[nbos] a long set of questions about FM8
William Stramiello
Thu Apr 2nd, 2009

I have owned FM8 for over a year and have not had much time to mess with it, but now I do (being unfortunately jobless).  So I have never posted to this mailing list and I am not sure this is where I am supposed to ask these sorts of questions.  I apologize both for the length of this post and for my lack of general software skill.  Undoubtedly many of these problems would not crop up if I just had a better knack for the fundamentals.  I appreciate the effort of anyone who has the patience and kindness to read this and help me along with any advice, comments, or useful suggestions.
Overview:  My goal is to make a fantasy world map based loosely on our own world in the distant (prediluvian?) past.  I want to have the landmasses of the whole eastern hemisphere mapped, but the important part is Europe and the Mediterranean.  This is not intended to be a realistic depiction of the past, but more suggestive of a possible past with my story being the basis for contrivance.  The most significant difference in my world and the real one is that certain areas are flooded that are now dry and vice versa.   For example – the Sahara is mostly under the Mediterranean; the Strait of Gibraltar is an Isthmus; the Aegean, Baltic, Marmara and the Adriatic are inland seas; and Sardinia, Corsica, Sicily, Cypress, and the Balearics are connected to the land mass of Europe.
What I have done: Used a background map of the eastern hemisphere as a basis.  I then used the Fractal Line tool (with snaps enabled) to create the coastlines that I want with the endpoints being set at significant geographical locations and the fractal factor set to accomplish the ruggedness of the coastline.  The area around Europe has many more lines than the rest of the world because I am much pickier about where things end up in that area.  Next I used the Fractal Landmass tool to make inland seas (as mentioned above) and islands.  Then I created a submap of the area I am interested in to work with on the details.
1)      Background:  I couldn’t make the background go away, so I saved a plain white background and exchanged them.  This seemed to work ok.
2)      Intersection Snap: did not really work very well (revealed by the fill tool) as sometimes there was actually a space between the intersection of my lines.  So I meticulously went around all of the lines and made sure all lines crossed each other and there were no empty spaces. 
3)      Merge Lines:  the Mediterranean is the most important feature and in my world it is a disconnected figure so I used the Merge Lines feature to turn it in to one big unit – this worked pretty well except that I cannot get it to behave like a polygon.  I can select it and move it around and everything is connected properly – but when I select it and try to color it, it does not work – bringing me to the next problem – the Fill Tool.
4)      Coloring merged objects – When I am zoomed out, I usually cannot fill my areas properly (to make oceans blue for instance) – the whole map (sans fractal objects) takes on the chosen color.  So I zoom in to fill in oceans and land – but that leaves lines on my map.  When I use the Flush Against feature, it only partially works – there are still noticeable areas of unfilled boundary.  I would like my Mediterranean object to act like my Adriatic object (which was created using the Fractal Landmass tool) and get color en masse.
I tried creating my “Mediterranean” with a Landmass tool (instead of using fractal lines) and adding nodes to try and adjusting it to meet my specifications, but that got really complicated really quickly and did not allow me to adjust the fractal quality of different coastlines to approximate the ruggedness of the coast.   What can I do to make my Mediterranean the way I want it?
Again I am sorry if I am not using this mailing list as it is intended.  I notice that no one else seems to have problems that are quite as involved as this.  But I can’t seem to disentangle one problem from the next so here it is.  I do appreciate any help that can be suggested.


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