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Thread: Focused Critique - First Map - CAUTION LOAD MAY BE SLOW!

  1. #1
      Nickadimos is offline
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    Wip Focused Critique - First Map - CAUTION LOAD MAY BE SLOW!

    Hey all,

    My Name is Terry Burgenheim, I live in Tennessee in the USA.

    I stumbled upon your site a few weeks back desperate for some help with some mapping resources for a game im working on.

    The game is a solo project and has been concepted for over 9 months now.

    I had finally reached the point where I had to start showing off some of these concepts. Mainly, for myself, but, also for those of you that are married will understand, for my wife and family, whom, bless their hearts, have no clue what it is or what it takes to make a game or even some of the resources for a game OR even a concept for a game.

    You know.. when they start to give you that eye, you know, like, what are you doing in there on those COUNTLESS hours in front of the computer honing your skills and reading and studying and learning and practicing and reading some more.. LOL

    SO, without further a due, this map is of one of the main regions of my game called the Draceion Isle.

    It is now the home and the safe-haven for the mystical creatures and humanoids left on the planet. Namely the Dragons, Dragon kind, and Giants, there are plenty of others seeking refuge here as well hoping the Dragons will protect them from the Anointed, some real bad dudes that were good but turned worse after their hearts turned black....... its a long story... But they have taken over the planet and are killing good and evil creatures alike, they believe the planet belongs to them and will stop at nothing to make sure everyone else knows it. The only ones left strong enough to stop them is the dragons, but their own personal squabbling and fighting amongst themselves cause the Anointed to get the upper hand and kill thousands of dragons and their cousins before they even knew what hit them. Leaving only a hand full left in respite and fear.

    Everyone that's left, have moved into the old cities and homes of the ancient Titans, their cities are in ruin and rubble now after centuries of neglect.

    So here we are... on the raggedy edge...

    Draceion isle...

    I just finished the rivers but im not happy with them.

    I have still to put the towns and roads in, the dragons lairs are up in the north west area, still to be put in of course.

    I followed a mixture of ROBA and Pyrandons tutorials for this.



    FOCUSED CRITIQUE PLEASE!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Focused Critique - First Map - CAUTION LOAD MAY BE SLOW!-1_31_10_08_2_32_41.jpg  
    Last edited by ravells; 10-31-2008 at 06:38 PM. Reason: Thumbnailing image.

  2. #2
      Redrobes is offline
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    Hi Nickadimos,

    You map is pretty good with nice colours and rough mountain texture. The bit that will strike out is the rivers which might be perfectly intentional for your particular world but could never exist in reality. What you basically need to do if reality is a goal is to think that each drop of water as rain falls into a watershed and travels to the sea along a (very very nearly always) single path.

    This issue comes up so frequently that we have a thread about it:
    Essential river guidelines for mapping

    I know how you feel about spending countless hours on projects but luckily my wife does the same.

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  3. #3
      xv43 is offline
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    Definitely what Redrobes said. Also, your rivers all appear to be pretty much the same width everywhere. I'm not sure what the scale is supposed to be, but either those islands are fairly small or those rivers are really big.

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      landorl is offline
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    It is a pretty good map so far, but I do have to agree that the rivers are pretty distracting. Even if you have a reason for them having a very unnatural flow pattern, the fact that they are all the same width distracts from the rest of the map, which is pretty good.

  5. #5
      Sigurd is offline
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    You know.. when they start to give you that eye, you know, like, what are you doing in there on those COUNTLESS hours in front of the computer honing your skills and reading and studying and learning and practicing and reading some more.. LOL

    Is that what I'm doing? Wow I feel much better.

    I like your map. It shows you're picking good textures and working for variations that are interesting.

    I agree about the rivers, but I think you'd already intuited that.

    My suggestion, and its only personal preference here, is that you try for some more neutral over all texture to work into rather than make every part of the map so much texture at similar scale.

    I hope I'm being clear?

    I think the map suffers from feeling like cut up textures rather than a landmass. For starters, try and place the water on the land layer, not cut away all the land to reveal a shared water layer. The cut away land looks like improbable islands and the water looks like its all at the same height.


    Excuse the liberty, maybe I'll be more clear if I tweak your map a bit. I'm working in photoshop - people can be much more helpful with advice if you mention what program you're using.

    I covered all your islands in a brown neutral overlay. I picked the colour from your existing sand and tried to unify the textures a bit.

    I tried to raise the water colour of your central island rivers to make them seem different from the coast. Introducing the rivers works much better with a complete ground layer to start with .

    I selected out all your rivers - I didn't change the shape of them - and I stroked their edge to give them a transition between shore and water.


    Does that make it any more clear?

    Sigurd
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Focused Critique - First Map - CAUTION LOAD MAY BE SLOW!-islands.jpg  
    Last edited by Sigurd; 10-31-2008 at 01:12 PM.

  6. #6
      Karro is offline
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    I like the look of the land and the mountains and beaches especially.

    As has been pointed out on the rivers, and as you point out yourself, they could use a little work.

    A few suggestions:

    1.) rivers flow together toward the sea, and rarely split apart. So you'll have multiple streams flowing into one large river. So especially the large, inter-connected river system on the main island is particularly unlikely, where the same water source splits it's flow so many times it's hard to keep track, and empties into the sea in six different places. A more accurate river system would probably have several water sources (usually starting in mountains or springs, etc.) flowing and joining together as they go toward the sea. Of those that end up joining together, you might then end up with two or three river systems usually separated by higher ground.

    2.) In particular, one river system seams to cut through a point of high ground on the western side of the main island, where there appears to be a large hill (possibly just an artifact of using clouds to generate terrain variability, but it looks like a large green hill, and the effect is nice, except' it's cut through with a river).

    3.) Varying the width: I assume the rivers on some kind of mask layer that is masking out the land. If this is the case, you should have a black-and-white representation of the rivers in the layer's mask. Go to edit the mask, and use black and white brushes to fiddle around the edges until you get something nice and tapered looking. The rivers will be thin toward their source and thicker toward their outlet at the sea.

    4.) The Forests: it looks like the green from your forests overlaps all your rivers, and possibly into the lake as well. I would suggest applying the same mask from your rivers onto the forests. This will remove some of the green color from the rivers where they disappear into the forests. A few more advanced techniques can make the river and forest interplay a little more naturally and would look great.
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      Nickadimos is offline
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    WOW!

    Thank you Guys!

    I will totally respond in a while as I am on my lunch break and dont have the time...

    Thank you for all your advice!!

    I used GIMP for those of you that are asking..

    It seems my dislike for my rivers was warranted!!!

    Ill work on this a little and post a screening later tonight.. I may have to work overtime so it may not be until tomorrow!!

    THANK YOU GUYS/GALS SO MUCH!!! You guys are a neat crew!

    Terry

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      Nickadimos is offline
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    Ok here goes,

    I promise! Ill make the rivers better! LOL

    So when i look at a map, all the little tiny rivers are actually flowing TOWARDS the big rivers? I guess i always thought they were flowing AWAY from the big rivers...

    I will taper them down and make them a little more realistic. I have plans for an overall overlay. And the grass will have a real nice texture i made for it...

    Well the area there in the middle, it was supposed to look like a huge swamp or marsh area.. it ended up lookign like a bunch of streams and rivers.

    Does anyone have any advice on how to make that look more like a swamp or marsh than a bunch of rivers?



    @karro - what advanced techniques are you talking about? Cause thats exactly what im going for, the forests to kinda overshadow the rivers going through them. Can you explain how to do this in GIMP or PS, i can pretty much translate anythign from PS into GIMP.


    What do you guys think of the shoreline? I think it ended up a little too bright.. If you look at google earth satellite imagray its really green (teal) along the shoreline. In a few spots it was the whispy whiter colors

    Im trying to go for that effect, kinda be able to see the shoreline underwater for a bit b4 it tapers off into ocean. i think that may be as simple as an opacity thing though...

    Thanks again for all your help!

    Ill be posting an update as soon as I complete it..

    Terry

  9. #9
      Ascension is offline
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    I sketched out a river system for ya to see how it I would do it. I put in a lot of rivers so you can throw some of 'em out if ya like. Couple of notes to keep in mind:

    1. Always have more rivers flowing into a lake than out. If many rivers flowed out that would mean the surrounding land was lower than the lake so it would be a hill instead. I usually only have 1 out-flowing river.
    2. Slope determines flow...high to low, path of least resistance (easier to cut through dirt than rock), mucho meandering on flat areas.

    3. Swamps don't usually have large rivers flowing through them, instead they have numerous small creeks. A large river can siphon out large amounts of water and since the area is swampy that means not a lot of water is getting sucked away...creeks and ponds a-plenty.

    Hope this helps...I DO like the map by the way
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      jfrazierjr is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickadimos View Post
    Ok here goes,

    I promise! Ill make the rivers better! LOL

    So when i look at a map, all the little tiny rivers are actually flowing TOWARDS the big rivers? I guess i always thought they were flowing AWAY from the big rivers...

    I will taper them down and make them a little more realistic. I have plans for an overall overlay. And the grass will have a real nice texture i made for it...

    Well the area there in the middle, it was supposed to look like a huge swamp or marsh area.. it ended up lookign like a bunch of streams and rivers.

    Does anyone have any advice on how to make that look more like a swamp or marsh than a bunch of rivers?



    @karro - what advanced techniques are you talking about? Cause thats exactly what im going for, the forests to kinda overshadow the rivers going through them. Can you explain how to do this in GIMP or PS, i can pretty much translate anythign from PS into GIMP.

    Terry
    Since you are using GIMP, go read up on my Layer Mask tutorial first. This tool is (should be) one of the most often used tools in your GIMP arsenal (and that goes for you PS people too!!!). If you have any questions at all about the tutorial, please feel free to ask in that thread or here and I will answer in a day or two (or perhaps I did my darn job and someone I helped with the tutorial can answer.)

    You have used layer masks via the tutorial by RobA, but not knowing why by following the exact steps is what I attempt to demystify in my tutorial.
    My Finished Maps
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    Explanation of Layer Masks in GIMP
    How to create ISO Mountains in GIMP/PS using the Smudge tool
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    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

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