Worldbuilding #12 – Municipal

worldbuilding logo2Welcome to the second to last article of the Map-Making portion of the Worldbuilding series. Today we do a brief talk about Municipals. This won’t go into detail about the different type of Municipals; those will be a discussion at a later time, as each one requires its own article.

Today we’ll generate some random Municipal locations, such as Cities, Villages, Towns, and Hamlets. After that, I will show you a technique that will allow you to clean up your map for finalization.


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This will be a real quick discussion. Basically, I want to help you understand why I’m doing things a certain way in this tutorial. I will note that you don’t need to do this tutorial for your final design. I simply want to show you a technique of creating random locations for your cities. Of course, there is a logical reason for where cities and villages setup, though sometimes the seem to be at random. As a storyteller, I’m sure you can up with a story or two about the various dots on the map.

Below is my map. On it, you will see a rather large number of black dots (1,062 dots). Now your first instinct is to question if that number is too high. This is a fantasy world, there’ not that many people, right? There wouldn’t be that many Cities or Villages… right?

Worldbuilding 12

Click to Enlarge

If anything, I have too few. In fact, I had intended to fill my map with a good amount, however, I felt that what you would have seen would have been quite confusing. So instead, I tried to reduce it as much as I could.

So what is a good number then?

My map stretches across the equator at 4000 pixels. If we assume a pixel is about 1 mile, then my world is about 1/6 the size of Earth. If I take the total pixels of my continent on the left, it comes to about 1,000,000 pixels. Calculating for size of Earth, it is now 6 million square miles. That seems like a lot.

That one continent is about 50% bigger than the United States and slight smaller than Russia.


So, with the US, how many Municipal locations does it have. Well, in 2000, the Census Bureau gave a calculation of over 18,000. At least 10,000 were cities. Now, if you look at the continent on the left again, you will see over 300 dots. 300 vs 18,000 municipal locations… very low.

I can hear you right now. You’re telling me that I’m comparing a modern country with a medieval-esque continent, and that it would be different. You would be right.

So this takes us to this wonderful site:

Let’s go ahead and enter in my total square miles. Also, setting this to about 80 for population, or 80 people per square mile. I also set the year to 1348, as that is the year of the Daygar Legacy series.

So, my continent support 480,000,000 people. There are 949,334 villages, about 3 miles apart on average. 5,760 towns about 32 miles apart. 1000 cities about 77 miles apart, and 8 major cities. That gives us 956,102 municipal units, compared to my 300 municipal units.

So again, I’m underdoing it… by a whole lot. That doesn’t even take castles, keeps, or towers into account. Believe me when I say, your world is bigger than you think. If someone was on horseback in that continent on the left and traveled 20 miles, they would likely see anywhere from 6 – 15 villages in a day.

Each dot on my map represents a major area. My dots are a bit big, but I did that for your sake so you can easy see them, as my map is huge.

I put a red dot in the middle of each dot, so I could identify what kind of municipal unit it is.

1/2 black dot – If it black dot is split in half, it is a hamlet.
1 red dot – Village
2 red dots – Town
3 red dots – City
4+ red dots – Castle

Again, each of these will be talked about in greater detail in my Worldbuilding series after the map-making is done.

Making Cities

*WARNING: This will affect your computer as it tries to calculate and render the information on the screen. It may cause your computer to freeze for long duration. If you can move your mouse, you need to wait. I’m running Windows XP SP3, 32-bit OS, with 4GB of RAM (actually 3.2GB). Sometimes it took 20 minutes for this to process. Just be patient.

1. Create new Layer
a. Effect -> Noise -> Add noise

Intensity: 100
Color Saturation: 0
Coverage: 1

b. Press CTRL+F to repeat the last tool used
c. Select magic wand

Set at 80%

d. Shift Click white area
e. Press delete
f. Duplicate Layer
g. Set names of two layers

Municipal Center
Municipal Types

h. Click on the Municipal layer
h. With Magic Wand (set at 30%), select the empty area
i. Got to Effects -> Selection -> Outline Selection

Outline Width: 2 – 5

I had set mine at 5. This is entirely up to, on what you feel is best. Make sure colour is set to black. Also check both boxes.

j. Go to Municipal Center
k. With Magic Wand, select white area
l. Invert selection
m. Set primary colour to red
n. Hit Backspace
o. Merge Municipal Center with Municipal Types
p. Rename layer Municipal

So now you have your municipal types. Play around with this until what you get what you need. You can also close your map and open a new file set to the Width and Height, and create this layer. It might make the process faster for you, then when you’re finish, open your project and copy and paste on a new Layer.
Now, you’ll notice a problem. Your cities are not just on your land, but on your mountains, in your forests and lakes, and somehow in the middle of the ocean. I am going to show you how to remove them, which is also a technique you can use to clean up your map.

2. Go to Land Start layer
a. With Magic Wand, click the open area
b. Go to Municipal Layer
c. Press Delete

Here, you will notice that all the Municipal dots are gone from the Ocean. Let’s try another.

3. Go to River Layer
a. With Magic Wand, click open Area
b. Invert Selection (remember, that is CTRL+i)
c. Go to Municipal Layer
d. Press Delete

You’ll note that we inverted selection. This is because we wanted the Rivers themselves and not the rest of the map. Now you will see that there are no Municipal dots in rivers, though some seem to go through. Perhaps the city or village has a river that goes through it.
Be sure not to hit backspace, as this will fill in the space with whatever colour is your primary one. Also, sometimes you might accidentally delete the object you are trying to clear trash from, say delete the mountain itself rather than the Municipal units. This is because you’re still in the Mountain layer. I’ve made that mistake myself. Be sure to use the undo button.
Now, you can use this to help clean up other layers. Do some of your rivers go into your oceans, like you see blue streaks going into the ocean? I’ve told you not to delete anything before now. Let’s remove those.

4. Go to Land Start layer
a. With Magic Wand, select open area
b. Go to Rivers Layer
c. Press Delete.

Do this with each of your layers. You can now clean up your map. Perhaps you want your rivers to cut into your forest, rather than your forest to be on top of them (as is with my map). Simply select the rivers in river layer, invert selection so you only have the rivers selected, go to forest, and press delete.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask below.
End World

Help Keep This Site Running

This site is a great achievement for me, but due to being unable to work, I may not be able to keep this site running. With your help, I might be able to.

I need $125 by October 30th, 2017. Anything you can give will help.

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