View Full Version : Starting at the Very Beginning

05-07-2014, 01:06 AM
Hello! I just joined this site earlier today, and I just started using GIMP a few days ago.

I don't have much to show right now. In fact, the ONLY thing I have to show is my initial ideas of what the landmass will look like. I haven't even named the place yet! Anyway, here's some information:

-First of all, this map is very basic, showing the ENTIRE world. Because of that, there is not much detail for many of the individual areas, especially on the western half (they are newer ideas).
-This world is not a sphere, but instead is flat. It is large, as well. ~15,000 km in diameter.
-In general, the northern half is dryer than the southern half, and the eastern half is cold, while the western half is hot.
-The only continent I am completely happy with so far is the one closest to the center of the map on the eastern half, as well as the islands to its northwest.

I am just looking for some feedback. Keep in mind that I have JUST started learning GIMP. I am trying a bunch of tutorials, and having trouble with each one, but once I improve, I'll adjust my map. Here are some questions:
-Does it look too jagged? I like the look of the peninsulas, but I don't want it to look sinister.
-Does anything look too rectangular?
-Other than being a flat world, does it look realistic?/Could continents like these form?
-Any other suggestions.

Thank you!


05-07-2014, 04:23 PM
Well, the mechanics of a disc-shaped world are not well understood, so I couldn't say as to whether the continents could form. Since a discworld is a physically-unlikely formation, I'd say anything goes. Some items to consider, though: Is there any particular reason the continents would arrange themselves to fit so nicely in a circular area? Specifically, the bend of the main continent seems to conform nicely to the outer edge of the disc. That could be by design—the gods liked the way it looked, or it could be an artifact of whatever physical forces are acting on the continent. If it rotates around a central hub, like Pratchett's Discworld, we might indeed find that kind of arc near the edge of continents, but there might be other consequences to that kind of angular acceleration on a continent. There could be any number of things happening beneath the surface, too.

Why do none of them approach the edge very closely? Does the water at the edge fall off? What draws it downward? What replenishes the level of the ocean? A wellspring in the center? What is the reason for the environmental qualities you described: hot in the west, and dry in the north? Is there a sun and/or moon(s)? How do they move in relation to one another? How does that affect the inhabitants' perceptions of day and night? What about the seasons?

Regarding the shapes of the continents themselves, it seems to have a pretty good amount of small detail, and plenty of large detail, but it feels to me like many coasts are lacking medium-scale detail.

05-07-2014, 05:54 PM
Well, because this is a disc-shaped world rather than a sphere-shaped planet, I am pretty much breaking a lot of what I understand of how landmass, climate, seasons, the sun and moon, etc. I have some very general ideas about some of these questions. The edge is not a distinct boundary. When you get close to the edge of the world, everything evaporates. It's like the outside is just free essence that has no form. There is an object at the center, in the sea, that holds everything together. The object replenishes the water that is lost at the edge, pretty much by giving form to the essence that surrounds the world. A really rough idea that I had is that the continents as they are now were formed by twisting around the object in the center. That's why none of them are longer radially than they are orbiting the center. This will effect how and where mountains will form, which is why I haven't thought that far ahead yet. Really, the only continent that is fully how I'd like it to be is the central-southeast continent and it's northwestern islands. Everything else may change.

As for the seasons and the climate, I noticed that as this is not a planet, there's no axis that varies throughout the year unless I make the sun move. There is a sun and at least one moon, though I haven't decided how they rotate. I am thinking that the sun would move either north-south or south-north. Because there are no north or south poles of the world, there's no reason for the people to consider them "up" or "down" when imagining the world. Instead, they follow the sun. There are some sort of forces in the east and west that regulate the climate, and the strength of one or the other fluctuate throughout the year. I like to imagine that cold weather radiates from the east and hot weather from the west. It has nothing to do with the sun, as the sun remains constant. The length of the day remains constant. I am considering two moons that move east-west or west-east, and their rotations effect one of the extremes of the weather. The dry and wet climate reason is simply because I wanted variety. I haven't thought of much of a reason for that yet. I was thinking it is because the land in the south is thinner than in the north, but I really don't know if that would have such an effect or not.

This is a map of the entire world, so there is a lot of detail that I could probably put in by zooming in closer. What do you mean by medium-scale detail?

05-07-2014, 06:41 PM
Nice! I was hoping to hear that you'd thought a lot of those things out, and indeed you have. I like the idea of a void space at the edge of the world, although it makes me wonder if that's some kind of limited-range field, or if the celestials are inside the bubble of the space, in which case, do the sun and moons rise out of the sea? That would be kind of cool, although it would certainly have to change the nature of the sun!

This is a map of the entire world, so there is a lot of detail that I could probably put in by zooming in closer. What do you mean by medium-scale detail?

It's a little difficult to describe with words, and I don't have the luxury of making illustrations at the moment, but I'll do my best. Coastlines, like many things in nature, are fractal, one quality of which is that are equally complex at every scale. Right now, your coasts are very complex at the smallest visible level—lots of crinkle in the lines. Likewise, at the highest visible level—the shapes of the continents themselves—they're pretty detailed. In between, though, there is often a lack of detail. Some coastlines are better than others. The western coast of the eastern-most continent, for instance, has a nice in-and-out meander to it (and I'm loving the fjords on the eastern coast). The continent to the north-west of it, though, seems less well-realized because it has large portions of coast that, if you were to remove the high-frequency crinkle, would be pretty much straight lines or arcs.

We do see that sometimes in real-world geography. The western coast of Washington and Oregon is pretty flat, but as you get further south, you see a lot more of the medium-scale detail in the California coast. So it's not a big no-no, but to my eye, there's just a little bit too much of that relatively straight coastline. Then again, I have no idea what causes some coasts to be "flatter" than others.

05-07-2014, 06:54 PM
Ah, I see what you mean now. Well, some of the less-defined coastlines you mentioned are less detailed because originally, I had several smaller islands (roughly the size of that one just north of the center) that I linked together to make larger continents. Those two large lakes/inland seas, for example, were parts of the sea that I left after linking previous islands together. For others, I was just getting lazy. I will certainly add more detail as I progress further.

Hmm, I guess I didn't consider how the sun and moons retain their form, as they are beyond the edges of the world. I'll have to adjust how they exist. The void space I imagined to look like an endless ocean of clouds and mist. I also never considered how to explain stars!

05-08-2014, 05:33 PM
Here's an update. I've adjusted some of the coastlines to reduce the appearance of straight lines and arcs from a distance. Additionally, I've begun to think about where mountain ranges would form. The reddish zones on the second image are my thoughts. Most of the mountains in the southwest are underwater ranges that have emerged from the shallower parts of the ocean.
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