Command of the Week - Link with Map/File (Week 5)
This series is called the command of the week, but it could also explain a feature. The explanations will tend to explain the technical parts of the command, and is intended to highlight the basics (and complexities) of the command, and information about how to use it, but won't be a detailed tutorial. It is up to you to use it creatively in your maps.
Week 5 - Link with Map/FileCC3+ allows you to create clickable hyperlinks in your map. This can be used to link to other maps, for example clicking on a building could potentially open the floor plan map for that building or clicking on a city symbol on an overland map could load up the city map. You can use this to link a few maps together (like the floors of a dungeon), or you can do larger projects, and make a complete interactive atlas of your world.
But, in addition to linking to maps, you can also link to any other file on your system. This allows you to easily access map notes and other important information. For example, clicking on a house might bring up a word processing document with details about the inhabitants, or perhaps a photo of the place.
Where to find it?Toolbar: [Image_8108]
Menu: Tools -> Hyperlinks -> Link with map / Tools -> Hyperlinks -> Link with File
Command Line: LINKM / LINKF
How to use it?When you start the command, you are prompted to select a map (or file), and after selecting an appropriate file, you are prompted to define the hotspot window by defining two opposite corners. Once this is done, you will end up with a hotspot in your map which you can click to load the map or file in question.
Immediately after placing the hyperlink, you'll see that it is surrounded by a rectangle, with some text at the bottom, but the next time you run CC3 it will be gone. This rectangle is the hyperlink entity itself. Because they are not really part of the map itself, they are hidden by default, but are shown temporarily when you create new hyperlinks. You can always go to View -> Show Hyperlinks [ACTVIS] and View -> Hide Hyperlinks [ACTHIDE] to show/hide them at any time. If you want hyperlinks to be always visible in a certain map, it is recommended that you just draw a regular rectangle at the same position as the hyperlink. I recommend either a hollow rectangle in a bright color that clearly indicates that this is a hyperlink and not a map element, or a white or black rectangle with a transparency effect on it, which has the effect of slightly lightning or darkening the area of the hyperlink.
The main difference between Link with Map and Link with File is that Link with Map will open the new map in the same CC3+ window that the current map is in, closing it and possible prompting you to save it in the process. This is nice for a navigable interactive atlas. The Link with File command on the other hand tells Windows to use the default app for that file type to open the file, which causes a program to open to display that file. However, if you specify a CC3+ map when using Link with File, this will end up with a new CC3+ instance opening showing that map. So that is a nice option if you wish to keep the current map open, but this isn't very nice for a navigable structure, as you end up with tons of windows open.
Links can be added to actual locations in the map, or you can create text with links to the side of your map, or whatever you need to. A common place to position the link back to the parent map is on the compass rose, but this may not be very intuitive if you need that.
Note that hyperlinks are always rectangles, and they cannot be rotated. If you need complex shapes, you'll need to simply make multiple links. Always consider if you really need a complex shape though, even if the actual link area is complex, does it matter if the clickable area is a bit bigger? Also note that if you make a visual indicator to indicate that there is a link here, as mentioned above, this indicator doesn't have to follow the clickable area exactly, and could highlight just the important complex-shaped region of the actual hyperlink.
Command text and PathsThe text below the link rectangle is a macro command. It starts with the command (LOADM for Link With Map or OPENDOC for link with file), then the path to the map/file follows, and with a semicolon (;) at the end to terminate the command.
You may have noticed that when using link with map, the path sometimes starts with a $-sign. The $-sign has special meaning to CC3+, it means whatever folder the current map is in. So, if the path says $MyMap.fcw, it refers to the file MyMap.fcw that is located in the same folder as the current map. This can also be combined with subfolders (Ex: $Cities\Metropolis.fcw) and parent folders (Ex: $..\WorldMap.fcw). When using the Link with Map command, CC3+ will insert the $-sign if it can determine a relative path from the current map to the one you linked to, but if it cannot do so, it will use the full absolute path instead (Ex: C:\Users\Monsen\Documents\x.FCW). You'll want to keep an eye of this. If your links use an absolute path, and you give a copy of them to someone, it means that they must place the maps in the exact same paths on their computer as you have them on yours. This is very undesirable, and may not even be possible if they don't have the same drive letters as you. Instead, you should make sure to always use the relative paths (using $), because that means they can keep their copy wherever they want, because the destination is computed from the location of the map with the links, and not an absolute location.
If you find that CC3+ didn't set up a relative path correctly, you can edit the command of a hotspot by using numeric edit on it. This is always required when you are using relative paths to parent directories.
I recommend you download a copy of the Community Atlas for an example of a large set of maps that uses relative paths in their links.