View Full Version : Fractal Terrains tools a little wacky

04-08-2009, 08:59 AM
Maybe this is my computer, not the program. But I'm finding the FT Pro tools to be rather unpredictable. Here's my issue:

I found a mysterious series of small spots of very high temperature right in the middle of a section of tundra. I suspect they exist right across that latitude, but I haven't checked yet. So I wanted to manually "paint" more appropriate temperatures for those spots.

I chose the Paint Lower>temperature tool and dialed in an appropriate brush size and value. Instead of lowering the temperature of the area, it raised it. Stumped, I changed it to "raise" and tried again. It raised the temperature even more.

I got really mad and closed out FT, reopened it, and tried the tools again. They worked normally for a bit, then reverted back to raising the temperature no matter what I did. Another restart, and a similar thing happened but sometimes the tool would just do nothing as opposed to raising or lowering the temperature.

Now I've got a crazy boggled section of mountainous region with spots of really low temp and spots of outrageously high temp because of the tools acting funny and making the problem worse. I can't revert back to an older save because I have no idea when the spots arrived, they may have been part of the very first draft of the world.

Has anyone else seen this?

To fix it, I'd really prefer to select a region and then manually dial in a particular temperature to fill the region. That's all I want. Can't it be done?

Greason Wolfe
04-08-2009, 09:31 AM
Can't say I've ever had that problem. I suppose in a worst case scenario, you could always go with a global set on temperature at the lowest value and then build up the temperatures as needed. Waldonrate might be along later and have some better advice or a solution for you though.


04-08-2009, 09:42 AM
I have same issues near what I call the end of the map. For whatever reason when I have my grid on, and the button for adaptive grid on, I lose some of my grid at a certain point on the map; this, I'm guessing is the edge or end of the map. Itís hard to explain but I guess that this is the side of the map that FT is having issues with. I spin the side globe around until the end of the map is moved to the edge (on a flat projection) and I try to make sure that no land crosses this area by repositioning the North Pole.

I have tried to rectify this prob to no avail. Hopefully someone can fill us in.

04-08-2009, 10:52 AM
Same here...odd things along that single vertical edge.

04-08-2009, 12:19 PM
Wow, I'm NOT crazy.

Resetting the global temperature might not be bad, except blah what a pain. Might be worth it, though. I thought if I just jacked up the elevation in that spot it'd apply temp settings automatically and then I could reduce the elevation again; that didn't really work out either.

Can I ask a question not highly related?

How can I place latitude/longitude lines that wrap around the globe correctly? I really could use this while painting my temperatures. I'd like them to export with the map, too. The grid settings confuse me.

I've only been using FT for a few days, which is why I'm asking dumb questions.

Anyway I'm curious. I was painting deserts at the time; FT doesn't seem to put deserts anywhere automatically, so I had to adjust rainfall amounts in different areas. Why is this? I think I'm right about where the deserts should be, but they didn't show up anywhere at all in the random generation stage of the process.

04-08-2009, 12:53 PM
Make sure that you have the current FT update from the ProFantasy website. It should be something like or so. There were some tool issues in earlier versions.

How are the gridlines not wrapping around the globe properly?

The FT climate model is primitive at best. It does not take into account global air or water circulation. These are the two most important factors in placing deserts and so FT doesn't generate deserts with the default settings.

The painting tools in FT (especially early 2.x versions) are a bit twitchy. For temperature and rainfall I recommend selecting the area of interest, feathering the selection, and then doing global raise and lower operations. Note that this trick only works well if you have sufficient editing resolution to get at least several pixels across your area of interest.

The FT code base is nearing its 10th birthday and the core code (much of it from Wilbur) is approaching 18. I've learned a lot since then but can't kill off the old product or levy unreasonable hardware burdens on existing customers for product updtes.

04-08-2009, 12:59 PM

You can take adaptive grid resolution check mark off and it should give you grid lines that look good in FT. You can't, however, save as png with grid lines on (at least not on my comp), I get a crash. So you have to export the grid with to cc3 hide all layers except grid and then save as png.

04-08-2009, 02:01 PM
Contact ProFantasy tech support about the crashing grid problem. I understand there is a fix available for it.

04-08-2009, 04:55 PM
Thanks to both for your input, I will try as you suggest. I think this is less program issue and more user error, as I'm so new to FT. I did upgrade FT last weekend to the latest and greatest, and I think I have all the patches. I'll check.

It strikes me that your select-a-region approach would be a lot less time consuming and result in a more uniform result. They're averages anyway; why should I want to have bitty little regional differences? That's basically the kind of solution I was hoping for, I just hadn't tried it yet because I didn't know if the "global" tools would apply only to a selection. It was 5 am, after all.

I'll do that, I'm sure it'll work fine. Maybe I'll start from a base min temp and work up globally, given that the suggestions are so crude. I like that anyway. Always do it the fiddly way, that seems to be my motto.

04-08-2009, 04:58 PM
Oh-it's not that the gridlines don't work for me; it's that I don't know how to use them properly. I thought I'd have access to a full manual when I downloaded the upgrade, but I didn't see it anywhere. I may have deleted it out of my "downloads" folder without thinking. I'll contact Profantasy about that question eventually.

04-09-2009, 09:52 AM
So I figured out the gridlines. That part's good. The lasso-global-lower-temperature thing didn't work out so very well, because all the uneven spots within the selection area stayed uneven and still needed to be sort of pixel-painted individually, and of course the level of detail isn't great though my editing resolution's quite high, so I can't fully repair the area. There's a stupid half-moon shape of spots left and I can't change them without altering the surrounding climate too...so I'm leaving them alone. Fixing the climate globally would work but I just don't have the stamina. I don't think I could do a great job having to adjust ALL of that anyway.

What FT seems to need is a way to dial in the settings one wants in selected area. Just type in the temp/rainfall/elevation settings to be applied to the whole selection. Right now the only tools allow you to type in the DEGREE OF CHANGE which isn't helpful if you need to even out an uneven area. Fixing anything takes much longer this way than it needs to.

04-09-2009, 10:01 AM
A way to get rid of the extreme points is to do a global set to 0 and then raise and lower them with the selection. Be aware, though, that such an operation will undo the painting that you've already done.

What FT really needs is a tool that lets you say "paint this area in climate type X" and the software figures out the minimal change needed to get that climate. The problem (or binus, depending on your point of view) is that there will be bands of intermediate climates around the painted area. For example, forcing a tundra area in the middle of a tropical rainforest will lead to some odd climates over a very short area.

A better climate model would be nice, of course...

04-09-2009, 03:58 PM
I don't think the global set to 0 will work; I tried that with a selection instead of doing it globally and it subtracted the difference from all the temperatures, such that the spots were STILL there but at a lower temp than the surrounding area, which also wasn't at 0. It was variable all through the selection. Places were as low as -400 F and as high as 0. Crazy. I just hit CTRL-Z and decided to ignore the spot, as much as it irks me.

I'm not convinced it wouldn't do the exact same if I did that globally with no selection; if I changed the world settings I think that would randomly generate a brand new world at 0F with the rest of my parameters in place. Which is not what I want.

In the end I guess since I'm exporting AND tracing I won't worry about it. I'd like the FT product to look professional and finished, but I'll just have to learn to live with it.

04-09-2009, 04:03 PM
I agree, sometimes I wish I could keep the FT file as a "final" map that contained everything. If one of these software company's would put all of these programs together into one suite that worked well together it'd be fantastic. I'd like to see a program like FT that handled plate tectonics, wind and water currents, continental drift, etc...but alas...we have to overnerd ourselves to come up with that kind of data.

I ended up exporting my regions to photoshop using HandsomeRobs tutorials and got some really good results. Even though he was aiming for illustrator, I was able to use his export techniques to make some really useful photoshop bits and pieces.

Best part of all this thread is that the developer of FT not only hangs out here, but is posting in this thread! If only we could prod him to quit his day job and work on FT for us solely. *eyeballs joe* ;)

04-09-2009, 04:12 PM
If global set to 0 is causing a problem then it's more likely that there's a problem with the altitudes at those points. In FT temperature is inversely proportional to height.

If ProFantasy could sell 25,000 copies of FT every year I'd be able to afford to quit my day job and put in that extra time on the product.

04-09-2009, 05:17 PM
Well I'll keep buying upgrades and hopin' for ya! I'm trying to decipher what you mean by a "problem with altitude" because potentially I created a lot of problems while I learned the tools. The areas are small lower spots in the terrain but not THAT low. Still thousands of feet above sea level.

See, this descends from the issue of the tools going wacky on me. It might be the spot on the globe, or the computer it's running on, or the evil fairy I angered last week. Either way, I have the occasional interesting effect like this:

Elevation tool suddenly reverses effects so "lower" actually raises, and the smaller the value I plug in the larger the effect it actually has. Simultaneously the size of the brush begins to increase at faster and faster rates immediately after I've clicked the mouse, such that the spot keeps growing (or shrinking) until I close out the program.

After which it'll work like a charm for a good long while.

The first times it did things like this, I didn't recognize the problems right away and I'm sure I saved with some wackiness still in place which I manually repaired later.

04-09-2009, 05:18 PM
I vow not to use the word "wacky" any more. Sorry.

04-09-2009, 05:58 PM
I was thinking that "wacky" was a much more polite word than I was using with my FTPro woes.

04-10-2009, 09:04 AM
I've decided this world I'm painting on is for test purposes. I've learned a few things as I've gone along, enough to want a complete do-over with better info to start. I'm inclined to model the climate totally manually too, I feel like it'd be a cleaner process and teach me more about this world.

Why does FT want to route rivers through my deserts, or originate them there? The only rivers that'd show up at this kind of resolution must be enormous ones, and some of the areas they end up just don't seem likely to me.

04-10-2009, 12:36 PM
Deserts form where evaporation greatly exceeds rainfall. FT doesn't model evaporation or movement of air masses so it only works from the rainfall end. It determines the amount of water that would land in an area and the downhill direction then lets the river flow. The consequences of this model are that rivers never disappear and always find their outlet (a pit with no outflow or a place with the water level above the land level).

Even though there are rivers that flow through deserts in the real world they are much more likely to form in FT.

04-10-2009, 03:10 PM
I can see that. I'm curious if you could point me toward any tutorials that might help me get a really polished, logical, cohesive end product from FT. I'm only planning on designing one world, so I really want each step to be as close to perfect as my tools will allow.

I know of the one tutorial found here: http://www.ridgenet.net/~jslayton/CGTutorial/index.html

and would be really pleased to find some other resources.