Hey, welcome to the Guild! I admire your enthusiasm.
If you have specific questions, don't hesitate to ask; for now I'll just sit back and watch and chime in if I see something egregious.
I am absolutely, positively, splendiforously new to this forum as I had just found it this morning... and it is a wonderful community you have here, truly. It is very inspiring. So much that I have decided to be a part of it! So yes... I act a little non-serious but don't let that fool you! I may be a total greenhorn when it comes to cartography but I am incredibly enthusiastic about learning all I can to build a proper, elegant, realistic, and beautiful overworld map. Actually, I plan on making a few others for a couple of cities.
I have a personal project that I have been working on for two and a half years now (it's a fantasy comic book sort of thing). Mostly writing, editing, re-writing, character development, character design, and culture building. It is a constant work in progress and things change day by day (and all suggestions, comments, criticisms are welcomed and LOVED). As far as the actual world goes, I have only ever made rough sketches to get an idea for distance and placement of a few key places. A very BASIC overall image is clear in my mind as to what I want, but when it comes to understanding the unknown details that form the world, I know zip. Zilch! I do have a deep knowledge of photoshop and have an eye for aesthetics, so I don't think I'll need too much help once I get the base padded out. I also am experienced with Autodesk Maya and have no doubts I may try my hand at making a 3D version of future projects.
I have been scrounging about the threads for an hour or so looking for some guidelines and from what I've seen (so far), most start their "story" with a map. For me, it's the other way around. I've got a story and now I need a map to fit. Just to clarify, I'm not looking for you all to give the answers to me but for some form of guidance. A little poke or prod in the right direction so I can learn on my own how these things work.
SO. On with the details... I'll try to keep it as simple as possible.
The story takes place on a desert planet. The setting -- for those interested -- is very much a vision of the distant future straight out of the 70s (think Star Wars minus droids and spaceships) transplanted into a culture influenced by medieval Persia, Greek, Rome, and India. Technology is limited as resources are fairly scarce.
And now...! On to the absolutely sad little sketch I have padded out... It is scarce and pathetic, but I hope it is taken seriously. Please remember I am nearly 100% new to cartography.
(The yellow swirl is pretty irrelevant to the map-making, but in regard to the story and to put a few things in context, it's a wormhole to another dimension that ripped into Harenova in the past several hundred years and is very, very slowly expanding. It's world-breaking and influences the environment the closer one travels to its center. ........... FANTASY...! In the last century, the majority of the world became aware of it so all are in a scramble to find a solution. The wormhole did not exist before the formation of the continent so for the sake of making the map, pretend it's not there. )
- Harenova is a predominantly desert supercontinent. The rest of the planet is ocean. As far as scale goes... the planet is Earth-sized and the ocean covers 2/3 of it.
- Kala'Nea city is the most prosperous. Perhaps located on a river or oasis? Desert environment.
- Tartaros is pretty damn uninhabitable. Due to either bad weather/climate or lack of resources. There's a self-sustaining colony used as a research facility.
- The red line marks a ferry route, which will most likely change once I implement water currents.
- The blue lines are mountain ranges that MUST stay in those relative places.
With this first post, I am laying out notes for myself and for others to see. I am also asking for a little guidance in regard to tectonic plates and water/wind currents. I know a smidgen about how tectonic plates work but... not nearly enough. And I embarrassingly know nothing in regard to wind and water currents. I'm going to do my best in educating myself on these matters (hooray for the internet!) but I am open to any suggestions, tips, links to articles, links to science, SCIENCE!, links to other posts that I missed that cover questions, anything really!
I really am wet clay for this community to mold. I'm openly laying out my ignorance so thanks for all your help in advance...
EDIT: Clarity, grammar.
EDIT 2: Though now reading around... I think I might want to reduce the ocean size... maybe to 1/3 of the planet, which won't be too troublesome. Hrm. -makes mental notes-
EDIT 3: Playing around with the image in Maya to see what a 1/3 ocean would look like... looks neat, but I'm going to have to scale the entire map up. 2/3 Ocean is easier to visualize, but dare I sacrifice realism for aesthetic? -more mental notes-
Made a gif for funzies!
Makes a little more sense looking at it in 3 dimensions, but I think the ocean still needs to be smaller... and when I do that, the islands from the left and right sides form a little "bridge". Neat.
Edit 4: I'm just going to keep editing this first post until major significant progress... Stretched out the map to make it appear more like a world map instead of a single continent (adding little fiddly bits around the coastlines will help as will smaller islands...). Picked out some continental plates and am messing around with plate tectonics... Soon will figure out ocean currents. Then wind currents. Eee... Time to read some more.
Last edited by Vagabondage; 07-26-2013 at 11:03 AM.
Hey, welcome to the Guild! I admire your enthusiasm.
If you have specific questions, don't hesitate to ask; for now I'll just sit back and watch and chime in if I see something egregious.
Thanks for the welcome!!
Actually, I do have a question... I think.
After reducing the size of the ocean and putting what I have so far on a 3D sphere, I'm aware of how potentially far away from the sun the northern and southern most parts of the map will be. The hottest climates will be along the equator, which works, I'm happy to say. The only thing I didn't consider was Tartaros' placement. It would probably have the nicest weather of all, which poses a bit of a problem since it's supposed to be a really crappy place to live... Though, a cold tundra environment would not change much especially if it were dry and would add biome diversity. Desert planet doesn't necessarily mean ALL desert. Let's see... Could probably muck the local weather up a bit by plopping volcanoes down there either in hot spots or near a convergent plate boundary... occasional spew of ash, carbon dioxide, and sulfur dioxide would ruin people's days, wouldn't it? Actually, I think I might just do that! Why, of course I am a loving and gracious Creator! Mwahaha!
Bah. AHEM. What was my question again...? Oh, I think I just talked it out.
Okay, real question this time... I can't talk this one out like the last.
I'm doing some research on biomes and climate/rainfall to suit and adapt the intended environment for certain regions, islands, etc. Digging into the lovely Climate Cookbook, which I found in another thread.
If I want my planet to be predominantly desert and/or arid, should I decrease the size of the ocean? Is it plausible for a desert planet to have an ocean as large as it is now? I would like potential forest-y areas (-maybe- a rainforest here or there)... I'll get the answer on my own eventually... but I guess it's a question I should ask before I get too deep into this. I figure the issue can be solved with strategically placed mountain ranges and rivers. Altitude too.
OFF TO READING~!
P.S. -- I am very quickly learning about how wind currents work. This is exciting! Woo! LEARNING. SCIENCE!
EDIT: Uh. Well. Reading Climate Cookbook... and am... making an attempt to follow it. I picked out my major mountain ranges and am most likely mucking things up. I think I'm thinking about surface water currents alongside land wind currents. OY. But I think I'm making progress since this is revealing to me basic wind direction and now I'm thinking of windward-leeward sides of mountains and basic elevation of lands. Starting to formulate an idea of the climate around those areas. I think I need to do some cross-referencing of other maps... real and fictional.
EDIT2: Padded out surface ocean currents referencing the behavior of the real world map. Feedback is welcome.
EDIT3: Picked out warm and cool currents. Read a little about how warm/cool currents effect climate and decided to add a few land-masses to divert currents in the way I wanted. Blocked out basic wet (green) and dry (pink) areas. Offset the second image a little to show you the current on the far east and west of the map. Feedback appreciated as always... Though now looking at the second map, that current looks a helluva mess. I need to fix that.
Next up, figuring out air pressure of ALL THE PLACES...
Last edited by Vagabondage; 07-19-2013 at 03:18 PM.
Talking completely off the top of my head and knowing very little about climate patterns and rainfall except for what I've absorbed through osmosis over the years.... I would say that the bigger the ocean, the wetter the landforms are going to be. I know that the more land wind currents have to traverse, the drier they get, as there's no ocean below to act as a recirculator and re-moisten them. Also, high mountains act as rain barriers; if wind currents flow east to west, and you have a big mountain chain somewhere in your continent running north to south, the western side of the continent is probably going to be at a minimum very dry-steppes-y (is that a word? ), and again, depending on the size of the continent, maybe even drier.
Also, big deserts on Earth don't tend to sit directly on the equator, I believe due to intersecting/interacting air currents from the north and south hemispheres, which flow contrary to each other. The main Earth deserts - Gobi, Sahara, etc - are offset a bit north or south of the equator.
Take all of the above with a grain of salt and do get better info from more knowledgeable members (who I'm sure will be along shortly), but hopefully that gives you a place to start?
Thanks for the feedback!
And indeed it does help...! It confirms a few of my own criticisms, so at least I know I'm getting somewhere. A smaller ocean might make a significant change to the overall climate of some areas without having to compromise too much diversity. I will have to think about this...
The mountain's bit was what was confusing me the most (at this point but there's a lot that confuses me). I understand a little bit about windward-leeward sides of a mountain, but I don't know how much of a scale it effects either side and to what extremes.
As for the desert bit, I keep looking at world maps and recognizing that deserts don't usually occur on the equator. I'm going to do a bit more research once I... stop playing Mount and Blade.
I saw someone else's WIP where he had made a basic layout of a city/town in Blender. It was really inspiring and exciting, so I think I might have to do the same (especially since it would be wonderful for reference once I do get started on drawings). I think once I get a better idea of how water and wind works to affect the land (and once I make a nice outline of my continents, other mountains, and rivers), I'll start padding out land altitude. Ohhh. YES.
EDIT: I found a useful image. I'm going to paste it in here for future reference. I can see that at the equator, the heating of earth's surface has a significant difference compared to surrounding latitudes. I've got work in a few minutes, so I haven't had the time to do any actual reading. But the whole article looks incredibly informative. I'll read it as soon as I get back... in ten hours... ick.
Last edited by Vagabondage; 07-21-2013 at 12:52 PM.
Keeping in mind that the equator is more wet, I've started to plan out basic territories...
After thinking about it, I believe I should expand the land area some more so I can have larger and/or more deserts.
Last edited by Vagabondage; 07-24-2013 at 01:24 PM.
I was wondering why it looked like my surface water currents were flowing the opposite of the examples from Earth... then I realized everything was fairly off-center. So now I've scrunched up the entire map and plopped on some ice caps (which won't be included in the final version because uninhabitable). NOW the weather should make more sense than what I was doing before. And Tartaros will have something closer to its intended weather than before. Oopsie poopsie. So now I need to re-think the water currents again... but that was fairly easy so it shouldn't take too long.
(Props to those who know what Gamoto and Malaka mean... I put them there as temporary names, but they're starting to stick... as are Nihileam "It's Nothing" and Nihilmagis "More of nothing!")
Decided that while I'd like this to be some sort of concept art and a reference for myself, the final piece will be made in the perspective of a character. It gives me some direction and bias in regard to presentation and style. It will also give me some freedom to tell a story with the piece too, which will be fun. I need to keep in mind SCALE. I don't think I am doing a good enough job of thinking of this as an ENTIRE PLANET. Especially when I have only split the world into five factions (even though they are major factions). I will put a scale somewhere on the map to help myself visualize everything.
I think I'm nearing completion of basic landmasses and water currents now. I'm a bit more knowledgeable about climate diversity. I'm giving myself some wiggle room now that I feel I have proposed a reasonable world to put certain biomes freely in some areas without having to worry too much about adhering to realism. Hardly anything about the story is realistic at all anyway... I just like having something plausible to work with. This is also HELLA FUN.
P.S. -- Dagger Sea routes are wrong. Going to fix them later. -sigh-
NOTES FOR VAGABONDAGE HERSELF SO SHE DOESN'T LOSE THEM READ THEM IF YOU WANT TO:
Proposed Opening of the Rift: Α/ξθ͵͵ (Aleph - 69)
The Rift Takes its First: Η/σξϛ͵ (Heth - 266)
Our Lady's Sleep: H/σογ (Heth - 273)͵to H/τια/Θ͵(Heth - 311 / Thet [Current])
This Year: Θ/β͵ (Thet - 2)
Estimated World Population: 360 million
(The Hive considers only those capable of complex language and/or mathematics to be people. This rules out many Asps, Northern Nomads, and young children.)
The Northern Nomads of Phrojana, Tandha, and Litilgarmi are an unknown people to the Hive as they are unfit for warmer climates. Asps treat them as commodities to entertain and then eat. A few skeletons and mangled cadavers have been found by Pantheras tribes. Their skin is proposed to be covered head-to-toe with white and black fur. Illustrations from surviving Pantheras paintings shows them to be ape-like. Jaw samples from skull fragments point toward omnivores. Their submission to the Asps leaves them a mystery to the rest of the world.
The diversity of asps ranges from small reptiles to massive beasts to humanoid serpents. They live in their own personal dystopia of tribespeople trading each other among themselves in a constant civil war. They are technologically inferior but their brutality and hostility keeps them feared enemies of Pantheras and Northern Nomads. Weakness is not tolerated in their culture and psychological conditioning (that is, those susceptible to it) keeps most in line. They are rather neutral about the Rift in the long run, but when part of their lands was devoured, they fled. There are small groups scattered throughout the deserts who live on vagabonds.
Asp beasts compromised major areas of Pantheras tribelands in an attempt to escape the Rift devouring their own. Hive colonies offered safety in exchange for their servitude. Pantheras lost ownership of the peoples of Oxhorn Bay, Stepping Stones, Gamoto, and Malaka. Those who did not manage to escape were split between the Incubi and Hive. Both of which use them as slaves for entertainment or manual labor (if they are not lazy hedonists -- which most are). Those who have been granted freedom or wander Hive streets are neither ostracized or praised, but ignored. Most of the peoples from the islands and Pantheras jungles are pagans and/or polytheists. Only a select few do not believe in gods.
Incubi are truly neutral so long as their lands and strict culture are left undisturbed. Even so much as passing through Cathedral Valley is a threat punishable by public death by the Hive or imprisonment by Incubi. No one wants to be imprisoned by an Incubus. Demands are made from time to time and the Hive often bends to them. However, the demands have become more aggressive as time progresses and the Hive has become wary. While Incubi had once asked their exiles be executed on site, the Hive now finds use in keeping the estranged creatures alive as they are obedient and submissive in the loss of their people and purpose. The Incubi are a monotheistic culture worshipping a masculine, dominant deity (similar to the Judeo-Christian God). They believe the Rift to be an apocalyptic blessing. They have been aware of its existence for ages as they appear to have built their population from it. Perhaps they have knowledge of how to traverse it safely?
The Hive is incredibly intelligent. Mathematics and science reign supreme. The culture allows for its people to worship any deity or practice any spiritual beliefs (within the law), but Hive aristocracy and those seeking to be in their favor are monotheistic and owe their alleigance ultimately to a goddess referred to as "Our Lady". A handful of Hive members are appointed at birth to be her interpreters and mark the beginning and end of eras based on their ability to hear the voice of their Lady. Times of silence are referred to as "Our Lady's Sleep". The Hive see the Rift as a threat to their control over the world and seek to -- if not obliterate it -- at least regulate it.
Tartaros is the safest and easiest to manage place away from the Rift's chaotic and reality-bending influence. It was a prison island before becoming a colony for research. It remains such, but offers a more diverse people. The island itself has its own unique cultural ways.
The Southern Ocean belongs to the Hive and is home to a few oceanic trade routes.
Hive ships traveling from Amelia have begun to face unwanted incubus visitors lately claiming to have lost their way in the Spiral Sea (named after its cyclical current).
The Northern Ocean is infested with sea snakes and other primeval creatures adapted to its warm waters. It is best to avoid them.
The Stepping Stones are a chaotic paradise. The inhabitants that manage to survive the climate are either passive neutrals or pirates.
Last edited by Vagabondage; 07-24-2013 at 06:40 PM.
To be updated...
Collecting references for this and future pieces.
Ancient Arabia Map Fragment?
Pascaerte van 't Westelycke Deel van Oost Indien, van Cabo de Bona Esperanca, tot C. Comorin
Der Berg Sinai
Macrobian world map, 10th century (For the text...)
Antique map of Anemographica by Lotter
Planetae et Radiationes In Cancri Dodecatemorio
Scenographia Systematis Copernicani
The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymous Bosch
Islamic Illuminated Manuscript 1
Tabernacle world view in the Christian Topography 6th century -- WHAT IS THIS? WHY IS IT SO AWESOME? THE MOUNTAIN IS IN A BOX.
"Bootleg Disney World" -- Dat castle.
Free Relief Layers for Google Maps
Unicase -- Simple. Easy to read. Calligraphic.
Masonic Tattegrain -- Beautiful. Not gonna use, but gives me an idea of what I'd like
Intellecta Monograms -- Whaaaaaat the???
CF Nelson Old -- Ooooh! I like the sketchy geometric look.
Japanese (?) Map -- For the aged, folded look...!
As for my map... I'm going to start sketching out rivers (will update this same post with a new image later today). When that is finished, I'll start a new document entirely to create a more detailed version of the coastline. Then I'll start working on the composition for the border and informational legends, compasses, n stuff.
EDIT: After looking through all of the strange curiosities of maps from the medieval era and how esoteric they feel with their lack of knowledge and strange illustrations. I'm starting to feel as though I should take a more unconventional approach to the map I have so far. I find myself asking the same question over and over: What if the world really was flat? What if the sea was endless? While that might be back-tracking on my part, I don't mind. Like I said in my first post, I've been working on this idea for two years and I have often turned back on decisions that didn't feel right until I found one that fit... like a proper piece in a puzzle. Certainly I need to compromise some realism for the sake of emotional and psychological aesthetic.
Discworld works, doesn't it?
I've always wanted to ground myself in some sort of realism, but I can't forget that this is a fantasy world. I want to invoke that feeling I get when I look at ancient maps. The feeling of this is what people really believed. Extraplanar forces were presumed to be in control of worldly, natural phenomena. That monsters roamed the sea and devoured ships. Certainly some of those things exist and while I would like for there to exist some "advanced" technology (sandmobiles, mechanical monsters, etc. -- the sort of things reserved for aristocracy who had either studied the creation of such things or commissioned them) there is a certain amount of unknowing I'd like for my audience to comprehend. Like the whole thing is essentially ouroboros or a mobius ring.
It's a bit of a far stretch to make, but I think I may be able to make something elegant and strange if I work at it. I'll experiment with what I've got now.
To illustrate what I mean, I need to point out that the initial inspiration for my little pet project of two years was Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy and ultimately his map of Hell. Harenova used to be called -- in its entirety -- Tartarus, but I figured that was absolutely absurd and far too forward. As I strayed away from the biblical fan-fiction and started to study mythology and theologies, the story veered away from the polarization of good and evil and toward the ambiguous, eastern philosophy that everything is connected. There's no doubt that Dante's Inferno left a dream-like vision in my mind that I would like to achieve.
Bah, what is this, my blog?!
Something like this... I'm going to reduce the size of some continents and enlarge others. Tartaros is absolutely too large.
tl;dr -- Vagabondage is thinking and trying to be an "artistic" hipster in her endeavors.
Last edited by Vagabondage; 08-16-2013 at 12:28 AM.