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NedS298
04-06-2014, 03:10 AM
Has anyone ever notcied any particular cliches in maps? For example, one I've noted is that deserts always appear to be in the south (a notable example would be in Narnia), which is a result of the fact that maps are always in the Northern Hemisphere. This also leads to tundra being placed at the top of the map - every time. Isn't fantasy about being creative? Someone should make a map with temperature ranging from east to west! Of course, another one would be similar to "Mordor", a hellish location. Who can list some others?

madcowchef
04-06-2014, 10:16 AM
Well the largest is up being north, but that's already received plenty of discussion. Volcanoes and evil, but that might just be rewording your mordor comment. Good people live in desirable terrain and bad people in bad terrain. All deserts have to have a ominous heat related name.

Slylok
04-06-2014, 02:37 PM
I always find myself focusing on areas north of the equator as well. I guess that's because it's what i'm most familiar with. Although there have been plenty of worlds on here that people come out with which don't adhere to earth's climates. The eyeball world (http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/26657-gliese-581-g-just-fun.html) is my favorite i think.

One thing i've noticed, and am guilty of, is making maps with tattered, rolled, and torn edges. Can't help it, but I love the look even if it's cliche.

I think a lot of this comes from our visual/mental libraries we build as we read, watch, and play different types of stories, movies, and games. It's pretty difficult to come up with something completely original these days. Especially since the internet makes sharing ideas and content so easy. I personally just create things on what I think fits and if it's been done before then so be it.

Good thread! I'm interested to see what other people come up with.

Azelor
04-06-2014, 02:45 PM
I was thinking about the left justified continent like in the Lord of The Ring. I think it's pretty popular.

I don't really have other clichés in mind but I know where you can find some : Search Results - TV Tropes (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/search_result.php?cx=partner-pub-6610802604051523%3Aamzitfn8e7v&cof=FORID%3A10&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=map)

JefBT
04-07-2014, 09:15 AM
NedS298: "Isn't fantasy about being creative?"

It should be, but unconsciously we make things related to what we know, so, sometimes it isn't a cliché, but just something that is "regular" to us.

"Why should I try something new?" - not just on maps, but people usually don't try ideas that are totally new, they use what is firmly grounded and established. And that way we fall back in the clichés.

As I live in the southern hemisphere, it was strange for me to see the cold north, and snow (the lowest temperature I had seem in person was 8° Celcius). But I got used to it, since almost all the fantasy books and movies are from the northern hemisphere.

Another cliché: the largest ocean area only apears on the east and west, never on the south or north (well, I did not see any world with a great ocean or sea on the north or south).

Larb
04-07-2014, 11:00 AM
I have been guilty of some of those myself at one time or another.

Cliches that stick out most to me are naming cliches - maybe because these are the ones I most consciously try to avoid. From maps with an overly heavy adjective-noun naming scheme through to the ever popular wastes which seem mandatory on many maps. I've seen all kinds: ice wastes, void wastes, burning wastes, shadow wastes, blighted wastes, and of course the ever popular northern wastes. Certain sea names often crop up quite a lot too.

Names also seem to be a measure of what is popular at any given time as well. I'm sure many of you have noticed a lot more maps often include a town or city called "<something> Landing" lately? =P

However using cliches isn't always a bad thing - they are cliches for a reason. Sometimes they are appropriate and some people are able to make them work well. But it is good to be aware of them because they often come about sub-consciously.

Freodin
04-07-2014, 01:10 PM
Those of us who draw maps of fantastic worlds and terrains fall too easily for the cliche that what the cartographer made is indeed a correct representation of the land - and that is rather reasonable. We, the person who really made the map, want to show the viewer how the land really is.

But most (famous, antique) real cartographers never saw what they drew. They relied on reports and older maps.

So for every call for the River Police, I want to offer the famous map of China from Joan Blaeu's "Atlas Major" in response.

63021

NedS298
04-09-2014, 07:52 AM
Those of us who draw maps of fantastic worlds and terrains fall too easily for the cliche that what the cartographer made is indeed a correct representation of the land - and that is rather reasonable. We, the person who really made the map, want to show the viewer how the land really is.

But most (famous, antique) real cartographers never saw what they drew. They relied on reports and older maps.


That's probably the most truthful thing I've heard about cartography on this forum.

Raptori
04-09-2014, 08:28 AM
I was thinking about the left justified continent like in the Lord of The Ring. I think it's pretty popular.

I've never understood why that's called left justified - personally I'd call it "right aligned" if I were going for a type analogy. "Justified" text in design means taking up the full width of the area. "Left" justified means unfilled lines are aligned to the left. Left justified is the most common form of justified text, and is usually referred to as merely "justiefied", as per this image:

63087

As you can see from that image, the alignment that appears most similar to the LOTR map is Right Align. :D

- Max -
04-09-2014, 09:00 AM
I was thinking about the left justified continent like in the Lord of The Ring. I think it's pretty popular.

What is a cliche for some people may not be one for some others. I think this is rather a cliche for western european people, which build fictionnal maps influenced by their own territory, with lands on east and ocean on east. Not sure it would be a cliche for asian people for instance.

Meshon
04-09-2014, 10:29 AM
So for every call for the River Police, I want to offer the famous map of China from Joan Blaeu's "Atlas Major" in response.

63021

Oh wow. That lake in the west...made me laugh out loud. It's like the cartographer is reaching a sharp stick from the past to deliberately jab the river police into a fury. Nice find!

cheers,
Meshon

JefBT
04-09-2014, 12:37 PM
Max have a good point, but that's for the past times.

The globalization is really a "global thing" today (with a few exceptions), and all sort of things are running around the entire world, so it's probably not new to a lot of people.

But again, mixing asian elements with european was a great new thing. But now there are euro-asian cliches as well, like ninjas in medieval armor living on european castles following old japanese rules, fighting against kappas and dragons.

A cliche today, may be "vintage" tomorow, lots of variables there, and here I am again, falling into nothing.

I actually think that using some cliches is good, but using only cliches is bad. It's nice to make something new, and mix it with some old and good things.

madcowchef
04-09-2014, 12:50 PM
Here's one I'm exceedingly guilty of: Naming things after their appearance on a map. Sure from a top view it might be shaped like a wolf's head, but does it really look anything like that o the people down living next to it at a reasonable scale?

JefBT
04-09-2014, 02:54 PM
Well we humans use to name things to something that it looks like, or something that we like.

I also name my places that way most of the time, madcowchef, but sometimes I use people names, like in real life places are named after it's founder.

You can also name a forest to something like "Forest of Bananas" or "Monkey Jungle", if is there a lot of bananas or monkeys there, respectively.

Near my hometown there is an ancient mountain formation. From the distance it looks like a giant person sleeping, so it's called "O Gigante Adormecido" ("The Sleeping Giant").

madcowchef
04-09-2014, 03:02 PM
Those are all reasonable and excellent names JefBT. I meant when you name things after the cartographers vast overhead view, such as a two hundred mile long lake that is shaped like an eagle so you call it eagle lake even though its very doubtful the people living on it (unless they carefully mapped it) would have any idea that its shape would in any way resemble an eagle.

Azelor
04-09-2014, 10:32 PM
I am the only one to think that this could be a good idea for a challenge?

Hai-Etlik
04-10-2014, 10:15 PM
People in the past know that they are in the past and will go out of their way to make their maps look "old". A map 500 years in the past looks 500 years old even when it is brand new. However, people in the past also always have data as good as modern maps and always fill the entirety of the extent of their maps with perfectly precise, to scale, information just like modern maps. Likewise people in the future make maps that use OCR fonts (or at the very least will NEVER use serif fonts) with light on dark (preferably the light is glowing blue) and triangular or hexagonal patterns for no reason other than to demonstrate that the map was made in the future.

Every map must have a compass rose no matter how inappropriate it is.

Ditto linear scale bars.

The funny lines on maps are purely decorations to make it look "mappy".

The more stuff on a map the better. (Real cartographers fall prey to this one too)

Alphanumeric locator grids on maps that aren't modern street maps.

NedS298
04-11-2014, 07:40 AM
how can a map be 500 hundred years in the past if it's brand new? haha
but yeah, those are some good points

Hai-Etlik
04-11-2014, 05:27 PM
how can a map be 500 hundred years in the past if it's brand new? haha
but yeah, those are some good points

"My lord, the guild of cartographers have prepared this new map of your realm. They have carefully aged it to make appear to be 500 years old, just in case any time travellers from the present, 500 years from now, should happen to see it. We wouldn't want them to get confused and not realize that they are in the past."

NedS298
04-11-2014, 05:59 PM
I don't understand, I'm sorry.

Hai-Etlik
04-12-2014, 12:20 AM
I don't understand, I'm sorry.

When making a fantasy or historical map, there's a tendency among MANY artists to try to make the map "look old" even if it's supposed to represent the map when it is/was new. So a brand new map of a pseudo-medieval setting will invariably be aged to look hundreds of years old, because the medieval period was hundreds of years ago for us. The map is shown as worn, tattered, brittle, faded, etc in order to say "this is not a modern map" to a modern viewer, even if the map is being represented in it's own time. This is even sillier when you consider that the actual CONTENT of such maps is invariably based on comparatively modern (if usually incomplete) ideas of what a map is. "Future" maps go the other way in "trying to look futuristic". The people who would make such maps would not think of themselves as being in "the future" and would think it was silly to make things "look futuristic" for the sake of people in the past. It would be like building cars with "futuristic" fins and bubble canopies in order to "look futuristic" to people from the 1950s simply because we are "the future" for 1950.

Larb
04-12-2014, 12:36 AM
The "making it look old" thing transcends cartography though and is particularly prevalent in things like cinema, video games, and stuff. Buildings, statues, and everything else will all be weathered or worn and neglected, rather than painted, plastered and lived in. The timber is never freshly cut, clothing often looks like it hasn't been washed for weeks, and parchment and vellum looks like it was made centuries ago. Of course there will be danish landrace pigs and holstein cattle in the pens and fields - we can't use unrecognizable breeds! =P

On a side note - I did do the hexagon thing on one of my sci-fi-ish maps. But I like hexagons and honeycomb patterns. So I'll do it again!

Azelor
04-12-2014, 10:35 AM
I don't think that making things look old is silly in general. But in cartography it's different because the map needs to be as good as possible and aging it will only make it less useful. A useless map is usually useless unless it's for artistic purposes.





I saw that a large number of maps tend to have torsions in them like if they were rotating or as if the mapper used a distorted map projection.

Or maybe they just use projections like this one : Lambert azimuthal equal-area projection - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lambert_azimuthal_equal-area_projection)

NedS298
04-13-2014, 07:10 AM
Ah hah! I understand. But, even if - as you've correctly pointed out - it doesn't make sense, surely there's some artistic merit in making a map look aged even if it doesn't make the map more accurate, right?

Beomir
04-14-2014, 06:40 PM
I believe that the world of Dragonlance (I honestly can't remember the name) is in the southern hemisphere. I'm not 100% on that though.

More on subject, I agree. It does seem as if all continental maps are north = cold, south = warm. I believe that this stems from the fact that Europe (which is what most stereotypical settings are based upon) is in the northern hemisphere.

arcanyx
04-14-2014, 07:01 PM
That is correct Beomir, the world is called Krynn, and most of it is in the southern hemisphere.

JefBT
04-14-2014, 09:05 PM
That's awesome, Hai-Etlik, I never thought that way.

Jan van Leyden
04-21-2014, 07:46 AM
Here's one I'm exceedingly guilty of: Naming things after their appearance on a map. Sure from a top view it might be shaped like a wolf's head, but does it really look anything like that o the people down living next to it at a reasonable scale?

Oh yeah, that's a pet peeve of mine. :?: Do the beings of the fantasy world have access to sattelites or how do they know how a geographical feature of several hundred miles would look on a map?

Slylok
04-21-2014, 08:05 AM
Oh yeah, that's a pet peeve of mine. :?: Do the beings of the fantasy world have access to sattelites or how do they know how a geographical feature of several hundred miles would look on a map?

They could rename it after they map it out and see that it looks similar to wolf's head :) regardless of if they did it accurately or not.

Wulgaru
04-28-2014, 09:09 PM
Ah shoot. I'm guilty of this. I offer my head as sacrifice.

Dearmad
05-01-2014, 07:28 PM
Oh oh I have some:

City maps in fantasy settings with lots of magic and flying intellogent damgerous creatures... Why do they have city walls? I mean magic alone snuffs that defense... It's like earth history trumps the internal logic of the fantasy world because we weren't creative enough to imagine a truly fantastical city that fits into our magical realm...

Another cliche for fantasy world maps that I have noticed is the overly tied cultural to terrain type bs. Oh a desert is here, so the culture has to change... Oh forest here so the culture (and of course place name style) has to change. That is total bull****. Cultures above tribe level (but not even most tribes, tbh) do not stop at drastic changes of climate/terrain except when relatively impassable.

Oh one more thing i notice at city level gain and again, fantasy or reality based... COMPLETE and utter disregard for... The source of... Water?? Where are the aquaducts? Cisterns? Etc?

NedS298
05-06-2014, 05:16 AM
Those are all valid points, and I really agree with the climate part; why should a new culture spring up whenever the climate changes? The Romans conquered everything from the Sahara to what's now Denmark and the climate didn't stop them spreading their culture.

Midgardsormr
05-07-2014, 07:08 PM
There is some justification for that. Culture is, in part, used by a society to adapt to its environment. In the absence of any interdependency, settlements in different biomes, even if settled by people from the same culture, will eventually diverge in practice until they become culturally distinct. Of course, neighboring cultures very often do develop some degree of interdependence, whether that's through empire-building or marriage customs simple trade, and there are quite likely multiple cultures in a given biome that have adapted to the same environment in different ways, which should futher muddy the delineations.

NedS298
05-08-2014, 02:41 AM
Wouldn't that probably have more to do with the proximity of other cultures? Very distinct ones have evolved because of their isolation from others, but I disagree that climate is a factor - unless the culture emerged in a land in which there was a poor climate and a need to conquer other lands resulting in a war-like people (eg., the Vikings). The inverse would be a culture in a poor climate meaning no one actually wants their land, but I don't think that there'd be too many people living there in that case to establish a culture.

Nordicblood1
05-13-2014, 01:07 AM
I think that the problem with cliches is that as artists, creationists, writers, cartographers etc...we want our work to be relatable and believable. As cartographers, if our work doesn't have some foothold in reality then people won't be able to follow it. It's also a matter of perception. For instance if you're looking at a map, that has the arctic tundra in the very center, surrounded by temperate climate and then that is surrounded by desert or tropics, you'd have a very funky looking map that looks like a target...however if you changed the perception and gave people a reference as to what they're looking at i.e. the north pole...all of a sudden the map makes sense, it's no longer a targer you're just looking at the top of the world made flat and extended. If you wanted your map to be 100% original and fantasy based...just change the perception of what your audience is looking at.

NedS298
05-13-2014, 03:00 AM
Wise words

- Max -
05-13-2014, 03:27 AM
I spotted one more :


Oh oh I have some:
City maps in fantasy settings with lots of magic and flying intellogent damgerous creatures... Why do they have city walls? I mean magic alone snuffs that defense... It's like earth history trumps the internal logic of the fantasy world because we weren't creative enough to imagine a truly fantastical city that fits into our magical realm...


Does a fantasy setting have necessarily to rely on heavy magic? :P

NedS298
05-13-2014, 03:35 AM
Why does it have to have cities then? Why does it even have to settlements or human beings or be in a European style setting? Why can't it be a completely alien planet? But why does it have to be alien? Why can't it be some point in earth's history veiled by magic? But why magic?

- Max -
05-13-2014, 04:26 AM
Yup sounds like the cliches discussion can easily turns into an unending debate :D

NedS298
05-13-2014, 04:38 AM
Of course it can, but there are always cliches that define the genre - that, in my opinion, is where the debate should end. Having cities and settlements, European-style settings and magic, or even just a world reminiscent of medieval Earth is what defines the fantasy map.

ThoseAnimeTimez
05-13-2014, 04:53 PM
I think most fantasy worlds have too much in common with how real life history developed. For instance, a world with magic cannot possibly have the same techological and scientific breakthroughs that we have had. How does this affect city planning? military planning? cartography? etc.

Graphically, the mountains, forests and villages have a very marked way of being done. The burned paper is a cliche too.

It's like someone said here,, we project what we know into what we don't know. But for what we don't know we must think completely different things.

NedS298
05-26-2014, 07:52 AM
I completely agree; however, I think that people need to project what they know into what they don't. Art says something about the truth, and cartography must therefore contain its own truths as well as original aspects

Ghostman
05-26-2014, 10:21 AM
Graphically, the mountains, forests and villages have a very marked way of being done.

Those elements are not just decoration, they serve a function and thus should be easily recognizable. Conforming to well established conventions makes recognition of the map symbols much faster and more certain, so it is no wonder that many maps follow such conventions. That should not be considered cliche.

NedS298
05-28-2014, 03:44 AM
I completely agree with Ghostman

jbgibson
05-28-2014, 10:10 AM
There's a reason what we do is (often) termed a "setting". It's because a novel (ha: etymology: novel=new thing :-) ) has to have some elements that *aren't* new , so the reader can relate to the fantasy/ unique/ new elements. A jewel in a ring will often have very plain prongs holding it. It's always seemed nuts to me for a complicated painting to have a gold, decorated, complex, heavy frame. I understand the impulse - "this is an important, rare, beautiful thing, therefore I have to provide it with a fancy, beautiful, place to rest." The Japanese with their torii shrines make sense - enough of a frame to point out a beautiful view, without needing scads of attention drawn to itself.

So the elements of *particularly* a fantasy map become a shorthand to convey an impression, to create a mood, without having to tiresomely build a detailed backstory. Same as the 'standard' tropes of a fantasy story/movie/play -- shorthand. I'll steal from an earthly language in naming places specifically to invoke a central European or oriental or arctic or south seas island mood. True, I'll sometimes then skewer that mood with intentionally jarring countermelodies - the Tong gangster behavior in African garb and manners. The bronze armor in outer space. The steampunk mechanics in dinosaur society. But on purpose, and in moderation :-).

I am all for intentional inaccuracy in fantasy maps to restrict the in-story reader to what info he likely "should" have, as well as to simulate the overdetailing of unknown spaces - from 'here be dragons' to arbitrarily wiggly rivers to Atlantis and Mu just over the horizon. And I will cheerfully hide my River Police badge if someone is obviously mimicking things like the Blaeu China map :-).

My favorite (anti-favorite?) map cliche extends to the world being depicted -- when a certain society is sketched without enough infrastructure to sustain it. The alien planets in TV shows with a single village housing human-ish folks, having wrought iron implements with no mines or smelters, board-built houses with no sawmills, fancy textiles with no flax ,cotton, or silkworms growing.

The 'semi European' kingdom with a couple of scattered cities, a handful of villages, and none of those same mines, mills, farming, or craft-trading. Granted, hamlets and villages can fall off a regional map for simplification - still, an author or cartographer obviously sometimes INTENDS there be zero habitation between point a and b, where a 'proper' logical feudal-heritage European-ish society would have scads of peasants, serfs, freeholders, and general commerce going on.

Cities with no hinterlands, no umbra, no suburbs.

But if the story's good or the map is pretty, I'll suspend disbelief and forgive :-)

NedS298
06-03-2014, 06:19 AM
I think part of it has to do with the assumption that, unless something is specified from the outset to be different to reality, then it's the same as our world.

jtougas
06-03-2014, 10:27 PM
I think "cliche" might be the wrong word. For me cartography came from the early RPG's where the cities (for the most part) were European at their roots and magic was just a fact of life. I am probably the most guilty of "naming things for where or what or why they are" Names like "Riverhewn" named for the island that was formed by two rivers. "Southrun" because quite simply it is South of "Northrun" I also think that a good of deal of what we depict is tradition. We all have been inspired by what has gone before and the vast majority of 'Fantasy" is forests and dungeons and magic. It is also towns called "Greyhawk" and "Waterdeep" I for one enjoy the "cliches" of Fantasy and Fantasy mapping.

NedS298
06-05-2014, 05:04 AM
I think most of us would agree. I, for one, enjoy the various cliches; however, on this thread, we're simply identifying cliches, not criticising their use.

Tomalak
06-18-2014, 02:54 AM
While it's super common, and entirely reasonable in a hobbyist's work, I have a pet peeve that really bugs me in professional fiction.

Flat maps with cookie-cutter elevation. I am as guilty as the next guy, but geographically that makes no sense! Elevation and slope are distinct concepts, mountains have vegetation on one side, and rivers hardly ever travel through flat terrain. If the land is really flat, it's probably a marsh. And that's another thing: homogenous wetland. Is it a tree-filled swamp, or a reedy marsh, or what? Usually it's undefined 'swamp,' and when it IS defined, it's wrong.

Tl:dr - terrain that doesn't make geographic sense, but instead looks like it was distributed randomly for aesthetic purposes.

Damage_Inc89
06-19-2014, 10:25 PM
While it's super common, and entirely reasonable in a hobbyist's work, I have a pet peeve that really bugs me in professional fiction.

Flat maps with cookie-cutter elevation. I am as guilty as the next guy, but geographically that makes no sense! Elevation and slope are distinct concepts, mountains have vegetation on one side, and rivers hardly ever travel through flat terrain. If the land is really flat, it's probably a marsh. And that's another thing: homogenous wetland. Is it a tree-filled swamp, or a reedy marsh, or what? Usually it's undefined 'swamp,' and when it IS defined, it's wrong.

Tl:dr - terrain that doesn't make geographic sense, but instead looks like it was distributed randomly for aesthetic purposes.

That's an excellent point. It'd be really easy to fall into wanting to distribute different things around a map, especially trying to include too many climate regions or geographical features in one single map.

The details about how vegetation grows on mountains and all the other geographical stuff is something I'd have never considered.

NedS298
06-27-2014, 04:22 AM
I'm a real culprit of trying to put too many climates together... I guess it is a cliche, because it is recurrent and annoying.

Trismegistus
07-01-2014, 09:03 PM
My Asdar world map is global and thus enables me to incorporate all the climates. I have based the 'climate' bands on real world climates (tundra, boreal, alpine/steppe, temperate/atlantic, mediterranean, desert, savannah, semi-tropical, tropical). It's much more realistic and plausible. Even if I don't have the latitudes exactly right, it's close enough for a verisimilitude of the real world. The disadvantage is that characters in the world have to travel relatively far to reach another climate in many instances. The advantages of the small, theme park-like setting with many climates enables more changing play or stories in a smaller setting.

Of course, in the real world, it is possible to have dramatic changes, but they're usually on the border of a great expanse of climate. It is possible to go from the Andes Mountains down into the Amazon Jungle Basin or from the Plateau of Tibet down into the Takla Makan desert, although that is probably a much longer journey. In north Africa, you could go from green zones in the Atlas Mountains down into the Sahara Desert. In the middle east, you can go from the Negev Desert which looks like parts of Arizona into the Judean Hills which look like San Diego.

This is the PDF of my world map (http://wiki.worldofasdar.com/PDFs/Asdarah_Old_World_%5b1inchto80mi_scale%5d.pdf). It's over 10 mbs in size.

NedS298
07-06-2014, 06:23 AM
In essence, I think you're saying that mountains allow for huge climatic differences in small areas; all your examples involve them.
Anyway, I think that it would be possible to say that place names ending in "dor"/"dhor" or "or" are something of a cliche. In Middle-Earth alone there's Eriador, Arnor, Gondor, Mordor, Numenor and Valinor.

Ghostman
07-06-2014, 02:54 PM
I think that it would be possible to say that place names ending in "dor"/"dhor" or "or" are something of a cliche. In Middle-Earth alone there's Eriador, Arnor, Gondor, Mordor, Numenor and Valinor.

That's because most Middle-Earth place names are meaningful word combinations in the elf languages Tolkien invented. IIRC "dor" actually literally means "land", so all those ME names ending with -dor are similar to the many nation names in english that end with -land: Scotland, Poland, Iceland, Thailand, etc.

If such naming conventions seem overused in non-ME settings then that's probably because they're ripping off imitating Tolkien's works ;)

xpian
07-06-2014, 03:08 PM
Exactly, Ghostman! When world-building, especially when writing novels, it becomes increasingly important to have your little naming details make sense. Tolkien is the gold standard for this. In my recent contest entry, I used Elf and Dwarf words of my own creation for place names. I decided that "dam-" was a Dwarf root for "water", resulting in "Damák" as a word for lake and "Damist" as a word for river. "Kilím" is a Dwarf word for tall mountains, resulting in "Kilím-Dathûl" for one set of mountains and "Orok ul'Kilím" for another. Reference: (http://www.cartographersguild.com/attachments/mapping-challenge-archive/65442d1404321427-june-2014-entry-ocd-mountains-finish_it_progress_8.jpg)

NedS298
07-08-2014, 08:10 PM
That's completely true, but I think the fantasy community caught on quickly. As an example off the top of my head, in Max's map "Kherash" there were a number of kingdoms ending in "-dor/dhor", eg. Valendhor (or something like that, anyway).

HBrown
07-13-2014, 02:52 PM
WFlat maps with cookie-cutter elevation. I am as guilty as the next guy, but geographically that makes no sense! Elevation and slope are distinct concepts, mountains have vegetation on one side, and rivers hardly ever travel through flat terrain. If the land is really flat, it's probably a marsh. And that's another thing: homogenous wetland. Is it a tree-filled swamp, or a reedy marsh, or what? Usually it's undefined 'swamp,' and when it IS defined, it's wrong.

Another one is swamps/marshlands/whatever the size of nations. I've seen fantasy world maps with wetlands which, if you scale them out, must be bigger than France. Even vast marshlands are tiny, on a global scale.

Another one: Big clumps of forest surrounded by... not forest. Even in medieval societies forest is utilized. There might be big stands of forest, but on the whole they are unlikely to be hundreds of miles across.

--HBrown

- Max -
07-13-2014, 03:03 PM
That's completely true, but I think the fantasy community caught on quickly. As an example off the top of my head, in Max's map "Kherash" there were a number of kingdoms ending in "-dor/dhor", eg. Valendhor (or something like that, anyway).

Actually I don't think there's sych things on Kerash map. Maybe another one? :P

J.Edward
07-26-2014, 01:19 AM
Here's one.
Look at a satellite map. How many houses can you see... not nearly as many as you'd think. Trees are often much taller and extend over houses. So on many maps you would see more trees and less structure, even in many cities. Even roads and rivers are often obscured by tree cover.
I think cliches happen a lot for many reasons, and not all bad ones. A map is used to convey information. That's really its primary goal throughout history. So the purpose of the map is central to what it will look like and what will be there.

And as pertains to fantasy and new or alien concepts - if you want to sell it people need to be able to understand and connect to it. If they can't do that then you've lost your audience. If that happens - history may remember your work as original and NEW but you may not get a lot of work.
Cliches, like stereotypes are there because it gets people from point a to b quickly with less explanation. Good or bad, it's true.

Ultra-realism is great but if it doesn't make the story more compelling or make it resonate with an audience then it's just academic in the end.
Okay. My 10 cents worth. ;)

J.Edward
07-26-2014, 10:51 AM
I just had a thought about maps being off to the right - I think it's less of a cliche and more about more people being right handed and maybe that's why. Being right handed people start drawing to right side of the page. Just a thought.

Chashio
07-26-2014, 01:19 PM
I just had a thought about maps being off to the right ...

Do you mean larger land masses on the right, kinda like how Asia and Africa generally appear on a standard world map? People like the familiar. Or having the water on the left? On that note, I live on the east coast of the US... maybe it feels more exotic to put the water in the west.

Ghostman
07-26-2014, 01:22 PM
What do you mean "off to the right"? Placing more map elements/details on the right side?

J.Edward
07-26-2014, 02:15 PM
Earlier in the thread NedS298 and Azelor were speaking about the common placement of continents/landmasses being placed off to the right of the image in the manner of the Lord of the Rings map and speaking to the historical cliche of it being like Europe and the Atlantic.
I was merely positing a possible reason that it continues, even if the map maker is not drawing from either of those references/cliches.

Chashio, I absolutely agree - people do like the familiar.

Ghostman
07-26-2014, 03:51 PM
Er, that's obviously because 1) the map is a regional/national map designed to focus on a particular country and 2) there's not enough space to display the entire landmass without zooming out so much as to lose the focus and 3) the focus of the map happens to be a coastal country and 4) the focus of the map happens to be on the western coast.

Under those parameters it's unlikely to NOT end up with a map of a left-adjusted partial landmass. As for why exactly 3 and 4 may turn out to be the case, only the person who imagined the country in question can answer.

J.Edward
07-26-2014, 05:55 PM
I think you may have missed the point being made Ghostman. The Lord of the Rings map isn't the issue or the cliche. It's maps people are making now that seem to resemble it that they were talking about.

However, what you said may still apply to a map someone makes today - IF - all those points are in play.
But, I am not really arguing that point. I was just throwing out an observation related to what others had been discussing.

Ghostman
07-27-2014, 05:12 AM
I was not refering to the Lord of the Rings map in my post, I was speaking of maps in general. My point is that maps are made to represent specific geography, and the geography in question is based either on the real world or on an imaginary world in someone's mind. That source - the idea behind the geography - is what primarily determines whether there's going to be a cut-off continent displayed in the first place, and whether it'll be cut from the east, south, west or north.

Falconius
07-27-2014, 05:25 AM
Part of that is also the convention that has determined North as the top edge of the map as well, were that not to be the case one might see more variation regarding the placement of land and sea edges.

J.Edward
07-27-2014, 03:46 PM
Ghostman, Got it. True and I wouldn't argue that at all. I think I was also speculating on it because I noticed that I've done it myself several times. While the land I was drawing attention to was part of a larger landmass it still left me wondering why did I choose to start there or to focus in on that orientation.

That I guess might be more of what is of interest to me and whether that comes from cliche or not.
I was surprised to find it in as many examples in my own work as I did.

Gamerprinter
07-27-2014, 04:05 PM
I've made many regional maps where the part of the landmass cut-off lies in any possible direction, north, south, east, west, even southeast, etc. I never stick to any particular conventions in any map. Really, every map I'm looking to do something different so I consciously avoid doing similar geography in any new regional map I create.

Posted below is a recent hand-drawn coastal region, that intentionally resembles the east coast of the North American continent, but isn't, just some resemblance - as an example of a not westward continuance of a continent...

GP

66033

TheHoarseWhisperer
07-27-2014, 04:46 PM
On the matter of landmass alignment, one thing I have often found interesting, as an in-depth worldbuilder, is the fact that eastern and western sections of large landmasses have different climates from one another. Because of the Coriolis effect, I believe.

THW

Falconius
07-27-2014, 06:48 PM
Looking at this wonderful map over on Cartographers Choice: http://www.cartographersguild.com/cartographers-choice/26798-central-alemnia-daelin.html I have noticed that there are a few maps that do the land through the centre thing from top to bottom. I can't think of any that have the land running horizontally through the centre and water top and bottom. My suspicion is screen and paper orientation making it visually convenient to to it that way. i.e. side to side is usually wider.