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Thread: FTPro - Random World Mapping for Fun and (no) Profit

  1. #1

    Wip FTPro - Random World Mapping for Fun and (no) Profit

    I was working on a random world map and came up with a couple new (for me) methods, so I thought I'd start a new world from scratch using them and document the steps here in case they might come in useful for someone.

    First step was picking the base world. I used the Voronoi Ridged Multifractal, a personal preference of mine because it does a better job of not putting the mountain ranges smack in the center of the continents. Once I found a world I liked, I started tweaking and playing with the parameters for the fractal function. Small, incremental changes are the best way to do that, as larger ones tend to result in a completely different-looking world.

    Actually, I lied. The first step was naming the world, as I had to create a folder to store all the files in. Welcome to the world of Gryphii.

    Here is the basic world map of Gryphii, with no modifications except a non-standard "Earth-like" color scheme:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    From here we can see a few obvious things that need fixing. Any piece of land below sea level is shown underwater, so we can see several sections of land that need to be filled in. Also, the landmasses on the right connect in ways I don't find very plausible.

    I will post up each step I take in trying to finish off this world. Feel free to post feedback or questions at any time.
    Last edited by Master TMO; 02-21-2011 at 10:32 AM.
    My Finished Maps | My Planet Maps | My Challenge Entries | Album: Pre-generated Worlds

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    Assuming I stick with fantasy cartography, I'd like to become a World Builder, laying out not only a realistic topography, but also the geopolitical boundaries and at least rough descriptions of the countries and societies.

  2. #2

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    The first step is dropping the water level down to -1000 ft, which is where FTPro puts the edges of the continental shelves. This is where I'm going to do most of the bulk automatic processing of the map, since a lot of the processes stop at the waterline.

    Here is the world map using this view:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Using this view, we can see that all the continental shelves are pretty tightly connected, and there are some holes that definitely need to be dealt with.

    UPDATE: The reason I am lowering the sea level down to the continental shelf is because FTPro's Fill Basin and River commands all run until they hit the waterline and stop. Which is natural - rivers stop when they hit a lake or ocean, and the Fill Basins command should not fill in the ocean beds. By temporarily lowering the water level to the continental shelves, I am hopefully eliminating this problem for my continents. Basins will fill, and rivers will run all the way down, incising the water flow into the coastline (which I think actually has some basis in reality, as rivers continue along the sea bed for a while before dissipating into the ocean).
    Last edited by Master TMO; 02-20-2011 at 08:24 PM.
    My Finished Maps | My Planet Maps | My Challenge Entries | Album: Pre-generated Worlds

    ------
    Assuming I stick with fantasy cartography, I'd like to become a World Builder, laying out not only a realistic topography, but also the geopolitical boundaries and at least rough descriptions of the countries and societies.

  3. #3
    Guild Member Meridius's Avatar
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    I actually kind of like those holes. Almost as if this is a super-continent 'about' to break up.

  4. #4
    Software Dev/Rep Gracious Donor waldronate's Avatar
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    Another option would be to set the continental shelves to 0 altitude rather than dropping the sea level. That way land will start at 0 altitude.

  5. #5

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    Oh, but where's the fun in that? My thinking in working on it at the continental shelf range is that I can use Fill Basins to fix the pits and divots at sea level, because Fill Basins won't stop at sea level like it normally does. It stops at the waterline, which is now much lower. So it will fix the errors at sea level for me.

    I've gone around the edges of the continental shelves and trimmed them to look a bit more realistic. I didn't connect any of them together, even though that's realistic, since then I'd have to put in some mountains to simulate the continental collision. I didn't have to worry too much about the tiny pits or offshore islands, since they most likely won't affect anything once I move the sea level back up to 0.

    Here is the new map:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    My Finished Maps | My Planet Maps | My Challenge Entries | Album: Pre-generated Worlds

    ------
    Assuming I stick with fantasy cartography, I'd like to become a World Builder, laying out not only a realistic topography, but also the geopolitical boundaries and at least rough descriptions of the countries and societies.

  6. #6

  7. #7

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    Thinking about it, I think the reason for the discussion is my fault. I did not say *why* I was lowering the sea level. So therefore the natural assumption is that I'm lowering them because I want the sea level to be at the continental shelf. Poor writing style for a thread that purports to possibly be a tutorial. I should have explained why I was lowering it better, and that it was purely temporary. I'll go back and add an edit to my above post with an explanation.
    My Finished Maps | My Planet Maps | My Challenge Entries | Album: Pre-generated Worlds

    ------
    Assuming I stick with fantasy cartography, I'd like to become a World Builder, laying out not only a realistic topography, but also the geopolitical boundaries and at least rough descriptions of the countries and societies.

  8. #8

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    The next step is checking to make sure I filled in all the holes in the continental shelves correctly. If I leave a spot below sea level and under water, Fill Basins will not fill the hole, rivers will run there instead of to the coast, incise flow will carve the erosion paths in that direction, etc. Now, there are occasions where we *want* that to happen. Death Valley lies below sea level. The Mediterranean Sea could theoretically be closed off at the Gibraltar Straits and be a below-sea level basin.

    I can check this by running the Find Rivers command, I can look at the river paths and look for low points, where the rivers do not run toward the coast like they should. One of the things to keep in mind with FTPro when it runs rivers is that it runs them to the waterline by the lowest possible path. That lowest possible path may require water to run uphill. At this point, we don't really care about that. We're just making sure everything reaches the coastline properly.

    This is the river view:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    We can see one major area of concern on the eastern continent, which I've marked off in the box. Zooming in, we see:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    There are a couple of spots that I missed raising the land masses above the shelf limit. By pulling the water line back up to regular sea level, I can see if it's a natural valley I may want to retain or not. In this case, the areas are completely underwater, and I don't care:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    So I filled them in, checked the rest of the map, and called it good. Here's the fixed version:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Master TMO; 02-20-2011 at 10:12 PM.
    My Finished Maps | My Planet Maps | My Challenge Entries | Album: Pre-generated Worlds

    ------
    Assuming I stick with fantasy cartography, I'd like to become a World Builder, laying out not only a realistic topography, but also the geopolitical boundaries and at least rough descriptions of the countries and societies.

  9. #9

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    The next step is fairly simple, following the steps in JSlayton's tutorial. In order, they are:

    - Tools>>Global Smooth>>Prescale Land Offset (value 1)
    - Tools>>Actions>>Fill Basins in Offset
    - Tools>>Global Smooth>> Land Offset (value 1)
    - Tools>>Actions>>Incise Flow (Blur: 1.5; Amount: 2; Flow: 0.4; Blend: 0.5)
    Note: At least in my beta version of FTPro, the order of the fields in the dialog box has changed from the days of the tutorial. Make sure you put the values in the right fields.
    - Tools>>Actions>>Fill Basins in Offset
    - Tools>>Global Smooth>>Land Offset (value 2)

    Here is the map after all those processes:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    And here it is with the water level raised back up to sea level:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Obviously there are still a few issues with Fill Basins not quite filling in everything. My guess is that it is probably just an issue with accurately depicting almost level terrain. I'll manually fill them in and tweak things to look good.
    My Finished Maps | My Planet Maps | My Challenge Entries | Album: Pre-generated Worlds

    ------
    Assuming I stick with fantasy cartography, I'd like to become a World Builder, laying out not only a realistic topography, but also the geopolitical boundaries and at least rough descriptions of the countries and societies.

  10. #10

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    Well, unfortunately that last result kind of invalidates some of the goal of what I was trying for. Humph. The goal was to eliminate the need for the tedious and manual filling of holes below sea level. But apparently, at least in my version of the beta (which is not the most recent one), it doesn't quite manage to fill them all in. Oh well. It was still an interesting WIP, and maybe this thread will help someone else.

    NOTE: It could very well be the result of a bug due to my OS - the Beta I have was because I was one of, if not the, first person to use FTPro on a Win 7 64-bit system. If you are interested in applying anything from here, I would advise you to give it a try. Can't hurt, after all. It's also possible I goofed somewhere along the line. I'm hardly an expert at this.
    Last edited by Master TMO; 02-21-2011 at 12:31 AM.
    My Finished Maps | My Planet Maps | My Challenge Entries | Album: Pre-generated Worlds

    ------
    Assuming I stick with fantasy cartography, I'd like to become a World Builder, laying out not only a realistic topography, but also the geopolitical boundaries and at least rough descriptions of the countries and societies.

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