One of the biggest things lacking in the first draft of my fantasy novel is world creation. I am looking at Fractal Terrains Pro and Campaign Cartographer 3 to help me create maps and such of my world.
Has anyone used these programs? What was your experience? Would you recommend them or is there something else you've found that's better?
Are there any programs that, after you've created your maps, can tell you, "the distance from Town A to Town B would take x amount of time by horse, on foot", etc.?
There is also a City Designer that comes bundled with the above programs. Do you know if there is any way to link political and historical info to the cities? For example, "Town A's governor is Mr.Soandso. There was a devastating fire last year and this is where the Mage Guild has its annual meeting." Are there any programs that do this?
I don't know anything really about world-building software, but I'd be surprised if any world-building computer program could also give you an accurate estimate of how long it would take to get from point A to point B. There are just too many variables, even assuming the program could take general terrain (flat, hilly, mountainous, boggy, sandy) into account.
E.g. Are you walking slow or fast? How many hours a day are you traveling? What time of year is it and how much daylight is there in a day? Can you travel at night? Is the road muddy, snowy, dry? How much does your cart weigh and how many horses are pulling it? How good are the roads or are there even roads? How fast is your horse, and do you care if it's alive or dead at the end of your journey? And that's just off the top of my head.
P.S. Edited to add - I'm apparently in a very cynical mood tonight. I'd be thrilled to be proved wrong. Anyone?
[This message has been edited by Kitti (edited October 19, 2009).]
Thanks mikemunsil. Those are great resources! I've already bookmarked them and created a big fat file folder for the best ones. I've got a lot of work to do.
And Kitti, don't worry about your cynical mood. I knew it was a longshot that a program would have the distance tracker but I figure it never hurts to ask. I did download the free demo of Fractal Terrains Pro and you can do a Point A to Point B distance gauge but I'm sure travel time is in the hands of the creator.
In my worlds, distances are measured in paces and leagues, heights in spans. These words are wonderfully ambiguous, so I can fudge the amount of time travel takes so that my characters arrive exactly when I want them.
I also take the attitude that map making is not an exact science and even official maps are bound to have many errors. This has historic precedence; take a look at any map before the 19th century. Sometimes it's even hard to determine what part of the world the map is for.