map creation?

Discussion in 'Workshop' started by WeThePeople..., Apr 21, 2007.

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    WeThePeople...

    WeThePeople... New Member

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    first post, here goes:
    i know there was an earlier post about maps, but this one is different. My question is:
    where do you get the ideas for your maps? Where do you get your inspiration? Do you just doodle? Do you make the map after or before you think up the plot?




    ps: any suggestions would be great, as i'm stuck making a map for my latest story.
     
  2.  
    Talysia

    Talysia Lady of Autumn

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    When I draw my maps, I always start out with a fresh sheet of paper, and I just sketch out a random shape for a continent, so mostly it's doodling for me. When I'm happy with the outline I draw in rivers and lakes, mountains and forests, and finally the cities, towns and ports.

    Usually, I like to have a map sketched out before I start writing, even if it isn't a complete world map, just one continent. It gives me ideas about the shape the story should take, because I can visualize journeys and such from it. If the story requires it, you can then look for ideal places where a big battle could take place, or if the characters need to hide/flee. That's just the way I do it, though.:)
     
  3.  
    WeThePeople...

    WeThePeople... New Member

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    Usually I envision a single place, such as a battle, and then a lot of different cultures; then try to piece them together as feels best. Then I just tweak it a little. Hasn't worked for me lately, though...
     
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    HardScienceFan

    HardScienceFan 'what to eat' fan

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    Just free associating here,never drawn a map in my life:
    settlements near large rivers and lakes
    no woods above the treeline
    coastline irregular(using fractals?)
    no large bodies of water in the rainshadow of mountains
    be careful where you put steppe and tundra vegetation,and swamps,and deciduous evergreen forest:)
    Ben
     
  5.  
    pyan

    pyan Fortiter et recte! Staff Member

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    Now that's a real fantasy world, HSF - a neat trick, though, if you can find one!
     
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    HardScienceFan

    HardScienceFan 'what to eat' fan

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    Have you ever heard of(*sound of phonebooth door closing,swishing cape*)
    GAFFE MAN?
    I plead guilty.
    Have you ever heard my rap record(as Fallacious D):Erring on the Thick Side?
    Have you ever seen a more crimson face than mine?
    Have you ever seen my booklet for the Centre for the Scientifically Inept?
    (Getting your Terminology All Wrong:A Primer)
    plus I'm in the alphabatical Index of Nitwits & Nincompoops
    In short,I'm embarassed
    Ben
     
  7.  
    pyan

    pyan Fortiter et recte! Staff Member

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    That's all right, Ben - always glad to help!;):D

    actually, the common idea of an evergreen tree "not shedding its leaves" ia wrong - they just do it all year round, a few at a time.

    Have you noticed, BTW, how rare ordinary rain is in Fantasy? It's nearly always either dry, or a violent storm, or snow, for some reason. Perhaps it's because a lot of writers ignore the mechanics of a rain shadow, as you mentioned.
     
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    Lenny

    Lenny Press "X" to admire hat

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    Would it be worth the people who know exactly about everything like this to post a thread (and hopefully sticky it) describing the different features of landscapes, and how they should fit together, and where not to put them etc.

    I can guarantee that most of us will have no idea whatsoever.
     
  9.  
    pyan

    pyan Fortiter et recte! Staff Member

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    Not a bad idea, Lenny - you'd be amazed at the number of botanical and horticultural gaffes I've read.
     
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    Lenny

    Lenny Press "X" to admire hat

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    In that case, then, I think I'll do well to keep the few maps I've drawn as far away from you as possible. :rolleyes: :p
     
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    HardScienceFan

    HardScienceFan 'what to eat' fan

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    *Ben,peering around the edges of the black lines surrounding the "post" box*
    UUHHHMMM
    are we talking fantasy or SF here?
    lately a lot of geomorphological research is centered on the link between
    largescale geophysical phenomena and geomorphology.
    If you want to build a world consistent with current views on our planet,then you have your work cut out for you!
    remember,e.g. if you describe seasons,the planet has to have an axial tilt.
    Tides imply a satellite,etc.Vegetation,ice cover etc.imply heat sources and sinks,and influence planetary albedo.Strong air movements(storms) imply strong differential heating,et a lot of cetera.
    Hope I haven't scared you,BTW:)
     
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    The Ace

    The Ace Aye fur Alba

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    Er Pyan, doesn't the larch shed it's needles in winter ? Seriously, though maybe fantasy writers (cetainly in the UK) are so sick of rain, they leave it out unless they need it for the plot.
     
  13.  
    pyan

    pyan Fortiter et recte! Staff Member

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    True - it's not an evergreen, though - it's in a class of its own as a deciduous gymnosperm - it just looks like an evergreen tree.:D
     
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    WeThePeople...

    WeThePeople... New Member

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    just checked, wikipedia has a pretty lengthy article on what HSF was talking about (where to put rivers, mountains, cities, etc.). Was a great help to me. oh yeah, the article is called constructed world.
     
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    Lenny

    Lenny Press "X" to admire hat

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    WeThePeople...

    WeThePeople... New Member

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    That would be it. The article mentions software for creating maps. Anyone heard of a program like that? Seems like it could be great help for elevation and water features...
     
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    Lenny

    Lenny Press "X" to admire hat

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    Great stuff. :)

    Methinks I might actually put all that into a Word document and print it off for future reference. It's definitely useful.
     
  18.  
    chrispenycate

    chrispenycate resident pedantissimo Staff Member

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    In SF mode I can do seasons without axial tilt, either by doing a double star system or by making a more eliptical orbit. Changes your wind patterns and ocean currents, of course, having your two hemispheres warming and cooling at the same time, and means your sea level drops seriously in winter relative to summer - axial tilt is easier, because were used to it, but not life-threatening. The eliptical leaves day and night the same length, but the double star solution gives a longer year, and total sunlight in high summer.
    So, anyone do "summer" and "winter" maps with varying coastlines and migrating species?
     
  19.  
    WeThePeople...

    WeThePeople... New Member

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    At one point I was thinking of a story whereone large moon revolves around the world every 113 years or so. Every time it comes around, wars usually start for the land which won't be affected by tidal floods. I drew two maps, one for before the flood and one after (or should that be during?). Of course, this wasn't exactly seasons, but whatever. Your idea seems logical, though, I should try it.
     
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    chrispenycate

    chrispenycate resident pedantissimo Staff Member

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    Very elongated eliptical orbit, right? And it wouldn't be a flood as such; more a continuous tsunami running a couple of times round the equator, wiping out most evidence of civilisation.
    There's an interesting sideline in that the planet's molten core will be attracted just like the surface water, so you'll get vocanoes popping off like fire crackers, and earthquakes, and, in general, life will get very interesting every 113 years.
     

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