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Thread: Restructuring a continent

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  1. #1
    Guild Member Facebook Connected Lezales's Avatar
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    Default Restructuring a continent

    So I'll just quickly explain the initial situation.

    I've been working on this world for almost 11 years during my free time. The thing is that I started it at 10 years old and a few years later some elements seemed childish to me and I modified a few things, added some territories to my map. I did that about every two years. For the last three years I've mainly focused on writing some lore, stories and imaginating characters and histories. Now that I've discovered this community I want to start doing the world map of that map I've imagined so I've searched through my stuff and found a sketch I had done on paper. The thing is... by adding zones on the borders of the continent each time now it looks a bit weird, not natural all and very childish. I also had the habit of adding territories with very specific climate to random places. So you have a desert next to a jungle next some random plains territory. First of all I'll smooth the transition between those climates but I also want to reposition some zones to make the switch from climate to climate more logical and I also want the continent to have a good general shape instead of just being a pile of single territory added one next to the other.

    So my real question here is: how would you proceed to restructure, reposition and rework that continent with all it's zone that already have a lot of lore written for them, so that it looks good but doesn't confuse me and make the world unrecognizable.
    I have a few territories, I'll share the names with you and where they were.

    Meridar: Cold, gray kind of tundra, was situated extreme north-west.
    Kelrond: Cold, harsh,tundra/polar landscape, was situated extreme north on the other side of a huge bay shared with Meridar ^.
    Aldarand: Almost entirely covered in forest, turning in jungles of giant trees in the south. Situated south-west, right under Meridar.
    Sindor: Mostly hills, plains and some mountains, few forests. Situated right in the middle of the continent, right of Aldarand and under Kelrond.
    Al'Haren: Mostly jungle of giant trees (continuation of Aldarand) situated south right under Sindor and west of southern portion of Aldarand.
    Orkando: Red desert (monument valley like), harsh, lot of mountains, situated south-east, east of Al'Halen
    Hekzodia: Mix of various climates. Mountains in the west/northwest, rocky waste in middle and southern parts and desert of black sand in the eastern part due to cataclysm. Was situated extreme east, top of Orkanda and right of Sindor.
    Meridis: Huge mountains, mostly unexplored with a thin band of swamps and forests on the other side of the mountains, next to the ocean. Situated north-east, right of Kelrond and top of Hekzodia.
    Naam: Huge jungle-like island, very particular climate, situated off the coast of Meridis so, right of Kelrond and north of Hekzodia too.
    Morne: Small territory located right between Aldarand and Sindor, very low water-levelwise and filled with dark forests.

    I've included a small (really quickly done) sketch of the position of the zones.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I'd like some help concerning this. I'll smooth out the climate and try to include more natural kingdom borders instead of doing artificial ones, so mountains and rivers will most likely divide the different territories. I'm not very satisfied with the fact that you have one desert territory between a jungle one and a rocky waste one out of nowhere... I'm not really satisfied with the fact that there's a jungle island east of a nordic zone (god I was stupid as a kid !), I'll try to put some variety in each territory also to not have them being done of only one element. Perhaps thinking about the general continent before and then dividing it in my zones trying to respect as much as possible the initial plan ?

    So, thank you in advance ! I'll check this here and I'll come check your ideas in a few hours !

  2. #2
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Ascension's Avatar
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    I took your descriptions and drew them out on my own. I think you only need to move Naam south with the other tropical climates and then put some mountains between Al Haren and Orkando in order to put Orkando into a rain shadow (mountains block the rain so it turns dry). Of course if this was situated like North America then Orkando would be like Florida and prone to hurricanes and would have swamps. So to prevent that you need those mountains to block off any moisture coming in from the western jungle of Al Haren. Aldarand will be a huge nation in order to cover the many climates. My sketch looks bad and my writing is bad, but it's late. This is just a very general guide.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #3
    Guild Member Facebook Connected Lezales's Avatar
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    Thanks Ascension ! With the different lines you put for the climate that seems to work, I'll just move things a little and smooth out climate between territories. I'll keep thinking about all this tho.

    Also, while I'm at it. I've got an additional question. I've gathered a few elements from the forums to start my map, textures, brushes, and such. The world we're talking about here is really huge and I'd really like to do a detailed map of all of it which of course, will take a long time. But I'm patient and not in a rush. I don't have a tablet and I'm pretty sure the best solution for the shape of the continent would be to draw it on paper and scan it. But with such a big continent that I will probably do in a few thousands pixels by a few thousand pixels (oh yeah, what's the maximum I could go in pixel without overdoing it ?) I think it'd be best to draw each territory separated and assemble them in Photoshop, right ? And would 8x11 sheet be ok ? Sharpie, regular pencil ?

    P.S: Igloos made me laugh !

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    Community Leader Gracious Donor Jaxilon's Avatar
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    The size of pixels you can have totally depends on the power of your PC. If you have a lot of RAM and a good graphics card you can go nuts. I'll tell you from my own experience my machine was not up to much. I had built this thing originally with FPS gaming in mind as well as a few MMO's however a machine built for that is pretty much pansy compared with what you will need for doing any kind of real artwork. I was totally blown away by how pathetic my PC chugged when I started working on a large map. What you might do is check out some of the maps done by others and find a sizing that looks good for what you want and try that. If it's too slow when you are saving things or making changes then you either need to upgrade or cut it down into chunks.

    Of course, the pixel resolution you choose has a big effect on how large you can go. If you just want it for your computer screen you might be totally happy with 100ppi but if you want to print it out all super crispy you better think more around 300ppi. Pixels Per Inch will certain effect the file size of your map and that will of course effect the speed of your machine as you are working on it. I can tell you from experience that it really blows to be in full artistic flow and suddenly get stymied by a chugging machine that totally kills off your momentum.

    You might take a look at the maps done by a few of the expert map makers here and then try a size comparable with something you like and see how it goes.
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    Guild Expert Ramah's Avatar
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    The map I just started is roughly 8000 x 4000 pixels in size and when I tried to save it as an uncompressed jpeg a box came up saying I didn't have enough RAM.

    I'd say that 2k x 2k would be ok for a continental map and a series of regional maps. You could even go smaller than that probably. It all depends on how much detail you want in there. If you want to pick out individual trees and buildings then you're gonna need to make the map pretty big.
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    Guild Member Facebook Connected Lezales's Avatar
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    Well I got a beast here... 3 To of hard drive, 9 Gb of DDR3 ram and two ATI Radeon 4800 in dual mode as graphic cards ! With liquid cooling system of course ! I'll go up to 5000x5000 that'll give me plenty of space to work. In the worst case I'll just do the map territory by territory and put them together after.

    P.S: Ramah I'm completely fond of your style, I'll found a few brushes of your mountains, trees and hills. Do you mind me using that ?

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    Guild Expert Ramah's Avatar
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    Of course not. That's what they're there for.
    Royal: I'm very sorry for your loss, your mother was a terribly attractive woman.


    My Cartographer's Guild maps: Finished Maps


    More maps viewable at my DeviantArt page: Ramah-Palmer DeviantArt

  8. #8
    Community Leader Gracious Donor ravells's Avatar
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    Lezales, if you like Ramah's style check out his 'tree thing' program, it's just fantastic!

    Also, in terms of your continental shape, check out Old Guys tutorial on creating realistic coastlines. You can always print out an initial run with that and then detail the bits you want using a black sharpie and scan the result.

  9. #9
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Ascension's Avatar
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    With the pc you have you should be able to go 25,000 by 12,500 with no problem....because I can go that size but things take like 2-3 minutes when performing filters in PS.
    If the radiance of a thousand suns was to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...I am become Death, the Shatterer of worlds.
    -J. Robert Oppenheimer (father of the atom bomb) alluding to The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 11, Verse 32)


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