Normally Monday is our day for maps, but today I want to discuss the dark side of Cartography. A sad secret that every map maker knows is that not every map that is started is finished. Inevitably you get to a point where you just give up on a map for one reason or another, chalk it up to a loss, and move on to your next project. Trying to do a free map every week kind of presses me for time so I'm always hesitant to drop a project mid way though, but it has definitely happened.
Here are three of those stories.
When I started making maps I love Satellite Style mapping. Those of you unfamiliar with the term need only go to Google Maps and click Satellite Map to see what I mean. However, the more I made those maps the more I felt that less is more. I found more and more than I enjoyed looking at old maps where you got a sense that all the information wasn't necessarily correct. At a certain point I all but gave up on the style and moved on to a more antiquated look.
A couple of weeks ago I decided I would try to get back to my roots and create a map in Satellite style for a change of pace. I just figured I just right back into it figuring that it was like riding a bike. It wasn't. I had a lot of trouble with the map and things got irritating quickly. Finishing the map became a lot like trying to slay a Dragon; a fun challenge but not always worth what it costs you. In the end I gave up on it and moved onto other projects, but you can have a look at where I was when I finished.
A Hex on You!
I've been messing around with Hexes a lot lately. I've found them to be both useful and a fun change of pace from a standard square grid. I was looking at some Hexographer maps and wondered if I couldn't do the same thing in Photoshop with more detail and in a globe form.
To make a long story short I did get the map going. I got a hex map into globe form and was well on my way to a fairly interesting map when my power went out. Save early and often, folks, or suffer similar heartbreak. After cursing my computer, power company, and own foolishness I had to walk away. I did have an early and more or less blank version of the map which I will share with you.
Ah, Frack It!
Campaign Cartographer is a pretty popular program among Gamer cartographers and for good reason. It is a powerful program that can do a number of cool things and certainly is a boon to anyone who can't draw particularly well. Profantasy, the company that produces CC also makes another program that I've actually come to like better called Fractal Terrain. The reason for that is because I can do a lot of CC things in Photoshop or Illustrator, but I can't do what FT does.
Anyway I took one of the maps I had generated in FT and was determined to improve on it using Photoshop. The map I made was pretty massive so I just focuses in on one area, a large lake, and started creating the massive watershed that flowed into the lake. I was at it for a while, but had seemingly no end of problems with this map. Eventually I cursed and just gave up in frustration.