want to make most?

Yeah that's good advice. I tend to go a bit overboard with stuff like this. That said.

My favorite maps to make are European/Gilded Age-type mansions. So nice furnishings, rugs, statues, fire places, staircases, the like. I also have a sprawling fortress inhabited by evil wizard-types (Night Herald cultists, to be specific). So alchemy-themed stuff, magical doodads, ominous/scary fare, astronomical devices, bookshelves.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Fortunately DD3, Fantasy Floorplans, and Dungeons of Schley gives you a ton of that stuff. There's a free thrones pack floating around on the site too. I might just search their blog to start with, and then the forum.

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