First world map [WIP]
So, this is my first attempt, done in GIMP.
Obviously nothing is labeled, there are no mountain ranges, and decorations are non-existent so far. Also I know its a bit, earthlike. This is a "Known World," map for a Pathfinder campaign setting I've brewed up. Very antiquity and low fantasy and it just kept coming out like that.
So, input is obviously needed. I'm fairly new at this, but I am looking for help, mainly tips on how to make mountain ranges that would fit this map. Any other suggestions and ideas are welcomed with open arms.
If this map is for use in a game and not just being made for fun, consider where you want to start your game, and what things you want to have located there (swamp, forest, mountains, etc.) Start there and spread outward. Also, because it is so earthlike, you should have a good idea where things like mountains should go - and if you do decide to move the mountains, remember that the wet & dry places will move as well.
One thing to remember; if it's a fantasy setting, there would likely be alot more forests in Europe than in the real world - those forests were cut down for centuries to be where they are now. Also, don't worry too much about detail at this scale. You might just make a decision on major features and then zoom into a regional map before adding detail. Remember - anything you do to a region map can be added to the global one later if necessary!
Also, kudos on your coastlines - whenever I try an earthlike map it looks terrible; you did a pretty good job of staying in the 'close but not too close' area, and the coastlines are pretty decent. Above all, know that you have a very good starting place, and while we are looking forward to seeing the finished project, take your time and make sure you get the map you want!
That's a pretty good coastline for your first time! I like how it is boldly earth-based, but with its own interesting alterations. Some things to think about as you place terrain;
1 - Russia is off the map to the east. Is this intentional?
2 - You can place mountains, rivers, etc much as they are in the real world. If you move the mountains, then the rivers, deserts, etc. will change accordingly.
3 - Use lots of forests. Heavily populated areas (like china, europe, and america) are deforested as those populations grow. So, an early society (esp a fantasy one) will not have done that so much as in we have.
4 - Continental vs Maritime climates; anywhere in the middle of a big climate has colder winters and warmer summers than one on the coast. This is why London is more temperate than russia or canada at the same latitude.
5 - Glaciation - the glaciers coming down in the last ice age carved huge valleys that are now filled with rivers & fertile fields.
6 - If you want to make major deviations from earth normal, I suggest you decide where your local campaign is going to start. Then, you can decide what all needs to be there, place it, and build out from there. You could zoom in on a region, fill it out, and then depict those same features (the large ones, anyway) on the global map. That might give you a good starting point.
All in all, you seem to have started off pretty well. Keep updating the thread as you progress, ok?
1 - Good outlines. It is unashamed in how earth-like it is, but interesting particularly in the variations. I esp like the extra island off the Iberian peninsula & the double-India.
2 - Placing things like mountains should be simple. Do it like, but not exactly like, on Earth. The Alps are caused by Africa getting friendly with Europe; and the india-china-central asia area is home to three enormous ranges because of the meeting of continents. I would suggest making forests more common in Europe & China, because deforestation would likely not have been as heavy or consistent on your world (if it's a fantasy setting).
3 - One approach you could try would be to pick one area and zoom in on it. Decide what you want there, and fill in a more local map. When that's done, transfer the major features back to the global map and extrapolate from there. Does your "India" have a huge swamp or mountain range on the eastern formation? How does that affect the surrounding area.
4 - If you want to use realistic geography & meteorology for your world, there are people who can advise you on how mountains, coastlines, etc would affect climate - but you don't have to!
All in all, you have a very solid start - and I hope you'll keep us posted on your progress!
Good color is showing very good impression with its bright look I really appreciate. Border is good. Water are is also good looking.
i like how earth-like it is (means you dont need to worry about coming up with climates and stuff and concentrate on the cultures). this allows you to draw parallels (or play with preconceptions by doing the opposite...) to the real world. i have a soft-spot for earth-like maps, my most favourite being the warhammer world.
looking forward to seeing this one finished!
Honestly, it is those small changes that will likely make a huge difference. So far the way this setting is taking shape, this world anyway, even if it is very earthlike (It's even humans only) a lot of cultural and political differences already are arising as I try and place each society and how it interacts. That sea just north west of the double india area is a huge change. On another map I've made with more labels (Though less emphasis on climate details) that sea is more or less the nexus for trade and culture. A huge difference since realistically this world lacks a "Mediterranean" as the central sea and hub of for that part of the world.
Originally Posted by Tomalak
As its developing the "Europe," is a lot more culturally, politically and socially isolated since its a bit more out of the way. As for trees and forests, massive deforestation has yet to happen. This campaign setting would be roughly about the 1000 BCE to 800 CE time range if we go by Earth time tables. Civilizations are taking off but magic helps to create other building alternatives and there has yet to be enough people in existence to consume that much forest. The general theme is low magic, antiquity, maybe a little Dark ages, ect.
Right now I'd say the biggest problem with the actual mapping is that I'm having trouble actually getting mountains unto the map and have it look right. This is my first attempt at a map of this style. I've found some tutorials but so far I'm a bit shaky on getting it done.