View Full Version : [WIP] The Stranded Isles

05-10-2013, 02:04 AM
The Stranded Isles, a tropical chain located in the heart of the Altirian Ocean.


In my fictional universe. The Modern Races time began with a brutal war that eventually sent nearly all of them evacuating the Heartlands in the southern Hemisphere known as Lortai (http://lordvurtax.deviantart.com/art/Lortai-The-Known-World-of-Soni-v-1-292361372) most of them went North across the great expanse of the Altirian Ocean (the more prominent races call it that). For the 6 races (last I checked) who made the Exodus north, only two had come across the chain of volcanic islands that would come to be known as the Stranded Isles.

The Kredoc (lizard men like Argonians in TES but more dinosaur-like) attempted to establish permanent residence on the chain, but soon realized they face harsh weather (monsoons, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions) a whole slew of lethal diseases, and very dangerous Kvari (the world of Soni's term for wildlife).

Their efforts weren't exactly wasted, as they found something on the largest of the isles that would soon be a culture-spanning necessity, the Ymithiir Fruit. It grows on vines along the shoreline, and is a very potent euphoric drug when fermented and boiled. As technology progresses, the common "consumption" of Ymithiir involves a steampunk-style pipe with a tiny boiler at the bottom.

My mapping style I know is rather amateur and far from any sense of realism. It's partly because I haven't found a mapping style I want to emulate that uses color liberally enough in my opinion to express life within my world without doing satellite imagery style. If anyone knows of one, I'd love a link. And I still wonder if I want the sunburst effect. But I'd like to hear your thoughts anyway.

Btw, Ymithiir has a spin of mountains down the center, I just haven't applied them yet. Along with Patasa's.


05-10-2013, 05:49 AM
Don't worry about your relative level of expertise. You'll either get "better" or you will learn your style well enough that it becomes like your own "signature" style. Keep working on it. Use layers and duplicate layers so that you can experiment with different techniques and styles. Keep working on your mountains and forests and stuff. Right now the mountains look good, if somewhat large for the landforms. It isn't a "bad" thing per se, but it does stand out. Be aware that the River Police are en route to slap some cuffs on you. Rivers don't normally split up. Usually when you see a bunch of forks in rivers, they are upriver and the forks are joining together the make a singular river the flows towards the sea. The sunburst sort of reminds me of the Japanese Rising Sun.

Color is one of my major things with a map. There is a lot to be said for a sepia-toned or parchment shaded map, but I love to add color to my maps. The good news is that most of the techniques discussed in the tutorials and other sections are mostly color agnostic. The tutorial writer will typically tell you what colors he is using for his tutorial process, but that does not mean you can't experiment. Just remember to use layers, duplicate layers and keep a back up layer. Even if the tutorials you read aren't exactly what inspires you, a lot of them have information on different programs that might be something that would make your own map better. On the subject of tutorials, if you do try overhead style and you are a Photoshop user, take a look at Pasis' Terrain Tutorials. Excellent stuff.

05-10-2013, 07:49 AM
Yeah, I've attempted several times to simulate a delta, but I guess I ultimately fail at such a task, and they're probably a lot more rather than I'd like to imagine (curse you sixth-seventh grade history teachers for the back-to-back Egypt and India lessons).

I'll keep the tidbit about tutorials in mind for next time I look around, but I'll pass on Pasis' (no pun intended).

05-10-2013, 09:11 AM
Distributary! Distributary! ;P I'm just razzing, but I've been there too, on both sides in fact. If you have deltas, just browse some maps or photos (depending on scale) and see if what you want to do on your piece is a scenario that is likely to appear in the real world. As for color suggestions... if you haven't found a map you want to emulate, I'd suggest doing an old fashioned photo search on the web until you see any photo with a color scheme that you like and then experiment with those colors. If you're working in photoshop or some other editor with hue adjustment layers that you can clip to the layer below (it's called a clipping mask in ps) then color experimentation will be a whole lot easier; use an adjustment for each element (mountains, rivers/water, forests, land, etc) and tweak them until you get something you like.

05-10-2013, 10:02 AM
Yeah, the display of deltas depends a LOT on the scale of the map. They usually originate at the ends of wide, slow moving rivers where there is a shallow bed. This gives the chance for river sediment to build up and creating sandbars, diverting the water and further widening the river. The scale of the map will determine how much of the delta will actually appear as a river or collection of water ways around small islands.

Another thing that should be noted is that lakes are almost never the source of rivers. Streams and rivers flow into lakes (at a low point in the flow) and then most often have only one outward flow that moves further downstream. There are exceptions to the one outflow rule when something blocks the original outflow and the lake reaches multiple places that have the same level as outflow. Rare, but COULD happen. This situation will not last long geologically as the softer ground in one location will carve a bigger outlet faster bringing the level below any others.

Another inconsistency is that you you have a couple of rivers that go from coast to coast. Again, this is something that RARELY (if at all) happens in the real world, but there are natural channels between bodies of water. These channels are usually quite small, and much like deltas in that the scale of the map will dictate whether or not they would appear on a map. I think breaking those rivers up and give them different sources would help a lot.

I like the idea of the sun burst, but maybe making it a bit more subdued would make the land stand out a bit more. As is it seems to overpower the map. It might also be worth thinking about using the origin of the burst to indicate the main cultural center by placing it under the main city...just a thought. Keep up the good effort, and as was already stated, map the way you want to map and your own style will come forward. And that is NOT a bad thing at any time. :)