View Full Version : The World of Asel'a [Comments and critique much appreciated!]

04-28-2012, 09:25 PM
Hello o/

Thanks to Tear's award-winning tutorial (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?8086-Award-Winner-Saderan-%96-a-tutorial), I was finally able to get started on a map of a world that had been incubating in my head for ages now. The world is called Asel'a, and it orbits a certain star in a certain part of the universe which is still to be determined.

I drew the landmasses myself on paper, scanned them, cleaned up my notebook lines, and then did the whole noise+blur+threshold technique to get some of the coastlines more fractal-y. Then I just followed the tutorial in its entirety, with a few tweaks here and there (because I already did have some regions and features in mind) to produce this:


I still need all the labels and a cool border, and likely some adjustments with the ocean elevation thing.

I'm open to any comments and critiques! C: I'm new to doing this, so all that would be much appreciated! :D

04-28-2012, 11:57 PM
I guess one obvious question before any critique would be is this a world with earth-like realism, of similar size and climate systems? Assuming a fully natural earth-like world, you would certainly have some climate issues. The general look is pretty good. I like the shapes and colors and such.

04-29-2012, 12:16 AM
Well, as far as I've imagined, this world is larger than earth, but with a similar climate. Except probably a bit hotter. There's some supernatural magic-type stuff that goes on on Asel'a as well, so it's not fully natural.

However, assuming it IS fully natural, what are these climate issues you have in mind? I'm terribly unknowledgeable about climate. :|a

04-29-2012, 11:10 AM
At quick glance and without latitudes to judge by there isn't too much trouble.

The basics to consider... Plot your equator and tropics lines at approximately 23.5 degrees north and south of the equator and the arctic circles at around 66 degrees latitude. The Tropics lines are particularly important as these are the extents that the sun rises directly overhead seasonally north and south. Most deserts occur somewhere around the 30 degree line, although that is not a hard rule. This is largely in part to how Hadley Cells and the ITCZ function, creating High Pressure zones at around the 30 degree mark. Basic rule: High Pressure equals dry, Low Pressure equals wet. The ITCZ is extremely important in weather, around the equator and all places it travels. The ITCZ swings north and south seasonally, with large bodies of land pulling further in either direction, as land heats more than ocean.

Is there land under your northern arctic region? Or is it ice cap?

Other basics:

Ocean surface currents are clockwise in the northern hemisphere, counterclockwise in the southern. West coasts typically receive cool water currents (dry air) while east coasts tend to have warm water (wet air) as evaporation occurs more rapidly with warm water.

Mountains create rain shadows to the lee side, as winds crossing a mountain going from west to east will dump its moisture as it rises on the west side, leaving the east side dry (see the western US). Towards the equator where storm systems more often travel east to west, this flip flops, causing a rain shadow on the west side. The Himalayas create a rain shadow on their north side. Here is another misconception that I have seen on the net, which is created by how Earth's land tends to be northern hemisphere... and that is that all weather in the southern hemisphere travels east to west. This is incorrect. There are westerlies in both hemispheres as well as the jet streams that travel west-east.

Beyond that, without specific ways to reference regions on your map, it is difficult to accurately speak of specifics.

Well, that's a good start to thinking. A real nice site to check out is:


04-29-2012, 02:17 PM
Well, it's pretty much that the center of the map as it stands right now is 0,0. Also, the tropics are at those degrees on Earth because of the Earth's tilt, yeah? And I'll assume that all these patterns would be shifted if the tilt were changed (which would most likely be the case since what are the odds two separate planets have the same axial tilt haha). Most likely it would be tilted more which would explain the general increase in temperature perhaps? I'm thinking of tropics at around the 35 or 40 degree mark. :| a How much do you think that would affect?

Also, there is no land in the arctic region, only the antarctic. (How can I make this obvious on the map?)

Also also that flash thing is super helpful! Also the info on mountains and rain shadows. I'll look more into these and shape my map's vegetation patterns accordingly. Thanks! +Rep for you for all this. :B

04-29-2012, 03:51 PM
Remember that shifting the tilt will drag heat further in the northern summer but make the southern winter cooler, and vice versa. There are a multitude of ways to make a planet warmer. And also recall that our tropics line actually do change over time and the planet wobbles. Nature never makes anything easy! For instance, if you turned the Sahara into a lush green park you might be able to lower the rate and intensity of hurricanes in the US, but you might also severely damage the grape crops in France and italy, messing up their terroir. LOL. The hot dry winds from the Sahara mitigate the temperatures that parts of Europe experience while also assisting in the development of tropic waves that turn into tropical storms on the US east coast.

Here is how I think of climate in a fantasy sci-fi world after more climate study than I ever thought to do... know enough to make it reasonable and to realize when you break a major rule so that you have a reason to break it. And if you learn enough! You can probably justify most things. Know your ITCZ and its meanderings, ocean surface currents, prevailing winds and rain shadows, and you are well on your way to a possible if not always completely realistic environment. Oh! and tectonics! Not absolutely necessary but it sure doesn't hurt. Tectonics will tell you good places for mountains as well as island chains.

04-29-2012, 05:21 PM
Ahh you're right. I had been thinking of weather patterns on this world being more... severe than Earth's, but I haven't taken that kind of climate's weathering and erosion into account with the map... hm.

I need to go learn stuff! I think I will get into that Climate and Weather class next semester at school haha.

As for tectonics, I definitely have thought about that a bit! :D I might make a map outlining the plates and everything. c:

04-29-2012, 11:17 PM
Tectonics are an excellent mapping resource along with the aforementioned basics of winds, currents and the ITCZ in relationship to landfall. My world has changed tremendously, but at least now when I am stuck on what should be somewhere I have a solid groundwork to determine what is probable, what is possible, and if they disagree with what I need, how it takes to get it where I want.

04-30-2012, 07:34 PM
I totally agree. A lot of the features on my map are based on tectonics. Still figuring out how to work the weather haha. :|a

09-26-2012, 01:42 AM
Derp I almost totally forgot about this. Anyway... I ended up finishing my map! Haha. Although it still does need some work since I'm working on rebuilding the actual world. :|a


Thoughts? Comments? C:

09-26-2012, 06:58 PM
Wow, this is very lovely. I love the color palette and the labeling, and you've done a great job blending textures. Looks good to my eye.


09-29-2012, 05:31 AM
Ah, thanks! I appreciate the comments. c: