I just recently joined the forums, but I've looked through a number of tutorials which have been no end of help. But, I'm curious as to how you map out a continent so it looks like it would be the size of a continent. (Strange wording, I know.) I'm also curious as to climates in fantasy cartography.
Here's two landmass I generated in Fractal Terrains:
I'm not sure which one I'm going to use yet, but both are supposed to--at least, in my mind--be the size of North America. Length-wise, from the middle of Manitoba to at least south Texas; width, from California to North Carolina. I'm planning on moving these landmasses over to GIMP, tracing over them, and going from there. How does someone best communicate the intended size of a landmass? (The inland bodies of water will be filled in in the final drawing.)
As for climate, I'm aiming for something that follows the same logic as real world climates. For example, I'm planning on the northern quarters of both landmasses having a subarctic climate.
I guess what I'm asking is what are limitations and what liberties can I take? Am I constrained to mirroring real-world climates, or am I being thinking too much into it lol?
Any tips and criticisms are welcome.
Climate depends on how close you are to the poles or equator of the planet in question. ie. which area is nearest the planets star. Icey at poles and hotter in equtorial regions. What's in between depends on weather, ocean currents and height of land, but you wont get tundra fields near the equator or hot deserts near the poles. Never thought about a twin sun planet? Could be quite interesting (mainly damn hot though, unless they are far away suns).
A good example of how Ocean currents change climate is Scotland, where i live. It is at same latitude as Newfoundland on East coast of N.America and an extremely cold and snowy place for much of the year. Scotland on the other hand has fairly mild winters and warm(ish) summers due to the Gulf stream. Well it is, unless you are English - they think it is like the Artic here.
That's what I was planning with this landmass. The northeastern portion is particularly cold, but just 500-600 miles south, it turns into a humid continental climate. So, my current plans aren't contradicting real-world patterns, right?
Originally Posted by Smithy
I am supposing you are meaning humid climate as in Carolinas and Georgia in US and Central and Southern China ie. on East coast of a large continent. This would actually be more like 1800 miles from the nearest very cold areas (Northern hemisphere). The same latitude on West coast of large continents seems to produce deserts - Baja California and Morrocco for instance. Something to do with the Earths axis and which way it spins, plus ocean currents and wind. Trying to sound like i know what i am talking about here!
I suppose you could have compressed distances between your worlds climate zones - moon / sun effects on weather etc? As long as you keep a gradual change between climate zones you can keep it realistic. Our world is a great template to go by, but some variation for your fantasy one wont look wrong.
Don't worry, you're doing a better job of explaining than other sites I've visited.
Originally Posted by Smithy
"Humid continental climate" is a weird generalization. The state of Maine is generally considered to have a humid continental climate, with hot summers and cold and snowy winters, despite it only being around 700 miles south of Newfoundland and Labrador. Southeastern states like the Carolinas and Tennessee (where I live) are classified as having "humid subtropical climates." My main concern regarding climate has more to do with the size of the landmass. I'm terrible at scaling things in my head, so the landmasses I presented don't look as if they have nearly enough room for a northern subarctic climate, as in they don't appear to be close enough to the pole. Though, that could just be me lol.
Your planet could just be smaller too. A lot of factors have an impact (atmosphere, wind, etc). There are some here who spend a lot of time working that all out but I'm not really one of them. I tend to just use basic concepts. For instance, don't forget how useful mountains can be in altering climates as well.