Beyltaak and the Genuine CC2-Pro Bug

So back to the tale of my attempts to accomplish the mapping of Beyltaak, and CC2-Pro (Campaign Cartographer 2 – Pro if you’re running into this for the first time.) I did some Town Math to decide how big the town I needed to map would have to be, how many houses it would have to have in it, how many ‘other buildings’ — warehouses, open-air markets, raw-goods stores, eateries, bakeries, stables, banks, whorehouses, warehouses, etc. — how much of the land would have to be devoted to the care and feeding of horses since this is 1) a low-tech, animal-power-dependent culture, and 2) horse-crazy.

Beyltaak, one of the major population centers in the low-population-density Tonk society, has roughly 15,000 inside-the-wall inhabitants, excluding the transient and nonresident parts of the standing army at the beginning of the book, the harbor traffic, and an incursion of foreigners later in the book. The average family size is six — this accounts for both folks like my main protagonist, who comes from a family with fourteen kids, and the followers of Saint Hetterik, a champion of life-long celibacy, who set out the life path for (among others) mystics and lawyers, (to the Tonk, the law is a sacred calling). Because of Tonk mores and preferences, the majority of these homes will be single family dwellings — so, roughly 2500 houses. The majority of families will be supporting at least one horse, and most will be supporting more. Figure 5,000 horses. Just to provide pasturage and exercise room for 5,000 or so pampered horses, I’ll need about one acre per family, though it won’t be divided up that way — private land ownership is still a shaky concept to the Tonk, who were nomads. They’ll have nicely fenced and divided public pasturage in each house-cluster, with the houses clustered the way their nomadic tent-communities were clustered before they started building permanent dwellings. The Tonk revere tradition.

So that maps out to 2500 acres just for housing and horses alone — about 2.344 square miles. Double that for infrastructure — roads and berms, businesses and civil and legal and military structures and other necessaries, and I’m looking at drawing 4.7 square miles of town, God-only knows how many miles of roads and alleys (and tunnels in the substructure of the town), maybe 4000 buildings, walls, topographical info (because at the town level, it is frequently useful to know whether your main character is walking uphill or downhill on Pig Bladder Street when heading north east, in case something evil suddenly bursts out of the slaughterhouse behind him and he has to run. You face different challenges when running uphill, downhill, and on the level, and knowing which one your character is doing, and being able to be consistent about it, can add some nice little touches to realism is the writing.

But on the technical level, that is one whole hell of a lot of drawing. Which is why I bought CC2-Pro and City Designer. I’m tired of hand-drawing maps at that level of detail (and tedium). I’ve been doing it for a long, long time, and the thrill has worn off. But I still need such maps.

Which brings me, in roundabout fashion, back to Campaign Cartographer 2 Pro. I’m experiencing problems, still, with my installation. So I put together a troubleshooting page, and mailed the link and a short note to the CC2 support team. And heard back yesterday with a very nice little note. What I am experiencing is a new, but genuine, discovered-by-me platform/software bug. The link is because I know these entries end up searchable in Google, and sooner or later someone else using XP and CC2-Pro is going to experience the same problem with drawing rivers, roads, and houses that I’m having, and go looking for a fix. The person who answered my letter let me know that the programmer was working on the problem, and that a fix would be forthcoming, maybe in a couple of days. Whenever it shows up, I’ll add it to the troubleshooting page, or a link to the fix at ProFantasy.com if it’s in downloadable patch form and not just instructions.

My respect for the folks at ProFantasy.com continues to grow. They have not only put out excellent programs, but they take their tech support seriously, something a lot of companies have managed to forget to do.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

8 comments… add one
  • Wayne Ligon Jul 9, 2003 @ 9:35

    Good to hear that you’ve had a good tech support experience. I’ve been very impressed with the level of service and aid that the ProFantasy team renders. They’ve helped me any number of times.

  • Alison Jul 6, 2003 @ 15:10

    That post gave me an idea for a theme for an issue of Vision – what about "tools and toys". Pens, notebooks, PDAs, word-processors, outliners, project management software, databases, graphics, word-building and map-making software, etc etc. The Internet, of course. Small corner for Mac vs Windows vs Linux dustups. What we use, where we found it (or it found us), and how we use it.

  • Jim Woosley Jul 4, 2003 @ 8:52

    As an exercise to the interested reader, why not consider how a ~ 5 sq mile pre-tech city evolves organically over generations as technolgy and social mores change. How population increases force the supporting farms, logging, etc. to move further and further out (and, correspondingly, the seasonal effects on diet on public health and hygiene).

    Not necessarily relevant to Holly’s story line (except in considering how it played in reverse, and whether any of the current characters have considered or are even interested in the implications of such change over generations and whether it affects their decisions today)*, but it’s a thought that may plant seeds in stories unwritten…

    *Case in point, I’ve seen one comment in the marginal- SF press noting that SF fans are the only group which regularly consistently considers the evolution of societies beyond the next 50 years, and in some cases it definitely affects our thinking. If one presumes 300,000 hard-core TREKKERS, and apply Sturgeon’s Law, you get 30,000 individuals or about 0.0001 of the US population. So, statistically, you might have 2 people in Beyltaak who are that forward looking, and a 10% chance at random (actually probability dictated by story logic) that these people interact with and affect the world view of the other characters.

    Musings for a Fourth of July that opened with a crash-priority I-need-this-NOW from my key client. (Fortunately, I was able to do the key web search, verify the first hit answered the question, and send the link in about fifteen minutes. 🙂

    Happy Independence Day! Remember why we’re here, why we’re free. And if you have a chance, rent and watch the DVD of 1776! A classic — and historically (almost) accurate to boot. (Well, at least I doubt that Thomas, Benjamin, and John broke into extemporaneous song during their debate about the national bird 🙂

    According to news reports, the restored DVD includes two songs judged politically incorrect and not included in the final cut of the theatrical movie. (I must confess I’ve not seen the DVD yet, while plugging it, but we did tape it from TV several years ago and watch it every year or two on the Fourth).

    Enough diversion. Once again, Happy Independence Day and Forward Motion!

  • ... Jul 4, 2003 @ 4:52

    Law as a sacred calling? I guess that is one less way a lawyer can screw you. =)

  • Linda Jul 3, 2003 @ 23:18

    That’s why their software, though expensive, is worth it. Plus all the cool stuff you can do when it works right.

  • Teddyrux Jul 3, 2003 @ 17:35

    Isn’t it fun being the first one to have a problem? 🙂

  • Jean Jul 3, 2003 @ 14:22

    First, I like the sounds of Beyltaak! What a cool city!

    Second, I’m glad you’re getting good tech support. I’m always encouraged to hear when something that starts out so frustrating turns in a positive direction. (And good thinking to provide a link to help others who run into this problem–they’ll be grateful for your thoughtfulness!)

  • kmcorby Jul 3, 2003 @ 14:18

    Good luck with that. Crushed to hear CC is buggy on XP – I’ve always wanted to have a copy but didn’t have a PC powerful enough. Now I do – and it’s XP! 🙁

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