View Full Version : Asora - World WIP

10-29-2013, 04:24 AM
Figured I could use all the feedback this awesome mapping community can offer, despite being new here...

Here's the first upload of my largest world-building endeavor to date, and the one I will likely be working on for quite some time. I intend to create smaller maps for many regions as well as histories for literally every civilization on the entire planet, before I even begin pulling this into a novel or series (I'm a writer). Yeah. I call it the 10-year project :P


So far, I've got basic information like elevation, temperature, and some of the things that Fractal Terrains is more accurate in (it doesn't do all climate very well). Hence my upload, in which I'm painting earth satellite imagery onto this planet according to a rudimentary & consulted information of geography. What I'm looking for in this regard is: What areas don't look realistic so far? From what you know of the way worlds work, what isn't working in this world? (One sidebar, the number of inland seas has a magical explanation)

My process for the continents is basically: The Genesis of Israh; A Tutorial (http://www.worldofgotha.com/PF_TUTORIAL/israh_index.html) - Huge kudos for this tutorial!
+ extensive photoshopping
Programs used = Fractal Terrains, Wilbur and Photoshop.

To do list: do Southern Continent, then shift entire map to the left and add the smaller continent in its entirety instead of butchering it and leaving out its midsection. Or vice versa.

I welcome any feedback you guys have :)

10-29-2013, 11:40 AM
It look good and the mountains look pretty realistic. You said you painted the climate or that it's just made with FT? I'm asking because I know it's possible to achieve something similar using different climate image. But I have not really tried that style yet.

I suppose than most of the arctic zone are temporary because it's unrealistic to have snow at the equator. Anyway if you want information about climates: The Climate Cookbook (http://jc.tech-galaxy.com/bricka/climate_cookbook.html)

10-29-2013, 01:19 PM
I would offer up a map with your equator and tropics lines, and perhaps a globe view. And if you are ambitious, work out how your ITCZ wanders seasonally. That is one of the most important aspects of the world. And work on major ocean currents. The deserts (knee-jerk reaction) seem potentially off. The horseshoe desert seems to rely upon being in rain shadow from western mountains, but winds at this locale are likely equatorial east to west (assuming Earth-like rotation) and should get plenty of moisture from the ITCZ, with rain shadow potentially on the opposite side. The other huge desert might have issues also, but more details would be needed. Been a year or more since i really delved into this stuff, so everything I say needs a grain of salt.

10-29-2013, 03:36 PM
@Azelor I'm just using Photoshop's clone stamp tool to paint from a cut up, rotated, flipped etc satellite map of Earth, so it's actual terrain just going where I put it.

@Veldehar The tropic lines and ITCZ would be a good thing to figure out, thanks! As for the deserts, I've been talking to a geography teacher at the university I go to and their location is accurate, although we did talk about reversing the rotation of Earth, so maybe that's why she suggested the deserts on that side of 'horseshoe' mountains. I'll double check about that before going farther.

10-29-2013, 04:15 PM
Yeah, opposite rotation would make sense, and without latitudinal lines its not necessarily easy to discern details… however, if it isn't backwards, then I'm not sure how it greens up west of the desert with earthly equatorial storm movement. But I would have to see your currents, air, etc detailed to have a better idea. Earthly flow, that area might be a good candidate for monsoons.

Also with backwards flow in currents that big eastern desert would have a cold water shore, rather than warm water, which would assist in desertification. However, it might be northerly enough to experience weather traveling east to west (in backwards spin) which would bring moisture from the ITCZ (which would rise high with such a large land mass keeping the atmosphere warm, theoretically) which could hurt the desert scenario. With an earthly flow, the desert makes a good bit of sense, as a rain shadow, but still, the desertification of that peninsula seems highly unlikely without justification. And of course, the temps of the world in general can change everything. I'd also look into the plate tectonics if you want to go nuts, LOL.

The scale of this continent also throws a wrench into the hypotheticals.

Work on currents, winds, ITCZ and seasons, plate tectonics… No geography instructor or anyone on the internet will really be able to give hard answers to the questions, only suggest possibilities and probabilities. Right now I would call it possible, with the right explanations, probable? Not sure.

10-29-2013, 04:19 PM
Also, here is a link to one of my all time favorite animations for world building. Someday, I have this animation for my world map, LOL.


10-31-2013, 05:56 AM
Well, that's a lot of work ;)

I've corrected my original map projection to more easily portray both continents. Here's a version with the lines of longitude and latitude, equator, and the Tropics (my planet has slightly less angle of rotation than Earth, at 19).


Also, here's rudimentary plate tectonics. It's probably way off... I don't know a whole lot about them. Would tectonics help with extrapolating any of the other information, such as ocean currents? Things like temperature, currents and winds seem almost entirely interconnected with each other and I'm not sure where I would begin to get those going.


As for the ITCZ and seasons, they might be an extra step I don't need. As much as I enjoy world-building for the sake of world-building, I think I'd be able to extrapolate seasonal information for specific areas as accurately as any of the medieval inhabitants without adding in a monthly map of annual weather change... although, that animation is almost enough to make me want to :)

10-31-2013, 07:07 AM
Wow, I like what you've done already!

It's pretty hard to get such a "satellite style" map of good quality and not the "oh, here's a bit of africa" in mind. It's seems completely real and not borrowed to Earth, so excellent work.

10-31-2013, 10:34 AM
It is looking great so far. Plate tectonics are great for building landscapes, like island chains, mountain ranges, volcanic activity, etc. Where continents are, axial tilt of the planet, brightness of the planet's star, etc. affect the weather from what I can tell. Mountains do, too, so I guess indirectly, tectonics would affect weather patterns.

10-31-2013, 01:42 PM
@Ilanthar, thanks! I figured that big desert was too clearly the Sahara, but I guess this is working better than expected! :)

@Humabout good point. I based my tectonics map mainly off of the elevation that was generated by fractal terrains, so it might've been a bit redundant for getting weather I suppose. But still a cool thing to have. I could always add some more islands.

10-31-2013, 03:20 PM
Tectonics is more a tool to help you map and can inspire thoughts of volcano and earthquake prone areas, as well as where island chains and mountains logically belong. Currents are far more important to climate.

Tectonics can also assist in creating desert-like areas despite rainfall, due to simply having infertile ground. Australia, as I recall, in parts has more than adequate rainfall to not be desert (and I think it heading more and more north toward the equator where it will get more rain due to the ITCZ) but remains barren rock. Why? It sits in the middle of a plate and therefore has had no real volcanic activity for an extremely long time, and volcanism is a major player in fertility.

I always recommend the ITCZ map, not for every month! But to just take a look at the extreme north and south meanderings and how those play across the continents. For instance, one belt of mountains on my map, we figure that now and again the ITCZ will travel north above them and provide massive rainfall, but most seasons it would hang to the south of the mountains, leaving it very arid most years and with a short rainy season others. This gives the region good character.

Ever decide the direction the world spins?

10-31-2013, 04:43 PM
Ever decide the direction the world spins?<rant>
As interesting as this might be to an author, I've always found that when gaming with other people, altering such fundamental ideas (respective to the group) as which direction the sun rises, or which hemisphere the major body of land lies in (north or south) tends to only confuse people rather than add flavor. In terms of climate and currents (the only things of substance affected by changing the spin direction), changing which way the world spins is identical to flipping the land layout and then figuring out the meteorological and climate maps. So unless the reader/players will particularly care which way the water drains in a sink, why do this? I'd rather let my audience

That said, if you are making an alien world where everything is suppose to be weird and not feel right, there might be some aesthetic usefulness in making the sun rise in the west and set in the east. This is a pretty blatant and clumsy way of approaching such things, imo, however. There are more subtle ways to make people feel like they are on another planet. Frex, martian sunsets are blue, the horizon is WAY too close (about a mile, rather than the usual three-ish on earth), it is quiet (you'd have to scream as loud as you could to be heard a few feet away), the day is 40 minutes longer than on Earth, resulting in some messed up sleeping patterns and general havoc on your circadian rhythm, etc. Personally, I'd focus on the little things and let those unnerve the audience rather than smacking them in the face with the sun rising in the wrong place. Heck, what about Uranus, where the sun just spirals around the sky for half the year until it sets and then spirals back up the sky? Or Mercury where the sun traverses half the sky, then stops, goes backwards, stops again, and then sets? Sorry if that got ranty, but I really dislike adding unneeded complexity to a system.

01-08-2014, 07:36 PM
Alright, after exams and a bit of a holiday break, I'm back at it. I've included a completed 'satellite' map, after passing it by several geographers, as well as an ITCZ map, just for you Veldahar. ;) The lines are rough, and there's probably a few spots that are in error, but should cover the basic gist of things.



I've also uploaded the first styled map of this world, Asora. It's very plain right now, just a bunch of textures and effects all magicked together (expect many more tweaks to this before it looks how I'd like it to). As I get into the content world building of Asora, I'll flush it out with names, decals and details. I'd appreciate tips on how this rough version is received: