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All Categories > Fractal Mapper > Maps > Fantasy > Overland
FM9 Raster Tutorial - A Look Inside
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Date Added:
Here's the more detailed information that I promised last week regarding our new tutorial for Fractal Mapper 9. Before I get into the meat and potatoes:

A few Fractal Mapper 8 users who were pondering whether FM9 is worth the update sent queries last week about the tutorial package, particularly, whether they can use it to see what's new and whether it's something for them. That's not a problem, of course. The 260-page book is a normal PDF. It's universal. Likewise, the .jpg exports of the maps that we make during the course of the tutorial. There are, however, two elements of the tutorial that will not work with FM8:

1. Many of the mapping techniques we use are available only in FM9. If you try to apply the same techniques in FM8, they won't work.

2. The tutorial package includes in the native FM9 .fmp-format our versions of the maps that we make in the course of the tutorial. FM8 cannot open or work with these files. However, .jpg exports of all these maps are included, so you can see the results.

Next point: When you download the tutorial, it gives you a file named MUST_READ_ME.txt and another named Setup.exe. Be warned: If you simply ignore MUST_READ_ME.txt and run Setup.exe, the odds are great that you'll have a mess on your hands rather than a well-running tutorial. Making a bunch of mouse clicks in the Setup program won't work alone. You need to make some decisions. In addition, the tutorial includes not only the PDF book but also tools and other files. MUST_READ_ME.txt tells you where to find them.

And a quick word about FM9 itself. Many software companies, when releasing a new version, change the look of the user interface, move menu options around so that you have a hard time finding them while offering little new in terms of performance. The new version is there mainly to generate new income. One does not get something for nothing but rather, as the late Ray Bradbury once wrote, nothing for something.

That's not the case with this super new high performance 64-bit edition of Fractal Mapper. When I took my first look at the initial FM9 beta, I thought that it looks just like FM8. To that extent a plus, almost no learning curve for an FM8 user. But I quickly learned that the new benefits aren't in the lacquer or the sheet metal or the upholstery but rather beneath the hood, where the best mapping engine that we've encountered yet pours out all the mapping power one could want with all the accessories one needs. This tutorial attempts to tell you what and where they are and how to use them.

Finally, a word about the workings of the tutorial. Several years ago, we published an FM8 raster tutorial and earned a bit of excellent criticism. Some users found its lessons difficult to apply in map-making because for them it dwelt too much upon techniques, features and how to use them and too little upon cartography. In this tutorial, the approach is entirely different. In five of the chapters, we work together to make five different kinds of maps, some multi-paged, in 11 different files.

In making these maps, we learn all the basics that we need to know to make overland maps, city and village maps, dungeon maps, winter maps, maps of ruins, etc. In the 6th chapter, we make no maps, but instead learn how to work with a small file named default.xml that is of critical importance to you if you begin making your own symbols and/or importing third party symbols, the topics of Chapters 6 and 7.

In Chapter 6, we create a new symbol of a thatch-roofed house, and we do it in three variations: As a normal house, as a ruin and as a winter ruin with snow on the roof. As part of this chapter, we also learn how to add transparency to parts of a symbol.

In Chapter 7, we show you where you can find additional symbols and fill styles, both as freeware and as commercial products at a price. And we show you how to properly install these imports in FM9 and see to it that they scale correctly. As a working model, we show you how you can buy, download and legally install ProFantasy's Symbol Sets with artwork from official Dungeons and Dragons cartographer Mike Schley and then how to make Schley style maps in FM9 with these objects.

The attached map is from the cover of the PDF. The installation program installs it on your computer in original format and as a .jpg file.

And a final word: If you're already an FM8 user, you can buy the FM9 update for only U.S. $20. If you bought FM8 after April 1, 2023, you can have the update free. With offers like that, we think you'd be foolish not to upgrade. For more information: www.nbos.com/ordering

The free tutorial download (1 GB) is here: