View Full Version : Migration Patterns / Country-Culture placement

03-04-2009, 07:32 PM
Hi there folks,

I've been playing with a new map lately and am now trying to figure out how people may have migrated from 'first man' all throughout the globe.

If you feel like providing suggestions to a first-timer in this area, I've attached an image with the info on it upon which my migration is based.

Human origins are at the yellow star in the East.

Any feedback is appreciated...is this migration pattern feasible? Did I totally screw things up? Did I miss something?

Up til now, I've only made a few maps, but been intimidated with respect to laying out countries, etc.

Thanks for any feedback you can provide,


03-04-2009, 09:30 PM
My thought is that you're putting aesthetics over information or trying to depict too much information. All of the colors distract from the migration routes...try simplifying things. I had a rough go and here's what I mean, probably oversimplified but more emphasis on the how and when as migrations happened.

03-05-2009, 12:45 AM
Thanks, I'll consider your suggestion.

I wasn't really thinking about aesthetics, though I can see that aspect. This was more a way for me to visually sketch out how migration had occurred and where conflicts might appear than any sort of final map....

Back to the drawing board to see what gels. :D


03-05-2009, 01:18 AM
Don't take it the wrong way, it IS a pretty map...to me it just seems to be more of a countries map. Plop some cities and roads down and it'll be quite nice :)

03-05-2009, 02:27 AM
a key thing to migration is terrain, mountains, rivers, deserts, tundras all become blockers for migrating masses. In the beginning people follow their food sources until they learn agriculture or animal domestication. Lakes, Rivers and the Sea are full of fish and provide people to use ships which leads to easier interaction with other people.
people also migrate because of they are usually running from somebody else, the Germanic tribes were running from the Huns. Also colonization can be a key factor Carthage became a major power even though it was a key port city to a Phoenician colonization golden age.

Looking at the red area alone where the humans started I got a few ideas how the humans would react to the environment. I am guessing the whitish areas are higher elevations and I am guessing the lake area is fertile grassland with woods and the same for the opposite of the northern and eastern mountain ranges. The people would immidieatly start settling around the lake harvesting the fish, if they know fishing. People would also start moving away from the lake seeking rich farmland along rivers from the mountains and hunting in forest or on the grasslands. These people near the mountains will slowly start to explore the mountains on the west it seems real extreme so I doubt few people will go to far west, but since the north and east ranges are not as white they're might be passes available for people to move north and east and start settling the opposite hill ranges and start settling the coasts. In the south near the lake they would start moving down to the coast while people in the south west will colonize the more inland hill areas to the west of the coast, people on the coasts will slowly move along the coast lines until they have settled every area until they run into a blocking terrain.

03-05-2009, 02:40 AM
Without a scale or climate information it's tough to tell how the patterns would run, but the general flow is reasonable.

People migrate pretty quickly. I would expect to see basic hunter-gatherer folks spread at least a few miles a month after the initial population gets going (over a few thousand). That's 200 years to fill up a 6000-mile wide continent assuming 3 miles per month. Most likely population dispersal patterns would be along coastlines in temperate to warm climates.

After the basic fill of the continents with hunter-gatherers somebody will develop agriculture and the cultural package of those farmers will tend to spread along with their crops to similar environments. Similar environments happen at similar latitudes and distances from the ocean so the mostly-horizontal continent is excellent for rapid spread of a single culture or two.

If you haven't read it, I recommend the book Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. As I recall, some of his conclusions are a little peculiar but the discussion above is the broad generalization of the theory.

On the subject of countries, remember that it's no coincidence that the size of modern countries (and states/counties within those countries) is very roughly proportional to the communication technology of the day. If all you have is walking then you will tend to have smaller empires / counties than those with horses and those will tend to be smaller than cultures with mechanical transport. As always, good road networks move you up a bit on the list.

03-05-2009, 09:52 AM
Ascension - No offense taken at all! :D I just wasn't thinking about it being pretty...justg hoping it conveyed the info I wanted (which I guss it doesn't!)

And yes, the white areas are mountains which would block migration (hence the two-tracks moving parallel in some areas and then meeting up again.

As for Guns, Germs, and Steel, it's on my list to read. Maybe today is the day to start.

Thanks guys!


03-05-2009, 11:03 PM
By the way, thank you all very much for taking the time (I know it took a bit) to take a look and help me out (including making your map to show me)...I was thinking so hard before about what you both said that I don't think I actually expressed my thanks! I really do appreciate it.

03-07-2009, 06:15 PM
Here's a revised, hopefully more clear version. As I put down climates etc, some of them will effectively act as barriers for progress; my idea here is to speed up and slow down different parts of progressions to moderate growth etc.

Right now, I've sketched things out moving from the green star. Red stars are places of conflict where I would envision quite different cultures meeting up.

I'm balancing this with some fictional planning for culture development that I've worked on previously too.

Now oops...where did the time go? Now that I'm getting more into this, I realize how much of a time-thief it can be!

03-13-2009, 10:28 PM
Now that I've settled on a rough migration pattern, I've decided to work on my overall world map appearance. Thank goodness for all the different tutorials here and about!

I'm going for a blend of hand done look.

Any thoughts or suggestions for improvement?


03-14-2009, 03:00 AM
Looks great...like a water color painting.

03-14-2009, 08:02 AM
If you haven't read it, I recommend the book Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. As I recall, some of his conclusions are a little peculiar but the discussion above is the broad generalization of the theory
That's the one where it explains Native Americans were more susceptible to disease because they didn't keep livestock, right?

03-15-2009, 01:09 AM
Now I've added markers for Capital Cities and borders....

There is a higher concentration of small smaller countries/kingdoms/domains closer to where civilization started. Farther away, the size of countries/kingdoms/domains tends to increase.

I'm pleased with the red indicators for a capital, but not quite happy with my border indications...

03-15-2009, 08:05 AM
This is looking really good. I have the feeling that its gonna end up stupendous... I'll hold off rep until its moved on a bit but I think its worth some already.

Steel General
03-15-2009, 09:35 AM
I'm pleased with the red indicators for a capital, but not quite happy with my border indications...

Ascension has a tutorial with a really great style of doing borders. Check it out if you haven't already.

03-15-2009, 10:11 AM
Red city dots with these terrain colors looks nice. I think the issue with the borders is that the lines are too thick and the dashes draw the eye to them thus making them a focus. Try a 1-pixel line and if you want to keep the hand drawn-look add a black outer glow, but not too fat. This thin-line border allows for you to put in more things like labels, roads, etc. You could also go with colored countries like in my atlas tutorial but try the thin, solid line first.

03-15-2009, 11:17 AM
When printed full size, the dashes aren't that noticeable...I actually only like them when zoomed in, but not that much.

I just have to redo my borders to do them in the other way. Not a big deal in the end, just time consuming. I was also having trouble giving them that watercolour look and feel. I do like Ascension's tutorial, and will have another look to see how I can adapt it. I'm keeping on it!

Thank you!

03-15-2009, 12:59 PM
Another round....I'm liking the looks of this much more when zoomed in, and don't find it objectionable zoomed out...I'm hoping it looks like an ink pen over watercolour now.

Yet something about the borders needs more.

Steel General
03-15-2009, 01:38 PM
You could maybe try a slight inner-glow.

03-15-2009, 02:05 PM
That made a subtle but critical difference. The lines now more resemble what I was after. Thanks!

03-15-2009, 02:47 PM
Coming along very nicely. I love the colour scheme.

03-16-2009, 06:28 PM
I appreciate the feedback I've gotten from everyone - Thank you!

Here are the next few steps...

I've added a coordinate system, "fine grid", and am playing with a compass. Feedback on any and all would be much appreciated.



p.s., the grid system is all based on "base 12" system rather than decimal so the characters go from 0 - 11 (10,11 are the weird symbols).

03-18-2009, 12:18 AM
I've gone through tweaking most of the map using advice here and in other threads and am maintaining the look I want. I also realized that I'd put one of my coordinate scales upside down (0 at the top rather than the origin) and fixed that. You might notice the patterns of 12 that appear in the compass and coordinate system...

These are a few 100% crops of details that show how it's looking close up.

Now I have to figure out how to label things most usefully. I'm thinking of an index using the coordinate system and "City of Country" text format...any thoughts?

This would appear at the bottom of the map in an expanded white space...

03-19-2009, 03:41 AM
There is a higher concentration of small smaller countries/kingdoms/domains closer to where civilization started. Farther away, the size of countries/kingdoms/domains tends to increase.

Very great looking map, but could you explain your logic behind this reasoning?

03-25-2009, 05:08 PM
Very great looking map, but could you explain your logic behind this reasoning?

Quick response:

Well, I have my world population starting out, originally in a somewhat shielded area (within a ring of mountains and huge deserts). I envision a few things happening - one, there is a cataclysm that kills most of the population that has spread out, but this one core area is somewhat shielded.

The survivors are able to rebuild and develop their territories/kingdoms/protectorates in that area, and there are quite a few that become dominant over the ages. There is a point in history, on this planet, where a great belief in the nature of life/diversity/etc develops and many are forced to flee this core area and move out away, through the un-passable mountains and never-ending desert (I know...they are passable and it does end). As the spread, they develop areas of control based on land/rivers/etc and these tend to have a greater diversity and range in size depending on how controlled their borders are etc.

Basically, I see that over ~4000 years, the surviving population spreads out across the globe establishing their individual countries (for lack of a better word). This will bring them up to our equivalent of tech from our own 0 AD-1000 AD time range.

Please, feel free to suggest/correct ideas I've put above. I'm just reading Guns, Germs and Steel (I think that's the title), so I'm sure some of my ideas will change.

Here's what I'm settling on as the final look for my map - with a bit more dimensional feeling for the mountains etc. This is the "core" area from which it all starts. I'll be changing the ocean-side entrance to a more desert-based climate.