A simple example of a continent made with the landmass wizard
The landmass wizard is a great tool to kick start your new map. People often think that handcrafting your land and oceans is the only way to make a personal, beautiful looking map. The good thing about fantasy worlds however, is that they only exist inside your head until you share it with others. So, as long as you don’t share anything, nobody knows what the world will look like and everything is still possible. The landmass wizard ensures that your landmass looks natural, unique (not based on Britain/Westeros) and similar in style all across the map. You can continue generating landmasses as much as you want, until you see a result that you like.
In short, if you don’t have a clear idea yet of how you want your land to look like, I strongly recommend using the landmass wizard. If you do have an idea of how it looks like, ask yourself how attached you are to it and if you really want to re-create the image in your head. Perhaps it’s still worth considering using the landmass wizard.
How the wizard works
After you’ve made a new map file, you see an empty screen in front of you. The first thing you want, is to divide land and oceans. To do this by randomly generating it, go to ‘land’ in the menu on the left and click the top icon ‘Landmass Wizard’.
On the top right of your screen, you can now choose several variations:
- Uniform: for basically anything that doesn’t fit the descriptions below
- Continent: for a world with an emphasize on one major continent
- Archipelago: for an island-based world
- Atoll: for an atoll-based world (a ring-shaped island)
- World: for and earth-like world
- Equirectangular: for when you want to put you map on a globe
You can change the roughness (of the coastlines) and the detail (sort of complexity) of the land you are going to create. To see how this impacts your landmass, I recommend to just give it a few tries on different settings and examine the differences after which you can choose what suits you best. To start with, putting both bars in the middle works just fine. Keep in mind that more roughness and more detail is not always better: we’re making a fantasy map, not a satellite image.
By default, the wizard is set to 50% water level. You can change this upfront, but you can also just generate a landmass in your chosen category and see how it turns out. Afterwards, you can still raise or lower the water level to see how your landmass and oceans change. If after this you still don’t like what you see, just hit the generate button again and again until you’re satisfied with what you see.
The ‘invert’ button does exactly what it says. It inverts the land and the water.
Alterations to consider after creating a landmass
Even though the wizard makes very good looking shapes, it’s still a tool. So after you’ve created the shape that you like, it’s time to do a visual check at a zoomed in level of your coastlines. Sometimes, there are weird hooks or inlets that you may want to fix with the lower and raise landmass tool. Just follow the coastline and polish it up until you’re happy. Don’t push it by adding or removing too much land, especially when you’re new to Wonderdraft. It’s not easy to make your ‘new land’ in the same style as the wizard did with the rest and you don’t want it to be clearly visible which part of the world you manually edited.
Another thing I always do after using the landmass wizard is to remove every inland sea. I’m rather keen on creating the lakes myself and have all lakes displayed as freshwater. If you keep some of the generated inland seas, you may end up having two different looking lakes (one freshwater and one generated as salt water). Of course, inland (salt) seas can exist, but to me, it’s not worth having to explain why some ‘lakes’ look different than others.
Better use the ‘raise landmass’ tool on these and make your own lakes
A last thing I check after generating a landmass, is the islands that are generated. Islands are easy to erase without ever showing that you manually changed something, so if there’s an island you don’t like or sometimes, those very very tiny islands that the wizard tends to create, you can freely erase them without doing any harm.
There you go! You now have your own, uniquely shaped fantasy world, ready to be filled with mountains, lakes, rivers, forests and cities.
The best thing to do as your next step is to place mountains. Also read “why you shouldn’t color your map until the end”.