View Full Version : Mardorakh WIP - crits desired

12-27-2013, 04:48 PM
The long-awaited historical atlas published by Urokosh University was released last year to great acclaim. Here is a sample map from that atlas, showing the continent of Mardorakh in the fifth century. Kridotha was at the peak of its power, and the newly formed Allira Federation was not yet a threat. By the middle of the sixth century the Federation had been broken, but so too had Kridothan dominion.

I made this map just to play with various techniques. Since it's not actually connected to any other project, I was free to come up with whacko names that don't pertain to anything. It was very liberating, and the whole thing only took a couple of days. I am generally pleased by it but (as you can plainly see), my labeling techniques could use some work. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


12-28-2013, 05:02 AM
Looks really good, man! Only two things I can see that could be changed.

Firstly the border around the land is very thick - probably a personal thing, I just think it would look better skinnier. Secondly, the fact that the map is tilted on a very slight axis. It isn't that awkwardly shaped, so you could easily just rotate it to fit in, and have north be directly up.

Other than that, it's great for a simple atlas-type thing. Obviously if you wanted to go into detail you'd have to whack down forests and so on and so forth. Some sort of scale would be useful too, in the key on the right - [--------] = 50 miles or something.

12-28-2013, 05:33 AM
The work in itself is very well done; the style well executed. Nice decent colour scheme and clear lines. If this piece is only meant to showcase certain techniques, it is quite a success and something you can indeed be pleased by.

Of course there are several things that could be improved. The labels seem distorted... you should use some kind of "text along path" instead of bending to shape them. The rivers are a little weak... you could try to reduce their numbers to the main ones and put more emphasis on these.

The compass rose... I'd say a graticule would be better suited for that style. It would add a sense of size and proportions to the map, as well as the projection used.
As it is now, it hints at some kind of mercator projection... and then I ask myself: why is it tilted?

But the thing that really bothered me when I read your post and saw the map: this is supposed to be a map from an historical atlas. You told us about the era in question and the changes that happened. Yet there is nothing at all about that in the map!
This is a great style for physical / geological maps... but as an historical map, it is seriously lacking.

12-30-2013, 01:29 PM
It's interesting that both comments I have received expressed concern over the tilted compass rose. In truth, I didn't add a graticule or a scale because I really had none in mind. I was playing with terrain generation stuff and just wanted it to look good for a continental scale. I suppose the whole map is on the order of four thousand kilometers wide. Anyway, lacking a scale or a map projection, I whipped up a quick compass rose. Then I tilted it a little 'cos I thought it looked cool that way. Now I know.

The whole historical atlas conceit arose because the map is in a modern style, but I envisioned the societies whose names I was making up wholesale as older and less rigidly organized. To rectify the contradiction, I called it an historical map. The whole paragraph about the atlas and the nations on it I made up as I was posting. I guess if I'm going to do that kind of thing, I should carry it all the way through.

Thanks for taking the time to comment!


12-31-2013, 05:27 AM
Nice Map - clear to read. The main area for me that you might want to look at has already been mentioned by Freodin: the text distortion. Additionally, (you may already have this covered), if you are going to put text labels on a curve, it's usually because you are following the long axis of the area being labelled and expanding the spacing between characters to fill the line. If the long axis is more or less horizontal, then you would probably be better off not curving it at all. Also, consider using all caps for area labels. There is a great guide to labelling maps which is linked in my signature. The thing I liked the most about your map were the numbers of rivers- - we tend to under represent them (as fantasy maps generally do).

What software did you use to make the map? Was it Wilbur?

01-03-2014, 01:31 PM
Thanks for the comments, Ravells.

I haven't yet had a chance to read the PDF on labels that you provided, but a quick glance through it has me excited. I will definitely read this before my next version of this map.

The software I used was Gimp with Wilbur used for erosion to provide the rivers (as you guessed). I've been playing with techniques nearly all of which were garnered here in the Guild forums. I have only recently got to the point where I think my mountains look decent on a continental scale. I'm not yet entirely satisfied with them, but I'm getting there.