View Full Version : WIP: unnamed Earh-like planet

05-13-2014, 06:08 AM
EDIT: 13/06/15

Since the little bits of talk here and there about tectonics might be of interest to other people (look for Pixie's posts and the links to Pixie's, akubra's and ascanius' WIP), BUT since my ineptitude to get the tectonic map right means there are full pages of multiple edited versions of the same map with a lot of little variations that I figure are not of much interest, I thought making a little index of my thread might be useful for those who might be more interested in different things (tectonics, terrain, etc), especially since the thread started being about terrain and then became about tectonics, but after that I'll be back to terrain and beyond, I hope.

- Page 1: intro and very first and horrible version of the map and the tectonics. Terrain and tectonics.
- Page 2: second version of the map. Land masses and tectonics.
- Page 3: more tectonics and a bit of terrain experimentation.
- Pages 4-10: lots of tectonic (a bit more complex) maps versions with small but constant variations, but with very interesting and helping suggestions here and there about tectonics from my Godfather Pixie.
- Page 11. At least a final version of the tectonic map (solved 100% by Pixie).
- Pages 11-12: some whining + the continental shelves added.
- Pages 13-15: height-map.
- Page 16: surface oceanic currents.
- Page 17-18: Climate stuff (by Azelor)
- Page 19-: failed terrain atempt + height map

CURRENT STATE: stuck again. On hiatus

Hello everyone! Thanks for stopping by.

- World name: Fedjia.

That would be the name of the planet in the novel's protagonist political power's language: ground = fedgea (pronounced 'fedgia'). It's not a very attractive name I guess, but at least it's consistent with the con language and for the people using that language it would sound ok I guess. Don't know, might try to come up with a "sexier" name.

- Type: earthlike.
- Equatorial radius: 40.000Km.
- Tilt: just like Earth, I'm not trying to be original really.
- Resolution and size: 60x30cm, 300pxi.
- Realism: I just need it to be loosely based on scientific concepts and knowledge, but I don't have the capacity or the time to become a pro to get an ultra realistic planet.

A few weeks ago I started working on this world map project after many past failures to finish previous maps. I really like this project more than my previous attempts, but as with those, I got stuck on the terrain part, so I can't really go on, since I need the map mostly for world building for a novel. For now I just need a decent world map to get me the essential visual information I need of each continent, but that doesn't make me cry over how much it looks like a map a creative little child would make on Paint in 30 mins.

I made a very BASIC outline of the current tectonic plates and their overall direction, because for now I only got a grasp of the basics of it. I only needed to know the hotspots for volcanic activity and earthquakes, and also to explain the mountain range that "separates" the main central continents (which are 2 but look like 1), because it's important to the background of the story. You'll see a few mountain spots not explained by the current tectonic tendencies, but I needed them there, so the cheap explanation I got is they are the result of previous tectonics tendencies and configurations. Warning, it will make any Geologist or Geology connoisseur's eyes bleed because there must be thousands of things wrong in it.

EDIT: I'm on the process of re-doing the tectonics.

For now I'm trying to get a basic visual "outline" of the terrain I want, with simple color layers for each type of terrain. The result is very nave, and quite plain, especially when I add the main rivers, as simple lines (probably rivers wouldn't even be visible like this, but I need to see them for world building purposes).


So, right now what I need is opinions and/or advice on:

1. Scale and resolution: Is it too big? I suppose for terrain only it might be, but then I'll have to make political versions of it, so I need a bit of margin to zoom in a few times before starting to see the pixels.

2. Big mountain ranges (Like the Alpes, the Andes, the Himalayas, etc, those clearly defined on satellite views):

- In the map they're obviously the brown spots, and I'm aware of how specially horrendous the big one on the north of the central continent looks; it looks very awkward, specially at the "cross" section where the two continental plates meet to create the big mountain range that kind of isolates the two sides of the continent.

- Do they look too scarce?

- Are they too big in scale?

- I'd love for them to be explained by the current tectonic tendencies, but they are not, only the one placed where the 2 central continents meet. As I said, I did the tectonic outline to know about volcanic and earthquake hot spots, I'd love to do outlines of different periods to explain those mountains, but it gets too complex for me and at some point it stops making sense. So considering this, would you place the brown areas somewhere else with the cheap excuse that they were formed during previous tectonic configurations, but still making geological sense?

- Please ignore the brown spots on the volcanic islands on the east of the map, they shouldn't be there at all (considering brown spots are only high altitude areas and on those islands I guess medium/low altitude would be more fitting, though I still haven't got a system to indicate such altitudes) and will delete them when I work on the map again.

3. Snow/ice: I suppose I should have more white areas? And yes, as in now, I don't have poles, which I guess is very unrealistic, my question is, SHOULD there be poles? Are they mandatory the way our planet works? Is there any semi plausible explanation my planet wouldn't have them?

4. Deserts: I know it depends on the winds and other factors I have no idea of how to translate to a map, so superficially speaking, to be more balanced, should there be more desertic areas, or bigger? Only near the tropics?

Any input on these issues would be greatly appreciated, since right now I'm a bit lost.

P.S: About the sea I'll worry at the end if I manage to get the terrain done, for now I gratefully tried to replicate the sea in Ilanthar's Eldoran physical map, but I haven't worked on it yet to polish it.

05-13-2014, 06:51 AM
I think the mountains are a little bit too big on the central continent, and like you said they don't match up with tectonics. Perhaps this (http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/dynamic/understanding.html)might serve to give you some ideas, it helped me a lot. When two plates press together they make many mountain ranges that run somewhat in parallel, like the Alps (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Alps). Maybe you could model the mountains in the central continent on the Alps. The freezing poles I think are just a fact with an earth-like (same tilt) planet. The poles get very cold, since they don't get as much energy from the sun, and freeze, forming a crust of ice.

All in all, looks like a good start to me.

05-13-2014, 07:38 AM
It needs relief. I mean a lot of texture - you need to bring those mountains out.

05-13-2014, 07:46 AM
Thanks JonPin. You're right, I had forgotten that the poles are directly related to the tilt of the planet... egh, I really don't care about poles (fictional) at all, but I guess I'll have to add some. I just got NASA's G. Projector, so when I add the poles I'll try them there with different projections to make sure they don't look horribly distorted if I decide to make a globe projection on the map.

And yes, I reckon I need something like the Alps in that area where the two central continents meet.

With the projector (using a 60x30cm sized image of the map, so it's equirectangular) I also realized that perhaps I put said central continents too low for the kind of temperatures and climates I'd like then to have, so right now I'm even more lost. But to make it right I'd have to make the two central continents smaller so they fit just above the Equator approximately, which would make necessary reducing the scale of the rest of the continents and thus adding more land masses, if I want to keep the current relative sizes of all the continents to each other. So basically, I'd have to mess up the whole thing... damn reality.

NedS298. I tried making a height map using the popular technique of white and black difference clouds and then lighten and darkening at will... but I can't get it right because I don't really have the vision of it in my head, since I don't know if what I'd want would be geologically correct or possible, so I'm very insecure about it. For the mountains though, I intend to use a basic height map when I try to make the final version of the terrain, using Tear's (http://www.cartographersguild.com/tutorials-how/8086-%5Baward-winner%5D-saderan-%96-tutorial.html)tutorial most likely, but before I do that, I need to have this outline ready as a guide, sadly I'm not able to just improvise.

05-13-2014, 11:30 AM
Don't worry too much about adding random mountain ranges wherever you need them. As long as they are older and lower- i.e. more eroded- then it's easy to explain. Look at the Appalachians or the Anti-Atlas range. Neither is well explained by current plate collisions. That's because in fact they are both remnants of the Central Pangaean Range (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Pangean_Mountains)from almost half a billion years ago. So if you add any random mountains just make them more Appalachian-like and explain them away as remnants of an ancient range. I think that the Urals are also an ancient mountain range remnant.

That said, I think that there is a problem with your plate tectonics. If that is an equirectangular projection, then the plates don't line up right at any map edges. (I understand from my limited trolling around this forum that this is a common tendency among our peers.) If you have a plate cross an east or west map edge then it must continue on the other map edge- just like if you made a continent that did so. And yours don't.

Heck, at your south pole you've got one plate bountary reaching the pole- you can't have just one. In fact, it must be zero or an even number, or it would be one heck of a coincidence that there is a three-way plate nexus precisely at your north pole.

Put your tectonic map into G.Projector and look at it in ortho view to see what I mean. I would imagine that it's easiest (if somewhat contrived) to make both poles their own plate.

Or is this not meant to be a projection of the whole world?

Regarding climate/poles/etc.: is this a fantasy map? SciFi? What? Because you can explain away almost anything with "it's magic." And polar sun mirrors help, too.

If neither of these apply, well, yes even then you can still have a world without icecaps. But there is a price to be paid. The Earth has gone through many periods where it had no permanent icepack- see this Wiki page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_and_icehouse_Earth). In fact, current theory holds that the Earth only hosts a permanent icepack 20% of the time. The Earth goes through periodic greenhouse and icehouse phases on about a million-year timescale- this is different than glacial and interglacial periods, which only happen during icehouse phases (we are currently in an interglacial icehouse). Of course, the average surface temperature is about 10-15C higher during a greenhouse phase- that's the tradeoff. But in any realistic scheme if you want equatorial climates no hotter than modern Earth on an Earth-sized planet with Earth-like axial tilt and rotation and Earth-like weather patterns, then the poles will be cold and probably have an icecap. As we are working on proving it needn't have icecaps year-round, especially if a pole doesn't have land under it, but at least in winter.

But if you are willing to let the tropics fry then you can lack icecaps totally.

05-13-2014, 01:12 PM
acrsome, very helpfull advice about random mountains palcement, I'll keep that very in mind.

I hadn't thought about checking the tectonics plates on the projector, great idea, because as I was making the tectonic outline my head hurt a bit when dealing with the edges of the map, so your suggestion is indeed great, tomorrow if I find a moment I'll check it out, but as you say, I'll have to make important amends. And yes, it's supposed to be a projection of the whole world.

The world is more fantasy than anything else I guess, but no magic or elves, or dwarfs, just boring humans, so it's more a custom historical world than fantasy.

Um, I think I'd rather keep the Earth temperatures and add some poles.

Great observations guys, really helpfull. At this point I don't know what to do because before focusing on terrain again, I think I need to add poles, fix the tectonics and perhaps rearrange or add more land masses. Just that might take me a bit because I can't work on the map everyday. So perhaps regarding terrain we could leave it on hold until I fix those things, and then when it's ready I'll keep in mind the climate and temperatures distribution on Earth first and the suggestions about mountains. But if you got any other observations or suggestions regarding the land masses, scale, or other things, I'll appreciate it.

I might even try to research a bit how complicated and hard would be to try different settings from Earth (like tilt, size of the planet,etc), depending on the implications of the changes (I know it affects night/day, seasons and all that) and my needs, so I could keep the current land masses but have a different climate and temperatures distribution, but it'll probably make my head hurt before I get anything clear of it.

In any case, I'll keep you updated. Thanks for your input.

05-14-2014, 04:20 AM
I like your land shapes, and I think you do the right thing in not changing those too much. However, they make for a world with even wider expanses of ocean than Earth. Also the huge number of large islands in comparison with the small continents makes harder on the tectonics part...

Which, by the way, if you want to get right, you better start from scratch, as your fist attempt was messy. I spent some time looking at your plates and couldn't work any advice to make it work as it is.

Using G.projector (or a couple of oranges / tennis balls / anything round you can draw on) is a very good strategy. Stick to this workflow when at it:
- one boundary at a time (say you start with a convergent one)
- draw the boundary as you want it (you don't need to draw the entire plate)
- mark a big arrow (or a few) on top of each plate showing their movement (since you started with a convergent in this case, movement is towards that)
- on the opposite side you NEED to have a divergent boundary - either deep ocean ridge or a continent tearing apart (ridges are more common)

- repeat this a few times and you'll have almost everything covered, then you work out the side boundaries and the details.

- be sure to do this in a round medium or to check at g.projector a lot of times.

05-14-2014, 05:51 AM
I know my geology, but I'm not using tectonics to make my maps, so, I'll say that I like your choice of colours and the general shape of the lands. As NedS298, I would like to see the mountains stands out more.
And your big river on the north part of the big continent should probably go in the central sea if you're not adding mountains to explain it's current path.

05-14-2014, 06:20 AM
Pixie, I'm afraid you're right, I need to re-do the tectonics, hopefully second time around they can also explain at least a few mountain ranges so they can be very high and sharp, not so small and eroded. I'll try to apply your suggestions as best as I can. Also, you made me think about those big islands and yes... I think too their too big to be volcanic islands.

Ilanthar, I agree my "mountains" are a bummer, but after all, the colors/terrain of the current map are supposed to be just a ready visual guide for when I try to do the final terrain with Tear's tutorial, because I'm terrible at drawing/painting and such, I have no vision for it, so I can't just improvise, I need to have a template before I work on the tutorial to do the real terrain.

I'm not surprised I messed up with the rivers too, but for now I'll forget about them since first I've got to fix the tectonics and the climate issues. I read a bit about giving the planet a different tilt, but the consequences are too extreme and don't quite fit my story, so I'm still thinking what to do about it.

Anyway, thanks you two too for your comments.

05-14-2014, 06:33 AM
By the way, for global temperatures purposes, does anyone know how to recreate the tropic and subtropics latitudes, in my case in Photoshop? Would a simple grid system work? I mean where to place them with a decent level of accuracy, I've tried finding some answers myself, or a ready-made template, but I think I'm not using the correct keywords because I can't find anything.

05-14-2014, 09:16 AM
I'm not sure what you mean by "recreate the tropic and subtropic latitudes." If your axial tilt is, say, 23 degrees then the tropics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropics) are by definition to 23 degrees north and south, e.g. Subtropics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subtropics) are from there to 30 or 35 degrees, by most definitions.

Placing lines of longitude and latitude is actually pretty easy if your map projection is equirectangular. You just count pixels and do some division. Or you can download G Projector (it's free), load your map in (assuming it is equirectangular, since G Projector only accepts that as input) and it will spit out images in almost any projection (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Map_projections) you can think of, including lines of latitude and longitude, if you like.

But if you mean climatology, well, that gets complex (http://jc.tech-galaxy.com/bricka/climate_cookbook.html), not least because no one can really define what "subtropic" means. Reading the Wikipedia article on Koppen Climates might help, too, especially looking at the world climate map that is included. Though I personally think that maps of biomes (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e4/Vegetation.png) rather than climate per se is probably more useful.

The short answer is that tropical climates tend to extend from the equator to 10 or 15 degrees, then there is usually a band af aridity to about 30 degrees- especially on west coasts- then temperate climates beyond that. (Mind you, "temperate" covers everything from the humid swamps of Georgia to the frozen taiga of central Siberia.) Tundra and other arctic climates usually start somewhere around 65-75 degrees. On west coasts there tends to be a small band of Mediterranean climates between the deserts and the temperate climates. The "subtropic" climates that you're talking about are probably east coasts between 20-35 degrees or so that aren't deserts.

Both sangi39 (http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/25350-yantas-pretty-amateur-wip.html) and myself (http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/25569-terraformed-venus.html) are struggling through this process right now.

EDIT-- Fortuitously, Pixie is currently putting together a great tutorial on climate creation (http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/27118-wip-sort-tutorial-climates-applying-geoffs-cookbook-detail-some.html).

05-15-2014, 04:10 AM
Very helpful post acrsome and great links, I'll check them out right now.

05-15-2014, 08:19 AM
Well, today I could work on the project a bit and focused first on fixing my problem with climate for the central continent/s, as the novel and its historic context will take place in that scenario. Basically, I calculated where the tropics and subtropics would be (represented with very rudimentary lines) and then I rotated the land mass until the part I wanted was on the North hemisphere, between the subtropic and the called frigid zone. This way there I can get a range of temperatures similar to Eurasia, which is what I need.


But by rotating the continent I kind of broke the harmony with the other land masses, so I rearranged them a bit. Honestly, the final result is okay I guess, but it doesn't feel as nice to me as the first version did. What do you guys and gals think? Is it too bad?


I'm especially interested in how the central and eastern part of the map looks right now, but the more I look at the continents of the West side the less I like them. The big one reminds me of an actual heart, and the little one on the west side of the islands just looks nasty, so I'd like to come up with alternatives to them in the next session.

The volcanic islands on the south-east still are too big I think, so I'll make them smaller on the next session if I remember.

I added a land mass for the South pole, which of course is humongous because of distortion, when I import the map in NASA's G. Projector, with Orthographic projection, it looks fine I think.


I've decided that for now in the North Pole I won't have a land mass, only an ice cap, like Earth, just because really. Question is, do I have to add said ice cap to the map? Because I've noticed a lot of Earth world maps don't, which surprised me a bit. Anyway, without the ice cap, this is how the North Pole looks right now:


How is the general feel of the land masses and the proportion of land/sea? Does it feel unbalanced or weird?

05-15-2014, 10:51 AM
But by rotating the continent I kind of broke the harmony with the other land masses, so I rearranged them a bit. Honestly, the final result is okay I guess, but it doesn't feel as nice to me as the first version did. What do you guys and gals think? Is it too bad?

How is the general feel of the land masses and the proportion of land/sea? Does it feel unbalanced or weird?

The people on this forum may not be the best to ask about weirdness. They do some rather dramatic worldbuilding here, at times. ;)

I certainly don't find the shape of your continents unaesthetic, if that's what you're asking. And "balance" is sort of a pointless concept. Look at a map of the Earth 450 million years ago, with one large supercontinent. Now that was unbalanced, and it was real. Your world certainly seems to be more ocean and less land than Earth, but that's OK, too.

Rotating that largest continent is fine if it suits your needs for the climate in your novel. It probably just looks odd to you because you're used to seeing it the other way, but I barely noticed. You don't have to show icecaps if you don't want to, unless your goal is a photorealistic map or somesuch. As you said, a lot of maps just show landforms.

05-15-2014, 07:09 PM
This is always an inetresting way, to look around your map with different projections.

05-16-2014, 08:40 AM
Today I worked a bit more on the land masses. After messing up with Fractal Terrains to get an interesting shape, and doing a bit of editing of the outline in Photoshop, I added a new big continent on the West side of the map, and edited a bit the outline of the old one that reminded me of an actual human heart. I also rearranged the islands a bit and finally I moved the whole map to the right so it was more centered on the canvas. I also filled the land masses with a plain basic green color so they stand a bit more from the sea while I get to work on the terrain. EDIT: I see that in the scale guide on the upper right I wrote 3,333 Km instead of 3.333 Km, I'll fix that the next session.


Then I worked on the tectonic plates, after a lot of brushing and erasing and checking with G. Projector, especially for the poles. They're not pretty but I take them just as a rough outline to detect hotspots for seismic and volcanic activity, and also high and sharp mountain ranges. I started to indicate the general direction of the plates, but I'm not even half way, I had to call it a day, so I'll finish it on the next session, hopefully.


Here's the North Pole:


Here's the South Pole:


And that's all I did today, but at least I think I'm done with the land masses outlines.

acrsome, you are absolutely right, I get so micro-focused on the map that I forget how after all it's a fantasy world, so almost anything can be plausible, if not possible, more or less depending on how much do you want to subject yourself to the natural laws that rule the planet.

05-16-2014, 01:42 PM
As they are now, your landmasses resemble Earth a lot. North and South America... Eurasia and a small version of Africa on its SW side... a few islands where Australia would be. Antartica where Antartica is. Is it all intentional?

I like what you did at the poles, especially on the north pole.

Still on landmasses and tectonics, there's a place in your map that I really love where I think some tectonics "de p.. madre" could be happening:64142

So the idea is a recent rift opened a significant time ago, which is spreading those continents. However, this was small moving (lost power) and a second rift opened up further south. This one had a stronger influence and made the part that was moving south move back north.. The present result is an area of strong volcanism and earthquakes, a large shallow sea between the southern continent and those islands. Those islands are recent land, a mix of mountains, volcanoes and fertile land (think java-like islands).

If you wish to take on this idea, feel free to incorporate in your map. If you don't want the hassle, I'm just as happy with it, don't worry ;)

05-16-2014, 06:33 PM
You don't have to spend SO much time on the details. We can all appreciate and admire that you're trying to be accurate and realistic, which is good, but in the end people will look at your map and say, "wow, there's so much detail, such good choice of colours", etc, not, "wow, look at the realism of those plate tectonics!". All I'm saying is, as soon as it looks good, don't question it - just map it.

05-17-2014, 05:34 AM
@Pixie, yes, the overall resemblance to Earth is kind of intentional. I mean, I realized not long ago that when I see a fantasy map with land masses that remind me of Earth, I connect to it more than when land masses are more random and original, it was a subconscious thing, I guess I'm a really a fan of our beloved planet. I know it's not very original, but I need to connect with the map, so I'm really fine with it. Perhaps if I'm ever done with this map for the novel, I'll try to be more original with another project.

By the way, I'm really, really intrigued about you idea about the tectonics of the area you mentioned, so in today's session I'll check it out and quickly try to represent the evolution you mention in two or three little pictures of that area, to see if I got it right, so I'll probably need your feedback.

@NedS298, I've reached the same conclusion these past days, because it's exhausting and it eats a lot of time, and I really need to get it done so I can set basic information for world-building for the novel, which involves wars, politics and a big Empire, so I need the map. After I'm done with the basics of tectonics, which I do think are important for natural disasters and mountain ranges, I'll start with terrain again. For climate/temperatures I'll simplify a lot and base it on Earth, because after all for the novel temperatures are not as important as tectonics.

05-17-2014, 06:59 AM
I've done a VERY rough and quick representation, in three pictures, of Pixie's suggestion of tectonics on the south of the Eastern continents, but I admit I got a bit lost on some points because my understanding of tectonics it's very basic, and thus I need some clarification. Here's what I understood:

1. Land mass 4 is still attached to Land mass 2, and land mass 2 is still attached to land mass 1, but a rift opened between land 1 and 2, slowly separating both (divergent, in red).


2. This I'm not sure is right, but BOTH sides of the rift got filled with water, separating the land masses, and eventually some crust from the lithosphere managed to reach the surface, creating the volcanic islands chain (n3) between land 1 and 2.


3. At some point a new rift opened in land mass 2, that separated land 4 and also pushed land 2 back in the direction of land 1.



- In image 3 the division on land mass 1 and 2 is convergent (blue arrows) on one side and divergent on the other, how does this translate? Which direction is predominant? The one with the higher speed? How would it affect those islands? Would they remain actively volcanic no matter what which boundary direction is predominant?

- Would indeed those little volcanic islands form in step/image 2 or in 3? I didn't quite understand form Pixie's suggestion when would they arise.

- About the shallow sea Pixie, when you say southern continent you mean land 2? Would that sea also be shallow between the islands and land 1?

05-17-2014, 10:30 AM
I fully agree with the last comment of NedS298. Personnally I find inspiration in Earth shapes (making little parts big continents for example) or past/future earth. It gives immediate "coherence" without being very troubled with all the geologic/realistic questions. I often question myself about the possible complementarity of each continent to redo a pangea (the wegener puzzle), but that's all.

Even though I find that questions interesting by itself. We're far to understand and discover everything about it btw (a common thing in science, and happyly!)

Anyway, I really like what you have so far!

05-17-2014, 02:46 PM
Yes, once you get a map together the artists here will pounce and start critiquing and praising your aesthetics. But in the meanwhile there are those here who appreciate the science. Not many, but they are here. ;)

That island near your north pole looks kind of unnatural in the orthographic view. On your base map it probably needs to look "smeared" east-west or "squashed" north-south more, so that it looks more natural in orthographic.

05-17-2014, 06:37 PM
NedS298 and Ilanthar are right in saying that a lot of this "tectonics & climate" effort doesn't get noticed once the map is finished. In fact, they can put you off from finishing a map more often than not. However, I think acrsome and others (myself included, surely!) take pleasure in this sort of what-if exercise.

This site has some of us nested in a corner, next to the ultra productive artistic cartographers, the game-masters carving a local/city/dungeon map their players can explore, the goblin/dwarf/sorcercer/fairy maps, and the etc. You really place yourself wherever you like.
As a science freak, I try to balance between giving advice to those who seem that will take it and appreciating "things as they are" from the ones who are not interested. A few times I felt I was intruding too much and backed off. And I am aware, every time, that it's up to the map creator to decide how much time he wants to put into the fine detail.

So, having made this "disclaimer", comment on your work, groovey:
You generally understood the rationale I suggested for that area (except what you mention, the formation of those islands - I have drawn a set of pics to explain and you can find them at the end of this post).
From experience, I found that making up a tectonic planetary model is easier and more coherent when done (at least partially) from the bottom-up. That is, to figure out particular areas of the globe and then stitch them together.
Since it looks like you will take this double rift idea, consider prolonging one of those two rifts all the way to the separation between the two continents in the western side of the map. Because their shapes look like a fit, their breaking apart could be recent ;).

And now the full explanation of what I meant before. I was really unsure whether to post these or not and I considered sending a personal message instead... this is maybe too heavy on the detail, boring for some, and all that, and it would be a huge task to create a whole planet with this level of detail - but something was telling me you wanted it ;). Feel free at any time to tell me to shut up, I won't be offended.


05-18-2014, 05:52 AM
@Ilanthar, thanks a lot for the encouragement, the one you give now and the one you gave me when I first joined in the Guild to make a WIP thread to get help with my project, doing so has really helped me to re-think some things about it and improve it a bit. And I'm really intrigued about using little parts from Earth and making them continents, I might try having fun with it at some point.

@acrsome, indeed, that northern island looks terrible with orthographic projection, but I wasn't sure if I needed to do something about it or what, but I think I understand the logic now, so I'll try to fix it. And in my case, I doubt I'll fully please neither the artists or the more science inclined with this map, since I've had to sacrifice science over time and needs for the novel; and on the other hand I'm terrible with terrain and anything that requires an artistic vision related to painting (I've a better vision and understanding to make music and writing, which doesn't mean I'm good at them), but we'll get to that eventually, I hope.

Wow Pixie, that's a lot of fascinating history you've managed to convey in just 4 images. I would have never been able to come up with so much detail. It makes me love that region of the map a lot, it feels special now, with so much detail on its evolution. Thanks a lot for taking the time to do that, I understand much better now what you first suggested, and it has become canon. I like it a lot, specially how the islands are created.

That said, I'm very conflicted about the map in general, because part of me wanted to create a full planet and figure out everything about it in some detail (climate, currents, etc) and maybe even give it different basic traits from Earth, like tilt, revolution time, etc; but the thing is, this particular map is the base for a novel, so I can't spend so much time with all that, since those things are secondary or even less significant to the story. Terrain is the most important thing I need, and for historic purposes, basic tectonics for natural disasters.

So with a bit of disappointment I've finally accepted that for this project I need to keep going and don't worry much about all the science behind it, and simplify most things instead. I love tectonics and I've still a lot to learn about it, but for this map for the novel I'll be happy with a rough outline.

For example, Pixie, your suggestion for that area made it feel more special to me, I connect more with it, but I'll hardly be able to reflect it with detail on the general tectonic map, since I'll only make the present one. I will though, soon post said rough general outline of the tectonics, and I'll be very interested in reading comments about it, because I'm sure I'll need to do a bit or a lot of corrections, because sometimes I get confused.

I know if I followed your initial advice to me in the first page of this thread about the tectonic boundaries I'd get a more organic general outline that would feel more realistic and balanced, but I'm really getting impatient. I've spent about 3 years now trying to come up with a map for this novel (in sporadic periods, of course), failing miserably, never with the tools and the modest knowledge I have now thanks to the Guild. This April when I got the inspiration to try again, I thought by now I'd have the map done, it wouldn't look very pretty, but it would do. Instead, about a whole month later I'm still working out the tectonics... So I feel a bit frustrated, I'm aware making maps takes a lot of time and work, but really, my main goal is getting something decent enough to work with the novel. If after hopefully finishing this map for the novel I work on a map with no goal but itself, I'll really worry about it looking pretty and professional.

I hope after I'm done with this project, if I manage at all to finish it, I can start a new planet from scratch and have fun figuring out everything about it with much more detail.

Sorry guys and gals for the little rants, blame my frustration at my own limitations.

05-18-2014, 08:21 PM
grovey, my fellow Iberian (I'm portuguese), if you are getting impatient, move on! ;)

And if you ever wish to work the detail in other area, you can simply call on help around here.

05-19-2014, 02:14 AM
Okay, maybe I do think that you don't need to worry about all the different elements of the map so much, but I do love a science discussion every now and then. I don't want to take this off topic, but it's so interesting...

05-19-2014, 07:11 AM
Good day to all.

Today I haven't been able to do much.

I made the island like shape from the North Pole plate narrower so it would look fine in Orthographic projection

Then I re-touched a bit the plates and tried to give each plate boundary a coherent general direction. I have only 11 plates and most of them are quite big, and of course their configuration is quite simplified and planned to suit my needs, when it should be the other way around if I wanted them to look and behave more naturally. I almost question if I should have bothered at all, but well, I do think it'll be useful, simplified as it is.

That said, here's my re-do of the tectonics. I realize most of the movements are either N-S or E-W, which is a bit boring and robotic, but well. Actually that describes me quite well, funny enough.




Any glaring errors or contradictions in the direction of the plates in each boundary? I'm not sure I got some boundaries directions right, I get confused when said boundaries are too irregular in shape and/or meet with more than one plate's boundary. So my main issue, I think, are the side movements, or transformation boundaries.

I was going to try and check them in G Projector to see if I could understand better what those boundaries' directions would be, but G Projector broke down or something about "JVM could not be started" crap.

So how bad is it?

Pixie, I'm not sure either I've managed to convey your suggestion for area n3. I moved back into land n1 the original boundary that was on top of the islands, and created the new one just to the right side of said islands. Did I even get close to what it should look like?

Don't worry, I feel a bit more optimistic today. And anyway, once I'm done with the basic tectonics I'll move to work on the terrain again, so I'm getting there.

05-22-2014, 05:48 AM
Small update. I've started to experiment with terrain features, since even if I need to correct the tectonics directions, for terrain purposes, the two tectonic boundaries where continental shelves meet to create young and high mountain ranges wouldn't change, the rest of the mountain ranges will have to be old and eroded, from previous tectonic activity.

I got all the terrain layers from Tear's Sederan tutorial (http://www.cartographersguild.com/tutorials-how/8086-%5Baward-winner%5D-saderan-%96-tutorial.html) ready to work on, and at least for now I added a desert layer, which the tutorial doesn't specify, to at least know where I want them to be. As you can see, I didn't overcomplicate it and just placed them around the two tropics (attached you have the same map twice, one with the tropics to check desert placement, and one without tropics to focus solely on the terrain).


The desert areas are simply the result of painting with a low opacity dry brush, since I still don't know if I need the desert layer on I'll manage to represent deserts with just Tear's tutorial, I've still not thought about adding effects to the deserts.


Then I experimented with the main mountain ranges, but boy, I hardly know what the heck I'm doing, how are they supposed to look and such. To be honest, personally I don't need them to look pretty or polished, for the novel purposes I just need them to be in place and look decently like mountain ranges, but I'd be glad to hear any comments or suggestions on how to improve them, if they are too big in scale, too small...

And I'm aware it might be hard to judge the deserts and the mountains when the rest of the map it's so bare/empty, but I don't feel like moving on to other things until I'm a bit sure about them, so I'd love to hear some feedback.

Please don't mind the flat shapes on the north of the eastern continents, they are just a visual guide for two more mountain ranges I've yet to do.

Have a nice day.

05-22-2014, 12:18 PM
Yep, it's always hard to tell before it's finished, but I, like you, am just afraid to throw myself in a lot of work just for ending with something that I don't like.
And honestly, your mountains are looking just fine to me.

05-23-2014, 01:03 PM
Pixie, I'm not sure either I've managed to convey your suggestion for area n3. I moved back into land n1 the original boundary that was on top of the islands, and created the new one just to the right side of said islands. Did I even get close to what it should look like?

You did. Exactly what I meant.
Now, that sort of boundary created a problem for your movement with plate 7 and the boundary with plate 2. However, we can imagine the right boundaries for those two huge plates and their movements would only affect areas that are submerged. I mean, some stuff is clearly wrong somewhere else now (that's the headache with con-tectonics) but nothing that would change mountains placement.

As for the direction of the plates... yep, too robotic ;)

As for your second "advancement".. I think the mountains technique you are using is better suited for smaller scale maps. However, if you manage to get it looking good at this scale, please share the details.

05-23-2014, 06:08 PM
Your mountains are unusual, but not unpleasant. You seem to have put them in odd places though.

05-24-2014, 05:21 AM
I noticed Tear's tutorial is probably best fit for continental or regional maps, but there's a lovely map that I stumbled upon a few years back in the guild's gallery when I was just a casual lurker, by Schwarzkreuz, Photo 17 of 19 from Showcase (http://www.cartographersguild.com/members/schwarzkreuz-albums-showcase-picture43268-colored-worldmap.html). I've always had this map in mind and I'd like for mine to have a similar feel. The author of the map said he used Tear's tutorial, though it's obvious he made the most of it and added his own touch to make it look so polished and professional.

So IF I managed to represent my mountain ranges in a similar manner to his, would they make more sense in the world map scale?

NedS298, what do you mean? Would you mind sharing your thoughts? To be honest, there are only two places on which the current tectonics dictate mountains placement, and the two of them are on the eastern continent/s (because they are actually two plates mashed together), as indicated by blue circles:


The rest of them I'm mostly free to place as I see, with a certain logic of course, as they would be cheaply explained by being the result of previous tectonics, and thus would be older eroded mountain ranges. I'm not sure where to place them though, but I know I need some in certain areas to get important enough rivers.

Having that in mind, I'd like to hear your input.

Pixie, I'm very surprised I got what you meant right in my first try, thanks a lot again for that suggestion, that area of the map plays a somehow significant role in the story and the history of the eastern part of the map, so it's great to know it a bit better. Now I'll be focusing on terrain, but I might get back to the tectonics at some point to polish them and make them less robotic, but without interfering, too much, with the dynamic of plates 1, 2 (this one I wouldn't mind edit in shape as long as it collided with number 2 to created a mountain range), 3, 11 (to be coherent with 3) and the new one created after your suggestion, because those are the ones I need to work like they do now. The rest of them I wouldn't mind messing around more with, I could even edit the terrain as needed later on, if needed, so the revised tectonics and the terrain would match. I know this is a terrible system to make a map, but I can't get myself to do it in order, like I should. Meh, I should try to get it right, I'll try to give it more thought I guess, after all, I'm still experimenting with mountains to see if I get the hang of it so the final result is not random.

05-24-2014, 11:29 AM
Sigh. So, I polished the plates a bit more and kind of started fresh with the directions.

First I added the general direction of each plate, and then just started to work on the specific boundaries, but I'd like to know if I'm doing it right before doing more, because it takes some time to place each damn subduction triangle in the right angle to the boundary. I also know how I'll represent transformation boundaries, with yellow arrows, but I still don't know how to represent divergent boundaries, color would be red, but with what? Arrows in opposite directions like I did in the previous tectonic map?


Two things I need to ask:

1. The direction where the subduction triangles are pointing indicate which plate subducts into which plate right? In my case, for example, plate 8 subducts into plate 9, and n3 to n1 (at least north of the boundary), is that right?

2. I forgot while I wrote n1.

From checking out different tectonic maps of Earth, I think I got the general idea of how it works, in those maps, but in mine I find it difficult to know which segments of the boundary is what when said boundary meets with more than one plate, and to know how the general direction of the plate affects each boundary meeting.

For example, what I did in boundary of n8 and 9, would subduction happen across ALL the boundary, or in some segments it wouldn't be subduction?

Is the boundary between plate n7 and 3 indeed a transformation one? All through it?

Sooo, I'd appreciate some advice, I've read about tectonics a bit, here and there, to understand the basics (because as I said, if I try to go hardcore on it my head hurts), but when it's time to apply it to my map... I'm not sure of what I'm doing.

And yes, I'm aware that the new polished tectonics makes the world even more similar to Earth... that's what happens when you have limited artistic vision to improvise, really, I'm almost a robot, so Mother Earth's copyright free suggestions work for me.

Also, I'd like to take a moment to thank you all for checking my WIP and giving me support, advice and opinions to keep improving it, especially since the thread is a bit of a mess: it started with terrain and tectonics, then a total re-do, tectonics, terrain, and now tectonics again... Let's hope it's all worth it and I end up with a decent finished map for the novel and world-building.

05-25-2014, 02:45 AM
Keep talking - I for one am finding it all interesting!

05-25-2014, 08:04 AM
On a plate boundary you should have land, continents don't form perpendicularly to their corresponding plate boundary/ies (very often), look at a world tectonic plates map. South America is a good examples of this. It's because uplift will occur on the plate going over the other, which will in turn make a valley. Two plates bordering on continental crust will create even larger mountain ranges with plateaus behind them (ie. lots of land). Two ocean plates colliding will give you islands like Indonesia and the Philippines, New Zealand, and the Caribbean islands. So on both your collision and transform plate boundaries, you should have land or islands - not a whole heap of sea. Currently, all your islands are on oceanic rifts (mid-ocean ridges) which does happen but not near as often island chains on (or behind, because of hot magma from the subducting plate rising through the crust again) collision or transform boundaries.
Too late to make changes now though, don't worry about it.

05-25-2014, 09:25 AM
Groovey, your questions made me rethink some of my own conceptions about tectonics and plate movement and go back to the drawing board on my own "fiction planet". Thanks for that!
From start, I chose the ignore most the times that plates movement is always rotational around a fictional pole (called Euler pole). I thought for larger plates, the rotation would be very small and thus we could think about it linear terms. However, on second thought, that's not the case and it's very much the opposite. Large plates is actually where it makes a bigger difference. So, I looked around a little bit and found this interesting resources:

explaining euler pole (http://www.earth.northwestern.edu/people/seth/demos/PLATE/plate.html)
euler pole movement applied to the boundary between north american plate and pacific plate (http://www.earth.northwestern.edu/people/seth/demos/PLATE/plate.html)

I also thought of a way to picture this with PS (or Gimp):
- create a layer on top of the the map and place a solid color shape exactly fitting the plate you want to look at
- on another layer draw a little cross to mark the euler pole of that plate
- under <edit>, select the option rotate - a small cross with a circle appears in the middle of the selection
- move that circle to the position where you placed the cross and then rotate the shape
- this allows to experiment with the plate movement and to figure out where subduction, transform and crust formation is happening

(this is an extra effort to get things right and may or may not end up to be useful, I haven't quite experimented enough with it yet - I also suspect it won't work well on plates too close to the poles)

Now, as for your specific questions:

1. The direction where the subduction triangles are pointing indicate which plate subducts into which plate right? In my case, for example, plate 8 subducts into plate 9, and n3 to n1 (at least north of the boundary), is that right?

Yes, your blue triangles are in the correct positions.
Modern geology thinks collisions between continents are not exactly subduction, though, they just bend, fold and pile up, neither of the plates actually sinks.

For example, what I did in boundary of n8 and 9, would subduction happen across ALL the boundary, or in some segments it wouldn't be subduction?

Is the boundary between plate n7 and 3 indeed a transformation one? All through it?

Try that "rotation" trick I described above.. it will show you the right answer, I think.

Also, you have the tendency to place island chains in oceanic rifts. While there's a few islands and island chains along Earth's rifts, they don't generate the New Zealand size islands you have.

I think this version is a common (I got it now, it messed up what I had and now it's awful, it will come out much better on the next try). Keep ploughing away!

05-26-2014, 07:12 AM
The last two posts made me think a lot, my head hurts (don't get me wrong, I'm not scared of thinking, on the contrary, I love it, but I'm more fit for social science, I'm an Historian after all. Natural science on the other hand is much more complex for me to grasp). They made me realize I do need to place islands on some oceanic boundaries and that to know where exactly I need to know the rotation axis on the plates (the Euler pole Pixie introduced me to, and the technique he came up to represent it on PS or GIMP is both simple and effective, it does help me indeed), which will also help me solve my problem of not knowing the boundaries movements.

However, I'm going to need a lot of processing to figure it out and fix the map.

Quick question:

- Islands originated in divergent boundaries TEND to be smaller than those created on convergent boundaries, true or false?

- So when two continental collide, if subduction doesn't occur, how do you represent it on a map? With what symbol?

Pixie, you mean this WIP of yours? http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/25903-wip-ambitious-world-map-fictious-earth-like-planet.html. I've checked it out a few times. I love what you did with the heightmap on that lovely pinguin, and observed your tectonics as a reference, so if you are going to re-do or edit the tectonics of the map, please, will you be so kind to post the updated tectonics?

05-26-2014, 12:16 PM
However, I'm going to need a lot of processing to figure it out and fix the map.

Well, yes, I figured. My map will also need a lot of re-processing. Furthermore, since I found out that rotation gives very different results depending on the projection.. And then I searched the web reading stuff about it and it seems (as sure as I can be now) that the projection to get this right needs to be stereographic.
So, my task will be, in the near future, to create stereographic projections of my original map. Several of them (stereographic projection, which G.projector can produce, cannot show a whole sphere at once), one for each plate, centered on it. And then work out their movement.

- Islands originated in divergent boundaries TEND to be smaller than those created on convergent boundaries, true or false?

- So when two continental collide, if subduction doesn't occur, how do you represent it on a map? With what symbol?

The only islands on divergent boundaries is when they coincide with a hotspot - Iceland and Azores are the only examples I can think of (as they are closest to me - I reckon most of the times it's actually no islands formed!
Even though there is no actual subduction (plate sinking and melting), I think it is represented in the same way (this is a detail we can very much not worry about)

Pixie, you mean this WIP of yours? http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/25903-wip-ambitious-world-map-fictious-earth-like-planet.html.

Yes, that's the world I am working on for some time. And yes, once I find the time to reconfigure tectonics I will post updates... Again, groovey, thanks for making be rethink my knowledge on tectonics and improve my own map ;).

05-27-2014, 03:57 AM
As if it hadn't gotten complex enough for me, he he, now there's also the projection to keep in mind! I'll try to grasp my head around that. Does it mean the way you devised to check the rotation on PS or GIMP won't give accurate results,I mean, as simplified as it is? Because to be honest, unless the results would be VERY different from those you would get by keeping in mind stereographic projection, I think it would be enough for me.

And you don't need to thank me, It's only fair you got something back of all this, after all your suggestions and help and patience to help me understand this whole thing better.

05-27-2014, 10:25 AM
Groovey, your questions made me rethink some of my own conceptions about tectonics and plate movement and go back to the drawing board on my own "fiction planet". Thanks for that!
From start, I chose the ignore most the times that plates movement is always rotational around a fictional pole (called Euler pole). I thought for larger plates, the rotation would be very small and thus we could think about it linear terms. However, on second thought, that's not the case and it's very much the opposite. Large plates is actually where it makes a bigger difference. So, I looked around a little bit and found this interesting resources:

explaining euler pole (http://www.earth.northwestern.edu/people/seth/demos/PLATE/plate.html)
euler pole movement applied to the boundary between north american plate and pacific plate (http://www.earth.northwestern.edu/people/seth/demos/PLATE/plate.html)

I also thought of a way to picture this with PS (or Gimp):
- create a layer on top of the the map and place a solid color shape exactly fitting the plate you want to look at
- on another layer draw a little cross to mark the euler pole of that plate
- under <edit>, select the option rotate - a small cross with a circle appears in the middle of the selection
- move that circle to the position where you placed the cross and then rotate the shape
- this allows to experiment with the plate movement and to figure out where subduction, transform and crust formation is happening

(this is an extra effort to get things right and may or may not end up to be useful, I haven't quite experimented enough with it yet - I also suspect it won't work well on plates too close to the poles)

I tried this out in gimp. It adds a whole lot of complicated. Depending on the rotation, I created divergent boundaries where I had none before. I kept this limited to only my largest plate but I realize that I have to be careful otherwise divergent boundaries would spring up all over the place.

I have a question about the Euler poles. From my understanding the Euler pole is an axis of rotation independent of the earth axis of rotation. It is around this axis that the a body moves across the surface of a sphere. Because it is circular the body would a some point reach it's starting position if no other bodies interfere.

on a flat surface couldn't this be shown with a simple compass, it won't be mathematically accurate but for the general idea it should work seeing that rotation is faster farther from an axis of rotation.

Or am I so completely off that it is better if I stop typing? I'm gonna stop typing.

05-27-2014, 12:35 PM
I tried this out in gimp. It adds a whole lot of complicated. Depending on the rotation, I created divergent boundaries where I had none before. I kept this limited to only my largest plate but I realize that I have to be careful otherwise divergent boundaries would spring up all over the place.

Yep, I am struggling with the same thing. In some cases the best solution is to change the shape of the plate a little. In other cases I think that local "divergence" is covered by the movement of the adjacent plates and not necessarily liked to new crust formation. In other cases, if you want a more one-direction sort of movement, it's a matter of moving the Euler pole away from the plate.

About your question about Euler poles and rotation. Yes, you could do it with a compass on a flat surface (if the map was an ortographic projection centered on the rotation axis). I say this not being the mathematical expert, which I'm not, but the guy who has been fiddling and reading around. From my experience, different projections give totally different areas of crust creation and crust subduction around a plate.

05-28-2014, 07:19 AM
To add my 2 cents to the rotation representation discussion, this is my rough and clumsy experiment on PShop. Just tried it with two plates.

As you can see, I filled the plates with different colors and then rotated them just a bit, enough to see what goes on on each segment of the boundaries. I borrowed ascanius' system to indicate the Euler pole and basic rotational direction of each plate.



- If I have a boundary between two or more plates and on each side of said boundary there's a different direction, how do you represent that? In the maps of Earth's tectonics everything fits so nicely, the segments of the boundaries are always one of the three types, either convergent, divergent or transformation, I don't see any case where in one side of the boundary the tendency is convergent and on the other side divergent, for example. Is that so because Earth tectonics fit perfectly so all the sides of the boundaries are the same; it does happen but is simplified to be represented; or am I missing something big?

Guess what I'm asking is:

- How do you represent when each side of a boundary has different directions that do not make a simple convergent, divergent or transformation boundary?

- What would that mean in the real world, if for example one side of a boundary had a divergent movement and the other a lateral/transformation movement? Would it depend on the relative speed to each other and/or their general direction as a whole?

Sorry if this is a very obvious and silly question.

- Also, in plate n1, on the left side where it meets with plate n12, I wasn't sure if the movement there was convergent or lateral. The white color does "push" into plate n12, but because of the rotation, it felt to me that the movement there would be lateral.

05-28-2014, 01:43 PM
Well, here's a little more on a crash course on tectonics for a historian:
- the main engine for plates movement is the pull towards the areas where oceanic plate is being subducted. This excellent map (http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/27216-mapping-earthlike-planet.html) is a good illustration of that.

In plate 1, to respect his, it means a movement towards the junction with 2 instead of a anti-clockwise rotation. Try moving the euler pole for plate 1 close to where you have the number 7 written down, that would also create a divergent boundary right in the middle of the ocean, where it would make more sense and it would solve your problem with that boundary.
The same reasoning applied to plate 2 means it would break in half (and actually that would explain that sea) - the land mass is being pulled into the massive sink that is the boundary with plate 5 wheres the west side of the sea is being puled into plate 1.
Of course, these are just ideas I'm throwing about and they will probably mess some of the work you have already so feel free to ignore them.

As for the boundaries that don't match in terms of absolute movement, what matters is their relative speed to each other. You can think of transform as "neutral" relative speed, so
divergent + transform = divergent,
convergent + transform = convergent
divergent + convergent = ... hmmm, avoid that or do as you please, depends on relative speed.

05-29-2014, 03:49 AM
Thanks Pixie, that was really clarifying, and it'll help me a lot to know what the heck am I doing.

05-30-2014, 07:20 AM
Pixie, I've been checking out your suggestions in the map. I see now what a huge difference it makes placing the Euler pole in one position or another, which I guess it's good because it gives more flexibility and control over the rotation.


I don't know if you literally meant that plate n2 would break in half, but that's what I had in mind before the last version I posted, where n2 also included half on plate n3. To be honest I like this version I post now better. Would it work the way it is now and stay true to what you said? Plate n2 pulled into n1 (because of general direction and rotation/subduction) and the south-east of n3 into n5 because of rotation/subduction.

I need plate n1 and 3 to pull into each other in the north to create a high mountain range "dividing" the two plates, and plate n2 pushing on the north-west a bit into n1 to create some mountains would also be great, thus my present proposal.

I also need volcanic islands on the south of plates 1 and 3 for colonization wars, thus why I'm so insistent of putting that island chain there btw plate n6 and 7, but you and Ned both commented I placed most of the islands in rifts. I'm not sure if you meant those islands or the random ones I had all over the map, which I've removed for now in a hidden layer till I know where they fit (except those near the coast because I see those as an extension of the land mass). Wouldn't the subduction btw n7 and 6, and n6 with n5 allow the creation of those islands there?

I don' think I managed too well to respect the principle of "the main engine for plates movement is the pull towards the areas where oceanic plate is being subducted", since I needed specific scenarios to happen to get specific mountain range areas.

I also don't think I managed to avoid convergent + divergent boundaries segments, so when it's time to add the symbols I'll have to cheat a little and decide on one or another.

The islands of the pole: could I get away with saying they are isolated continental fragments that separated from the continents a long time ago and got merged with the South pole plate, or is it too much? The little islands near said pole I could place around the little subduction area btw n7 and n15, or n10 and n15, but the bigger ones? Should I just move them to the NPole where subduction actually occurs?

All that said, do you spot anything that makes you want to rip your eyes off? Or that would improve what I have, before I start laying out the symbols on the boundaries?

P.S: Sorry for the long post, I know most of you reading are busy with your own projects.

05-30-2014, 03:12 PM
Congrats, groovey! To my eyes, you nailed it. This is so close to finished I am truly jealous now. You have nice land shapes and fully explained by tectonics. And this map you have, with original boundaries in black and slightly colored plates after-movement, is perfect to see your reasoning.

Three minor things you can change very quickly:
- try rotating plate 4 on the opposite direction - it would be pulled into the subduction area with 5, it would diverge from 14 (14 is already diverging there) and it would explain the small gulf on its southern junction with the mainland.
- boundary between plate 2 and 3 should be much closer to the west side. That's ocean floor being created - to the west it's the actual plate 2 and is being subducted under plate 1 (meaning, it's disappearing) and to the east side it's just adding to plate 3 (meaning, it's not disappearing). After a few million years most of the existing sea floor would be part of plate 3.
- yes, the islands along the northern boundary of plate 6 are very plausible. But it is apparent that this plate is younger sea floor, bursting through the older parts of plates 1 and 5, which means it's plate 6 which stays on top, which means islands are formed on plate 6. The best place on Earth to show something similar is Tonga/Fiji... check this picture (http://geosphere.gsapubs.org/content/8/2/491/F3.large.jpg). The curvature of those boundaries needs to be opposite though (I can draw this if the wording isn't clear)

05-31-2014, 06:33 AM
The map looks good. I don't see any other problems that Pixie hasn't pointed out. Keep up the good work

06-01-2014, 03:29 AM
Wow, I'm honestly shocked! I know I lowered the bar of realism for my map and all, but still, I didn't really think I'd do so well on my first full try (though I did a lot of editing before having this version done).

Thanks guys, specially you, Godfather Pixie, and you have no reason to be jealous, your little penguin alone with the heightmap kicks more ass than my whole map.

I'm feeling a bit crappy today (had a wedding party last night, not for me, and though I didn't drink my head is resenting), so I'll be sure to fix your suggestions on the map tomorrow when I'm better suited to think.

Feeling very excited though, I've been waiting about 4 years for this moment and at least it seems I'm on the right path to get a finished, decent map, thought there's still a lot to do, first of all, get the tectonic boundaries done. I don't think I have it in me to make it look as great as Akubra (http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/27216-mapping-earthlike-planet-2.html) did, but I might try something similar and if it doesn't work I'll just keep it ugly but simple. And I forgot for a moment that I still need to place some islands in subduction areas, but that job doesn't scare me so much.

06-01-2014, 04:51 AM
Hey groovey, I'm joining the others in saying that your map looks wonderful and very realistic. It seems there's another word for it, but I forgot - oh wait, I've got it: it looks groovy! ;)

Cheers - Akubra

06-01-2014, 10:02 AM
Looking forward to see that "polished" map. I've been trying to create the same sort of map and although time consuming, it isn't as difficult as it seems at first sight. Just keep in mind your rotation movements when you do it.

06-02-2014, 08:29 AM
Hello again.

I've fixed Pixie's first two suggestions, at least I hope so (let me know if boundary btw n2 and 3 has to be even more close to the west).

About the third point, so instead of n6 getting subducted into n7 and 5, it's the opposite, both n 7 and n5 are subducted into n6, is that right?

I'm not sure I understand what you mean about the curvature of the boundaries though, is it that n6 has to have concave boundaries instead of convex, since it's the one "eating" the other two plates?

Anyway, while I get that clarified, I worked on the boundaries and decided to use a very simplified version of the style Akubra used, without those little straight lines vertical to the boundaries, which of course make a tectonic map more realistic, but also more time consuming to make. I will add little triangles to indicate subduction on the next session, which leads me to the question I haven't been able to answer myself:

- From what I've read and what I see in Earth's tectonic maps, in convergent boundaries not 100% of the times subduction happens. At least in maps I've seen blue lines (convergent), but without subduction triangles (which are placed in other blue areas in the same map). Is that appreciation correct? If so, what determines when subduction does occur and when not?

So here's what I got now (some boundaries around n6, 7 and 5 are still black until I fix point n3 Pixie pointed out in a previous post). It looks pretty 'meh' really, visually, not pretty at all to put in a book, but well, if it manages to convey the information it'll do.


(Sigh) I feel like I'm missing something very important, because right now the tectonic map is predominantly divergent, which I guess is plausible (Earth itself looks that way to me, would you say so?) but still... and I haven't been able to identify any transformation boundary (there are cases when one side of the boundary moves laterally, but the other is convergent or divergent, so together they don't create a transformation boundary), which seems very, very suspicious to me. So what is it that I'm missing?

Edit: um, just realized most transformation boundaries are in fact those little vertical lines that break up the boundaries, but not all transformation boundaries are vertical lines, are they? I'm thinking of my fab transformation boundary: the San Andreas Fault. So is it that I just don't have any of those, or I have but I don't see them?

Thanks a lot Akubra! It's weird how much I love the word "groovy", especially since it's such an American thing (and from the 60's/70's), so I love that you brought it up.

06-02-2014, 02:09 PM
Hi, sorry for bluntness and hurry, I am pretty busy this week. Still, like yourselves, I am enjoying watching all our efforts moving more or less simultaneously.

On your questions, groovey:
- yes, concave instead of convex.
- some maps of Earth's plates have different representations for subduction (oceanic plates sinking) and obduction (two continental plates, neither sinks, they bend and rise) - the one Akubra referred to the other way is such a case. Careful when comparing maps, I don't think there's an established color code.
- I don't see any huge transform fault in your map, but at least part of the 4/3 boundary should be transform.

- You do have one huge ring of fire, by the way. About half around plate 5 and all the northern side of plate 6 are a very long subduction region, lots of small islands and volcanic mountain ranges should pop up in there. The islands between 8 and 9 will also be volcanic.

06-03-2014, 02:53 AM
No need to apologize for being brief. I feel bad enough for needing your help so much, specially when you have your own project going on. Plus, you managed to solve my doubts, so thank you once again.

Awesome, I have a ring of fire. I mean, I suspected a little that I had the potential to have one, specially after watching one documentary on Earth's ring of fire, but I guess I kind of delayed checking my map for one in case I didn't, because I would have been very disappointed.

Well, I'm off to work a bit more on the map.

06-05-2014, 04:53 AM
Another little update, thankfully advancing forward a little.


I edited just a bit of boundary btw n11 and 12, and n11 and 10 and moved the boundary btw 12 and 1 a bit to be more centred. I also edited a bit my original volcanic islands btw 8 and 9 so they actually stay on the right side...

Apart from that the major change is on the south-east part. I made n6 concave and broke n7 in two plates, that is, n16 broke off n7, so 16 is moving away from 7 and getting subducted by 15 and 6 (on the side). Does that make sense? I can make changes easily enough if really needed.

I added subduction zones on convergent boundaries when I thought they were mandatory, and I left a few convergent segments without subduction where I though wouldn't be mandatory, if only to have a bit of diversity, or when it was continental/continental. I guess the tectonic map is a bit bland visually with so many divergent boundaries.

I also added volcanic subduction island chains, and also a volcanic island btw n 1 and 14 not created by subduction but mirroring Iceland's creation, but I don't know if it's actually plausible where I've placed it. Would it have to happen in the mid oceanic ridge btw 1 and 12 instead?

What about the subduction island chains? Too many islands? Not enough?

Then I have an issue with a non volcanic island I've awkwardly placed on plate n7. The issue is I'd kind of need it there so that the Empire on plate n1 has a similar advantage than that of south of n3 to get to the islands chain in the south, by shortening the purely ocean travel time (I'm aware other factors influence travel time and routes).

The problem is: how did that isolated island end up there? My reasoning is that it was chopped off (by a rift of course) the south-east of plate n1, where there's that big "bay", and swirled down, but I don't think it makes any sense at all with the current plates configuration; so could I get away with saying that the chopped bit ended up in 7 in a previous tectonic configuration, or it doesn't make sense anyway?

I'd appreciate any opinions and see if I can settle all this and move one to get the basic terrain and hot spots outline ready, that is: roughly indicating volcanic areas (seismic hot spots would be nice too, but since I don't have many transformation boundaries I guess it won't be as heavy as in Earth), current mountain ranges being created, and also old ones.

I have to say, after all, I'm glad I got the map back to the working table for the second time to re-do the tectonic map. It was very frustrating and I wasn't sure that I'd be able to pull it off, to be honest (at one point I felt completely lost), and yes I've spent quite a bit of time doing it, but I feel like it has paid off, so I'm really happy for that, even if any of you think I've yet things to polish on the tectonics (don't hesitate to tell me if you do).

EDIT: just noticed that the little volcanic island on the north of the east side of plate 5 (big oceanic one) is on the wrong side of the boundary, I'll fix that for the next update.

Game time: can anybody spot the two islands I ruthlessly plagiarized from good ol' Earth?

06-05-2014, 07:24 AM
Really nice map groovey! I love the big island arc in the southeast and the one between plates 8 and 9. Very realistic!

I must say that I am a bit confused about plate 16. If it moves away from 7 that would mean it moves in a roughly southwestern direction, right? As far as I can see 6 is moving northwards. So how can you have a subduction zone between 16 and 6? Unless I'm missing something I'd say it would be a transform fault, no?

I can't see anything wrong with the island between 1 and 14. To me, the number of islands you drew near subduction zones seem plausible. On Earth there are also subduction zones with few islands and others with many (cfr. Indonesia).

Another explanation for the island on plate 7 could be that it is a "failed continent", lying on a large continental shelf that is mainly under sea level.

I'm very glad it works out well for you! There's a lot of work involved, but if you're happy with the result (and you've got every reason to be!) all that work certainly pays off in the end. Excellent job!

Oh, and yes, I've recognized the two islands. Not sure if I can mention them here, let me do it in a cryptical way: 2 and 3. No, these numbers have nothing to do with the plate numbering, but with a way of numbering here on Earth, even in two different ways... Hope that wasn't too cryptic!

Cheers - Akubra

06-05-2014, 08:15 PM
groovey, I'm sorry - I misled you about the curvature on plate 6. You had it right from the start (the curvature, but the placement of the islands is right as it is now).

The island-arcs have a nice density of islands but.. they don't look like arcs in most cases - see the aleutians or the kuril islands for text-book examples.

Overall, however, you've got a terrible amount of divergent boundaries. I'm not totally convinced by that, that much oceanic crust has to be consumed somewhere.

06-06-2014, 05:52 AM
Thanks for your comments, you were both right with your points, n16 did need a different general direction coherent with n7, and there was more crust created by divergency than it was destroyed by convergency, and equilibrium between those two processes is a key factor, so I tried to fix those two things.


Did I though? Do I still need more subduction zones? It's hard for me to tell visually and today I'm in a bit of a hurry and I don't think I'll have time to work on the map anymore, but I can rearrange things a bit more if necessary to create more convergent boundaries.

For example, I could divide plate n11 in two on the west of the continent, creating yet another oceanic smaller plate which could create more subduction segments, either with n5 and n15, or even with n11 and the other two mentioned if it's moving towards n11 and rotating south-east anti clock-wise.

Do n16 and 7 make more sense now?

Pixie, do I need to change the curvature of n6 then? I have a copy saved of that shape, so I can easily put it back, but if the current shape is also "correct", I'd keep it. Does it mean then that the side "eating" another plate is usually convex, or it was only a particular observation for plate n6?

EDIT: Pixie, I think you kind of answered to this in ascanius's thread (http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/27204-wip-unnamed-fantasy-world-3.html): "[...] you have to consider the same reasoning when placing the subduction between the two oceanic plates that are converging. The one that is "sinking" should be disappearing, hence, should be narrower". So basically yes, as a good rule of thumb, since the side of the plate getting subducted should be shrinking, it would have the concave shape when the boundary is curvy, would that be right?

I'm not sure I understand very well about the islands, even after looking at map pictures of many of them. You mean that instead of following so much the outline of the boundary, they should be more linearly arched?

06-07-2014, 05:55 AM
Hi groovey, today I have little present for you - something I scribbled in 30 mins. It's three drawn "tips". Since you have adopted me as the "grandfather" of your project and since I want to see you done with this bit and moving on, here's some ideas:

This is the same sort of issue we were discussing with ascanius map - the age of the oceanic crust and where to place the divergent rise of new rocks in relation to limits of the ocean. If it subducts on one side and not on the other, the two sides can't be of equal width.

I think I pretty covered what I mean with the text boxes. Alternatively to this suggestion, you can have a larger chunk of land, which would have been part of the main continent long ago. This would add, potentially another continent (which could be quite thin), with a long string of volcanic mountains on one side and a passive (lowland) margin on the other, so I suspect it goes against your planned story plot.

Lastly, I hope this image ends with our mess about which curvature to draw between two plates in subduction areas. I haven't been doing the best job with words on this, so maybe a drawing settles it once and for all. And, as for your question, yes, I mean that subduction areas should be more linearly arched that what you have on a number of places.

I need to say though, all this is refinement of your already good-and-running model. Overall plates distribution and movement is fine as it is.

06-07-2014, 12:17 PM
Very nice present Pixie, and great timing! Only days away from my birthday. Thank you, sincerely, and it means even more knowing you're a busy person and that you are working hard on your own project.

Yesterday's boundaries btw n8 and 9:

Curvature changed:

So, apart from dividing in two plate n11 as I mentioned, I've done a lot of polishing that may not even be very noticeable, basically boundaries' shapes, so they were more rounded, and I also changed some boundaries Euler's pole to get more subduction segment (this is especially true for n 5 on the east and btw n1 and 3, which now give me another very welcomed orogeny zone in the south). I hope it paid off and I didn't mess everything instead.

I also tried to apply Pixie's suggestions as best as I could.

I know that the boundary btw n9 and 8 should be curved the other way around, but I don't have it in me to do it today, because I'm exhausted, so hopefully I'll be able to change it on the next session, and hopefully without messing the already existing dynamic there. EDIT: changed it and posted the updated map in this very post. I reckon visually it looked better before, but well, I guess now it's more correct, isn't it?

How is the map looking now? Better, or did I mess it up even more?

Also, don't I still have too much red going on?

06-09-2014, 05:30 AM
Forgot about my little game! Akubra, I have no idea of what you mean by those cryptic numbers, I tried to do some searches about it, but found nothing conclusive. What's the mystery about those numbers all about? What are they?

The fun thing about those two islands I stole from Eath is that after doing so, I completely forgot about it, so when I checked Google Earth days later looking for islands chains in the west pacific, I stumbled upon them and was a bit shocked at first and was like: "wow that looks a lot like one of my big islands!", until I remembered what I did... and felt a bit silly.

06-09-2014, 02:23 PM
Hey groovey, I feared that the numbers might be too cryptic. OK, here's the explanation:

In order of area, the islands you copied are the 2nd and 3rd largest on Earth (if we take Greenland as the largest)
The 2nd largest is divided between 2 independent countries (Indonesia and Papua New Guinea), and the 3rd largest is divided between 3 independent countries (Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei)

The islands are New Guinea and Borneo. Correct?

Cheers - Akubra

[EDIT] But now that I'm looking again, I also see Sumatra and Java. So you have copied 4 islands and not 2!...

[EDIT2] No, I'm sorry, Sumatra and Java were on a previous map, not on the latest...

06-09-2014, 07:04 PM
Pretty good, I think. Your "excess of red" comes from the polar plates (in my opinion) - try projecting those two using G.Projector and a stereographic projection. You'll see how awkward are their borders. Also, plate 5 is weird as it is now, but if you fix the poles, it might be fixed as well without effort.

06-10-2014, 03:29 AM
@Akubra! Correct! And I don't even remember about having plagiarized two more even on previous versions! Since one doesn't have to worry about copyrights and and such when it comes from stealing Earth's shapes... I'll check the maps again and see if I spot the islands I didn't even remember. Oh my, the map feels a bit cheap now... I basically had to fill the map with little land masses because it was too empty, so I opted for an easy solution and just got things from Earth without any editing to make it less obvious, wish I had put more thought on in, but now I'm not going back to work on land masses shapes again, I need to keep going.

@Pixie, yes, the poles have been nagging me for a few days, since I checked them on G Projector, and I wasn't sure what to do with them because it gets confusing on the edges, but I'll have a look and see if I can figure out something without changing much, but it might be hard, specially since on the north pole I'd like to keep the subduction area on the west, but well.

06-10-2014, 06:13 AM
I don't think you can fix them without changes in the other plates or changes in the land masses. I mean, the south pole is fixable if the land mass is close to plates 10 and 11 and "eating up" that oceanic crust. That would make the area where it borders plate 5 and 6 the most active in terms of crust making. As for the north pole, make it move away from the triple junction with plate 1 and 2, with an euler pole somewhere within pole 2 and you get exactly what you want. You will even get a lot of subduction of plate 5 (and that could be an area with old submerged continental crust and some island arc), which agrees with its active divergent boundary being close to the south pole .

There's one principle you need to keep in mind (this one is very important): A boundary that "generates" a lot of new crust on one its plates is also generating a lot of crust on the other one - meaning, strong divergent areas have plates moving in opposite directions.

06-10-2014, 06:41 AM
@Pixie: awkward, I just came to post my latest fix and see if it worked, could you take a look at it and tell me if it works or it would be better with what you suggest on the last post?

You were even more right than I first thought when I read your "second post ago", n5 rotation didn't match on both sides, and the poles needed matching borders on the sides and some reconsideration (restored n15 to its previous version, rotating anti clockwise). Did I get it eight this time?


My fear now is, don't I have more subduction than crust creation now?

EDIT: forgot the poles, I know the rotation colors in the poles don't match from side to side, but you get the idea looking at the boundaries colours, I hope.

It's ok if I've to keep working on it a bit more, I do a lot of deep breathing each time I think about it and do other things while I wait for feedback, but yeah, I'm sorry for you guys, you must be so extremely bored with my tectonic map by now, don't blame ya.

EDIT 2: oh boy, re-reading your last post, I didn't have in mind that last principle at all, sadly. Now I fear looking back at my map and see how much I messed up in that aspect.

EDIT 3: ok I looked, it's horrible and I'm scared to touch anything because altering one plate alters the other, etc, and I have no idea of how to make everything match with that principle and the others unless I start form the beginning all over again, which would be terrible considering all the time we've spent trying to make this one work.

06-10-2014, 07:26 AM
EDIT 3: ok I looked, it's horrible and I'm scared to touch anything because altering one plate alters the other, etc, and I have no idea of how to make everything match with that principle and the others unless I start form the beginning all over again, which would be terrible considering all the time we've spent trying to make this one work.

Don't panic :)
Sometimes, it's just a matter of changing location of plate boundaries, or adding micro-plates to "absorb" the mess-up. It does take a lot of time "staring" at it to see the right movement, sometimes, but it's always workable.
And you've got nice spreading areas in your map - the junction between plates 1 and 2 and between the southpolar and plate 5.

06-10-2014, 07:46 AM
Sigh. I think I need a little break from the map to get over this. Ugh, I thought I was so close... just like the last time, and just like then I fell into the Mariana's Trench again. Need to make my way to the surface once more before I have the strength to fix all that's wrong with the tectonic map. Then (might be a week, a month, or who knows, whenever I get over it) I think I'll try to start all over again keeping in mind all Pixie has taught me.

So Pixie, Akubra and ascanius (since our projects are a bit on the same mindset, not trying to leave anyone else out), I hope you keep going with your maps so I least I can get some consolation with seeing you all succeed. I'll be keeping an eye on them.

06-10-2014, 11:41 AM
Hey groovey, if it's any consolation, I feel the same about what I'm doing right now (winds and climate map). It feels like I'm on a rudderless ship going in all directions at once. Give it some time, take that break, and when you're ready take a look at your project from a distance. It'll help seeing a solution you don't yet see at this time. I'm sure you'll see light again at the end of the "tectonic tunnel"!

Cheers - Akubra

06-10-2014, 05:04 PM
Hey groovey. However bad you think it is, it isn't. I plugged your map into gplates and fiddled around a little. I tried to match your original movements as closely as possible and I only did your continents and so far I can easily match almost all your plate boundaries with gplates. The only thing I changed without hesitation are the Euler poles, I've noticed the poles are rarely on the actual plate but two plates over or in some cases on the horizon. Like the poles for 1 and 8 I put in plate 12 to create an even spreading of the two plates. So far I think I could map out your map in gplates and match the original pretty closely.

Good luck

06-11-2014, 05:14 AM
Thanks for the encouragement fellas.

Ascanius, how very interesting, thanks for sharing than info about my map in Gplates, surprised to hear it held up so decently.

Though I am taking a break from working on the actual map, in the back of my mind I'm subtly thinking of ways to fix the mess and still debating if I should try to make the current version work making some changes in Euler Poles, boundaries and rotation and adding microplates as Pixie suggested, or starting a new version loosely based on the current one. We'll see.

06-12-2014, 03:42 AM
Hello again!

Well, the other day I got very demotivated about the whole thing as you know, so I took a little break, for about 24h... Feel like a drama queen now.

Anyway, I wasn't planning to, but yesterday after writing my last post I opened the map in PShop just to take a casual look and play around with it in hope of deciding if I could fix the current model or I should start from scratch, and one thing led to another and now I got another version of the map (just the rotation, I won't do the boundaries till I get a finished working model).


I started fixing the poles and n1 and 3 (for the novel), and then worked my way into the rest, altering boundaries' shapes when needed and adding micro plates (ugly blobs, I know) to correct inconsistencies. I tried to keep in mind:

- General direction of the plates.
- According to that, what rotation would make more sense (towards a subduction zone).
- Avoid divergent + convergent boundaries, though in some areas, like south of n1 and 3 with n7, they are divergent but because of the rotation they don't seem to retract from the boundary as much/fast and n7, which I guess is not consistent, but I didn't see how to fix it, considering I need 1 and 3 to clash into each other while being consistent with the rest of the plates they border.

What I reckon I didn't have in mind, and I guess it's significant, is how ALL the plates came to be (some I know), which one separated from which one in such, so I hope the map it's not all messed up because of that.

Please note:

- A few more of the Euler Poles are now out of the plates, so it might a bit confusing to find them, but they're not far from the plate they belong to.

- The numbers of the plates are much more out of order than before, result of adding and deleting plates as I needed, so for example now plate n2 is somewhere else.

- n19 and n12 happen to share Euler pole, basically because I realized n12's worked for n19.

So, how does it look now? Does this version work? Any major or minor issues?

06-12-2014, 09:01 AM
Hey Groovy, seeing that our mentor has a busy schedule right now looks like were going to have to pick up the slack, hopefully we learned enough to walk on our own two feet.

I took a look at your map and almost everything looks good to me. One way you could fix the boundaries between 1, 3, and 7 is to extend the divergent boundary between plates 23 and 3 down to plate 6 cutting in half plate 7. leave the right side as plate seven basically the way it now and on the left side extend plate 1 and 23 down to plate 6.

Also don't be afraid to break up plate five if you need to it is huge and it will also give you some space if you need it.

One other thing, this is what I do to get the east and west sides to line up. I take my origianl image and add two inches. I then copy the right (or left) side and paste it to the opposite side. I then change the lines and make general adjustments to make sure they line up. I noticed this might be of use to you do get the boundaries of the polar plates 14 and 15 to line up with each other, cuz right now they don't. It will also most likely mean that your boundaries near the boarders are going to change a little.

I did a paint over to give you an idea of what you could possibly do.

Best of luck

06-13-2014, 02:52 AM
Hi ascanius, thanks for taking the time to illustrate your suggestions, I agree it's a very neat solution, but what worries me is that plate n23, Pixie (see post #43 (http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/27111-wip-unnamed-earh-like-planet-5.html) and replace n2 by 23) told me, helps explaining that triangle shaped sea btw 1 and 3, so I'm not sure altering 23 like that wouldn't mess up with that sea's origin?

06-13-2014, 07:18 AM
Hi ascanius, thanks for taking the time to illustrate your suggestions, I agree it's a very neat solution, but what worries me is that plate n23, Pixie (see post #43 (http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/27111-wip-unnamed-earh-like-planet-5.html) and replace n2 by 23) told me, helps explaining that triangle shaped sea btw 1 and 3, so I'm not sure altering 23 like that wouldn't mess up with that sea's origin?

I don't think it would mess up plate 23. It's that southern portion that is being subducted by plate 6 but plate 23, 7 and 3 are still spreading apart. I think of it along a timeline. First that divergent boundary forms pushing apart those two plates. then the divergent boundary forms south of plate 6 pushing it north where it subductes the southern part of plate 23 as time passes the last divergent boundary to from is that between plate 7 and 3.

I don't know if that makes any sense but that's the way I look at it.

06-15-2014, 03:52 AM
Yeah, I guess it could work just as well. I'm terribly busy these days, so I'll fix that when I have the time.


06-15-2014, 06:15 PM
yeah, I hope it works, I might be out of it for a few days to a week. Managed to f'up my wrist arm wrestling and i'm not a lefty.

06-16-2014, 05:54 AM
Hi again groovey (and co.)

Here's my take on plates 23/6/7: either leave plate 7 as it is in groovey's version, and that point between 23, 7 and 3 is a divergent triple point (which is very plausible) or... prolong the oceanic ridge (like ascanius suggests) but have a continental land mass at the north end of plate 6, this could be a breakaway portion of the continent on plate 15, and provide the islands groovey wants for his novel.
I think groovey's solution - the triple point - seems better balanced.

All the rest looks very good. I am going to have a look at your plate movements with a stereographic projection, groovey, once I have the time, but at first sight, everything seems fitting to me.

06-16-2014, 06:40 AM
Hello Pixie!

Glad to hear from you again, and glad to hear the new version of the map it's working, even if it needs polishing. I'll appreciate you doing that check up, but don't feel pressured to hurry, I'm a bit busy these days anyway, and I've also started to revise the outline for the novel, which takes some work too, so I've got stuff to do while you have the time to do the checkup.

By the way, Pixie, with the revised outline, turns out the continent on plate n9 plays a much bigger role as a setting than I initially thought, so now I'm even more glad than I already was about your first suggestion for n9/8 and the islands in between, many pages ago.

About plates 23/6/7: I like how ascanius' suggestion would allow me to have a small land mass so near plate 1, would be juicy for world-building purposes for the novel, but if the current version works and since I get volcanic islands btw 7 and 6 to help with the novel's purposes, I'll just leave it, if only because right now I haven't got much free time to play around with it. Thanks you two for helping me to figure out that area.

06-17-2014, 03:32 PM
Good work!

I have to question one thing from your first post, which I don't think has been brought up.
I assume, when you said Fedga has a diameter of 40,000 km, you meant equatorial radius. That would be pretty earthlike. A 40,000 km diameter would be tres hugenormous. Not earthlike at all, and to have human-habitable surface conditions would probably require some unphysical assumptions.

Otherwise, looking very good.

06-20-2014, 04:48 AM
Hello su_liam!

Thanks a lot for pointing that out! I had completely missed that. I'm going to edit that right now.

And thanks for the compliment. I love your blog (http://astrographer.wordpress.com/), by the way, great resource and with links to other great resources, congratulations, not everyone manages to have a truly interesting and useful blog.

Also, I was checking the tectonic map in PShop and then I checked it with the rotation colors on G. Projector, and I'm confused about what's going on at the poles, I suppose because even with ascanius suggestion I'm not sure of how to represent the rotation so that both sides of the poles match without making the change of shape so sudden and weird. What's going on with boundaries btw plate n5 on both sides and plate 14 and 15? Is the boundary of plate n5 with n14 (North Pole) 100% divergent and 100% convergent with n15 (South Pole) as I thought?

--------------North Pole---------------------------South Pole (Stereographic projections)


Edit: I polished some curvatures on some plates and fixed two issues:

- Added a n24 microplate under n4 because on its south it was divergent but n5 was convergent with it, so it wasn't right.
- Boundary btw n22 and 11 was a bit messy, so I polished it.

So Pixie, I hope you didn't start doing that check-up yet so you can do it with the little changes, but if you have, since said changes aren't that significant, don't mind them. But honestly, if you are very busy and you think as it is there's nothing terribly wrong with it, just let me know (I know my tectonic model is far from perfect and could be improved giving it a bit more though, but at this point I'm good with a model that works and it's consistent within itself and overall with how tectonics work or Earth).

Edit 2: I had a bit of time, so I quickly set the boundaries colors for the current map, to get a feeling of the balance btw blue (convergent) and red (divergent), so if I need to fix things on the rotation map it's ok, the boundary colors map it's easy to edit.


I know that according to the curvature of n13 with 12 it should subduct the other way, but since it's a oceanic + continental boundary (with a bit of continental/continental), logic would dictate oceanic sinks under continental, hence why the subduction circles point to n12. I know that to make it more accurate the coast of n12 there should be more plain, but I'm willing to live with that, it's one of the issues to face when you have the land masses before the tectonics.

06-23-2014, 08:59 AM
Haven't started yet, so don't worry.

But I am about to take your map and have a good look at that plate 5, on a stereographic projection centered on it - I suspect it might be surprising.... I'll post back in 30 mins or so. ;)

(EDIT) 45 mins later...

(EDIT 2) a couple of hours later.... scrap everything I had posted here before, it was wrong, my bad, will redo it asap ;)
I just deleted it

06-24-2014, 04:13 AM
So, I have done it correctly now, I hope. The problem with the original analysis was that I was considering only the euler pole you marked and not its symmetrical pole (for computing the rotation of the part of the plate on the other hemisphere - but never mind the geometry issues, you've got plenty on your plate)

So, here's my take:
I think the movement is pretty easy to visualize, those sequences of little circles give a general idea of direction and speed. I can explain my workflow on a different thread if people are interested.

As you can see, your work is pretty consistent, congrats. One boundary of plate 5 needs change - it's northern boundary, where it looks to be transform, but it will depend on the polar plate.
The only place where it definitely doesn't fit, in my opinion, is with plate 22. As plate 5 spreads away, so should plate 22 in the opposite direction. Hence, 22 is pushed towards the continent to the east. You could also look at plate 17 again...

Finally, the northeastern tip of plate 5 with plate 12... I can't really make see how that corner is working. Crust being formed on the the NW boundaries, but plate 12 moving westward... hmm :? you may me better off extending the north pole plate into that area.

So, overall, the devil is in the details as you know. The large plates look alright, but the microplates between them still need some ironing out.

06-24-2014, 04:34 AM
Ah, I was working on a reply offline, but Pixie beat me ;)

Anyway, I'm going to post it here as is. Here's what I see:

North Pole:
- 14/5 = convergent (divergent on your map)
- 14/4 = convergent (ok)
- 14/18 = convergent (ok)
- 14/1 = transform (convergent on your map)
- 14/12 = divergent (ok)

South Pole
- 15/6 = divergent (ok)
- 15/16 = divergent (ok)
- 15/10 = convergent (ok)
- 15/19 = convergent (ok)
- 15/17 = convergent (ok)
- 15/5 = convergent, but changing into transform towards the western part (divergent on your map)

Additional question:
15/10 and 15/19 are both divergent but 15 goes over 10, but under 19. I now know it is because of the curvature, but is that possible? It seems like 15 is ripping in two at the tripoint 15/10/19. This also happens with 14, going under 18, but over 4. One of my plates (Yirral) has the same thing happening to it, and I was wondering if it's ok. Looking at the Earth's tectonic map I see two places where something similar is happening, but with one crucial difference: there is a short transform fault in between. (The two places are the Western Aleutians and on both sides of New Zealand's South Island - see this map (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tectonic_plates_boundaries_detailed-en.svg))

Cheers - Akubra

06-24-2014, 08:05 AM
Oh my, Pixie! That's an amazing view of plate 5 and surroundings, I can see much clearer what you mean. Thanks a lot for taking the time to do that for me, I really appreciated. And I agree 100% about those damned details, they're a pain in the ass, but necessary to fix.

Thanks you too Akubra for such a clear answer on the poles and the plates they touch. I see what you mean with the last issue. I'm not sure at all about it. At one point when doing one of my first tectonic maps I wondered about it, if the triangles/circles had to point always in the same direction through the whole plate, and ultimately what I got as a rule checking for a while that map you linked was: when a plate has a subduction boundary with more than one plate, with each plate the direction can be the same or the other way around, depending, I reasoned, of relative speed and which side of the oceanic + oceanic boundary happened to be heavier or lighter, factors which would allow me a bit of freedom with it.

But to be honest, I basically made that up on my own and I guess there's more than that to have in mind. So I'd like to know too. To make it easier I might just change the circles to point to the same direction, but it'd be nice to know what the rules are for that. Edit: checking again the map... yep, it looks as I'm going to have to change the direction of some circles for sure...

Anyway, thanks again guys, you gave me plenty to work on tomorrow.

Edit: trying to fins any lead to an answer about the direction of the triangles doubt we have, I have found nothing conclusive really, just this particular non specific mention to our problem in the wiki article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subduction)(Theory on origin): "A model of the initiation of subduction, based on analytic and analogue modeling, presumes that the difference of density between two adjacent lithospheric slabs is sufficient to lead to the initiation of subduction", and so, one could simplify that to justify the subduction symbols to point opposing directions along the same convergent boundary, but sadly doesn't address our specific question. I'm going to try and find a better answer.

06-25-2014, 09:18 AM
Ok, so here we go again!


"Major" changes:


- Plates 13/12 got the boundary fixed to make sense with n5, and n13 got a new Euler pole.

- Plate 5: corrected the western boundary to be 100% divergent.

- old Plate 22: got a major overhaul since it didn't fit once I cut n5's section with 11. That area is a bit awkward because you can see the square like shape resulting from cutting that bit from n5, so it looks a bit off to me, but I can live with it as long as the micro-plates it contains (24-27) work fine.

- Plate 17: boundaries fixed and new Euler pole position.

- new Plate 22: created to fix boundary btw n17 and 11 so it's not convergent + divergent.


- old plate 24 is gone because n4 got a new Euler pole so the micro-plate wasn't needed there.

- Plate 4 also got an opposite curvature with n14.

- Plate 18 also got a new Euler pole and a bit more of surface so its curvature matches n4's.

- Plate 10 now has an outward curvature with 15.

I think that's all.

Well, now plate 5's boundary with 14 is a transform one, and so it's most of it on 5 with 15, except for a little bit on the west where the little bump is, which in stereographic projection, if I try to visualize the rotation, looks convergent.



So, how's it looking? Anything to fix?

06-25-2014, 11:54 AM
As always, positives and negatives.. Not sure about the mess left after breaking up plate 22, but the corrections on the NE corner make that area more plausible. The south pole is perfect, don't touch it again, the north pole not so much, it should move towards plates 1 and 18 (away from 12).

A major issue you still have in some places is the location of divergent boundaries very close to continental borders... that's hard to explain when the other side of that boundary is a long stretch of oceanic crust.

06-25-2014, 12:04 PM
I don't have much time right now, but I think I agree with Pixie about the poles. South Pole's ok, but I have trouble seeing the reason for a transform boundary between 14/5. 14 is now moving towards 5, so it should be a convergent boundary. If you change the direction of 14 and make it move towards 1 and 18 (as Pixie suggests) then I have no problem with the transform boundary.

Cheers - Akubra

06-25-2014, 02:53 PM
Sorry if I repeat any previous points (long thread!)

Have you considered any plate to be inert? The African plate nearly remains in place while other plates move away from it. If plate 14 was inert then a transform boundary between 14 and 5 would be fine. However, such a stable plate would probably have to be centered on a large stable craton, which doesn't appear to fit for plate 14.

My other impression is that the large number of plates (nearly double the number of plates on Earth) over-complicate your map. Sometimes less is more.

Divergent margins can be close to subduction zones even if the width of the ocean is asymmetrical about the spreading center. On Earth, the Juan de Fuca and Cocos plates are actually the same plate (Farallon Plate). A divergent margin between the Pacific and Farallon plates was subducted underneath the N.A. plate. This was how the San Andreas transform began.

Another detail is that divergent boundaries do not form in straight lines. They are staggered by abundant transform faults. This comes down to some physics that I haven't really looked into, but there is a maximum length of divergent boundary that is stable before it becomes segmented. Here is a picture (http://www.geologyrocks.co.uk/images/mid_ocean_ridge). At a global scale this feature is visible, so if you're going for realism I would add a stepwise nature to your divergent boundaries.

Back to an earlier post, I don't see why plate boundaries are necessarily independent of N-S magnetic poles. That is actually a very neat question. Earth's dynamo is caused by movement in the outer core, which very well could be tied to convection of the mantle and thus plate margins.

Anyhow, I really like your project! Keep it up.

06-26-2014, 06:41 AM
@Pixie, interesting, I had assumed (big mistake when it comes to science in general) that in oceanic/continental boundary it wasn't necessary to watch out for that like with continental/continental, but it does.

Just curious, since I noticed on the boundaries' map I kept a bit of boundary 5/15 on the west convergent, but in the South pole projection I had it all in yellow, when you guys say the south pole is ok as it is, how do you mean, 100% transform or with the little convergent zone?

Hello Cuin, thanks for dropping by. Long and I guess very repetitious thread indeed for newcomers just looking for results, can't blame them. I hadn't considered an inert plate at all, I didn't even know/remember about that trait of the African one. I wouldn't have minded 14 being inert if it meant simplifying things, but there must be some specific rules or conditions for a plate to be inert, wouldn't it? I guess you can't just say, this plate is inert so it doesn't rotate or move, or can you?

I agree I might have gone a bit overhead with the number of plates. My original idea was to have about 12-14, but then one need lead to a certain situation, which required new plate divisions and micro-plates... and well. Plus when I had just about a dozen of them the model looked too simple, like a facebook game (no offense, I've played some in the past for a bit) compared to a robust PC game. Look at ascanius, Akubra or Pixie's projects, they have about the same volume of plates and their models look amazing. Of course, they have a level of understanding and execution I don't have, so they make it work and look realistic while I probably just make it look crowded and unnecessarily over-complicated. I guess that my point is you might be right in my case, but having 20-30 plates can work if you've got the skills, so it's not always a negative thing. EDIT: I'm not sure anymore why I'm "arguing", since you never say having more than a dozen plates over-complicates maps in general, just mine in particular, to which I'm actually bound to agree since I can't pull it off too well.

Lastly, unfortunately, I abandoned any aspiration for visual realism a while ago, as it's too much for me to handle. I know divergent boundaries are not continuous, but to be honest I opted not to do them because (please read in 100% casual informative tone, because it might sound defensive, but it's not meant to):

1. Takes more work and time, that's why I use circles instead of triangles.

2. They don't really add much more information to my purposes, the boundary is mainly divergent.

3. My tectonic map is not really meant to add to my still empty gallery, it's 100% for information and terrain purposes to myself, so I've accepted it'll look ugly and rough, but as long as it fulfills its purpose I'm ok with that.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

06-27-2014, 11:51 AM
Hey groovey.

As promised, I took your map to have an "fresh" look. I kept as close as possible to what you had been doing, but in some places, to reduce micro-plates, I changed the movement of larger plates or moved land masses. The following is a rough map using your color codes. I think every place is plausible as it is, but you guys tell me what you think.

This is a poor-resolution-version. Send me a personal message so we can transfer the actual work files.

Also, this was the first time I used the program g.plates and wow, I am convinced! Forget the stereographic projections, the layer rotations, etc.. It took me an hour or so to learn how to define the shape of a plate , how to set an absolute euler pole for it and to see it rotating. Then I also noticed it can draw "small circles" and that makes it absolutely easy for figuring out the path of every point.
It was so easy that I am now using it to review my stuff as well...

06-28-2014, 06:40 AM
Woa, it looks super cool!

At last I get to have proper transformation boundaries. I like your model a lot.

I'm so excited to see my baby darling like this, it looks much more organic than I ever would have managed. I can't wait to get my hands on it to polish it off (visually, I wouldn't touch any of your work, it looks perfect). Since you made it so easy for me to do so, I will add the transformation bits to the divergent boundaries, heck, I might even stop being so lazy and do proper subduction triangles instead of circles. The color scheme hasn't convinced me for a while either, so I might come up with another and then add to the map a small area saying which color is what.

I can't thank you enough; I would have been stuck in this phase of the map forever.

If you are going to revise your tectonics too, perhaps it would be interesting (it would be for me) for you to post how your tectonic map was before you worked with G plates, to see how much of a difference it makes with one system or another, what do you think? I know working with G plates will probably make you apply changes that won't be comparable between the two versions of your tectonics, but still, I think it could be very interesting to see what changes g. plates leads you to.

EDIT: I'm also incredibly glad you could use my map to learn about g. plates, so you got something out of it too.

06-28-2014, 09:40 AM
Glad you liked it.

I think I will do a little tutorial about the way I used g.plates... that and finish the tutorial on climates... that once I finish my again-being-revisited tectonics map. :) Uff... so much to do.

06-28-2014, 11:55 AM
Hey groovey.

As promised, I took your map to have an "fresh" look. I kept as close as possible to what you had been doing, but in some places, to reduce micro-plates, I changed the movement of larger plates or moved land masses. The following is a rough map using your color codes. I think every place is plausible as it is, but you guys tell me what you think.

This is a poor-resolution-version. Send me a personal message so we can transfer the actual work files.

Also, this was the first time I used the program g.plates and wow, I am convinced! Forget the stereographic projections, the layer rotations, etc.. It took me an hour or so to learn how to define the shape of a plate , how to set an absolute euler pole for it and to see it rotating. Then I also noticed it can draw "small circles" and that makes it absolutely easy for figuring out the path of every point.
It was so easy that I am now using it to review my stuff as well...

Looking good. Nice to see you trying out gplates. It's really handy. Didn't know about the circles though. I don't know if you used this feature but you can have divergent boundaries auto adjust between two plates so they remain exactly in the center regardless of movements. it's handy.

@ Groovey. I was starting to feel the same way about my own map, that I would keep doing it forever, started doing the climate map to take a break from the tectonic map. I'm waiting to see your next update.

07-01-2014, 07:19 AM
Looking good. Nice to see you trying out gplates. It's really handy. Didn't know about the circles though.

I actually only used g.plates to visualize present movement of plates - basically, working out the best euler pole for what I wanted. Then I used that euler pole coordinates as the center for small circles which was very helpful. The only features I defines were closed-plate-boundaries and I didn't use time-dependent stuff. In all honesty, that side of g.plates, which I am sure is amazing, is still beyond my ability.

07-01-2014, 07:31 AM
Well, this is what I got out of Pixie's revision of my tectonics. I hope I didn't mess up anything, since what I had left to do was the easy part, though I wouldn't be surprised if I managed to.


The boundaries with Pixie's original outline under it, for check-ups.


After cleaning out the land shapes outlines and the boundaries that Pixie passed me, I used a different tone of blue for convergent boundaries, but red is still divergent and yellow transformation.

I did find the will to make divergent boundaries "broken" in bits, but not to use triangles instead of circles.

Then I added or edited the subduction islands. Do they look alright? Too many? Too few?

And that's about it.

Question, is there any plausible way to add some (non-volcanic) small island/s to make the south of plate 1 closer to the islands chain along n6 and 7? I mean, the poor fellas controlling than land aren't great navigators, on open sea at least, they're much better at coastal navigation.

Also, how about convergent boundaries near coastlines? For example 5/1, in the scale of the map the boundary is roughly 200/300 Km from the coast. So would that boundary cause mountains to be created on that coast? Or is it too far?

How about the boundary on the left pointy end of n16 with 19?

I must say I love the new tectonic map, visually it looks more attractive than the past ones, I think.

EDIT: re-posted the tectonics map, now with purple to indicate continental/continental convergence.

EDIT 2: Arrrg, just noticed a few little islands are on the wrong side of subduction, going to fix that.

07-01-2014, 11:22 AM
Also, how about convergent boundaries near coastlines? For example 5/1, in the scale of the map the boundary is roughly 200/300 Km from the coast. So would that boundary cause mountains to be created on that coast? Or is it too far?

I see no reason why not, if fact this is what Japan is. It is a somewhat common tectonic phenomenon called a back arc basin where a small spreading zone forms behind a convergent zone and you get something like Japan. Also, you can get subduction in the middle of the ocean in which case you would have an island arc like the Aleutian islands.

An inert plate probably would require that there was no subduction of the inert plate on any border. This is because sinking slabs have a strong force that pulls the entire plate. This is known as 'slab pull'. Subduction of another plate under an inert plate, transform, or divergent boundaries shouldn't cause problems if you want a plate to be 'motionless'.

I think the added transforms on the divergent boundaries look great! I like the color scheme as well.

Question, is there any plausible way to add some (non-volcanic) small island/s to make the south of plate 1 closer to the islands chain along n6 and 7? I mean

Making volcanic islands would be easy, either along the divergent boundary like Iceland, or just a random hotspot like Hawaii. Non-volcanic islands are more difficult to explain. This might require a rifted segment of a plate like Madagascar. Or perhaps a carbonate platform like the majority of Caribbean islands, but I don't know what conditions this would require. What is the motivation to not use volcanic islands?

07-02-2014, 05:49 AM
Glad you hear from you again Cuin; I was afraid I scared you off the last time since my reply always reads so defensive to me. Thanks for your input.

Well, I'm not really against using volcanic islands, in fact I love them, but what I understand is that they are much more rare on divergent boundaries, so I'm not sure what are the conditions for them to arise in some divergent boundaries and not in most of them. I mean, in a 2D map how can you tell when it would be plausible for volcanic islands (I wouldn't need them to be too big) to arise, when I have no info on depth and such?

By the way Cuin, I notice you seem to know your fair share about tectonics, but you mostly work with regional maps, at least that you've posted in the guild. Have you worked on a world map at some point? Do you have in mind tectonics logic in your regional maps? I'm just curious.

On another note, how do you guys like the names I completely and absolutely randomly came up with for my 3 favorite plates?


Keep in mind I had to adapt the names to the rules of the official con language of the Empire that had the map done (in a very distant future of course, when they figure out tectonics, or when the aliens visit the world and share that bit of info with them. Joking, not a chance, aliens are not welcome to my world, sorry). In appreciation for you input and encouragement I'll also introduce those words to the language's dictionary, since I need new words in dozens and your user names adapted to the con rules don't sound and look bad at all. In your case Pics, I would make yours the name of the main God if he already hadn't an important needed name. But who knows, it might end up being the name of one of his sons (or daughters, since names are a bit androgynous in general there). I'll figure out the best use for it.

In the case of Ascan, since usually the suffix -an indicates that word is a verb in the con language, I might come up for the right meaning to Ascan as a verb so it also makes sense as the name of a plate, but then I guess I'll have to add a vowel or another syllable to turn the verb Ascan into a noun.

EDIT: needed to make some changes since I realized plate 1's name would take after the name of the nation/s of that land mass. So I had to move the other two. Now Ascan is Ascant, which now means... East. Sorry ascanius, I couldn't make the word fit to be more majestic, but it makes sense because on plate 1 they are not very fond of people on plate 2, so when they manage to constrain themselves when referring to them, the best they can come up with is "the easterns", so their land would be the East. I also had to move Pics to the periphery for the same reason than the first, that plate's land already has a name, so the plate should take after that.


07-02-2014, 12:50 PM
Haha, can't scare me off! I just get busy because I am working on a PhD, which is in geology. I don't directly study tectonics, but I have it in my background. I do like to keep in mind tectonics while mapping, but I have never gone as in depth as you have. I'd like to try what you've done some day. One example of a tectonic theme I tried to emulate can be seen in this example (http://www.cartographersguild.com/members/cuin-albums--++hand-+wip-picture64262-gnoma.jpg). We see abundant evidence for flooding of a continent behind mountain building events. There are no modern analogues, but it has happened in Earth's history, and I tried to do that on the example map. In the example the bay like region is continental crust that has been flooded, and oceanic crust to the north. The oceanic crust is subducting under the continent and forming the mountain range in the north. That is my rationale at least.

Cool names. I'm sure Pixie and Ascanius think so too!

07-02-2014, 03:20 PM
I'm touched by having a continent named after me. Nobody had done that for me before. ;) And I like the spelling for my name: Pics. Do you mind if I take that word too? I keep collecting cool words for map-naming purposes.

About those islands to make the sea navigation easier from Swefendlea to the continent on plate 7. You can do one of two things:
1 - assume there is an active hotspot somewhere close(south) of the triple junction between 9, 6 and Swefendlea - a sort of Azores (or Iceland, or Galapagos) kind of feature. You would have some land there, plus smaller islands along plate 6, southbound.
2 - assume the western side of plate 6 was separated from Arlia, just like plate 13 and then originally drifted eastward before turning to a southward movement. This bit of continental crust would now be on the boundary with plate 8 and create a longer thinner island close to that boundary - a sort of Java (or Papua).

But if you are worried about the open-sea navigation in that area, you may want to have a look at dominant winds and currents before deciding where to place the islands.

Lastly. It's so good to see you back at things you clearly love - con language and history. I'll use your expertise later on, on history, if you don't mind.

07-02-2014, 05:42 PM
Ok the names are awsome. haha don't worry I like Ascanta, I am honored at having a continent named after me. It looks really good by the way, keep up the good work.

07-03-2014, 04:34 PM
I could never have dreamt to have a tectonic plate named after me (or rather, my nick), but it did happen! Thanks a lot, groovey! I am honoured. I'll make sure to return the favour, probably not a tectonic plate but something else, not less important. And it might not be named "groovey" either, but an adapted form. I am not really working on a conlang yet, but I do have a few ideas. I'd like the "feel" of the language to be a mix of Polynesian, Australian Aboriginal, and probably some other elements. We'll see what I can come up with.

You guys have really been working hard on your projects. Congratulations! I haven't been able to do anything these last few days. Sometimes other things take precedence over building a conworld. I really hope to be able to continue working on my project the coming weekend. When I see all your results it's really starting to itch.

Cheers - Akubra

07-04-2014, 07:56 AM
I'm really overjoyed to hear you fellas liked what I did with your usernames.

@Pixie, you are very free to do as you please with that word. I'll be more than glad to be helpful to you with History, but of course keep in mind each Historian has its own field of expertise, but anyway, if I know enough of the matter/s you are interested in I'll be more than glad to share my knowledge about it.

Tomorrow if I can I'll try out your suggestions for the extra islands problem.

Believe me, at one point I was confident enough to try to do currents and winds and all that, but seeing how limited I was with tectonics, which is a topic of more personal interest to me than the others, I don't think I would get too far with the currents or winds. I'd probably take like 3 horrible, tears filled years to get them right, if I got them right at all. And so I'm afraid I'll have to place those islands where I find they fit best according to your suggestions and pretend the winds and the currents will be on my favour.

@ascanius, I'm glad you liked it and don't worry, I'm not as judgemental about the people of plate 2 like the people on n1 are, they are a bit pompous about themselves, so the name of that part of the continent/plate doesn't carry a negative tone to me.

@ Akubra I've felt tempted a couple of times to post in your thread to ask how was everything going or something, I was a bit worried you weren't working on the project anymore after such a great start, but then I remembered you did warn us that you'd be busier eventually.

Scratch that itch, because you'll have more scientific info about your world than I ever will, winds and all. That all is like Chinese to me, awesome but inaccessible/too much to me.

And don't worry about returning the favour, making "groovey" a decent place name doesn't seem very easy to do, so don't sweat it.

Nice to hear you are thinking about venturing in the very complex task of con-language. Beware though; it's not for the weak to get a decent one. Your choice of inspiration for the con-language is very interesting, but I guess you know that the more familiar you are with the real language/s you are trying to "emulate", the best you'll be able to translate that inspiration to a new con-language that is original and has internal coherence and follows basic linguistic rules. So I'm curious, are you familiar with that type of language?

@Cuin, awesome! A Geologist. I love you guys, in all of your specialities, a lot, you help humanity to understand our planet better and how it works, and it blows my mind.
I see what you mean about that regional world of yours. When trying to answer the question on my own I realized that said regional map was the one that made the ring bell for me as having some tectonic thought behind it, but I didn't know exactly why of course because I didn't have the info you've shared now.

Thinking about it all, maps, con-languages... I really, really don't understand at all why I get myself into these things that are too big of me, really, why must I have so much interest in this things I'm not good at? It's a bit frustrating. In my case I think it's because I love and need equally a strong sense of realism in fiction, so for me it was painful to do more writing in world-building my world without having a map of it, and of course then I'd need mountains and rivers, but of course rivers depend on mountains mostly, and mountains in tectonics, so of course I need to know the tectonics or I'd go mad... arrg.

Ah, anyway. To end this very long post I'll just say I've started to work on the outline of where mountain ranges not explained by current tectonics will be and such, a very rough visual guide it is, and I guess I'll post it soon and then... the horror again, with terrain, for which I'm stubborn about applying Tear's Sederan tutorial.

I'm a big fan of that style and plus the tutorial is manageable for me to do, but of course, it feels like the tutorial is originally though for regional/continental maps, but then, I see Saderan (http://www.cartographersguild.com/attachments/regional-world-mapping/18674d1258385964-my-first-world-map-saderan_final.jpg)is a world map and Tear (http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/7788-my-first-world-map.html)applied that style to a map of Earth (http://www.cartographersguild.com/attachments/regional-world-mapping/19087d1259656146-my-first-world-map-saderan_earth_experiment.jpg) and it looks absolutely wonderful. So I guess it can be argued that IT IS fit for world maps.

07-05-2014, 09:18 AM
I've been experimenting toying with Pixie's two suggestions for placing some islands to make plate 1 closer to the island chain on the south. I couldn't come up with anything too convincing, at least visually. This is the best I could come up with, would this or something similar work? The distance to n1 would still be quite big though, so I'm not sure I'm going to be able to solve this issue at all.


I still need to come up with names for the rest of the plates and do the continental shelves to call the tectonic map complete.

07-06-2014, 06:59 AM
Those islands are fine for island hopping navigation. You can take example from the Pacific. Islands from New Zealand to Hawaii were known and populated from the stone age. They could be known by sailors for ages, hence no effort to "discover", but unpopulated, hence, still a ground for colonization racing.

I've got to ask, though. That large sea between Swefendlea and Ascanta - wouldn't it be where largest trading coastal cities would develop? You have lots of distant territories connected by sea-way, I imagine large ports and carthage-genoa-venice-like states developing in there.

07-07-2014, 10:38 AM
Ok, I arranged the little hotspot islands (updated the image on my previous post so I don't waste server space uploading it again with such small change) so they looked better and deleted the non volcanic island near the southern tip of n1 and added an island shape inspired by my beautiful Mallorca a little bit nearer (about halfway) to 1/6 boundary. So that will work, won't it?

And yes, you are right, the sea btw 1 and 2 I picture like the Mediterranean sea I so much love and I was born in (not literally, I was born in a hospital, like most). So it's a big key trade area, withing the Empire and with n2, but I figure, there might be some resources they can't get there, and thus the interest in the southern islands, for which Arlia also competes because it has a great navy for for war and for trade. Also, in the story, Arlia giving up claim in some of those southern volcanic islands is one of the conditions the Empire imposes after its civil war is over in order to "let go" of the fact that Arlia kind of "kidnapped" the Princess and then Empress of the Empire during a series of shady events, so those islands are also useful for minor plot conveniences.

07-07-2014, 05:53 PM
Hi groovey, sorry for taking a long time to respond... again. I haven't been able to do much over the weekend - only today I continued my tectonics map - hope to post it tomorrow.

Anyway, let's get to your question about languages. I wasn't too precise about what I mean by "the feel of the language". I didn't mean anything grammatical or such, all I meant was the general look/sound of it. Suppose you don't know a certain language and you see it written or spoken for the first time. Sometimes it makes you think of a language you are more familiar with, doesn't it? That's what I mean. I like the idea if it could have some aspects that make me think of Polynesian with lots of i's, o's and a's (such as the names for some plates I'm using: Otaia, Kiomawi), and also some aspects of Aboriginal languages (think words like Burrunguy, Nanguluwur, etc). I'm not sure if that is possible, because they are more or less each other's opposite: lots of vowels vs. lots of consonants. Anyway, for the moment I have only been thinking about it superficially.

I don't speak any of those languages, although I have lived in New Zealand for a couple of years (where one of the official languages is Maori). I have also travelled extensively in outback Australia, so Aboriginal names are not extremely "alien" to me. But that's where my "knowledge" (but I cannot really call it that) ends.

Yes, I do realize that it's a huge task. But a very interesting one. I think you can draw parrallels with creating a conworld. If you want to make your world realistic, you have to take into account tectonics, climate and what not, like we do. We're learning a lot during this process. That aspect of creating a conlang is similar. If ever I start one, I want to be serious about it and I'm certain I will learn a lot about many new linguistic topics I don't yet know about. And I think that's very, very interesting.

Cheers - Akubra

07-09-2014, 11:57 AM
Ok, I arranged the little hotspot islands (updated the image on my previous post so I don't waste server space uploading it again with such small change) so they looked better and deleted the non volcanic island near the southern tip of n1 and added an island shape inspired by my beautiful Mallorca a little bit nearer (about halfway) to 1/6 boundary. So that will work, won't it?

And yes, you are right, the sea btw 1 and 2 I picture like the Mediterranean sea I so much love and I was born in (not literally, I was born in a hospital, like most). So it's a big key trade area, withing the Empire and with n2, but I figure, there might be some resources they can't get there, and thus the interest in the southern islands, for which Arlia also competes because it has a great navy for for war and for trade. Also, in the story, Arlia giving up claim in some of those southern volcanic islands is one of the conditions the Empire imposes after its civil war is over in order to "let go" of the fact that Arlia kind of "kidnapped" the Princess and then Empress of the Empire during a series of shady events, so those islands are also useful for minor plot conveniences.

Nice update and I think the islands work well for what you have intended. Are you going to continue with the map adding currents, climate, mountains etc?

Hi groovey, sorry for taking a long time to respond... again. I haven't been able to do much over the weekend - only today I continued my tectonics map - hope to post it tomorrow.

Anyway, let's get to your question about languages. I wasn't too precise about what I mean by "the feel of the language". I didn't mean anything grammatical or such, all I meant was the general look/sound of it. Suppose you don't know a certain language and you see it written or spoken for the first time. Sometimes it makes you think of a language you are more familiar with, doesn't it? That's what I mean. I like the idea if it could have some aspects that make me think of Polynesian with lots of i's, o's and a's (such as the names for some plates I'm using: Otaia, Kiomawi), and also some aspects of Aboriginal languages (think words like Burrunguy, Nanguluwur, etc). I'm not sure if that is possible, because they are more or less each other's opposite: lots of vowels vs. lots of consonants. Anyway, for the moment I have only been thinking about it superficially.

I don't speak any of those languages, although I have lived in New Zealand for a couple of years (where one of the official languages is Maori). I have also travelled extensively in outback Australia, so Aboriginal names are not extremely "alien" to me. But that's where my "knowledge" (but I cannot really call it that) ends.

Yes, I do realize that it's a huge task. But a very interesting one. I think you can draw parrallels with creating a conworld. If you want to make your world realistic, you have to take into account tectonics, climate and what not, like we do. We're learning a lot during this process. That aspect of creating a conlang is similar. If ever I start one, I want to be serious about it and I'm certain I will learn a lot about many new linguistic topics I don't yet know about. And I think that's very, very interesting.

Cheers - Akubra

Sorry to hijack this thread a little but I don't see why you couldn't mix the two natlangs to create a conlang like you mentioned Akubra. Gonna take some time though. Mostly you need to get the Phonemes you like and add rules to start with. Like Groovey I also did a conlang and will be using it for the map, if I ever finish that is. Sometimes I wonder if something is wrong with me? I mean to put all the time in research, designing, drafting, creating lexicons, rules, and everything else for making a map and conlang. O well I would rather be crazy than be like everyone else in my book.

07-12-2014, 07:44 AM
Groovey, your latest map is really looking great! I think it has a lot of possibilities for geography, climate, history, etc. I'm following your progress with a lot of interest. What are you planning to do next? I suppose you will need some form of terrain and climate. I'm currently working on a height map as a preparation for my climate map. It scared me a little, but with a good tectonics map, a rough height map isn't too big a hurdle to take (well, I'm taking a big risk saying that, as mine isn't finished yet...). Anyway, looking forward to discover you next steps.

@ ascanius: Thanks for allaying my fear about mixing languages. After all, natlangs can also influence each other a lot (just take English, originally a Germanic language, but it has been influenced a lot by Latin languages). So yes, why not mix Polynesian and Aboriginal languages. And since you and groovey have worked on conlangs before, I know where to ask for advice ;). But that is something for the future.

Cheers - Akubra

07-12-2014, 11:41 AM
Thanks guys. I've been a bit distracted with other stuff and quite frankly, right now I'm not sure how to proceed, having called the tectonics finished, finally, thanks to Pixie. Need to come up with names for the rest of the plates but that's not important really, I can move on to other stuff and when I come up with another plate name, add it quickly, but the names have to be consistent with world-building, in other words, I need to know what the makers of the map, the Empire on Swfendla, would call those places, or the land in the plates, or the seas and oceans of the plates, and since I don't know yet...

I also did the continental shelves the other day, but since I have no idea if there are specific rules to do them, I just had in mind visuals and tectonics, and I guess I'm a bit hesitant to post the results here in case they are all wrong and get stuck on the shelves as a did with tectonics, *shudders*. I got very traumatized about that.

I also got an ugly visual guide of where to place old, non tectonic mountain/elevation areas, but I'm not sure it would work, don't know if they are too many, too few, too big, too anything. So since I'm unsure I don't find the motivation to do anything with it.

My idea was to move on with terrain already, I mean honestly guys, after my inability with tectonics has been more than proved in many a few pages, do you really have me capable of managing currents, winds and climate? In this century? I wish I could understand how to do it like you guys do,

So in short, the plan is to move to terrain now applying Tear's Sederan tutorial. First mountains, since I know where the tectonic mountain ranges are, and I got an visual outline for old non tectonic mountains/elevation, that I'm not sure of, but well. Then is to do rivers and lakes (I know if not large enough they wouldn't be visible in a world map, but I'd do them for reference), and then add grass/snow/desert coloring having as a basic guide the tropics.

But yeah, I'm feeling 100% unmotivated at the moment, since I suck at doing terrain too.

Nice to see some interest for con-languages around, lovely. Though Akubra, I'd be the last person to ask advice about it. The linguistic lingo, as hard-core tectonics, make my head hurt, so I get confused a lot by the terms and such, and I need actual examples to understand what the heck they are talking about, and that's how I try to understand what my con-language needs, so I proceed to create the rule and such, but not really understanding the deep mechanics of it, which I don't think is good. This summer I'm going to get my self some kind of English grammar for dummies to try to get more deep into it and understand how the language works.

EDIT: I also planned to do a height-map in the beginning, but the 6 Gods know I'd take a year to do it and still I would get it wrong, lol, so since I'm not able to do climate either, why bother with height-map? Oh my, I'm speeding up right into the lazy/whatever highway. Sorry guys, I just can't get over the fact that I suck so much at this mapping thing, haha, so my issues with procrastination are kicking in hard.

07-12-2014, 01:33 PM
Hey groovey, don't be so hard on yourself. There's really no need to do that - you succeeded in producing a tectonics map, didn't you? And a good one to boot. Nobody said the next step needs to be finished tomorrow, did they? So take your time and try to enjoy the ride. And if you don't enjoy a particular aspect, move it aside for a while and continue with something else. I found out that the clue is to take a little step at a time instead of tackling the whole mountain at once.

You know who learns the most? The one who falls and gets up the most. Heh, I just thought of how I placed the little triangles on my convergent boundaries. Almost all on the wrong side. How stupid could I be? Well, stupid or not, I got it right the next time. And from now on I will always know how it works. And guess who told me how to do it right? You! So don't tell me you don't understand much.

So what if your next map is all wrong? We're here to help each other, not laugh at one another for the mistakes we make or some perceived lack of understanding. One thing that is immediately visible and so exceptional in this forum is its constructive criticism. In so many other forums you have people tearing each other's ideas down, often with insults and completely unnecessary curse words. Not here. Not at all. That just proves that thinking and acting positively is working very well and so much more enjoyable.

You need help? No big deal. We're here. Pixie has helped you a lot. If I can help you in any way (with my limited knowledge and abilities), I'll do it gladly. All you have to do is ask. In fact, I'm going to turn it around and ask you a favour. I think I read somewhere that you're a historian, is that correct? (or does my memory utterly deserts me on that one?) I have some questions on how to consolidate some aspects of the future setup/history/consistency of my own planet. Would it be ok for you to help me a bit with that? (Oh, and it's absolutely ok for me if that's not ok for you.) I'll try to formulate them as well as I can (because my head is full of ideas, but it's a bit of a mess...). If you agree, could you just let me know if I could do that in this thread (which seems a bit awkward, I don't want to hijack it) or in a separate message to you.

Cheers - Akubra

07-12-2014, 01:53 PM
Take your time, groovey, and just don't delete you work. You may be a little lost as to what is next, but that's just creativity exhaustion, possibly.

Here's a a very enjoyable read I just finished (http://www.worlddreambank.org/J/JAREDIA.HTM). The guy who wrote it must be a genius and neither you or I will ever be able to do this as well, but I think it'll help motivating. (If you want motivation, that is ;) )

07-13-2014, 10:03 AM
Thanks guys, I'm sorry about the other post, I didn't mean to be such a baby. I'm a very moody person, one moment I'm in ecstatic and the next one I've a raining cloud over my head, and this affects a lot my hobbies and in turn my hobbies influence my mood.

Anyway, what stresses me the most is the fact that it's a map for a novel, and thus the novel is waiting to be written, and I can't get to it without knowing how the land on plate 1/Swfendla is divided politically, culturally and in Administration, and for doing those divisions I need natural landmarks, like mountains and rivers, mostly, and for that I need to get the terrain done, that's why the idea of spending the next months trying to figure out currents, winds and climate (climate would be my most urging one to figure out) makes me wanna cry.

I promised myself I'd focus on the map for a few months, get the info needed for the novel, then start writing it. Since there's a major civil war with lots of implications, one of them regional/cultural, I need to see how the Empire is divided in the map, and again, for that I need terrain. So it's a fish that bites its tail, the more time I spend on the map the more I delay writing, because I'm a control freak and first I need to have the map info. But then there's also music and conlangs crying for my attention as hobbies, so that's even more time I don't give to either the map or the novel... Damn I hope I find a job soon.

Pixie, I knew that's guys work, amazing work (even if he uses Comic Sans font), he makes it seems to easy to figure out. Yesterday I though about what you explained to me about lakes in your own thread, but I didn't spot any of those possibilities in mine, so I've to stick to smaller regional lakes right?

If only to keep the thread on topic and not turn it into my personal blog, how are the continental shelves? You can be honest, I won't break down if I got it wrong I promise.


And any of you guys are welcome to try me as an Historian, but as I've mentioned before, each Historian specializes in their own little thing. In college, at least in Spain, I got basic general info on all ages, without too much detail for different regions, then we got more specialized in Spanish History in all ages, and then in my university we specialized a little in our own region's history. I'm also more specialized in what here we call Contemporary History (from the French Revolution to now-a-days), and inside that, I'm more specialized in Spanish local administration and local measures of public health and beneficence/charity to avoid epidemic outbreaks and lower or eradicate infectious diseases (thanks to this I'm also familiar with the British experience on this area). Might seem we didn't learn much in university, but really, in History perhaps more than some other degrees giving its vastness, you have to do most of the learning by reading and reading for the rest of your life, depending on what your interests are, and so I'm also quite familiar with British history, which is one of the big influences in my world-building, right along with G.R.R. Martin and perhaps after them, the Roman and Persian empires when it comes to Administration.

Of course, for my own world-building purposes I've read a bit about the origin of civilizations, different systems of power and administration and such, but the best I could do for you in that area is to pass you the links or resources I have about it so you can get what you need from them, if I'm not able to directly answer your questions with a certain authority. So do ask what you need, I'll try to be as helpful as can be.

Would you guys say tectonics were easier to do than currents and winds? More difficult? About the same? Even if you haven't finished them, is the process lighter or just as hard to get right?

07-13-2014, 11:13 AM
No worries groovey! I imagine that what you want to achieve is not easy. And thanks a lot for wanting to help out with those history aspects of worldbuilding. I'll try to get my thoughts together and message you my questions in a few days.

Now on to your map. Guess what? I couldn't find any inconsistencies! And that doesn't really surprise me. I compared your tectonic fault lines with your shelf boundaries. I can't detect any problem. Your shelf boundaries nicely follow the subduction zone boundaries.

I really like the way you have created ocean basins, like the ones in Arlia, Swfendla and Arin Ascant. Something I didn't think of. I'm tempted to see if I can use that idea on my map (if I still can) :D.

The only thing I could say is that your shelves closely follow your coasts, while mine meander more freely, sometimes far from the coast. But I think that is a matter of choice rather than being correct or not.

Let's see what our fellow guild members have to say about it.

As for the level of difficulty of the different stages (my personal opinion, of course):
- Tectonics: medium difficulty (I had to learn quite a bit)
- Ocean currents: not too difficult (if you follow the rules)
- Winds: not too difficult (but I didn't go into much detail)
- Height: not too difficult (I enjoyed it, but I haven't had any feedback yet, so I hope I don't have to start all over again :()
- Rain patterns: comparable to tectonics, I'm afraid (on the basis of what I have tried offline)
- Climate: haven't started it yet

Curious to know if other opinions vary...

Cheers - Akubra

07-13-2014, 07:01 PM
Yeah, continental shelves are as good as any, it's a lot a matter of personal choice. As long as they don't cross subduction boundaries, you can do whatever you like. Not following too closely the coastlines adds some flavor, but in no way makes it any more plausible.

I mostly agree with Akubra also on his take on the difficulty of each task. Tectonics, I think, it's the biggest nut cracker. Specially, because of its puzzle nature, whenever you fix something something else needs fixing.
Currents is very easy but winds have some science behind it. Heightmaps are not difficult as they don't need to be detailed when you are just looking for an overall look of the world.
I didn't find rain patters that difficult. Just like ocean currents, it's a matter of sticking to the rules.
Then it will come temperature, then climates...

07-14-2014, 12:34 AM
Groovey, when you get to feeling frustrated about not knowing enough to 'type finished copy without a draft', mapp-ishly speaking, maybe you can be consoled by the huge benefit you four(?) current tectonic mappers have been for the Guild, while working out your projects. The thinking-out-loud you have all done has taught a bunch of us what we need to either do tectonic detailing, or else take a guess at being somewhat plausible. Thank you (all) ! 2000, 2500, 3000, and 4000 thread views are a LOT of interested readers.

As for studying English structure - good luck! :-) Some languages borrow words. English follows other languages into dark alleys, knocks them over the head, and goes through their pockets for linguistic change. Which I suppose would make it an ideal model for a conlang, so one can break rules and smoosh together dissimilar bits without anyone calling "foul!" Your level of expression proves you have a great grasp of English from a practical stance, so don't let formal grammar drag you into a too-lengthy rabbit trail.

If the long road to get to writing is driving you nuts, go ahead and do some vignettes that could fit anywhere. If you don't publish them, they will still be raw material, and you can tweak this family name and that river reference later, to notch them into a smooth fit in your finished terrain. No matter what your societies, there'll always be the rebellious third son, or the crooked horse trader, or the ingenious apprentice miller who dreams of being a blacksmith-artificer and keeps breaking his uncle's waterwheel with 'innovations'. I know (for me at least) a huge amount of inspiration comes from the setting, but there's much to be said for Just Going Ahead And Writing.

Climate, wind, and currents can all be tackled plausibly from a set of rules of thumb. Basically, who's to argue, when professional meteorologists with decades of experience can't always figure out our own planet? :-) There's enough room for tweaking, that if prevailing winds wind up forcing some climate zone you don't like, you can shove this wintertime persistent high a bit >thataway< and voila - now that area gets enough rain to be steppes/ grassland instead of desert. Which in turn fits that people group of mounted nomads you had in the back of your mind....

Again thank you - you only THOUGHT you were figuring this stuff out for yourself alone :-).

Thanks for the link, Pixie - one could get lost in those tilted Earths for a LONG excursion!

07-14-2014, 05:39 AM
Gee guys, you all gave me a bit to think about. You seem to agree that currents would be the "easier" to get done next, so I might try to do that and depending how good I am at it, then think about trying to do the rest or forget about it. I will do the height-map though, because I love them in general, and the info would be very useful for me to visualized certain settings, but also for placing rivers, right?

You are right the shelves follow the coastline too closely, I might play a bit more with that at some point, though to do the currents I'd need to have the final shelves, shouldn't I?

@jbgibson, thank you, you bring out so many true points. I tend to forget the threads are open to everybody, thankfully, so everyone, those simply curious and those in need of this type of information for their own works, can have access to it or at least can check other members' projects as a reference. I do that a lot in fact. It's one of the greatest aspects of this wonderful community, how much info and knowledge it contains and shares with everyone.

07-14-2014, 01:16 PM
One sensible order is to figure generalized wind patterns first - they can be based on nothing more than axial tilt and land placement. One figures a N. hemisphere summer then a N. hemisphere winter set, then overlaying the two, what places plausibly would have prevailing winds from a similar direction most of the year. That air movement will by surface drag either create or strongly influence surface ocean currents. I'll note here that oceans have multiple layers of currents, and nobody, but nobody wants to model the lower ones too. Well, that statement could sound like "I dare you" to SOMEbody, just not to me :-). Your continental shelves could influence currents, or not -- surface currents honestly might only reach a hundred or two hundred meters down. Contrary airflow based on season could weaken a tendency of an ocean current to slosh >that< direction, or in certain interactions of land shape vs. seasonal air shifts, could even reverse a current regularly. And all the talk of seasonal generalities of airflow don't take into account that weather is a whole 'nother set of variables laid on top of the seasonal stuff. Don't let that added complexity bother you - call it freedom, not restriction.... you need such-and-such mounted party to get hit with a storm just >there< in their trek, there's plenty of ways to make that happen :-). The climate generalities might dictate whether it's a hurricane, a predictable monsoon, a tornado, or a dust storm, true...

All that fun stuff can give the people living atop this landscape better ways to travel or could block reaching what might otherwise be nearby lands. And THAT is where stories start to grow themselves.

You already have maybe the youngest/ highest mountain ranges figured based on tectonics, and those will be the biggest barriers or funnels for moisture movement. So you *could* even go on and figure gross rainfall patterns at that point, or you could sometime before then figure where you want older mountains - fossils of previous tectonic action. Other than the drier belts/ wetter belts that you can draw *now* based on just Hadley Cell (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadley_cell)effects, a huge driver for your climate zones is going to be "lots of water gets carried thisaway, hence this is the area for forests and fertile plains," and that sort of thing.

A fun thing to consider is that all the rule-of-thumb climate stuff is "before human effects". Whatever dry tendencies existed in the middle of Africa, desertification there has been accelerated by overgrazing and woodcutting. The eastern USA on a simple climate model might show a likelihood of great swaths of forests... which is about how it was before settlers cut down nine of every ten trees. (98 of every hundred?)

Currents in ocean and atmosphere will shove around a lot of heat, and provide oceanic moisture somewhere interesting to go. Examples are the warm Gulf Stream in the Atlantic keeping icebergs *somewhat* at bay, and providing coastal northwest Europe with a bit warmer climate than latitude might suggest. And whatever weird thing goes on in alternate years with El Nino and La Nina Pacific currents -- from weather all the way down to good years/ lousy years for certain fishing grounds, as the same part of an ocean gets washed by nutrient-rich water, or by more sterile water.

Boil that down to : I'd suggest generalized winds, then general currents, then climate zones. Stick extra/older mountains and hills in, wherever in that process you like. Think *slightly* from your tectonics where a widespread uplift or subsidence might be happening - that'll give you some nice drowned coast and high plateau stuff. Those could be extras - ignore if you like since you already have plenty of complexity going on.

And when the complexity that you're indulging in overwhelms you, go out and play a game of handball, or bike thirty km, or whatever you use for alternate activity. Tell yourself "this'll go better with more oxygen in my brain - yeah, that's the ticket!" :-)

07-15-2014, 05:36 AM
@jbgibson, wow, now that is a lot to take in. I'm to re-read the rich-in-info post slowly a few times to process the info, but yes, last night I watched a few educative videos about currents and it helped to understand the basics of them and how indeed I need to think about the winds first to do the surface currents. The deep ocean currents are a bit different and I'd love to try them out too if I could, but yes, first the winds, so I'll start doing some reading on that and check Pixie's tutorial and Geoff's Cookbook.

07-15-2014, 05:46 AM
Heya Goovey. I look forward to seeing your work on climate, and a height map. I suggest doing a height map first even if it's like Akubra's and only functional, this will then allow you to get your winds and rainfall. If you need help on the climate part you can definitely ask me, I can tell you what not to do.

07-15-2014, 06:06 AM
Hello ascanius! Good thinking, I'll work on an only functional height-map before anything else, since I was looking forward to it the most anyway. Though now that I think about it, I need to polish the shelves a bit more, then I'll do heigh-map, then winds, then current, then climate... if I don't get lost and crazy in the process, but that's the road map.

Just got a doubt about the currents and those sea basins I did on my map when doing the shelves, without realizing what possible consequences they would have... Superficial currents (the ones determined by the winds) can circulate into those basins can't they? In Earth they get into the Gulf of Mexico, so they should get into my basins right? I didn't create myself extra-complications making those basins, did I?

07-15-2014, 10:37 AM
Your tectonics are fine, groovey, I say stop worrying with them ;)

As for your question: cold currents tend to be deeper and narrower, so they normally follow the continental shelves. Warmer currents, on the other hand, are shallow and tend to spread out - which means, you can take more liberty with the warm currents than with the cold ones.

Those basins are great, both for history/civilization as for climate stabilization. They will probably generate their own closed currents. (google "black sea currents" and look at the images results).

07-16-2014, 07:00 AM
Thanks Pixie, your answer calmed me down about it.

Until I get to the currents though, here's my early phase of the height-map, for info purposes, so don't focus on the pretty or the style. As in now I only have 2 levels done, 0-1.000m, in dark green, and 1.000-2.500m, in light green. I borrowed my color gradient from Pixie (http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/25903-wip-ambitious-world-map-fictious-earth-like-planet.html#post234844), but simplifying since I'm not going after so much detail.

Well, I'd appreciate some input before starting with the next levels, since the 1.000-2.500m level will be the base for the next altitude levels. I tried not to go crazy adding green light areas keeping in mind this map of Earth (http://www.star.nesdis.noaa.gov/smcd/emb/vci/images/Static/Elevation.png) Pixie brought up in another thread, but even though, do I have too much light green? Do those areas look ok? Do they contradict the tectonics in any way?


07-16-2014, 04:10 PM
Hey. So far what you have looks good but it's hard to tell with just two height levels. The northern mountain range in swefendlea looks like it should be two, is that your plan, two ranges with a low lying connection. Keep up the gold work. I can't wait to see what you do with that central see. It's going to be a lot of fun to toy with later on.

07-17-2014, 09:13 AM
"Keep up the gold work", groovey, level 1000m looks very good.

There could be more random sport over 1000m, small remnants of old mountain ranges, lonely volcanoes, etc. These would add some realism to the map, but nothing else. Since what you really want is to figure out geographical constraints to develop your setting, ignore that push towards realism. (You can always worry about it later).

07-17-2014, 09:33 AM
I really like the shape of the continents look very natural , how did you create them ? hand brainstorming? cloning parts of real world or by fractal terrains? Or pehraps some other system?

07-18-2014, 09:09 AM
I can only agree with what is said above, groovey. All looks fine to me too.

On another note, every time I look at your map I am intrigued by the names. So much so that I tried to figure out your "system". Is it ok if I have a go?

Acubr = west / Ascant = east / Arec = north / Orter = south / Arlia = central
Acubter (Acubr + Orter) = southwest / Ascarter (Ascant + Orter) = southeast
Arin = far, extreme, very / Thand = little, small / Arinthas = very small
Ascarec = northeast / Acubrec = northwest (not on the map, my own constructions)

...or is it just me seeing a logic that isn't there?

Cheers - Akubra

07-21-2014, 04:12 AM

Hello everyone!

First of all sorry for taking so long to be back, had to focus in other stuff these past days and I didn't want to be distracted by map stuff because then I'd want to work on that and not the stuff I had to work on.

So ok, managed not to mess up the easy part of the job, yay!

@ascanius, I forgot to mention that, the northern mountain range is indeed two: the modern one created by the convergent boundary btw Swfendla and Ascant; and the big blob to the left is an old range, that as you say, connect be connected by that 1000-2500m level.

About the central sea, since it's supposed to be my "Mediterranean Sea", which I carry in my heart, I'm very excited about it too, to see how the currents will behave in there and all that. I can't wait till I'm done with the main features of the map so I can start world-building settlements and trade routes, which I have never done before, so that will be a challenge too.

@Pixie, I'll keep in mind your suggestions about adding random bits here and then, because it makes sense and it crossed my mind too.

@ Naima, thanks, I'm very happy to hear you think that way about my continents, because in every fictional map, mine or not, I'm always thinking about the shapes of the land masses, if they feel organic or a bit constrained, and after looking so much at mine and losing perspective a bit, at this point I wasn't sure if they looked natural to others.

I came up with them messing up with Fractal Terrains, until I got interesting shapes. I saved those land masses as exported images, then in Photoshop I resized and rotated as needed, then with the help of the magic wand I selected the shape of the land and in a new layer applied the "outline" tool and that's it, I had a clean version the shape, which then I would edit a bit on some parts if needed, with the brush tool or cutting and pasting bits of that shape to rearrange them a bit. I hope I could make myself clear enough.

(Long section about my conlanging follows, skip if not interested)

@Akubra, you almost got it all right! Not sure if you're very good at it or my conlang is disappointingly easy...

Since I made a few fixes:

- Acub: west/left
- Ascar: east/right

And so Acubr and Ascant means something slightly different, but I don't know what yet, they're obviously a derivation of west and east, or west/east + other word, but that's all I know for now.

You got north and south, and S-W, S-E, N-W AND N-E 100% right, even the ones you guessed on your own.

- Indris: I still don't know what it means or if it's supposed to mean something, the meaning of the original word might be lost by now, and so it's simply a name they give to that ocean section btw the south of the two continents, to the volcanic islands below and then to the west btw Swfendla and Arlia. I'm not sure how to define it though, it's not an ocean on its own I think, but can it be a Sea or they simple made that up and called that area of their commercial interest a Sea, with no real foundation?

- Arin = little/small

- Thand: thas = island + plural -nd: thand. In the latest version not posted yet that plate is "Pics dir Thand" and not simply "Pics Thand" (which lacked the possessive), so it means "Pics's islands" or "the islands of Pics".

- So Arinthas = small island (I know it isn't small really, so I might change the name), but turned into the actual name of the island, like Iceland, or Greenland.

- Hemthas: hem = big/great + thas = island. EDIT: in my latest version I changed it to Hemla to avoid the issue altogether, so now it either means Hem=great + la = land, or a shortened version of Hemsey=name of a King/Emperor + la = land.

As with Arinthas, I'm not sure Hemthas should be considered an island at all, since is big enough to be a continent, thus why if needed, I could change the meaning to be similar to "Stalingrad" or the "Philippines". Since the root "Hem" gave way to the male name "Hemsey", a very common name for the King/Emperors, if I need to I can make Hemthas be Hemla (Hemsey's land), shortened, either because explorers named it after him or because one Hemsey king/Emperor "conquered" it.

The matter with these two plate names is that this is a tectonic plate map I am assigning names to, as if I were the makers of the map, from Imperial Swfendla. Since at that point of their history they are not advanced enough to know about plates, it's kind of weird for me to name the plates having in mind how THEY would name each one, thus the silly names like "small island" or "big island".

For example, in a normal map they wouldn't divide Ascant in two big pieces, so it seemed to me that if a time traveler went back to them with the tectonic map but with no names in it, and it was up to them to name the plates, they would keep the two plates that divide Ascant related by name.

Another problem btw their level of knowledge and the need to name a tectonic map they'd have no idea about is naming the regions of the west part, which I'm not sure they even know about yet, if they do is because of Arlia, with a competent navigation technology that could make it easy to get to Pics through the island chains, and from there to Acubr to at least know it's there.

Pics was most probably named by Arlia, perhaps written "Picsi", and then normalized to Pics by the Empire. Acubr is definitively an imperial word though, so again I figured that if a time traveler gave them the tectonic map to be named, since they don't know much about the big North-west continent, they'd simply name it something related to the fact that is on the west, while with Ascant, which they are much more familiar with if only by their mutual hatred and trade, they deliberately chose such a bland superficial name (and not the name the people on Ascant would give to their continent if they ever gave it one), since all it matters to the people on Swfendla (for cultural, mythical and traditional reasons) is that the people on the east suck and are not important, so they are simple "the others" who are not as great as us so they don't deserve a proper name.

- Arlia: in Arlian (of which I only have a few very basic notes on) actually means "free or freedom land": ar = free or freedom; lia = land (written 'la' in the Empire/Swfendla). Since the language of Swfendla and Arlia are related, some primitive and common roots or words are similar.

I'm not sure yet if in Swfendla (I refer to the nation because I still don't know how to name the language, sometimes I call it the Imperial Language to call it something) the word or the root for freedom will be the same, since "freedom" wouldn't be a very basic word or concept in early communities, as land or house would be. I don't think that word would be part of the language of the very early community from which both Arlia and Swfendla came from, so it seems to me like the type of word that would come later on with a more advance social/political structure and by then the common ancient language would have given way to many different derivation of it considered languages on their own.

Anyway, the basic story is that the Swfendla Empire originated (as a Monarchy) in the north close to the boundary with Ascant, and then, at some specific point, by a mix of previous culture spread, religion and of course political ambition, it started to expand south after taking the whole north, all in a very long and intermittent process lasting centuries and with a heavy program of assimilation mixed with tolerance (the Roman Empire is my big model with this).

Most communities ended up submitting to this, but a few didn't want to submit to the Monarchy-then-Empire, which they saw as an oppressor, so as it expanded, those resistant communities migrated south each time the Empire got closer down, and once they saw no way out of it, they risked into the ocean and through the islands chains (still don't know how exactly since only recently I got the map with that info and when I world-built that story I didn't have the map) got to what they called Arlia, "free or freedom land". Of course, the process is much more complex and I still need to work out the details now that I have the map, but you can get the basic idea.

Interesting enough for me is that though for the rest of the world the makers of the map (The Empire) use the names they have for those lands, for Arlia they respect the native name, so they don't name it Arla instead, this is a result of the long and complex relationship btw the two, mostly always tense or simply bad, but the most significant for the two lands.

- nenla: nen = sister + la = land, mashed up as an actual name for that land. The name (written a bit differently in Arlia, though I still don't know how) was given by Arlia, thus why it's a sister land, upon which Arlia has a lot of ambitions.

Hope I didn't bore anyone to death with the conlang bit if any of you decided to go through it.

Akubra, have you started to work in your conlang? Your plates have names so the question is if they mean something yet?

07-21-2014, 04:41 AM
Groovey so far are some of the most natural I saw ... And I saw many ... Most fantasy worlds do have cool and interesting spots , but most of the time look fake or just as big islands .
I have spent two days browsing fractal worlds and I love many if the ones it generates I feel they look very belieavable even if not changed . I am instead trying to shape my world directly inside ft with the tools , but I think I exagerated trying to go too much for an earthlike shape that kind of because I have in mind some cultures befoure the land itself . Your world though looks good and enough different from Earth .

07-22-2014, 02:01 AM
Hey Groovey are you by any chance on the CBB or ZBB. If you are you should add me same user name. If your not you should check them out, great spots for conlangers.

07-22-2014, 04:27 AM
ascanius, I know both, wonderful resources, but I'm just a lurker there. I'm a very shy person so even on the Internet is hard for me to talk with others. Thankfully in the Guild I feel comfortable enough by now so it's not a problem anymore, but irrupting in a new community is very scary for me.

Plus I'm not going to lie, I can only decipher the linguistic posts partially, there's so many technical words and such (like it should), I get confused a lot by the terminology because I'm only familiar with the most basic stuff, so some post I find of interest, but what really gets me going on my conlang building is the Language Construction Kit books and this page (http://www.councilofelrond.com/subject/how-to-create-your-own-language/) for general reference of what I need, because they're like conlang for dummies, and that's not an insult, it helps a lot of dummies like me.

@Naima, thanks a lot, that's a great compliment for me.

07-22-2014, 08:21 AM
Groovey, thank you so much for that long explanation! Very interesting stuff!

As explained in my own thread, I don't have the opportunity to contribute much this week. Next week I'll try to write a longer reply to your question. Right now I can say that, apart from the Polynesian/Aboriginal "feeling", I haven't thought much about the conlang I'd like to construct. I have a few ideas, but they are still very vague, and I'm not really sure they are feasable.

Also, I haven't had time to order my thoughts about the historical stuff I wanted to ask you. I hope I'll have time for it next week. Otherwise it'll be for the second half of August. We'll see when it's possible.

Cheers - Akubra

07-23-2014, 07:01 AM
Hello everyone, I got my first full go at the height-map ready and I'd appreciate some feedback because I keep staring at it not being very sure of what more does it need (again, credit to Pixie for the color palette).


I tried to add few random little small 1000-2500m fragments, but I don't know, I think I'd need a few more, but when I drop some in land, and not close to the coast, they just look sad and ugly and out of place, so I don't know what to do about it.

So in what state would you say the map is, does it need fixes or is it good to go?

One thing that worries me is the implications of the height-map when it comes to deserts. I don't care where deserts will happen in most of the world, but I'd need at least the north bit of Swfendla and a part or Arlia NOT to be desertic, so as it is right now, are you able to suspect if I'd get deserts there? From what I gathered, deserts depend mostly on latitude and rain shadow on mountain ranges, so I'm a bit afraid about how the mountain ranges in those two areas will affect the climate.

Thank you for reading.

@Akubra, don't worry, take all the time you need, I'm not going anywhere, I got no job and no vacation for me this summer, so I'll be here when you're back.

07-23-2014, 07:15 AM
No need to give me credit for the color palette, I just took it from this map:

Which I am also posting so you can take a look and compare by yourself.

In the middle of continents, any mountains/highlands would have been eroded for a long time - thus, they may not be a continuous shape, but small bits in an area. Maybe that will work better in places.

There is one area where I think some mountains are needed for scientific plausibility. Just like with akubra's map, you have a continent rifting. When that happens, mountains tend do form on both sides of the rift. So, the area where Arin Ascanta is breaking away should have some elevated terrain.

Overall, however, i think it is going fine. More highlands aren't necessarily needed apart from the northeastern side of the map. Most of your continents look like solid old cratons.

07-25-2014, 06:01 AM
Thanks for the feedback Pixie.


Well, about the rift btw Acant and Arin Ascant, since most of the boundary is transformation, I wasn't sure if I had to add elevation just in the divergent bits or also in the transformation bits, for now I just put elevation in the divergent bits, and also added a lake in one of those bits, inside an elevation bit.

Let me know if I have to add elevation to the transformation bits of the boundaries

I also added a few light green bits of elevation but I don't want to overdo it, so I'll probably leave it as it is.

I don't understand exactly what you mean about the continents looking "solid old cratons".

Just out of curiosity I also tried the clouds rendering filter on the 0-1000m level so it's not so plain, but I guess it defeats the purpose of the color code system.


07-28-2014, 09:49 AM
Hey groovey. Looks nice as it is. If you keep each elevation level in a separate layer you can later color in shades of gray and use Wilbur for local erosion (river making). But for now, I wouldn't go into that.

The clouds trick gives it a a little more plausibilty when zoomed out, but you are right, it defeats the purpose of a proper elevation map. What you can do is use the filter as source for a selection in order to add a bit more random regions with elevation above 1000m.

07-28-2014, 10:00 AM
Thanks Pixie.

Very interesting about the Wilbur stuff. I tried some tutorials in the past and I never quite made it, but now that I got a more solid height-map, I might try it, though I'm not sure I'm familiar with your technique. Does it also generate the lakes too? I do keep each elevation range in a different layer.

Good idea, using the clouds version to add more randoms bits of light green. Will try it soon.

07-28-2014, 10:13 AM
Thanks Pixie.

Very interesting about the Wilbur stuff. I tried some tutorials in the past and I never quite made it, but now that I got a more solid height-map, I might try it, though I'm not sure I'm familiar with your technique. Does it also generate the lakes too? I do keep each elevation range in a different layer.

Good idea, using the clouds version to add more randoms bits of light green. Will try it soon.
Yes. Can generate lakes , calculate erosion by precipitation and flow , it can be tricky to make it look right but its the best available around for what I know.

07-28-2014, 10:19 AM
Awesome, but then how do you bring back the Wilbur info about rivers and lakes to an editor like Photoshop? Have you tried it? EDIT: I read your own WIP thread so I know that you are in the way working on a process from FT and all the way Photoshop, so nevermind! I'll wait and see what you do with your WIP (http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/27741-my-new-terra-4.html).

07-28-2014, 10:20 AM
though I'm not sure I'm familiar with your technique. Does it also generate the lakes too? I do keep each elevation range in a different layer.

oh, I do it all by hand... because I am a freak ;)

07-28-2014, 10:45 AM
You're awesome, that's what you are.

How I wish I had your hand and the skills attached to it.

Well, again, you two have made me very intrigued about Wilbur, so at some point I'll try to find the tutorial I saw once that touched that subject, but for now, once I polish the height map, I'll go for winds, as I seem to recall that was the best next step? Because it doesn't matter if I do the rivers and lakes later on does it? Once I figure out other stuff?

By the way Pixie, can't wait to see you working on your WIP again, as soon as you are less busy.

07-28-2014, 11:34 AM
Awesome, but then how do you bring back the Wilbur info about rivers and lakes to an editor like Photoshop? Have you tried it? EDIT: I read your own WIP thread so I know that you are in the way working on a process from FT and all the way Photoshop, so nevermind! I'll wait and see what you do with your WIP (http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/27741-my-new-terra-4.html).

Wilbur allows export of all kind if maps , from river layers to heightmaps to silouettes to custom ones , the one I am looking foward to try is dreinage map , though the tests I did seem that FT gets much better at river showing , despite waldronate write its the same code. Still testing , as for pa I am starting to think about some direct gand editing on the heightmaps in wilbur...

07-30-2014, 07:23 AM
Cool, will have to check that when the moment comes.

So, today I worked on the height-map a bit more, using the cloud rendering layer to try to add more random bits of green light (1000-2500m), instead that unintentionally lead me to revise the original big green light shapes on most continents, so they look more random and so, so which one do you like the most, the old one (image of the left), or the new one (on the right?


I think I'll give up trying to get more random smaller bits, because I find it oddly frustrating, I don't like how random "bloby" the look in the middle on anywhere.

07-30-2014, 08:06 AM
personally I like the one on the left the most. the distribution of the mountains seems more uniform and less random. The one on the right gives you too many large continuous plateaus in my opinion. I think the one on the right would work better if they were broken up with the lowest level in places.

07-30-2014, 08:16 AM
I prefer the one on right , if you are going to erode it , it will give a better base to start from , also the world on left is too flat and the mountains look more "planned".

07-30-2014, 08:18 AM
I'm with Ascanius on this : the left one has my preference. I think it has a more natural feeling (if it means anything).

07-30-2014, 06:11 PM
Hmm... something "in between"? I agree the one on the left looks more "natural", but the second, while being a little too chaotic, will look much better after some sort of erosion process.

Either way, if your purpose is purely schematic so you can get into climates and then on with your novel, I abstain from this vote, both are fine for me.

08-02-2014, 05:37 AM
Thanks for your votes fellas. Please, before making up my mind for sure, can you take a look at this polished version of the last map? Those of you who preferred the old map, you still do?


Keep in mind I want the height-map for info purposes, I don't mean it to look stylize or anything, so don't focus on the outline of the shapes, just on the plausibility and the overall feeling of the size and distribution of the elevation.

Thank you guys.

08-02-2014, 10:58 AM
Hi groovey, just got time to read your last few posts before I buzz off again. Your map looks promising, but I have one question: in some areas the 1000-2500 m. level meets the coast. Does that mean that the land suddenly drops to sea level from those heights? These heigt differences seem a bit strange, especially if you take into account your continental shelves. You would expect them to be very near the coast in these regions, but that's not always the case. Here on Earth, I don't know any comparable places. I do remember seeing the cliffs at the Great Australian Bight. At 70 m. high they were already very impressive. Angel Falls, the highest continuous waterfall in the world drops off a tepui in Venezuela, a sheer fall of almost 1000 m., but that is the highest cliff I know of. If that's the way you meant it, you have some extremely impressive coastlines. Too bad we won't be able to visit them in real life... ;)

Cheers - Akubra

08-02-2014, 06:50 PM
Akubra, you are maybe forgetting the point that a single pixel in a map at this scale is a significant distance.
But at the same time, you raise a very good point, how some coastlines have a tectonic background that doesn't allow those steep coasts.

Some of your shorelines, groovey, must be very old. The southern coast of Pics and the eastern coast of Acubr are pretty old, even if you have plateaus close to them, erosion would have leveled a great deal of km's inland. Have a look at the Brazilian coast near Rio de Janeiro and south of it, as well as Angola/Namibia on the other side of the Atlantic - plateaus, reasonably high, but very eroded towards the coast.

08-04-2014, 05:43 AM
Very good point guys. I agree I've abused the frequency of bestial steep coast. The only place were I really need it is in the mountain range that separates the two crashing continents on the east: Swifendlia/Swefendlea* and Ascanta, as I need it to be almost an impossible barrier (physically + culturally) to cross by land for the people on either side, so I extended the light green right to the coast. So even though the height-map is mostly orientative, I'll make the green light level retreat a bit from the coasts.

And though most of you preferred the old height-map version, I must say I feel more inclined towards the new version, so I'm torn because I appreciate your opinions a lot, since you guys are much better at this mapping stuff and I trust you must know better which version could work best.

* (I write the names differently now because I had a major Sudden Clarity Moment a few days ago, Akubra, if you want to know what happened so you avoid the silliness with your conlang let me know in private?, since I'm not sure I should talk about the conlang here, seems a bit out of topic, though it does relate to the map's names).

EDIT: I took care of the abuse of steep coasts, I think? How is it looking now? Somehow convincing enough? Please note I haven't corrected the spelling of the labels yet.


EDIT 2: I've started to play with the ocean currents (since I couldn't bring myself to have a go at the winds), following Pixie's tutorial (http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/27118-wip-sort-tutorial-climates-applying-geoffs-cookbook-detail-some.html#post245107), which I found quite easy to follow in general. Please bear with me, this is my very first attempt and I hardly know what I'm doing. I have no idea of how to solve the poles and the closed basin areas, any suggestions? The second once has the latitude lines divided in 45 squares.


I'll work on the aesthetics once I got a model running.

08-04-2014, 11:11 AM
It is also possible to have a East-West current near the south pole like in this map: File:Corrientes-oceanicas.gif - Wikimedia Commons (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Corrientes-oceanicas.gif)

The Antarctic Coastal Current (http://oceancurrents.rsmas.miami.edu/southern/antarctic-coastal.html)

08-05-2014, 03:58 AM
Like this? Looking at Earth's currents maps I noticed such East-West current near the poles is drawn around 60 latitude, so I placed them there (the north one was a bit too high).

I also tried to solved some of the closed or semi-closed basins, but I'm not sure of it.


08-05-2014, 05:27 AM
Hey groovey. Good to see you braving the stuff you aren't confident about. You shouldn't be worried with the result, it's very good.

I'd say 90% seems to be the right place. Here's the 10% where I don't see it like you do:

- you forgot to close two loops
One is easier to spot, the sea southeast of Arlia (west of the word Indris, a warm current coming down along those islands forces a cold current on the other side).
The other one stretches around the end of the map. I think you need a cold current west of the word Orter - it's too much water to squeeze in that passage, so a lot of it will just flow northwards along the island arc and join the westerly current southeast of Enenlea

- I don't think the north polar current would be so close to the continental margins - in fact, I think it would be further north and that forces "return" currents (west->east) on the continental margins

As for the smaller sea basins, treat them just as big oceans. Close to the equator, and to the 60/70 latitude, there's a tendency to flow westward, in between, around 40/45, a tendency to flow easterly. Other than this is just closing the loops.

08-07-2014, 11:55 AM
Speaking of oceanic currents, I've always loved that NASA video :


You can see the main big currents and the incredible number of smaller ones. I guess there are a lot of circling minor currents in your "?" zones.

08-07-2014, 09:38 PM
Oh now Groovey will want to draw them all :x

Seriously, someone did something like that not too long ago.
Found it: http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/24040-harenova-learning-cartography-scratch-adventure-come-help-6.html#post224591

08-08-2014, 03:59 AM
Which reminds me of another link that was posted on these forums of a wind map, but it also happens to include ocean currents: earth :: an animated map of global wind, weather, and ocean conditions (http://earth.nullschool.net/#2014/02/05/0000Z/ocean/surface/currents/orthographic=23.19,47.52,1500)

08-08-2014, 04:08 AM

Well, sorry Pixie, I'm still not sure of how to solve the closed basins, since they only get crossed by one of the black current lines, so I can't close the circuit.

The same with the cold current east of Arlia, I'm not sure how to connect it with the black eastern 45 line, since the warm current awkwardly closes the path to the black line, and there's the warm and cold current from the Indris sea also very close, so the whole area is a bit confusing for me.

I'm not sure how those circle currents work, or if the warm, cold or what. I had seen that video, if I'm not mixing it up with another, the animation was done by Pixar.


I'd appreciate any help.

EDIT 16/08/14: sorry for the lack of updates, I've been distracted with stomach pains and fixing basic points of the conlang I'll use to add names to the map. Plus I'm not sure how to fix the currents maps, so I have to find a way to.

08-28-2014, 05:54 AM

Well, my solution to the area east of Arlia was to modify the ocean shelve of the southern islands to make an opening and hopefully solving the routing issues, but since I'm not really sure how currents behave out of Pixie's tutorial, perhaps it's just a silly solution. Looking at Earth's currents maps doesn't really help me since each map represents things slightly differently and don't really explain the reasoning behind it because I guess they suppose one already knows.

So anyway, what are the major flaws in my currents map right now? Any critical fix needed?


Please note I still haven't fixed the name labels to abide them to my conlang's fixes.

Atmospheric Outline

Without pretending by any means that my currents don't need fixes, I started to have a look at the next step of Pixie's tutorial (http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/27118-wip-sort-tutorial-climates-applying-geoffs-cookbook-detail-some.html#post245133) and came up to this. How bad is it? What corrections does it need? And what happens to Low Pressures in the July map? Honestly, this is as far as I can get on this on my own. Warning: the map gets uglier with each layer of info I add, honestly, be careful if you are aesthetics sensitive.


Ugh, my Equator is so bloody crammed...

08-28-2014, 10:40 AM
I think your oceanic currents look alright.

About the Atmospheric Outline:

In January, the large landmasses should be high pressure and become low pressure in the hot summer. And both the ITCZ and Polar front are low pressure area.
The L should probably be closer to the equator or the Polar front but not really in the middle of them. Except for the western continent, this is a high pressure area since it's colder.
The south is OK, it's low pressure but not terribly low when you step outside of the ITCZ.

In July, the ITCZ should bend more than that. Bend toward the hot continental masses. It can bend up to the 30th parallel. It's possible to have the Polar front and ITCZ to meet or almost.That's what is happening is Asia. It create a large low pressure area. It covers the Arabian peninsula, the Indian sub-continent, South-east Asia and much of China.

The south could have a high pressure zone over the largest of the continents, but not terribly high.

You can also look at this to help you: http://montessorimuddle.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Atmospheric-circ-490x367.png

09-01-2014, 09:44 AM
Thanks a lot for the input Azelor, but...

I'm afraid I don't understand how the whole thing works really, to apply it to a fictional planet. So I'm not sure I should go on with all the climate stuff. I'll try to do some research when my head is clearer and if I still can't figure it out.. well, I might have to make a though decision.

Man I'm so tempted to pay someone to finish this stuff for me, in the commissions section, but damn, I don't think I could even afford the price.

I'm so intrigued now about what the final climate outline of my world would be and how it would affect the settings for the novel, that it's hard for me to just quit it and do terrain and politics. We'll see.

09-02-2014, 01:21 PM
I did some tests to see what it would look like with Pixie's tutorial

Winds and pressure for January (red=high pressure, blue is low)
And July

Precipitations Juanuary
And July

map showing the dry area (only in terms of precipitations)

I think I did something wrong with the precipitations because the climates are really dry compared to my map for the CWBP. I think water should go further inland.

09-03-2014, 07:00 AM
Holy cow Azelor! That was amazing. Thanks a lot for the time and effort it took you to do it.

If you didn't actually make any mistake with the precipitations I might have a little clash with the kind of climate I had in mind for an specific region, on the north-west of the eastern big continent, which I pictured more wet and green like central Europe, and not so dry. I might have to move the Empire's Capital to a wetter area then I'm afraid, to be coherent with my original idea.

09-03-2014, 01:25 PM
I will try to see if I can fix it but it's still too dry. The problem could lie with the wind directions , I don't know.

One other explication is that your world is pretty flat. You see, higher elevation reduce the temperature and thins also lower the evaporation. With less evaporation, less water is required. The flatness is not a problem if it's what you have in mind but it's likely to make the interior of the continents drier.

They share the similarities with Central Asia. Mid latitudes, low altitude and far from the sea.
Some continents of the CWBP2 have higher altitudes near the center, so this could explain the difference.

This is the resulting climates I get but I haven't cleaned any of the maps (temperature or precipitation) before doing it so it look really messy.

To clean it requires a certain knowledge: for example the area in the western tip of the north west continent. One part is Dfb surrounded by Dsb. The reason it is that way is because the sides of the mountains receive more rain due to the orographic lift. We consider that they have a dry and wet season because of this but they only receive slightly more rain. In fact they should all be in the same climate. Well, actually not since I haven't considered the high elevation of the mountains. It's probably eternal snow on top.

It makes no distinction between Am and Aw but the second is the driest and most common. Am surrounds the Af climate (sometimes it's near the Cfa) while the Aw surround the hot steppes or the Cwa. It's a transition so you need a steppe between the deserts and the A's climates. Talking about steppes I think it's better now.

Csa/Csb: I'm surprised to see these climates appear so often far from the coast, particularly on the western continent.
Cwa: is not as common as expected
Cwb appear in the north ? weird
Cwc: not sure there is any, but it's rare anyway

Cfc: is uncommon like on Earth, only 1 or 2 places
Dsa: none but all the Ds climates are relatively rare

You don't have any Dsd,Dfd,Dwd climates. Not a problem since they are extreme climates.

and that's about it.

09-05-2014, 06:27 AM
Wow, I wasn't expecting you to go on with the next step, since I figure is a pain in the butt. Thanks a lot mate, that's amazing.

And yes, you are very on point with the height-map limitations I'm afraid, if I had understood the implications it would have on the later steps I would have done it with a better mindset.

It's fascinating to look at my world map and be able to tell which area has what climate, and how sometimes it matches what I had in mind and other times it doesn't. Absolutely fascinating, I can't stop looking at it.

09-09-2014, 11:52 AM
but normally deserts should be on the western side of continents, not the opposite. That is the biggest problem.

09-09-2014, 12:11 PM
but normally deserts should be on the western side of continents, not the opposite. That is the biggest problem.

Just a quick question that might be related to this, but wouldn't the major wind currents around the equator be moving in the opposite direction, i.e. east to west, rather than west to east?

09-09-2014, 12:30 PM
Yes, your right ! And it's so obvious now that I look at my other map on climate.

09-11-2014, 11:30 AM

Just a quick update. I worked on a hopefully improved version of the height-map so the world isn't as flat. Of course, I feel like an dxxk for not doing it before Azelor used some of his free time to do the climate stuff with the previous version.


So now I'm in doubt, do I stick to the new height-map and give up climate (except the untouched areas from the previous version, where the climate stuff Azelor did would still apply) or stick to the weak height-map for which I have the climate stuff thanks to Azelor? I don't know, I feel bad simply disregarding Azelor's work, who I can't thank enough for letting me have a glimpse on my world's climate, so we'll see.

Regardless of what I do, would you even say the new height-map is an improvement over the old one, that I'll re-post again below for quick reference?


09-13-2014, 11:27 AM
I think the differences would be small in most places.

I think that the eastern part of the north-eastern continent should be all humid (it's supposed to be more or less like N-E China). As you move west it becomes a steppe between the two elevations. That was already what i had in mind but it makes it more legitimate.

For the eastern part of the same continent: mountains would make the central and eastern part drier. Another steppe but I don't think it's dry enough for a desert.

In the center of the map,. higher elevation would turn A climates into C climates. I'm not sure if I can differentiate the vegetation of these two climates. No major impact.

S-w: the rain pattern could change a little.

N-w: you have a lot of closed basin. I'm not sure why you have so many, Is there an explanation?
The impact on rain is mitigated since the mountains are mostly in the center of the continent. But they do make it drier.

Note : I'm saying all of this but I haven't showed the new version of the climate map. I'll do that later today.

09-14-2014, 02:16 AM
Thanks a lot for stopping by again Azelor. Right now you're the only factor keeping the current work and direction of map from being abandoned and just make up everything disregarding climate and natural science, which after the frenzy would bother me a lot to have to base the world-building of the novel in such a phony map.

My main goal with the new version of the height-map was to get a less dry climate for the most important area for the novel, on the north-west side of the eastern northern double continent joined by the central mountain range, since in my head the climate would be similar to that of central Europe, but I guess I failed again to do so. I can't believe the people living east to the central mountain range will get the better climate, since the people I focus the novel in, living on the west of said range, hate the eastern people to death. I bet they'd hate me for giving the easterners the better climate. Plus I figured a big part of the western culture's success to such a developed culture and political organization, in such a vast scale, would be the richness of resources and the climate, so now I'm not sure of what to do.

Is it not possible for the western side of the central mountain range to have a central European type of climate no matter what the height-map is? Are other factors preventing that, or is it simply that I put the mountain ranges in the wrong place?

And the closed basins are just random, result of the "technique" to get the altitude ranges, I wasn't sure what to make of them. I'll fix that in a moment.

EDIT: Here it is. I filled the basins or opened them. I hope it makes a little more sense now.


PD. Azelor, did you see my PMessage? Just curious, because sometimes I miss the inbox notification alert for a few days.

09-14-2014, 01:42 PM
Yes I saw the message but I just need some time to think about it.

Don't your continent have names ?

I am not actually sure if the part we are talking about should be drier. The dominant winds are moving toward the east after all and the mountains are in the north. What I could do : lower the precipitation categories by 1 or 2 and see what happens.

here without the new elevation67356:

09-15-2014, 02:09 AM
Indeed the continents have names already, here's the base version of the map with the labels. The area I'm talking about for the novel is Arec Swifendlia.


Interesting, with this new climate map now said area's climate is generally similar to that of central Europe according to this map, isn't it?:

Source (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Europe#mediaviewer/File:Europe_Koppen_Map.png).

In case the winds should make that area drier like you mention, which I'd like to avoid, what could I do to avoid it? Where should I place the mountain range/s in that area? The central mountain range has to stay because of world-building purposes and tectonics, but the rest of the range I could place wherever needed to get an overall central Europe climate like the new climate map has. I'm sorry to insist so much on this, but if I end up with a dry north of Swifendlia I'd have to re-think the origins of the humongous Empire that controls the continent, since they'd have a different start than if the originated in a humid, fertile land, and I really would prefer the later.

09-15-2014, 12:32 PM
When I said drier I meant steppes not deserts. You can find several states that prospered in the semi-arid climate. In fact most of the antic states started in semi-arid climates.

Fertile Crescent - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fertile_Crescent)
Loess Plateau - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loess_Plateau)
Indus River - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indus_River)

Persia was a powerful antic state.
Spain is also considered a steppe, but I'm not sure it is. It is really close to the Mediterranean climate, especially on the coast. Valencia is too humid to be a steppe but maybe inland.
The kingdom of Castille was quite powerful if I recall correctly, it was the great power of the time and prior to that state, Cordoba was also very influential.

and what about Mongolia, they conquered almost all of Asia !

09-15-2014, 12:40 PM
I guess you are right. I've been thinking about it and I guess It'll do, so I'll have to re-think the whole thing (it's for the best I guess, the model of origin and development of the Empire needed fixes and updates anyway). In fact the Persian Empire is one of my main inspirations, along with the Roman, when it comes to the organization of the Empire, so I guess it'll work.

Castille was powerful because of the american colonies, but by itself it wouldn't have done much if it had have to fight European countries in the old continent. All the riches it got from the colonies, without them Castille would have been an anecdote in the 15-16th century History (I guess it could have still been significant in the fight against the Ottoman Empire, but without the resources form the colonies I'm not sure Spain could have gotten too involved in that either).

I didn't know about the Loess Plateau case so thanks for introducing me to it.

09-15-2014, 12:58 PM
You probably know Spain history better than I do. I remember that after the reconquista the kingdom had some economic problems and some parts of it where scarcely populated. Portugal was in a similar state. I recall reading that it was pretty poor before establishing the colonies. They got rich but eventually lost their colonies and felt into oblivions again.

But yet, they where powerful at that time. And don't forget that they inherited the crown of Aragon and the Habsurgs. They controlled Spain, Austria, the south of Italy, the Netherlands and some other minor territories. France even fought alongside the protestants to counter Spain hegemony in the region.

09-17-2014, 03:39 AM
You are right, but as you said, Spain became an empire through the colonies (which were usually conquered without much pain) and inheritance, and I don't want such a sissy empire in my world to be my focus. I want an Empire by conquest, not by breeding (though some regions will be annexed this way).

What I mean to say is that the European states (the term state means that we are talking about the 15th century and beyond) were no Rome, they fought a lot, but neither had the capacity of permanently conquer the other and keep the territory. Their strength and power in the world, in the case of the three more powerful European states of the time: Spain, England and France, came mostly from their colonies, that's what made them Empires and the main protagonists of European History pre-19th in the case of Spain and France, since England actually kicked off for good in the latter centuries. That's why I personally can't really buy that those colonial Empires were as great as Rome or other great ancient Empires.

So yes, they were powerful Empires, but because of their colonies, and that's kind of disappointing to me. I don't want a colonialist Empire, I want a conqueror Empire that annexes territory and integrates the conquered population as a real part of the Empire, with their rights and obligations.

I understand that I'm being a bit harsh with the colonialist European empires (not as a human, because their model of colonialism is repugnant to me) and that I'm totally biased towards the Ancient empires (some of which notoriously had colonies), so please don't take my comments at heart, it was mostly the fanboy in me speaking, not the Historian.

09-17-2014, 10:58 AM
I'm not sure how different Rome was, it had slaves and most of it's riches where stolen from the conquered.

Anyway, back to climates: do you have a deadline for this?

09-18-2014, 04:32 AM
You're right about Rome, as I said, I'm just very biased. If I had written my previous post as an Historian, it would have been completely different since then I would have been forced to remain neutral and give due pros and cons to each Empire. The general concept I was trying to express is than Rome had to fight very tough adversaries in its beginnings and later on Carthago, a formidable enemy. So Rome was mostly a militarist empire at its core, meanwhile the later European colonial Empires were mostly economical at their core, and what I want for my Empire it's to be a warrior empire during its expansion (once done, the reduced need for troops once expansion and pacification is over would create a very interesting crisis of that model of Empire which would force a transformation form a hard core militarist empire to a more balanced one to avoid one of the reason Rome failed on the long term).

Back to climates, I don't have a deadline since the novel is all for my own enjoyment. It's just one of my dear hobbies, so no hurries. What happens is that I can't get my self to actually start writing it (I work on the outline instead) without knowing certain information from the world map (where mountains, rivers and lakes are, so then I can do a more natural division of the territory for administration purposes and to better place settlements, to know where to place the capital of the Empire, what climate each setting of the novel has, etc). Starting to write not knowing all those things bugs me, so I want to be done with the maps and rest my mind before focusing on writing, since I also have other things going on and I can't focus on all of them at once. But again, I'm in no real hurry, but if only to motivate me to do something about it, I gave myself the rest of the year to be done with the maps and then focus on the novel.

09-22-2014, 04:22 AM
I must admit I like the climate map the old height-map results in, but the old height-map itself looks very silly to me now, so I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable with it on the long run.

09-29-2014, 09:36 AM
Hey groovey. Its nice to see you still working on your map! Great job and keep up the good work, your further along than I am. I've been busy lately and going to be even busier for the remainder of the year it looks like. I'll try to drop in to see how you coming along.

09-30-2014, 04:12 AM
Oh my dear ascanius, if I'm further along than you it's all because of Azelor doing the climate stuff, which was bigger than me. I'm not sure my map will progress much further to be honest. I tried experimenting with terrain and it was terrible, so I think I'll have to settle to finish up the map in private so it can be ugly and naive and purely work as an outline for information purposes. I've given up all hope of producing a decent looking map. It's a bit sad I guess, but well.

05-24-2015, 02:03 PM
Hello again!

Long time with no updates, basically because I got discouraged by the lack of progress with the map. But after a few months the other day a YT video about world-building made me think about this project again, and so I'm working on it again.

I'm working with Azelor's climate map of world as a guideline. He himself has said in the past it'd need revision, especially since I added more mountain areas since then, but as for now I have no other source to work with, so it'll have to do. I don't mind fixing the terrain as needed if I get a new climate map. Hopefully he does indeed manage to automate the process of figuring out climate as he's trying to do (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=27118&page=7&p=271412&viewfull=1#post271412)


Basically what I've done is:

1) Territorial (simple, I would like to try make them look pretty) borders of the Empire (Municipalities, Counties and Provinces), 6 of each in each since 6 is the magic number in the culture controlling that territory. Still to do: Regions and Hinters +other countries/societies on the rest of the continent.


2) Terrain template using the method the devs of Crusader Kings II/EUIV/Victoria (great games) used to make their terrain maps: http://img42.imageshack.us/img42/6913/vic2vanillaterrainmap.png (I can't find the original source).

I used Azelor's climate to place the desert, plus to determine when vegetation was as a forest (on temperate climate) or as a jungle (on tropical climate).

I used the terrain code from the above Victoria 2 terrain map.

I still need to figure out where Marsh terrain would happen. I won't differentiate woods from forest, and Farmland, which for me mean specially fertile terrains that's neither plains or forest/jungle, I'll wait until I have the rivers (and for that I need to be sure of the mountains placement first) to place, since I figure they'd be related.


3) With the template as a guide, experiment with terrain using Saderan's famous tutorial (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=8086), which after many past tries with no success, I finally seem to be getting the hang of it.


I need to work on how to do the mountains because though I use the more simple technique Azhel (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=27300)shared to do them, I'm still not sure of what I'm doing with them.

I also need to figure the best way of painting the desert, since the base color the Saderan tutorial works upon is not right.

So this is what I've done so far since last time (I did work on the Conlang associated to the world A LOT though, so name labels will need corrections when I'm ready to do them again).

I guess I'd like some basic input if anyone is still interested on this project, as in, have I made a big mistake with terrain placement? Am I breaking any golden rule? Any problems you detect in general?

Thanks for reading!

EDIT: I officially don't know what the heck am I doing anymore with the terrain, so I'm stuck and frustrated again.

05-26-2015, 05:43 PM
I like your idea of turning this map into a kind of Crusader Kings / Europa Universalis map, as I am a fan of those games. I suggest one thing though, so you don't get overwhelmed by your own ambition :) - go into regional maps now, regional also suits Saderan's style much better.

05-30-2015, 09:45 AM
Glad to hear I'm not the only Paradox nerd around here!

Glad to hear from you again mate.

What you say it's true. For the terrain I'm basically going regional. But to work it actually helps me to see the whole world to have a general perspective and make sure all fits, so I'm conflicted about it.

What I will do is just post a cut out of the continent in work here when I need to, after all, you all don't really need to zoom in much into the continent or the terrain style doesn't look good, it needs a certain distance to be effective.

I'm doing some more work on it at the moment but boy, I'm not good at visual stuff, the result looks so silly to me. I don't know what to do.

I EDITED the terrain work in progress in my previous post. As you can see I have no idea of how to make the desert look good and blend well.

The mountains distribution looks silly too I think?

EDIT: checking out ascanius wonderful work on terrain makes me feel like a 5 years old drawing with Paint.

EDIT 2: Pixie, I think I know what you mean about scale. Working world scale makes the scale of the terrain (mountains and vegetations) too big. The problem is I want both a world map and then regional maps, and I want the terrain of one region to match on the world map, but I wouldn't know how to do that.

06-07-2015, 06:52 AM
Well, I've done a lot of trying and thinking since my last post... and the conclusion I've reached is that I need a different style for the world map.

The scale of the mountains in the Saderan style is too big for the scale of a world map, even a continent map. I tried to work or Arlia since it's a separate smaller continent, but still the scale of the terrain was too big.

By the way, I realized Arlia was waay too big, so I reduced it. I hope I kept it a reasonable position from the rift.


Also, without messing up the general elevation I've already set, so it's not even more conflicting with Azelor's climate map of my world, I'd like to add a little bit more detail to it, like I tried to do with Arlia, which by the way it's not 100% final but closer to what I have in mind.


And so I'm on a quest to decide which style to do for the world map.

06-07-2015, 08:33 AM
I know how you feel. I think it's really a problem to depict the mountains on an entire world map in a "quite realistic" manner. I think contour/color code lines or atlas style with shading may be the best way, but not the simplest one.

06-07-2015, 12:54 PM
Well, you said it already, a whole world map doesn't add up with "realistic" mountain representation.

But, then again, most maps of Earth will not have the mountains represented. If you label cities and rivers, the mountains and deserts kinda "appear" in there, because they are the large areas without rivers/cities (deserts), and the areas without cities where the rivers start (mountains)... If you then place a single label in that area, say, in italics, with Desert X, or ZY Mountains - it may completely do the trick!

06-13-2015, 04:31 AM
I get what you're both saying (thanks for clearing my thoughts a bit) , I can't believe it took me so long to figure it out: the altitude templates I'm doing would actually be the "final" world map if I managed to add some texture to it, which right now I have no idea of how to (well I could then do another world map for terrain like in this one (http://eatlas.org.au/data/uuid/ac57aa5a-233b-4c2c-bd52-1fb40a31f639), with the saderan style, maybe, I'm actually not that skilled to pull that off).

So if I managed to get a 5 years old child drawing in Paint version of maps like this (http://linzhouweb.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/146050-world-atlas-physical-features-maps.jpg) or this (http://www.mapresources.com/media/catalog/product/m/c/mc-eur-302256_comp_1_3.jpg)I'd be kind of happy.


I'm trying to get the world heightmap done already. I've been experimenting and I've settle for a basic automatic technique mixing the gradient idea with part of this tutorial (http://blog.spoongraphics.co.uk/tutorials/how-to-create-a-seamless-topographic-map-pattern).

1. Render Cloud
2. Posterize at level 7, when happy with result I merged the posterization layer to the clouds layer and cut out the ocean to leave only the land.
3. From here I tried 3 gradients (I won't add exact leyends until I settle for one):

A: with the color scale from here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=10768):

RGB: 199, 184, 157 (Sand)
RGB: 133, 150, 101 (Grass)
RGB: 84, 99, 42 (Forest)
RGB: 117, 100, 93 (Hills)
RGB: 157, 144, 118 (Peaks)

Light brown is the highest, light green the lowest.


B: with color 66,99,66 only. This two are my fab.

darkest green is the highest, lighter green/yellowish is the lower.

74009 OR 74012

C: with colours from here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=26028&page=4&p=246789&viewfull=1#post246789):

12k ft+ = 229,229,179
9k-12k ft =209,209,163
6k-9k ft = 188,188,147
3k-6k ft = 168,168,131
2.5-3k ft = 137,198,137
2k-2.5k ft = 123,178,123
1.5k-2k ft = 109,158,109
1k-1.5k = 95,137,95
500-1k ft = 81,119,81
0-500 ft = 66,99,66

Light brown is the highest, dark green the lower.


Which of the 3 gradients do you prefer?

Does the heightmap in general make any sense?

There are two little areas where I'd have to modify the height a bit to match the tectonic map, but for now I just want to find the right model.

I'd appreciate any input or critique (especially if they come with suggestions to improve the critiqued stuff).

Please have in mind:

1. The south pole obviously needs adjustments to make sense on a globe map but for now I ignore it.

2. Visually, at least from a distance, it does neither look pleasant or realistic, but I'm afraid it's as best as I can manage. I'm very mechanical in thinking and not really artistic.

3. The purpose is mostly for info and a future revision of the climate map.

4. The coast should in general be set to the lowest altitude but with the scale of the map I'm not sure I should even bother.

Thank you for reading.

06-13-2015, 11:09 AM
I kinda like the last gradient more than the two others but also like this one used by Pixie : http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=27903

As for the heightmap, I don't know if it was intentional but it looks completely random. That should be expected when using a cloud render. It's less problematic if I ignore the south pole because it's too distorted to be representative, but I still like the ancient versions more.

06-13-2015, 11:21 AM
It is 90% random!

The older versions of my heigh-map make me shudder and I had gotten the impression the consensus was that the blobs of color were too uniform, thus why I gave it another try today trying to make it less uniform and more random. So right now I'm a bit confused.

Isn't elevation not determined by tectonics always random (in fictional maps), even if you make up a system for it?

06-13-2015, 11:35 AM
Yes, like with the coastline it's pretty random.

06-14-2015, 04:30 AM
Thanks for your input Azelor. I guess I'll try to work a bit more with the current technique but modifying stuff manually to try to get something more natural.

06-14-2015, 11:35 AM
My comment wasn't very constructive. I'm still not sure how to go about this process. A lot of people use different random techniques or go with ''ill keep the landmass because it look nice''. Unlike climates for example, there is often very little logic/science in land placement.

06-14-2015, 07:02 PM
I think you were going in a better direction with your old heightmap, groovey. All the effort through tectonics and climate, and all the thought you want to put into settlements and coherent history, kind of get thrown out of the window with such a "random" process. Here's my humble suggestion: turn all your heightmaps (old and new) into grayscale layers, set them to multiply, it will get a little more chaotic and, in some way, respect the tectonics of your old heightmap... (I think). You can also try to use Wilbur (dunno if you tried it already) to get some river valleys.

As for colors, I prefer your third option. But, let me thrown in a handy pic...
Using the colorpicker, you can make a palette with as many colors as you need.

06-20-2015, 02:07 AM
Don't worry Azelor, your opinion was useful nevertheless.

Pixie, I'll definitely try what you suggest, hopefully when I have free time again next weekend, since for now I'm too busy with a temporary job.

Thanks guys, for giving me some direction.

07-02-2015, 01:55 AM
Hi Pixie, I just wanted to let you know I did try to try your suggestion but I'm definitely missing something to make it do anything and I'm still trying to figure out what is it.

So I'm experimenting a bit almost each day, because I really hate my old height-maps, but I never get anything good, even when trying to arrange the blobs manually. I'll keep trying at least for a bit.

07-04-2015, 11:04 AM
I'm glad I stumbled upon this thread! Sorry for not contributing anything worthwhile, but I'd like to add that quite a Paradox games fan as well ;)

I'm trying to understand all of this, tectonic movements, mountain ranges, climate and everything in between, but damn it's hard! I wish there was some YouTube videos that explained it all well

08-26-2015, 07:26 AM
Hi Vidgange! The science part of world construction is very hard for me too and I can't say I succeed too often, but it's kind of fun trying.

For one week I've intermittently worked on a new height-map and today I've finished it, I hope. I used my last technique of render clouds + posterize, but much more controlled these time, working one area at a time and then fixing stuff manually and applying the color manually instead of with gradients, since I can't make it work like I want it to. I also redid the shelves.


The palette I got 100% from this beautiful map of laevex_esre (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=16568&highlight=etarek)

A few things to consider:

1. I've tried to match the tectonic info, but I've given up on super accuracy. A decent amount of it will do for me

2. I couldn't make it look pretty if my life depended on it, so I've also settled for the simplistic layering with no effects.

3. Yes, the little islands are half-assed, I don't really care much for them

4. The humongous mountain range in the top middle of the continent on the top right is caused by two continental plates colliding, so it's very high. I checked how the Himalayas are represented in height-maps and what I got is: flat and wide. Of course it looks horrible when I tried to apply the same logic, but again, I don't care if it ugly, as long and in represents the info decently enough.

How does it work? Does it make any sense?

08-26-2015, 09:22 AM
Hey groovey, nice height map you have there!

I wouldn't worry about layering effects and such. It's quite clear where your heights and plains are.

About that high mountain range: it looks like the slope gradient is more or less the same all around. Is this intentional or not? I'm wondering if this would happen in reality. To me it's quite relevant because I also have a continent where two tectonic plates smash into each other. I created a long mountain range with a steep eastern side and a more slowly descending western side (actually with other, older mountain ranges on it).

It also seems that many of your coastal areas drop down quickly to the sea (some even from 2000 to 3000 metres). It strikes me that many height levels are not completely surrounded by lower levels. Any reason why you chose to do it like this?

I love the colours that indicate the ocean depths. I see that some parts have intricately formed borders while others have more "flowing" lines. Do those two kinds of borders have different properties?

I must say that I really like the aspect of your map, especially the colours. I think I'll have a look what such colours would do with my planet's appearance ;)

Cheers - Akubra

08-26-2015, 10:05 AM
Hi Akubra! Thanks for stopping by.

The reason why the big mountain range slope is uniform is because of the technique I used to do the layering, which was quick and lazy since I wasn't sure how to go with it. I might revise it this weekend if I have time.

Yes, many coastal areas drop high. Perhaps I have too many of those. EDIT: yes, lots of them, I'll have to do lots of slight adjusments on the weekend.

The reason why the shelves (light blue) are smooth in one side and rough in another is because there's tectonic subduction going on, so the shelves have to end where the two plates meet and I figured they'd get smooth while they we're getting chewed.

I'm glad the palette from Etarek works for me too, I quite like it a lot.

08-26-2015, 01:43 PM
Hey there.

I think your map looks nice, visually, so this is definitely a style you can keep. As for the actual heights, the one thing that strikes me the most is the amount of inland basins that you have - by far too many places where the water will flow into a basin and create huge lakes. Over time these places either fill up with sediment and become plains or the water carves a way out of them so that the stop being closed basins.

I think a very quick pass in Wilbur would do wonders.

08-28-2015, 02:35 AM
Interesting Pixie, so it's that bad? Are you saying it's not reallistic at all to have so many? I had thought of using some to fill as lakes later on when I work on rivers, so I mean, I don't mind it at all if in Wilbut they become lakes, I'd love it actually.

EDIT: re-read your post, there are too many, I can reduce them. So they'd be lakes at first, then plains... sorry for my density, why is that bad? Won't Wilbur turn some into lakes connected to rivers so the water will flow and the lakes remain lakes? What do I do to make some of them lakes that will stay lakes?

My idea was to import the heigh-map, layer by layer, into Wilbur, if only to get the rivers.

08-28-2015, 05:15 AM
Won't Wilbur turn some into lakes connected to rivers so the water will flow and the lakes remain lakes? What do I do to make some of them lakes that will stay lakes?

My idea was to import the heigh-map, layer by layer, into Wilbur, if only to get the rivers.

Wilbur is actually quite unfriendly to lakes. If you want some, you must define them specifically (I believe there is a tutorial by Waldronate how to do lakes in Wilbur).
What Pixie meant was that the procedure of basin filling/incision/erosion in Wilbur will make very realistic rivers and shape the countryside by erosion.
And in this process it gets rid of almost all unnatural inland basins.

If you import your map in Wilbur (what is a very good idea for rivers and erosion) be ready that the result will not be just "adding rivers". Your whole landscape will be eroded in the process.

08-28-2015, 08:20 AM
Oh, I wouldn't really mind then if Wilbur changes things a bit as long as the tectonic derived terrain stays plausible. I'll try it out once I'm done correcting the altitude on the coastal parts.

09-01-2015, 03:26 PM
As long as you use fine parameters and small steps at a time Wilbur won't change much in terms of lowland/plateau/highland... I always avoid the "all-in-one" Erosion Cycle.

09-01-2015, 05:27 PM

Can you provide a copy of your heightmap which is a "uniform" greyscale, with black for the lowest depth in the ocean and white for the peak of the highest mountain?

That way, your planet can be drawn in some 3D visualization programs so that the mountains look like bumps. At the moment, the surface looks a little flat:

(I used Celestia, in case you were wondering. One can use more complicated 3D packages, but I find Celestia to be easy to use to visualize planetary systems.)