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Thread: The World According to Wolfe

  1. #1
    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
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    Wip The World According to Wolfe

    So, it was suggested that I start this WIP thread to show the progression of a world I have been working on for a series of stories (and perhaps novels) I intend to be writing in the near future. With that in mind, I took a couple backward steps so that everyone could see where I started from. But first a bit of info . . .

    One of my goals when it comes to world building has always been to have something fairly realistic, even when dealing with fantasy. Of course, I want a fantastical element as well, but that should come in bits and pieces rather than saturating every part of the world. To that end, I tend to work from the inspiration that FT Pro provides with its random generation sequence. However, once I've found something I think I want to work with, I go through huge amounts of editing, leveling and trimming the land masses until they start to look Earth-like.

    With that said, here are the first three stages of an, as of yet, un-named world. Comments and suggestions are more than welcome, and yes, it is surprisingly Earth-like at this point . . .

    The first image (upper left) is the initial rendering by FT Pro. The second image (to the right) is the result of a leveling process. The third image (lower left) is the result of initial land mass cuts to set up a few major continents.

    As a brief side note.

    My overall preference is for hand drawn maps, typically in black and white and, eventually, this world will be finished up in that fashion. While in the developmental stages, however, I work with a variety of software packages to get a basic layout and a modicum of detail worked up before shifting to the old fashioned way of doing things unless something stands out and demands immediate attention on my part.
    Last edited by Greason Wolfe; 12-11-2008 at 04:45 PM. Reason: Thumbnail Details
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    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
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    So, at this point, I am still trimming down and/or eliminating some of the major land masses, but in the process, I ran across a set of islands that I want to work with for a bit. They vaguely resemble a Manta Ray or Stingray, and some time ago, I was toying with the idea of building a religion/culture around such creatures (on a more fantastical level, of course) and thought that these islands might be just the spot for that. I'm still working out the details of the religion and culture of the islands, but thought that I might post the mapping progress.

    Currently, I've managed to cut the islands out of the world as a whole and am working with a little pen and paper to get an idea of how the terrain is going to look. I've also decided to try something a little different than I've done before. A few years back, I set up some Paint Shop Pro picture tubes based on the book, Principles of Cartography, and have never had a chance to really experiment with them until now. I'll be using several layers to produce a suggestion of relative relief and am laying them out as follows;

    Layer 1 : Sea Level and Below
    Layer 2 : Basic Terrain Coloring
    Layer 3 : Lakes and Rivers
    Layer 4 : Roads
    Layer 5 : Grasslands
    Layer 6 : Forests/Jungles
    Layer 7 : Hills and Mountains
    Layer 8 : Points of Interest
    Layer 9 : Names

    Some of these layers may be expanded or reproduced depending on the results, but at least this offers a general idea of my current progress.

    In a nutshell, the islands will be known as the Helfish Archipelago on a global level. The native inhabitants have their own name for the islands and will be based losely upon the ancient Moche culture of Peru. Once I have those details worked out, I'll post them here while continuing to offer updates on the mapping progress.

    GW
    When nothing is going right and you can't find someone else to blame, start beating your head against the wall, 'cause it'll feel so much better when you stop.

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    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    Nice idea, looking forward to see where you take this.
    My Finished Maps | My Challenge Maps | Ghoraja Juun, my largely stagnated campaign setting.

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    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
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    Thanks Steel. As for where it is going . . . One quick update to add some texture and color gradient to the oceans. While I am not 100 percent happy with the results, I think they will do for now until I figure out another approach with PSP. Sadly, I am using an older version so the textures available to me are rather limited. In this instance, I used darkening shades of blue with a basic terrain texture, merging and gaussian blurring the layers incrimentally. As I work on the surface terrain, I may do the same thing to a lesser degree.

    GW

    P.S. In saying that I am not 100 percent happy with the results, the bulk of my disappointment comes from the gradient shading and lack of clear detail from shoreline to sea floor. One alternate approach I am thinking of is to define three levels instead of several levels; Continental Shelves, Intermediate Depths and Sea Floor. The sample here has ??? levels; Shoreline, Continental Shelves, Shallow Depths, Intermediate Depths, Greater Depths and Sea Floor. The gaussian blurring kind of skewered the shallower depths from Shoreline to Intermediate Depths. I'll have to think on this one for a bit before I continue just to save myself some editing time, hopefully.
    Last edited by Greason Wolfe; 12-18-2008 at 06:03 PM. Reason: Adding to post
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    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
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    Here's a different version of the seas/oceans that I am much happier with though I still think it needs some slight tweaking. Comments and suggestions for improving this portion of the map are more than welcome.

    GW
    When nothing is going right and you can't find someone else to blame, start beating your head against the wall, 'cause it'll feel so much better when you stop.

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    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    I like the second one better, but there is some obvious tiling in the pattern/texture you used. You may want to try making it seamless.
    My Finished Maps | My Challenge Maps | Ghoraja Juun, my largely stagnated campaign setting.

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    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steel General View Post
    I like the second one better, but there is some obvious tiling in the pattern/texture you used. You may want to try making it seamless.
    Ayup, that's the next major project on the list of 10,000 things to do.

    If I could get my stupid scanner to work properly, it'd be much easier since I could just snag the original sea-bed for the area in question. Sadly, it seems my scanner doesn't want to pull full pages at the moment, so I am going to have a discussion with it.

    GW
    When nothing is going right and you can't find someone else to blame, start beating your head against the wall, 'cause it'll feel so much better when you stop.

  8. #8
    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
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    Wip

    So, just a minor update for right now, then I'm taking a break from the mapping project to work on the background information. I want that to be available so that comments and/or suggestions can be oriented towards the development of the map. This update shows what I've done to fix the "tiling" problem with the sea beds as well as the removal of a few 1 pixel artifacts that were popping up here and there.

    GW
    When nothing is going right and you can't find someone else to blame, start beating your head against the wall, 'cause it'll feel so much better when you stop.

  9. #9
      jfrazierjr is offline
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    Perhaps I missed it somewhere, but is the goal of the "water" texture to show some type of underwater elevation changes?
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  10. #10
    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfrazierjr View Post
    Perhaps I missed it somewhere, but is the goal of the "water" texture to show some type of underwater elevation changes?
    Not so much to show elevation changes as opposed to just giving a bit of texture instead of a flat color. In the long run, I may end up using a flat color.

    For the most part, I'm just experimenting on the side with full digital generation while working the hand drawn version at the same time. The biggest problem I face with hand drawn maps is that I do them on a very large scale (i.e. world maps being the size of a wall map) so scanning them in is a bit of a chore since I have to do it piece by piece and then try to put them together.

    GW
    When nothing is going right and you can't find someone else to blame, start beating your head against the wall, 'cause it'll feel so much better when you stop.

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