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TheElf
01-07-2009, 04:19 PM
Hi!

My name is Gergely, but I usually go by nickname of TheElf. Recently I started some blog called Cartographer's Corner (http://forum.enerla.net/blogs/cartographer/) on EnerlaNET Forum / Roleplaying Community (http://forum.enerla.net), but one of our first projects turned out to be surprisingly hard, and when I hoped for some feedbacks about some attempts at a map, someone recommended to sign up to this site, so here I am.

I live in Hungary. I tend to use different programs to make maps, but due no talent at graphic and art, I doubt if my maps would be that good.

Hoel
01-07-2009, 04:20 PM
Welcome aboard. This is a great place for feedback
Let's see your works.

TheElf
01-07-2009, 04:33 PM
The current project would be like a "tutorial" for world builders, but since I Wanted to start with something small, I ended up with unusual amount of troubles. The idea was to see: how you can design an inn that would be a base of operation for some adventures. And told "what you need to know about the surroundings", then I tried to map the area around the inn and found that: Maps about local areas are very difficult to make. Mostly because the odd scale.

The most recent version is attached here, some earlier versions, and how I got there is visible on the blog.

Gamerprinter
01-07-2009, 04:33 PM
Welcome to the Guild, you've come to the right place.

As Hoel, said start posting some maps - don't worry if you think they are not that good, that's what we're here for. Let us comment and critique your work. We can offer suggestions of techniques or point to tutorials that can help. Many members started here as mediocre mappers and within a few months are outstanding cartographers.

In a way, we are the Academy for Fictional Cartography. So let us help.

Post some maps - let us look see! Again, welcome!

GP

EDIT: hmmm, you must have posted that while I was still typing this...

TheElf
01-07-2009, 04:42 PM
Might be :) And I think now you can see why I needed feedback now :)

Steel General
01-07-2009, 04:46 PM
Welcome aboard!

Actually I don't think that this is all that bad. You have some rivers starting some 'strange' places' but that's easy enough to fix.

I suggest you start a thread in the WIP forums. rather than posting your work here.

Gamerprinter
01-07-2009, 05:02 PM
I can already tell this is a Campaign Cartographer 3 map - I recognize the standard overland symbols you've used. And obviously the Crossroads Inn is your home base for your adventuring party.

The layout isn't bad. You're not breaking any River Police rules.

My only question is the dark green area around the central river and on the coast - is this supposed to represent a drop in elevation, like a valley for the central river.

If that's the case, the two rivers that merge with the main central river are dropping from higher elevation into the valley. Which would mean your rivers should flow 90 degrees to the contour lines, instead of what you'd normally expect how a river should merge (like your existing version.) What I am saying is if the rivers are dropping into a valley they should point almost directly to the central river flowing gravity towards the river valley.

Otherwise, you need to create slight valleys for each of the two side rivers that merge into the larger valley then merge into the central river.

The "yellow things" at the delta mouth of the main river - are those islands, they look like giant rubber ducks, maybe you should make them green like the rest of your land, so they better match.

Also, what is the scale supposed to be. Those rivers, especially the west river is awfully short length wise.

Still not as bad a job as you think, some corrections may be necessary, but you're not too far off.

GP

TheElf
01-07-2009, 05:10 PM
Some of the rivers are more like "streams", as you see the image represents a pretty small area. If you check the linked blog, you see why it ended up like this. I don't plan to use this map directly. Since most rivers / streams flow from the hills / mountains in the norht towards he lake in the south, and with this, if a stream has to "avoid" any rock, etc. it should tend to turn to south, and not towards north, and this is why the merge works this way.

The yellow thingies are: Sandbars.

Gandwarf
01-07-2009, 06:02 PM
Welcome TheElf, I have been following your posts on the Profantasy forums, but I am not really active there. You wanted some feedback:

- The way you did your villages by placing several symbols together is cool. They need some kind of effect to give them some depth. Maybe a simple drop shadow or glow, experiment with that.
- Your font is hard to read, you might want to change that. Also I have found it's better to add labels in a different program than CC3. It tends to have anti-aliasing issues.
- Don't throw in too many symbols. It's tempting at first when you see the hundreds of symbols CC3 comes packed with, but throwing them all together creates a mess. Lose the sandbanks, I had no idea what they were, until I read your post. You don't need them. You don't need the palm trees near those sand banks either (not when there are normal trees just a few miles to the east). Also why are there ruined towers near the mines? You probably need only the mine symbol. And maybe add an effect to it like a drop shadow or glow. Oh, and why is there one snowy tree to the north? Makes no sense to me...
- You have some waterfalls in your rivers, but no height lines. That makes for a weird effect I think. I would expect them near height lines or mountains.
- What are the single houses representing? Also I would place them closer to the road.
- Allow some of the forests to grow together to give them a more natural feel. The forest to the north in the middle of the map is too straight. Doesn't look natural. Plant more single trees near the forests to create the illusion that the forest is less thick there. Spread them out the farther you go from the forest.
- Some of the trees are on top of your forest. Take for example the forest to the southeast.
- Maybe add some beaches to the southern shores.
- The ship is too large for the town I think, maybe decrease its size. Also it could use an effect.
- I like the different colors you use for the background.
- Don't use the standard CC3 symbols like the compass rose or scalebar. Everyone uses those and they really stand out and scream "I used CC3". Other symbols do as well, but less obviously I think.
- The rivers need an effect. Probably a glow. I think CC3 even puts a standard glow on the rivers?
- Your road system doesn't always make sense. Why is there such a detour near the Crossroads inn going to Larrensal? Or from the inn to the castle?
- Now that you are representing the villages by several houses you might also want to add some farmland.

Anyway, it might sound like I hate your map but really I don't. I like your layout and I think you are on the right track. Now you just make CC3 work for you. It's not an easy program to master, unfortunately. Also I am definitely not good at making regional maps myself. I am more of a city person...

TheElf
01-07-2009, 06:37 PM
Gandwarf: Some of the symbols you see as unwanted were added to the map in a revision, for various reasons.

Have you checked the blog linked in my posts? It has some explanation about why things are like this.

As you see, one of the first problem I see: I am planning to help world builders to design their own inn, and have some blog posts about it. One of the early step is to: know the surrounding, and make a draft for your overland map.

Several attempts and several days work for an example for a such draft can be "wasted effort" on a map that probably wouldn't be used, and was designed with this in mind.

On the other hand: if it would be hard to turn the map into something good with a bit of work later, it should be remade.

This is a key decision. And the hardest one.

A too detailed map where everything is checked, when the forest tool wasn't good it was remade by hand, and people see it is several days of custom work would be a bad example as well. So we would need an easy (and quick) to make example :)

You see why the issue is difficult?

And why it is often a keep / redo issue?

My next project for the blog will be very different in this area :)

Gandwarf
01-07-2009, 07:59 PM
Couldn't help myself and did a quick regional map, just to try out some stuff. I haven't used CC3 for overland maps for over two years, so this is a bit crude and very hurried. I wanted to visualise some of my suggestions:

- More natural looking forests (I have trees on top of other trees as well, I was hurried)
- Some effects to the villages, rivers and roads.
- Limited use of symbols.
- Labels made outside of CC3.

TheElf
01-07-2009, 09:39 PM
Very nice, but I think there are a few things I don't like in your attempt. It is mostly the use of symbols for hills. As you see the key problem with local maps: Hill and mountain symbols could cover too big area, and at this scale the features of the hills are just as important as placement for them, this is why contours can be better in my oppinion.

Also: What is on the hills, and how roads try to follow the terrain to make sure heavy carts can reach a place without problems, etc. can be important for a map, and somehow with the exception of a robbers camp, most of your map is "devoid of life".

In my youth I spent some time near vineyards near a lake called Balaton. And I remembered that numerous buildings I see weren't that close to the roads they used to reach them, and seen several other places as well.

In other farmlands: The buildings often aren't at the entrance and aren't that close to the roads, and at this scale it can be shown.

This is something I tried to represent somehow.

Gandwarf
01-08-2009, 03:06 AM
I see what you mean. However, I think you're making it yourself very difficult. You are trying for too much realism I think and that kills the roleplaying/fantasy experience for me. Let's see some more maps :)

Redrobes
01-08-2009, 06:54 AM
I think thats hit the nail on the head. To me, CC3 maps are symbolic especially since their icons are in isometric view. That makes it impossible to do a realistic type map with it. Perhaps take a look at all the CC maps on this site and see if any look like what you want. Or look at the maps you want and see what tools were used to make them.

TheElf
01-08-2009, 11:29 AM
Contour lines can help this, but I think one of the key problems is: If I have contour lines, I shouldn't mark "forests", beaches, etc. Settlements can be marked, but fields can't be. Why? Since a symbol is a symbol even on modern maps that can represent some of the land well.

Shaded relief maps, maps created with fractal terrains (without any symbols added) etc. can have similar approach :) but soon, I will move to #2 map in this series :)

NeonKnight
01-08-2009, 12:49 PM
Welcome to the Guild. I will look and critique later as I am class today (and tomorrow is my 10 YR anniversary)

RPMiller
01-08-2009, 01:27 PM
TheElf, you must be the one I replied to on the CC3 email list? Welcome to the Guild and I see that you are already off to a running start. Excellent. :)

TheElf
01-08-2009, 01:32 PM
Well, unlike profantasy forum you use vBulletin, which is an excellent forum software :)

(hint: When you don't know a community yet, and start posting before reading posts, the software used is the first thing that determines: if you would have a slow start or a running start)

joćo paulo
01-11-2009, 11:07 AM
Welcome Aboard!