[nbos] [FM8] CSUAC: Textures and symbols
"Mark Oliva"
Sun Apr 27th, 2008
> From: Cecil Solomon <solomoncecil-at-yahoo.com>

Hello, Cecil!

I'm currently updating the CSUAC files. So far I've added about 2500

I know users of at least three mapping programs that are delighted to hear

I've also been speaking to Ed about configuring the files specifically for
FM8, but I could use some help

You might want to consider downloading the free trial version of FM8 and
taking a look at how it works. If I recall correctly, it's identical to the
full version with these three exceptions:

1) You can't save or export maps.
2) You can't print maps.
3) It comes with fewer symbols than the full version.

You can get it free at http://www.nbos.com

That said, another point. First, let me mention that my working machine has
FM8, Dundjinni and CC3 installed on it. I have licenses for all three. I'm
experienced with FM8, very experienced with CC3 and somewhat experienced
with Dundjinni. The program that I use most of the time is FM8, and it's
the only program I use for our professional RPG work.

You come basically from the Dundjinni environment. As a comparison:

Dundjinni is a graphics program that makes good graphical maps.

Fractal Mapper 8 and, for that matter, also Campaign Cartographer 3 (for
which the CSUAC symbols also were available) are mapping programs that make
good graphical maps.

The end results that both produce can be remarkably similar, but the way to
attain them can be totally different. I say all this only in the hope that
if your understanding of FM8 is problematical on one point or another, I
might be able to translate it for you in Dundjinni terms.

in understanding how to best organize the files for your use (ie, how does
FM8 treat the ground tiles--should they be one large texture or several
smaller ones?).

These would be fills in FM8. The previous CSUAC fills for FM8 are
_excellent_ tools, as they are. Ideal for FM8 are two versions of each
fill, the first roughly 400 x 400 or 500 x 500 pixels, the second 64 x 64
pixels. If you don't have time for that, no problem. Make the 400x400 or
500x500 version and we always can load it, reduce it and save a second 64x64
version. Ed Diana maybe have a somewhat different perspective on this, and,
if he does, I suspect and hope he will say so.

It will be about a month before the first new material is ready to go for

A month is a pretty short time, for anyone who ponders the idea.

Continuing with your next message:

How large should the textures be?

See my comments above.

Does FM8 have the capability to erase portions of the material?

No. Or if there is such an ability I certainly haven't discovered it. The
Dundjinni eraser symbol isn't there in FM8, and it's not likely to appear in
a future version. That has to do with the difference between cartographic
and graphioal programs. This should not be interpreted as an opinion
regarding quality. I say that, because some mapping program users are very
ardent defenders of their chosen program. It's my intention here only to
describe a difference, not to say that one thing is better than aanother.

Can the textures be .jpgs, or do they have to be .pngs?

You can use png, jpg and bmp. Files in png format have the slight advantage
of distorting later in enlargement than JPGs.

In short, can you give me a crash course on the "ground" textures? I
understand that cities/mountains/etc. probably work better as overlays (ie,
pngs). If you don't have the ability to erase these textures (fills?), then
we'll need to have them in usable shapes.

I'm not sure that I understand your question completely here. But I'll try
to take things on, one at a time.

-- What do you mean by "cities"? Are you talking about city symbols or
symbols of structures in cities or somehing else?

-- All objects in FM8 _except_ vector symbols are bitmaps, i.e. PNGs, BMPs,
JPGs. In theory, if I wanted to use a raster symbol as a fill, I'd need
only copy it over into a fills folder. Or ... if I wanted to use a fill as
a raster symbol, I'd need only copy it over into a symbols folder.

The differentiation takes place on this folder level:

C: (or other drive)
--| |__(Pattern Group Name, for example CSUAC)
| |__(Fill category name, for example Landscapes)
| | |__File1.png
| | |__File2.png
| | |__etc.png
| |--__(Next fill category name, for example Mountains)
| |__separatefiles.png
--| |__(Symbol Group Name, for example CSUAC)
| |__(Symbol category name, for example Aliens)
| | |__File1.png
| | |__File2.png
| | |__etc.png
| |--__(Next fill category name, for example Animals)
| |__separatefiles.png
|--__(Additional FM8 folders)

-- "Mountains" are a different matter. Let's expand this category simply
into "Landscapes." Generally, RPG cartographers make one of two kinds of
landscape maps:

1) The first group includes maps dotted with symbols that show sideway
(eye-level) views of mountains, cities, trees, a cactus in the desert, etc.
FM8 has a relatively small set of such symbols, but if an FM8 cartographer
really needs a good supply of such raster symbols, he or she can buy
Campaign Cartographer 3, not necessarily for use in its own right but rather
as an add-on for FM8. If FM8 already is installed on the computer, CC3 will
automatically install its own estimable raster symbol library into FM8, and
FM8 then can use the CC3 symbols.

2) The second group includes maps that show top-down, topgraphical views of
the landscape. Both FM8 and CC3 are _very_ weak in the tools they supply
for making such overland maps. Dundjinni is too, as delivered. Dundjinni
may have an add-on art pack that resolves this issue, but if so, I haven't
seen it.

Seeing that CSUAC makes itself available to Dundjinni, FM8 and CC3 users,
the following items would be of substantial benefit to both the FM8 and CC3
user segments, and I strongly suspect to Dundjinni users too (keeping in
mind that I'm unaware of possible Dundjinni add-on art pack solutions):

a) Topdown mountains symbols. Fills don't work too well for mountain
ranges in FM8 or CC3, because when one creates a range with fills, one
simply opens a window into a flat graphic with a filled poly, and the
contour lines of the mountain graphic seldom follow the shape of the range
defined by the filled poly that was drawn for it. This also goes for hills
and the like. The better solution is a set of top-down mountain symbols.

b) Topographical forests and other vegetation topos probably require a
solution of fills and symbols. Basically, forest fills work just fine
except that the trees on the edges of the fills tend to get cut in half.
Therefore, a really good solution would be a combination of a fill and then
a set of matching top-down tree symbols that could be placed over the
cut-off vegetation at the edge of the fills.

c) Many other landscape features can be presented excellently with fills
alone. These would include meadows, swamps, prairies, deserts, etc.

You can find my site at gmsapprentice.com Please be patient, it's been up
all of about three weeks now and I haven't played with Joomla all that much
before (Joomla is the website development system--content management
system-- I'm using)

It was really great to be able to log in and register!

Right now, I'm in the process of downloading the new versions of the CSUAC
for Dundjinni. Once that's finished, I'll take a look at the new content
and after seeing it, perhaps expand upon my remarks above relating to the
CSUAC material and FM8.

In the meantime, I hope that the members of this list will think not only of
how they can use the CSUAC symbols when they become available but also how
they can contribute themselves to the CSUAC library. At present, FM8 and
CC3 users with the first CSUAC release are getting a lot of benefits from
the Dundjinni community without having given much back up until now.

If this great CSUAC concept, which crosses the boundaries of three different
mapping programs, is to be the success it could and should be, then FM8 and
CC3 cartographers need to start contributing to CSUAC too. Our project
group will be developing its own FM8 raster symbols in the course of this
year, and we've already committed to Cecil that we will make our work
available to CSUAC.

Let's hope the rest of you folks start thinking in that direction too.
That's what makes the CSUAC world go 'round.

Mark Oliva
Webmaster, the Vintyri Project (TM)
Internet-Vintyri: http://www.vintyri.com <http://www.vintyri.com>
Internet-Dungeons Daring: http://www.dungeons-daring.org
E-Mail-Vintyri: info-at-vintyri.com <mailto:info-at-vintyri.com>
E-Mail-Dungeons Daring: info-at-dungeons-daring.org

Am Hasenlohle 12
91481 Altershausen, Germany
Tel.: +49 9166 99 54 10

Oliva Steigerwald EDV Verlag
Inh. Gerdi Oliva
USt-IdNr.: DE133935450
Gewerbeanmeldung: Verwaltungsgemeinschaft Diespeck

(This information is required by German law.)

Nbossoftware mailing list

Copyright © 2003-2007, NBOS Software. All rights reserved. 'Fractal Mapper', 'ScreenMonkey', 'Character Sketcher', 'Inspiration Pad', 'Fractal World Explorer', 'Goblin API', 'AstroSynthesis' are trademarks of NBOS Software. 'Dwarven Beserker' art by V. Shane.
Member contributed resources