Mapping Issues: Sorting out the Outer World

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Re: Mapping Issues: Sorting out the Outer World

Post by Hugin »

Birchbeer wrote:I don't know if this has been said before, but here's a radically different train of thought but something to consider... What if Mystara and Earth are not the same. Earth is a Spheroid. Mystara was stated as being a sphere somewhere. I believe the surface area of a sphere is constant from Pole to Equator; where as the surface area of a Spheroid is not.
This difference is so slight that it can be safely ignore, especially considering that the places where this is most manifested are the polar cap regions, and these are completely absent on Mystara.
Last edited by Hugin on Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Mapping Issues: Sorting out the Outer World

Post by Thorf »

Culture20 wrote:If you would like to test your images on a Mystara-shaped globe instead of Google Earth, just download my latest HTML5 version of 3D Mystara, and change the images. I'm currently using the Hollow World set shaped outer world (modified your image a bit). To make the images work, rotate your outer world map 90 degrees clockwise, and flip the hollow world map horizontally, then rotate it 90 degrees counter-clockwise. If you're using Chrome, I've noticed that it behaves strangely when opening as a local file, but FF works great for local file testing.

At the very least, it won't have the problem at the poles like Google Earth.
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=8344
Very nice! I had a go at applying my maps to it: http://mystara.thorf.co.uk/3d/mystara_3 ... _test.html

This model has the polar openings begin at around 70 degrees, right? Is it possible to adjust this so that they start earlier or later? My preference is to try to keep as close to the official figures as possible.

Is there anything else I should know about the shape? Is it a sphere or a spheroid, for example?

Finally, is it possible to increase the size of the window the globe appears in?

Once again, excellent work here. I'm impressed!

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Re: Mapping Issues: Sorting out the Outer World

Post by Thorf »

In other good news, I discovered today that Photoshop has a built-in image analysis engine which we can use to measure areas. I hope to have some time tomorrow to generate the map in an equal area projection for measurements.

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Re: Mapping Issues: Sorting out the Outer World

Post by Hugin »

Thorf wrote:This model has the polar openings begin at around 70 degrees, right? Is it possible to adjust this so that they start earlier or later? My preference is to try to keep as close to the official figures as possible.
What is the official latitude? Depending on the source, it may not be accurate anyway. The Hollow World maps have major errors on them. For example, the Outer World and Hollow World "cap" maps show that the same land can be seen from above the planet as can be seen from within the planet. Specifically as an example to look at, the end of the Nentsen Peninsula is shown on both the outer world map and the inner world map, but nothing should be visible from both above and below. Plus, the latitudes aren't based on the same angles as any other map.

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Re: Mapping Issues: Sorting out the Outer World

Post by Thorf »

Hugin wrote:What is the official latitude? Depending on the source, it may not be accurate anyway. The Hollow World maps have major errors on them. For example, the Outer World and Hollow World "cap" maps show that the same land can be seen from above the planet as can be seen from within the planet. Specifically as an example to look at, the end of the Nentsen Peninsula is shown on both the outer world map and the inner world map, but nothing should be visible from both above and below. Plus, the latitudes aren't based on the same angles as any other map.
Sorry, I actually meant the dimensions of the polar openings, not the latitude where they start. The starting latitude can fall anywhere north of about 65 and I don't think anyone will mind.

But yeah, the official latitude is a bit specious, since the maps mark the extreme north and south as 60-90. Hugin, weren't you in the discussion of this a few years ago when we talked about it in the last thread like this? I seem to remember definitions of latitude coming up.

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Re: Mapping Issues: Sorting out the Outer World

Post by Birchbeer »

Hugin wrote:
Birchbeer wrote:I don't know if this has been said before, but here's a radically different train of thought but something to consider... What if Mystara and Earth are not the same. Earth is a Spheroid. Mystara was stated as being a sphere somewhere. I believe the surface area of a sphere is constant from Pole to Equator; where as the surface area of a Spheroid is not.
This difference is so slight that it can be safely ignore, especially considering that the places where this is most manifested are the polar cap regions, and these are completed absent on Mystara.

Hmm... some rough math says you're right. The "averaged" surface area is 509805891 km squared (using a averaged radius of 6371) where as the surface area of the spheroid is 510064224.1 km squared (using radius of 6,356.80, 6,378.10). The difference is 258333.1149 km squared, or about .05% greater than the idealized sphere.

Here I was hoping the more spherical a planet would be, the less the distortion from North to South. Lesson learned :)

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Re: Mapping Issues: Sorting out the Outer World

Post by Ambreville »

Thorf wrote:That's actually one of the great things about this new vast expanse of ocean - it can very much be a space for each individual DM to fill with what he sees fit. I would love to see multiple takes on what could go there. All we really know is that it's called the Far End Ocean, and there are Sea Kingdoms there. Are they islands? Small continents? Undersea kingdoms? Anything is possible.
Wow. Quite a discussion. I'll let you guys sort out the mapping issues since you're way ahead of me on this. I'm following the thread with great interest. I'm curious about what to do with the Far End Ocean. I'm closer to Thorf in that I'd prefer reserving it for DMs' campaign developments. Actually, I have some (rather wild) ideas about this. What if the area at the center of the ocean is sort of a *.* Brigadoon spot. Here are specific mechanics:

1. As a general rule, there is nothing there but a vast ocean area
2. More than one continent cycle through this area, appearing at different times
3. The volume of ocean and rock displaced is equal to whichever continent appears
4. Continents, surrounding ocean, or the chunk of original Far End Ocean vanishing from Mystara are frozen in time*

This allows any DM to design their piece of Mystara and stick it there without affecting "canon" stuff.

(*) A vanishing realm would not be frozen in time if it actually belonged to some other world. It vanishes from there when it appears on Mystara, and vice versa, swapping ocean and bedrock. This could be used as a way to travel from Mystara to other worlds. I could see Myoshima being one of the regions transiting through Mystara once in a while, as an example.

Whatever realms appear on Mystara (or the piece of Far End Ocean swapped in the process) would retain their normal climates--Immortally-sponsored micro-climates and other effects designed to retain that world's specific attributes, somewhat like the magic affecting the Hollow World. Only characters of a certain level would be able to enter the appearing realms. This would prevent odd lifeforms from spilling over into the wrong world .
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Re: Mapping Issues: Sorting out the Outer World

Post by Thorf »

Ambreville wrote:Wow. Quite a discussion.
You should have seen the last one! :D
I'll let you guys sort out the mapping issues since you're way ahead of me on this. I'm following the thread with great interest. I'm curious about what to do with the Far End Ocean. I'm closer to Thorf in that I'd prefer reserving it for DMs' campaign developments. Actually, I have some (rather wild) ideas about this. What if the area at the center of the ocean is sort of a *.* Brigadoon spot.
This is a very elegant solution, as it allows multiple takes on the Sea Kingdoms (or whatever is there) without making anyone's idea more or less important than the others. It also inherently limits contact between the Sea Kingdoms and the rest of the world, cutting down on the need to integrate it deeply with the rest of Mystara. To put things another way, it's easy to have Mystaran elements in the Sea Kingdoms without having to have Sea Kingdom influences in the rest of Mystara. In such a Bermuda Triangle-like setting, I imagine a lot of people would get stuck and end up just staying there and making the best of things.

This also opens up wonderful cross-over opportunities with other worlds, for anyone who wishes to do such a thing.

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Re: Mapping Issues: Sorting out the Outer World

Post by Hugin »

Ambreville wrote:Actually, I have some (rather wild) ideas about this...
I like it. Keeps it open for the DM and provides a gate to get off Mystara.

Perhaps the timing of the cycles of appearances and vanishings could be tied to Patera, Mystara's invisible moon, which orbits every three and a half days. It would give a method for PCs to discover its existence.

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Re: Mapping Issues: Sorting out the Outer World

Post by Cthulhudrew »

That's an interesting point, birchbeer, and one that I'll leave to the cartographically minded to speculate on. Would the existence of the polar openings suffice to render Mystara not wholly spherical in and of themselves? It seems to me that it could, but I don't know.
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Re: Mapping Issues: Sorting out the Outer World

Post by Ambreville »

Hugin wrote:
Ambreville wrote:Actually, I have some (rather wild) ideas about this...
I like it. Keeps it open for the DM and provides a gate to get off Mystara.

Perhaps the timing of the cycles of appearances and vanishings could be tied to Patera, Mystara's invisible moon, which orbits every three and a half days. It would give a method for PCs to discover its existence.
I'd keep any mechanics on the timing of appearances and vanishings wonderfully mysterious and >>>>> VAGUE <<<<< in other words totally within the realm of any DM to control as seen fit. The rule is: there is none whatsoever.
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Re: Mapping Issues: Sorting out the Outer World

Post by Culture20 »

Thorf wrote:
Culture20 wrote:If you would like to test your images on a Mystara-shaped globe instead of Google Earth[...]
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=8344
Very nice! I had a go at applying my maps to it: http://mystara.thorf.co.uk/3d/mystara_3 ... _test.html
This model has the polar openings begin at around 70 degrees, right? Is it possible to adjust this so that they start earlier or later? My preference is to try to keep as close to the official figures as possible.
That's something I'm going to change in newer iterations. My original VRML version was done with scaled measurements. This current one is mostly eye-balled from the original. Changing it to scale won't be hard, but it will require time for me to figure out the new coding style.
Is there anything else I should know about the shape? Is it a sphere or a spheroid, for example?
It's not a true sphere. it started as one, but got reduced in size vertically (along its rotational axis), then got extruded to overlay the original VRML shape. At best, it's a mere approximation of Mystara's actual measurements.
Finally, is it possible to increase the size of the window the globe appears in?
Yes! The program I used to make the final html document initially made it a 400pixel square window. I increased it to 780x550 in case someone was using a browser at 800x600 resolution. The line in question to change is

Code: Select all

   <x3d id='someUniqueId' showStat='false' showLog='false' x='0px' y='0px' width='780px' height='550px'>
My final goal is to add the floating continents to the Hollow World, either as animated gifs or full 3D animations. That will take a bit of work, but thankfully I have PWAIII with the details. :)

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Re: Mapping Issues: Sorting out the Outer World

Post by Hugin »

Culture20 wrote:My final goal is to add the floating continents to the Hollow World, either as animated gifs or full 3D animations. That will take a bit of work, but thankfully I have PWAIII with the details. :)
Now that would be something amazing to see!

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Re: Mapping Issues: Sorting out the Outer World

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Hugin wrote:
Culture20 wrote:My final goal is to add the floating continents to the Hollow World, either as animated gifs or full 3D animations. That will take a bit of work, but thankfully I have PWAIII with the details. :)
Now that would be something amazing to see!
I'll second that. You got my attention! :shock:
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Re: Mapping Issues: Sorting out the Outer World

Post by Thorf »

I just generated the projection and did the measurement in Photoshop, and it turns out we have very close to 75% sea and 25% land. (This is without taking the polar openings into account, of course.)

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Re: Mapping Issues: Sorting out the Outer World

Post by Hugin »

Thorf wrote:I just generated the projection and did the measurement in Photoshop, and it turns out we have very close to 75% sea and 25% land. (This is without taking the polar openings into account, of course.)
Interesting! In a way though, the fact that there are polar openings that wrap around may mean that there is even more surface area than if there were caps.

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Re: Mapping Issues: Sorting out the Outer World

Post by Thorf »

Hugin wrote:
Thorf wrote:I just generated the projection and did the measurement in Photoshop, and it turns out we have very close to 75% sea and 25% land. (This is without taking the polar openings into account, of course.)
Interesting! In a way though, the fact that there are polar openings that wrap around may mean that there is even more surface area than if there were caps.
Hmm... Come to think of it, the make-up of the Outer World half of the polar openings is included on the map. I really don't know whether they take up more or less surface area than a normal polar cap would, but they shouldn't throw the ratio off too much.

What this means is that Mystara needs another 5% or so of land added to make it up to near-earth land:water ratios. 5% doesn't sound like much until you consider that the entire current map is 25%; in other words, we need to add land masses totalling one fifth of the current surface area. I've made an image to illustrate this in graphic form, but I can't upload it until I get home.

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Re: Mapping Issues: Sorting out the Outer World

Post by Big Mac »

Amazing thread, Thorf!

I love the logic here, although I'll admit that I'm struggling a bit to take it all in. One thing that looks clear is that the two areas of land close to the poles are distorted and collapsing into a sort of vanishing point (making them into arrow-head shape). (I've seen a similar problem with a couple of the Spelljammer maps that have land near to the poles.)

If the solution for making space for the Polar Openings, "bends" these lands into shapes that look a lot more like the original cartography, I think that will make those areas better (as well as solving the Polar Opening problem).
Ambreville wrote:Wow. Quite a discussion. I'll let you guys sort out the mapping issues since you're way ahead of me on this. I'm following the thread with great interest. I'm curious about what to do with the Far End Ocean. I'm closer to Thorf in that I'd prefer reserving it for DMs' campaign developments. Actually, I have some (rather wild) ideas about this. What if the area at the center of the ocean is sort of a *.* Brigadoon spot. Here are specific mechanics:

1. As a general rule, there is nothing there but a vast ocean area
2. More than one continent cycle through this area, appearing at different times
3. The volume of ocean and rock displaced is equal to whichever continent appears
4. Continents, surrounding ocean, or the chunk of original Far End Ocean vanishing from Mystara are frozen in time*

This allows any DM to design their piece of Mystara and stick it there without affecting "canon" stuff.

(*) A vanishing realm would not be frozen in time if it actually belonged to some other world. It vanishes from there when it appears on Mystara, and vice versa, swapping ocean and bedrock. This could be used as a way to travel from Mystara to other worlds. I could see Myoshima being one of the regions transiting through Mystara once in a while, as an example.

Whatever realms appear on Mystara (or the piece of Far End Ocean swapped in the process) would retain their normal climates--Immortally-sponsored micro-climates and other effects designed to retain that world's specific attributes, somewhat like the magic affecting the Hollow World. Only characters of a certain level would be able to enter the appearing realms. This would prevent odd lifeforms from spilling over into the wrong world .
If you are going to have a vanishing island, would it be possible to have an island that is in the process of being "absorbed" by the Hollow World? Something like that would give you an area that hopped between the Known World and the Hollow World (just like Dragon Mountain hops from world to world) and it could be a plot device that allows GM to allow players to explore both parts of Mystara.

Just a random thought. Not sure if it would be useful. What do the others, who know more, think?
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Re: Mapping Issues: Sorting out the Outer World

Post by Ambreville »

Big Mac wrote:If you are going to have a vanishing island, would it be possible to have an island that is in the process of being "absorbed" by the Hollow World? Something like that would give you an area that hopped between the Known World and the Hollow World (just like Dragon Mountain hops from world to world) and it could be a plot device that allows GM to allow players to explore both parts of Mystara.
Of course! :mrgreen:
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Re: Mapping Issues: Sorting out the Outer World

Post by Thorf »

I finally got round to reprojecting the Hollow World Set Outer World map. As I said in this post almost three years ago, it involves laboriously tagging all 703 vertices of the graticule and renaming the tags to their appropriate lat/lon coordinates - 90, 180 and so on. Once that's done, it's a simple matter to reproject it.

Here is the result:

Image

Notice how everything looks stretched? That's because it is.

It takes quite a lot of squishing to make it compatible with the Master Set map and the hex maps, and even then things don't line up all that well. Nevertheless, it's useful for expanding the Master Set map, because it shows more terrain.

Image

Also note how the latitudes differ. This may be where the problems started, because the Hollow World Set map is slightly skewed northwards - it cuts off more from the north than it does from the south.

And for completeness, here's the Hollow World map converted to an equirectangular projection.

Image

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Re: Mapping Issues: Sorting out the Outer World

Post by Ambreville »

That's very impressive... Will you be able to place a hex grid over a stretched/unstretched outer Mystara map at some point? I'm still a bit confused as to how this will work out in the end.

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Re: Mapping Issues: Sorting out the Outer World

Post by Hugin »

Bruce, are you able to tell us anything about how these world maps in the Hollow World set were created. Were they just hand done by 'eye-balling' things? Did they use any particular methods? This may help us understand the differences.

Thorf, I've always wanted to see those maps as an equirectangular projection! Thanks! I do have to admit though, I'm seriously doubting that the world maps are as true or accurate as the more detailed hex maps, and therefore are not going to match up anyway. I've more recently just viewed them as rough sketches of the world to provide a general overview, nothing more.

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Re: Mapping Issues: Sorting out the Outer World

Post by Ambreville »

Basically we originally tried doing what Thorf is doing, figuring where latitudes lines should be, and then we *hand-drafted* the coastal outlines. Ha, ha... that was barrel o' fun. I think the hex map really ought to remain regional depictions of Mystara--the smaller the better. Large-scale hex maps are to be avoided precisely because of distortions. Art maps representing continents or planetary view should remain just that: art maps -- especially if one realizes maps of our own RW past were highly inaccurate, I don't suppose maps of Mystara should be any more or less accurate anyway. Since they are based on someone's understanding of the world, each rendition ought to show some bias (a Thyatian map won't look like a Glantria map, or an orcish one, or an elven one, or again a gnomish Serraine version, and so forth ad nauseam).
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Re: Mapping Issues: Sorting out the Outer World

Post by Thorf »

Ambreville wrote:That's very impressive... Will you be able to place a hex grid over a stretched/unstretched outer Mystara map at some point? I'm still a bit confused as to how this will work out in the end.
The answer to this question is not quite as simple as it might seem. The simple answer is that small areas don't involve a lot of distortion, so hexes are fine. But larger areas unavoidably introduce some form of distortion, which means that putting a hex grid on top becomes rather deceptive.

The more complex answer is that it's impossible to have consistent direction, distance and area all at the same time on any 2D map of a 3D sphere. You basically have to choose just one of these and sacrifice the others in order to display it correctly. Hexes imply that all three of factors are equal throughout the map, which unfortunately is simply not possible. It's not really a big issue when you're mapping smaller areas, but the larger the area the more the edges will be distorted - regardless of the scale of the hex grid you're putting on the map.

The bottom line is that individual country hex maps are likely fine, especially for small countries, but larger areas such as the trail maps are problematic. My own conclusion from this when we first discussed it all three years ago (or so) is that we should stop trying to jigsaw together large areas of the planet and use hex maps mainly for showing reasonably small chunks of the world in detail. This of course means developing a new way to map that allows me to keep the spirit and the style of hex maps but without the actual hexes - as it happens we already have an example of how this might look in DA3's map.

Quite shocking for me to be saying this, isn't it? I who have spent countless hours upon hours developing hex mapping tools and assembling hex maps of Mystara. ;)
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Re: Mapping Issues: Sorting out the Outer World

Post by nerik »

Ambreville wrote:That's very impressive... Will you be able to place a hex grid over a stretched/unstretched outer Mystara map at some point? I'm still a bit confused as to how this will work out in the end.
Well, my proposal was to use an icosahedral projection and fill each of the equilateral faces with hexes - see here (about 1-third of the way down the page) for a diagram. Further down Thorf provided a nice example of what this would look like in practice. The idea is to minimize the amount of variation in the actual area covered by each hex, but as Thorf pointed out, the actual dirtection of north will vary by hex.

For an actual map of Mystara + Hollow World, we would need to make some changes - slice off the top of the upper triangles (and the bottom of the lower triangles) and use a similar, but smaller, map for the Hollow World. We would then need to fill in the gap between both worlds.
To do this, we need first to work out the actual geometry of Mystara - outer radius, inner radius, size of polar openings.

While using hexed icosahedral maps can give us seamless hex maps of the whole outer and inner surfaces (but 10 of the hexes on each surface will actually be pentagons - they'd be 2 more, but they're at the poles, and so don't exist) I don't think we can avoid seams or partial hexes in the polar openings. :(

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