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Lawine
02-26-2014, 05:30 PM
Hi, I've been lurking every now and then on this forum, and finally decided to come on and share something I made; this is my first (semi) serious attempt at map-making and would enjoy some feedback from people with more (or less) experience than myself. It isn't finished yet, and I'm pretty open to changing things (within my ability to do so).

The following maps show the Empire of Dai-Teikokushin; a nation loosely based on feudal Japan (though the various names are designed to sound Japanese, they're mostly pure fantasy with some actual words but no doubt poor grammar thrown in).

The main island chain:
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The political divisions (and also the names of the major islands):
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The cultural borders:
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Llannagh
02-26-2014, 07:42 PM
Wow, that's pretty impressive for a first map! I like that you distinguish between political and cultural borders.

At first glance (on my smartphone right before sleeping and being very tired;)) your maps look solid. Good choice of colours, nice mountains... I'd like to see a merged version of geography and political/cultural maps, since geography is a big influence on those.

Also, of course, officially welcome on the forums! Plus have some rep for jumping in with a map!

Pixie
02-26-2014, 08:11 PM
Weird land forms, but they do work with the map, specially on the political and cultural ones.
I like your take on sea coloring - it's pretty vibrant/eletric and works well with the solid color of the political entities. Not so well on a "sort of satellite view" like your geographical map.

Awesome start! welcome ;)

arsheesh
02-26-2014, 08:11 PM
Hey, not bad for a first shot. And welcome.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

Lawine
02-26-2014, 08:21 PM
Thanks for the comments guys. I made a slight update with some additional details on the forests and mountains:
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I'd like to see a merged version of geography and political/cultural maps, since geography is a big influence on those.

I'll have to work on that.


I like your take on sea coloring - it's pretty vibrant/eletric and works well with the solid color of the political entities. Not so well on a "sort of satellite view" like your geographical map.

Not sure if I can agree on them not working on the geographical map; I originally had a much lighter outer sea and that worked fairly well, but I feel like the contrast works better on this version. I'm open to suggestions however.

Lawine
02-26-2014, 08:39 PM
Added a political and cultural map with geographical features, a bit half-assed:

61836

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Diamond
02-27-2014, 01:59 AM
That's really beautiful work, and very impressive cultural 'feel'. The only nitpick I have is that in a couple of places your rivers are doing impossible things, like flowing from ocean to ocean or splitting apart instead of joining.

TheHoarseWhisperer
02-27-2014, 02:41 AM
I agree with Diamond about the rivers. The other nitpicks I have are that some of your political borders are very straight-edged, which is normal in a modern setting, but less likely in a feudal Japanese one. Also, some of your cultural depictions, while not necessarily implausible, might raise eyebrows. For example, the enclave of Makanatari on the island of Zaisuke seems odd, unless you have an in-world explanation. There are a few other minor nitpicks I could mention, but I won't right now.

[EDIT: sorry, I had to nitpick. Couldn't help myself. First, it is unfortunate the way some of your rivers look when they reach a sea or lake (the river above Chotei shows it most prominently); second, in the cultural map, the lake on Chuukonoke looks like some of the mountains are on it; third (and this is a really minor nitpick, but you wanted feedback, right?) the cultural map also shows some minor yellow bits on Chuukonoke, which I assume aren't deliberate. Those issues are really minor, and you can probably ignore them if you want, and the map will still look fine.]

That said, I really like the style here, especially the sea, and the names feel authentic. Your decisions regarding political and cultural regions seem pretty good overall. I'd love to know more about the archipelago. Some people here have made maps using Japanese/samurai insignia, which would look good here, or just some text describing the peoples/places/cultures.

Welcome to the guild, and have some rep for your first (serious) map.

THW

flocko
02-27-2014, 03:15 AM
I love the colors and textures here! This is really cool looking. (though watch out for the river police) I'm curious which names have actual Japanese roots. I picked out a few real words in name parts and there are a few that sound more like elongated person names rather than place names.

Ilanthar
02-27-2014, 04:56 AM
Good job for a (semi) serious map (I really like your work about cultures). It's a success and no more an attempt. The only thing that really bothers me is about rivers. I'll add to what Diamond said that your rivers seems to cut in the mountains rather than flowing over it.

Lawine
02-27-2014, 08:55 AM
That's really beautiful work, and very impressive cultural 'feel'. The only nitpick I have is that in a couple of places your rivers are doing impossible things, like flowing from ocean to ocean or splitting apart instead of joining.

I don't think they actually flow from ocean to ocean anywhere; there's one which splits into a north and south heading river, but as far as I can tell none of them do impossible things. Could you explain what the issue is with rivers splitting apart? Plenty of real world rivers do this so I'm a bit lost as to exactly what you mean. Perhaps an explanation by way of example? If it's not too much trouble.



The other nitpicks I have are that some of your political borders are very straight-edged, which is normal in a modern setting, but less likely in a feudal Japanese one.

This is actually intentional; the borders are not fluid because they are decided upon by the imperial court and then given over to individual clans as opposed to being the result of conquest or what not. Each province is supposed to be roughly equal in population and wealth (except for the central urban provinces).



Also, some of your cultural depictions, while not necessarily implausible, might raise eyebrows. For example, the enclave of Makanatari on the island of Zaisuke seems odd, unless you have an in-world explanation. There are a few other minor nitpicks I could mention, but I won't right now.

I tend to like such oddities in politics and culture and what not; to me they feel more plausible than having uniform and fully logical borders. Cultural and political enclaves are not uncommon in real history, and inserting little oddities like that in the map give a good excuse for building interesting setting fluff. I should also mention that these cultures are not necessarily as distinct as people may be assuming; rather than being the difference between say German and French culture, it's more the difference between say the culture of Paris and the culture of Marseille.



[EDIT: sorry, I had to nitpick. Couldn't help myself. First, it is unfortunate the way some of your rivers look when they reach a sea or lake (the river above Chotei shows it most prominently);

I know, that's laziness at work; I haven't seen fit to fix that yet.


second, in the cultural map, the lake on Chuukonoke looks like some of the mountains are on it; third (and this is a really minor nitpick, but you wanted feedback, right?) the cultural map also shows some minor yellow bits on Chuukonoke, which I assume aren't deliberate. Those issues are really minor, and you can probably ignore them if you want, and the map will still look fine.]

Yeah, those are bugs. I kind of rushed the cultural map with the geographical features, thanks for pointing them out.

Diamond
02-27-2014, 12:28 PM
This area especially - you've got a lake in the center of that island, and there's either two rivers flowing into it, two flowing out, or one flowing in/one out. If it's option one, where's the egress? If it's option two, that doesn't normally happen as water will seek the easiest egress point and over time all outflow will naturally go that way. If it's option three, then you've got on branch flowing uphill from the ocean.

In addition, the branches to the south of the lake split. Normally, rivers join together as they flow towards the sea, like a tree with the main river being the trunk and the tributary rivers as branches that join the trunk. Just as when water flows out of a lake, rivers flowing downhill always seek the 'easiest' route; if something makes the river split, eventually one branch will dry up as the water seeks the easier route. There are exceptions, of course - a manmade canal or re-routing, or islands/rocks in a wide river. Deltas, where water/rivers split apart over a relatively wide area, are common when it is extremely flat, undifferentiated ground.

Lawine
02-27-2014, 01:08 PM
This area especially - you've got a lake in the center of that island, and there's either two rivers flowing into it, two flowing out, or one flowing in/one out. If it's option one, where's the egress? If it's option two, that doesn't normally happen as water will seek the easiest egress point and over time all outflow will naturally go that way. If it's option three, then you've got on branch flowing uphill from the ocean.

In addition, the branches to the south of the lake split. Normally, rivers join together as they flow towards the sea, like a tree with the main river being the trunk and the tributary rivers as branches that join the trunk. Just as when water flows out of a lake, rivers flowing downhill always seek the 'easiest' route; if something makes the river split, eventually one branch will dry up as the water seeks the easier route. There are exceptions, of course - a manmade canal or re-routing, or islands/rocks in a wide river. Deltas, where water/rivers split apart over a relatively wide area, are common when it is extremely flat, undifferentiated ground.

The river there flows down from the mountain splitting in two; one heads down the plain to the north, one heads down the plain into the lake; and then continues south. None of them are flowing uphill. I can see how it might be confusing though; I'll change it in a future pass. The southern area is indeed a delta; being from Europe's delta-area means I might have an unnatural tendency to turn every river into a delta.

Raptori
02-27-2014, 01:14 PM
The river there flows down from the mountain splitting in two; one heads down the plain to the north, one heads down the plain into the lake; and then continues south. None of them are flowing uphill. I can see how it might be confusing though; I'll change it in a future pass. The southern area is indeed a delta; being from Europe's delta-area means I might have an unnatural tendency to turn every river into a delta.

Rivers don't split in the long term (deltas and river islands aside); over a short time period they may split for some reason, but one of the two routes will always either be lower than the other or silt up after enough time has passed. I can't remember the mechanics behind it though, and I'm sure there are some better informed people here who could explain it properly!

Lawine
02-27-2014, 02:40 PM
Alright, I think I fixed the rivers; though an expert might correct me of course. I also made some (very) subtle adjustments around the forests with some extra layering, and fixed a few annoying bits and pieces. Also changed the landmass outline, and it looks a lot better now IMO.

61856

Raptori
02-27-2014, 03:33 PM
Alright, I think I fixed the rivers; though an expert might correct me of course. I also made some (very) subtle adjustments around the forests with some extra layering, and fixed a few annoying bits and pieces. Also changed the landmass outline, and it looks a lot better now IMO.

61856

They look good to me now. I love that river system in the bottom left with the two lakes.

Really like all of the map actually, looks great :)

Lawine
02-27-2014, 08:34 PM
I think I'm just about done; see the results below. Unless anyone has some additional insight into what else could be improved, that is. If not, I'll throw up some fluff tomorrow, and call it complete. What's the protocol in regards to shifting things over to the completed projects? Just start a new post there?

Edit: I keep getting a remote file too large error; will try again tomorrow, alas.

Lawine
02-27-2014, 08:49 PM
Managed to make them work after all; though at greatly reduced resolution. Could throw a link to the full-res versions if anyone wants them.

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Falconius
02-27-2014, 10:37 PM
To me it only seems like the third map is necessary, but they are all very nicely thought out.

Ilanthar
02-28-2014, 05:43 AM
Very nice job, I like the flags! I am with Falconius on this, the third one made it more clear.

Lawine
02-28-2014, 06:57 AM
Very nice job, I like the flags! I am with Falconius on this, the third one made it more clear.

The third one only shows the cultures however; not the spread of the clans/alliances, plus it doesn't show the land underneath without colors messing it up. Personally I prefer the aesthetics of the first map; I make a poor cartographer in that I'm more concerned with making the whole look aesthetically pleasing than I am with making it readable.

Raptori
02-28-2014, 07:06 AM
This would make a really nice interactive map; you could click on the headers on the left to show one of the overlays. It'd be a five minute job too!

Ilanthar
02-28-2014, 12:24 PM
Well, in fact, I actually meant that you could have three maps in the same time. Since your maps are all fine, it wouldn't be a problem :)

Raptori's solution seems orignal and nice too, except if you want to print the result.

Lawine
02-28-2014, 05:39 PM
This would make a really nice interactive map; you could click on the headers on the left to show one of the overlays. It'd be a five minute job too!

A five minute job perhaps, if I knew how to do it.