View Full Version : First world map - Alusia

12-15-2011, 01:44 PM
Edited old post (not sure if it were appreciated if I had opened a new thread for this)

I'm making a map of a world based on a RPG. The 'history' of the world is that it was once united with Earth. It has a long story of two rulers and one of them turning into a megalomaniac and spreading evil across his part of the world (Earth) and the other ruler being forced to banish Earth and her ruler from the globe, leaving Alusia behind. So long story short, earth gets kicked off the planet.

So to make a map that made sense, I took an image of Pangea and drew a piece of land attached to it. Because the shape of Pangea seemed to make 'no sense', the shape of Alusia is drawn somewhat random. I took out Pangea and then drew tectonic plates and their directions (upon looking back I noticed I wasn't very accurate and made a minor mistake, but it didn't make too much difference). Based on the plates I divided the lands into parts, and using that I shifted and turned the parts using this (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?2238-Award-Winner-Using-tectonic-plates-to-draw-a-world-map) guide. When I was satisfied with the way Alusia looked like, I drew the outlines, filled it and defined the coastlines using the brushes from this (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?15495-Quick-Coastlines-Tutorial) topic.

Based on the tectonic plates and they way they collided I defined terrain hight. After that I defined ocean depths, taking notion of the edges of the plates (reason for the irregular depth in the low/right sea).

Now I'm onto the rivers, and although I'm following this (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?3822-How-to-get-your-rivers-in-the-right-place) tutorial, I'm still troubled with it. I haven't defined all rivers yet obviously, but it bugs me that there will be so little rivers and lakes. Maybe it's because I'm from Holland and there's no living without water there;


So I'm not really sure how this'll turn out... anyone got any suggestions for me? And feedback on how it currently looks?

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This is Alusia. The map is based on a forum RPG that has been running for three years now and became a very complex, detailed story.

A large portion is handdrawn; the runes, unicorn, compass and parchment texture aren't.

The runewords are Dutch words transcripted by a rune generator.

Please, fire away! It's my first one, and personally I like it, but it isn't nearly as good-looking as other maps on here...

12-15-2011, 02:44 PM
Quite good looking map for your first one. Nice layout, vibrant colours. I really like the way you did your coastal waters.

Your rivers are problematic though. It is quite difficult to follow them, due to their colour, but it seems you have quite a lot of river infractions here.... rivers that cross mountains, split as they go downstreams or even cross the continent. You also weren't to precise with drawing them... sometimes convergent rivers don't meet correctly.

In my view the style of your settlements make the map look a little .... measly. Perhaps changing the disc-shapes to unfilled circles would work better.

For consistency's sake you should also continue the black-and-white checkered border at the sides.

And while I am looking at the border... is that part of the parchment or did you draw it yourself? It's gorgeous!

12-15-2011, 03:27 PM
As Freodin pointed out your rivers are very much incorrect geologically speaking. There are many threads on this site regarding rivers, as this seems to be the one geographical feature most commonly done wrong. Rivers merge from many sources going to a single river which eventually goes to sea by itself. While some large rivers feature deltas, this only occurs close to sea. Your delta might seem applicable, but it would require a much larger portion inland with a small delta at it's mouth.

Note one of the badges beneath my name and avatar, stating River Police - it means that we watch for 'river infractions' and your map is rich with infractions. They need to be fixed to match the rest of the quality of your map.

12-22-2011, 05:47 PM
I'd repeat a few of the comments already made, my first impressions are as follows, and given I'm still very much a 'newbie' feel free to disregard them ;)

The coasts seem a little odd, perhaps a tad too regular or smooth and uniform? 'Real' Maps at this resolution, even historical ones, tend to have very detailed coasts, because detailed coast mapping is some of the first mapping that is ever done. Though that's a bit of projecting on my part.
You should use a different symbol or colour or something for the populations. It took me a minute to realize what they even were. Open circles might work better, or squares or something. If there were names adjacent to them it might seem a little less odd.
The River police have already been here, otherwise it's really nice. The colour palette is enjoyable, The mountains, borders and Country Names are all very clear.

12-23-2011, 04:00 PM
Well, the river police have had their say, time for the geodesy police.

Given the square graticule, compass rose, and lack of distortion, this map only makes sense if it covers a fairly small area right at the equator. If that's not your intent, you might want to drop or change those elements.

The low detail coastline also speaks of an illustrative map that is meant more for general reference and with a focus on the land rather than the water, so the compass and graticule are again a bit inappropriate as they imply a greater degree of precision and are more associated with marine navigation. (More so the compass than the graticule)

Your rivers are really hard to see. Remember that maps are functional things. If you draw something on one, it should have a reason to be there, and if it's important enough to be there, it should be clearly visible. (Excluding borders, illustrations, and other decorative elements that are easily distinguished from meaningful elements of the map.)

All that said, as first maps go, it's quite nice.

12-24-2011, 01:39 AM
Hi, Sae. Welcome to the Guild!

Really, new arrivals aren't always scrutinized so closely by the cops. At least the Authorities here are much more the kindly old constable on a walking route through the neighborhood, keeping rascally rascals from terrorizing too many passers-by with snowballs, rather than SWAT teams looking to take down miscreants with extreme prejudice. It's the way we roll; pretty easygoing :-).

But since I am also a badged officer, while I'm here I'll offer a suggestion - take a look at Redrobes' Most Excellent Tutorial How to Get Your Rivers in the Right Place. (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?3822-How-to-get-your-rivers-in-the-right-place&p=42630&viewfull=1#post42630) Either that, or else explain really quickly that this land is just FULL of canaldiggers, and a bunch of those watercourses are artificial. A bunch of them :-). Read through the tutorial and you'll see what I mean.

I and the other police above offer suggestions to help this achieve a degree of plausibility not because it's bad, but because its so nearly very good. It has a nice look, and the style and colors work well. The landforms are pretty plausible. I like your stencil unicorn, a lot. Is he a local reality, or a legendary symbol?

The dots are subtly jarring - maybe because there's several colors too close together? Is there brown, blue, AND gray happening, or what? Wise_owl gave suitably wise counsel -- and it wouldn't take labeling ALL of them (a daunting task). Plenty of maps only name the biggest cities. Too, I suspect your settlements are too evenly distributed. Your sizes are nicely varied, but I'd expect the scatter to clump some, too. Not eVeRywHeRe will be equally habitable.

Nice job. Keep after it and it'll be a great job!

12-24-2011, 05:28 AM
Thanks for the critiques :) I have/had no knowledge whatsoever on geographical stuff, so this has been just some random drawing. I tried putting some logic in the population (water = wealth), but since the rivers stink the population won't be good either. I'm currently redrawing the map from scrap using the tuts in the tutssection.

I'm going to look at the citydrawings again, I was clueless how to illustrate that well. I agree it doesn't look well.

At least I'm satisfied with the charttexture and colours and I'm happy that's well-critiqued too :)

12-26-2011, 06:38 PM
Please check first post!!

01-08-2012, 08:45 AM
No one to critique/help?

01-08-2012, 01:21 PM
Umm ... I'm not quite sure *what* to critique and help with! :)

However, the size of your landmass compared to Pangea hints at a world that had a much larger land area than Earth, or a world with only about 10% water cover prior to the separation. If it was larger, that would indicate higher gravity and lower mountains.

01-10-2012, 07:23 AM
Oh thanks, that's something I didn't think of! Yeah, the idea is that Pangea got 'torn off' the globe of Alusia, so a great mass of land was removed from the globe, and earth would get their own globe. It's of course a fantasy story (with lots of magical characters) so there's room for a little bit of imagination on the formation of the lands. But I'll keep this in mind for the terrain hights in the legend!