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View Full Version : My first map (Saderan tutorial) Getting realistic mountains?



Domo230
12-07-2011, 08:38 PM
Hi

New to the forum and started work on my first map today using the excellent tutorial by Saderan.

It's looking very good so far but I'm at the stage where you have to add mountains. They just never seem to look right and I keep deleting them.

Here's what I have before I add mountains.

40460

Any tricks to get the mountains placed in a realistic manner?

atpollard
12-08-2011, 09:46 AM
First, a quick word about mountains plate tectonics. Mountains form where continental plates overlap and one plate is pushed down and another is pushed up [or] where magma punches through the plate (again usually along the crack between plates) and pushes up a volcano. When this happens in the ocean, only the very peaks are visible above the surface.

Second, look at some real islands:
Pacific Islands (http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=20.780211304570883~-156.39771277306607&lvl=11&dir=0&sty=h&form=LMLTCC)
Notice that the mountain ridge tends to run along the center with flatter plains along the coast. Note also that rivers, when they occur, tend to be short and run from the edge of the mountain to the coast. Note also the frequent occurrence of lakes at the foothills where the mountains transition to coastal plains.

For your map, I suggest that you first decide where the ridges run perhaps along the center of the bottom and left land masses. If you want a continuous ridge, then place the mountains continuously along the ridge line and transition to hills where the ridge approaches the coast. If you prefer more distinct mountains, then pick several points furthest from the coast to be the peaks of the mountains with hilly terrain around the mountain and perhaps a flat plain between them.

I hope that helps.

[PS. Just a quick note that the ridge can run along one side of the island rather than down the center, creating a steep rocky coast on one side and broad plains sloping to the sea on the other.]

Lalaithion
12-08-2011, 01:32 PM
And after you add mountains, be aware of what that will do to the terrain types near the mountains. Mountains create "Rain Shadows," areas that have very little rainfall. You see, mountains push clouds up into higher altitudes, cooling the water and forcing rain to occur. So on the windward side of the mountains, there will be plenty of rain, which will lead to marshes, forests, jungles, and warmer coastal plains that make good farmland. a good example of this is the Northwestern US- tons of rain falls as the clouds try to pass the Cascades and . then, you see a huge area after these mountains that is desert: the Great Basin, which encompasses much of Utah and Nevada.

Then you need to decide, of course, where the winds are traveling. if you are on a flat world, then you can basically put the winds wherever you want. If you are on a rotating flat planet, the corriolis effect will make the winds follow a certain pattern:

40475

If you are going to follow this model, then you must decide how large your map is (does it lie in one zone? is it big enough to be a part of two zones?) and where it is (which zone is it in?).

Keep in mind that rules were made to be broken. you can ignore some stuff for a better map, and there are definitely other factors that cannot be determined by the winds.

Domo230
12-08-2011, 04:02 PM
Thanks for the advice

So here is what I have after placing the initial mountain detail. Im still not 100 percent about the placement. It still doesn't feel right but it's an improvement over the first attempts.

40479

atpollard
12-08-2011, 04:34 PM
Could you provide some sense of scale?
How wide is the entire map in miles?
Is the central water body the size of Lake Erie, the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean?

Domo230
12-08-2011, 06:39 PM
Could you provide some sense of scale?
How wide is the entire map in miles?
Is the central water body the size of Lake Erie, the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean?

I imagine it to be three continents separated by a large ocean.

Lalaithion
12-11-2011, 08:09 PM
in that case i would say that the mountain range on the west-most continent looks a little too centered.

Domo230
12-16-2011, 03:59 PM
I altered the mountains and completed them but my laptop crashed before I saved it :(

Here's what I have so far. Added more detail to the mountains.

40682

Revock
12-17-2011, 10:25 PM
I agree with the "too centered" comment, otherwise the mountains themselves look good, just a bit too big for a continent. IMO things like mountains set the sense of scale and if they are big in relation to what's supposed to be a continent they make it look like an island. ;) there mountains I've said it! you are my bane!

http://www.globeltechnology.com/2011/03/highest-mountain-range-on-earth-himalayas.html I found this bit on the Himalayas for reference, 125 to 250 miles wide for the entire range so i would figure that into a percent of the entire width of my landmass to judge how wide to make the single mountain or range. Length i would think is another matter entirely since it would depend on the plate boundary length and movement i.e. buckling or one plate forced under another that formed it?

Big guys? step in and smack me down here, ;) I'm trying to get better.

Domo230
12-18-2011, 09:03 PM
Added some grass.
Top doesn't have grass because I want that to have ice and the bottom continent is supposed to be a desert continent but it looks like it has too much desert.

Needs a lot of work to get the placement right.

40710

Lalaithion
12-19-2011, 01:32 AM
After you add mountains, be aware of what that will do to the terrain types near the mountains. Mountains create "Rain Shadows," areas that have very little rainfall. You see, mountains push clouds up into higher altitudes, cooling the water and forcing rain to occur. So on the windward side of the mountains, there will be plenty of rain, which will lead to marshes, forests, jungles, and warmer coastal plains that make good farmland. a good example of this is the Northwestern US- tons of rain falls as the clouds try to pass the Cascades and . then, you see a huge area after these mountains that is desert: the Great Basin, which encompasses much of Utah and Nevada.

Then you need to decide, of course, where the winds are traveling. if you are on a flat world, then you can basically put the winds wherever you want. If you are on a rotating flat planet, the corriolis effect will make the winds follow a certain pattern:

40475

If you are going to follow this model, then you must decide how large your map is (does it lie in one zone? is it big enough to be a part of two zones?) and where it is (which zone is it in?).

Keep in mind that rules were made to be broken. you can ignore some stuff for a better map, and there are definitely other factors that cannot be determined by the winds.

Not set in stone, but good to consider....

Domo230
01-13-2012, 10:48 PM
Fixed grass and added forest. Looks better to me, not perfect but my skills will improve with practice.

41190