Project Background

The Hævenstadt (pronounced : HIE-ven-stawd) Harbor Project actually started about a year ago under a different name (Keresk Harbor) as a result of a short story I was writing at the time. The story called for a coastal area that was particularly rough in landform and brutal for sea travel in much the same way the coastal regions of the U.S. Northwest are. In particular, the shoreline needed to be dominated by sea cliffs and jutting rock formations that made passage and landing by sailing vessels particularly miserable. To make matters worse, the entire region needed to be subject to gale-like storms that, more often than not, struck without warning and left the devastation of flooding and landslides in their wake. It wouldn't be an easy place to make a life in, but for cultures (based strongly on old Norse Mythology) that included Humans, Alfar (elfs), Dvergar (dwarfs) and giants of various sorts, such conditions wouldn't be enough to keep them from trying. Hævenstadt Harbor became one of the very rare locales that found itself naturally sheltered from these conditions to a certain degree.

Since that time, the short story has blossomed into the beginnings of a novel and I discovered a need to further develop not only the harbor itself, but the region surrounding it. When the January Challenge started up, I saw it as an opportunity to work on the project and, if I was lucky enough to get the majority of the votes, end up with a nice wall version of the map from Gameprinter. Much to my consternation, however, a number of events have derailed that plan. But they haven't derailed the entire project.

Having officially dropped out of the Challenge at this point, I'm no longer weighed down by the burden of the submission deadline, and this will, or so I hope, free me to work on it at a more leisurely pace. It may very well have saved what little hair I have left as well. LOL! In any event, I'm now presenting the Hævenstadt Harbor Project here as a WIP thread and look forward to comments and suggestions from fellow cartographers in an effort to create something that is a bit more complete as far as the mapping aspect of the project goes.

One of the challenges faced in this project comes from the fact that I am attempting to render these maps in Terragen. Terragen allows me to take a look at things from a character's point of view. It's not just a matter of seeing pretty colors and/or symbols on a map and knowing that they represent mountains, forests, lakes and cities. It is a matter of seeing those things as if you were looking at them from inside the world itself. It isn't just a symbol that represents a mountain, it is the way it towers above you. It isn't just a color that represents an ocean, it is the waves crashing up against the shore. With this "in the world" view, I find myself better able to describe what the characters are seeing as they gaze about.

The benefit of that perspective, however, comes at a cost. It is a time consuming process on both the editing and rendering sides of the coin. And then there are the textures, the Surface Maps and the Distribution Masks, not to mention the need to come up with names for places of interest. All in all, it is one heck of an undertaking, but it is one that, at least for me, should be well worth the effort and, or so I hope, offer a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when I've finished.

With all of that said, I'll begin this thread, or rather, continue this thread with some details regarding the early development process, back when things were still being crafted for the purposes of a short story.