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Amazon_warrior
10-11-2009, 07:55 PM
Heyas! Me again. I've had this idea for an arid campaign world for some time now, but have been stumped on many things, including the maps! However, I came across Ascension's fantastic tut for PS and decided to have a crack and see what happened. It's turning out quite well for a first try, I think! :D I used the same method as for the sea ledge to make some "mountainous" areas on the land, the idea being that the sea level has dropped dramatically and exposed swathes of sea bed, leading to a terraced look. I almost feel I could go without the "2D" mountains but they add texture and overlap pretty will with the embossed ones, so I've left them for now. The rivers were a puzzle; it's dry so I figured there shouldn't be too many, but I'm not sure if they look ok as they are.

The next thing to do is come up with some appropriate icons - it's supposed to be a world balancing on a survival knife-edge, so probably no big cosy kingdoms, more like areas that the different races and tribes migrate through, with overlaps at advantageous points such as oases. I've done a little research into real-world arid areas and I think I can produce enough variety if I'm smart about it.

Gregorus Prime
10-11-2009, 07:58 PM
If the blue areas are supposed to be water then their bump map is inverted. They look like big bubbles of water suspended on top of the sand.

That in and of itself could be a pretty cool premise for a fantasy world or region, but I don't think it's what you're going for here.

Juggernaut1981
10-11-2009, 09:19 PM
RE: Rivers in Arid Climates
Yes rivers exist.
No they are not those nice wide wet things you see in Europe (hence why explorers in Australia DIED... OFTEN).

Sandy rivers is your solution. They will run along normal river-paths, be filled with something like sand, tend to be surrounded by the only decent trees and periodically have little oasis-like pond/lakes. People from an arid climate will know where those run, how to identify them and know the solution is to basically dig down 5ft to find the water.

So is your map:
a) A satellite image or
b) A drawn map, to be held in the hand or stuck on the wall?

If it's a) then put in lines of half-dead green stuff where the rivers go.
If it's b) then mark them in, people will know where they are and as usual political boundaries will be influenced by them.


RE: Politics & Markers

Is it a Sat-Map or a Drawn/Made Map? I'll easily help you with "Made Map", ask the near-omniscient RobA or others about the Sat-Map style.

Nations are marked either by colours or icons. Old English maps mark the shires often with the Heraldic Marker. Tribes would have their own markers, just like Religions, Kings, Countries, Lawyers, Masons, etc, etc, etc.

Heraldry was used because it is simple, efficient, distinctive and can easily be recorded. The House of Lancaster uses a Rose, therefore people with a Lancaster Rose in their Heraldry will be Lancastrians... *ding*. "Hey that guy isn't a Royal, he can't use the Three Lions of Richard!" *nobles get ready to kill idiot*

I'd gun for Heraldry...

Ascension
10-11-2009, 11:18 PM
I'd say great start. Don't worry about the ocean, it looks perfect. Gp is assuming that the light is in the top left corner and not the bottom right. I'll second Juggy about the forests/scrubbyland around the rivers. Nice job so far.

Gregorus Prime
10-11-2009, 11:27 PM
I just calls 'em like I sees 'em. I automatically assume that because it's what's hard-wired into me. I don't think that straight bump-mapping works too well for bodies of water anyway, mainly because water scatters light around, so I feel like there shouldn't be very much definition except at the very edges to hint at a sloping shore.

Steel General
10-12-2009, 06:52 AM
I like it so far, way to make Ascensions tutorial work for you.

But if it's supposed to be arid, there seems to be an awful lot of water *shrugs*.

Amazon_warrior
10-12-2009, 07:25 AM
Hey guys, thanks for the thoughts!

Re satellite vs. hand-held: Yeah, it's a bit betwixt and between right now, isn't it? I think that on balance I'd like it to look more like a hand-held map, though. Any tips on doing this would be gratefully received! :) This probably won't be the final iteration - I'm happy with it as a first go but I think I could start over and do something better now. Practice makes perfect, right? :)

Re rivers: I think I've done both! I've been to the Red Centre of Aus and seen the "dry" rivers you refer to - that's pretty much what I was thinking of.

Re politics etc.: Perhaps if I describe the races and their typical organisations, it might help? So far, there are:

Bird-like people who usually live in large tribes up in the hills and mountains and who would stick primarily to the same (large) area.

A semi-nomadic bipedal lizard race with good heat tolerance who live in family groups.

A race of beetle people who build enormous hives like termite mounds the size of skyscrapers.

Desert bariaur (I love bariaur!) modelled vaguely on the indigenous peoples of Australia.

And those Johnny-come-lately humans who get just about everywhere.

Every living thing (to the best of our knowledge!) needs water, so oases and rivers would be the most likely overlap places for most of these races (the beetles would need these less because their hives trap a certain amount of moisture from the air and they can tunnel down to underground springs and wells). There are obviously other fauna, but I've never been comfortable with the idea of sentient races that it's ok to slaughter, so at the moment that's about it for playable races.


Something I've noticed: The map looks very different now I see it on my monitor at work. The land plateaux seem flattened and harder to see and the colours (especially the green I used) look much more yellow and undifferentiated. I don't know if it's the compression I used to get the file size down, the different monitor, or both, and I wonder what you are all seeing. :?:

Amazon_warrior
10-12-2009, 07:51 AM
I like it so far, way to make Ascensions tutorial work for you.

But if it's supposed to be arid, there seems to be an awful lot of water *shrugs*.
Argh, you posted while I was writing my post! You're right though. It's not ideal yet. The idea was to leave some isolated lakes and seas with extremely high salt concentrations (a bit like the RL Dead Sea and Lake Natron but even more so). I.e., it may be water but you wouldn't want to drink it! :P I admit that there are probably too many at the moment though, but now I've had a go, doing a new one should be quicker.

Amazon_warrior
10-12-2009, 07:13 PM
Hi again. Right, I've done a new version with a reduced number of large water bodies. Dunno if it's any better? The mountains seem to look better this time, anyway! I'm a bit worried that I've gone overboard with the rivers, though. The rivers closest to the poles are on the surface (blue) and the ones in the desert are sub-surface (brown.) I'd be very grateful for any thoughts or criticisms. Thanks! :)

Gregorus Prime
10-12-2009, 08:46 PM
Water looks a lot better, but I don't think the spread effect on the smaller lakes in the middle works too well. It looks strange.

Otherwise that's a pretty map.

Amazon_warrior
10-13-2009, 03:48 AM
Water looks a lot better, but I don't think the spread effect on the smaller lakes in the middle works too well. It looks strange.

Otherwise that's a pretty map.
Thanks for the comment. :) Sorry, I'm being dense this morning; when you talk about the spread effect on the smaller lakes, which ones are you referring to?

Steel General
10-13-2009, 05:59 AM
I think Gregorus is referring to the smaller, darker lakes in the middle of the map. They appear to be very pixellated or maybe had a layer of noise added to them.

But overall this is coming along nicely.

Amazon_warrior
10-13-2009, 07:07 AM
Ah! Right, now I understand. Yeah, they've come out rather odd, even though they've had exactly the same treatment as the rest of the map. It's probably something to do with the initial stage of creating the landmasses. I hope I can do something to them by fidgeting with the layers I've already got - I rather like the way this one's heading and don't really want start over now (I will if I have to though).