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Thread: Fractal Mapper

  1. #21
      Beowulf is offline
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    Have you tried using more points and turning the fractal factor way down? I'm not expert, having used the software for only a month, and I haven't had time to do much importing of my old maps. Still, I think that might work.

    I like FM so far but again, my new job has kept me hopping to the point that I haven't had as much time to play with FM8 as I'd like.

  2. #22
      Sukerkin is offline
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    Aye, I've tried various methods to improve the output and zero'ing the fractal factor combined with keeping the line sections short was the approach I found worked best with the freehand tool.

    The Spline tool worked okay for outlining features - as you say, Beowulf, more points and short sections . The polygon tool has potential too, tho' the fact that it defaults to filled is a hinderence when you're trying to overlay on top of an import .

    Amongst my major gripes at the moment, other than those previously alluded to, is the lack of a proper cursor-tip scroll tool that doesn't lose it's focus on the last in-screen point clicked. Again maybe it's just that I'm not using it correctly but I find when I'm zoomed in tracing an intricate 'wiggle' of terrain and have to scroll then the tool adds a point on the map adjactent to the area of the scroll bar I grabbed to move the viewport - so you click undo and it removes the new point, loses the focus and, for all I know, the whole line disappears :grr:.

    I'm sure that if I use it more I'll begin to find ways to achieve the results I'm after (either by amending my approach or uncovering options I haven't yet seen). I think what's throwing me at present is that FM is neither a CAD nor image-manipulator package but something in between - I need to find the line (yeah, mapping pun (sort of )) to walk that matches that balance.

  3. #23
      Sukerkin is offline
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    Well, I've persisted with it through today, trying and experimenting and generally theorising and the final verdict is that, for the level of precision I'm after, FM is not the tool I should have bought.

    Just when I think I'm making progress with it, it shows an inaccuracy, a flaw or just a plain obstinancy about doing what I need it to do.

    I wont say it's garbage because I can see what it can be used for but if you want to do reasonable level of detail at the scale I like working with (1, 2, 10 or 25mm to the mile) it's impractical. The hostility of the user interface is qute high underneath it's veneer of simplicity too - and that comes from someone who uses AutoCAD as part of his job :eek:!

    The click-selection algorithm is hopelessly flawed (such that you can move a line that you can't select to modify), the layer control is patchy ("Send to back ... send to back ... which part of 'Send To Back' don't you understand?") and the zoom and snap functions are even more sloppy. The zoom partially re-arranges (aka dis-arranges) the fractal lines as you move in and out and the snap simply does not. You (or at least I) cannot draw a freehand line and colour it to represent borders of fiefs, manors, baronies et al. You can have black dots or, erm, black dots, what ever option you select.

    A big minus is that the Undo function un-does what it feels like and doesn't undo when it desires to be petulant and there is no re-do or a history of what actions you are manipulating.

    I'm not bitter as software trialing is always a roll of the dice but I'd suggest to most users who wish to map in the cartographical sense, rather than create map-like art, that you'd be better keeping your £25 for something else (or save up for a while and buy some real software - that's an unfair phrasing there, I should rather say "Commercial or Professional level software").

    I'm willing to accept direction or correction from those more knowledgeable than I with this package, indeed I'm hoping that there is a guru on a white horse to show me the error of my ways, but, if it wasn't for the small price tag, I'd be demanding my money back right now.
    Last edited by Sukerkin; 11-25-2007 at 06:05 AM.

  4. #24
      NeonKnight is offline
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    Not sure, but I believe CC3 uses AutoCAD as it's underlying engine.
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  5. #25
      RobA is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeonKnight View Post
    Not sure, but I believe CC3 uses AutoCAD as it's underlying engine.
    I believe it is actually built on fastCAD (or easyCAD the 2D version)., not AutoCAD.

    -Rob A>

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobA View Post
    I believe it is actually built on fastCAD (or easyCAD the 2D version)., not AutoCAD.

    -Rob A>
    That is correct. It uses FastCAD.
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  7. #27
      Sukerkin is offline
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    Having heard my chuntering coming from the depths of the computer room, my missus has sensibly suggested that rather than getting aggrivated by my inability to get FM to do as I wish I should try some of the other packages, such as Dundjinni or CC3.

    It is a good suggestion and one that I may well follow in a while but I shall give FM another go today and see if I can't come up with an approach that works for me. It seems to prefer handling objects rather than lines so maybe turning as many things as I can into objects and manipulating them will work? I've been a bit lazy with my layer management too (the shame of it) so perhaps thinning things out across layers more will help?

  8. #28
      Sukerkin is offline
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    There are still a number of irritations with FM that I have yet to either get around or accept but with regard to one of the major heartaches I was havng with it I have found that using a different tool made all the difference in the world.

    I had been tracing out the sections of my old map sample using a mix of fractal freehand, spline curves and straight lines and had been having a devil of a job getting them to merge together (as noted before the 'snap' of FM is really poor) so that they could be cloned as a polygon. What I resorted to after hours of effort was re-drawing over my original 'tracing' using the fractal polygon tool with fractalisation set to zero and that seems to work a treat.

    It remain's a hideous drudge to then have to manually reshape the hundreds of nodes to conform with the objects I want the new creation to sit next to but it's a step forward at least.

    Keeping on trying, more reports to follow.

  9. #29
      ravells is offline
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    Do you have a tablet and pen, Sukerkin? The method you're using sounds extremely painful.

    If it were me, (and everyone's tastes differ) I would spend the money not on new software but on a tablet and pen (if you haven't got one) and try either Inscape or the Gimp (which are free). I'm entirely unfamiliar with FM, but it doesn't sound like it's working for you, so maybe it's time for a change?

    Might be worth finding out whether Campaign Cartographer has a demo version you can try for free before comitting to buying it.

    Ravs

  10. #30
      Sukerkin is offline
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    Good advice there, Ravells and it definitely struck a chord as I was pondering onyl last night whether I should invest in a graphics tablet .

    Having seen some of the output people are achieving with freeware such as the GIMP I may well have to have a look into it to see how it 'sits' with my way of working.

    That last is the biggest cause off my rough start with FM I think i.e. the way it wants to be used is not the way I want to use it .

    The outright bugs in it don't help of course. The 'unwanted placed nodes whilst scrolling' being about the worst flaw, tho' there are a couple of other 'biggies' such as breaking snap when you zoom or it randomly assigning a node from a line to the far corner of the screen when it feels like it (probably because I've clicked on something in the menu bar whilst having the tool selected).

    When it comes to available alternative software, there's not really a problem with cost or availability for the purpose built non-free mappers as I can get most of them off the Net for twenty or thirty pounds it seems.

    The high end professional art/CAD-wares, such as Photoshop or AutoCAD, I either have or can get my hands on (my missus is a printer and I'm an engineer designing SCADA's and HMI's for the power industry ).

    My stubborn personality will probably not let me give up on FM yet tho' . I've battled on and am developing a way of working that gets me results without too much-gritting-of-the-teeth. If I could find a way to configure the defaults for some of the tools that'd be a big step forward. I'll dig around in it's bowels tonight and see if I can't find a config file of some description.

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