1. Originally Posted by Yandor
and eventually divided the river into 2 streams thus the fork
Pet peeve alert! Rivers almost never fork. They almost always merge.

(This is my own understanding - if wrong, PLEASE let me know!)

Water is lazy (kind of like me) and will almost always take the easiest route. This means that if a stream encounters an obstruction, it will go around it the easiest way possible. If the left channel is easier than the right channel, it will take the left channel. Not to say that rivers don't split around obstructions....they just usually end up rejoining on the other side, as the terrain allows (since both channels are trying to find the easiest route).

This is amplified taking erosion into effect. Once a river has an established channel, it is rare that it will create a new one, unless it suddenly finds an easier way. This is also why streams are more likely to join up...the terrain has to keep them apart, and if they get close enough the "higher" one will find the "lower one"'s channel and flow into it.

BUT - as I have found in the past, no matter what bizarre geomorphic anomaly you can imagine, it probably exists somewhere in the real world

-Rob A>

2. Thanks RobA and landorl, I'll have to fix that, I read up on rivers dividing, and they will only or typically divide after a flash flood occurs causing the river to flow faster, and when it hits an obstruction it'll fork and proved 2 ways the river can flow down hill, as you said they usually join back together, but with a few expections one the route the second river takes may be easier and will flow down a different gradient then the other side of the river. The 2 rivers are no where near the same size, one may be the original river and after the "flood" the other part of the river that divided will be a small river if not a stream. So pretty much what I had could work, but I under stand where your coming from and if I were to leave it, I'll probably just get more annoyed with it and change it anyways =P So thanks again

3. Thanks for the info lesson on the rivers subject it should help many of us create better looking rivers.

I think you did an amasing feat with your map, if I look back from the start up to now, and I'm sure you'll find the right solution for the rivers.

4. Quick update
Kind of made a few adjustments like you guys were pointing out, its coming a long a lot better so thanks, any new comments would be great.

Still the before and after

5. The topography is looking so much better (although I don't know why, but something looks odd about the river that curls from north to south in the centre right of the map (or it could just be me). Colours could probably use a bit of desaturating if you're going for a more natural look?

Check out this thread for some colour ideas.

Ravs

6. Originally Posted by ravells
The topography is looking so much better (although I don't know why, but something looks odd about the river that curls from north to south in the centre right of the map (or it could just be me).
I agree with you that the rivers don't look naturalistic. If this is an RPG map then I expect it's not likely to be a problem (as the river has to meet the needs of the game rather than the topography? I don't do any RPGing so feel free to laugh at me if I'm wrong about this).

Looking at the map, I get the impression that the rivers were set down before the mountains were added - I find it easier to develop my maps the other way around: mountains determine rivers.

Those are very nice mountains!

7. Sorry, just to clarify: I think the rivers are beautifully drawn, it's just the shape/direction which looks off to me.

My view on the RPG vs. natural topography discussion is that you can take both to extremes - at one end one can have a completely topograhically unbelievable world with rivers running uphill, perfectly straight coastlines etc...which is fine if that's what you want, but it's not going to look 'believable.'

On the other hand you can get so wound up with tectonic plate movements, climate effects, magma flows and what have you alls that you'll probably never finish your map for the amount of calculations you have to do.

So the happy medium is in the middle. Here are the informal rules I follow:

1. The map has be reasonably believable. RPGing is after all about suspending disbelief, so as long as the world you've created seems reasonably possible that's fine.

2. The more an element in a map doesn't follow the natural laws of nature (e.g. rivers defying gravity, floating cities etc) then the more that the element will need some form of explanation - (magic, dwarven machinary etc, moles with telekentic powers...whatever).

3. I tend to choose 'visually pleasing' over 'realistic' (although of course the less realistic something looks, the less visually pleasing it tends to be - unless it's really uber, super-cool.

4. As you said, Rik, - the map has to fit the story or world that you have created. That might influence your colour choices, whether you want your map to look like it's been hand drawn or shaded relief.

5. The map has to have an internal consistency. By this I mean if you are going to (say) paint your mountains in one style, use that style throughout the map (unless there's a really good reason not to). If you decide to draw very small islands, don't just do it one corner of the map, put them where all small islands might be (again, you may have a good reason not to do this, but make sure you have a good reason and that reason is apparent to the person looking at the map). I find internal consistency is one of the hardest things to achieve. It applies to everything in your map, colour choices, scale, how your coastlines look, how your buildings look - everything. You just have to rely on your eyes and an objective sense of self criticism (something again I'm terrible at) to see where something doesn't fit. That's one of the reasons why posting maps up here and having other people look at them is so helpful.

This is a very interesting discussion and has a lot more left in it, but I don't want to hijack Yandor's WIP, so I'll make a copy of this post to the General Discussion forum and we can continue it there.

Ravs

8. haha Rav's thanks and don't worry about the hijack I think this thread has gone in so many different ways its just funny. Anyways, I'll work on the colors, I already desaturated it once, but its easily remedied. Just remember it is an Elevation map so far, nothing else to it yet. umm I'm trying to make it as close to realistic as I can, I've got an entire map to do, but I think I'll be just doing the main island I keep showing you so I'm not so bent on time.

As for the solution of the river, I'm thinking your looking at the river that bends around the little mountain like an up side down U. I was thinking of cutting it off and making it just continue northward to the ocean, and then make the mountain or hill a bit higher where the river valley was and have the mountain rivers that connect just a bit south of the now cut off river, be the continuation of the river going south.

edit- So if the solution I said works then don't worry about this, but if it still seems to not "fit" then how would I go about fixing that river?

9. another update, took a shot at the river again, and liked how it turned out, I think I'm about done with this Island and the islands around it.

Here is the elevation map, and a political map, on the political map the think black lines are border lines, the black spots are unclaimed/uninhabital zones (mountain peaks) and the thin black line around the islands are border/simple outline

edit- oh yeah the main island plus its south eastern islands are around 800-840 miles, and the 3 islands to the left side are together around 380-400 miles, and forgot to flip on the elevation marker

10. So... I realized the rivers don't seem to really "fit" considering how big they are and how big the scale is... So I was not to sure how to go about it, First I want to know if the rivers are an over kill (takes away from the land too much etc) If they are alright then should I have them be flat or kind of indented? I donno I'm kind of at a lose here. Another idea just as I was writing this maybe make the lines thinner, so all the rivers are uniform in size like most political maps.

Image 1 is orignal no rivers
image 2 is the indented rivers
image 3 is the nonindented rivers

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