Going too big……


Mapping cities is probably one of the most demanding things you can do, but also one of the most rewarding ones. I must admit that I really love mapping cities and by using a tool like City designer 3 from Profantasy it is something that actually anyone can accomplish. But even though the program is fantastic it has its limitations, and so does the human mind.

In my fantasy world “the Etrakien world”, there is a city named Ankh-Bathor that, like Rome in the Roman Empire, is the actual center of the world. Ankh-Bathor was the first part of the world that I worked on. I had this idea of a large city that was situated in between two oceans on a small strip of land. The city would be both a lock and passage between the two sides of the world, a strategic location that would make it rich, splendid and the natural focus point in the world. From there the world just started to grow in all directions, until what it is today.

After having made a map or two of the world I felt that I also had to make a map of the city. But as it turned out this wasn’t really an easy thing to do. I think I have at least ten different versions of the city and none of them is complete. There are so many things I’d like to add but the size of the city makes the task quite challenging. Also some limitations in City Designer 3 did put an end to one of my most ambitious attempts, and probably saved my mental health.

At the top of this post you can see part of the map of Ankh-Bathor that I made in the black and white style that was released in one of the annuals from Profantasy. But as you can see in the zoomed out map below the sheer size of it is quite enormous.


What actually happened is that the size of the .fcw file got too big for the program to handle. In the end the file ended up being just over 11 MB big when the program crashed. As soon as I got beyond that size I couldn’t open the map anymore, so I had to divide the map into many smaller map parts that I later had to stitch together in Photoshop. This made the whole process more complicated so after a while I gave up. I also felt that the end result wasn’t what I really wanted, so when the whole process of making the map got more complicated it was actually a quite easy decision to make to drop the map. Sometimes you have to kill your darlings.

Still there are parts in the map that I really like, and I hope to be able to finish a map of Ankh-Bathor one day. Or let me rephrase that, I will finish a map of Ankh-Bathor one day.

Zooming in

This is an older map made in Photoshop picturing the area around Ankh-Bathor. The map was made after I’d finished the first digital map of the Etrakien world and I decided that I wanted to develop the style to a more local view.

The original Etrakien style, that actually was made into a style for Campaign Cartographer 3 in the April 2009 Annual from Profantasy, was primarily made for making worldmaps depicting continents. In the Ankh-Bathor map I needed to change the focus of the style to more depict only a small area of the world.

Whenever I decide to zoom in to make a more local map of my world I usually find it hard to limit the amount of detail I want in the map. And this first experiment with the style suffers a bit from that. In future maps I’ve tried to be a bit harder on myself when it comes to details. Make sure that the important details are there but try to sort out the unnecessary ones. Otherwise your important ones will drown in a forest of details.

I’m still pleased with the map and I learned a lot that from it that I could use in future maps. In the end this style developed into what you see in my current maps I make in Photoshop, like the one of the Truscian peninsula.