Heraldry and Plans....


The 576 CY Atlas Heraldry appendix is done, and is now available here:  https://bit.ly/GH-Flanaess-Atlas576CY-2020REV2

It is sixteen 11x17 pages of heraldry all in all, and I think it turned out to be a beautiful and hopefully useful addon to the atlas. Please alert me on any typos or other issues so I can fix them asap.

A Module Location appendix was something I had planned to do next, and it is a big undertaking research wise and I have decided it requires more time. There is also an effort to do this by a group at Canonfire, and I'm sure they can do a better job than I can so I'm going to await the results of their work before coming back to this.

This wraps up the 576 CY Atlas work, bar some errors to fix, and it's time to look forward and look into my plans for he remainder of the year and spring of 2021. Thanks to the wonderful support you keep giving me it is possible for me to both spend more time on my Greyhawk mapping and investing in a new workstation computer to be able to be more productive, thank you so much!!! 🙂

November and december will be focused on the new map for my campaign area in Southern Shield Lands with the goal of establish the standard for the next generation of my the Greyhawk maps. First step of this is to build the terrain at 5ft/pixel resolution of a first area roughly 30 x 30 miles, and this is well under way and the results are very promising. 

The most difficult things to solve have been tiling, and proper terrain drainage.  Due do both limitations in the software and computer memory and render capacity you have to work on a small piece of land at a time, and then somehow managed to stitch them back together again and make that seamless. Apart from elevation you have things like rivers, erosion data and other masks that either need to match or have to be created in a later step. I have now reduced the number of steps to two which makes the process fairly workable without introducing too much new errors. Since each step requires storing data which amounts to gigabytes it is necessary to streamline the process a bit to not use up ridiculous amount of hard drive space. Most of the data is only  really needed during the terrain creation phase and can be discarded afterwards, but less is better for sure.

The second big issue is drainage and waterways like lakes, rivers and wetlands, which has been a sore thumb for me since I started with fantasy cartography. Now for the first time in over twenty years reasonably realistic water are possible on a large scale. Thanks to combination of features in World Machine, programming and lots of manual work the results are impressive. Hopefully the most tedious aspects of the manual work can be automated soon which will speed up the process significantly. Having a faster computer will be even more helpful since half the time doing this is spent waiting for the computer to catch up.

When the test area terrain is created and textured it is time to get the data into QGIS and work out how to best make a map out of it, in both 2D and 3D. Things like roads, settlements, buildings, elevation lines, political overlays and more. Maps this detailed are also useful for encounters so a new set of symbols and formats needs to be thought out to maximize usability. In what formats should the final maps be available, in addition to the current jpg and pdf I want to make them easy to tweak so each DM can alter them to suit his or her needs. This means that things like settlements, roads and trails should be on separate layers so they can be hidden or changed, and the format needs to be editable using tools doesn't require a ton of money and a year of training to use.   

Another side of this is handout maps, and that is an aspect that should be part of the project during the whole process and not an afterthought that has been the case up until now. I have some ideas around this and now also have enough skills using Photoshop to create something I hope will be good enough to be really useful and also a cool looking prop for your games. Hand out maps also need to be editable so they can be adjusted to suit each campaign.

Once the workflow and standards have been set work can start on Lendore Isles, which will be the first big project 2021. To create a virtual model of Len Lakoka's islands in his honor!

Thank you again for making this possible!! 🙂