I'm not sure what you mean by "recreate the tropic and subtropic latitudes." If your axial tilt is, say, 23 degrees then the tropics are by definition to 23 degrees north and south, e.g. Subtropics are from there to 30 or 35 degrees, by most definitions.
Placing lines of longitude and latitude is actually pretty easy if your map projection is equirectangular. You just count pixels and do some division. Or you can download G Projector (it's free), load your map in (assuming it is equirectangular, since G Projector only accepts that as input) and it will spit out images in almost any projection you can think of, including lines of latitude and longitude, if you like.
But if you mean climatology, well, that gets complex, not least because no one can really define what "subtropic" means. Reading the Wikipedia article on Koppen Climates might help, too, especially looking at the world climate map that is included. Though I personally think that maps of biomes rather than climate per se is probably more useful.
The short answer is that tropical climates tend to extend from the equator to 10 or 15 degrees, then there is usually a band af aridity to about 30 degrees- especially on west coasts- then temperate climates beyond that. (Mind you, "temperate" covers everything from the humid swamps of Georgia to the frozen taiga of central Siberia.) Tundra and other arctic climates usually start somewhere around 65-75 degrees. On west coasts there tends to be a small band of Mediterranean climates between the deserts and the temperate climates. The "subtropic" climates that you're talking about are probably east coasts between 20-35 degrees or so that aren't deserts.
Both sangi39 and myself are struggling through this process right now.
EDIT-- Fortuitously, Pixie is currently putting together a great tutorial on climate creation.
Last edited by acrsome; 05-14-2014 at 06:01 PM.
Very helpful post acrsome and great links, I'll check them out right now.
Well, today I could work on the project a bit and focused first on fixing my problem with climate for the central continent/s, as the novel and its historic context will take place in that scenario. Basically, I calculated where the tropics and subtropics would be (represented with very rudimentary lines) and then I rotated the land mass until the part I wanted was on the North hemisphere, between the subtropic and the called frigid zone. This way there I can get a range of temperatures similar to Eurasia, which is what I need.
But by rotating the continent I kind of broke the harmony with the other land masses, so I rearranged them a bit. Honestly, the final result is okay I guess, but it doesn't feel as nice to me as the first version did. What do you guys and gals think? Is it too bad?
I'm especially interested in how the central and eastern part of the map looks right now, but the more I look at the continents of the West side the less I like them. The big one reminds me of an actual heart, and the little one on the west side of the islands just looks nasty, so I'd like to come up with alternatives to them in the next session.
The volcanic islands on the south-east still are too big I think, so I'll make them smaller on the next session if I remember.
I added a land mass for the South pole, which of course is humongous because of distortion, when I import the map in NASA's G. Projector, with Orthographic projection, it looks fine I think.
I've decided that for now in the North Pole I won't have a land mass, only an ice cap, like Earth, just because really. Question is, do I have to add said ice cap to the map? Because I've noticed a lot of Earth world maps don't, which surprised me a bit. Anyway, without the ice cap, this is how the North Pole looks right now:
How is the general feel of the land masses and the proportion of land/sea? Does it feel unbalanced or weird?
Last edited by acrsome; 05-15-2014 at 10:57 AM.
Today I worked a bit more on the land masses. After messing up with Fractal Terrains to get an interesting shape, and doing a bit of editing of the outline in Photoshop, I added a new big continent on the West side of the map, and edited a bit the outline of the old one that reminded me of an actual human heart. I also rearranged the islands a bit and finally I moved the whole map to the right so it was more centered on the canvas. I also filled the land masses with a plain basic green color so they stand a bit more from the sea while I get to work on the terrain. EDIT: I see that in the scale guide on the upper right I wrote 3,333 Km instead of 3.333 Km, I'll fix that the next session.
Then I worked on the tectonic plates, after a lot of brushing and erasing and checking with G. Projector, especially for the poles. They're not pretty but I take them just as a rough outline to detect hotspots for seismic and volcanic activity, and also high and sharp mountain ranges. I started to indicate the general direction of the plates, but I'm not even half way, I had to call it a day, so I'll finish it on the next session, hopefully.
Here's the North Pole:
Here's the South Pole:
And that's all I did today, but at least I think I'm done with the land masses outlines.
acrsome, you are absolutely right, I get so micro-focused on the map that I forget how after all it's a fantasy world, so almost anything can be plausible, if not possible, more or less depending on how much do you want to subject yourself to the natural laws that rule the planet.
Last edited by groovey; 05-16-2014 at 08:44 AM.
As they are now, your landmasses resemble Earth a lot. North and South America... Eurasia and a small version of Africa on its SW side... a few islands where Australia would be. Antartica where Antartica is. Is it all intentional?
I like what you did at the poles, especially on the north pole.
Still on landmasses and tectonics, there's a place in your map that I really love where I think some tectonics "de p.. madre" could be happening:
So the idea is a recent rift opened a significant time ago, which is spreading those continents. However, this was small moving (lost power) and a second rift opened up further south. This one had a stronger influence and made the part that was moving south move back north.. The present result is an area of strong volcanism and earthquakes, a large shallow sea between the southern continent and those islands. Those islands are recent land, a mix of mountains, volcanoes and fertile land (think java-like islands).
If you wish to take on this idea, feel free to incorporate in your map. If you don't want the hassle, I'm just as happy with it, don't worry
You don't have to spend SO much time on the details. We can all appreciate and admire that you're trying to be accurate and realistic, which is good, but in the end people will look at your map and say, "wow, there's so much detail, such good choice of colours", etc, not, "wow, look at the realism of those plate tectonics!". All I'm saying is, as soon as it looks good, don't question it - just map it.
@Pixie, yes, the overall resemblance to Earth is kind of intentional. I mean, I realized not long ago that when I see a fantasy map with land masses that remind me of Earth, I connect to it more than when land masses are more random and original, it was a subconscious thing, I guess I'm a really a fan of our beloved planet. I know it's not very original, but I need to connect with the map, so I'm really fine with it. Perhaps if I'm ever done with this map for the novel, I'll try to be more original with another project.
By the way, I'm really, really intrigued about you idea about the tectonics of the area you mentioned, so in today's session I'll check it out and quickly try to represent the evolution you mention in two or three little pictures of that area, to see if I got it right, so I'll probably need your feedback.
@NedS298, I've reached the same conclusion these past days, because it's exhausting and it eats a lot of time, and I really need to get it done so I can set basic information for world-building for the novel, which involves wars, politics and a big Empire, so I need the map. After I'm done with the basics of tectonics, which I do think are important for natural disasters and mountain ranges, I'll start with terrain again. For climate/temperatures I'll simplify a lot and base it on Earth, because after all for the novel temperatures are not as important as tectonics.
I've done a VERY rough and quick representation, in three pictures, of Pixie's suggestion of tectonics on the south of the Eastern continents, but I admit I got a bit lost on some points because my understanding of tectonics it's very basic, and thus I need some clarification. Here's what I understood:
1. Land mass 4 is still attached to Land mass 2, and land mass 2 is still attached to land mass 1, but a rift opened between land 1 and 2, slowly separating both (divergent, in red).
2. This I'm not sure is right, but BOTH sides of the rift got filled with water, separating the land masses, and eventually some crust from the lithosphere managed to reach the surface, creating the volcanic islands chain (nº3) between land 1 and 2.
3. At some point a new rift opened in land mass 2, that separated land 4 and also pushed land 2 back in the direction of land 1.
- In image 3 the division on land mass 1 and 2 is convergent (blue arrows) on one side and divergent on the other, how does this translate? Which direction is predominant? The one with the higher speed? How would it affect those islands? Would they remain actively volcanic no matter what which boundary direction is predominant?
- Would indeed those little volcanic islands form in step/image 2 or in 3? I didn't quite understand form Pixie's suggestion when would they arise.
- About the shallow sea Pixie, when you say southern continent you mean land 2? Would that sea also be shallow between the islands and land 1?
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