Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 27

Thread: How do I decide where to place roads on a world map?

  1. #11
      RobA is offline
    Administrator RobA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Niagara, Canada
    Posts
    5,532

    Default

    To emphasize Daniel's great comments, slope (up or down) is the largest factor concerning road placements, especially if there is wheeled traffic on it (human and horse trails differ...) Early roads will fo 10x the distance to avoid going up or down steep slopes. Where there is no choice, switchbacks are typically employed.

    A bunch of random and possibly incorrect thoughts:

    Straight (and possibly cobbled/paved) overland roads tend to be created when there is a large empire, and are primarily created to move armies.

    In a medieval/fantasy setting there should also be a large emphasis on water transport, so many roads will tend to converge on harbours, etc.

    Bridges are expensive, so most river crossings should be with barges/ferries or fords and in either case will be a flat areas where the water is shallow and slower. Roads may parallel a waterway to get to such a crossing.

    Trails and roads often follow rivers.

    Trunk/branch roads tend not to exist, with many roads connecting point to point between destinations. For example, 4 towns forming a square will most likely have a road/trail between each town, terrain permitting, to minimize the distance to travel. (See previous comment on straight roads for when "kings highway" type roads show up).

    Roads get built on trails, which are built on paths, etc, so they evolve more than are planned.

    Often towns end up at crossroads, mainly to service multi-day travel. (i.e. town is there because of the road, rather than the road is there because of the town).

    -Rob A>

  2. #12
      Gandwarf is offline
    Community Leader Gandwarf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    3,025

    Default

    Yeah, RobA makes some excellent points. Only well organised countries or empires will probably maintain a more elaborate road system.

    During the time of the Roman empire there we some excellent roads in Europe for example, some of the highways made of stone. They were mainly created to allow the Roman legions to travel, but merchants could use them as well. The Romans could do this as there was a centralised government, with a large budget. Now, in the Middle Ages there were a lot of lords and kings and Europe was divided in hundreds of little states. Not many lords wanted to pay the costs of maintaining roads and certainly not all the lords in one region. The Roman road system fell into heavy disrepair and stone roads outside the cities became virtually non-existant. Travel was very slow, especially with cargo, and the roads could be unsafe as well. River travel was very important, especially for bulk cargo. But of course all the different lords and kings tended to want toll for use of the river system

    Places where people can cross rivers are quite rare (bridges are expensive to build and maintain), so you can bet towns will spring into existance near those points.
    Check out my City Designer 3 tutorials. See my fantasy (city) maps in this thread.

    Gandwarf has fallen into shadow...

  3. #13
      RobA is offline
    Administrator RobA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Niagara, Canada
    Posts
    5,532

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gandwarf View Post
    The Roman road system fell into heavy disrepair and stone roads outside the cities became virtually non-existent.
    Possible towns are built with old road stones from abandoned roadways?

    -Rob A>

  4. #14
      Coyotemax is offline
    Professional Artist Facebook Connected Coyotemax's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,972

    Default

    I imagine stones could have been scavenged, I know that many a stone keep was used as a quarry by locals who carted things off for their own purposes.

    My finished maps
    "...sometimes the most efficient way to make something look drawn by hand is to simply draw it by hand..."

  5. #15
      Gandwarf is offline
    Community Leader Gandwarf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    3,025

    Default

    A lot of the roads simply dissappeared, because the surface just vanished below the soil. The roads themselves were still used, but the pavement was mostly gone.
    Check out my City Designer 3 tutorials. See my fantasy (city) maps in this thread.

    Gandwarf has fallen into shadow...

  6. #16
    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Tigard (and Florence) Oregon
    Posts
    734

    Default

    Everybody's offered great advice so far, and I really can't add to it other than to offer some tangent ideas.

    Some of the things I consider when trying to place roads include;

    - The availability of tools for creating/maintaining roads (i.e. is it all done on the backs of slaves/commoners or is there some sort of magic involved)

    - The availability and importance of natural resources (why build/maintain a road into/across mountains unless there is something important there like valuable ore or a pass that will save days of travel time)

    - How industrious is the society/community in question

    - How heavily will the road be traveled

    I try to keep these things in mind, along with pretty much everything that others have said, when deciding where roads are going to be. Of course, it's also a matter of scale, as well. A map depicting some small area, say a village or town, might include every road and even some of the local trails, while a map depicting a city might include only the more heavily traveled roads. And, of course, a map depicting something on a larger scale might only show those roads that connect major population centers.

    Just my two cents worth.

    GW
    When nothing is going right and you can't find someone else to blame, start beating your head against the wall, 'cause it'll feel so much better when you stop.

  7. #17
      Meridius is offline
    Guild Member Meridius's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Fryslân, Netherlands
    Posts
    80

    Default

    RobA, excellent explanation, but I guess roads in Medieval Europe are slightly more complex. For Europe (The Netherlands) at least, roads where laid down so that the minimum amount of road was required for connecting all towns. So in stead of each town in your 'square' being connected to each other, There would probably be an 'X' shaped road with a crossing in the centre, and no square around all towns, assuming all towns are equally important (=big or economically/strategically valuable).

    After a while a fifth town will form around the crossing. And eventually new direct roads will be made.

    Usually, an existing road will also be a starting point. Remember, clearing a road is a lot of work, only more advanced (and richer) kingdoms/counties/etc would lay a road for shortest travel-time.

    If you want to lay down realistic roads, you have to think up back story. The biggest cities are probably oldest/richest, so they're directly connected. If you place a new village about 5 miles from such a road, would you lay down a new road to the cities? No, you just 'hook up' to the main road. Another settlement is created about two miles further away, yet again, you hook up to the existing roads.

    A good idea is to quickly generate a little back story for each town/city you create. The largest (and probably oldest, or most economically successful) cities get road connections between them first, and those roads will probably receive 'upgrades' as the cities grow. Later, branches start to appear. Sometimes, those branches grow closer together, and eventually link up. If new successful economic centres develop, roads will tend to favour those.

    River crossings appear at places one can walk to the other side, or perhaps a ferry across a lake. If a large road is crossing a river, the likelihood of a bridge (expensive and labour intensive, also needs maintenance) increases.

  8. #18
      RobA is offline
    Administrator RobA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Niagara, Canada
    Posts
    5,532

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Meridius View Post
    RobA, excellent explanation, but I guess roads in Medieval Europe are slightly more complex.
    I grew up in the prairies, where the most efficient road between two points is almost always a straight line

    -Rob A>

  9. #19
      NeonKnight is offline
    Community Leader NeonKnight's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Surrey, Canada, EH!
    Posts
    5,025

    Default

    Some great points all, but another thought on roads we should understand is, a paved/cobble ROMAN road and a dirt path as wide as a single cart are both roads. While an Empire (or large Kingdom) could conceivably create and maintain a paved road, once the middle ages were in full swing and the roman road was thing of the past, dirt paths soon became a pot-holed 'beaten path' as traffic grew.

    Additionally, consider the following image:



    This is an animal trail. If this trail was located somewhere between Town A and Town B where no current road exists, an enterprising merchant could utilize it as a means to get from town A and Town B and reduce his expenditures (both time and energy remember) to travel. As he does so, he will make the path wide and more pronounced as his wagons/animals and attendants further flatten the surrounding vegetation. Soon others who may want to take the shorted route will utilize this route to get about, and this animal path soon becomes a road (paved or not).
    Daniel the Neon Knight: Campaign Cartographer User

    Never use a big word when a diminutive one will suffice!

    Any questions on CC3? Post them with CC3 in the Subject Line!
    MY 'FAMOUS' CC3 MAPS: Thunderspire; Pyramid of Shadows; King of the Trollhaunt Warrens; Demon Queen's Enclave

  10. #20
      Karro is offline
    Guild Artisan Facebook Connected
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia, United States
    Posts
    928

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NeonKnight View Post
    Some great points all, but another thought on roads we should understand is, a paved/cobble ROMAN road and a dirt path as wide as a single cart are both roads. While an Empire (or large Kingdom) could conceivably create and maintain a paved road, once the middle ages were in full swing and the roman road was thing of the past, dirt paths soon became a pot-holed 'beaten path' as traffic grew.

    Additionally, consider the following image:



    This is an animal trail. If this trail was located somewhere between Town A and Town B where no current road exists, an enterprising merchant could utilize it as a means to get from town A and Town B and reduce his expenditures (both time and energy remember) to travel. As he does so, he will make the path wide and more pronounced as his wagons/animals and attendants further flatten the surrounding vegetation. Soon others who may want to take the shorted route will utilize this route to get about, and this animal path soon becomes a road (paved or not).
    I live in the American Southeast, and I swear that this is precisely how half the roads in town are laid down. There seems to be no other explanation for the meandering, curving, I'll-get-there-when-I-danged-well-please nature of the roads down here. In the Southeast, the shortest distance between two points is "why would I go the shortest distance between two points?"
    I think, therefore I am a nerd.
    Cogito, ergo sum nerdem.

    Check out my blog: "The Undiscovered Author"
    It's the story of a writer... follow me in my simple quest to get published, and share your own writing stories, adventures and writerly tips.

    Pimping my worldmap here. Still WIP... long way to go, but I'm pretty proud of what I've done so far...

Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •