Hello, and let me just say this is a fascinating website: dauntingly so, even.
I have read through the Quickstart guide and this forum's poll thread and dozens of other threads here as well as quite a number of websites... I'm still not at all clear on the particular details of what software is best for my case. To that end, I would very much appreciate you folks' suffering a question which I admit you have clearly put a lot of time and effort into precluding
I'd very much like to make one fantasy world map. I'd be happy making a map in one of my games' map editors except I want to map the poles and I won't have an idea of what they really look like on a simple rectangular map.
At length I've drawn my first continent in GIMP and learned how to map it to a sphere (though only temporarily, since that gets rid of the layers). Now it seems that actually GIMP only maps part of your image to part of a sphere, and doesn't give an actual globe effect; isn't that so? Ok, well, I can happily deal with a 2D map that I can check looks okay in 3D.
I wonder if my project is best suited to GIMP, though. At the moment, the other software I am really considering is Fractal Terrains 3: that is because I am very interested in this claim that it will make realistic terrain, map the appropriate climate zones, and even weather. From my readings, I have not seen that another program does weather. Plus, I imagine it will draw better than I ever will in GIMP: I'm setting the bar on a map editor map because I have never had reason to consider myself much of an artist insofar as drawing and such.
But if I get FT3 for that benefit, will FT3 (or FT3+GIMP) let me test if my poles look alright at least insofar as GIMP will? I suppose it will since I think it has multiple projections. Or should I look more into one of the many other software?
I guess the last necessity for this software is it should let me have a few geographic specifications: like there should be land on the south pole connected to a larger, not-all-polar continent, and a fairly nearby northern continent should have a stretch of coast along the equator. The latter specific is by far the more necessary, I think, but I did go to all this bother about the south pole already, so let's not discard it outright.
I appreciate your input.