One of these days, Ed is bound to be sitting there twiddling his thumbs and not knowing what to do, and when those days come, I'm certain he's going to say, "It's time to make FM9." So I thought maybe we could help him by getting a thread topic going here that tells him what we'd like FM9 to do.
Threads like this are one of the things that forums do best, because they pocket the topic at a single location. This thread also has another potential benefit: Some of us may have things that we want FM8 to do that it actually does already. When that happens, we can give each other advice.
1. Improve Special Effects controls
The special effects are great but a bit underdeveloped. The sliders are OK, but there ought to be a place where a numerical value can be entered, so that one can set precisely the same degrees of scale, brightness, intensity, etc., for various objects on various layers. Getting the necessary precision is difficult to impossible when sliders are the only tool for making settings.
2. Improve Special Effects range
There are several areas where there simply is too little range behind the sliders on the special effects. Examples: Textures, when used with dark colors, often barely show up on paper, even when the highest intensity is used and printing is done with a very high quality color laser printer. When using fill effects on small objects, the scale can't be reduced sufficiently. This is a big problem when making raster symbols with FM8. When making a 5x5 foot object, we often have to open a 25x25 foot sheet just to be able to scale down the fill of the object properly. One then has to cut a lot of white space off afterward in the PNG export file.
3. Add a blend special effect
This even could be an additional option under blur. When two adjacent objects of different color are marked, this effect would create a smooth transitional blend between those colors.
4. Clean up the blur effect.
Blur often produces the cleanest result with Display Quality set to Highest/Special Effects Low Res. Unfortunately, thzis setting often is too low in quality for other objects in a map. When bounced up to Special Effects - Medium Res, the blurred objects often tend to begin pixelating. When moved farther up to Special Effects - High Res, foreign object effects with sharp, non-blurred edges often appear. (I'm sending Ed a sample of these phenomena.)
5. Add transparency to the ability of Fill styles.
PNG fills with transparent elements appear with the transparent parts black. Transparency should be supported in fills. One can work around this problem to a certain degree by creating new textures, but that solution is very limited. This is the only area where I think that Dundjinni™ comes out ahead of FM8.
6. Connecting symbols would be great.
Since switching a year and a half ago from CC3 to FM8, I've never been able to miss CC3 at all, but connecting symbols on raster level are one CC3 feature I miss dearly. They're fantastic for making roads, paths, rivers, even railroad tracks, etc. Of course, I realize that may be impossible within Fractal Mapper's program framework to do that. It might be a property taken from the FastCAD engine that CC3 uses. In that case, forget the suggestion. The CAD engine bogs CC3 down. We don't need that in FM9.
7. Fractalization needs more range.
I should be able to make long, relatively thin filled fractal polygons that serve as rivers, roads, etc., and add an elemental of fractalization to them, but even at the setting 1, their proportions become unbelievably distorted.
8. How about the ability to draw good, raster-filled, fractalized lines?