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Creating a continent
http://www.incatena.org/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=44555
Page 2 of 3

Author:  garysk [ Sun Dec 11, 2016 11:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Creating a continent

downwind of a mountain range is going to be drier than the windward side. But not necessarily a desert, possibly mediterranean or steppe/savannah. If you look at a map of the Earth, look where the deserts are. They are pretty miuch clustered around the two tropics. The Mexican desert extends into the US because of rain shadow effects. The Colorado Plateau and the Great Basin are kinda deserty and kinda steppey. Florida is not a desert because it is in the middle of the Gulf Stream. The Sahara is centered on the Tropic of Cancer. The deserts of the Middle East are clustered on the tropic. The deserts of Australia, the Kalahari, and Namib deserts are centered on the Tropic of Capricorn, as is the Atacama in Chile. The Mongolian desert is really a steppe. It, and the Great Plains of the US, are steppes, with low rainfall because of rain shadow, but also because of being very interior in their continents.

The desert to the West of the Southern Mountains makes sense, but deserts are not usual along the 40th parallel. I know this partly from experience, having grown up about a mile and a half south of the 40th parallel. West coastally, the 40th parallel is mediterranean climate, interiorly it is steppe, East coastally it is humid temperate.

I'm not sure why the divergence of the wind patterns at 40° would give rise to deserts. And don't forget that the Hadley Cells and the Farrell Cells are typical, average, and constantly in flux because of weather; their margins wobble and bulge and merge and split. Plus geography is crucial to the paths of storms. What the divergence at 40° gives rise to, in the US, is thunderstorms and especially tornados, since the 40th has wind shear built in, so cyclonic formations are frequent.

Author:  Gareth3 [ Sun Dec 11, 2016 5:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Creating a continent

OK, that makes sense. Are there any changes you'd make to my latest climate diagram, going by your winds and ocean currents?

Author:  Gareth3 [ Sun Dec 11, 2016 10:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Creating a continent

The next step is to divide up the continent into regions. I'm doing this mostly by climate, but I'm also allowing for natural borders. The regions aren't 'countries', especially where the land isn't productive enough for states to develop. But there'll be one dominant culture per region.


Here's a list of the 11 regions, with a region on Earth roughly the same size and climate.

North Coast - Victoria Island, Canada
Forest - British Columbia, Canada
North Valley - Quebec and Labrador, Canada
North Island - Newfoundland Island, Canada
East Sea - Mediterranean Sea
Bight - Eastern half of the United States
Steppe - Western half of the United States
Desert - Mexico
Mountain - Sierra Madre Oriental, Mexico
Savanna - Florida, Cuba, and Hispaniola
Rainforest - Caribbean Sea

Some of the Earth equivalents are a bit off, especially in the climate. I'm trying to stay in North America to make comparing the sizes easier.

Author:  garysk [ Mon Dec 12, 2016 2:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Creating a continent


Author:  Gareth3 [ Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Creating a continent


Author:  garysk [ Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Creating a continent

I didn't mean to conflate the lack of plains with the particular climate. But long-term climate does make plateaus into mountains into plains into shallow seas, and back again.

I did have a question. On the map of Stewarta, there is a quite extensive network of lines shaded lighter than the surrounding terrain. They look sort of like water-courses, but there are so many (especially in the desert); they also look like a road map. Just wondering.

PS. someday you will have to learn to draw maps. Relying on real maps for all the detail isn't going to be satisfying. Relying on real maps (of many, many varieties) to provide examples of things to emulate in your own maps is great, but just taking a published map and flipping it is questionable in the long run. Start small, start simple. Practice, practice, practice. Get some tools.

Author:  Gareth3 [ Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Creating a continent

They are water-courses, down to quite small streams in the original island image. Stewart Island is wet. You're right that they're not appropriate for the desert, but they're quite tricky to remove. As for drawing my own continents, maybe I could kill two birds with one stone and draw some of the other ones on this planet.

Author:  garysk [ Mon Dec 12, 2016 4:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Creating a continent

Didn't mean to suggest that you scrap Stewarta; just that using morphed real-world maps is probably not a long term strategy. So yes, practice on Pastora and Neotropica. A flexible graphics program is essential. Adobe Illustrator seems good, but I am sure there are free ones. Or draw on paper and scan it in.

Author:  mèþru [ Mon Dec 12, 2016 7:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Creating a continent

GIMP is free and is pretty good.

Author:  Gareth3 [ Mon Dec 12, 2016 1:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Creating a continent

Yeah, I'm using GIMP to make these images. The only problem is that it's awkward to actually draw anything in GIMP - I still haven't found a single-pixel brush.
Here's a question for readers, even those who haven't commented yet. For my next post, would you like me to go into more detail on Stewarta, or draw the other continents?

Author:  mèþru [ Mon Dec 12, 2016 7:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Creating a continent

What version of GIMP do you use? I have version 2.8, and I can change the size of brushes.

Author:  Gareth3 [ Mon Dec 12, 2016 7:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Creating a continent

I'm using 2.8 as well. I can't quite get to a single pixel.

Author:  Vardelm [ Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Creating a continent


Author:  Gareth3 [ Tue Dec 13, 2016 1:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Creating a continent

This should give you an idea of the arrangement of the continents on the planet. The shapes of the continents are roughly accurate. Pastora now lies between 30 South and 75 South.

Author:  cunningham [ Tue Jan 10, 2017 7:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Creating a continent

What I like to do when drawing a continent is working piece by piece and then combining those pieces together. For example, I'd find a shape I find aesthetic. Weirdly enough, I've found that areas of chipped paint I find in old buildings are a good inspiration. Take a picture and trace it, rotate/invert/resize/combine it until you are satisfied. I like to think about the geographic challenge the denizens of a particular peninsula or island would experience, as that would definitely be demonstrated in its history (if you want to be realistic). You would also be able to kinda picture where mountains should be - I mean - if you're sticking a big cone-shape mass to the side of a continent, surely there should be some mountain range there. Look at India. Also think about where volcanoes would be since a lot of islands are formed by volcanoes.
I am never truly satisfied with a generated map, but it does create some cool shapes for you, so you could copy, paste and trace that into your world and rotate it to look however you want.
Next, you should probably "erode" your continents a bit so it would look natural. Just look how slim the southern tip of South America is and how round and pudgy China is. Whatever currents and wind patterns you create will scrape the edges of your continent. It would also affect navigation of your people too.
Next would be climate. There are some basic ideas like rainforests at the equator, drier on the West, etc., but also the winds and currents will also affect your climate too. This definitely affects your people's history as they are going to want to spread through familiar climate first before venturing off to something else...unless something drastic happens to them.

I believe in Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond. It talks about how Europe came to dominate the world because of its geographic situation.

Author:  mèþru [ Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Creating a continent

I think that the East-West axis idea is plausible and assume it in my worldbuilding, but I find a lot of Guns, Germs and Steel's claims preposterous.

Author:  Gareth3 [ Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Creating a continent

Sorry for the lack of updates, I got distracted. The other continents are mostly there to determine global climate stuff, if I wanted to use them as actual settings I'd need to give them more detail. I'll post some more about Stewarta soon. Come to think of it, can anyone suggest a better name?

Author:  mèþru [ Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Creating a continent

It actually seems like a plausible non-English name. But if you want something less English like, you can use pretty much any name, from Ulusae to Hamingtralamestugita.

Author:  Gareth3 [ Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Creating a continent

Maybe just "Stuarta", to make it a bit less obvious?

Author:  gestaltist [ Fri Jan 20, 2017 6:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Creating a continent

One thing you might want to take into account if you're shooting for realism, and which I haven't seen suggested yet, is erosion. Two things specifically:

1) glacier advances during the Ice Ages had a huge impact on Earth. If you're planet had an Ice Age, you'd expect the northern part of the continent to have a more jagged coastline, with fjords, etc. The mountains could've been ground down to size by the glaciers.
2) wind erosion - winds remove soil - dry areas with strong winds (e.g., at about 30-40 deg latitude) can see a lot of erosion on the windward side
3) water/rivers - based on the dominant winds and your climate map, try to figure out drainage basins and major rivers - rivers form valleys - they can cut into the rockbed on one hand, but will carry a lot of silt, etc., on the other - take a look at major river valleys on Earth for inspiration

Author:  Gareth3 [ Sun Jan 22, 2017 12:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Creating a continent

Thanks. I'll keep the coastline as it is now, but these things could change the other details.

Author:  Gareth3 [ Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Creating a continent

Now I have both rivers and land-use patterns.



Black: Major mountain chains
Blue: Major rivers
Red: Hunter-gatherers
Brown: Herders
Yellow: Irrigation agriculture
Light green: Rainfall agriculture
Dark green: Garden agriculture
Purple: Fishing

This pattern has cultural differences behind it as well as climate. Some of the red and brown areas could support agriculture, but the farmers just haven't got there yet, or have been driven off.

Author:  Gareth3 [ Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Creating a continent

I've divided up the land-use areas by climate and geographical barriers, giving me cultural areas. There'll obviously be more than one culture per area, but this is a start.



F Fishing, taiga
P1 Pastoralism, taiga
P2 Pastoralism, steppe
P3 Pastoralism, alpine
R1 Rainfall agriculture, marine
R2 Rainfall agriculture, humid continental
R3 Rainfall agriculture, subtropical
R4 Rainfall agriculture, savanna
R5 Rainfall agriculture, Mediterranean/marine islands
R6 Rainfall agriculture, marine
I Irrigation agriculture
H1 Hunter-gatherers, desert
H2 Hunter-gatherers, rainforest islands
G Garden agriculture, rainforest

Fourteen cultures seems enough for a good setting. Which would you like me to go into detail on?

Author:  garysk [ Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Creating a continent



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Author:  garysk [ Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Creating a continent

Of course, applying different colors to different elevations is what donjon/world is doing, but using donjon's land-mask form eliminates the cross-hatch artifacts. The Olsson palette is particularly good, much better than mine.

newplanetb.gif
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And of course gprojector makes it unbelievably versatile. I'm considering shitcanning my hand drawn map in favor of something from donjon and gprojector.
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A neat thing about the donjon maps is that there are many depressions in the terrain that are above sea level which would of course form endorheic basins, often filled with lakes and seas, and of course providing river sources where the basin is filled to its rim, not to mention the exciting possibilities of having catastrophic release floods, ala post-glacial northern hemisphere everywhere (Bonneville, Missoula, Doggerland/English Channel, the whole evolution of the Great Lakes, many similar glacial lakes in Siberia).

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