View Full Version : January/February 2014 Lite Challenge: The Children of the Ouroboros

fabio p
01-23-2014, 07:11 AM
In the parallel world of Altraterra, the research on ether or quintessence is strictly prohibited by the Inquisition, not only for religious reasons: the control of this substance gives powers that can subvert the hierarchies of the world.
Persecuted in their homelands because of heretical ideas on the energies that govern the world, many alchemists and esoterists fled to a land they called Ouroboria, in honor of the Ouroboros, the eternal return, archetypical beast and alchemical and esoteric symbol.
Now, in the major universities of Ouroboria, the studies on the four elements, leading to the a better understanding and realization of the quintessence, are at an advanced stage.
But The Holy Inquisition and the pious nations are organizing, to deal a decisive blow to this land, before scholars of alchemical and esoteric universities could reach significant results.
Alchemists, esoterists, the children of the Ouroboros, are going to face, again, harsh times and are preparing for the final war.

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01-24-2014, 01:03 AM
Nice backstory; looking forward to seeing how you develop this...

01-24-2014, 02:10 AM
I couldn't look too long at the map or pay attention to the back story at first cause I kept trying to think what book the snake made me think of.

Then I remembered. It's "The little prince" or something like that, and it didn't even have a snake eating its' tail, it was a snake that swallowed something and looked like a hat!

My brain is so weird...

So once I got that out of my head, I looked and I love it! :) And the story is MUCH more interesting :P

I hope to see a lot more of this!

fabio p
01-24-2014, 07:23 AM
@ Diamond: thank you, I hope the map will be up to my (distorted :P) imagination.

@ Jalyha: thank you. The serpent eating its tail (the Ouruboros) is a really ancient and significant symbol. I also had to deal with it personally :P, because it’s been, long time ago, somehow, one of the subject of my final exam at high school (an exam question on Nietzche’s eternal recurrence concept, which owes a lot to the myth of the Ouruboros), so it remained firmly fixed in my mind.

I hope the map will be up the standards of this competition, there are already some good jobs this month.

As always, I need your feedbacks to do a decent job, so don't hesitate to even severe criticism!

01-24-2014, 11:56 AM
Very creative, and great execution! I'm looking forward for your updates. Your map made me remember a legend from this parts that I've heard before:
"It is a common belief among indigenous people of the tropical lowlands of South America that waters at the edge of the world-disc are encircled by a snake, often an anaconda, biting its own tail"

01-24-2014, 12:46 PM
Which is what makes it so weird that the story I immediately thought of on seeing the map was one with a snake in a hat :p

What is wrong with my brain? :o

01-24-2014, 01:09 PM
What is wrong with my brain? :o

Most likely it's just a matter of over-broad filtering on the association elements combined with a huge store of elements to match against. That way you get fuzzy matches to a whole lot of subjects for a given input and the most likely resolution is not necessarily the one that others might arrive at. At least that's what I like to claim.

01-24-2014, 01:23 PM
Most likely it's just a matter of over-broad filtering on the association elements combined with a huge store of elements to match against. That way you get fuzzy matches to a whole lot of subjects for a given input and the most likely resolution is not necessarily the one that others might arrive at. At least that's what I like to claim.

Translation: "You're nuts, Jalyha!" :P

I prefer your explanation. I'm going to use that.

Anyway... it is a very good start on this map and I hope I see it a lot more!!

01-24-2014, 03:44 PM
waldronate SAY WHAT ?????:?:?:?

fabio p
01-28-2014, 06:36 AM
@rgcalsaverini: Thanks!

Here are some updates: mountains (drawn by hand, not having the time to create new brushes), rivers and some textures.
There is also a sort of alchemy table with symbols and I'm working on other similar ideas to give more depth to the background story. .
In the next update I think there will be trees and cities.

Advices and suggestions are, as always, really appreciated!

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fabio p
01-30-2014, 05:50 AM
Some small updates: some forest, some cities, lighter mountains.

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01-31-2014, 01:26 AM
Looking good! The only thing that looks jarring to me is the coastlines - they're not pixellated really, but they're very sharp and harsh compared to the soft, almost watercolor-look of the land and features. Also, where the rivers enter the seas seem a bit abrupt; you might look at softening that up somehow.

fabio p
02-03-2014, 07:01 AM
@ Diamond: Thank you.

In this update, to implement Diamond’s observations, I have expanded river deltas and changed the contour lines of the sea (now they are stripes) so that the rivers will be covered by them, and now the transition from river to the sea should be more natural. Also, the coastlines are considerably less sharp.

Then I added a compass rose, some more cities (and a capital, ) a scale, a legend and two shields.

More shields coming in the next update, along with maybe other features and the labelling.

As always, if you have critiques/suggestions, feel free to post them!

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02-04-2014, 02:22 AM
Nice work! I like the snake image! Lots of triangles, several circles, 1 tiny little square ( but that is all that is required. )

fabio p
02-04-2014, 12:49 PM
Thanks Bogie, but actually there are two tiny squares :P (I think you spotted the one in the Aether symbol, but another one could be seen in the compass
Anyway, in the next update, I think I will introduce the esoteric square par excellence...

02-04-2014, 02:04 PM
OOOH, you're good, I did miss that little one in the compass, and the really tiny one in the ? heraldry ? in the lower right corner! :x Are you going to hide a square scale on the snakeskin?

02-04-2014, 02:17 PM
Ohhhhh I want to make a whole picture/map entirely out of basic shapes o.o

It's looking really good, fabio! :)

fabio p
02-07-2014, 06:36 AM
@ Bogie and Jalyha: Hehe I think a psychiatrist would have said something about it, in fact, circles and triangles come much more spontaneous to me than squares, who knows what it means at a subcounscious level. Anyway, thanks!

Just some minor progresses with this update: some labelling, some other shields, the esoteric square (just not to leave those tiny squares alone :P), some esoteric admonitions and teachings.

Next update will be the final one, I hope; with other labelling, a few corrections here and there, and eventually some new features (but I doubt).
Suggestions/critiques are welcome, but time is running out, so I’ll eventually implement what’s possible.

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02-08-2014, 12:39 PM
I wish... that Brahe had a sister-city across the river named Tycho!

02-08-2014, 02:26 PM
Tycho and Brahe, the cities with the golden nos... I mean compass rose.

fabio p
02-10-2014, 06:49 AM
@Scoopz: the li’l sister city named Tycho, forgotten by the forgetful cartographer, is now regularly represented on the map!

In this (I think final) update, some other labelling and a few corrections.
Be quick if you have any suggestions, time remaining is really little!

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02-10-2014, 09:02 PM
Lol, well done sir!

Epic map.

02-12-2014, 02:48 PM
It is an absolutely wonderful map with amazing details :) It would be even better (for me) if you would increase the space outside of the snake and give all the wonderful elements a little more space. They are a bit tightly squeezed into the small area outside of the snake and in some places almost touch the border, in others almost interfere with the text - it would look just a bit more epic if the shields and emblems had each enough space.