View Full Version : Othman - WIP

08-12-2009, 04:32 AM
The Island Nation of Othman is a small cluster of islands situated somewhere in the northern hemisphere of a large planet. It has a climate similar to Iceland, but it is quite a bit smaller. The largest island, Termya, is roughly 6 miles wide and 9 miles long. It sits on a shelf (like the Bahamas), so the waters immediately surrounding the islands are no more than 80 feet deep in most places, making it ideal for small boat fishing.

Each of the islands is slightly different, offering an amazingly wide variety of landscapes in a small area. Seria is a fertile forested island with many large rock formations (including caves!). Termya's northern half is low and beachy, with large areas of tall grass meadows, while its southern half rises steadily up to a lichen-covered rocky plateau which ends in a 70 foot cliff. The three lower islands, Ishra, Hyera and Eistera (together called the Lower Polidjans) are low islands with thin forests at their centers. Hyera is the lowest of the three, and is muddy and often flooded.

At the moment, I think it has a 1950's middle-school pulldown map feel, which is cool, but I'm ultimately headed in a different direction. I'd like to play around with textures, something I haven't done much of, and create a detailed landscape with "bird's eye" realism.

I'm not sure about the island shapes themselves, however. Specifically Seria. I'm thinking that it looks too much like a blown apart volcanic island, which is not what the Othman islands are, and that may be because I've got them arranged in a semi circle and Seria has that caldera-like bay. I'd like Seria to be a narrow, cresent-shaped island, but maybe I need to be thinking cresent roll, not cresent moon :?:

I'm hoping that the scale will give me the opportunity to get into a good amount of detail, but that might need to include adding more streams, especially to Hyera.

Steel General
08-12-2009, 07:04 AM
It seems like a really good start (regardless of your reservations on the shape of Seria).

If you are looking to try using textures to create the terrain (something I do lots of), I recommend you check out the free Genetica Viewer from Spiral Graphics (http://spiralgraphics.biz/). It has a good amount of textures of various kinds that can manipulated to some extent and then exported for use in the various graphics programs.

There are lots of other great texture sites out there, and I believe there may even be a list here somewhere, in the mapping elements forum perhaps?

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

08-12-2009, 07:14 AM
With the gold border, it kind of has a National Geographic feel to it :)

It's a great start, I look forward to the finished piece.

Some of the maps I used for inspiration while working on a smaller scale Island were .. insanely detailed in some respects. Especially with rivers, i don't know how many *rivers* were in them, it seemed like maybe everything that was even a ditch was being labelled :)

http://prestwidge.com/images/jamaica1910cram-s.jpg is an example of that, there's a few spots where it looks like if you were walking, you'd be jumping from riverbank to riverbank :)

That's a bit larger than you're looking to do, perhaps, but it's maps like that that inspire me, maybe it'll help you :)

(google-fu = "antique island map" heh)

08-12-2009, 07:20 AM
Yep, looks like a pretty nice map so far.

08-13-2009, 12:31 AM
I reworked Seria and Termya- I like these shapes a lot better. Termya may be a little bigger than I'd like it to be, but I can alter that later.

I've been focused on Termya because I have a clearer mental image of it that I do the other islands. Here's a more indepth description of Termya:

"The northern end of Termya is a low, beachy grassland with occasional short rocky escarpments jutting out of the meadows. There are a handful of wildflowers that grow here, sometimes in large swaths, adding white and purple to the redundant gold-green landscape. The bedrock of Termya is a mottled gray and white granite and dark brown sandstone mixture, which provides for the occasional crack in the meadow floor, where water flows down dramatic waterfalls to the ocean. Further south, the island rises up, and the soil thins out, reducing the wide plains to low mossy groundcover until ending sharply at the long cliff face of the southern edge of the island. Here, moss and lichen cling to the granite wall and provide a home for small nesting birds. Below, the waves of the ocean crash against the cliff, creating false thunder that ripples back across the plateau.

A short distance inland from the northwestern coast is a steep-edged lake, filled with runoff from the plains above. It is fed by several tiny streams, but empties at in the west end to a narrow river that flows back to the sea. This area is Reshtiga, the largest village in Othman, where low and mossy stone huts with sod-covered roofs clump together at the waterís edge. Other settlements dot the landscape of Termya; small clusters of stone and thatch cottages strung together with time-worn foot paths.

Sheep and deer graze on the bitter vegetation of Termya, and are the islandís most numerous inhabitants. There are no trees on the island, and only occasional groups of squat bristly bushes, so herds are easy to keep track of and maintain, so there is little need for fences. Water is plentiful, however, even on the southern plateau, where small, shallow puddles have been worn into the rock over the years."

I raided http://www.cgtextures.com/ for the textures, but I still have more to add, namely the purple and white wildflowers. The texture in the meadow areas is a little flat and too green I think. I also think I need to smooth out the color on the southern end of the island. It's a flat plateau, but it looks like it's brush-covered. I plan to add the villages and footpaths described above at the end. Maybe even a herd of sheep or two....

I've also shifted the climate to more along the Acadia National Park (in Maine) line. I also zoomed in a bit more, but I'm still working on exactly how much. There is a small boat dock in the lake at Reshtiga that I think will end up being visible and clear (it's not there yet), so I think I'm looking at 150px = 1 mile.

I believe I've got all the streams in that need to be. I ended up with a few more waterfalls than I intended, but I like them. :)

Does anyone have any suggestions on ways I can improve the textures the way I'd like?


Steel General
08-13-2009, 07:39 AM
Some blurring (usually gaussian) will help with the transitions between terrain types. You'll need to experiment a little to find out what looks good to you.

08-14-2009, 12:18 AM
I smoothed and lightened the larger area of Termya. At first I tried the gaussian blur, but it started to look too, well, blurry. I ended up using a different texture altogether, then using a couple of different brushes to take the hard lines out of the edges. I also added the large flower patches in the lower meadows in the north. I put a rough dock with fishing (row) boats in the lake by Reshtiga to give a better idea of scale. I think I'm going to call Termya done for the time being, unless anyone can see areas I should to adjust more...?


08-14-2009, 12:31 AM
Actually looking closely at it, I'm seeing some possible river issues, or are those meant to be straits? The lake next to Reshtiga seems to have 3 outlets to the ocean.

I like the way there's the ripples/mist at the river outlets though, that's a nice effect.

08-14-2009, 12:47 PM
Yeah, now that you mention it, the streams are kind of wrong. The ones that flow into the lake are several feet above it, so that would mean they are flowing up hill. :oops: That definitely needs a rework.

And thanks for noticing the mists at the ends of the waterfalls! I'm trying to make it look satellite-image realistic, and I think that little detail helps with the effect.

There's something about the whole map, though, that's still bugging me. I know Termya is larger than it should be, but now I'm thinking that Seria looks completely out of place. I tried rotating and moving it around to see if it would fit better, but it doesn't seem like it belongs. :?:


08-14-2009, 12:54 PM
Perhaps if there was more of a taper they would look more like they belonged?

The south end of the top island widening, or the souther (Termya) narrows a tad? Then it would look more like it may have been a continuous landmass before the sea filled in the channel between them.. You're right at the moment, they look more like 2 landmasses pasted next to each other :) I hadn't really clued to that till you pointed it out.

[edit] ok, I see why I hadn't noticed it before, the original map you posted looked more natural, and I stopped looking at the landmass shapes and was looking at the details after that first post.

08-14-2009, 01:32 PM
Yeah, the whole island cluster looked more natural in the original, but I wasn't happy with the shapes of the big islands. Now I'm happy with the shapes, but they don't look as natural. Buuut, I started wondering if I should flip the islands, so that Seria is in the south, and suddenly, I got a great idea :idea:

Termya rises up the further south it goes, so that the entire southern end of the island is a cliff. Seria, which I intend to have more vegetation than Termya, is lower with a ridge (not really a mountain) running along the center of the island. If I rotate Seria 180 degrees, and move it south of Termya, then it starts to make more sense. If the southern end of Termya fell off in a landslide, then Seria is the result. If the smaller islands are moved to the north, then they can have that low beachy quality, like the northern end of Termya, they way I want.


08-14-2009, 02:00 PM
ooh, sounds like you're on to something good!
*waits impatiently*

08-14-2009, 04:35 PM
Sound thinking, I like it. Keep on keepin on.

08-15-2009, 01:19 AM
Maybe it's just me, but the fact that you can faintly see the radiating lines of the compass rose under the landmass textures kinda looks out of place.

But I love the textures you've used and the nifty special efx like the waterfalls. Keep up the good work!