I've been working on the colouring of the map, utilising some of the amazing tutorials available here. This is where I am at so far. I am mostly pretty happy with this, but there's still some clean-up on the different climates to be done. Again, reduced size.
ETA. The one major thing I am not really happy with is the transition to the polar climate... I might just push it up to the mountains all along, to give the impression of a high polar plateau.
Been a bit busy working on "The Hobbit" recently, but pickups have all finished, so turned my attention back to my map for a bit. I am pretty happy with the colouring now, so I've moved in to focus on one particular nation for the higher level of detail (1px = 200m).
An update of the enlarged map area as it currently stands at reduced resolution, plus a segment at full resolution...
Bit of background info for anyone who is interested;
This area is a medieval kingdom called Terrador, located in a Mediterranean climate, about the size of France. In the south it is bordered by the Shattered Marches mountain range, while to the east a series of high moorland leads into the deserts of western Samulia. The kingdom serves as a location for a series of books I am writing, with opening events centred on the unusual geographic feature along the Southern Marches where a bowl of land (dominated by a large lake) is formed by two mountain spurs - the long-eroded remnants of an enormous ancient volcanic crater. This region, known as "The Vale", features the feudal territory of Guldoke County to the west, while the eastern half is the southern-most extent of Estansi Duchy.
Last edited by Gumboot; 08-04-2013 at 08:19 AM.
Gumboot this is really nice stuff!
Names... names... names...
I've started experimenting with labelling thanks to the great font suggestions in the tutorials forum. Here's a sample at 100% resolution.
Cities, as you can see, are marked to scale, currently in bright red, for ease of vision. For now I haven't decided on a marker for the towns, fortresses, and other places of note, so I'm using text symbols from the label font. Fortresses and towns are the same size font, towns marked with an X and fortresses with a circle over a cross. Other places of note follow the same indicators as towns, but in a smaller font (currently the only place such labelled is the village of Parth).
Geographic features are in italics, manmade features in regular font.
I have a few concerns about legibility and clutter however, in particular with reference to the labelling of geographic regions (such as "The Vale") and feudal territories ("GULDOKE" and "ESTANSI"). Obviously there ends up being a tonne of overlap, and I am not sure if it works. I haven't even entered all the details and labels yet for this small area.
In addition to these specific issues, any feedback, criticism, or suggestions for labelling would be greatly appreciated.
I decided to go with this labelling style... it's all starting to come together now with borders, labelling, forests, farmland texture, and so on... at the moment I am involved in the tedious task of determining where Terrador's 116 towns would naturally be located.
I thought I'd talk a bit about this process because I've gone for a relatively serious level of realism, and there's a lot of work before I even begin locating towns and naming them.
As a basis for my country I used the excellent demographics spreadsheet by Marcus Hulings based on S. John Ross' article "Medieval Demographics Made Easy". The 1px=1km scale of my larger regional map makes it easy to determine the geographical area of different territories using the PS selection tool and the histogram data.
With the area of kingdoms in square km, I could plug this and population density (determined based on historic ranges, taking into account soil fertility) data into the spreadsheet to get accurate indicators of total population, number of towns, cities, and villages. Cities were allocated based on broader kingdom-level demographics and geography, while the distribution of towns and villages required a further layer of demographic detail.
I further divided Terrador into its feudal territories, determining individual population densities based on local climate and terrain considerations. It was simply a case of trial and error, distributing the various territories across a range from most to least dense, adjusting figures until the average matched the overall kingdom population density.
This new spreadsheet provided data on the number of towns for each territory and number of villages. These hard statistics were then amended by practical considerations (for example the border territories tend to have a population weighted more heavily towards towns). Finally, I can create a list of all 116 towns with the number of towns to allocate to each feudal territory. Then it's a matter of simply considering the terrain and trade routes for each territory and deciding where roads would go and where villages would grow into towns.
Some of these placements have been easier, driven by other considerations such as other worldbuilding work already established; for example I know a large town in the Clare region of Sangarter Duchy is Hamlinton, site of an ugly rebellion in 754PS against the Earl of Clare. The town's central square is named Ardent Square, made famous by an immensely popular song by Thomas Harper. In the sombre and tragic love ballard "Ardent Square", Harper tells the story of the rebellion through the eyes of two lovers who were caught up in the conflict. The square itself acts as a central staging point for the tale, where each of the major events occur;
Astride the waters of the Clare
Within the walls of Hamlinton
One day each month the stalls appear
And every sort of good are found.
I make the journey over there
To make my coin and sell my wool.
If Shappenton or Rales’ you wear
The finest yarn; you’ll find it all
There at Ardent Square.
Upon a morn I went to fair
To see if there were goods to buy
Fine foods to eat or cloaks to wear
Across the hills and dales it lies.
My wife to be I met her there,
She was so kind and sweet to me.
In morn’s soft light she looked so fair;
The purest thing my eyes did see
There at Ardent Square.
Other towns are of known identity because my gradual creation of the nobility of Terrador has identified the capitals and centres of power of the feudal territories. Still others were the site of famous battles, like Angelton in Stormwood Duchy. Mostly, those are the ones I've already placed, and other obvious towns like Idrisport, Terrador's largest town located at the confluence of the kingdom's two great rivers; the Idris and the Carrow.
Mostly what's left are the remainder, average, unremarked towns whose stories and histories have yet to be discovered. And for me, that's something of the best thing about worldbuilding. Every time I place a new town or city or village or fortress on a map, the place becomes awash with potential. What stories can come from that little place? Perhaps it was the site of a desperate battle, or the birthplace of some great writer, or maybe a humble artificer there invented the mechanical clock.
Anyway... the map...