Greetings again! I thought I should start with one of my recent and functional map projects, in which I designed existing and imagined regions for the Second Life-hosted region of Extropia.
Brief background: Extropia was formed in 2007 on the Second Life grid which, for those unfamiliar with the virtual world, is formed of 256x256m 'sims'. I believe there are 4 sims to one server. Extropia is a futuristic and residential community, which I co-founded as its designer and stand-in art director. It has grown in size from one sim to two, then six and collapsed down into three as it exists today.
I tried to picture Extropia as a believable nation when working on it both as a map and a design project. Its persistent form has been as a coastal nation, with buildings floated out on interlocking plates - its unique hallmark amidst the rectangular plots we usually see thanks to Second Life's built-in plotting tools. Those plates were marked on this map in the highlighted section of three sims still running today. Their colour-coding, and the fact some are faded to show unoccupied spaces, were purely an admin. tool; I could see at a glance which plots we had available for rent.
I chose a London Underground-style landscape purely for simplicity and durability. Extropia's landscape could, and has, changed radically as new users sculpt a beach out for themselves or we have to re-arrange plots to accommodate larger buildings. Sticking to a sharp raster coastline and keeping vector shapes in for each of the region's plots made updating this map a lot easier.
Most of the place names and regions are named after futuristic articles: asteroids and satellites for islands; mathematicians and scientists for geographical features; and some named on a whim. I had plans for an homage to Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, on a sim named after the nation in H.G. Wells' Things to Come - like I said, an 'imagined' or fantasy Extropia. ;)
The map hasn't been updated since 2008, although much of the Extropian landscape still looks similar to this. It also has yet to expand, which was probably the biggest motivation for my drawing this map up; I wanted to see how a nation I'd helped form might look were it to prosper. I have since worked on a more detailed, painted map; I'll get this up once I've added all the annotations I left off it. ^^;
I drew this second map up a month after the first. During this time we were still reeling from the collapse of four sims into one (due to an unfortunate price rise, we had to split pleasant open sailing spaces into something more habitable), so maps could change week after week. I decided to doodle this one, opting rebelliously for something I couldn't edit as easily. That's why it's motly a physical map with very few districts and certainly no plots marked. It was also a practice piece for me, having never drawn a map in this fashion. I don't believe that texturing is not my strong suit.
The painted map is built on top of an updated, administrative one upon which monorail lines were also marked. These have yet to be built in Second Life because there are still only three sims to visit!
I really enjoyed making this one over the course of a few days, and while I can see a lot of improvement myself there seems little worth in adding to a 2-year-old piece. I marked this as 'WIP' because I would like to invite critique though, particularly of my labelling. I'm likely to work in this style for future maps. :)
EDIT: Because the thumbnail is linked from my own site, this has now been tweaked to feature monorail lines and a more geographically-sound pair of rivers, as per Ascension's advice!
That's all kinds of coolness. Except for the river violation (rivers don't split as they go downstream - they join up...they go around harder stone or higher places to form river islands at most) I'd say that's pretty damn sweet looking. Keep on cranking out good stuff like this.
D'oh, of course! A rookie mistake that I could barely excuse even within a virtual world. :P I'll likely fix that; Bostrom Hill and the highlands to the east of there look quite capable of drainage down to the bay. Thanks!
Originally Posted by Ascension