Quick Map, A Bit of Experimentation

I’ve done a lot of writing this month, I figured I’d knock off a little map quickly in GIMP and call it a day.

20130418 Quick Map
20130418 Quick Map, about 30 minutes for what was kept

This one is a little experimental. For determining landforms I usually use a technique where I draw the general shape, then overlay some noise and select a range of colors from the merged result. Tonight I used turbulent noise, which puts twisted black lines through the image I’m working with. This caused the large number of channels and islands; without the turbulence basically this would be one fairly large piece.

Actually, if you look at the shallows (pale blue) you’ll see the outline of a fairly large piece with a few channels in it. I decided to combine them, one for shallows and one for land, and see what happens.

I didn’t really try to fill the map carefully. I’ve got a mountain range I think looks good, a whole bunch of little forests that turned out okay (if not realistic; normally I think they’d likely form one big forest), and the grasslands look okay (but could use a little more brown to them, but I didn’t feel like messing with it). My experiment with hills was disappointing, so I took them out. I didn’t get around to any rivers.

I went with a simple, kind of impressionistic texture on the water (overlaid a layer of solid noise, displaced by two other layers of noise, for those interested).

The hills were an experiment that took about an hour as I messed around with them. Other than that there is perhaps half an hour in this, counting my initial setup (creating noise layers for later use, various work layers, and so on).

I had to scale the image down so WordPress would load it (bugger), and it got scaled down again for the thumbnail. Clicking on the image to the right will take you to the full-size version, 1280×1024.


  1. I saw something interesting about map generation once that described islands as basically just “underwater mountains”. Where a mountain range runs off into the sea, the last few mountains will pop up to create islands. Pointy mountains might just leave rocks sticking up, broader ones could give a flattish habitable area.

  2. Pingback: A-Z April Challenge 2013 | Keith Davies — In My Campaign - Keith's thoughts on RPG design and play.

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