Aduro (World project)
I started my first thread a few days ago with a proof of concept. The concept is to take a full world and be able to break it up bit by bit for regions and then down to city and travel levels.
The concept works. It's time consuming but it works.
Now I can start on what the concept was for. I've been having trouble writing lately. One of the things I realized is that I've always had established, solid, worked out settings for the stories I've written. World, setup, then placing a character in the world. The exercise of giving myself a world should help and, if not, it's a fun exercise.
Aduro is a colony world 50-150 years into colonization. It was setup by seeder colonization ships. Starting from a planet with compatible conditions but no higher order life forms, the planet was seeded with basic plant and animal life. The colonists were kept in cold sleep for this time while the planet stabilized a basic ecology. The crew of the ship awakened in 5 year shifts to continue maintenance and perform minor adjustments. When time came, they remained behind on the ship while the colonists were sent down in 3 groups to form different base colonies (I've always had an issue with 'eggs in one basket' colony stories). Each is given basic tools and they have been trained in the knowledge needed to survive at an earlier technology level. They do not, however, have access to the ship or any communications equipment. Like wise, the ship itself is not built for atmospheric entry.
Decades pass. Not having the time to form oil deposits, the settlements have to rely on a technology base using native resources such as coal. This leads to a somewhat steam punk flavor to the tech levels. Each colony, being self-contained, develops along different lines and controls its own are of influence in a city-state style fashion. The joining point for writing will be as these groups establish trade routes and loose affiliations again.
The next step is to make overlays for different data views:
- Cities, splinter groups and trade routes
- Resources and initial landing sites
- Areas of Influence (political boundaries)
Then the map will be broken down for greater detail in major regions.
and then important cities and locations will get local maps.
I'll keep going back and tweaking things on older maps as needed until I feel like the decisions all work and are 'finalized'.
Currently: Deciding if I like the darker land style in the world map. Deciding if I need a different more 'tech' looking version of the same map. Making a 'blank' version of the same map so that I can do more bare bones looks for some things.
Unrelated Note After doing some proof of concept work, I have a PnP based idea along similar lines using a DB and random gen for overland encounters. I just wanted a note about the concept since when I get to a good point to start a side project I'll need a reminder.
Last edited by minimal; 05-19-2010 at 06:04 PM.
I agree about the frame. Not sure what I want to do there honestly and the frame is a place holder until I decide. I'm considering another bit of layer work and introducing a frayed cloth border around the whole thing. I don't want to start doing things like that until I get it broken down into work files for regions though. With my luck I'd do something dumb and edit the main layer into fraying, then save over it and lose the outer edge of the map itself.
Resolution and what's been done to it:
Software: Fractal Terrains, Photoshop CS4
First of all, that's a reduced size file. The mid-size I'm working on right now is about 15k px horizontal and is not the highest res version.
To get to where it is I built the world map in Fractal Terrains, edited the land and finally exported to multiple files and stitched these together in Photoshop. This document was running 30,000px by ~25,000px.
There's a bug with the export to multiple files in Fractal Terrains which results in part of the map (top and bottom) not getting exported. I used 'save as' to save out oversized screens of the land masses that were missing and manually stitched in the missing land masses and much of the missing ocean.
The rest of the missing ocean was filled in with a mix of the smudge tool, the clone stamp tool, and some scale transformations.
Next, I used color selection to select the water. I copied that into another layer, inverted it and grabbed the land to a separate layer as well. Those are my base working layers.
Still in the high resolution version, I ran a 'find edges' filter over a copy of the ocean. After a little clean up I adjusted the hue and saturation to get the faded blue you see in that image.
I saved, then re-saved a working copy at ~15,000 px wide.
Then I took the land, blurred it slightly (I don't think it's even noticeable after the resize) and adjusted the vibrance and saturation of that layer.
Next, the base color and texture. I dropped a layer of (not quite) sepia under my blue water.
I added another layer of similar sepia over the land layer. That layer was then run through a filter (if someone wants to know the exact filter I'll look it up. Not on my tower atm.)to produce the fiber effect. I then dropped the transparency level on the 'cloth' texture and adjusted hue and saturation on it to get the desired look.
Lastly I went through and tweaked the vibrance again on the land to get it where I wanted.
The compass symbol is a set of circle, triangle, and line shapes grouped, rasterized and distorted a bit.
The text is pretty straight forward Papyrus font arced and with a bit of vertical distortion... then rasterized and distorted the same way as the compass.
The border was just because I needed something around it. I'll try to come up with something better.
Then I resized it, saved for web, and shared a copy with you guys :p
Last edited by minimal; 05-19-2010 at 09:34 PM.
I've been feeling sick this week, so the stitching was something my mind could handle. Under normal circumstances, and if it would only affect one map? I would never work in that resolution if it required stitching and adjusting as I did this time. For something that I was doing for one or two maps on the fly I would have just created and cut out continents and island chains individually and stuck with a lower res world map.
Originally Posted by Dain
You could get similar results starting at the 15k width I'm fairly certain. The colors would work exactly the same, but the find edges would stay more distinct and not create the sort of patina effect it got this way. I needed a high resolution copy since I want to be able to do things like zone maps on the high rez and break them down without losing information.
The computer slows down based more on layers than resolution since most of the layers in this are (nearly) full resolution themselves. That said, everything other than the smudge tool worked in nearly real-time. I've never found a good resolution other than 'too small to be useful' that works with the smudge tool though to be honest.
Edit: The saturation was a decision this time. I'm still torn between this look and the 'brighter' version I had earlier. It's a pretty simple adjustment either way.
Last edited by minimal; 05-19-2010 at 10:01 PM.
IMHO you could answer that sort of question much better if you had some of these data overlays. I.E. you could tell if it's too dark by seeing if it contrasted enough with your data layers.
Originally Posted by minimal
Agreed. I'll get in some work on it tomorrow hopefully. I have the areas notated on paper, now I need to do it in Photoshop.
Originally Posted by jwbjerk
Love the map! Have some rep!
Oddly enough, I suppose, the thing I really love about this is the coastal shallows and water textures. I really dig how they are not just 50px bigger than the coasts, but that they vary and shift. That's a really nice detail, along with the coloring and texturing.
And plus, the scale of the entire project is something I appreciate as it's similar to the level of work I want to attempt for my own fiction setting.
For me, I'm making one large poster (the SLUG Map thread), but took the heightmap and put it on a more stark blue and beige map for my more intensive worldbuilding efforts (trade, mapping cultures throughout history, travel times, etc).
I work at pretty high resolutions myself, and to avoid the PC going slow as molasses, I break up my map into about a dozen different files (land shapes, heightmask, textures/colors, borders, etc). Granted, loading and saving some of the bigger files, namely the land textures and the borders, still take forever, but working at such large sizes in a single master files would just be suicide.
Originally Posted by Dain