View Full Version : Unnamed Regional Map (River Police check)

03-29-2014, 07:26 AM
Before I get further along with this, could the River Police tell me if there's any issues, please? :P

03-29-2014, 12:09 PM
I'm not River Police, but it looks to me like there are no serious errors with the rivers. I have some minor concerns, though:
- Is that supposed to be a lake with the horizontally oriented island in it, or a section of river?
- Rivers don't flow through high ground. So that large crescent-shaped area in the top of the map with the castle in the middle (and especially around the lake) must be some fairly high ground in order for the longest river to divert its course around it. I guess the problem is that there isn't anything on the map (hills, whatever) to indicate that.
- The rivers look a bit wide for the scale of the map, but you're probably going to change that.

Other than that, everything looks fine.

03-29-2014, 07:06 PM
Thanks very much, Zach. :)

* Yes, the smaller portion below the large lake is another, smaller lake with an island. If that doesn't translate well, I could make the island a bit smaller (or get rid of it altogether).
* I haven't worked much on the terrain yet. This is just a base texture/colour at the moment.
* Yes, the rivers are just roughly drawn placeholders. The final ones will be thinner and will look very different (colour/texture-wise).

03-29-2014, 10:25 PM
Here's some revisions and additions. Does this look better? And again, any issues? :)

03-30-2014, 11:56 AM
I'm not the river police, but I can reason some geography on your map. I prefer the first to the second.

The huge lake draining through the mountain range eastward is highly unlinkley. It makes your (island?) terrain tilted with high ground on NW and lower land over the whole south coast. The depicted mountains suggest otherwise. I think you could suggest that land is higher depicting high cliffs on the western coast, but the perspective won't make it easy (I guess the artists here could help on that, though)

As for option 1, it looks much more reasonable. The lake could form from the the runoff of all the rain on the east slopes of the range which accumulates in a mid-continent depression. This would be congruent with West->East maritime winds, which are typical northern hemisphere temperate climate, and also consistent with the overall mountain system. The lake would one outflow from a low point, probably the very end of the small mountain chain that runs south from the NE coast (you could continue it with some hills to make this more obvious). If you choose to go down this path, I would suggest adapting the shape of the lake into something more elongated, roughly respecting the shape of the western chain (roughly, a capital D).
Which also brings another subject - a detail if you like. If the majority of the rivers appear on the west slop, that means that's where the humid winds come from. Which means the east coast is in the "rain shadow" of that main range. Hence, your highly forested area should not be there. (Or, if that is highly forested, the west should be even more forested - if it's not, the main reason is human deforestation, aka, many people and lots of agriculture).

Hope this helps. The map looks good overall.

03-30-2014, 02:21 PM
Get a River Doctor in here STAFF! :)

03-31-2014, 05:04 AM
Pixie - Thanks very much. I appreciate you trying to help. :) I feel a bit stupid, though, because I'll be honest... I don't understand some of what you were saying. I guess I would need some kind of visual to help me out with that, or a "Rivers for Dummies" type of explanation. :P

Basically, I just want to make sure that the rivers are feasible, and that there are no glaring mistakes. Once I've got them in place, terrain/texturing and more trees will come later.

So, well... here's another revision that's a combination of the 1st and 2nd.

03-31-2014, 11:23 AM
In essence, water - streams, rivers, etc - flows downhill from mountains to the sea, and as they flow downhill they join up with each other - forming bigger streams, then rivers, then larger rivers. I think a useful analogy is that a river is roughly shaped like a tree, with the base being river mouth at the coast and the thinnest twigs being streams on the slopes of a mountain range. Obviously with rivers it's a bit more complex, since they can and do form lakes and do all sorts of other cool stuff in unusual situations, and since there are things which govern where they will appear (which was part of what Pixie was talking about) but the vast majority would follow that simple principle.

So yeah, in summary, the rivers in your current map look fine :)

03-31-2014, 11:44 AM
Far as I remember it's highly unusual and very much temporary for rivers to split into two fully different streams, though, isn't it?

03-31-2014, 11:49 AM
Don't feel stupid Neyjour, I have a similar problem when it comes to rivers and lakes. I always want the water to look cool first and then I worry about how plausible it actually is. I have found it hard to discover the balance between the rivers being artistically engaging as well as geographically correct. The river police have been rather helpful though. :)

03-31-2014, 12:33 PM
Nice map Neyjour! Your rivers all look fine to me. Looking forward to seeing the finished map!

03-31-2014, 01:58 PM
This looks lovely so far :) I don't see any issues with the rivers either. The corner decorations and the cartouche are really nice!

03-31-2014, 06:03 PM
There's no point in diminishing yourself, really! Just ask. I have to admit I jumped a little too hard into it.
There are no real faults, honestly. The only thing I really have an itch about is the shape of the lake.

Feel free to ignore my ramblings, but here's a "visual help" for what I meant:

03-31-2014, 08:39 PM
Raptori - Thanks! The tree analogy is great, and when I do the final draw, I'll have to keep in mind that they start out thinner and get wider as they progress. That's something I hadn't really thought about! Heh. :P

MadLetter - Yeah, splitting rivers was one of my main concerns! I made that mistake in my first map (Isolden) but eventually decided to leave it as-is, just because I really liked how it looked. But for this one I wanted to avoid that, and get a fresh pair of eyes to check and make sure I hadn't overlooked anything in that respect. :)

Domino44 - I'm glad I'm not the only one! LOL!! :P I'll admit, my brain leans more towards making things "look pretty" rather than real-world accuracy. And my only real exposure to world maps (before joining the CG) has been with fantasy MMOs, where wildly-differing landscapes are usually placed... wherever, and butt up against each other with just a "zone line". When others start talking about creating their world maps with regards to geology, tectonic plates, trade winds, climate, rainfall, etc., I'm like... Wow, just... Wow. That's incredibly impressive, but I just dun' get it. :P And I definitely wouldn't have the patience for it either. So yeah, I'm tryng to find a balance between the two as well. :)

Bogie, Lingon - Thanks so much! :)

Pixie - Thank you so much for taking the time to do that! That's incredibly helpful for me! :) I'm going to make some revisions again, based on your example. Will post an update as soon as I'm done.

Thanks again everyone! All the help is very much appreciated!

04-01-2014, 03:33 AM
Okay, here's the new revision. :)

- Max -
04-01-2014, 05:57 AM
The map looks fine Neyjour but that's really dark. If ever you'll want it to be printed, you'll probably have troubles with that dark style.

04-01-2014, 01:22 PM
Since you took my advice with such heart (and accuracy), I cannot help but saying... that lake looks much more natural to my eyes now, well done ;)

04-02-2014, 12:03 AM
Max - Thanks. Yeah, the darkness is something I'll have to adjust when I'm all done. It's a really annoying problem... a combination of a desk that's too low (or a chair that's too high? - I can't figure out which...) and the weirdness of my monitor... all made even worse by the exaggerated effect that only happens when I'm working in my image editor (PSP8 ). Basically, when I'm sitting up straight and working, my line of sight is on the top third of my monitor, which makes everything look bright. And for some reason, when I'm working in PSP8, it's significantly brighter. I tend to forget about this sometimes, so I'll post my work on the web and then realize... woah, that's kind of dark. And then when I hunker down to look at it with my line of sight directly in the middle of the monitor, a daytime map suddenly looks like a nighttime one. *sigh*

Pixie - Thank you! Hehe. :P And again, thanks very much for your help! :)

04-02-2014, 01:25 AM
Color space issues can cause brightness problems like you describe (gamma-corrected vs. not is a biggie for light/dark).

The rivers themselves are plausible in every version. In my opinion, the rivers are least plausible in the last one because the range of low mountains that appeared would make for relative highlands that the river would need to carve through. It just needs a canyon or something to flow through.

One thing that I recommend for this sort of map is a scale. Knowing how big the area is goes a long way toward determining plausibility. A map that's two miles across has a somewhat different quality to the waterways than one that's two hundred miles across, which is again different from one two thousand miles across. Meanders on flat plains, for example, are unlikely to appear on a map a thousand miles across, but are critical elements in one a hundred miles across. As an example, pull up Google maps or you favorite atlas and look at the continental US. The Mississippi probably doesn't show any meanders. Zoom in on the Arkansas/Mississippi area, though, and they are obvious.

04-02-2014, 01:08 PM
Not meaning to argue, but arguing in favor of this last version (and since I suggested that line of hills), the hills are meant to suggest a rugged area that the river carves through, precisely.

This sort of technique to depict mountains which is so common in maps here at the guild imho always brings this problem attached. It becomes very difficult to represent canyons and plateaus, because the mountain "icon" only shows relative height to the nearby land. I guess that it's a loss that people accept in exchange for artistic (read "fantasy look") features.

04-02-2014, 10:00 PM
http://www.cartographersguild.com/reference-material/1034-erwin-raisz-mountains.html shows an example of how to do symbol-style mountains with other elements, including canyons. The use of scarp-type symbols makes a big difference, but they tend to work for only a few basic directions without needing a new symbol.

http://makingmaps.net/2008/04/03/map-symbols-landforms-terrain/ shows how to do this sort of thing for many different types of landforms. Getting analogous symbols is where the talent comes in, though, and I definitely can't help on that front...

04-03-2014, 01:20 PM
(Sorry for the hijack, Neyjour, I promise this is the last one off-topic)

Great link, Waldronate, even if beyond my drawing skills. Thanks for showing it.