PDA

View Full Version : Terra Patria - Novice Map Effort



Gumboot
05-21-2013, 10:53 PM
Hi all,

I have a world I've been building for about 15 years, and naturally mapping has been a big part of that (I love maps), but I wouldn't call myself a particularly talented mapper. However, my knowledge of photoshop has slowly improved, as has my grasp of geography, and after reading some of the exceptional tutorials on these forums I've set to work on building my "best map ever". I need a highly accurate regional map of this land-bridge continent mostly as a reference tool, and for me realism is the key.

I am pretty happy with a coastline, but I've been giving more thought to terrain, which has led me to attempt a version of the map based on a height map. The only issue for me is the best way to go about creating a realistic height map. Most of the tutorials I've found seem to be based on randomly generated maps, which won't work in this instance as I'm dealing with a specific map layout.

I've included a picture of the map as it currently stands, to show you what I am currently working on. I've created this map using the burn and dodge tools in Photoshop, entirely by hand, using a "ridgeline" layer as a guide. My intention is to move the map into Wilbur for additional erosion and establishing river tracks once the map is done (experiments suggest I'll need to do this in pieces as the map is so big).

My initial question, I suppose, as a newbie mapper, is whether this hand-drawn method for the height map is sensible. Are there easier ways of achieving the same or more realistic results? It took me a couple of hours to do just the little section I'm currently happy with (the bit slightly NW of centre), so to complete just the height map will be an enormous undertaking.

The map is about 7,600 x 5,300, and the scale is 1px to 1km.

I've attached a slightly reduced version as it exceeds the maximum image size for the forums.

54778

Diamond
05-22-2013, 12:23 AM
That is pretty impressive, especially for having done it all manually! You might try Ascension's Swiss-style relief tutorial: http://www.cartographersguild.com/tutorials-how/10192-swiss-style-relief-shading.html It's fairly easy to adapt it to an existing shape, and it give decent results. At the very least, it might provide a springboard for you to build from.

And welcome to the Guild! Have some rep for jumping right in with a map.

Gumboot
05-22-2013, 06:15 PM
Just an update on the middle section of the map. Ran the height map through Wilbur then created a texture map to test my progress.

54792

Diamond
05-22-2013, 08:00 PM
THAT is pretty cool.

eViLe_eAgLe
05-22-2013, 08:03 PM
Yeah, it looks good. Better give it color to match, too!

Gumboot
05-22-2013, 08:53 PM
Okay so having experimented with Wilbur a bit, I've decided I don't need to put anywhere near as much effort into the individual ridges for the mountain ranges... indeed Wilbur's erosion filter produces far more realistic looking ridges than me anyway! (Surprise!). This is great news, as it means less work to complete the initial Height Map. Still a bit concerned about how Wilbur is going to handle the whole map... :\

eViLe_eAgLe
05-22-2013, 10:00 PM
Make sure to do the tutorials, and keep backups. Just a friendly tip from someone who has messed up quite a few.

waldronate
05-22-2013, 11:25 PM
Okay so having experimented with Wilbur a bit, I've decided I don't need to put anywhere near as much effort into the individual ridges for the mountain ranges... indeed Wilbur's erosion filter produces far more realistic looking ridges than me anyway! (Surprise!). This is great news, as it means less work to complete the initial Height Map. Still a bit concerned about how Wilbur is going to handle the whole map... :\

The 64-bit version of Wilbur didn't seem to have any real problem with that first image (6118x4286). It was a bit pokey on my Core i7 3770 w/32GB (30 seconds for fill basins, 2 mins for incise flow, 4 minutesish for 10 passes of precipiton erosion), but it did complete. I seem to recall that the 32-bit version wasn't able to handle that size image directly.

One thing that you can do with similar effect is to start with a lower-resolution image (say, 1000 wide or so) to rough in the terrain features and then move up to higher resolutions using Surface>>Resample>>Simple (or something like that; my version of Wilbur isn't the publically-available one) to increase the resolution to approach your final result.

arsheesh
05-23-2013, 05:04 PM
Those mountain ridges look amazing! Kudos for doing those all manually. Look forward to watching this develop.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

Gumboot
05-28-2013, 11:14 PM
Update time... I think I've mostly finished the height map to my satisfaction. This is a quick and rough render of how it looks thus far. I have a few areas to fix up and so on, then I'll start laying down rivers and lakes. Upload is heavily reduced in scale due to size.

Schwarzkreuz
05-29-2013, 08:20 AM
One day I have to learn Wilbur.... A very nice start here. :idea:

Gallien
05-29-2013, 08:23 AM
Absolutely splendid! :)

Gumboot
05-29-2013, 09:26 PM
So I've pretty much finished up the height map and located most of the major rivers and lakes. Now I've started working on the national borders. I'm going to use this base map for various different purposes, including more detailed regional maps, but the first will be a relatively clean map of the various nation states.

54991

Gallien
05-30-2013, 11:16 AM
Moscovia? :D

Gumboot
05-30-2013, 05:02 PM
Home of the Moscovitii

Gumboot
06-06-2013, 02:17 AM
I've been working on the colouring of the map, utilising some of the amazing tutorials available here. This is where I am at so far. I am mostly pretty happy with this, but there's still some clean-up on the different climates to be done. Again, reduced size.

55162

ETA. The one major thing I am not really happy with is the transition to the polar climate... I might just push it up to the mountains all along, to give the impression of a high polar plateau.

Gumboot
08-04-2013, 07:46 AM
Been a bit busy working on "The Hobbit" recently, but pickups have all finished, so turned my attention back to my map for a bit. I am pretty happy with the colouring now, so I've moved in to focus on one particular nation for the higher level of detail (1px = 200m).

An update of the enlarged map area as it currently stands at reduced resolution, plus a segment at full resolution...

56632

56633

Bit of background info for anyone who is interested;

This area is a medieval kingdom called Terrador, located in a Mediterranean climate, about the size of France. In the south it is bordered by the Shattered Marches mountain range, while to the east a series of high moorland leads into the deserts of western Samulia. The kingdom serves as a location for a series of books I am writing, with opening events centred on the unusual geographic feature along the Southern Marches where a bowl of land (dominated by a large lake) is formed by two mountain spurs - the long-eroded remnants of an enormous ancient volcanic crater. This region, known as "The Vale", features the feudal territory of Guldoke County to the west, while the eastern half is the southern-most extent of Estansi Duchy.

Viking
08-04-2013, 10:54 AM
Gumboot this is really nice stuff!

Gumboot
08-06-2013, 12:11 AM
Names... names... names...

I've started experimenting with labelling thanks to the great font suggestions in the tutorials forum. Here's a sample at 100% resolution.

56674

Cities, as you can see, are marked to scale, currently in bright red, for ease of vision. For now I haven't decided on a marker for the towns, fortresses, and other places of note, so I'm using text symbols from the label font. Fortresses and towns are the same size font, towns marked with an X and fortresses with a circle over a cross. Other places of note follow the same indicators as towns, but in a smaller font (currently the only place such labelled is the village of Parth).

Geographic features are in italics, manmade features in regular font.

I have a few concerns about legibility and clutter however, in particular with reference to the labelling of geographic regions (such as "The Vale") and feudal territories ("GULDOKE" and "ESTANSI"). Obviously there ends up being a tonne of overlap, and I am not sure if it works. I haven't even entered all the details and labels yet for this small area.

In addition to these specific issues, any feedback, criticism, or suggestions for labelling would be greatly appreciated.

Gumboot
08-07-2013, 08:59 PM
I decided to go with this labelling style... it's all starting to come together now with borders, labelling, forests, farmland texture, and so on... at the moment I am involved in the tedious task of determining where Terrador's 116 towns would naturally be located.

I thought I'd talk a bit about this process because I've gone for a relatively serious level of realism, and there's a lot of work before I even begin locating towns and naming them.

As a basis for my country I used the excellent demographics spreadsheet by Marcus Hulings based on S. John Ross' article "Medieval Demographics Made Easy". The 1px=1km scale of my larger regional map makes it easy to determine the geographical area of different territories using the PS selection tool and the histogram data.
With the area of kingdoms in square km, I could plug this and population density (determined based on historic ranges, taking into account soil fertility) data into the spreadsheet to get accurate indicators of total population, number of towns, cities, and villages. Cities were allocated based on broader kingdom-level demographics and geography, while the distribution of towns and villages required a further layer of demographic detail.

I further divided Terrador into its feudal territories, determining individual population densities based on local climate and terrain considerations. It was simply a case of trial and error, distributing the various territories across a range from most to least dense, adjusting figures until the average matched the overall kingdom population density.

This new spreadsheet provided data on the number of towns for each territory and number of villages. These hard statistics were then amended by practical considerations (for example the border territories tend to have a population weighted more heavily towards towns). Finally, I can create a list of all 116 towns with the number of towns to allocate to each feudal territory. Then it's a matter of simply considering the terrain and trade routes for each territory and deciding where roads would go and where villages would grow into towns.

Some of these placements have been easier, driven by other considerations such as other worldbuilding work already established; for example I know a large town in the Clare region of Sangarter Duchy is Hamlinton, site of an ugly rebellion in 754PS against the Earl of Clare. The town's central square is named Ardent Square, made famous by an immensely popular song by Thomas Harper. In the sombre and tragic love ballard "Ardent Square", Harper tells the story of the rebellion through the eyes of two lovers who were caught up in the conflict. The square itself acts as a central staging point for the tale, where each of the major events occur;

Astride the waters of the Clare
Within the walls of Hamlinton
One day each month the stalls appear
And every sort of good are found.

I make the journey over there
To make my coin and sell my wool.
If Shappenton or Rales’ you wear
The finest yarn; you’ll find it all
There at Ardent Square.

Upon a morn I went to fair
To see if there were goods to buy
Fine foods to eat or cloaks to wear
Across the hills and dales it lies.

My wife to be I met her there,
She was so kind and sweet to me.
In morn’s soft light she looked so fair;
The purest thing my eyes did see
There at Ardent Square.

Other towns are of known identity because my gradual creation of the nobility of Terrador has identified the capitals and centres of power of the feudal territories. Still others were the site of famous battles, like Angelton in Stormwood Duchy. Mostly, those are the ones I've already placed, and other obvious towns like Idrisport, Terrador's largest town located at the confluence of the kingdom's two great rivers; the Idris and the Carrow.

Mostly what's left are the remainder, average, unremarked towns whose stories and histories have yet to be discovered. And for me, that's something of the best thing about worldbuilding. Every time I place a new town or city or village or fortress on a map, the place becomes awash with potential. What stories can come from that little place? Perhaps it was the site of a desperate battle, or the birthplace of some great writer, or maybe a humble artificer there invented the mechanical clock.

Anyway... the map...

56711

arsheesh
08-07-2013, 10:35 PM
Wow, this is really coming together beautifully. Love the story behind it as well. On a completely unrelated note, I just realized that you live in my neck of the woods. My wife and I are live on the North Shore. Nice to meet someone here who lives nearby. Anyway, looking forward to watching this continue to unfold.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

mixo45
08-07-2013, 11:25 PM
Seeing as how I'm brand new here, I don't have any feedback or suggestions, but simply a WOW! That looks awesome!

Lingon
08-08-2013, 02:14 AM
Wow… The dedication you are putting into this is inspirational and the results are fantastic. The only things I'm not so fond of is the river labels, which are kinda hard to read, and the brightness of the city icons, which looks somewhat artificial. Other than that, I love everything about the map!

Gumboot
08-08-2013, 05:47 AM
Wow… The dedication you are putting into this is inspirational and the results are fantastic. The only things I'm not so fond of is the river labels, which are kinda hard to read, and the brightness of the city icons, which looks somewhat artificial. Other than that, I love everything about the map!

Hi Lingon, thanks for the encouragement and feedback. Do you think it's the font I've chosen for the rivers that's the issue, or more an issue of size/colour? I agree they're really hard to read, I'm thinking it might be the light blue text with the white glow... perhaps I need to think about a much darker blue for the water feature labels. Hopefully I can keep the same font, as I'm using the same one for everything thus far.

The cities are just placeholders at the moment; the markings are the actual to scale size and layout of the cities so I wanted to draw them in with something that would stick out from the map. I may only keep the "to scale" markings for my own reference and try think up a "display" icon for them, or otherwise tone the cities back so they blend in a little better, perhaps a darker more burgundy red.

Eilathen
08-08-2013, 06:26 AM
I have to agree with the others...this is developing quite nicely. Looking forward to the rest of this world. And i hope you'll keep on sharing the backstory as well. It fills the map with more flavour, so to speak.
Have some Rep.!

randigpanzrall
08-09-2013, 01:33 PM
Hi gumboot, really impressive work. It' s good to read that there are always coming new stories in mind, while working. It' s the same with me. Im always focussing on a region while working an the further and deeper i go the clearer gets the story. And this is influencing the work itself. Funny thing. Maybe we could realize a city-partnership between our worlds :-)

Gumboot
08-09-2013, 05:34 PM
So I have a few little technical setbacks that I'm trying to overcome at the moment. One is that I realised I completely fouled up my city scale so they're all way, way too big. When correctly scaled, they're too small to really work on the map so I'll have to come up with a city marker instead, but I am stumped as to what I should do, and if I'm going to have a city marker I think I'll need to come up with a marker for towns and fortresses as well. So a bit of thinking to do there.

I do, however, really like having the actual layout of the cities displayed, particularly as this map is primarily a reference tool for myself, so the more information the better. I am currently experimenting with the possibility of adding small inserts along the border depicting each of the cities in more detail.

I also had a bit of a demographics scare. I have always been a little skeptical of the population size of my cities, as produced by the demographics spreadsheet. For some reason I had in mind that the kingdom was about the size of France, and while looking at the historic population of Paris I saw that it was significantly larger than the largest city in this kingdom. However I belatedly realised that actually my kingdom is less than half the size of France, much closer to the size of Great Britain. And that my largest cities are in keeping with the historical size of London.

Having said that, I do feel that as a very fertile, rich, and continental country, perhaps some of the cities need to be beefed up in size a little, but this would completely disrupt my demographics. Aye me.

Also,

Arsheesh:
Thanks for the hello, it is indeed good to run into a fellow Kiwi. I live out West Auckland.

Lingon:
I experimented with a darker text for the river labels and it seems to have improved things a little. Let me know what you think when I put my next update it.

Lingon
08-10-2013, 03:01 AM
Lingon:
I experimented with a darker text for the river labels and it seems to have improved things a little. Let me know what you think when I put my next update it.

Sounds good, will do :)
Looking forward to seeing what you come up with for the city icons (and I like the idea of inserts in the border)!

Gumboot
08-12-2013, 02:13 AM
Although this is intended as a reference for myself, I am still decidedly jealous of everyone's amazingly beautiful "display" maps here, so thought I'd have a play with some of the more "presentation" related features of my map. These sections below display a mock up of a city detail insert, and my first attempt at a combined compass rose and scale.

The city insert was a very quick mockup, and as you can see I can afford to make the city itself much larger in the frame, but I am wondering if the size is so small, it's not worth putting in. I can make them larger, of course, but with 20 cities to depict (I've relegated one city to town status!), this size shown allows ten down each side. If I make the mini maps larger I will have to think more carefully about how to arrange them.

The compass rose combines two visual elements:

The underlying image is the religious symbol of the Espallian Church, my world's equivalent of the Catholic Church. The silver "Ring of ALL" (often depicted aflame) represents the totality of the Espalli god Un ("All"), in contrast with the faceted old state religion of the Terran Republic, which was represented by a black-and-white eight-pointed star called an Ainemastrae (the points representing the four ethereal and corporeal elements and the black-and-white rays representing the duality of good and evil in all things). The symbol over the Ring of ALL is a stylised Ainemastrae used as a sort of "logo" for my writing project.

56819

Lingon
08-13-2013, 02:54 AM
Interesting rose. Personally I don't really like the metallic look, it rarely blends well with any map, but if you like it it's all good. The design itself I find pretty cool though.

The city insert looks good, it gives a clearer view of the city layout without being so overpowering on the map, compared to the previous red cities. I think it might look better if sized up, but it's hard to say for sure with only that one; maybe it would become too much city when all twenty are there.

Gumboot
08-13-2013, 08:51 PM
Full update...

The main thing, aside from having completed most of the labelling (I have a Duchy and about 20 Counties still to label up), is a test city icon. I am somewhat stumped as to what I should use, but the traditional circle (ring denoted a fortified city) is so common probably because it works well. I'm up for suggestions though. I also feel like, if I go in this direction with my city icon I should probably come up with a better solution for a town solution and a fortress solution.

Lingon, I hear you on the metallic issue... I really aren't sure what to use; I really want to incorporate the star design, but the satellite-photo style of the map means any sort of traditional artistic map rose won't really work either. Perhaps a toned back version of the existing one; a black silhouette or something?

Eventually I'll add some sort of cartouche and/or border areas with map information, key, and the city enlargements, so perhaps if the rose adheres to the style of the other elements it will fit a bit better...

I really now that the thread title is misleading as I've somewhat put aside my regional map of the Terra Patria sub-continent and instead am focusing on this region here, so I thought a bit of information:

The map depicts the medieval kingdom of Terrador, at the end of the 11th Century of the Sundering, at the outbreak of the Sleeping Wars.

Following the Sundering of the Terran Republic, the former provinces of what would become Terrador experienced their own isolated wars of independence, and eventually seven distinct kingdoms emerged; Belandia, Havar, Provos, Valerium, Sangarter, Estansi, and Cordell.

In the 740th year of the Sundering the King of Cordell died without heir, and his sister's son; the Saegardian Duke Edm Arthusien of Cerloux, crossed the Firth of Carrow and Tambre to claim the throne. Over the following six years, Arthusien conquered Provos, Havar and Valerium, weakened by a Samulian conquest from the east which had claimed Belandia already. Arthusien established the new kingdom of Terrador; named for the Rhunic word for the region between the Shattered Marches and the Rift of the World. To placate his new subjects, Arthusien adopted the Cordellian regnal name "Arafus", and changed his family name to Carlen, establishing a dynasty that would continue to rule the lands east of the Marches for centuries, gradually expanding their territory to swallow the kingdoms of Sangarter and Estansi before wrestling Belandia Plateau from the Samulian Empire.

Arafus Carlen's conquest of the Terradorian Kingdoms, completed by his son Farius I, forged a new, powerful Kingdom in the heart of Terra Patria, and thus he is known by the nickname "the Hammer".

56854

Naeddyr
08-16-2013, 03:00 AM
Love the texture, but some of the labels could be a bit more clear, mostly rivers and mountain range labels.

I think the metallic rose works with this kind of map.

Lingon
08-17-2013, 08:15 AM
I think the river labels are fine now. Could probably be even clearer, but they are definitively readable now. I like the idea about a black silhouette for the compass rose, and maybe give it a slight glow, like the text?

Gumboot
08-18-2013, 07:52 AM
I've now finished labelling everything (what a mission!) and am going to put my map aside for a little while, as I ponder a few questions, feel free to offer your thoughts or opinions;

1. How much detail to provide in the surrounding countries (currently I am showing nation names, international borders, and capital cities only)
2. What decorative elements to include and where to put them...
3. City mini maps; yes, no, where to put them?
4. What "places of interest" to include (currently only one place, a village, is indicated)
5. What other information, details I want to bother including (bridges, fords, waterfalls, battle sites, ruins...)
6. Finalise icons for city, town, fortress locations

And a few other dilemmas...

In the meantime, I thought the worldbuilders amongst you might be interested in the "coverage" map I used as my guide for locating towns and cities. Red indicates towns and blue cities; the smaller darker circles represent half a day travel by road (i.e. from a village and back again in one day) while the lighter larger circle represents a full day travel by road.

56967

Gumboot
08-20-2013, 07:45 PM
My last updates for a while I suspect, I've got a somewhat "complete" map, barring a few questions above which I aren't sure on.

The first is the "physical" map:

57053

The second is a "political" map depicting the feudal territories:

57054

I think these are probably about 90% done but I am interested in hearing feedback and suggestions on where I could go from here, what information I could add, and so on. There's still the issue of legibility to address as well. These are quality "9" jpegs so not quite as clear as the original, but it's full resolution, and as you can see a few of the smaller font locations (particularly those in italics) are not easy to read. I've been experimenting a bit with adjusting the tracking to separate the letters a tad and it seems to have helped (I've only done it on a few).

Valkyness
08-20-2013, 09:41 PM
Great looking map, I love the amount of detail and the textures.

Things to add. When you said about city mini maps, I think it would be worth doing for the capital city and then placing it possibly in the top left corner. Additional content such as bridges I think can be left out, reading the very well textured and marked landscape gives clear indication on whats there, maybe with the exception of ruins. Last thing that comes to mind would be a map border with scale measurements, if you were able to figure out the correct scale.

The only negative thing I could think to comment on would maybe be the number of towns. Im not sure on how large the country is but there seem to be to many towns placed. Though maybe im mistaking some of the villages for towns. that would be the only thing I recommend you change. Without checking the size of the mark im not 100% on if its a town or a village.

Those are my opinions anyway, again though, great looking map. I do like the political version too.
Was it just photoshop and wilbur you used to create it?

Gumboot
08-21-2013, 01:51 AM
Great looking map, I love the amount of detail and the textures.

Thanks! I must admit to being proud of my (exceptionally subtle) farmland textures.



Things to add. When you said about city mini maps, I think it would be worth doing for the capital city and then placing it possibly in the top left corner.

This is a great idea...



Additional content such as bridges I think can be left out, reading the very well textured and marked landscape gives clear indication on whats there, maybe with the exception of ruins. Last thing that comes to mind would be a map border with scale measurements, if you were able to figure out the correct scale.

Yeah I think a border is a good idea, I only left it off for now because if I were to include things like heraldry and mini maps they'd go into a border too, so I'd incorporate the key and so on all together within that. There actually already is a scale, incorporated into the compass rose, though it might not be completely clear as the numbers are in Roman numerals. What about other geographic features such as swampland? (That reminds me, I really must jump on Google Earth and see if swampland is distinguishable at this resolution.



The only negative thing I could think to comment on would maybe be the number of towns. Im not sure on how large the country is but there seem to be to many towns placed. Though maybe im mistaking some of the villages for towns. that would be the only thing I recommend you change. Without checking the size of the mark im not 100% on if its a town or a village.

They're all towns (only one village is marked, because of its importance) but the number is about right for a medieval kingdom of this size (about half the size of modern France) according to "Medieval Demographics Made Easy". It does seem like an insane amount, I'll admit, but I think that's the general point of "Medieval Demographics Made Easy"; medieval kingdoms were far, far more densely populated than we generally see in fantasy. This kingdom has a climate similar to Italy and the south of France so it's very fertile, and as you can see virtually the entire country has been cleared for farmland (you can see signs of recent land clearing in Fargraine Wood and the area of woodland called "The Green Line").

One of the interesting things about the "Medieval Demographics Made Easy" article is that my "coverage" map a few posts back seems to reinforce and support their numbers as the number of towns I've got just manages to comfortably cover the kingdom at a distance of 1 day travel, but can't cover it all at half a day travel. Because of the importance of towns for trade, you'd be unlikely to get many villages more than a day travel from the nearest town. Towns aren't particularly big though; the largest is Idrisport (pop.7,022) at the confluence of the Idris and Carrow rivers and the average is only 5,000.


Those are my opinions anyway, again though, great looking map. I do like the political version too.
Was it just photoshop and wilbur you used to create it?

Yeah, just those two. The initial height map was pulled from the larger continental height map and scaled up by a factor of 5, then reprocessed through Wilbur to increase the detail, then the coastlines, rivers and lakes were redrawn based on the continental map.

Valkyness
08-21-2013, 11:24 AM
Looking at the coverage map I can see the logic with the towns, that and the country being a bit larger then I was perceiving.

For stuff like swampland I think you could probably work a different texture / colour into it. I dont think it will be very distinguished but it will give an additional touch to the land.

Eilathen
08-22-2013, 09:39 AM
Wow, that upper map of the last two maps looks awesome! Very nice and realistic style. And now, with all those details visible, i really would like a world guide for this ;) I mean you have written up some stuff in here...but i'd like to know more about this world.

If i can i'll rep. you!

Gumboot
08-22-2013, 06:45 PM
Wow, that upper map of the last two maps looks awesome! Very nice and realistic style. And now, with all those details visible, i really would like a world guide for this ;) I mean you have written up some stuff in here...but i'd like to know more about this world.

If i can i'll rep. you!

Thanks, I'm glad you like it...

More about the world... hrm... well I guess I could offer up a broad overview to begin!

If you go back to my continental map earlier in the thread you'll see that Terra Patria isn't so much a continent as a sort of giant land bridge between two immense continents; Freiksnavia in the south and Ovasnasia in the north. Along the eastern edge of Ovasnasia lies the Great Ovasnasian Rift (the very end of it is visible in the continent map). That's where humanity evolved, but they arrived in Terra Patria from two directions, at two different times, and two distinct "sub-species".

The first called themselves the hil, and they arrived at Terra Patria from the north, as refugees from a civilisation that had been beset by a cataclysm far to the north, across the Apherion Sea. They quickly spread across uninhabited Terra Patria and established a powerful empire, and when they encountered early tribal humans spreading from the east, they provided them guidance and aid. The most significant of these encounters was a tribe of people called the Rhunicae, who had entered central Terra Patria from out of the enclosed sea to the south.

This bond was cemented when a vast invasion force swept through Terra Patria and savaged the hil empire. This force, descendant from the same force that had driven the first hil out of their ancestral homes, was set to destroy all civilisation, clinging so desperately to the continent. But the high-chieftan of the eight tribes of the Rhunicae - Garos - drew the invaders away from the hil cities, instead drawing their wrath down upon his own fledgling civilisation.

After the destruction of the Rhunic capital at Bal Terra, Garos and the surviving Rhunicae fled east, pursued by the invaders, crossing the Shattered Marches and eventually coming to the coast of the Apherion near the modern day city of Tareth (Terrador's capital). Here, with no where left to flee, Garos and the remaining Rhunic men prepared for a final battle against the impossibly vast enemy forces.

However, unknown to them, Garos' act in drawing the invaders from the hil cities had saved them, and it hadn't gone unnoticed. The empire was vast, and though peaceful, the invasion had stirred them to a fury, and a vast army was gathered from the provinces of the empire to exact their revenge. The Glrahil general Gly-Sirls was selected to lead them, and he marched his army across the Shattered Marches to the aid of the Rhunicae.

The Rhunicae were saved, and the invaders destroyed, and a new powerful bond forged between man and hil. And in this bond was forged the destruction of the hil. Because hil had one terrible weakness; they could not abide the touch of iron. Some trick of their biology caused their blood to react violently to the least contact with iron, causing sudden, horrible death. Even contact with the skin would bring about welts and rashes. Therefore, by hil mythology, iron was seen as the vessel of evil.

Man, however, relished in the use of iron, and having saved the Rhunicae, the hil had ensured the rise of the age of iron. A nation of hil called the Dorfan saw profit and opportunity, and exploited their slight resistance to iron to mine for the metal, to sell to the burgeoning Rhunic nation. This outrage drove a deep rift through the hil empire, between traditionalist who saw the mining of iron as blasphemy, and progressives who could see the world was changing, and hil would be left behind if they could not find a place for themselves in the new world.

Had this been the peaceful hil empire, nothing but philosophical debate would have come of this crisis, but in the aftermath of the invasion (by then known by hil simply as "The Darkness") the empire was decidedly warlike, and unsurprisingly, the empire fell into civil war. The Iron Wars, as they were known, flared on and off for centuries, and the constant strain eroded the empire. By the war's end, the great hil civilisation had ceased to be, rendered down to a few isolated communities at the distant edges.

One of these, the Glrahil, lay at the far eastern edge of the hil empire, beneath the shadow of the Shattered Marches. Their proximity to the Rhunic nation meant that Gly-Sirls and his descendants maintained a strong bond with the humans. For centuries, as the iron wars waged, the fortunes of the Rhunicae likewise waxed and waned as they fought with other fledgling human kingdoms. But gradually they claimed supremacy, and evolved into a vast powerful empire of their own; the Terran Republic. The Glrahil were given special protection within the Republic, as the Rhunicae fed an unsatiable hunger for conquest. They claimed all the land of Terra Patria as far west as the Eagles Reaches, which marked the border of the inner remnants of the hil. They claimed the lands east of the Shattered Marches, eventually subduing the desert kingdoms of the Samul people, and they even ventured south, into the frigid tundra of the Borrmanii and the Freikuvitii.

For some six hundred years the Republic ruled, and spread its polytheistic religion, its rulers safely protected by the warrior priests of the Rhunic state religion - the Spectre Guard. But it was not to last. The Rhunic religion taught that all things were composed of combinations of four tangible and four ethereal elements. These eight elements existed both in good and evil form, and all things were thus a mixture of good and evil. Thus, all men were forced to confront and address the evil within themselves.

A new philosophy began to emerge, however, in the provinces of the Empire, brought from the east, and promoted by self-claimed prophet. Evil was not an inherent part of man, but the work of a demonic agent, working against the efforts of the one true God, who encompassed everything. This agent of evil, this Eval, and his minions could poison the minds of man, but God and his servants could protect those who turned to him.

This new religion spread rapidly, appealing to those who wished to avoid blame for their own actions, and its spread undermined the power of the Spectre Guard and the state religion. The practise was outlawed, and the prophet hunted, but the damage had been done. The provincial governor of Capolli offered refuge to the prophet in the city of Espal, but assassins from the Spectre Guard found him and killed him. Widespread civil unrest followed, and the governors of several provinces including Saegard, Terrador, Capolli and Syriny officially changed their religion to the new faith in a desperate bid to appease the mob.

The Terran Senate, outraged by this, drew up a document expelling these provinces from the Empire, with the exception of Capolli which was, at the time, the Empire's wealthiest province. This event was known as the Sundering of the Republic. Capolli immediately declared independence from the empire and fought a civil war to secure their freedom. Over the following two and a half centuries the empire collapsed, as the rulers of Capolli expanded their influence and established the Vespan Empire. Finally, 263 years after the Sundering, the armies of the Vespan Empire besieged the great city of Bal Terra, which had rested like a glistening jewel at the centre of the world for centuries. The city fell, and the Vespan soldiers endulged in an orgy of destruction, tearing down Bal Terra's monuments, slaughtering her citizens, and erasing her from the pages of time. The Spectre Guard retreated into the mountains with the few remnant artifacts of their civilisation, and took shelter behind the impregnable walls of the great fortress of Teleportis.

The Vespans did not extend the same protection to the Glrahil as the Rhunicae had offered, so as the empire was in its death throes the hil flocked back from across the Republic to their traditional homeland and withdrew from the world of man, in an exodus known as the Great Retreat. They began harvesting an oak-like tree and grinding the nuts it produced to make flour, and their nation was quickly cultivated into a great forest, so that they were all but forgotten by mankind, and relegated to the status of myth and legend.

In the city of Espal, the prophet's teachings became established as official religious doctrine, and the Espallian Church was born. Its power and influence grew immensely, as the great Republic segmented into petty, warring feudal kingdoms. The church became divided into ten echelons, named for God's archangels, each tasked with different duties in shepherding mankind. The Seladians were the church's soldiers, the Mydrius spread the word of God, establishing themselves in the villages and towns of Terra Patria, the Ilafenia established hospitals, and so on. But there is an eleventh Archangel; Talien the Angel of Death, and an eleventh secret echelon of the church was established, to work in darkness, scouring the world for any remnant of the Rhunicae and eradicate it.

And it was into this world that the kingdom of Terrador was born, when Edm Arthusien crossed the Firth of Carrow and Tambre to lay claim to the throne of Cordell. Terrador has found itself fighting for its survival ever since, pinned as it is between two mighty empires; the red dragon of Samulia to the northeast and the blue bull of the Vespan Empire to the south. It's said that each generation must fight a great war, and repeated attempts at conquest by the bull and the dragon have failed, with each invasion thrown back by the valiant efforts of the Greycloaks - Terrador's standing army.

That is, until the Sleeping Wars. My maps depict the kingdom on the eve of those wars for good reason. Fearing a Rhunic resurgence, the Espallian Church uses its power and influence to goad the Vespan Emperor into a new, vast effort, unleashing war on two fronts against Terrador and Saegard. This time the church put their considerable military power behind the invasion. The outcome will rewrite the order of the world.

LowerSpatialDimension
09-24-2013, 09:08 PM
A man after my own heart! My worldbuilding project is coming up on ten years, but I started when I was quite young and the continents have undergone some pretty cataclysmic revisions since then. I have a soft spot for hyper-realism and suffice it to say this is one of my favorite maps on the boards.

I'm a bit late to the beginning of the thread, but I wanted to ask if you'd be willing to share your method for developing the coastlines. Firstly, well done! They're the best coastlines I've seen. They seem much too detailed and natural to be hand-drawn, but they don't look fractal or generated - there's a great variation between smooth, sweeping coast and squiggly rocky areas, and the island chains look like they're straight off a map. The whole thing looks incredibly earthlike and geographically realistic.

This is something I've been struggling with for a while - I've experimented with sampling google maps data, cutting and pasting to make a coastline, but it's incredibly laborious and I worry a local might recognize their beach somewhere! Did you use any real-world geographic data, was Wilbur involved in the coast as well, or did you draw them by hand? I'd understand if you don't want to give away a secret, but I'd love some pointers if possible - thanks!

ukie
09-24-2013, 10:41 PM
Beautiful in every step. Everything done with such great care, I'm a fan. I hope you will do a PS tutorial at some point ;)

P.S. History of your land is equally thrilling.

Lyandra
09-27-2013, 05:40 PM
Really nice maps! I quite like the look you've achieved in Wilbur, very nice coloring. I'm looking forward to seeing more of your creations! :)

Podcreature
09-28-2013, 07:47 AM
Wow, I can't tell you how relieved I am to have found this thread so soon after joining the forum. I recently discovered Wilbur and all the examples I've seen, as impressive as they are, don't have anywhere near as realistically scaled and shaped mountain ranges as what you presented here. You have demonstrated the software so well, that at least I know, if I use it right, I can get the results I want! I especially love the wispy looking ranges, you really get the same fluid look real mountains have from satellite.

aquarits
09-29-2013, 11:35 AM
Just an update on the middle section of the map. Ran the height map through Wilbur then created a texture map to test my progress.

54792

Nice working going here. Maybe i am late, but can i call to stop the bus for a second? I have a question about Wilbur.
How did you get all those wonderful shapes using Wilbur? To get the mountains and the "defined" rivers. Atm i am trying use like 10 levels of topography and blurring to get smooth levels but far to get too defined details like you did.

arsheesh
11-25-2013, 02:00 PM
Any progress on this Gumboot? I was really liking where this was going.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh