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Ralleous
07-09-2011, 04:34 AM
Elrithorn New WIP (Too Big for Thumbnail)
36967

Elrithorn Original (Source Material)
36966



Greetings,

This is my first post/map. Well, not my first map as much as a v2.0 of my first. I originally made this overland map for my campaign world of Elrithorn which I wrote the Sands of Solvheil NWN2 module trilogy around. It was a hodge-podge of fractal mapper base and photoshop layers. It was also sadly to low of a resolution to be zoomed and detailed for regional maps.

What I have currently is done completely in Fractal Mapper 8. I've exported at their highest resolution which is 10000 x 10000 (sampled down to 8K X 8K for this post). This makes for a rather large JPG file but one that can be zoomed with relative clarity.

I should mention there are some symbol assets used from CC3 through their crossgrade (or more specifically, moving bitmaps over into custom folders in Fractal 8's mapart).

Anyhow, feel free to pick this apart. Being one of my early attempts I didn't expect exceptional quality. Instead I wanted to develop a good base which I could detail a kingdom at a time for more detailed sub maps. I currently use the map as a visual tool for helping to develop the landscape and details in the wiki. Now that I have a little more room to work with, I can start to detail some other areas before beginning to try town maps.


Wiki
http://elrithorn.wikispaces.com

Atlas/Gazetteer
http://elrithorn.wikispaces.com/Atlas

tilt
07-09-2011, 05:38 AM
hi Ralleous, welcome to the guild :) ... and nice map - a quick comment - the jungle seems very "thin" compared to the normal forrests (also the trees could be more jungely ;) ) - I'd expect a jungle to look much more closed/full of trees. :)

Ascension
07-09-2011, 10:48 AM
I like the colors and the idea but the mountains seem contrived, as if to separate countries and act as a fence. As a "basis for further work" then this is great - we can tweak it and make something pretty cool. What I would do with the mountains is to not run them all the way to the coast as you have, run them part way and then stick a forest at the end - has the same result of "fence". You could also use a canyon or hills or "wild lands where cannibals live" as barriers. Mountains are the result of colliding tectonic plates (Himalayas, Rockies, Alps) or underlying vulcanism (Hawaii, Iceland), whether in the present or in the past. You don't really need mountains to separate the climates as the desert itself imposes a natural barrier to settlers, and thus nations form outside of it.

The transition from grassland to desert goes through savannah (like the great plains of Africa full of lions and such) and then scrubland (like the American southwest). So you can axe some of those mountains in such areas. From grassland to icecap will go through taiga (coniferous forests) and tundra (cold scrubland). So you can axe some mountains in those areas.

The jungle is in a rain shadow - the area east of mountains that gets little rain due to the mountains blocking it and thus falling on the western side. With that giant desert in the middle there will be no moisture in the air to travel east and fall in that area...just heat. At best it could be grassland if there are some seasonal rains due to wind shift coming in from the southeast (like hurricane season on the US east coast). If the mountains are rather low mountains then it might be deciduous forest similar to the east coast of America but I kinda doubt it due to the vastness of the desert. Now if your planet spins backwards to earth them this would be fine. I would probably move the jungle to the southeast somewhere and swap Harrn and Dalreon.

In the end, these are just suggestions sort of like a simplified crash course on climatology; if you like what you have then keep it - it's your world. :) And to reiterate, I do like it overall.

Ralleous
07-09-2011, 04:04 PM
tilt:
I took your advice and added some more foliage to the jungle area.

Ascension:
I agree that the mountains look odd. The big reason for the desert being encapsulated is the mythos of the setting, that it was an inland sea that through some cataclysm was expelled over the mountain basin leaving a barren desert. If I could somhow convey a former sea basin that is now a desert without using a ring of mountains (except where needed for named locations), that would be ideal.

I'd like to bring this a little more into a natural state as far as climatology and geography, while still maintaining the basic location of the nations as well as the dried up seabed in the center (with former islands now plateaus).

Thanks guys! I appreciate the feedback.

jfrazierjr
07-09-2011, 06:06 PM
Ralleous, depending on your funds availability, you might consider purchasing the FM symbol pack 1. I have to say in my opinion, the mountains there are far bettter looking (for "vector symbols"). OR, our own Johnathan Roberts created an EXCELLENT symbol pack for CC3 in their annual(May I think) which is far superior to either(but is "bitmap" instead of vector.) Also, you might want to try using different textures for each area, perhaps even using some blending in FM8 using a gradient of the two colors for the overlap. Also, a texture(forgot what it's called in FM), the tool with the cloud looking thing will also give some variety to the colors....

jbgibson
07-09-2011, 09:31 PM
The former-inland-sea thought gives another possibility for desert. Theory goes, if the Strait of Gibraltar was closed, Earth's Mediterranean Sea could dry up -- more evaporation than inflow. As its level fell, the effect could accelerate - the drier, the hotter, then because of heat, more evaporation. That sort of situation could skip the 'need' for complete mountain encirclement. You'd only need them to block prevailing winds from bringing in moisture.

I've read this geographic what-if twice - once in a mediocre novelette where it was a trick setting. The other was a whole series of books, whose author I can't recall just now. The cover of one has a person or people riding great cats :-). In that series it was well worked out and a huge part of the plot. But back to what it would do to or for your continent -- if you want a *seriously* hot and inhospitable desert, the old seafloor could be WAY below sealevel. Think - even the atmospheric pressure a mile down would have odd effects. So hot that even when rain does fall, it evaporates before hitting the ground. If you want it to be no too different from conventional deserts, you could say it had been a shallow sea.

It's OK by the way, to post subsequent works in progress in new posts - you don't have to edit them into the top post. CG folks expect to see a progression.

It would help your 'reality case' if the middle of the continent included the typical latitude for deserts to form anyway, call it around 23 degrees... North if you want those wastes to be cold. 23 if your axial tilt is like that of Earth. That does make your east-coast jungle less plausible, though. Assuming your landmass stretches from equator-ish to 60 or 70 degrees north, you could maybe get a coastal rainforest along there. Assume your summer circulation pattern has general low pressure parked mid-continent... pretty typical for a decent-sized continent. Keeping the eastern mountains would mean that coastal strip gets soaked with forced rainfall; maybe lush and dense without being super-hot. In winter a large landmass might build instead a high pressure system in general. Particularly if you have really hot desert there, the high will tend to feature dry-ish outflow of air, which would again help keep it desert-dry.

Even if you keep those particular mountain symbols, your plausibility will improve if they're belts of mountains with noticeable width, not all skinny strings.

If you want to figure how to justify your desired climate zones with science, or what might need tweaking, one critical tidbit is your scale. Another might be whether these landmasses are all your planet has, or are there more 'round back, unknown to these folks.

Diamond
07-09-2011, 11:38 PM
I've read this geographic what-if twice - once in a mediocre novelette where it was a trick setting. The other was a whole series of books, whose author I can't recall just now. The cover of one has a person or people riding great cats :-). In that series it was well worked out and a huge part of the plot.

I think you're thinking of The Gandalara Cycle (http://www.amazon.com/Gandalara-Cycle-I-Randall-Garrett/dp/0553259423/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1310268984&sr=1-1). Awesome books. The crappy novella might've been 'Down in the Bottomlands', by Harry Turtledove.

Sorry for the thread hijack. :D

jbgibson
07-09-2011, 11:50 PM
Exactly right, and exactly right :-)....

Ralleous
07-11-2011, 01:12 AM
Elrithorn: Climate
37032

Alright, I'm planning a little terrain/region shift based on the climate discussion.

My main change is a swap of Zhanthul Jungle (formerly East of desert) and the Far Plains (formerly Southeast). That will put the Jungle closer to the (yet undefined) equator and move it away from the rain shadow. This makes the area directly East of the desert/mountains a dry grassland which works out perfectly for the setting as I needed an Eastern Mongol culture around there which I was previously putting East of Orilyn.

With this change I will have a jungle directly East of my Asian influenced culture (which is primarily wetlands, bamboo forests, etc) with a vast plain for nomadic tribes to the North.

I'm also taking into consideration how to reduce the mountain basin that houses the desert (dry seabed). I need it to be hospitable as there is a kingdom that resides there, although I don't need it to be necessarily comfortable. I had hoped from a story perspective that the seabed was a slightly higher altitude than the outlying kingdoms (Dalreon, Harrn, Orilyn, etc) to reinforce the idea that the sea was thrust out over the mountain basin and onto the surrounding lands and into the ocean. This was all to be one ancient cataclysm (folly of man, high magic, tampering with divine sort of thing).

Perhaps I will try to eliminate the lower portion of the mountains separating the desert from the Sea of Aluun. I could also maybe lose the northern portion of the ring and have the desert there just transition to tundra. It might help to determine the estimated altitude of each area maybe.

Does the attached map make sense from a terrain type breakdown?

Ascension
07-11-2011, 07:15 AM
Yeah, that looks great, man. Go with it.

Ralleous
07-11-2011, 02:58 PM
Here is another in progress map after the regional swap and a little mountain range reduction.

37043

I'm trying to experiment with grassland highlights now. Does it make sense to have them encase the various rivers like I have here?

Also, I'm not 100% sure my river structure makes any sense. Any advise on waterways would be appreciated.

Thanks!

Ascension
07-11-2011, 04:16 PM
Rivers don't violate anything technically so those are fine technically but some run really close to the coast without actually going into the ocean and there aren't any hills or mountains to prevent them from dumping into the ocean. So I would just add some hills in those areas, pretty simple. As for grass around rivers - makes plenty of sense. Take the Nile...it runs through a desert but has some very fertile lands around it due to seasonal floods.

Ralleous
07-15-2011, 02:40 AM
37134

Well I think this is near final. Of course now I have to decide whether to start converting some of my old NWN2 towns into maps for specific locations or start over completely from a world/continent perspective. While I think this has come miles past the Photoshop mess I had to start with, I'm sure not satisfied with some of the shape and scale of certain regions.

Still, I'd really like to move on with detailing some of the specific areas to help flesh things out.

Ascension
07-15-2011, 04:35 PM
Not too bad, really. Detail away I say...I get the same way.

jfrazierjr
07-15-2011, 05:30 PM
37134

Well I think this is near final. Of course now I have to decide whether to start converting some of my old NWN2 towns into maps for specific locations or start over completely from a world/continent perspective. While I think this has come miles past the Photoshop mess I had to start with, I'm sure not satisfied with some of the shape and scale of certain regions.

Still, I'd really like to move on with detailing some of the specific areas to help flesh things out.

have you thought of using FM8's blur to try to get the places where one terrain overlaps another a bit more seamless? Alternately, you could do that in a post processing app such as PS or GIMP, but it would be more manual work(though would get you a much better result!). Also, I would suggest sticking either with Vector symbols or raster and not mix the two. Specifically, the FM8 mountains and the CC3 mountains are quite different in style and look and detract from the entire image as a whole.

Ralleous
07-21-2011, 06:10 PM
Latest Draft:
37266

Thanks for the tip jfrazierjr. I ditched the CC3 style bitmappped mountains in favor of staying with FM8's vector with a blurred fill beneath.
I tried to use FM8's blur and/or feather on the grassland, swamp, and forest fills, but it seemed to really distort the entire texture fill.
Would have been nice if it blurred the edges without screwing up the interior fill but that doesn't seem to be the case. I may try to do it in Photoshop (blur tool? smudge?) to keep it on the lines.

Here is my latest as I have added some fractal lines for roads. These too need some work to blend in a little better.

All in all I have learned quite a bit from the tips here as well as some general messing around. I think things look quite a bit better than the did (I shudder when I look at the original maps).

jfrazierjr
07-21-2011, 07:32 PM
yea.. .blurring in FM is a bit tricky from what I remember.... For vector symbols, you would likely need to break the symbol apart first.. but then it blurs "everywhere".. so.. lot's of playing and duplicating to get stuff right... But what I meant was to blur the transition edges... I "believe" you can do that via the feather setting(Mark Olivia would be able to verify I expect).

But yea.. it would likely be much easier to do in GIMP/Photoshop anyway.... just more time consuming as you have to do each symbol individually... Personally... for something like this I much prefer the smudge tool followed by the blur tool with a low rate...... but that also depends on how close two values are to each other....

To be honest.... I would either ditch the vector mountains and go back to raster (and fix in PS with some smudge/blur) OR use JUST vector objects an no raster stuff at all(perhaps a 'very' lite texture in some places.. but nothing "obviously" computer generated...)