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Aldrick
10-19-2011, 11:58 AM
So, I'm pretty new to map making. This is my first serious attempt - all my previous attempts were simply copying existing campaign world maps.

I'm looking for honest critique and feedback on improving the map as I go along. This is the first stage, it's just the outline of the continent. To get an idea of scale, each pixel of the map is five miles, and the main landmass (working name: Valantis) is a total of 9,537,395 square miles in size. All of the land you see in the map is a total of 9,775,915 square miles in size. To further help visualize, North America encompasses 9,361,791 square miles; thus you're viewing a landmass that is larger than Canada, the United States, and Mexico combined.

What are your thoughts? Is the shape of the continent interesting? If not, what could be done to make the shape more aesthetically pleasing?

DgtlDrgn
10-19-2011, 09:29 PM
I like where you're going with this. My (unprofessional) opinion: more islands. Maybe some trailing off the eastern side, and a few more between the two larger islands and the mainland. Also, add some major lakes (if there are any).

Hai-Etlik
10-20-2011, 12:54 AM
It's too "crinkly" overall. You want a few really crinkly areas, but it's best to also have some areas with somewhat simpler coastlines. In technical terms, you should try to vary the fractal dimension so it's mostly fairly low but leave a few areas of high fractal dimension. A high and overly consistent fractal dimension tends to make it look artificial in a "That came out of a fractal terrain generator" kind of way.

Eilathen
10-20-2011, 01:10 PM
Hm, weird, somehow i always get a failure message when i try to view this attachement :-/

Aldrick
10-20-2011, 04:05 PM
Thanks for your responses!

DgtlDrgn -
I'll probably add more islands and the like around the continent once I've got a better idea on its final shape. As for lakes... I'm waiting to do mountains, rivers, and determine where glaciers might have formed in the past. Unless I'm mistaken, these three things are the major determiners of where lakes form.

Hai-Etlik -
I was in agreement with you when I first created it. When you view the continent zoomed out, the continent looked... odd. There was just an off feeling to it, and I suspected that it was the coastline or just that the continent was an irregular / odd shape. However, when you view the continent at its full scale (2655 x 1675) it looks more like a regional map. When viewed at its proper scale it doesn't seem as bad. However, I worry that if I were to smooth it out, it might look better when zoomed out, but when viewed at full scale the coastline would be too "smooth." So, the critical question I have is: Did you view the continent at full scale or did you just judge things by the thumbnail?

Also, take a look at the image I'm attaching to this post. It's the same landmass, but I shrank it to fit on this map. This is how it might be more properly viewed as a continental landmass. What are your thoughts, based on viewing it from this prospective? Do you think the issue still exists?

-------------

With the above out of the way... I'm moving into stage two. I had to figure out where the continent appeared on the planet. To do this I created a second map just so I could determine latitude. The map for that is included below. It is important to note, however, that the below map shouldn't be used to determine the size or shape of the continent. The only part of the map I am using is the latitude.

With this information, I will be able to begin marking probable climate zones, which will be essential in the placement of forests, deserts, ice sheets, etc. However, before I get to that part, I intend to create a couple of more continent outlines. Once the continents are placed, I'll be able to determine where the tectonic plates go, which will help me form mountains, and better focus the climate.

My next post will probably be focused on some rough climate zones using latitude to help guide my decisions.

Hai-Etlik
10-21-2011, 05:54 PM
I was in agreement with you when I first created it. When you view the continent zoomed out, the continent looked... odd. There was just an off feeling to it, and I suspected that it was the coastline or just that the continent was an irregular / odd shape. However, when you view the continent at its full scale (2655 x 1675) it looks more like a regional map. When viewed at its proper scale it doesn't seem as bad. However, I worry that if I were to smooth it out, it might look better when zoomed out, but when viewed at full scale the coastline would be too "smooth." So, the critical question I have is: Did you view the continent at full scale or did you just judge things by the thumbnail?

Yes, what I said still applies at smaller scales, however, lower fractal dimension doesn't mean you have to completely smooth it out. The map I'm working on right now for instance has sections of highly fractal coastline near mountains, and much less fractal, but not smooth, coastline elsewhere: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?16212-An-as-yet-un-named-island

Ascension
10-23-2011, 11:31 AM
I've been working on a fix to get that smooth coastline in places and jagged in others. It will be in an updated tutorial sometime around Christmas.

darttheold
10-29-2011, 10:27 AM
Not to be the new guy, but does anyone have suggestions on how to create or build continental land masses? I'm working on one for a Novel. If I'm out of line let me know as I'm a new here and not really sure of the etiquette.

Hai-Etlik
10-29-2011, 07:56 PM
Not to be the new guy, but does anyone have suggestions on how to create or build continental land masses? I'm working on one for a Novel. If I'm out of line let me know as I'm a new here and not really sure of the etiquette.

Well this thread is about Aldrick's specific map, so you'd be better off starting a new thread.

darttheold
10-30-2011, 06:37 AM
Well this thread is about Aldrick's specific map, so you'd be better off starting a new thread.

Fair enough. Thank you for the heads up.