View Full Version : Continent/Island not named yet

01-20-2014, 07:34 PM
Yeah, hello. This is my first map, I create it for a small writing project I'm doing at the moment. Created with autorealm.


The first thing I'd like to ask, is there any way to color the land? Like, if I choose a color the entire object turn into that color. Maybe I got to use another software?

Another thing, the size of the land is roughly 65x90 miles, should I call it island or continent? Does it considered as small or big one?

Also, I'd like some comment and criticism, and some tips to improve myself :D Thanks.

01-21-2014, 07:37 PM
May I have some reply please? :(

01-21-2014, 09:29 PM
It's more than likely an island--that'd be a very tiny continent.

Regarding scale, I think you should consider that as well. For such a small area you have a lot of stuff going on---desert, mountains, forests, plains, valleys.

The placement of the valley is also a bit concerning to me--it's right beside the ocean, so technically unless the elevation was really high, it'd be under water.

01-21-2014, 10:02 PM
I think you should think about your Icons a bit more, some of your trees are bigger than your mountains. If I look at just the shape of the land it isn't that bad. If you want your map to look more professional I would encourage you to go to the tutorials that are here it could be very helpful.

01-21-2014, 10:06 PM
I think you should think about your Icons a bit more, some of your trees are bigger than your mountains. If I look at just the shape of the land it isn't that bad. If you want your map to look more professional I would encourage you to go to the tutorials that are here it could be very helpful.

It's hard to change any of that in AutoRealm. :(

I'd just kick the whole program to the curb, honestly. Paste your map over in Gimp or Photoshop and do it up right :P

01-22-2014, 06:45 AM
Thanks for the response guys. So what I should be doing:

-Kick away autorealm
-Upsize the scale. What is the proper size for a continent? I'll settle with a large island if its gonna be too big
-Change the valley into a lake
-Downsize the trees

I'll keep it updated. Thanks

01-22-2014, 11:38 AM
That's a pretty small continent since it's about the size of Flores in Indonesia: Florès - Wikipédia (http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flor%C3%A8s)

To make it more like a continent it would take at least 1 million km2. Something the size of Australia or Groenland.

01-22-2014, 01:56 PM
I think its a noble first effort. As has been said before, I think the land is a bit to small for all the geographic features you have. For instance I think that having a desert of any kind on such a small island is a bit of a stretch. Also, mountains are rarely stand alone affairs (regardless of what Tolkien may say :D). For that reason, it seems that the large mountain in the center should be more connected with the northern range.

However, having said all that, this looks like a very fantastical land, and the standard geophysics may not apply. Hell, just look at Tolkien's Middle-Earth for example. On his maps the rivers Celduin and Anduin both have very close origins (even the same origin in a few maps I've seen) in the Ered Mithrin. These two rivers flow in different directions, however, despite both being from the same side of a continental divide, with the Anduin flowing south (hugging the Misty Mountains, might I add, also an anomaly) while the Celduin runs through Mirkwood to Dale and eventually to the inland sea of Rhun. What I'm trying to say is that, if your map corresponds to a fantasy world that is not bound by our science (Ea, the "planet" Middle Earth is on is flat, after all) then all of these worries do not matter as much. But the map will also by force look "unrealistic" by those same standards. If it fits the logic of your story, I wouldn't change anything.

And yes, I do second the idea of trying out more organic map creation methods with GIMP and Inkscape. A dedicated mapping software has some benefits (built in support for fractal coastlines, for example) but overall, learning the more advanced tools will give you more control over the results and be useful for more than just maps, too. :D Keep up the good work.

01-22-2014, 11:39 PM
Thanks for the criticism. As said its my first time, my sense of size is rather off when I'm making it. Is there any proper size I can use? also, what is the common distance for these:
-Average or minimun capital distance of different nations
-Town/villages distance between each other
-How big the island in my map should be, judging from the objects

Still learning GIMP, I hope I'll get it done in a few days.

01-23-2014, 01:23 AM
The size of your map is fine... but the icons/areas are not.

Or.. the size of some icons is fine, but the size of others and the size of the areas is not.

OR the size of the areas is right, but the size of the icons and the island/continent is not. (This is why I said you need a different program, cause the icons don't mesh, size-wise)

It all depends on what level of detail you want to show in your map.

If your map is "65x90" miles, it would be an island. Think about it... that's an HOUR driving, in a car.

I grew up near St. Louis, Missouri. The distance from St Louis to Springfield was about an hour and a half. (St Louis to Springfield) (https://maps.google.com/maps?ie=UTF-8&gl=us&daddr=Springfield,+IL&saddr=St+Louis,+MO&panel=1&f=d&fb=1&geocode=KfmO7fqptNiHMVvguyLK6jm-%3BKXfR2yQdOXWIMSJtqMzugizn&ei=TafgUqD6EK_LsQTwsoDYAQ&ved=0CCUQ-A8wAA)

That's 95 miles.

The distance from Springfield to Chicago (https://maps.google.com/maps?ie=UTF-8&gl=us&daddr=Springfield,+IL&saddr=St+Louis,+MO&panel=1&f=d&fb=1&geocode=KfmO7fqptNiHMVvguyLK6jm-%3BKXfR2yQdOXWIMSJtqMzugizn&ei=TafgUqD6EK_LsQTwsoDYAQ&ved=0CCUQ-A8wAA) (In the same state!) is about 3 1/2 hours... at around 200 miles. More than twice the size of the longest part of your island.

Ireland is about 100 miles wide at its' NARROWEST point. at the longest, it's

But, okay, that's travel by car.

The average for how far a person can walk in a day is 20 miles. So you'd have a 3 day trek from one side of the island to the other, for casual, long-distance travel. An army, or a runner could make it in far less time.

You have a total area of about 5850 square miles. The closest ISLAND to the size of yours, is melville island, off the coast in australia.

Google maps images of melville island:


The islands in that tiny circle:


The LENGTH of a typical mountain range is 1500 miles.

They range from 500 miles long, to 4300 miles long.

So.. you could put in some single mountains, or volcanoes on an island that size. Hawaii is smaller than your island and theres a huge volcano there! But you aren't going to find mountain ranges, or deserts, or uncharted lands and vast plains.

For that, you need more LAND.

Common distances.... depends on the time period, really. Medieval times? A village was almost always AT LEAST a day's walk from another village (20 miles), usually it was more. It could be 3 days walk (60 miles) or a week long trip (140 miles+).

If you figure the capitols in the center of each nation, and the capitol spans 10 miles, and each village is 5, then... you couldn't fit 2 nations on an island that size... I'd say from one capitol to another would be.. ? ... uh... ? at least a couple weeks of journeying, so probably about 280 miles? That's just a guess though, and it's a low guess...

If you want your map to have everything it includes, I would say... the WIDTH of your island should be at least 1500 miles. The length at LEAST 3000.

Personally, I'd make it much bigger.

I'm glad you switched to GIMP, it will make it much easier to adjust things :)

01-23-2014, 01:45 AM
The icon size is by no mean realistic when I create it, autorealm lag too much when I stuff several hundred trees in the forest (its THAT bad, now that I compared it to GIMP).

Question about cities, a capitol span of 10 miles does it mean a 10 miles diameter fully filled with buildings?
What is the city size (large city, port city, smaller town, village), a fortress size?
Then a forest/jungle/dessert, how big is it?

Kinda hard finding those stuff in google. I just need rough estimation, thanks :)

01-23-2014, 02:26 AM
Well... lets start with the center of your city.

Do you have a castle? The outer *walls* of a castle could be up to 20 ft thick! A typical motte would measure around 40-50 ft in diameter (at the top), so your city *center* is at least 40 feet for this small-ish castles, or 17,000 sq ft ( 130 ft in diameter) for a very large castle in, say, a valley somewhere.

Then you have parks/grounds/lawns/gardens/etc, which would probably at least double the size of the city center, but some castles can have grounds that are 5-10 miles long...

But disregard that and count the average of castle and grounds at 160 ft total. There would be some sort of road around the castle, which would be another 8 feet, and then you have a block of (?) 5? houses which are the wealthier citizens, so they're large houses, and ....

Well, really I could average out the whole city, but it wouldn't matter because maybe they are town houses, or you don't have a castle, but a university with a 2 mile campus, or a small government building. It REALLY depends, and it's almost impossible to give you an estimation, because EVERY city would be different.

So is every desert, and every forest, and each lake and river, and ocean.

BUT (Usually!)

A shack in the slums is usually smaller (width at the top) than a tree. A tree is usually smaller than a small village house. A small village house is smaller than a city house. A city house is smaller than blacksmith or a stable. A stable is smaller than a large village house, which is smaller than a village inn, which is smaller than a large city home, which is smaller than a city inn, which is smaller than a meeting hall, which is smaller than a country manor, which is smaller ? than a central temple, which is smaller than a castle/university (unless your church runs your world).

A castle is smaller than a village of 30 (though a village might fit on the grounds!) And a village is smaller than a town, which is smaller than a normal city which is smaller than a port city which is smaller (sometimes) than a capital city, and a large capital could be twice that size.

A road is 8 feet. You could fit 3-4 trees across a road comfortably.
Depending on the size of it, a river can be anywhere from twice the width of your road, to wider than a large capital city.

You could fit anywhere from 2 - 10 capitals (the size of a large hill) around the base of a mountain (depending on the mountain) and you can have hundreds of mountains in a range.

A mountain range could span the length of an entire desert, or plain, or whatever... it could cross an entire country.

But you could fit hundreds of forests on a mountain.

An actual JUNGLE could be pretty vast... it could cover an entire island... or it could be not much bigger than a large forest.

I was being conservative with the 10 mile diameter, because you want your map small, so yeah, it means fully filled with buildings, and there'd probably be more outside the actual city walls.

No one can give you a rough estimation on the size of everything, because there's so much variation. But the sizes should make sense compared to other things. So that's all the help I can offer. :/

01-23-2014, 03:48 PM
Strange_Kid, here's a really handy tool I use when planning out countries; The Domesday Book - Medieval Demographics Made Easy (http://www.rpglibrary.org/utils/meddemog/). You fill in your country's size in square kilometres, figure out your population density, then presto! It'll tell you most of what you need to know. You can probably ignore the bit about the hexes, as you're not using a hexagonal grid. The tool is keyed for medieval demographics, but you can use it as a rough guide for more modern places with a bit of research and tweaking.

01-23-2014, 07:24 PM
Thanks, that's really helpful.