View Full Version : Eyar Madhri Island Nation by Greason Wolfe

Greason Wolfe
02-03-2013, 11:23 PM
This is the first of four islands that make up the Eyar Madhri nation. It took me about a day (using a modification of the techniques outlined by waldronate in this (http://www.cartographersguild.com/mapping-challenge-archive/18120-march-april-2012-lite-challenge-entry-csu-johnsondales-new-found-lands.html#post181321) tutorial) to build the base terrain for this initial render in Terragen. At first, I was going to build all the islands as a single file for rendering in Terragen, but ultimately opted to build each island individually for maximum detail. Eventually, once Iíve done a final render of each island, Iíll bring them together in a single map that will ultimately become part of a world map.

Iíve still got quite a bit of work to do with this specific map (i.e. finalizing rivers and lakes, adding forests and other significant terrain features, tweaking the elevation file), but I expect that things will move along at a fairly good pace until Iím ready to start working on the other islands.

As a bit of background, the Eyar Madhri nation is based on a mixture of Amazonian and Norse (Valkyrie) mythologies with a little bit of Descolada Virus (Orson Scott Cardís ďSpeaker for the DeadĒ) stirred in to complete the underlying religious beliefs and cultural structure of the inhabitants. Iíll save the details of those beliefs and the cultural structure for another time, but if you are familiar with the afore mentioned mythologies and Orsonís book, it will, hopefully, give you an idea of where things are headed.

On a side note, itís good to be feeling productive again. Itís been over a year since the last time I posted anything other than an occasional comment here or there. Much of that year has been taken up by work, and, to be honest, a lack of motivation and/or drive to do any mapping work. Hopefully Iíll be able to maintain both the motivation and drive to see this project through to the end.


02-04-2013, 12:29 PM
Great to see that you are back in the saddle again GW. :)

I have been in that slump for about 4 years now and still struggling to shake it...

Looking interesting, esp. the rivers in the central valley pretty straight to my eye, and got me thinking of all kinds of stuff...... Out of curiousity, what sort of scale are we looking at here? looks like a LARGE island with the way the mountains look.

Greason Wolfe
02-04-2013, 07:12 PM
Yes, a large island comprising an area of almost 2000 square miles, and born of volcanic activity. As far as the existing rivers go, they are far from being finalized, just wanted to test the distribution mask and coloring while I had a chance. My main work for tonight is going to be tweaking the mountains as I am not quite satisfied with them just yet.

In terms of the slump . . . The thing that broke me out of it was going through some old Table-top RP notes I had from several years ago. I'd started putting a campaign/world together, but hadn't detailed much of it. Once I started reading those old notes and what not, I started to feel the urge. Again, though, I'm going to hope that it doesn't fade too quickly and will let me get through this project.

Edit : I should have mentioned that the mountains aren't towering monstrosities, they only range somewhere between 2 and 3 thousand feet at their highest. For the most part, on this map in particular, they are meant to separate a few areas set aside for specific terrain features.


Greason Wolfe
02-05-2013, 10:50 PM
So, tweaking the mountains has turned out to be a longer project than I thought it would be, mostly because I'm trying a slightly different approach. Rather than working on them as a part of the entire terrain, I'm working on them separately with the intent to add them back into the full terrain once I'm satisfied with the way they look. Hopefully I'll have something to post within a day or two.


Greason Wolfe
02-09-2013, 10:34 AM
So, a brief update. I'm still deeply entrenched in my battle with the mountains. I've tried a few different things so far and still haven't quite got the look I want. I'm on a slightly new track now, and it looks like I might finally get something close to what I want, just have to wait out the erosion process and see what the final results look like. Hopefully I'll be able to post a preliminary render from Terragen later today.


Greason Wolfe
02-10-2013, 08:46 AM
Still not totally satisfied with the results. The texture is a bit better now, but the sense of elevation isn't as evident as I would like, not to mention that the slope angles aren't quite where I want them to be. Maybe it's just me, but they look a little bubbly. I've started a second render, which should be done in a few hours, after running an exponent on the slopes, and will post it for comparison when it's ready to go.


Greason Wolfe
02-11-2013, 10:03 PM
Been working/tweaking the mountain building process, and things are starting to get close to what I'm looking for. I still have a few more tweaks to test before I finalize the process. Along with that, I've been looking at the rendering process (in Terragen) a bit more closely. The "bird's eye" (or nearly so anyhow) wasn't working out very well, so I played with the settings. The image below shows two of those results, the left hand side being rendered at a 45 degree angle while the right hand side was rendered at a 30 degree angle. Both have their pros and cons, and I'm kind of waffling between the two, so I'm tossing them up here for opinions while I continue tweaking the build process.




02-12-2013, 07:08 AM
I really like those mountains, but because they look so realistic, I would also expect the map itself to be tilted, not a top-down map. That would look gorgeous, but it would also be more work...


I also think that in the earlier image with the mountains on the map, there is too much separation between mountain areas and lowlands: I think it could look better if you joined them together into a single hmap > relief render (or whatever Terragen has).

Greason Wolfe
02-12-2013, 08:54 PM
@Naeddyr - The earlier maps were single renders, I just hadn't added anything in except the mountains (which weren't working out well at the time) and some temporary rivers. I think what was throwing things off in those renders was the near top-down angle that I was using during the renders. I'm going to try to set up a render at a shallower angle and see how that comes out.

In other news, today was a long day at work, and tomorrow will be even longer, so I don't expect to get a chance to work on this until Thursday or Friday at best.


02-13-2013, 10:13 AM
Though I like the renders, I quite like the original map you posted. What was wrong with that one that you decided to "fix"?

Greason Wolfe
02-13-2013, 10:28 PM
@jfrazierjr - It wasn't so much that there was anything "wrong" with the first version, it was more a matter of feeling like there was something more to it that just wasn't there yet, call it "character" if you will. The mountains didn't look bad, but I had a gut feeling they could look even better. Now that I think I have the mountain building process where I want it, I'm hoping the next render will have a much better feel to it, or, as I said just a bit ago, more "character."


Greason Wolfe
03-06-2013, 10:03 PM
So, we've been short-handed at work which means, because I've had to fill the void, that I haven't had much time to work on this project over the last couple of weeks. I have, however, had time to think about the process and test a couple minor tweaks to a couple of the steps. I just started a new render in Terragen and hope to have it ready for posting sometime in the morning, or, depending on how long it actually takes, the afternoon. The initial results (in Wilbur) were pretty close to what I have been looking for. Once the render is done, I'll have a better idea of what other tweaks I might have to make.


Greason Wolfe
03-08-2013, 07:01 PM
Yay! I finally have something to post, and a word of warning to boot; Don't work a double-shift unless you've gotten plenty of sleep beforehand.

Now, on to the important stuff.

I'm starting to get the kind of look I want for the mountains. I might still have to re-arrange the process a bit, but it's getting very close. I'd like both the ravines and ridges to be a bit more pronounced, and I'll have to work a little more with the peaks, but, overall, I'm fairly happy with where things are starting to go. The downside is that this render doesn't really give a good impression of height, but I can probably fix that the next time 'round by adjusting the "camera" angle. The rivers and lakes in this render are just rough place holders for the time being. I'm hoping that I'll have a good chunk of time over the weekend to work on this and take it a few steps closer to being finished.

The current plan is to beef up and adjust the mountain shapes to get a layout closer to what I envision for this particular island and then start working on the other significant terrain features. We'll see how that goes.


Greason Wolfe
03-20-2013, 09:02 PM
So I haven't had as much time as I'd hoped to work on this. We're short handed at work and, having signed on the dotted line so to speak, it falls on me to fill in where it is needed. Such is life. Still, I have managed to accomplish a bit of work. I'm much happier with the way the mountains look in this render, and even tried adding in some smaller hills though they didn't come out quite as good as I'd hoped. It is progress, though, so I can't complain too much. I'll try another method with the hills when I get a chance, and even have an idea about adding a few seaside cliffs. For now, though, a sample of the progress I've made.

As for the mountains themselves, I reworked the erosion process, adding in a bit of incise flow between cycles of precipiton erosion. I think the overall results look better than before and have a bit more character. I also ran this render at a shallower camera angle so that the mountain heights would be a little more evident, but may have to adjust the scaling a bit more to make those heights even more evident.


03-20-2013, 09:10 PM
Ooh, those mountains are fantastic! Looking forward to watching this progress.


03-21-2013, 02:51 AM
Looking good, GW!


- Max -
03-21-2013, 04:31 AM
Looks good so far, great mountains.

Greason Wolfe
03-21-2013, 07:50 PM

I've got one more erosion sequence I'm going to try, mostly because I'm curious what the results will look like. If it works the way I think it will, I should end up with a few more of a ravine-like look along the slopes of the mountains. If it doesn't work as I think it will, my next big thing with this is to re-work the hills. I'm aiming for more of a rolling look as opposed the mini-mountain kind of look they have right now. Not quite sure when I'll get to that just yet. Finally hired a new person at work, but now we've got to get them trained up so that I can start getting my weekends again (when I do most of my mapping work), but, in the meantime, I'll try to plug along as best I can.


EDIT : I've tried a little tweaking on the hills to see if I could smooth them out. Have a new render running, but don't expect it to be done until sometime in the wee hours of the morning. If I get a chance, I'll post it before going to work for the day.

EDIT 2 : Not sure . . . The hills are smoother, but I still think I am going to have to completely re-work them.

Marth Fright
03-22-2013, 07:59 AM
Wow, that's looking really good.

Greason Wolfe
03-22-2013, 10:09 PM
So I've loaded up/started the alternative erosion sequence I mentioned previously. It's still early in the process, but it looks as though it is going to give me the kind of results I am hoping for with the added bonus of allowing for rolling hills in the lowland regions. It's gonna take a while to wrap the process up, but, if I'm lucky, I'll have something to post by the end of the weekend.


03-22-2013, 11:30 PM
Wow, I love the way those mountains are developing!

Greason Wolfe
03-23-2013, 09:56 PM
So, I just finished up the new erosion sequence. In Wilbur, things seem to look pretty good, but the true test is how it will render out in Terragen. I've got that started, but it will be a few hours since I'm running all the renders at a fairly large size for the sake of detail. Should have something to post in the wee hours of the morning before I head out to work, or after I get home for the day. In the mean time, I'll be thinking about how I intend to add in the forests and what not. Building them into the terrain isn't so difficult, but with the grey-scale coloring scheme, getting them to stand out against the underlying terrain may prove to be a bit of a headache.


Greason Wolfe
03-24-2013, 06:32 PM
The hills aren't quite there yet, but they're getting closer. I'm thinking one more "tweaking" pass should do the trick. The mountains are pretty well set at this point, and, unless a better idea comes flashing through my brain, I don't expect them to change any time in the near future. I believe, at this point, I'll start working on the river/creek flow and shaping the lakes a little better. I've got a couple ideas in mind when it comes to adding forests, but I'll have to wait and see which method works best. Until then, here's the latest render.


Greason Wolfe
08-12-2013, 09:43 PM
So, I got side-tracked by work, and, helping a friend with a house remodeling project. As it happens, this particular friend is a casual role-player and author, and we got to talking about this mapping project. He showed a bit of interest in it as both a role-player and author and started bouncing ideas my way. Those ideas have born fruit.

As happy as I was with the way the mountains were looking, some of my friend’s suggestions got me to thinking about the overall shape of the island as well as a bit of inspiration from the real world in the form of Crater Lake in Southern Oregon.

I’ve only visited Crater Lake a couple of times, but it is, at least for me, one of the coolest places I’ve ever been. The whole concept of a volcano collapsing in on itself and, ultimately, developing into a land-locked lake really struck a chord with me. Even better was the fact that there is an island in that lake. The Klamath peoples even had a story (myth/legend) as to how all of this had come about. To save a bit of time, here is a link to the wikipedia page for Crater Lake.

Crater Lake - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crater_Lake)

Now, originally, this project was to be comprised of four islands. Three of those islands would be inhabited while the fourth (the one I started working on at the beginning of this thread) would be sacred ground and, mostly, uninhabited. When I started considering my friend’s suggestions and bringing Crater Lake into the equation, things got interesting. So I started to ask myself “what if?”

What if I re-created Crater Lake with the island in the lake being sacred?

What if, in re-creating Crater Lake, I did so on a much larger scale, making it the “center piece” of an even larger island?

What if divine intervention prevented the inhabitants from descending the inner face to reach the lake and sacred island?

What if one person in particular had earned “divine favor” and discovered a way to reach the lake and sacred island?

What if the lake wasn’t truly land-locked? What if there were “underground” rivers that would allow access to the lake and sacred island?

There were a whole bunch of other “what ifs” that I asked myself, but those that I’ve listed were the core of what has become a re-booted project. The back-story and history that I’d been developing for this map had to be changed a bit, but they’re stronger now, more cohesive. And, obviously, I’ve had to start over as far as the actual mapping process goes. But the vision of my end goal is much clearer now. I know almost exactly where I want to go with this.

So, over this last weekend, I sort of slapped together a rough version of the new map for this project. I feel pretty good about the overall shape of the entire island. I even like the smaller, off-shore islands. My “Crater Lake” didn’t turn out quite as well as I had hoped, but, after all, this was just a rough version. To my surprise, I hit on a coloring scheme that I really liked. It needs a bit of tweaking (a bit too much brown, I think) to bring it in line with a more forested/jungle-like look, but it’s pretty darn close to what I’m hoping for. Mind you, the water is very, Very generic, and I’ll change that when I’m ready to start my final rendering process. I know they're rather small, but I wanted to put something up here for anyone wanting to offer feedback, all of which I always appreciate. For now, I’m off to work out the “Crater Lake” portion of the map and give that more of a cone-like look rather than the upside-down bowl-like look it currently has.