Harenova -- I HEARD YOU LIKE HIPSTERS.
I am absolutely, positively, splendiforously new to this forum as I had just found it this morning... and it is a wonderful community you have here, truly. It is very inspiring. So much that I have decided to be a part of it! So yes... I act a little non-serious but don't let that fool you! I may be a total greenhorn when it comes to cartography but I am incredibly enthusiastic about learning all I can to build a proper, elegant, realistic, and beautiful overworld map. Actually, I plan on making a few others for a couple of cities.
I have a personal project that I have been working on for two and a half years now (it's a fantasy comic book sort of thing). Mostly writing, editing, re-writing, character development, character design, and culture building. It is a constant work in progress and things change day by day (and all suggestions, comments, criticisms are welcomed and LOVED). As far as the actual world goes, I have only ever made rough sketches to get an idea for distance and placement of a few key places. A very BASIC overall image is clear in my mind as to what I want, but when it comes to understanding the unknown details that form the world, I know zip. Zilch! I do have a deep knowledge of photoshop and have an eye for aesthetics, so I don't think I'll need too much help once I get the base padded out. I also am experienced with Autodesk Maya and have no doubts I may try my hand at making a 3D version of future projects.
I have been scrounging about the threads for an hour or so looking for some guidelines and from what I've seen (so far), most start their "story" with a map. For me, it's the other way around. I've got a story and now I need a map to fit. Just to clarify, I'm not looking for you all to give the answers to me but for some form of guidance. A little poke or prod in the right direction so I can learn on my own how these things work.
SO. On with the details... I'll try to keep it as simple as possible.
The story takes place on a desert planet. The setting -- for those interested -- is very much a vision of the distant future straight out of the 70s (think Star Wars minus droids and spaceships) transplanted into a culture influenced by medieval Persia, Greek, Rome, and India. Technology is limited as resources are fairly scarce.
And now...! On to the absolutely sad little sketch I have padded out... It is scarce and pathetic, but I hope it is taken seriously. Please remember I am nearly 100% new to cartography.
(The yellow swirl is pretty irrelevant to the map-making, but in regard to the story and to put a few things in context, it's a wormhole to another dimension that ripped into Harenova in the past several hundred years and is very, very slowly expanding. It's world-breaking and influences the environment the closer one travels to its center. ........... FANTASY...! In the last century, the majority of the world became aware of it so all are in a scramble to find a solution. The wormhole did not exist before the formation of the continent so for the sake of making the map, pretend it's not there. :P)
- Harenova is a predominantly desert supercontinent. The rest of the planet is ocean. As far as scale goes... the planet is Earth-sized and the ocean covers 2/3 of it.
- Kala'Nea city is the most prosperous. Perhaps located on a river or oasis? Desert environment.
- Tartaros is pretty damn uninhabitable. Due to either bad weather/climate or lack of resources. There's a self-sustaining colony used as a research facility.
- The red line marks a ferry route, which will most likely change once I implement water currents.
- The blue lines are mountain ranges that MUST stay in those relative places.
With this first post, I am laying out notes for myself and for others to see. I am also asking for a little guidance in regard to tectonic plates and water/wind currents. I know a smidgen about how tectonic plates work but... not nearly enough. And I embarrassingly know nothing in regard to wind and water currents. I'm going to do my best in educating myself on these matters (hooray for the internet!) but I am open to any suggestions, tips, links to articles, links to science, SCIENCE!, links to other posts that I missed that cover questions, anything really!
I really am wet clay for this community to mold. I'm openly laying out my ignorance so thanks for all your help in advance...
EDIT: Clarity, grammar.
EDIT 2: Though now reading around... I think I might want to reduce the ocean size... maybe to 1/3 of the planet, which won't be too troublesome. Hrm. -makes mental notes-
EDIT 3: Playing around with the image in Maya to see what a 1/3 ocean would look like... looks neat, but I'm going to have to scale the entire map up. 2/3 Ocean is easier to visualize, but dare I sacrifice realism for aesthetic? -more mental notes-
Made a gif for funzies! :)
Makes a little more sense looking at it in 3 dimensions, but I think the ocean still needs to be smaller... and when I do that, the islands from the left and right sides form a little "bridge". Neat.
Edit 4: I'm just going to keep editing this first post until major significant progress... Stretched out the map to make it appear more like a world map instead of a single continent (adding little fiddly bits around the coastlines will help as will smaller islands...). Picked out some continental plates and am messing around with plate tectonics... Soon will figure out ocean currents. Then wind currents. Eee... Time to read some more.