Baby you can drive my karst

Posted by louis_walker on 6 February 2018 in English (English)

Karst in southwestern China, near Guilin

When I was doing initial research to figure out what I wanted Patermas to look like, I spent a lot of time looking at parts of the world located around the same latitude...and I stumbled upon the incredible karst formations in the borderlands of China and Vietnam, along the Gulf of Tonkin. I decided that Patermas needed some epic karst, despite the challenge that mapping such an intricate landmass would present.

Version 1.0 of the Yagui range on the Patermas-Draco border is now live on the map, and I could use some feedback. I get that it's not quite right yet, so constructive only, please...don't just say "X doesn't work," share an idea or potential solution. :) Or, hey, if you like it the way it is, tell me to chill.

Here's a link to a side-by side comparison with the best-mapped chunk I could find in China as a real-world comparison. Most of the real range, sadly, hasn't really been mapped in any detail in OSM, but in actuality it stretches for many thousands of square miles. Obviously the map could never capture the actual look of the real thing, so I'm going for something gestural.

I'm generally pleased with how it's turning out, but something about it feels a bit too lava-lamp-y to me. Thoughts??

Location: Petan City, The Republic of Draco

Comment from Luciano on 6 February 2018 at 06:57

The short answer: you need to do Topo.

See here:

I have done some karst formations inspired by similar topography, near Oscuridad in Ardisphere, here:

Topo of course is not easy. But the longer I do geofiction, the more I feel there are no shortcuts. That's why everything takes me so much time.

Here is one method to do Topo.

Some other mappers are developing other approaches which may prove more efficient or scalable (notably Paxtar).

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Comment from louis_walker on 6 February 2018 at 23:34

Blërg...I was afraid someone would say that. Your ability to create a detailed, organic looking topo layer is amazing, but I know myself well enough to know I would never have the patience to do a convincing job on something like that. Or, at least, I don't have it right now.

I've looked into a few different topo generator tools but haven't really found anything Mac-friendly yet. Been chating with Paxtar too, but it sounds like the topo tool they're working on is a ways off.

So I'll have to either come up with a workaround or put my karst ambitions to the side for the time being...either way, thank you for the links. And bravo on that level of detail. Really, really impressive stuff.

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Comment from Sarepava on 9 February 2018 at 19:19

In some locations, karsts form spectacular cave systems and underground rivers as the water carves out the soft rock. I visited some of Europe's most notable, in Slovenia, a few years ago:

As you can see there are numerous caves and dolines (collapsed caves) in the area as well as the mountains. Whilst it's not as topographically spectacular as the Vietnamese picture above, it does give an interesting range of map features.

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Comment from louis_walker on 10 February 2018 at 23:37

Yes! Caves are going to be very important in the area. I like the idea of some of the dome hills being partially collapsed due to the caves beneath, so that's a great reference.

I just chatted with Ricardo from Draco today and we're planning to have that region be the historic home of an independent tribe called the Yagui, from which the present-day river and hills take their name. The Yagui will first settle the area around 1800 BCE and will have their Golden Age from 1100-600 BCE, trading with the Hellanesians along the Yagui River. They'll found their cities at the mouths of some of the great karst caves, and build them into the sides of the conical hills. Think Petra and Anasazi spliced with Ronda amidst the hills of Guilin, but with more of a savanna climate and lost temples tucked inside the karst caves.

Initial plan is that due to a punishing trade war, the Yagui will collapse rapidly in the 6th century BCE, leaving behind some fabulous ruins amidst the karst. :D

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