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Oxinabox

Alloy of Law Map

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So I'm workingon a fan suppliment for the Mistborn AdventureGameRPG, by CraftyGames.

(BecasueI can'twaitthe -24 months before the real suplimentcomes out).

On of the things I felt I needed was a more readable map.

So I've highlighted towns rivers and rail roads.

(Sorry about the terrible compression... it's comming straing from my WIP xcf, at worst compression possible)

yl5io.jpg

vs original:

ALLOY_MAP_1_WORLD-webres.png

What do people think?

The only person i showed it to doesn't think the color helps at all,

but i think it's great.

Also does anyone have an idea what the two symbols for town mean?

Like at first i thought: Big =city, small = town

But that puts alot of places in the roughs as cities

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I also don't think it helps. Maybe if you make the original background, especially that skechy lines lighter, it will be more readable. I'd recommend:

  • use Inkscape, because it's vector, therefore better for a map (you can import SVG to Gimp later, if you want). Also, it'll be easier to change colours if you need to.
  • draw a whole new map (cities, roads, rivers, coast, mountains, but ) atop of the original, and then remove the original. This way, you'll get just the contour, and none of those filling lines that make the map hard to read.

As for big dots — a city that is resonably big for it's part of the world, maybe?

(sorry for my English, it seems to be worse than normally, maybe because I have a flu)

Edited by Eri
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The gridlines are an improvement, but the road/railway/river lines currently seem unncessary, at least until you color the rest of the map. They're a little too bright with everything else a light greyscale. Also, I am not entirely sure that the thin squiggly lines are rivers, rather than old roads. Admittedly, they seem to be rivers, but then you have the thing like the one that starts near Callingfale, just a few miles from a sea. It heads south and eventually through a mountain range. I suppose it is possible that the canyon is actually still downhill for it, but that seems unlikely. And it is odd that inside the basin, none of these lines meet up before Elendel, or go to the sea of Yomend first. That basically necessitates a really strange topography. It is something that could exist, of course, but not something that is at all likely.

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I agree that it is rather unnatural, but considering that this whole landscape was created by Saze to look pretty or something, it doesn't have to be very natural. It's kinda hand-made and had only 300 years to develop via natural means (like erosion).

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Ooh, map stuff! *wrings hands greedily*

Ideally, a map should have the more important data stand out from the less important data. The whole point of maps, after all, is to inform the viewer of where things are in relation to other things.

Consequently, one thing you don't want to do is color the lines of latitude and longitude. They're helpful, yes, but making them stand out more than they do will add too much noise to the signal, making it harder to read the map.

One thing you might want to consider is looking at current atlas maps, (as this map is close to what we recognize these days as atlas maps). You could add light coloration to certain symbols on the map, for example, a light brownish-green for the patches of grass outside of the basin, and a more "healthy" (yet subdued) green for the lines within the basin. You could have the color be right over those symbols, extending only a little bit past them, fading to the background color. Something similar could be done to the earthen terrain of the basin's ridge, too, to show that it's more mountainous. (Ditto for the water along the coastline.)

The blue for the river, however, shouldn't be quite so intense. Main waterways like that are important, yes, but since this isn't a navigation chart, the water shouldn't be the aspect that draws one's attention. A more subdued shade of blue should be used there.

One thing to keep in mind, then, when choosing what to make stand out and what to subdue is this: "For what purpose did the Canton of Cartography make this map?" Well, we can tell it's not meant to show only general locations, as they have clearly given us latitudinal and longitudinal marks as well as a scale bar. As mentioned before, it's not a navigator's chart. It's also not a map for train engineers or those in that business; rail lines aren't even shown. (Unless, of course, those main "road" lines are actually the primary rail lines.) The CoC is also not trying to show us how the "Greater Elendel Region" relates to the entire planet of Scadrial; the lines of longitude and latitude being nearly parallel indicate that this map has been projected in such a way that all we're concerned with is the Elendel Basin and the nearby surrounding areas.

So what did the CoC intend? I think they wanted to show cities, their precise locations, and the routes by which one would get from one to another. Perhaps some planner in the Canton of Travel wanted to see which major cities didn't have convenient access to each other - for example, Rashekin to Steinel. (Or, we could look at the map's title for a clue: "Survey of the Elendel Basin and the Northern Roughts". ;) ) Since there's no legend, the map was not intended for a wide release to the general public; it's intended for a specific audience that already knows what they are looking at/for.

With that in mind, you'd want to draw attention to the cities and the roadways (or railways; whatever those lines are). (And you would definitely want to have the city names be on a higher layer than the roadways so you don't have the roads covering up the names as in the cases of Mycondwell and Wyllion.) Brown is probably not the best choice for the roads. If you're actually recreating the lines rather than simply coloring the existing ones, you might want to consider something other than a single, solid line - maybe a single line of two alternating colors, or a thin central line of one color outlined on either side with another color (black?). The city names could be made bold, with an "outer glow" to help them stand out from any background coloration that you might do for the fields within the Basin.

Additionally, some words should be made not to stand out. "Elendel Basin", for example, should not stand out more than the city names. The names of the seas can certainly stand out against the water, and the names of the ranges should probably stand out against the terrain they're printed over, but the intended audience already knows about the Elendel Basin and the Northern Roughs, so those shouldn't stand out over the other information. (You can already see how that was implied by the fact that those letters are written with thin lines that break periodically, versus the constant, thick, bold lines showing the city names.)

Personally, I think coloring the map is a neat idea. But then, I'm the guy who got a degree in geography with a focus on geospatial information science, so I'm biased. ;)

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Perhaps recreating the map might be easier than simple coloring it? Either way, the Cartographer's Guild is a great place to look for resources and help with the actual down-and-dirty of map making.

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Ah, just got a response from Isaac about the roads on the map of the Basin. (Quoted here with his permission.)

As for what everyone thinks are roads on the map...they are actually the canals that run into the city, which is why one of them cuts through a mountain range (though there was a natural depression there--a gap between the two mountain ranges, which is the reason people took that route to establish the Roughs in the first place). Only one of those is a true river, the Irongate River, which runs east to west.
Edited by darniil
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So the blue things are canals and a river, ant the brown things... I agree that they're probably railways — doesn't look much like roads (the shae or something).

Also darniil — your post (that big one) is awesome!

Edited by Eri
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So the blue things are canals and a river, ant the brown things... I agree that they're probably railways — doesn't look much like roads (the shae or something).

It's evident that in Wax's time, the rails are more prevalent. Also, due to their 'primitive' engineering level, trains need long straights, slow curves, and shallow inclines else the trains would be unable to stay on the tracks or go anywhere.

A preliminary first render of the Elendel map traced.

post-29-0-56979400-1331671725_thumb.gif

The many millions of roads/streets/etc will be added, as will more detailed versions of the quay's and railyards. I'll also be fixing up any nasty, noticeably bad, rail and road joins.

Of course, if anyone wants any of this stuff, I can give you it as an svg rather than that badly-compressed hunk of awful .gif XD.

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Anybody else notice that there's a Dor in there? :P

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It was from the orange of this that I took the colour for rail roads.

  • use Inkscape, because it's vector, therefore better for a map (you can import SVG to Gimp later, if you want). Also, it'll be easier to change colours if you need to.
Why didn't I think to use inkscape!
I'ld been feeling the want for vector stuff the whole time I was working on it.
I think my original logic was that I wouldn't beable to load the original map to trace.
(since it is rasier)
I have done the stuff all in different layers.
The perfectionist in me is going to see me not work on this again til i can recreate a vector format...

  • draw a whole new map (cities, roads, rivers, coast, mountains, but ) atop of the original, and then remove the original. This way, you'll get just the contour, and none of those filling lines that make the map hard to read.

This was always my plan. (that is why I didn't care about tracing over the city names)

"For what purpose did the Canton of Cartography make this map?"

This is not relivant to me.

I'm coloring the map so players can use it as a reference in an RPG.

I may add latitudes and longitudes (or radius and angle from elandrel, heheheh inacutacy for the roughs), and names for every dot

Edited by Oxinabox
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Sure you can load a raster image to Inkscape! Even a normal drag&drop works, on Ubuntu at least. It'll ask you if you want to embed or link it; linking is usually better.

Then you can make a new alyer (yes, Inkscape has layers), or preferably many of them and trace it. I mean by hand, of course, automatic tracing doesn't work very good.

And I suppose you can export paths from GIMP to .ai or .eps. or something and import them to Inkscape that way. I don't think I've ever done that, so I'm not sure.

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