So! I had put off posting this until I finished making some changes that I wanted to make. Since those now HAVE been made, here we are.
I’m pretty happy with how this map is looking as I continue to work on it. A rundown of the major changes:
- ALL twenty-four regions now have names! Really happy to have that aspect finished up. You might also notice there’s been a change. I wasn’t really happy with “Blaise” (which was the name of the small region with the purple border to the west of Pascale) as a region name – just didn’t sound right, somehow. So, I went back to doing some name researching, and came up with “Villeneuve”, which roughly means “dweller in a new settlement” in French.
- The border between West Portal and Issa has changed a bit (it now follows a river, rather than being one of the “arbitrary political line” type borders), partly so that it wouldn’t look EXACTLY the same as the border Issa shares with Desjardins, to the east (same angle, same length). The reason they looked the same in the first place is because technically, they were the same object – since Issa was created recently and “inserted” into the existing landmass, the border that previously existed between WP and DJ was simply duplicated and placed on either side of Issa. The other reason for the change was to alter Issa’s size – it was gargantuan before, the biggest region by far. I decided I didn’t want it to be quite so huge, and I think West Portal now looks better, too.
- Anshala, West Portal’s largest city and the second largest in Valocea after Lennvale, has been moved east a bit, to a location that I feel makes a bit more sense for its status as the western gateway city into Valocea.
- There are more cities, and for the first time, visible rail lines! Now, you might be wondering why several of these new cities are unnamed and why that set of rail lines running between Brighton and Kunari are the only lines on the map so far. That’s all for a story I’m working on that takes place in Valocea. I wanted to know exactly where this train goes when a character takes it, so I planned it out and added it to the map, but – while I knew where I wanted various cities to be along the route – I haven’t been able to come up with names for all of them yet. Oran, East Portal’s largest city, is the final stop in Valocea for eastbound LVX (Lennvale-Vancouver Express) trains heading to Vancouver, British Columbia (or the first Valocean stop for westbound trains). This city is considered to be the eastern equivalent of Anshala as the country’s other main “gateway”, though with a different feel, since any vehicles of international origin (whether carrying freight or passengers) entering Anshala are either ships or planes, whereas Oran receives the road and rail lines that lead from Vancouver into East Portal, and has no nearby international airport and no major port (the river and lake near the city are not navigable by container or cruise ships).
- Speaking of unnamed cities: there’s another one in the Villeneuve region – this is Valocea’s capital. The main reason I haven’t been able to come up with a name for it is because I’m still trying to decide if it should be a city that was meant to be the capital during its creation, and thus would probably have a name that is significant to Valocean history in some way (i.e. Washington DC), or if it was just a city with a name like any other that was later chosen to be the capital (i.e. Ottawa).
- The three major real-life cities whose locations are visible on the map (Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver) are called out with names and icons.
- There is a 200 km scale bar in the upper left area; this is something I really should have added a while ago! There is also a legend there showing some info about different city symbols and their meaning – it’s a bit half-assed but gets the job done, haha. Eventually I’ll add a nicer looking one in a proper separated box, but that’s not super high on the priority list for the moment.
- The Pascale Sea now has a name label. This is the name for the body of water that runs through most of Valocea’s center, though of course several individual bays and side inlets and whatnot along the way ultimately have their own names as well. It was named for a significant figure in Valocea’s history (as was the Pascale Region).
- The La Marche region has undergone a rather dramatic change to its coastline with the addition of a deep inland bay. This bay connects to the river and lake system in the region’s western half, allowing ships to pass through to get from Valocea to the west coast of Canada or the US without having to go all the way around La Marche’s southern tip (similarly, the river and lake system that begins just southeast of Lennvale and goes through Rhuna, meeting the ocean again south of that one huge lake, is also wide and deep enough for container ships to easily pass through it. Thus, a route that entails coming in from the west, traveling through the channel and stopping in the Lennvale area, then continuing on to Portland, Seattle, or Vancouver, is probably a fairly common shipping route). These waterways are all naturally occurring, not man-made canals, though some instances of human intervention (i.e. dredging, installation of locks, etc) at a few points along said waterways has probably occurred to keep them navigable.
- The peninsula that Lennvale is on has also been changed, with a more interesting coastline and additional islands, as well as text labels for Sounto Sound and Sounto Bay, though you’ll have to zoom in to really see any of that (in fact, none of that really shows up well even when the image is viewed at full res, but oh well. That level of detail will be more visible and important when I do regional maps, anyway).
- More rivers and mountain/hill contours throughout.
- I also played around with the effects for the colored regional borders in CC3, trying to improve the look of the rendered map, and I think my efforts paid off. They are both more distinct than before, and also smaller, lining the edge of each region only (rather than being a sort of “haze” of semi-transparent color hanging over a large portion of the region). They look MUCH better this way. The mountain contours I’m less sure about – I tweaked the effect settings to make them stand out a bit more, but it might be too much. On this style of map, they are not supposed to be a distinctly visible, well-defined feature (as a city icon would be), but are meant to be a bit more indistinct, just there in the background behind everything else giving you a general idea of where the hills and mountainous areas are. So I may make some changes back in the other direction later.
There are also some really big changes to this map I have planned, mostly relating to re-drawing the landmasses to make them look more natural and realistic, but I’m going to wait on some of those for now – they will take a lot of time and energy, and there is a new version of CC3 that is supposed to be coming out hopefully within a few months and will sport a lot of improvements. Since it’s entirely likely that the new version will make those big changes much easier to implement, I’m going to wait on them for now, at least until I know with more certainty when the upgrade will be out. One of the changes that has been discussed is that rendering will be made easier, with the possibility for higher resolutions and more anti-aliasing for the exported images. Can’t wait for that!