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Thread: WIP - Hala on Parnem

  1. #11
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    Request for assistance, and additional comments.

    Request for help first. As you can see by the WIP that follows I hand-drew the latitude lines. I'd like something that looks a lot better. Is path the best tool (for GIMP) or is there something that'll help me get the curve right - not just even but correct for the projection? (Earth-type world, northern hemisphere, continent lies between ~20th and ~60th parallels. Scale bars on bottom are approximate regardless how precise they seem.

    WIP - Hala on Parnem-hala-nobase.png

    Comments.

    First, after some stumbles I realized the reason I was having trouble loading was I'd done the background and the oceans. Given the size of document I'm using it's way too big - especially for just WIPs. I made my WIP images with those two layers stripped and it drastically decreased the size. Just some advice for other Guild Novices.

    Second, we had (almost simultaneously) a brief player insurgency and a GM's sudden realization of scale, both of which are having major effects on the rest of the map. So it's on hold while the GM decides how to deal with both issues.

    The latter is actually more relevant (I think) to the list. The GM printed the WIP I have here and actually looked at it, with scale, in comparison to Europe. And he realized his population was tiny for the size of the land and development of nations. Since one purpose of maps is graphic guidance to 'what is' I consider it a win even if it never progresses.

    The former deals with the GM's "story". RPG discussion follows, feel free to quit reading. The GM was considering a low-level fantasy world (system is called E6 or P6 if you care), and had developed a backstory of a black-plague like event that had caused massive depopulation. Most of the players didn't care, but a couple decided they wanted a full-level world - basically because for the past decade they've been involved in multiple worlds where nobody got past low level anyway and they just wanted to see what higher levels were like.

    So the GM is tossing between pre- (possibly never) and post-plague. It'll change forest coverage, it'll change the number of cities that are large enough for a map of this scale, it'll change parts of the road networks. And me, I'm too lazy to do it twice. Especially since the GM's realized his current nations are probably too big and therefore too few regardless of decision, meaning we've got a lot of city placement to do anyway.

  2. #12
      Azelor is online now
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    Are you using this projection ?
    Lambert conformal conic projection - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    And your image could be bigger. Don't worry about using the storage space, you can always delete some of the WIP files later.

  3. #13
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    In approximation, yes.

    I was given a flat (equal area) sketch and the GM wanted longitude and latitudinal lines. I'm aware I'm going to have to recalculate and redraw for "right" but knew a conic/conformal conic would give me an approximate first rough.

    Image - the problem was that when I tried to load the full pretty it told me my image was too big - over the upload cap for this forum. No problem while it's a WIP, and when I got to the point of posting a final I figured I'd either have stumbled across or asked for instructions of how to deal with that. In the meantime it turned out about 3/4 of my image bits were in the oceans and background (a faux vellum).

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    Create a blank transparent png, load it into G.Projector, pick your conic projection, enter appropriate standard parallels (slightly inset from the top and bottom) and central meridian, export the resulting image, drop it in over top of your map.

  5. #15
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    Cool and thank you. (and with that the GM decided to wreak havoc with the continent because it didn't work for his story. Next whatever will be radically different.)

  6. #16
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    Since there have been a number of changes I thought I'd post the WIP. Bonus (or boredom) - I get to talk about some of my worldbuilding techniques. Map first:
    WIP - Hala on Parnem-hala-population-rough-eng-fr-tweaked.png

    Broad changes first. The continent's position got changed. The crater/caldera got moved.

    The next thing I did was climate/weather work. I did a brief on my tricks for starting this in jbgibson's 'Where does the wind blow' tutorial thread (my post here) so will let you go there. One thing mentioned there is that I needed to cut a notch in the north mountain ridge to let the rain into the interior. That's on this map.

    What's not shown here is the next climate step - temperature and currents - that lead to biomes. Not least because it's not relevant for this map. See, what my reading says is that the basic biome for populated areas is 'developed'. Farmland, orchards, cities, that sort of thing. I'll still be pegging all that but it'll be later.

    Instead what I'm doing here is working out where the developed area is. That's a little long-winded, so bear with me.

    First, the GM/client only wants gamers to really know the human nations. Those are the areas bordered by red in the south. He's named each nation and for short-hand convenience given it an analog. Some are medieval, some are fantastical, but they're working shorthand analogs that will go away in the final map.

    The other thing he's done is worked out respective nation populations and the ten largest population centers/cities. I then get the pleasure of figuring out where everybody is. And so we come to the map.

    I've got this working theory that almost everyone lives in or near 'hamlets'. Supporting a group of hamlets are 'towns'. A town provides the things a hamlet isn't large enough to support alone. These vary - perhaps specialist shops, perhaps the local professional military that provides the hard core for the local militias. Possibly it's the most convenient location for travelling traders. Regardless its keystone is providing for local benefit.

    Cities are towns that have become critical trade nodes. It's really that simple. Traders meeting and trading with traders, exchanging very special goods to go out to the towns or exchanging goods to trade from east to west (or other directions). A lot of supporting activity develops around this: heavy military, government (to take a few taxes off this flowing money), services for the tiniest fraction of population (but with enough people here the shop can stay in business), and so forth.

    So the first cities (big black dots on this map, for now) are near where cities meet coasts. In general every major waterway gets three cities - the coast, a place that's notionally the furthest upriver oceangoing vessels can travel, and up near the end of navigable river. Since most of my rivers are acting as national borders I can forego the river crossing cities. Instead I need to place a bunch more cities. For this I draw slightly wandering lines from the existing cities, and place at the crossroads. Finally I put some cities on the coasts between the rivers.

    So now that I've got cities I can place populations, and that's where those little squares you see in two nations come in. Each is about 10x10 square miles at this map style, and each represents a nominal density of 70 people per square mile. That's about 80% higher than the density using the entire nation's farmable/livable area and the GM's population estimate.

    What this is going to do is let me know where to place the 'undeveloped wilderness' within each nation. Often forests, it could be other vegetation and terrain - the actual type will depend on that biome work I mentioned earlier.

    For what it's worth, I'll be retaining these population distribution maps as part of the GM package. They won't be part of player reference, though.

    And that should be it for a few days as I tediously place a few thousand small squares over the map, calculate and place wilderness biomes, and work on improving the appearance.

  7. #17
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    A minor digression. I don't like the mountains in the map I've got, so I've been playing with styles. While the final vote is the GM's I'd appreciate your thoughts on the two styles I've come down to. Both are (obviously) in my admittedly low skill range. Both have room for improvement but are likely to be long-term as is. But I'm torn as to which is better for this map.

    WIP - Hala on Parnem-mountain-choice.jpg

  8. #18
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    Hmm... I like the ones on the left better. The glow and shading on the caterpillar ranges doesn't work as well in my opinion with the rest of the layout.
    "I like a look of agony, because I know it's true."

    -Emily Dickinson

  9. #19
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    Since I'm tossing comments at other maps that look better than mine, might as well update the WIP and take as I have given. (grin)

    WIP - Hala on Parnem-hala-wip.jpg

    Forests need added. City dots are just place markers while GM decides which city is at which point. Labeling will be last.

    Some things which will be in the legend.
    - The 'fog' marks the unexplored area, more clearly denoting that 'here be ghoulies and dragons and orcs, oh my.' Since I'll keep it as a layer I can easily uncover it after it's explored in play.
    - Each dot of the roads/trails (the round blue dots) is one day by caravan, and more-or-less where a caravan on that route would stay. I used a grid for positioning and tried to make them closer together where rough terrain would slow the movement.
    - I do not like the current border. I didn't like the last one, either. I'll be playing with different styles till I find one that both the GM and I like. At present it's only partially complete. It's the small brownish-red dotted lines.

    Oh, I used both the original and the shaded overlap mountains combined. I somewhat like the effect though still need to do some cleanup work.

    Long term plan. This map is going to end up an overview. I'm then going to do smaller, more detailed country/region maps and apply lessons learned.

    Comments and recommendations are welcome.

  10. #20
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    Enough done it's time for an update, and as always comments and recommendations are welcome.

    WIP - Hala on Parnem-wip-hala-regional.jpg

    As you can see the GM's requested I focus only on the 'known world' of the continent. The rest is on a back burner.

    I like the font I'm using. I'm frustrated but learning (gradually) how to path text. City icons other than capitals will be going through a minor change - basically, hollow circles for 'big' cities and solid (but smaller) circles for 'small' cities. Towns, hamlets, and so forth remain to be placed as they become relevant during play.

    What color I've got so far is heavily desaturated to almost black-and-white - except for the nations' border lines. I think the contrast works well but am open to thoughts.

    The Spire is a tiny (at this scale) island, and I'm torn about adding the ocean rings found around the rest of the land around it. Thoughts?

    I'm beginning to ponder background. Vellum, aged linen paper, and bleached oilcloth are tempting for various reasons. I'm just turned off by the yellow of parchment. (And yes I know the historical difference between vellum and parchment.)

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