21 November 2015

A Globe of Elyden

Not to count my chickens, but the first milestone goal in my Patreon campaign is getting close to materialising, and I'm thinking ahead.

For those who aren't up to speed Patreon is a crowdfunding platform, similar to Kickstarter, where patrons can pledge certain amounts of money to their favourite artists in return for some perks. Artists can list certain 'milestone goals' for when they achieve certain goals.

My first milestone goal will be when when I reach $50 pledges per month, and I plan on start work on the physical globe of Elyden, which is something I've been wanting to do for some time, though which I've always put off for whatever reason.

Why haven't I made one before? Anyone who's tried to make a proper globe with paper gore pasted to a sphere will know just how difficult and precise an ordeal globemaking really is. Assuming you're using 12 gores, each of 30 degree (I'd prefer 18 separate gores), I might cut the gore too small, or the sphere might not be perfect - every error has a cumulative effect on the next gore, and the next gore... until the last gore glued onto the sphere ends up overlapping with the first one. not good! And most importantly - gluing flat pieces of paper to a sphere is incredibly difficult to do without either ripping the paper or creating folds. The globe itself will be 25-30cm in size depending on the polystyrene spheres I find.

Why do I want to make a map? One reason is because a well-made globe of a fantasy world is not something we don't see very often, possibly because most fantasy maps are flat and don't take into account the world's curvature (you know the type of maps I'm referring to - the black-and-white sort designed to fit into two 6"x9" novel pages).

The main reason is simply because it's something I've always wanted to try, even before I started to dabble in worldbuilding. Another reason is that I think it will help make Elyden seem more like a 'real' world, which is always a good thing for a fantasy world.

The above map is the backbone for the map (the pink is a high-contrast colour so that once it's printed I can easily score out the gores with a scalpel). The graticules need another layer emphasising the 30 degree lines. the land is ready though I need to remove the inner glow where the pink mask separates the gores and add a bit more texture.

One thing I'm unsure of is whether or not I should go with a fully printed map (coloured in Photoshop) or a black/white map that I can fill in myself once the gores have been attached to the globe. Both have their merits (the former is probably easier, though the latter, while more time-consuming, will look nicer and more 'authentic'). Either way i suspect I'll continue working with a coloured map digitally, and then print out 2 versions. I might make 2 real-world mock up's first to see which I prefer before committing to the proper Elyden map

Where possible, I plan on making each individual label (yes, there will be lots of labels. I like labels :p) self-contained within an individual gore, as splitting text between gores will not be easy to do, especially if I'm going to be taking into account the curvature of the latitude lines closer to poles. Obviously it's not something that can be completely avoided, particularly with large labels, like oceans and snaking continent and nation names.

The poles will be individual discs 10 degrees wide that will be stuck to the top & bottom of the globe. I haven't started work on those yet, though have a good idea of how work will progress.

Obviously the above image is still a rough state. It still needs a nice equatorial, tropical and polar lines, as well as paths of the ecliptic and the nullambit (the 'magical' equator, marking the farthest point from each of the two antipodeal magical sources in the world). The globe shape will give me a lot of empty space around the oceans and deserts in which I can include a key or perhaps a few paragraphs of text if need be.

I really hope this materializes. The digital map will not be much of an issue (aside from the time-consuming nature of the labelling). It's the physical globe that's worrying me. I'm going to be doing some dummy globes with smaller spheres to test out the gluing and overlapping, so that once the time comes for me to bite the bullet and start work on the real globe I'll be wasting as little time as possible.

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