I have been working on a fantasy novel for the past few weeks. I haven’t exactly followed good writing principles but I am enjoying it. I just sat down one day and started writing it. I still have only a partial outline. Last night I reached the point where I really needed to define where my main characters were in this fantasy world so I spent my lunch break making a map.
Making a map, eh? Most of us would sit down with a pen and paper and start sketching land masses, mountains, cities and the like. Well I am a computer guy so my first move was to look for map generating software. I stumbled across the Greenfish Relief map generator, a completely free application that requires no install. It was developed by a Hungarian software developer who makes only free software. I downloaded the application in a few seconds and then ran the program. It was very easy to use. I specified the size of map I wanted, water density, colors to be used for the water levels, plains, hills, and mountains, and the level of detail. The program instantly generated a map. By changing the random seed I was able to generate a few hundred maps in about 15 minutes. I saved off a few of my favorites as image files and then added labels to the image in Microsoft Visio. It only took about 30 minutes to put this map together. Less time spent mapping gives me more time to write.
You can find the Greenfish Relief map generator here: http://greenfish.extra.hu/downloads.php