So my gaming group is starting a new campaign, and being the graphics/carto- geek of the group, I volunteer to make the world map...
The great thing about this group is that we create a game-world collaboratively, taking the GM's initial ideas and talking about what makes sense in the game-world and expanding on them - which is awesome, because we all become invested in the world that we make and know a lot about its details!
I thought I would post my progress as it happens, and open up the door to feedback, critiques and suggestions!
WARNING: This may turn out to be a long process... I do this around my freelance lifestyle which has a flood/draught duality.
So the GM and I started off by talking about the world - he wanted a partial world map that incorporated a lot of ocean and either small continents or island nations.... There were going to be 5 or 6 civilizations, most of which were inspired by real-world nations(Greeks, Romans, Viking, Aztec, etc). I sketched some very quick and dirty ideas in pencil, scanned them in, manipulated them a bit and sent them off. He responded with thoughts and suggestions, some of which I incorporated, and then got approval to go ahead.
At this point, I took my rough .jpg into Illustrator and started tracing coast lines, adding detail and small islands. This is basically where I am now. You can see in the closeup that I've added some details to the lower end of the "Ilium" (Greek city-states) area - because we were already in our first session and needed to flesh out the game area!
My next steps:
1> PUT A SCALE ON THE MAP! I know, this is blasphemous not to have done already (especially since I make part of my living as a draftsman)!
2> Define major geographic features: mountain ranges, inland bodies of water, major rivers, etc.
3> Take the land-mass outlines into Photoshop and create the map coloration base - water/vegetation/mountains, etc
4> Add coloration detail
5> Add symbols and text.
6> Border, Compass Rose, and other mapping details
Attachments so far:
1> Map Sketch 2: One of the initial scanned pencil sketches. I liked some of the shapes I had come up with, but not necessarily the arrangement....
2> Viking Lines Map WIP: The next step, having moved some of the land masses around, and sketched out where fault lines, etc lay.
3> Land Mass AI WIP: Having traced the outlines in Illustrator and added plenty of detail... Still need to adjust the coastlines on a few areas that don't match the overall style. [THIS IS A BIG, BIG FILE!]
4> Illium Close-UP WIP: A closeup of Ilium, where you can see that I've started to place cities, mountain ranges, the absent Mt. Olympus, etc. I normally wouldn't do the cities until much later, but we needed a basis to start gaming with...