Tag: Multimedia

The magic of maps

The magic of maps

A good, old-fashioned map can add a whole lot of character to a place.

Sure, the colorful country-accurate map of the Earth on a globe is an impressive sight especially fully animated online:

But that view of the planet is a bit too modernist and clinical for my tastes.

I’m more of a fan of classic, stylized pieces such as the 1643 depiction of Europe by Dutch mapmaker Cornelis Danckaerts that I used for my Featured Image. It’s just the sort of rugged, swarthy style you’d expect to see in some kind of fantasy novel.

Replace that boat off the port of Spain with some kind of serpentine sea creature and it may as well be the map of a fantasy world. Like something you’d expect to see from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth.

Speaking of, did you know that there’s an interactive Middle-Earth map available online? It is full of complex names and points of time for different important events.

That’s the kind of stuff I love.

As I’ve made more progress in my Senior Honors Project novel, I’ve found it necessary to start keeping track of all the locations I’m name dropping to give the world a little more history and life.

To remember places I might want to bring up later and also lay everything out on a more cohesive latitude and longitude for when I explain travel across the content — as my book will include plenty of travel.

During class yesterday, I started to draw out a rudimentary sketch of my world map on a sheet of paper:

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Results not final.

I used to draw things like this all the time, inspired by the maps I’ve seen in the front of books like Lord of the Rings and Eragon.

But never before have I put one together that might actually be useful.

So it was serendipity that, while sitting in my Honors 400B class last night, my friend Mimi noticed my drawing and offered to point out some free campaign map making software she knew about for Dungeons and Dragons.

How was I supposed to say no to that?

Of the software I got pointed to, my favorite was a website called HexTML, which as the name implies lets you create a world of your own using hexagonal signifiers like the board game Settlers of Catan.

Many hours were spent last night screwing around to translate that hand-drawn map into something that could reasonably be shown off to the world.

It’s still open to adjustments down the line and I’d like to put names on all of the areas and towns through the site, but for now I’m really proud of where I’d gotten:

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The left side.

While the continent proper does not yet have a name, but a lot of the structures within it do.

The town on the lower left is Fehrn, where my main characters live.

The singular structures around Fehrn are ruins of the old western empire that have been used as treasure hunting locales. To the north, that black cavern, is an underground chamber where my story begins — just below the Redbark Woods.

To the lower right is the Gnarled Forest, a large mesh of roots, branches and bark that was nigh impenetrable for eons. The old elven tribe was able to thrive there before being attacked.

Just above that in the mountain range hides a small structure signifying the capital of the Sparrine Empire. The Sparrine being the bird people who are basically France, taking over the region under bird Napoleon. Talked about that recently.

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The right side.

Moving onto the other side of the map, a few new main areas stand out.

Hidden in another mountain to the right of the Sparrine empire is the Prophet’s Sanctuary, where my main characters must travel.

Below it is a yet unnamed lake with an equally unnamed port town to its right side where the player character of my story’s game world will have to take on bird Napoleon in a thinly veiled allegory to the Battle of Waterloo.

Spoilers, I guess. If you know historical stuff.

The walled city to the right of that lake is the capital of the Bresegon Empire, where the lordly prince character hails from. Just above it is the ruins of an older nation’s capital.

Essentially the ruins of Rome beside the now prospering Byzantine Empire.

All of those ruins to the leftmost side of the region being the desolate remains of the Holy Roman Empire’s holdings.

Those are some of my world’s major locations, as far as I’ve planned things out up to this point. With all of the plot beats generally worked out for my story, I’m especially excited to start using a bunch of them now that I have a spatial awareness of how everything fits together.

Hope you’re interested in seeing some more cool little behind-the-scenes details on my writing like this from here on out.

Now that I’m getting into the book, I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to share.


Featured Image courtesy of Cornelis Danckerts via Wikimedia Commons

November 7, 2017 Article Published

Don’t know what it is exactly about this semester that has led to me posting about all these fairly important things I’ve been working on later than I should… But in this case it’s probably safe to assume my statistics exam had something to do with it.

Anyway, that’s not important. What is important is the fact that I wrote another article the other day, an article on a pretty significant topic in fact:

CSUF’s president Mildred Garcia took a new job and announced she would be leaving her current position in January.

That’s right, even though Milo Yiannopoulos’ visit was our big thing for the semester, life certainly hasn’t slowed down all that much since he came. The departure of the campus’ head official after nearly six years would certainly qualify as big news too, I’d say.

As soon as we heard about Garcia leaving to take a job as the president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, we immediately hit up Strategic Communications to see if we could sit down with her and talk about it. Much to our surprise, she was available to do so despite things obviously being busy thanks to her announcement, and that afternoon I went up to the top floor of College Park to do an interview with her and Chief Communications Officer Jeffrey Cook alongside my EIC Zack, our photo editor Katie and our multimedia editor Mia.

From there the story is pretty straight forward. Went back down to the newsroom, transcribed everything and wrote an article outlining why she’s leaving, what she’s going to be doing now and how the end of the semester is going to be affected by her departure. That includes the overall search for a new president that will begin after CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White comes to campus to gauge the community (date to be determined) and the planning and implementation of a new University Strategic Plan.

Plus whatever else is being planned for CSUF’s 60th anniversary, of course.

I’m likely going to be following up on this article for some more general deep coverage on the abundance of president searches in the CSU system. Or at least that’s my current plan if I can get it while working through all of my classes, but until that comes you can check out my article here.

It even includes the multimedia piece put together by Mia, though I’ll admit It’s a little cringe-y hearing me acknowledge Garcia as she talks. Not very used to doing video interviews still, it seems. If videos aren’t really your thing, just seeing Katie’s photo of Garcia looking bittersweet about the decision is an incredibly powerful image.

You can also check out my full archive of work for the Daily Titan over on the right!