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Falconius
07-21-2013, 08:51 PM
Heya. So this is a map I'm working on for the set of a game I'm working on. The game is going to require some strategic/tactical maps for playing the campaign on (I'm going to estimate their size at 50 km square, maybe smaller). But I decided I really need to have an overall picture of what is going on in the immediate and surrounding area to wrap my head around everything. So hence the need for this regional map.

I Don't have any of the names worked out just yet so I'm going to to just use Eglephron as a placeholder for now since I think it sounds neat.

Obviously I took a page of style straight from Viking's map of the world of Skenth (http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/23471-world-skenth-wip.html) for my oceans, because frankly that map is just inspirational. I fooled around with Wilbur and masks in massive frustration until I discovered one thing, which is that I don't know how to use Wilbur very well. After seeing Viking's map I thought that maybe I could manage something along those lines for the oceans. It is however a lot of work, I wasn't quite counting on it being so time consuming. Also I'm using a mouse and I can feel that after sessions a couple of hours long all that clicking the carpal-tunnel creeping into my arm :p . However I'm super pleased with the results, so my thanks to Viking for showing me the way so to speak.

As you can see I've pretty well determined the coasts, I may add a few more islands up in the NE corner, and plan on putting in a few tiny islands around. On the land side I haven't really done much other than the inland seas. The ugly black blobs are some intended mountain ranges I think. And the ugly blue lines leading south are some proposed river routes, I really want a bayou sort of area and river delta sort of thing happening in the southern bay type area. Not to sure what I plan on doing with the far north part of the map (the equator is planned to be put some where nearer the top edge, maybe just above the large crater).

In that large expanse in the middle is going to be a waste land of various terrain and biome types. This is the area where my games campaigns are planned to be set. As such I haven't really settled on a scale yet because I feel like I want a lot of room for my game site. I should get pretty good coverage of stuff I think though. The scale I put there is because I was imagining the large island to the East as roughly equivalent to Sicily in size.

The giant crater was based on the gulf of Mexico and the little bite is an obvious homage to Hudson Bay and James Bay, but then I figure it could've been a second meteor strike and also saw a bunch of pictures of craters that actually form islands in the middle with a surprising amount of frequency. Anyways on the coast of that little crater is where I intend on putting the most important city, sort of the Rome for this world. Perhaps on the little island, but more likely on the mainland next to a rive that empties there.

My concerns at this point are having a relatively realistic sort of river delta swamp thing which I think I already screwed up a little. And of coarse I am concerned about the mountain ranges. I decided to forgo being super careful and thinking about tectonic plates and such because I didn't feel like getting all caught up with that stuff and limited by realism, but at the same time I want it to work in my mind without just saying, "oh its a magic world dufus."

That was entirely too much writing and far more than I intended, sorry for the TL: DR. Here's the map so far:

56281Done in GIMP, actual size 4886 x 2904

Revock
07-21-2013, 10:36 PM
I like the impact crater idea.

Falconius
07-22-2013, 08:20 PM
SO I've been painting this greyscale mess for some topographical guidance but I'm totally lost now (whoops). I can't decide whether it is worth pursuing for some sort of bump map or whatever or scrapping this approach entirely. I'm torn between keeping it and ditching it. I'm also of two minds regarding of whether I want to do isometric drawn elements in the map or go for a more realistic topographical satellite photo approach. Right now I'm leaning towards ditching this entirely and doing the drawing, which will leave me leeway for my more detailed campaign maps.

The things I want represented on this map in some manner are pretty regular sorts of stuff. Vegetation, terrain, rivers and roads should there be any and major points of interest such as settlements or what have you. It could be that is too much for one map to handle well. The goal of this map I think is just an overview of things for the smaller detailed campaign maps. Maybe that is not refined enough?

Just for fun I've been playing with this in Wilbur, it turns out if you run 30 or so precipitation based erosion cycles most of the map becomes an endless expanse of green sea with some very nice looking hills.

Revock
07-22-2013, 08:59 PM
It seems as though you intentionally blurred the height map? At any rate, although I've tried my hand at a more hand drawn style, I personally prefer Sat style maps. If you do pursue it that way, you'll get plenty of advice, either way really. You might find the Tuts on that style create possibilities and ideas you hadn't already thought of for your smaller scale campaign maps.

Falconius
07-22-2013, 10:41 PM
Mostly its airbrushed strokes, I blurred it a little on another layer to blend it together better but really I need a lot more resolution in the height map for it to work on this scale. Which I'm having difficulties with. The ocean was easier to do because of the colours I think. Also it's easier to just ignore detail in the oceans because there is no expectation or real need for it. I'll keep going over the tutorials though, there is a lot of good stuff in them, getting it in my head however...

Falconius
07-24-2013, 05:27 PM
Still having trouble deciding which way to go with the terrain indications. I've been experimenting with some poorly drawn mountains, and I have some nice Wilbur processed height maps.

I've put in the rivers and outlined the coasts though and it looks a lot better for it. All the line work was done in Inkscape and imported it to Gimp. I definitely have to fix the style of the mountains though if I'm sticking with drawn. The mountains obviously would not go directly over a river, this was just a quick thing to sort of see it in action. I've been thinking how to paint them if at all, but not come up with anything successful so far. I'm fairly certain I'd like them to at least have a white highlight.

The map colours are there just to indicate the location of the height map. They are definitely not staying being that they are terrible.

Lingon
07-24-2013, 06:02 PM
Don't know why I've taken so long to say this, but I'm digging that landmass shape. Very, very, very cool.

Azelor
07-26-2013, 11:47 AM
The mountains are really nice but looking on the greyscale map it look like some black hole tried to twist the map. Not that it's bad but I wonder if it's intentional.

- Max -
07-26-2013, 11:52 AM
The giant crater was based on the gulf of Mexico and the little bite is an obvious homage to Hudson Bay and James Bay, but then I figure it could've been a second meteor strike and also saw a bunch of pictures of craters that actually form islands in the middle with a surprising amount of frequency. Anyways on the coast of that little crater is where I intend on putting the most important city, sort of the Rome for this world. Perhaps on the little island, but more likely on the mainland next to a rive that empties there.

Falconius, are you talking about that?

Falconius
07-26-2013, 12:25 PM
Lingdon, thanks it's comforting to hear that. I was really kind of not sure about the west, likely because there are no coasts or really any really defined features there. I'm still not entirely sure what to do with it, it's going to end up being my maps spiritual Saskatchewan I think; really boring to drive through.

Azelor, that effect was unintended, but not unliked now that you pointed it out.

Max, I'm not sure what you mean?

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Ok so once I finally got my brushes to start working I've been experimenting with the mountains. I'm not sure I want to continue in this direction or not. I like the painted mountains, but they seems sort of cartoony. Maybe with a tan background and just white highlights they'd work better? I'll have to try it tomorrow. Any tips or advice would be appreciated.

Cheers.

Lingon
07-26-2013, 05:36 PM
Don't worry about the relatively empty west, there has to be some less detailed areas in any painting to keep it from getting cluttered, so it's only good :)

I like the mountains! Your own, or some brushes you found? Either way, they could blend in better I think – especially the colored one looks a little like it's on top of the map rather than in it. A longer transition from ground to mountain color should do it.

Azelor
07-26-2013, 06:13 PM
I really like your mountains so far and about the west, well you could put some sort of wasteland/ jungle depending of the latitude.

Falconius
07-30-2013, 04:36 PM
Lingon - Thanks, they are my own. They look extremely similar to yours I noticed, which was unintentional. If it was I would've definitely tried harder to do the spine thing you did :). I'll try blending the bottoms in with an transparent eraser when I get all the painted terrain elements done. Or something. Thanks for the suggestion.

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SO progress has been slow. I've been spending a long time painting these mountains. If I had known how bloody much work it was I wouldn't have started. Or I would've done them with painted brushes instead. But I think they are looking good and I'm half way done with them so its pretty cool to see 'em get done. I've also been testing colours for the hills, but stopped half way through since I need to make a bunch more brushes for them; the repeats get too noticeable with the 20 or so hills I have now.

I've been debating on the large land features being drawn in like the bluffs I put in near my test city. I plan on doing forest brushes, and have been debating some sort of swamp type brush for use near the river delta since all that lowland there is swamp (I'm thinking Louisiana bayou sort of).

It's hard to figure everything visually with the background still being the height map, but I figured things are easier to see with the colour back there. I've tried painting it but that is way beyond my skill level. So other than painted features like hills mountains etc. I think I'm just going to leave it an extremely subtle and simple tan/aged paper sort of look. Lowering the opacity on the mountain paint makes them look pretty good with a simple background.

I think I may skip doing any sort of roads or whatever, I can't really decide. There really wouldn't be many anyways due to the geopolitical situation though so I wouldn't really feel like it was missing something.

For the city icons I thought I was just going to do some simple thing like crossed circles or whatever but decided to test out these little picture like things. I kind of like them, but it kind of jumpstarts my thought on these cities in that I have to figure out important structures in the cities before I have their ideas fully nailed down. I got the flavours I want from the cities but not the specifics so much. There wont be too many of them though since I'm only doing the really major important notable locations. Maybe like 6 or 5 total.

Azelor
07-30-2013, 06:47 PM
So you tried to paint the background but it was not good ?
I had to do a lot of test to get something nice. It's pretty hard considering that I'm not a natural painter/drawer either. My advice (but I use photoshop) is to avoid saturated colors. They don't render very well and you can't print them. Also, if possible, try to randomize the opacity and the tint (only a little) of you brush.
I've found that monotony is you yorst ennemy. http://cdn.leviathyn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/snes-super-mario-world-world-map-555x416.png But the bad thing with opacity is that it's harder to make subsequent modification (sometime), so it's best to change opacity in the layer instead of in the brush setting.

Finally, I would say that you should keep some sort of background and paint over it so you get some sort of texture (I used a parchment image but other thing may serve).

Chashio
07-30-2013, 08:51 PM
If I had known how bloody much work it was I wouldn't have started.

haha! I've said that a time or two... usually about trees. I'm glad you didn't know. They are looking good. :)

Failtality
07-31-2013, 12:45 AM
Love what you're doing here. I think the hand painted mountains look nice, so definatly keep going with that! Axel or is right too, different settings on your brush really help, especially if you're using a pen and tablet.

Falconius
08-11-2013, 01:59 PM
Progress is slow. I haven't touched the land colours since my first failed attempts to figure them out. I went ahead and made some tree brushes but screwed up the first set and it ended up with a ton of white pixel artifacts so I have to remake them properly again. They take a long time though so I've been lazy and avoiding them. Not even sure if they work with the map. I'm really not sure how to represent the forests at all. I think some form of representation is necessary however as forests seem to add a lot to a map.

As you see I've laid out where I want my hills and laid in the plateaus I wanted. It looks kind of honky right now but I'm hoping that painting the hills will help alleviate the way they look out of place. Overall the colours are too saturated for the maps style. I'm definitely leaning to a plain tan background with these elements and the trees sitting on top.

My city plan didn't work out well since even tiny vignettes of the cities (I included a couple of examples) were too dominant and didn't fit the scale so I'm just going to use simple circle type icons. Maybe save some of them for border illustrations.

I'm happy with the scale I decided on for the map. The Scale Bar and the Compass Rose I'm happy with for the most part, I haven't planned their positions or anything really yet, just dropped them in for now. The scale will probably move to the map legend. And I think I'll reduce the size of the rose and perhaps re-orient it if I ever decide on where I actually want the equator. I'm definitely going to have to figure out a text solution that fits in with the map. I'll probably have to do labels by hand and scan them in to fit everything else that has been done that way.

I saw a map here today from a while ago that I love, and he weaved the text in with some features. It looks super cool: http://www.cartographersguild.com/finished-maps/2672-north-eastern-kingdoms-durthaen.html I don't think I could get away with similar style though.

Falconius
08-20-2013, 04:22 PM
Hey, basically I've made no progress as I've been slightly busier than expected. Right now I'm still hung up on the brushes which have to be done before anything happens, they are going to take a couple of days probably to redo. Trying to fix them has gotten them heavily darkened and takes longer than just doing them over.

I figured I just post where I'm at about as I'm going to be gone on vacation for a few weeks. Anyways I did the hills and threw down some of the crappy trees to show what I'm at. Obviously I'm going to have to split the layers more specifically to accommodate the trees.

Diamond
08-20-2013, 04:35 PM
Yeah... not digging those trees. :D For one thing, they're HUGE compared to the mountains. I do love those mountains and plateau/tableland things though, and the overall layout of the map is great. Keep it up!

Falconius
02-02-2014, 03:56 PM
Decided to overhaul the line work of the drawn topography since the way the old mountains were just wasn't doing it for me. Unfortunately it means I have to go back and paint everything again, since that was one aspect of them I liked. Perhaps I'll take a different approach though. It also gave me an opportunity to include the cataclysm scar I had planned from the beginning which I'm happy with, even if I did have to redirect a river and blow up an island.

Not having a tablet I lay my screen down on the table and traced the coast lines and rivers onto paper then drew in my new topography with pencil, then traced it to new paper with ink and then copied it and put it into GIMP. This is just the rough work I haven't cleaned it up any at all (if I'm going to), but it gives an idea of the new direction I'm heading. I'm not really how I would clean the lines if I was planning on it. Maybe take it to Inkscape and fool around with it there? Some of the lines definitely didn't make the translation from paper to the image very well. Also I noticed I missed the cliff lines on one of the plateaus which shouldn't be too hard to fix with the mouse.
60969

Lingon
02-02-2014, 04:17 PM
Yay, you're working on this again! And it's looking completely awesome. That mountain style – perfect. Will look amazing when colored and shaded.