Re: [nbos] [FM8] FM8 Wish List
Chris Csernica
Sat Mar 29th, 2008
This is absolutely incorrect. Geology is geology. If it was as different
on other earthlike planets as you seem to think we wouldn't be able to
understand formations on Mars, for instance. But we can. If there's any
uncertainty it's because we don't have enough information, not because
the processes are mysteriously and fundamentally different. (It does
differ because conditions are not the same, but given that we can still
apply the geology we know.)

There *are* worlds in the solar system where the processes are
different, but they don't have surfaces of rock or are otherwise
inhospitable to life. Take Io with its sulfur dioxide geysers, or Titan
with its methane rain. The surfaces of these places are of vastly
different composition from Earth. People wouldn't live there, at least
not in a fantasy setting.

"The less accurate the better?" That's nonsensical. In good fantasy,
even if you have to break some physical laws to make magic work, others
must be untouched if you want the world to be a recognizable place where
people might live.

What you're asking for would yield something "plausible" to you only
because you don't know what you're talking about. To someone who does,
you could easily end up with something not plausible at all.

Not that this has often stopped fantasy writers. My own maps are for a
series of fantasy stories I'm writing, and I'm certainly not claiming
they're the epitome of geological plausibility. But if it must be
implausible that should be the responsibility of the mapper, not
something handed to him by the software.

"It's a fantasy; it doesn't need to be realistic" is a cop-out that
should not be encouraged. Everything *but* the fantasy element needs to
be realistic. It's how you get characters a reader (or player) can
identify with in a setting that feels real.

Then too, once a feature like that is enshrined in the software, naive
users will assume that what it's doing is correct. It's easy to forget
that it might not be, even if the documentation is clear on that point.

I have a simpler feature request: Don't make the zoom re-center when
it's performed with the mouse wheel. That it does every time makes it
very difficult to zoom in quickly, which is why I want to use the wheel
in the first place. I have to be very careful to make sure the cursor is
placed exactly where I want it for each increment or I end up somewhere
else entirely. This would also make it work the same way as other
software people might be accustomed to, like Google Earth. It was
actually switching back and forth between FM8 and Google Earth (to
reference RL coastlines and formations) that made me really notice this.

A hand tool for panning would go well with that.

One annoyance I wish could be fixed is that rotation for at least some
kinds of symbols seems to be buggy. I wanted to put some text over a
banner, group them, and then move the group around and rotate it.
Rotating the text worked just fine. Rotating the banner didn't. It ends
up no longer contained within the bounding box the software apparently
believes it has. I suppose this is always a problem; this is just the
circumstance under which I noticed it and where it's especially a
problem because the text needs to be aligned properly with the symbol
and it becomes very difficult.

-- CC

David Tait wrote:
> So here's the thing! This whole thing is for mapping 'fantasy' worlds...
> there is no way in heck that I want or even need that kind of 'accurate'
> detail! I would just like a little subroutine (algorithm?) that would
> say, take the polar cap (which is already there) and say make 1d4 (or
> maybe 1d6) glacial fingers & push 'em south in a generally curvy
> direction 'gouging out the landscape' as it goes.... nothing horribly
> fancy! And push another button and voila... a hole would blow in a
> random location somewhere on the planet surface and then spew out stuff
> in a conic formation for x '000s of feet high. Again, nothing horribly
> fancy... I don't give a rat's *** for super accuracy... in fact, this
> being a fantasy setting (supposedly) - the less accurate, the better...
> only so long as it is reasonably plausible. As for seismic activity,
> take 2 random points on the map... draw a fractal line at say a factor
> of 4 or 5? 50% left or right raises the land say randomly up to 200 ft
> and the other side would either stay stable, or lower a proportionate
> amount randomly say to 25% of the other sides raise?
> Sometimes the geologists here get too hung up on earth-normal accuracy
> whereas on any other given planet in this or any other galaxy have way
> too many factors mutating the 'normal' benchmark. I (and I suspect most
> other users here trying to generate a 'random' planetscape' for their
> fantasy arena would be more than happy with something simple, yet not
> necessarily 'accurate' that would take months for the simple PC to
> render as opposed to nothing?
> Anyways, it was only meant to generate food for thought - not a
> university level dissertation on planetary geology.
> Your simple high school graduate geeky, nerdy fantasy RPGer
> Dave
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