Re: [nbos] [FM] FM8 z-order features?
Christopher Rodrigues Macias
Sat Apr 7th, 2007
I had an idea for a script that I will probably try to write when I
get time (unless FM8 make it unnecessary, or somebody beats me to it...)

Most FM symbol art is drawn as though you were viewing it side-on,
not from above. This is so common in 'fantasy' maps that I don't
think people even notice it anymore. In fact, they'd probably be
startled and uncomfortable if they saw a fantasy map that showed
things as though they were viewed from directly overhead. But I

The side-effect (no put intended) of this perspective is that, in
almost all cases, you want symbols that are lower on the page (closer
to South, typically) to be in front of those further north. So, for
example, if you had drawn a long North-South mountain chain, then
discovered you wanted to add another mountain symbol somewhere in the
middle of it, the re-ordering can be a pain UNLESS you could just
grab the whole chain and have the z-order set by how far South each
symbol was. Then it's a snap. Or a click, I should say. ;-)

So I wish I had a script that would operate on all items selected, re-
ordering them using a simple sort algorithm that makes an API call
(and maybe does a bit of math?) to get the position of the bottom
edge of each symbol to sort it. I'm reasonably confident something
like this is possible, but without trying it, who knows?

Actually, it's not quite that simple. Things get interesting if you
have different symbols that interleave. For example, if you have a
forest that laps up against the mountain chain on the East... well,
you end up having to grab both the mountain chain and the entire
forest and sorting them all together. And if the forest runs up
against some swamp symbols on its other side...

Anyway, the point is that, even if you had such a script, it would
have to have a big "Use with Caution" sticker on it. Either that or
be much more intelligent about doing the sorting that in likely to be
possible with simple scripting.

That said, any script wizards among us want to give it a go?


On 06/04/2007, at 3:56 AM, Mike Oliver wrote:

> Perhaps “Bring-in-front-of” and “Send-behind” are what’s needed –
> where the object to be moved is chosen and the the object or
> objects in front of or behind which it is to be moved are selected
> and an “Activate” button pressed?
> Cheers,
> Mike
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [mailto:nbossoftware-
>] On Behalf Of Hans Dykstra
> Sent: 4 April 2007 15:32
> To:
> Subject: [nbos] [FM] FM8 z-order features?
> I've probably missed this, or maybe I'm just missing stuff in the
> current version, but I'd really like to see better tools for
> manipulating z-order. The only things I've been able to find are
> the Send to Back/Front (and equivalent in the API), which is a
> rather crude tool to use if all I want to do is switch the order of
> two objects without affecting their order relative to everything else.
> I understand that the "layers" in FM are not intended for this
> purpose, but there is some overlap here too. Certain objects, like
> coastlines and terrain, need to be behind other objects, like
> cities and roads.
> So here are some features I'd like to see. Not all are necessary,
> but they'd be nice. Some may be implementable with the current API,
> but it might be nice to have a shortcut menu item for them.
> Forward/Back One: Move the selected object forward or back one in
> the z-order. Probably only enabled if there is only one selected
> object.
> Bring Together At Top/Bottom: If multiple objects are selected,
> make them appear together in the z-order, without changing their
> relative order. For example, if I'm making a mountain range with
> symbols, and the symbols aren't all added at the same time, they
> become scattered in z-order, which makes manipulating their z-order
> harder. At Top means the topmost item retains its z-order, and the
> others are moved in order behind it. At Bottom means the bottommost
> item retains its z-order, and the rest of them are moved in order
> in front.
> Layer To Front/Back: Moves all items on the currently selected
> layer to the front/back. This could probably already be done by
> selecting everything on the layer, but a shortcut that does this
> without affecting the current selection could be helpful.
> Layer Together At Top/Bottom: Similar to Bring Together, but it
> operates on the current layer without having to affect the current
> selection.
> Select Topmost/Bottommost: If there are multiple objects selected,
> find the topmost/bottommost item, clear the selection and the
> reselect only the topmost/bottommost. You could then use Forward/
> Back to move that item where you want it, reselect the desired
> items, and use Bring Together or Layer Together to move the whole set.
> We won't tell. Get more on shows you hate to love
> (and love to hate): Yahoo! TV's Guilty Pleasures list.
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