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Natai
05-04-2010, 01:30 PM
This is my first real map, though it is in its fourth (and likely final) incarnation at this point. It is still a work in progress, and I appreciate any feedback everyone might have.

This is the world of Ortellum, home to the last known Humans in the galaxy, and is the game world for a pen & paper RPG I've been working on. It takes place approx in the year 2150 and is home to around 250k Humans, plus several sentient native species. The Humans were to be the first self-sustaining extrasolar Human colony, but ended up here after losing their navigational data to an on-board conflict. This conflict was sparked by a war on Earth that is believed to have rendered the planet uninhabitable. Of course, the story is a bit more complicated than that, as are ther events that took place after Human arrival on Ortellum, but I didn't want to post a small novel.

This map shows the entirety of the established game world, although not all of the planet. This area contains approximately 132 million square kilometers of land and ocean. The majority of the major regions/climates/ecosystems on the northern part of the continent are complete, though I'm not happy about a couple of them. I've got to work out the details of the southern regions, and then I'll update those areas. Then I'll add more details, cities, map marking, etc.

Created in PS CS4

tilt
05-04-2010, 05:17 PM
congrats on your "first" map - it looks good. Unless your planet have a lot of deltas (like the nile) you should make sure the river only ends in one river when it exits into the sea :) But nice colors and textures, looking forward to seing more :)
Have some rep for your first entry :)

Natai
05-04-2010, 05:50 PM
Thanks. I do plan on having a few deltas, but looking back at some of these I may want to reduce the number of rivers that end that way. Probably the result of me basing some of my work on maps done at a smaller scale. :)

Rythal
05-04-2010, 06:34 PM
Those are some amazing textures, especially the desert; very realistic. I also like the forests, but I think there is too much contrast between the decidous and coniferous. You could do with a lot more forest on the islands (including that big one) and in the northern and southern areas as well. Overall though, it has some awesome stuff that could make this a crazy nice map when its done. again, keep up the great textures.

Natai
05-04-2010, 09:37 PM
Yeah, the forest aren't done yet. I've got to work on the region to the south of the eastern range and probably do some work on coastal region between the range and forests in the west. That will finish up the large-scale stuff for the northern part of the continent, and I'll start working on the rest of it. I've already got forests planned for the islands. Good point regarding the difference between the coniferous and deciduous, particularly in the west. I may play with some color adjustments in that region. I already did some color changes in the large western forest; the northern portian of that forest is more boreal, with the southern area being more rainforest.

The two eastern-most forests are hemiboreal, with a blend of coniferous and deciduous. What's your opinion of the mix in those areas?

Natai
05-06-2010, 03:59 PM
Update. Got the northern half of the continent done - at least as far as the main regions go.

Natai
05-11-2010, 10:33 AM
Update. Added tropical rainforests to the southern part of the continent, as well as savannas. Changed the coloring of the oceans too.
I still have to work on the remaining islands, the large island to the east, and add some trees in the savannas. Then I can start working on smaller details, settlements, labels, etc.

jwbjerk
05-11-2010, 10:57 AM
As has been said, the texturing is very nice..

1)
"The majority of the major regions/climates/ecosystems on the northern part of the continent are complete, though I'm not happy about a couple of them."
I don't know how much work you want to put into making the climates/biomes realistically located. The position and extent of your desert seems rather unlikely to me. If you care (and i'm not implying that you should care-- it's your map, the level of detail and rigorousness is up to you) this is the best source (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?9937-Wind-and-Ocean-Currents&p=107675&viewfull=1#post107675) i've found for placing climates.


2)
The coastline feels to me blunted or rounded off. You might want to try to add in some details with a smaller brush, or try a simple coastline roughening tutorial like this one (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?9056-Award-Winner-Creating-Realistic-Coastlines)

Natai
05-11-2010, 12:27 PM
Thanks for the feedback.
I very much care about climate/biome placement, and I have made use of the Climate Cookbook. I'm assuming you are talking about the large desert in the southern area; the smaller desert to the north would be classified as a coastal fog desert. After reading your comment and looking at the map again I started to question that large desert as well, so I decided to look back through my notes and the various maps from 'cooking the climate'. That area does get less rain than much of the rest of the continent, but maybe not to the point where it should be a desert, or at least not that large. For reference purposes, the equator runs along the southern edge of the southwestern mountain range, and the northern edge of the continent is at around 60 degree north latitude.

I should probably also explain how many of these elements originated. I started work on my game and world back in 2000/2001, and I had virtually no knowledge of climates, weather patterns, biomes, or world-building in general. The original map had this shape and was created in Photoshop, but was little more than some different colored shapes with a couple of filters applied. I have been working on a "second edition" of the game for a couple years now and have made a lot of substantial changes to make the game world more realistic. Originally, I 'black boxed' the world by suggesting it was created artificially, but that has changed. Some highly advanced terraforming might have occurred centuries ago, but the planet is natural. Also, the original scale of this continent was much smaller, so the large size of some areas may also be a result of the rescale.

I'm going to look through the Climate Cookbook again, but I will probably shrink that desert while keeping it placed at the end of that range in the continent's interior. Which brings up the issue of what biome should replace it. I'm reluctant to make the entire southern area all savanna, so I'll probably add more rainforest. It seems like there is a lot of forest on this continent, but that is actually supported by the fiction. A species of sentient plants, which are capable of controlling most forms of plant life, mintained control over most of the continent for 100-200 years. They eventually retreated to the forest to the north of central-western range, but most of the continent was covered in vegetation within the last couple of centuries. In case you're wondering, I did not develop this fiction in relation to mapping; it's previously established history, which just happens to make things a bit easier.

As for the coastlines, I would like to make them rougher and more detailed. I had actually toyed with the idea of redoing the entire map with Vue, but decided to stick with Photoshop. It's been close to a year since I created the base landmass, so I'll have to examine the layers and determine how easy it would be to adjust the coastline.

Glad everyone likes the textures. I'm thinking of making adjustment to make the colors of the forests more uniform across the continent. I've got a couple different textures for deciduous and boreal forests, which I use based on the biome of each region (boreal forest, temperate rainforest, hemiboreal, deciduous forest, tropical rainforest, etc). This makes each region unique in appearance, but at this scale I'm not sure they should be so distinctive.

Again, thanks for the feedback. I look forward to more.

jwbjerk
05-11-2010, 01:09 PM
Thanks for the feedback.
I very much care about climate/biome placement, and I have made use of the Climate Cookbook. I'm assuming you are talking about the large desert in the southern area; the smaller desert to the north would be classified as a coastal fog desert. After reading your comment and looking at the map again I started to question that large desert as well, so I decided to look back through my notes and the various maps from 'cooking the climate'. That area does get less rain than much of the rest of the continent, but maybe not to the point where it should be a desert, or at least not that large.
Yes, i meant the big southern desert, particularly since it has forests hard on it's southern and northern borders, and sort of sitting in the middle of the continent. Normally you wouldn't get such a dramatic increase in precipitation, at least not without a dramatic increase in elevation.

Using the climate cookbook method, it's easy to over-emphasize one element or another. In the case of this desert, the amount of precipitation you would get off the ocean against the prevailing wind. I don't know which way your prevailing wind is, but i doubt it is from both the east and west coast near your desert. If you look at a Koppen map (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:World_Koppen_Map.png), you'll notice that large deserts (BW*) tend to run all the way to the ocean unless there are intervening mountains.


It seems like there is a lot of forest on this continent, but that is actually supported by the fiction.
I wouldn't worry about that even if you didn't have a story-explanation. Most of Canada, Europe, and Russia were forest at one time. In more northerly regions were evaporation is low, you don't need a remarkable about of rain to support a forest.



I've got a couple different textures for deciduous and boreal forests, which I use based on the biome of each region (boreal forest, temperate rainforest, hemiboreal, deciduous forest, tropical rainforest, etc). This makes each region unique in appearance, but at this scale I'm not sure they should be so distinctive.
That depends if this is supposed to be an information-conveying map, or a photographic-looking map. I wouldn't be ashamed of highlighting the differences between different types of forests, even at the expense of some realism-- unless, of course, pure realism is your goal. The fact, for instance that you can even see the rivers at this scale is not very realistic, but does make it a more informative map.

Natai
05-11-2010, 01:40 PM
Using the climate cookbook method, it's easy to over-emphasize one element or another. In the case of this desert, the amount of precipitation you would get off the ocean against the prevailing wind. I don't know which way your prevailing wind is, but i doubt it is from both the east and west coast near your desert. If you look at a Koppen map (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:World_Koppen_Map.png), you'll notice that large deserts (BW*) tend to run all the way to the ocean unless there are intervening mountains.

Looking at my notes and maps, the prevailing wind should be from the east. The break between the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone and the Subtropical High Pressure Zone would cross over the land bridge just south of the mountain range. However, due to the high- and low-pressure areas, there would also be a significant wind coming off the western gulf on to the southern part of the landmass. It might be worth examining how these two air flows would interact.
One problem I have is that there is no real-world analog to this part of the continent. It's shape, size and position are difficult to compare, and it's also very far away from any other landmasses on the planet. I think my mindset with the desert was that by the time air from the coast reached the interior it would have lost most of it's moisture. However, you make an excellent point regarding deserts extending to the coast. I'll work on reducing the desert's size when I get home and post what I come up with.


That depends if this is supposed to be an information-conveying map, or a photographic-looking map. I wouldn't be ashamed of highlighting the differences between different types of forests, even at the expense of some realism-- unless, of course, pure realism is your goal. The fact, for instance that you can even see the rivers at this scale is not very realistic, but does make it a more informative map.

I'm trying to strike a balance between the two, as I imagine everyone does. The original idea was to have a realistic "world" map large enough to allow for zooming in for a reasonable approximation of a regional map. In terms of game fiction, Humans would be trying to combine fragmented orbital/aerial imagery with land-based observations as well as information gathered from other sentient races. I imagine such a fusion of information would result in an unsual style of map.

Natai
05-12-2010, 12:57 AM
I've altered the size and adjusted the position of the large southern desert. I extended the foothills and elevation of the southern mountain range. I figure the small rainshadow effect this will create, combined with the distance from the ocean, should allow for the existence of the desert. I've also expanded the size of the two southern tropical rainforests and a tropical region and forest to the eastern island.
I'm still planning on adding sparse trees to the savannas and probably some more forest to the eastern island.

Natai
05-16-2010, 04:04 PM
Okay, another update. This one might seem minor at first glance, but I made a lot of changes.
First, I've altered the coastlines using a variation on RobA's coastal detail tutorial (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?1397-Award-Winner-Techn). That required updates to all coastal biomes. Thanks for the suggestion to change the coastlines. I was leery of the work required, but I'm pleased with how it turned out. My main issue now is I think I need to delete more of the islands, but every time I started going through them I start thinking of cool storylines for the island.:)

Second, I've retextured all the forests. They are more uniform now in appearance, but there are still differences depending on the biome.

Third, I've redone the rivers to make them slightly more scale-appropriate as well as more 'curvy'. I still have to work on the river-to-ocean transition.

I've also realized that a 4mb JPG just doesn't do the detail justice, so I'm posting a larger version on my new deviantArt page. It's still less than half the resolution of the original but it's an improvement. Check it out here (http://base113.deviantart.com/art/Ortellum-Map-v045-HiRes-164266341).

Natai
05-19-2010, 01:43 AM
It's not finished yet, but it's getting close.
Finished up the major biomes; added compass rose, scale, title, labels, lat/lon lines.

I've still got to add the major cities among other things. I've uploaded at higher resolution version (http://base113.deviantart.com/art/Ortellum-Map-v046-164551640) on deviantArt.

I look forward to your comments and feedback.

jwbjerk
05-19-2010, 10:31 AM
The scatter pattern you have on the edge of forests looks really good. Very nice texture overall.

* The white outer glow you have on the coastline is rather distracting especially compared to your rather realistic, muted colors. I might make it cyan and increase the transparency.

* A lot of your text is very hard to read. The high transparency combined with a scripty typeface leads to low legibility whenever the background isn't nearly solid.

* A more subjective statement: Vivid blues are some of the most beautiful colors, but these blues don't exactly mesh with the muted realism of your terrestrial colors.

Rhotherian
06-05-2010, 12:46 PM
Wow. Great map!

Can't wait to see how this looks finished. ;)

Rythal
06-05-2010, 05:23 PM
agreed with jbwjerk, the coastline needs a bit more of a blue tinge.

Also, imo, the deserts are a bit small, but thats no big deal.

looks really good, keep it up.

alizarine
06-05-2010, 08:27 PM
Other than that bright coastline, this is looking really good. I particularly like the attention you paid to the ocean - it's not just blank water. I do agree that the low opacity on the text makes it harder to read, the font itself isn't to "artistic" - it would be fine if it wasn't so transparent. In particular, the "merciless sands" lettering kinda disappears - took me a minute to figure out what it said ^.^ All in all, though, this looks good. I'll have to check your dev art account, too ^_^

- Alizarine

Natai
07-04-2010, 03:06 PM
Latest version.
Thanks to Tilt for the compass design.

26618

tilt
07-05-2010, 03:32 AM
looking really good Natai - great job :) ... I'll rep you right away :)

ravells
07-05-2010, 05:32 AM
Great work. I really like the way you've done the edging of the forests...was that using eyecandy's jiggle filter or something similar? I'd love to know how you did them.

Ascension
07-05-2010, 08:13 AM
Now that's how a forest shape should look like...not just one big blob. I gotta figure out how ya did that, nice work.

Natai
07-05-2010, 10:21 AM
Thanks.
No real secrets to the forests; the shape and edges were all done by hand using a tablet. In most cases I based the shapes I drew off the texture of the land below, using faint lines and shapes, rivers, mountain valleys, etc. to guide the shape of the forest.
Each forest is also two separate layers with different textures. I used the magic wand to select portions of the forest, fiddled with the selection, and deleted portions of different layers to break up the forest.