View Full Version : Critisism on new World Map

04-03-2012, 05:20 PM
Hi! I'm currently trying to make a semi-realistic/plausible world map and I need help to figure out what looks wrong and/or unrealistic with it in it's current state. I have FT 3 and FT pro and I have tried to follow various tutorials to export the .ftw file to Wilbur. I know that there was a tutorial called "There and Back Again" on Ridgenet, but somehow the website doesn't seem to work for me. If someone could direct me to the tutorial, or if there is some kind soul that has it in pdf format, I would be very happy! :)

At first I used FT to generate a good map. Then I tweaked and tried to figuring out the tectonic plates and how they would generate mountains, trenches and islands. All criticism and help is welcome! :D

04-03-2012, 06:37 PM
Hi there, I haven't been here too long myself, but I think I can help you get started because of comments that were given to me. :-)

Please name your continents so that we're all talking about the same thing. It's easier to comment on specific map areas that way.

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) is helpful info on realistic rivers.

Map for a world building project (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?17959-Map-for-a-Worldbuilding-Project-Majy-sa) is a thread with info on oceanic currents, wind direction, rainfall patterns and more.

My world building project needs realism (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?18107-My-world-building-project-needs-realism) is my thread where you can see the evolution of my realistic world so far.

I hope this can help you get started. :-)

04-03-2012, 06:44 PM
The plates look good to me, but I'm no expert. The thing to keep in mind when designing your world is that oceanic-to-continental subduction zones can cause volcanism within their mountain ranges, so that might add a twist into how you want to lay out your plates! Sometimes volcanoes are fun, sometimes not. :) I only bring that up 'cause you have a number of mountain ranges along subduction faults, and that's the sweet spot for that kind of thing.

04-03-2012, 06:56 PM
In the eastern area I don't see the need for some of the tiniest plates - just remember, because a section is above sea level, doesn't mean it warrants a separate plate! :)

04-03-2012, 07:11 PM
In my opinion, it looks a lot like Earth. If that was your intention, it's fine. If it wasn't, I'd recommend changing a few things here and there.

- The southern most continent is almost identical to Antarctica. Roughly the same size, and it even has a 'point' on it's right side like Antarctica does.
- The continent center-right has a similar shape as Africa, with that big chunk taken out of it.
- The continent to the right of that reminds me of Australia. Off on it's own, and with those numerous islands above it, it reminds of Australia + Indonesian islands.
- The northern most part of the northern-right continent reminds me of Russia. Althought I'm not really sure why.

Just my 2 cents. Whether it was intentional or not, it's not a bad thing. Many times I've tried creating landmasses and I inadvertantly make Earth.

04-03-2012, 09:18 PM
I don't know, I like the tiny plates. It reminds me of the tectonic hotbed in the south pacific. Although that illustrates Sursion's point; this really does look incredibly similar to Earth (and let me reiterate that it's truly not a bad thing unless you want it to be completely unsimilar).

04-03-2012, 09:45 PM
Ridgenet was down for the last week (how in this day and age it's possible for an ISP to be totally down for a week is beyond me - maybe they had a delay in ordering their used server from Tiger Direct and then took three days to figure out how to restore from backup; maybe it was something else entirely). It was back up when I checked earlier, but there's no telling for how long. IT is complicated!

04-04-2012, 01:27 AM
Thanks for the replies!

Great links Hyrrow, will check them out :)
I used Earth as a pointer to realism and I know that my map looks very similar... I will and redraw some of the continents! I will post the revised map shortly!

04-04-2012, 05:11 AM

Here is the new map. There are still things that reminds of Earth (such as the left continents (America and South America) and the island chains in the south east). I haven't planned out the mountains yet as I wanted to get some feedback from the community before I proceed with it. Any suggestion that I should change before I proceed? :)

04-04-2012, 10:34 PM
Oh, I like that alot! Especially the archipelagos in the southeast. It looks like a giant compound crater.

04-04-2012, 11:06 PM
This looks like Earth, but in some weird reorganized early Cenozoic configuration... Not only does it look like the Americas over there, you've even got a Chicxulub crater in your Gulf of Mexico! Go figure.

I do like it a lot. It's got lots of potential for interesting tectonics.

04-05-2012, 01:18 AM
I like this new map much better.

04-08-2012, 08:26 AM
I have encountered a problem with my maps in FT and Wilbur. When I export my finished map in FT to Wilbur it isn't shown as a height map, just the silhouette of the lands. I have tried other maps and they work, so it must be something wrong with the map that I am working with. I have read in another thread that there is a "black dot" located on the map that may ruin the whole file. I seem to have found it, shown in the attached images. How should I do to get rid of it, so that I don't have to make a new map just because of the black dot?

I imported the map to FT3 and used the "normalize data" action, though it doesn't seem to fix it .What should I do? :(

04-09-2012, 04:03 AM
Normalize data won't fix teh issue; it just turns the INF and NaN values into something that you can edit away. You should be able to paint away those values with a brush that has a value close to the surrounding values.

When transferring data between Wilbur and FT, prefer the MDR file format to other formats such as PNG. MDR is a 32-bit floating-point value and will preserve all of the features of your data, even INF or NaN values. I recommend painting out those very high or low peaks before exporting to Wilbur, though, because the extreme values will mess with the automatic height calculation and you'll lose the appearance of most terrain information (it's still there, but the lighting model has limited dynamic range and the extreme values will minimize the contributions of the "normal" values).

04-09-2012, 03:38 PM
The problem is fixed, thank you waldronate for the advice!
This is the current version of the World after that I followed this tutorial: http://www.worldofgotha.com/PF_TUTORIAL/israh_index.html
I'm currently trying to figure out the climate and wind patterns following this tutorial: http://jc.tech-galaxy.com/bricka/climate_cookbook.html

Any idea of where deserts and other climates may show up? Any criticism?

04-09-2012, 04:32 PM
I'm curious about the rationale for some of your mountain range placements. For instance, the broad Himalaya-style mountain range on the large eastern continent that's interrupted by an inland sea, and a similar phenomenon way off on the far left of the map -- mountain ranges don't usually have sudden depressions somewhere in the middle, they generally extend across a continent the long way. I suppose looking at the seafloor elevations would help a lot in thinking about this.

The other thing that bugs me a little -- and this is a common FT problem, I think -- is that the height "noise" in the inland areas is a bit too uniformly dispersed, or high variance, or something, to look realistic. The broad flat plains and high plateaus that one would expect don't appear to be there, they're interrupted by piddly little stand-alone mountains. This happens in a few places in the real world (http://mapsof.net/uploads/static-maps/topographic_map_earth.jpg) (see northern Africa and western Australia -- that is, it sometimes happens on really old continental shield) but not in most places, even quite tectonically stable ones. It just looks kinda weird.

Also, what makes your big mountain ranges so uniformly three chains across? And what's going on in the swirly zone on the middle left?

04-09-2012, 05:15 PM
Thanks octopod for taking the time to share your critic and thoughts!
I am finished with the continents shape and form, but by no means the mountains, so it's always open for change and adjustment.
I completely agree with you about the random and bumpy noise terrain, and sadly I don't know what I should do about it in it's current state. Either I will have to find a way to get rid of it, or I have to use the FT maps as guides and not solid set truth about the world.

For the mountain formations and their placement I have used tectonics to figure out convergent, divergent and transform boundaries. The eastern continent are actually three plates sliding towards each others. The little inner sea is part of the south eastern plate etc, and with the west continents the same principle, or something... I am not a geologist or expert at all, but I try to follow the advice given on this website and other sources on the web and books.

The swirly zone to the left is.. well, I want some realistic functions to the world, but I couldn't help myself to add some unrealistic elements to :) I thought it looked interesting, but maybe it just looks silly?

The three chains across are my poor first attempt to draw out where the mountains ranges would go. I didn't want to make any super fancy stuff if it was going to change anyway :/ do the mountains on the north east continent, the one breaking apart from the big continent, look more plausible? Do you have any tips/ideas on how to make the mountains look better in FT when using the prescale offset tool?

04-09-2012, 05:59 PM
I don't have much experience with FT, unfortunately, so I don't know what kind of editing you can do to get rid of that random-bumps weirdness.

So the swirly thing IS magic, then? OK, that's cool! :) I really like everything about your Himalayas out there other than the big hole in the middle of them. If you shuffled that big sea over eastward so that it was solidly on the southeast side and drained to the sea in the east, it would look great; or if you moved it a teeny bit further north to put it on one of the other plates. Where it is, though, it kind of throws me off. Similarly the bite taken out of the mountain range in the far west just looks kind of inexplicable.

The mountains on the northeast continent look beautiful; I assume that's got a subducting ocean plate on its eastern side and a rift like the Red Sea forming on the western side.

Which of these oceans are you thinking of as being on top of continental crust, and which on top of oceanic? I'm guessing that your crazy concentric archipelagos in the far southeast are all separated by shallow warm ocean on continental crust, like Indonesia, but is that long ocean in the west also like that (like the Cretaceous Interior Seaway)? If so, cool beans, I really think that there need to be more epicontinental oceans in fantasy mapping. :-D

04-09-2012, 08:13 PM
kinda looks like you took earth map and liquified it in photoshop ;) (and additional editing)

04-10-2012, 06:59 AM
I can assure you, I didn't use Photoshop and additional settings/filters to make this ;) I used FT, Fractal Terrains, and I agree that it looks similar to earth. I have to do something about it then!

04-10-2012, 11:06 PM
I really need to save this as like a word file, I keep having to go back through old posts to avoid typing it all again.

First: what I am about to say is a generalization and there are exceptions. but generally...

Generally, mountains affect climate. Clouds and rain are carried by winds that tend to blow in the same patterns. When clouds hit mountains, they dump their rain, causing lush forests. But on the other half of the ridge, there is no rain and a desert is created. a wonderful example of this is Northern California vs Nevada. As you go over those mountains you go from forests, strawberry farms, and wineries to slat flats and cacti.

Certain general worldwide patters (caused by the earths rotation) are shown on this map:
Exceptions are common, for example this is how winds generally are:

These rainfall areas will affect multitudes of other things as well. Winds coming off deserts will be warm; one of the reasons for the warmth of europe is the wind from the sahara. If you compare southern France with Maine and you will see a vast difference in climates despite similar latitudes.

Here, for reference, is a map of Europe's Topography:
And here, a map of the Rainfall, with a strong correlation between changes in altitude and a massive dumping of rain.

Once again, there are exceptions, but just think about this before placing major mountain ranges.

Finally; USE AN EQUIRECTANGULAR PROJECTION. if you use one and decide later you want to re-project it there is a simple and easy to use piece of software that will do it for you. if you use something else, you will have to do it by hand. details on the equirectangular projection can be found at this link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equirectangular_projection
But basically, the x-axis is Longitude and the y-axis is Latitude.

04-11-2012, 12:16 AM
...If you use one and decide later you want to re-project it there is a simple and easy to use piece of software that will do it for you.

Really? Do tell! I want it!

04-11-2012, 01:22 AM


04-14-2012, 03:20 PM
I have now made some minor adjustments on the world map (such as the unexplainable basins). It's not perfect, but I'm not overly concerned with it currently.
I have tried to follow the climate cookbook as well as I can, and I have taken some consideration to what has been previously said in other thread. But there are things that I have a hard time to understand :( the attached images is my attempt to figure out the ocean currents and the wind pattern + high/low pressure for July and January. It would be great to have input and find out what I have done wrong so far and be corrected. Once again, I have no knowledge of these things except from what I have read in the climate book, Wikipedia and certain threads here on the guild. Help is welcome! :)

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04-15-2012, 04:50 PM
...That is amazing. I really cannot wait to see the final product.

04-15-2012, 05:11 PM
You have such a large % of land at the equator, I am not qualified to comment on how much that would change weather patterns. That said, a cursory look at your pressure systems seems plausible. The one current that might be iffy is at the top middle of the map where the red warm water arrow heads into the north. The clash there between warm and cold water with a relatively small opening would be interesting. I can't say it is wrong, but it might be suspect. Not a huge issue either way really.

04-15-2012, 05:24 PM


Whoa, thanks. :-D

04-16-2012, 12:16 AM
Does your world have a twenty-something degree axial tilt like Earth? If so, your intertropical convergence zone is going to shift northwards in the northern summer, and southwards in the northern winter. The shift will be rather more over land, and less over water. A straightforward reference is http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/7p.html.

I can't tell the order you've followed, but it makes the most sense to figure generalized seasonal pressures, then generalized seasonal prevailing winds, and only then generalized ocean currents. A whole lot of the driving force for surface currents comes from winds.

04-16-2012, 09:19 AM
jbgibson: i started with the generalized pressure and after that I tried to figure out the wind patterns, and lastly the ocean currents, but I didn't know that they were influenced by the wind! What direction does the currents flow if the wind, like in the wind pattern maps over the oceans in both july and january, have different directions (january = clockwise, jully = counter clockwise)?

04-16-2012, 11:05 PM
If the seasonal winds outright reverse, I guess other factors like where other currents "push" water will start to matter. That is bound to modify a starter set of wind-driven current guesses anyway. Or decide one season has stronger winds than the other, and just say the total winds up being a weak current in the slightly predominant direction. Or if you're not talking whole oceans worth of water sloshing around, let the current reverse with the winds... would make for some interesting commerce possibility :-).