View Full Version : My first attempt

Zion Zophin
05-10-2009, 07:15 PM
This is my first serious attempt at computerized cartography. I'm using Fractal Mapper 8 and I'm going to see how well I can get it to look without using any other programs. At the moment it's just a really basic map with a few different symbols laid down to see what they would look like. I added some towns to the southwest corner just get an idea of what a "dot and text" representation of a town would look like. I'm not really shooting for anything realistic, just your basic fantasy map at the moment.

Any comments/suggestions would be appreciated.

05-10-2009, 09:38 PM
Yay for posting your first map! I'm new around here too :)

I like the shape of your coastline and the colors you've used, they're really easy on the eye.

You may want to give the rivers a bit of a workover though ... generally they'll run from high ground (mountains, etc.) to the ocean, and many little streams will feed into them along the way. Yours seem to be doing the opposite; they're splitting on the way downhill.

05-10-2009, 11:11 PM
Oh, yes. Major river problems. Let me come back to those.

I didn't realize Fractal Mapper had Isometric Icons, or dot and text. My experience with Fractal software was Fractal Terrain (I think) and was meant, I believe, to be supplementary to other ProFantasy Software (Campaign Cartographer, City Designer, others). You might do well with this, but that will become clearer as we move forward.

Your basic land formation looks pretty good, coastline, forest placement, and what appears to be a desert oasis (yes?).

The large, central mountain chain, I wonder if you can vary the width a bit more (in and out, rather than gradual widening, followed by gradual thinning, black line below is example. Added note, what you have is not impossible, but I find a little less regularity more aesthetically pleasing). The mountain icons look very repetitive (more so, IMO, than anything else) and also don't seem to be overlapping very nicely (did you work them top to bottom?). I recommend starting with your largest hills on the outside (making certain they are no larger than your smallest mountains), then working up (smallest mountains, med mountains, largest mountains used sparingly for spine), unless your icon inventory is larger than the example you posted.

Your terrain borders are very abrupt. This may be a limitation of your software, but can you soften them any? If so, a more gradual transition between colors would help, IMO. Added note, Forest borders are fine, I am talking about your mountain, hill, and desrt borders.

Finally, your rivers... oh boy. Did you place them, or is the software responsible for that? I'm going to proceed as if you placed them. You'll need to do your southern rivers over again. In the north, there is an interesting drainage suggested (grey lines I added are implied higher land) that I like.

In the south, your lake drains into the sea/ocean at 6 different points, that's no good. There will be only one major river flowing out of your lake, and it will go all the way to the coast. There can be any number of smaller rivers flowing into your lake (esp. from the mountains, add one or two of those,and also from the surrounding land, maybe one from Redberry, and another from the forest in the east) and into your river (as Gidde posted; smaller rivers will start on high ground and feed into your large one, your large one will not split into smaller ones). I've drawn some black circles around your splits to show what won't happen on realistic rivers.


Ok, there are enough crits in this post, DON'T be discouraged. Work with that and see what you can come up with. It's a good start, I like the shape of your land mass, and look forward to seeing it progress.

Zion Zophin
05-11-2009, 12:19 AM
The central chain was bugging me too. I ended up breaking it up into a chain.
I still need to work on the overlap and repetitiveness though. But here his what I came up with the moutain formations at the moment. I'm gonna knock out the rest of the rivers and start those from scratch.

I could probably try feathering the terrain borders or lining some different shades.

The rivers were just me throwing them on there without really thinking about where they should have gone.

But here his what I came up with the moutain formations at the moment. I'm gonna knock out the rest of the rivers and start those from scratch.

Thank you for the suggestions.

05-11-2009, 12:33 AM
Huge improvement on your mountains. Still a little thick, IMO, but that is purely personal taste. Still a split in your river from lake to sea/ocean, but with a little work you can iron that out. The new layout of your mountains gives you room to play with a few river systems, which is good, and fun. Again, I look forward to seeing your next post.

Steel General
05-11-2009, 06:27 AM
For me the biggest problems with the mountains is the repetition of the symbols and the 'thickness'. Try varying the symbols a bit more maybe making the forms longer and narrower (think spines).

The river anomalies have already been covered.

Keep working at it - you're making good strides forward.

05-11-2009, 07:29 AM
I love the new shapes of the mountain ranges, although I agree with the thick/thin comments getting posted. Although I think they may only look thick to us because the symbols are relatively tiny. If you like the shape of the ranges, try a larger symbol that will fill it with less, it might help :)

Great progress!

Zar Peter
05-11-2009, 09:15 AM
Mostly what the others said, my first impression of the mountains was: Good looking symbols but a little repetitive.

I think you'r biggest interest is the region around Korinth since this is the most detailed region in this world. I really like the hills and the colour, you could solve the problem with the splitting river there by making the source of the west flowing river in the hills north of Alder.

05-11-2009, 09:29 PM
yeah, the rivers are still a little awkward. When creating rivers, remember they always travel from the smaller bodies of water to the bigger ones, looking kind of like trees. The twigs come from lakes or other gathering areas, coming together into branches, branches come together into the trunk, and the trunk then empties into the large body of water.

So if a river will not split from a lake and have two tails running to the sea, but could possibly have two lakes, with 2 rivers coming together forming a larger river that flows to the sea.

Hope this helps!

I also agree that the Mts look a little wierd, and agree that a scaling or finding of larger mt icons may help fix such an issue.

05-12-2009, 01:16 AM
Agreed on both rivers and mountains - try thinning the later out a little. That way you can place them more irregularly, and hopefully it won't look as "repetitive". Very nice general shape for the continent though.

Zion Zophin
05-13-2009, 08:59 PM
Sorry it's been a couple days since I posted an update. Unfortunately life's been a bit busy. I just wanted to get this up and see what ya'll had to say. I've liked the suggestions so far and I just wanted to show what I've done with the mountain ranges. I think it looks a lot better han what I had.

So let me know what you think and thanks for the input so far.

05-13-2009, 09:21 PM
Those are looking much better! :) It's still a little busy, imo, but the variety makes a huge difference.

05-13-2009, 10:54 PM
MUCH better. The difference that that makes is enormous. Lookin' good so far, my man.

Zion Zophin
05-16-2009, 12:10 AM
Hello all. I just thought I'd make a quick post with my first draft of a river system. As always thoughts/suggestions are always welcome.


05-16-2009, 01:16 AM
Look fine to me.

Zion Zophin
05-23-2009, 10:49 PM
Well I've finally found time to sit down and do some more work on my map. I've removed the towns and roads for now so i could just work on the terrain features. If no one sees any major screw ups, I think the next thing on my to do list would be flesh out the desert area and start working on placing towns and such. I was also thinking of putting in an island group in the northeast cove looking area. So far I'm still completing my goal of only using what comes with Fractal Mapper.

Well I hope everyone enjoys this offering and as always comments and suggestions are always welcome.

07-04-2009, 01:20 AM
Wow, starting at the first post and working forward, you have come a long way! Keep up the good work and improvements!

07-04-2009, 03:57 AM
Wow dude! That's awesome! I'm completely jealous XP I've just recently gotten into this as well, but I'm nowhere near that level... Keep it up man, you'll be great with practice!

07-08-2009, 07:36 AM
looking great!

Just a suggestion, I would have the water of the ocean the same dark blue as that of the lakes, and also that the mountains still look a bit busy, but MUCH improved from before.

Steel General
07-08-2009, 11:18 AM
This is developing nicely, the only thing that really bothers me is it seems that the symbol set you are using has a bad case of the 'jaggeez'.

Or is that just a result of resizing it for uploading?