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Thread: Starting a map

  1. #1
      Reg06 is offline
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    Post Starting a map

    So I've decided that with all this free time I have, I should do something. I've become bored with painting and modeling (plus I really don't play Warhammer that much anymore), and I'm not running a campaign so I don't have plot hooks to work on. However, I have been tossing ideas around for a setting for a while now, and with the help of my room mate's software, I can get stuff done.

    So, here's the line drawing test I've done (with Adobe Illustrator CS with a Wacom stylus), based on a hand drawn map I scanned.

    Seeing it now, I should have made the lines bigger. I just like working with .25 point as opposed to 1.0 point.
    This is the base I'm starting with. I don't have names for most places, or any for geographic features. It's a large continent, as you'll see in the next picture.

    Here's the map with a grid overlay, degrees, a rose, and a scale.

    The numbers to the right are the degrees, I just couldn't find a a degree symbol in Illustrator.
    The numbers in the upper left are to point out specific regions (numbers being the columns, and letters being the rows).

    Questions I have;
    Are the degree ticks wrong? Can they be? From North to South this map covers about 7,000 miles (on Earth, that's from the North pole to Africa's Southern tip)
    Are any features unrealistically large? The lake in 8C is a couple miles longer than the Caspian Sea, and also further from the coast.
    Are any of the rivers wrong? I read what I could find on drawing rivers here, and I think I got it right.
    In 6E/F/G there is a river running from coast to coast, effectively making that large peninsula an island. Is this possible? My thinking is that it is a blend of salt and fresh water (there'd be tributaries feeding into it, that entire peninsula is covered with rivers), and humans may have formed part of it as a channel (I haven't decided on that yet).

    About aesthetics. How's does it look? It lacks colors, and embelishments of any kind because I just wanted to get the coast lines, major islands/rivers/lakes and mountains knocked out. The coast in the B zones is supposed to be made up of fjords. My biggest concern is the peninsula in zone 10D. I'm thinking about point it towards SSW instead of SW (about a 20-30 degree angle instead of 45 degrees). I'm also unsure about the whole Eastern coast line. It looks like cardboard chewed on by rats rather than a coast line. Is it fine?

    My rough idea for plate tectonics is that a major plate line runs from the lower left-hand corner to the upper right-hand corner. I plan on putting a major mountain range in between the two river groups in the middle of the map, following the plate line (it's a subduction zone, for the most part).
    I also plan on putting scattered mountains in the zones 2C, 3C, 2D, 3D.
    Mountains along the coast in 7G/H/I were in my initial plan, along with some mountains on the western coast of that portion of land (the zones near the 30 degree marker). These mountains would act as a rain shield to keep the interior of that region dry.

    After reading through the weather section in the Magical Society Guide to Mapping, I think I have the weather regions figured out. From about 45" (I'll use the double apostrophe as a degree marker) down it will be a dry zone (mediterranean moving towards savanah). From about 35" down it will be a barren desert, akin to the Sahara (I like boundaries naturally formed by nature, this will give me a good reason not to map further South at the moment).
    The large peninsula to the left of my desert will be a very wet zone, a tropical/deciduous rain forest ( it has no rain shields, and it is covered by rivers).
    The area from 65" to about 50" will be wet to temperate (the zones in 2-5/C-D will be a temperate rain forest, similar to the US Northwest, with plenty of old growth forests. Especially near the mountains, which are old and rounded, as this region is relatively calm, geologically speaking).
    From about 65" to 80" is a large tundra, ranging towards Arctic desert in the North.

    If you read through all of that, congratulations and thank you.


    Reg06


    edit;
    Thank you Ascension.
    Last edited by Reg06; 03-13-2009 at 09:12 PM.

  2. #2
      Ascension is offline
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    File > Export
    Where it says "Save as type" scroll down the list to bmp, jpg, etc.
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  3. #3
    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    Concerning your coastlines, you have the little wiggles looking very nice. I think what's bothering you, though, is the lack of big wiggles. Remember that a fractal has the same level of complexity at every level of detail. So your coastlines should meander around a bit more, I think.

    The degree sign can be typed using option-shift-8 on a Macintosh or Alt-0176 in Windows. That will work in any program. Also, if you have a normal Windows installation, Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Character Map will open a little application that can show you all the glyphs in any installed font. You can copy them from there or look in the lower-right corner to see the Alt code to type them. You can access the glyphs in Illustrator by going to Type > Glyphs.

    Finally, you may upload your images directly to this site using the paper clip icon at the top of the posting window. If you don't have the tools visible, click "Go advanced" and they will appear. There are advantages to using the forum to host your images: if your current host vanishes, or you cancel your account with them, or whatever, your images will remain here attached to your post indefinitely. Also, the forum software automatically creates a thumbnail, and clicking it opens a wider view, allowing you to post larger images without stretching the viewport.

    I know that's a lot of answers to questions you didn't ask, but they were the ones I felt good about answering!
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  4. #4
      Nomadic is offline
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    It appears that you have a river going from ocean to ocean on the south western chunk of land. Better fix that before the river police catch you.
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  5. #5
    Guild Adept joćo paulo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nomadic View Post
    It appears that you have a river going from ocean to ocean on the south western chunk of land. Better fix that before the river police catch you.
    Well, could be a channel, no?
    However a beautiful coastline.
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  6. #6
      Nomadic is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by joćo paulo View Post
    Well, could be a channel, no?
    However a beautiful coastline.
    That would be a possibility except a channel there would serve no purpose. Ships could simply go around, sure it would take longer but the tiny boost in time they would get wouldn't be worth the cost to dig out a channel.
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  7. #7
      Reg06 is offline
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    Thanks for the tips Midgardsormr. I'll look at some coastal maps again to get a feel for what you're talking about.

    Nomadic, I was unsure about that channel. I'm not sure yet if it was a naturally formed channel (does that even happen? Presumably it would have once been a river that went nearly from coast to coast but erosion/mudslide/earthquake finished the channel), or if it was a river that was extended by human hands. Could it have formed naturally?

  8. #8
    Guild Journeyer overlordchuck's Avatar
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    That would be a possibility except a channel there would serve no purpose. Ships could simply go around, sure it would take longer but the tiny boost in time they would get wouldn't be worth the cost to dig out a channel.
    Quite obviously the gods in their endless wisdom carved the channel to save mortal man a bit of time. Or...a wizard screwing with the land?

  9. #9
      Nomadic is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg06
    Nomadic, I was unsure about that channel. I'm not sure yet if it was a naturally formed channel (does that even happen? Presumably it would have once been a river that went nearly from coast to coast but erosion/mudslide/earthquake finished the channel), or if it was a river that was extended by human hands. Could it have formed naturally?
    It is possible that it is an extended river though in it's position that would be rare. the huge amount of rock that would have to be cleared away to breach the other side. Remember the high side is likely going to be a good ways above sea level and even a couple hundred feet above would make it exceedingly expensive (and thus probably not worth the effort). Erosion wise rivers do switch directions, and thus it could punch out the other side. However this type of river isn't one I see doing that (if it did reverse direction you would probably be much more likely to wind up with an interior sea).

    It could be a natural channel created by rifting plates (two plates pull apart and water fills in between them). In this case though you will want to widen the channel and add irregularities to it so it looks like two pieces being broken apart.
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  10. #10
      Reg06 is offline
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    Makes sense to me. I'll go with the divergent boundaries idea, and make the channel more irregular. Thanks.

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