Critique my Maps
Hi ya'll, I guess I'm new here, I've had an account here for a while, and even made some posts a while back, but I mainly just lurked and used the great resources here when I made maps.
I'd like to call myself a cartographer... but whenever I come over here and see the incredible skill here, I'm always kinda scared to use that tile, since I'm not quite there! ;)
Anyway, I started making map young, after reading "The Lord of the Rings" when I was 9 I couldn't help but love the maps in the back... and started making my own. Since then I've always been at work on a map of some kind for various reasons. I really can't help but make maps, but I'm still not that good at it, even with years practice!
I usually make maps for one of three reasons:
-Axis and Allies Miniature Maps
There might be a few members around here who play A&A, or even A&A Minis (another game also made by Wizards)... Soon after I started playing the game 6 years ago, I began collecting and later crafting maps for the game, so I could print them off to play, or use them in online games. I've amassed quite a collection (8GB), and now have a map thread with most of the better AAM maps on all the major AAM forums. I'm not the best Axis and Allies Cartographer, but I guess I make up for quality with quantity... ;)
I'll post a two of my better "homemade" (ie. not based off of the original AAM maps) AAM maps. The second is my favorite. Please give any suggestions if you can. I get most of my terrain and textures from this forum and the rpgshare website. Many thanks to both! :D
-Game Design Maps
For the past few years, I've been designing board and strategy games on and off. Most of the games aren't much, but I do have a few that I hope to complete and possibly sell... or not! ;)
For most of my games, the map and rule mechanics are all planned out, but I never fully write out the rules or print the maps... hopefully, "Generals of the American Civil War" will be the third game that my game design company actually plays, and the first for it to produce! :D
I would love it if anybody who has knowledge in this type of game design could give me some pointers on what a good board game map should look like. The other map is for one of my older games called "Starfleets" where there were ship types that could only enter certain spaces. It's more of a concept map... but it's fun to play on! :D
-Storyline and Worldbuilding Maps
I often write stories (or plan out storylines/plots), and I have found that one thing that helps me a lot and gives me time to think about the story is making a map of the area with the story. Making maps with cool mountains and battle plains and neat writings that say "Fortress of the Wyrm" or "Here be Halflings" are always awesome, and also really add to any book. What really got me to post here was the second map I'll post. (The first one is a star-map, it's hard to go wrong with them, though if you have any pointers on that one, please to help!) The second on if for one of my more recent stories. The idea is that it's giant "donut-like" floating island (for lack of a better name besides "Geospere"). I got the general shape down, and the capitals and earth texture worked okay... but when I got to the other terrain (mountains, forests and rivers) I couldn't get them to look right. I thought it best to ask y'all since you guys would know what's needed.
Is there a way to make the mountains blend with the earth texture more (should I change the earth or the mountains) so they don't clash as much? Also, how do I make lakes and rivers look good, right now they look like a blue-ish smudge on the ground, now a raging river of death!
Anyway, any help you guys could give on just the general technique of map making would be greatly appreciated.