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Thread: Draesina: My First Attempt at Creating a Map :D

  1. #1

    Wip Draesina: My First Attempt at Creating a Map :D

    So, this is eventually going to be a world map for my fantasy world, Draesina. I'm just starting out, as you can see, and would just like some opinions. I have the basic continent outlines, the plate tectonics and their movement, and the continents overlayed onto a world map to show relative sizes. I'm keeping the world similar to Earth, to make it easier for me.

    I'm mainly looking for insight on my plate tectonics. What landforms would be created where, mainly, or if there's anything that just looks wonky and needs to be changed. Any and all help is appreciated! ^.^

    Continent Outline
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    Plate Tectonics
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    Reference
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  2. #2

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    Looks pretty good! ^_^ I'm no expert on tectonic plates but I think they need a little work IMO, I'll see if anybody else wants to explain.

    I like the coastlines they're pretty believable and pretty (did that make sense?)

  3. #3

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    lol yes! I actually grabbed some premade continent patterns from deviant art.

    In fact, I hunted down the page again: Fantasy Map Resources

    Basically what I did was cut open up the vairous premades in gimp, cut put pieces I liked, and mashed them together, editing a little here and there so it would fit correctly. (I had to get some rough measurements down for it to work in my story.) Then I took the entire blob of continent and selected it, then shrank the selection to create an outline. That was the easiest way I found to do it, as the thought of hand drawing (even on the computer!) coastlines made my head spin. Also, I only had a rough idea what I wanted my continents to look like, and so this helped me give them some variety and believability.

  4. #4
    Guild Member ManOfSteel's Avatar
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    Very nice, but just a few things I'd like to point out.
    First, your larger continents are cut in half. That can happen, especially when the continent splits as in Africa's Great Rift Valley. But generally, continents float on their own plates. Thus, you end up with two kinds of tectonic plates: ones that have a continent on them, and ones that are nothing but a big piece of ocean floor. It's the collision of the land ones that creates mountain ranges, the splitting of land ones that create rift valleys, and the subduction of ocean plates beneath land plates that creates trenches, volcanic ranges, and island arcs and archipelagos.
    You might try looking at your world then as a collection of continents riding their own plates (with the occasional merge or rift) and ocean plates. The western continent might be two that have joined at the narrow area just north of the equator.
    Secondly, you do realize that there's not a lot of great real estate on the world as you can see from the overlay of the map of our world, right?. Depending on the terrain, the place most people are going to want to go is the southern half of the western continent and the islands to the east of it. Because of the latitude, everything in the north half is going to be taiga and tundra....think upper Canada and the arctic. The southern continent in the east could be problematic. Depending on the terrain, there's a good chance it could be mainly desert or tropical rain forest, both livable of course, but with difficulty. You could manipulate the terrain so that there's a good amount of grassland at a higher altitude though. That's your perogative. It's your world. The northern continent in the east is almost unlivable except for the southern coast...think Greenland, Iceland, and Siberia.
    Now, ,I am a big fan of not manipulating continents and rivers. I like to deal the cards and force myself to play with what I'm dealt, just like in the real world. So if you want lots of frozen wilderness, that's what you're going to have probably. Again, there's a lot of other factors to consider that only you know, for instance the axial tilt of the planet and the extent of it's tropical zones...the altitude of different places, etc. But making these maps can be deceiving. Realize that once you place this map on a sphere, all that land you think you have at the top and bottom is going to pinched severely at the poles.
    I made your map wider and spread the continents a bit so that it would be at a proper 2:1 ratio for a better projection on a sphere.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by ManOfSteel; 12-10-2012 at 02:03 AM.

  5. #5
    Guild Expert jbgibson's Avatar
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    The outlines you assembled do look nice. Remember how severely distorted that northernmost landmass is, thanks to the projection.

    The fractal degree of all your coastlines is similar -- about the same jagginess. You might get enhanced plausibility - and some more types of coastal terrain like marshes, barrier islands, smooth beaches, if you mix it up. Take a look at whole continents worth of earthly maps; there's a wider variety than you currently show. Your stuff isn't bad at all, just might be made even better! :-)

    The plates imply some stuff about your landmasses - the mid continent collision at NE would maybe be piling up a Himalayan range, the diverging boundary at SE would maybe ba a rift valley like in east-central Africa or an Icelandic volcanic profusion. Places where you show converging boundaries at sea, if I understand tectonics right, would maybe have shoved the upper plate above water, and/or generated a volcanic arc of islands - see ring of fire, other similar spots on earth. You have several major boundaries that are same direction both sides - no idea what that does. Have you specifically looked that up?
    Last edited by jbgibson; 12-10-2012 at 02:02 AM.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by ManOfSteel
    Very nice, but just a few things I'd like to point out.
    First, your larger continents are cut in half. That can happen, especially when the continent splits as in Africa's Great Rift Valley. But generally, continents float on their own plates. Thus, you end up with two kinds of tectonic plates: ones that have a continent on them, and ones that are nothing but a big piece of ocean floor. It's the collision of the land ones that creates mountain ranges, the splitting of land ones that create rift valleys, and the subduction of ocean plates beneath land plates that creates trenches, volcanic ranges, and island arcs and archipelagos.
    You might try looking at your world then as a collection of continents riding their own plates (with the occasional merge or rift) and ocean plates. The western continent might be two that have joined at the narrow area just north of the equator.
    Alright, neat. For the northeastern continent, I intended it that way, as there is a (important) mountain range in that area. So it would be similar to the Indian plate converging with the Eurasian plate, creating Himilayan-sized mountains (!) as jbgibson says. And I was thinking of playing around with a large rift on the more southern continent, but I'll take your advice on the other two and move that one around, and the one on the western continent.

    Quote Originally Posted by ManOfSteel
    Secondly, you do realize that there's not a lot of great real estate on the world as you can see from the overlay of the map of our world, right?. Depending on the terrain, the place most people are going to want to go is the southern half of the western continent and the islands to the east of it. Because of the latitude, everything in the north half is going to be taiga and tundra....think upper Canada and the arctic.
    Oops. I didn't realize that.

    Quote Originally Posted by ManOfSteel
    The southern continent in the east could be problematic. Depending on the terrain, there's a good chance it could be mainly desert or tropical rain forest, both livable of course, but with difficulty. You could manipulate the terrain so that there's a good amount of grassland at a higher altitude though.
    Good. I actually want it that way. I have a desert-based culture that I plan on using (it's where the main villain comes from.) Speaking of that particular area, the small island just north of it, would that be included in the jungle-type terrain?

    Quote Originally Posted by ManOfSteel
    That's your perogative. It's your world. The northern continent in the east is almost unlivable except for the southern coast...think Greenland, Iceland, and Siberia.
    Oops again. I knew part of it would be pretty cold, but I didn't realize most of it. I need it to be a bit more habitable. I'll move that down.

    Quote Originally Posted by ManOfSteel
    Now,I am a big fan of not manipulating continents and rivers. I like to deal the cards and force myself to play with what I'm dealt, just like in the real world. So if you want lots of frozen wilderness, that's what you're going to have probably. Again, there's a lot of other factors to consider that only you know, for instance the axial tilt of the planet and the extent of it's tropical zones...the altitude of different places, etc.
    I like that idea. I'll probably tweak the one or two little things from above, but I do like the challenges it presents me in its current state. And it also gives me something to work with, now that I know what the general climate will be like.

    Quote Originally Posted by ManOfSteel
    But making these maps can be deceiving. Realize that once you place this map on a sphere, all that land you think you have at the top and bottom is going to pinched severely at the poles.
    I made your map wider and spread the continents a bit so that it would be at a proper 2:1 ratio for a better projection on a sphere.
    That's pretty nifty. What did you use to create this? It would be an immense help to me!


    Quote Originally Posted by jbgibson
    The outlines you assembled do look nice. Remember how severely distorted that northernmost landmass is, thanks to the projection.

    The fractal degree of all your coastlines is similar -- about the same jagginess. You might get enhanced plausibility - and some more types of coastal terrain like marshes, barrier islands, smooth beaches, if you mix it up. Take a look at whole continents worth of earthly maps; there's a wider variety than you currently show. Your stuff isn't bad at all, just might be made even better! :-)
    Thanks! I had no idea. Do you know where I could look up different types of terrain, so I can get a feel for how they look?

    Quote Originally Posted by jbgibson
    The plates imply some stuff about your landmasses - the mid continent collision at NE would maybe be piling up a Himalayan range, the diverging boundary at SE would maybe ba a rift valley like in east-central Africa or an Icelandic volcanic profusion. Places where you show converging boundaries at sea, if I understand tectonics right, would maybe have shoved the upper plate above water, and/or generated a volcanic arc of islands - see ring of fire, other similar spots on earth. You have several major boundaries that are same direction both sides - no idea what that does. Have you specifically looked that up?
    Himalayan-sized mountains, you say? All the better to hide lost civilizations and dragons in, my dear. :3

    As for the tectonic plates moving in the same direction, I couldn't find much with a few Google searches. But from what I did gather, they would probably not be going at the same speed. Which would put them in the same category as transform movement, creating mostly earthquakes, probably similar to those along the San Andreas fault.

    Thanks for all that!! I will (hopefully soon) make those changes and post them here! Please, feel free to keep giving your insight. ^.^
    Last edited by okami; 12-11-2012 at 04:24 PM.

  7. #7
    Guild Member ManOfSteel's Avatar
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    It's really late, but I wanted to check in. I'm glad you liked my insights, but I just realized something. It looks like you're using a Mercator projection of the Earth underneath the map of your world. That doesn't project onto a sphere properly using the software I used. See if you can find an equirectangular projection and slide that underneath and that will give you a better comparison of where your land masses would be when projected on a sphere.
    More tomorrow.

  8. #8

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    oh, thanks! I'll get right on that!

  9. #9
    Guild Member ManOfSteel's Avatar
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    Greetings! Attached are two versions of your world; one superimposed over a equirectangular map of the Earth, and another superimposed over the climate guide I used for my world map. I used Bryce 7.1 (still available for free at DAZ3D.com I think) to project your map onto the spheres you see above. Now you can get a better understanding of comparative climates. So it turns out it's not as bad as we (I) thought it would be regarding land usage on your world. You have lots more than we previously thought. Note where the northern cities like Toronto, New York, Oslo, Stockholm, Moscow, and Vancouver would be. That's about as far north as you'd get a lot of people to go.
    Note the temperate cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Rome, Paris, Rio De Janeiro, and Sydney. Sometimes gets hot, but never snows.
    Note the tropical and near tropical cities like Miami, Bangkok, Mumbai, and Taiwan. Possible jungle depending on the altitude. And look...your island is indeed in the tropical zone.
    And note how the main deserts are in two bands...The Mojave, the Sahara, the Arabian, the Gobi, the Sonoran, the Kalihari, the Namibian, the Great Australian...all slightly or well inland along those two latitudes. So:

    Green= tropical. Centered around the equator and extending to the tropics (of Cancer and Capricorn on Earth)
    Red= the main desert zones
    Yellow= the temperate zones. Best weather on the planet.
    Blue= You've got to like cold weather if you live here. Summer is usually brief and mild, but never hot.
    White= Polar. The lands of ice and snow.

    Of course, much of this depends on the axial tilt of your world.

    Attachment 50478 Attachment 50479
    Last edited by ManOfSteel; 12-12-2012 at 12:23 AM.

  10. #10

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    Since this is my first world, I'm going to keep things like axial tilt similar to Earth. 23.4 degrees if I remember correctly. Also, your links lead me to an invalid attachment.

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