Cool man, nice maps...if you plan to commit your map to the digital world, you've found the right place.
Once upon a time, a young man of 16 drew a map to accompany a fantasy story he wrote for extra credit in his English class. He wrote about the continent he had drawn on a web-page before HTML5 was a gleam in anybody's eyes, when HTML4 was just on the rise... And then, after leaving high school, he expanded on that map. For half a year he spent time sketching across nine pages of home-made grid paper, light, flexible marks, until he felt satisfied with the shapes. Then he traced those outlines with his best pen, and made an early scanned copy of the map. For a long time, he felt his map was finished, but always there were niggling desires to return to it -- to color it, to add political boundaries, to properly make the world more than mere flat distinctions between land and water, and to find rivers and lakes inside the landmasses.
Then, in 2009, after ten years since his original continent, he decided to work on the world map again. First, he decided to make a colored map, and unfolding the nine pages he colored it in, until he grew weary of pencils, and this resulted in the grand map of Atrusius in color as seen below. Still, he felt dissatisfied with his super-continent mass in the east, and so set out to attempt a new map of the surface, with more dedication to making a good, solid world for his fantasy environment. But this plan fizzled out, as he had poor actual understanding of the necessary atributes to fix what he felt was wrong with the continental plates. That is why he has come here.
Below are a set of concept maps on which I would like feedback and advice. I have in no case presented here attempted to work within a particular map projection, which results in rather significant scale problems, but I plan to use some easy to work with projection as I work on the map going forward. Mostly what I'm looking for right now is continental meshing -- do the continents on the world maps below feel like they belong together and are they arranged in some logical manner for how they might fit together?
My next stage is to properly research plate tectonics enough to make a proper plate & motion map over one of these concepts, or potentially a brand new one. Currently I am committed to the rough shapes of only two of the continents at present, the central island continent and the western continent shaped a bit like a crescent. The rest are fairly flexible except for a few particular shapes I'd like to keep in the map.
Thank you in advance to anybody who reads and comments on this.
Cool man, nice maps...if you plan to commit your map to the digital world, you've found the right place.
"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." -Jiddu Krishnamurti
Well, first off, the big detailed landmass look good. The other maps show the first obstacle we as mappers have to overcome...thinking outside the box. Sounds cliche but sometimes it's true. The first map with the colored ocean shows the main gist of the problem...fitting a world map to one piece of paper. If you look at the left side all three landmasses line up according to the left side of the paper and they also do the same, roughly, across the top. The first line drawing shows top, right, and left alignment. The second has left alignment but getting better. The last map has a tiny bit of right alignment and some top alignment but the continents seem random enough but are too close together. The other thing folks don't know is that for this kind of flat projection the width will be twice the height so the standard piece of paper has to be blocked off to 5.5 by 11. On flat projections people also forget that the poles take up quite a bit of space thus squeezing the continents into the middle, making them smaller but spaced more apart...remember that our planet is mostly water. Now, of course, you're world could be mostly land so you can throw that bit out if you want but I generally heed it.
Next, deserts form (here on earth) at the Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn. So if you have deserts all over your continent might be rather small or you need to adjust where the deserts are. If you only have one desert then you can either place the continent above or below the equator. So what I would do is draw each continent on its own sheet of paper - keeping the alignment bias in mind. Draw a big continent, a small one, and some medium ones. Don't draw in climates just yet just the landmasses. Then stick them all together in a way that pleases you without clumping them together. Then do the climates. If you really want to be obsessive then you can spend a long time researching and plotting the tectonics but it's really not worth it in my opinion...so long as you don't have a bunch of mountains going this way and that all over the place - just keep one or two main mountains chains on each continent. Getting a natural-looking world can be difficult at first but you have the basics down; just need some refining and schooling...and that's what we're here for
Overall, I'd take the last map and spread things out a lot more and take out one continent and put the detailed one in its place. But, then, I do everything by gut feeling and not by science...I know the science I'm just not fanatic about it.
Last edited by Ascension; 08-21-2010 at 06:01 PM.
If the radiance of a thousand suns was to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...I am become Death, the Shatterer of worlds.
-J. Robert Oppenheimer (father of the atom bomb) alluding to The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 11, Verse 32)
My Maps ~ My Brushes ~ My Tutorials ~ My Challenge Maps
As a related piece of work, I put in some work with one of the terrain tutorials today, working on one continent to see what I could get. I took the central continent, which I started with all those years ago, and took what I want of the terrain along with the tutorial's instructions for using clouds, difference clouds, and lighting effects, and then I took a brush to go over some of the desired climate regions. I'll admit already that this is not nearly done, but the design of this continent has relied since the beginning on a mountain range along the eastern side, and a large desert that makes most of the land here difficult to inhabit. Though small oases dot the desert, there's one huge oasis which formed within a naturally enclosed area, and which feeds a rive that runs to the sea in the north. Due to its isolation and inhospitable environment, it's only been populated significantly since a group of people from the stars joined the natives on this planet.
An interesting website, is the following:
And gives an interesting fact: "Approximately one-third of the Earth's land surface is desert, arid land with meager rainfall that supports only sparse vegetation and a limited population of people and animals"
As one of the two continents I felt was near-perfectly shaped for my tastes, I've put more work in on the relief map of Atrusia, the central continent, largely going back to my description of the continent, which divides it into four primary sections, and come up with the following...
In the westernmost section is an area with rich soil in the foothills, primarily used for farming -- the products most grown here are grapes, fermentable berries, and citrus groves, though in recent years some farmers moving east into the cooler terrain of the mountains have begun growing tea-like plants called kahf, and leng'eni orchards. While the kahf takes well to the climate and grows quickly, none of the leng'eni orchards have produced a harvest yet, but the first harvest is expected next year.
In the west-central region are flatlands which are largely used by farming communities focused on grains or raising horses or the drakom, one of several large lizards which serve as the primary livestock on this world. There are two large cities in this area, Karishé, a former farming settlement which now serves as the capital of the Aldrak State on Atrusia, encompassing everything west of the Great Desert, and Chogral, a relatively new port city which has grown immensely in the dozen years since it was founded, and became a large city only two years ago.
In the central region is the Great Desert, containing the Orkish state of Dzek Evar, and the Adin Imperial Military Training Preserve, a natural basin which is home to an Adin Imperial Military operated "summer camp" which runs 2-month sessions year-round for both early enlisters and those willing to pay for military training before an adventuring life. Dzek Evar is s small state primarily occupying the region made habitable by the coast, and their primary exports are iron and slate, which are both mined from a mineral rich region of the desert just south of the Dzek Evar capital city, Sylkaren.
At the eastern end is the Orinthé Mountain Range, which has a few cities and is considered to belong to the Adin Empire as an Imperial Territory, rather than being a state. The largest of these cities is named Orinthé, which was until recently the primary port for the entire continent. Orinthé is still a large and bustling port city, and it trades various metals, minerals and gems mined from the Orinthé Mountains, as well as being the single largest hub of magical research and training on the continent.
Obviously, right now there are no markings for the cities or state divisions, but those will come over the next few days.
So with a few more days of work, I've constructed borders and labels for the primary polities on the continent of Atrusia. While cities and major locations are not yet marked, the map itself is starting to finally shape up for me in a such way that I can better understand the stories I've written on it. Currently uploaded is the version labeled in English, though I also created labels in to of my con-scripts. Orks on this world are known as prolific mappers, so one version is labeled in my Orkav script, and the other in the Modern Adin Script. If anybody wants, I can upload lower resolution copies of those versions of the map, but the English is nice since I can more freely manipulate the text shape.
Anyway, while I will be continuing to work on my maps of Atrusius, I have an RP exploring a metafictional world coming up -- an author on Atrusius originally created the world of Apoxe for a story, and I'm now exploring that world through RP. In the next few days I'll probably start a thread for my maps of Apoxe and places in Apoxe.
Kharon, this is some great work you've put into the background and understanding of Atrusia. Looking at your climactic regions I have a question. Is there a geological demarcation between the western and west-central areas? There seems to be a fair difference in rainfall based upon the greenery you have denoted. Coming from the west coast of the U.S. I'm familiar with that as being the presence of a mountain range but I don't really see much of a range along the line you show. Is there a significant change in elevation that would account for this? Reading back over what you wrote above I suppose it could simply be a difference in soil quality. The only reason I ask is that you have put so much time into understanding the region that I'm looking for a reason that's not readily apparent to me.
It's a very good question to ask, too. The four northwestern provinces are very hilly by the terrain visible in this map, rather than mountainous as I described them (an error in generating my terrain which should be rectified in the next version), but those most western areas do tend to have both richer soil and higher rainfall than the central plains. Much like most of the central plains in the USA, the plains of Atrusia in the west-central area get a large portion of their water as groundwater or from deep wells, rather than getting heavy rains. In addition, the drier plains should be more greenish than they are right now, which is a coloring issue.
Another day, another iteration...
With this, I have populated the continent -- primarily by my sort of human analogues, but also there's one elf city, a few ork cities, and the eastern mountains are full of dwarves. Today I did an extra pass of difference clouds for the terrain, which creates some sharp ravines in areas and helps with the overall sense of depth, I think. Today's iteration was all about cities. From Achí Kiyoda (New Kyoda) to Zembrald (roughly means "Calm Lake"), and all the names in between. What I discovered today: I do have a clean font that I made for Adinjo! The script is meant to look similar to Greek, and many of the symbols are close in pronunciation to what someone familiar with greek might expect, but it's not just Greek letters. A few are personal derivations or creations, or at least don't owe their pronunciation here to anything I'm used to.
The stars represent the capital cities, along with larger text names for the capitals, with one special exception: Ankor Blák (Camp Black) isn't a city -- it's the military training camp I mentioned above, however "Ch'honthía Blák" to the north of it is a city -- Port Black, originally just a military port for supplying the camp, has grown to be a proper city with some civilian shipping operations in the port along with the camp supplies. It's common for prospective adventurers going to the camp from the northern continent to dock in Port Black and board a riverboat going upstream for their camping session.
There is one unlabeled city on here -- it may or may not be on the next version with its name (Kork Tsald), and it's a city that established inside the Dzek Edar mining operations to allow the miners to stay near work for longer periods of time by allowing them to have homes that were made to be permanent (though most are rented for a worker's work season and then rented to the next worker as they cycle) and allowing them to bring families if they want, as well as having well cooked foods instead of just campfire cooked meals all of the time. As the city was founded on one of the first abandoned mine sites, about 10 years ago, efforts are being made to take what spare water is available to help bring some color, aside from rock walls, to the area. So far little besides scrub grass has taken, but once it starts enriching the soil, there are hopes that some green can be brought to the middle of the desert -- aside from the orks themselves.