View Full Version : Building a World (once the Terrain is done)

07-14-2007, 11:53 PM
Alrighty, So i just created this map in about... o.. 4 hours, the terrain isn't the most in depth i've done before, but i like the way it turned out. if any one has any suggestions in regard to the terrain please let me know! The big thing about this thread is that i will be posting updates as i add countries, cities, towns, etc to the map and what steps/guidelines i generally use to create what i consider, believable worlds.

So as I go, speak up, let me have suggestions or comments! they' all be greatly appreciated!

07-15-2007, 02:20 AM
I'll start by saying neat idea! Suggestion, and only a suggestion: Turn it 90 degrees so that it better fits a typical map layout. I would say clockwise and then the continent on the left would become an arctic area.

Have you worked up the sea currents yet? That will go a looooong way toward weather patterns and shipping routes.

07-15-2007, 11:43 AM
Wonderful mapping style and color scheme. Looking forward to seeing how this evolves.

07-15-2007, 11:51 AM
I dislike how bold the color of the lakes is compared with the color of the oceans. I would either make them a closer color or the same color altogether. They just stand out a bit too much to me.

Why'd you make the resolution so much smaller here? It's what, 1/10th the size of the actual picture you work with? Just curious.

RPMiller makes a great point. Try and figure out some of the weather patterns, like currents and hurricane spots and, I would recommend, any plate tectonics you can. Unless they're Japanese, people won't be living in high-earthquake and high-volcanic activity areas. That island up to the north that's largely mountainous, for example, would likely not have any huge cities in it. Small mining towns and fishing villages I think would actually be in abundance, but there will be no agriculture and the terrain should be unstable, which would make the land one where people would not group together in large cities.

07-15-2007, 01:19 PM
Hey guys thanks a bunch for the replies, :) I'm currently working on the overall weather patterns, currents, etc and will hopefully get them posted up later today. As for the size of the image, i posted because it is such a large file. currently running at 24" x 36" and 200 pixels per inch. haha I get a loading bar when trying to save :P, I'll try and get a larger image up though :D

07-15-2007, 01:34 PM
Heres a link to an offsite larger image of the map for the moment, with rotated world.


07-15-2007, 02:05 PM
Looks much better at the large size.

I agree with the comment about the lake color. I didn't notice it at first, but now I find it jarring.

07-15-2007, 03:02 PM
I definitely like the larger version a lot better.

07-15-2007, 03:15 PM
Alright, I've known from the beginning that this world was going to be a warmer/tropical world for the most part. Meaning that there will be no north/south pole ice caps, etc. Because of the Continents shape, 3 major currents have developed over time, interacting with each other to bring a good amount of rainfall to all except the Western section of the North Continent.

Red/Blue are somewhat warm/cold currents indicators, although with the average temperature world wide in the 70-80's most of the year(maybe dropping to 70's in the north/south), the difference is not extreme.

Ocean Currents Reference

**Edit** oh and this also reflects the lake color changes

07-15-2007, 03:59 PM
Historically speaking, most nation's borders followed some sort of natural landmark. This made it not only easier to define what land was yours and what land was your neighbors, but also gave some forms of natural defense (if in the case of a forest or mountain) or source of trade (if in the case of a river, lake or ocean).

Nations in more inhospitable areas, also tended to be larger, take Russia and China, both with well over 50% of their land being areas few people would care to live in. This area also tends to be area that other nations would not overly be eying and going "Oh yeah! i want that desert!" and thus not generally fought over.

Most nations will tend to be in contact with one form of water, whether it be a river, lake or ocean, both for irrigation and drinking supplies, but mostly for trade. These areas of land connecting important water ways are very valuable and unless a country is well settled there, generally a place of conflict.

In medieval times "grey areas" or undisputed territory was not uncommon in Mountainous areas, deep deserts, tundra or other areas that could not feasibly be defended/patrolled (despite some countries "claiming" it's theirs)

Nations that control key trading locations do not necessarily have to be big, as they can be dependent on other countries for goods, and not have to produce any themselves.

While most nations will follow these guidelines, there is always exceptions, depending on the size of the landmass, many countries may become landlocked. These countries will generally come to rely on one or more surrounding countries as a a source of trade, unless the country is completely self sufficient (a rarity) without some sort of partnership between countries it will begin to crumble economically. On the world that i am creating, one of the things that throws off alot of borders, is the fact that much of the world is covered in forests, this makes it harder to find "natural borders" upon which to put the country borders.

mmmm haha ok i think thats most of the basics for countries at the moment.

The map below shows the borders, with countries lightly shaded to define them a little more, I realized after i exported it that i need to make the borders of the countries a little more transparent so you can see the rivers that they run on, I may actually remove the borders along rivers altogether in a future render if I can get it to were the countries are still recognizable.

;) the countries are still subject to change at this moment, but here's what i've got


07-15-2007, 06:21 PM
Looks much better at the large size.

I agree with the comment about the lake color. I didn't notice it at first, but now I find it jarring.

Me too, but I *love* the mountains.


07-15-2007, 07:12 PM
The last post of the countries has an temporary scale in the north part of the map, the first number appears to be a 7 but is actually a 2, making the planet about half the size of earth. this may be subject to change though

07-15-2007, 11:49 PM
This map is looking (to quote that philosopher & statesman Tony the Tiger) Grrrrrreat!

One thing about this map is odd to me: I really like the color scheme, but for some reason to my eye the water looks higher in elevation than the land. I can't explain it & can't think of a reason for it. May just be an odd optical illusion based upon the colors or layout. Does anyone else notice that effect?

Anyway, great work & keep it up!

PS: I would move the text for Mountains of Tribulation outside the mountains themselves; they are both hard to spot & hard to read.

07-16-2007, 02:12 AM
I must say this map is coming along nicely and congrats on a 2 page thread pretty quickly too ;) Hot subject I guess.

I'm guessing by the fact that you have now rotated the world, and also consider it a warmer tropical world you may want to consider having the poles different? I notice there is no land where the poles would be considered, and most of the land is now concentrated near what would normally considered colder climates. Does this mean that you're considering the strip of water at the equator as really hot, and the closer to the poles are moderate to temperate, possibly due to the planets proximity to the sun or perhaps a different atmospheric makeup?

I know this may be thinking kinda overkill, but it often helps to have its planetary physics in mind when throwing down land because of the way climates form...You could almost explain any climate pattern on different planetary physics, for example, multiple poles or multiple axes of rotation.

The mapping STYLE is awesome though, and I LOVE the color scheme.

To address what Pyrandon mentioned about the water appearing higher in elevation...a good way to change that is to add more color to the water...the deeper the ocean, the darker the blue for example. I often use that trick even in closeups of land with water to show depth. Also don't forget your continental shelf when considering that.

07-16-2007, 03:27 PM
haha, the thinking isn't overkill at all ;) in fact i've been trying to figure out how to incorporate it, i had it figured out before although now that I've rotated it, I'm having to go back and rethink everything haha, I'll post up some new steps later tonight

07-16-2007, 03:49 PM
Historically speaking, most nation's borders followed some sort of natural landmark.

...which can lead to really funny things if the landmark moves (as in the case of a river) like this area at the the Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas border.

07-16-2007, 04:16 PM
haha :D thats awesome

07-16-2007, 05:54 PM
Alrighty, So I've added some of what i hope looks like water depth as well as dropped a slight shadow on the land mass to cause the continents to "pop" a little more. As for the poles, I've decide to leave them the way they are, opting instead for the idea that the landmasses have overtime collided and then moved apart in a way similar to pangea did millions of years ago. as for the temperature, as I had said, it's fairly equalized world wide, however, along the central equator temperatures will reach into high 80's 90's during summer months, while at the pole rarely will the temperature exceed the low 80's, yet because much of the world is near the ocean, it works as an equalizing agent, minimizing the max highs and lows of temperature around the world.

The planet is also located a tad closer to it's star than earth is, as well as only being around half it's size.

;) Next post we start on the internal country work, it'll come later tonight

** Edit ** I still don't know if i like the water, I'm just gonna have to play around with it more. suggestions?

07-16-2007, 07:47 PM
Alright, I've started playing around with Cities/Towns in this image here, notice that all of the cities are close/along waterways. This has a tendency to happen simply because waterways allow the best forms of trade, and trade is needed for a city to flourish. Most towns are this way to, however trade paths from city to city, or large town to city, will often cause towns to grow up on interesections of road. If a country has a large export of some sort, generally near the source of that product there will be some larger towns. Borders, while, sometimes the location of conflict, make excellent places for towns, as both countries will enjoy the easy trading that closely linked towns allow.

The one town the far south also marks an important location for a town, the entry to a mountain pass, which is sure to be an important hub with countries on the far side of the mountains.

One thing I always like to remember is it's not necessarily the biggest of towns that need to be on your map, instead pick them for their importance. you also can't ever put all the towns in a country on the map. most will simply be small towns, farming communities, etc that are passed along the way but have little significance, it's the same way for roads, back country roads can always be taken, however its the major routes that need to be on the map.

Suggestions, comments etc, as always, welcome!
thanks a bunch for all the feedback already guys :D

07-16-2007, 07:48 PM
I'm trying to find,
A: a better way to make the borders pop, but not cover up important features like rivers, that they run along, and/or
B: Make the roads pop more so they can be seen while zoomed out more

>.< I kind of wish i had done the map at a higher resolution, even though its already around 7500 x 5000 pixels, and I'm not sure my computer, even though it's outfitted pretty well, could handle it.... ;) maybe next time i decide to show people how to do something liek this I'll do it with a smaller area instead of the whole world :D

07-17-2007, 12:27 PM
Well this is comming along nicely!

Couple of things (from my ever so limited viewpoint).

I preferred the land without the drop shadow. It now appears to float above the water. I've always liked to make my shorelines a dark sharp stroke with a light blurry stroke outside that - more like a light outer-glow.

The water might look "off" to your eye because it is in a very different style from the land. The land is very lush and textured, the sea is smooth and boring. I might suggest one of a few things to try: If you have a terrain (height field) map for the sea as well, use that with a light blue to dark blue map. This would give it more texture that would show how the sea floor features follow from the land features (kind of like google-earth from a high elevation). Alternately, limit the gradient to two colours - a lighter one for the costal shelves, and a darker one for everything else, then apply a light texture over the entire surface, something that is suggestive of water/ripples/waves noise.

For the borders, choose semi-transparent, hard edged strokes using colours not found in the natural world. Also the choice of brown is probably not good for a road as it blends in too much. The other option is black dashed on a light stroke like I used in my Niagara map (June contest entry). This will really jump out.

If your map is that large (wow) you might want to actually scale the map and redo some of those border/city/road indications on a smaller map to show the information "globally" This has always been an issue. (Or make the whole thing SVG and have the text scale dynamically :) (...but I digress).


Rob A>

07-17-2007, 06:03 PM
More alternatives to try:

To make features pop, try using a complimentary colour. So as your dominant background colour is green on the land, red will stand out against it. You could use a browny/red which will pop less, but still give you a brown. For extra pop you could use a glow or a drop shadow, but that may be too much.

Like RobA said, the drop shadow on the coastline makes the map look a lot more cartoony - but I like it. I guess I like cartoony :)

I've always liked simple sea colours so attention is drawn to the land (if that's where you want it to be drawn), although again, as RobA says, it may look inconsistent.

It's a lovely looking map. Can't wait to see what you come up with next.


10-03-2007, 08:07 PM
I found this thread searching for something else, and figured I'd ask and see if there are any updates....

-Rob A>