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The Hushed Shade of Northern Wood

Ruinenlust wrote:So I would be voting against a red flag with volcanos and McDonald's french fry containers, just in case anyone had bizarre ideas. O_ő

...guess I'll just be throwing this out, then

https://i.imgur.com/RZywmNq.png

Terrabod wrote:I expect our residents will vote for a design that reimagines our existing iconography in a way that's both new and familiar - but I guess that's for the voters to decide!

May I introduce you to "Boaty McBoatface"?

I think flag contests have a lot of potential for fun creativity, but also great capacity to go poorly. As an example of the latter, you all made the poor choice of voting for my flag during the crystal jubilee celebration :P

In my humble opinion, rather than leaving the decision up to a straight vote, it could be prudent to have something of a regional discussion about it. If someone thinks they have a design that's better than the current, bring it forward, plead your case, let others respond and show counter examples. All the while leaving the final decision up to folks who are proven to understand the region and its history and who can be trusted to curate its appearance.

I acknowledge this isn't the truly democratic way, but I think there are benefits to this method. However, I also think the current flag is perfect for the region.

The Most Serene Republic of The Most Serene Republicans

Northern Wood wrote:...guess I'll just be throwing this out, then

https://i.imgur.com/RZywmNq.png

I will now be discarding my personal flag and using this one instead

The Hushed Shade of Northern Wood

The Most Serene Republicans wrote:I will now be discarding my personal flag and using this one instead

LOL. I was just catching up on the RMB and saw your post about your new design. It's pretty classy, I think you did a great job on the symbol. Perhaps technically a bit busy for a national flag, but in my opinion that can be overlooked if the design works.

The Most Serene Republic of The Most Serene Republicans

Northern Wood wrote:LOL. I was just catching up on the RMB and saw your post about your new design. It's pretty classy, I think you did a great job on the symbol. Perhaps technically a bit busy for a national flag, but in my opinion that can be overlooked if the design works.

Thank you!! It's not gonna be the national flag forever though, this is placeholder until I make a simpler flag closer to what I had before. The sun with spiral thing is just to iconic for me to abandon it right now.

edit: No joke, five minutes after typing this I managed to recover the file with the symbols that I thought I had lost. However, I still like the new ones better, so I guess the redesign is still happening
edit 2: Alright, definitive flag added. It's kind of a cross between my first flag and the one I had before the dum sticker

The Hushed Shade of Northern Wood

Uan aa Boa wrote:
It's not. Margaret Thatcher reputedly said that if you were on a bus after the age of 30 you should consider yourself a failure. Many British people would also rather spend their journey in a car on their own than on a bus with other people, though that's probably because we're antisocial rather than because freedom. More and more places that people want to go to are being placed out of town because of lower land prices and the freedom to build, so planning is based on assumptions about cars. Car reliance is perhaps not as prevalent as in the USA though. We don't see residential developments without sidewalks, for instance. A journalist writing a satirical piece on cultural differences said that if you decide to walk somewhere in the US because it's a nice day people will think you're an unusually well dressed and purposeful homeless person.

Well, that is quite unfortunate to know. I suppose it is comforting, in a way, to know that the issue isn't solely with Americans, but I was also hoping that it wouldn't be a problem elsewhere, given the strong effect it has on quality-of-life for the poorer segments of society.

That quote of Thatcher's is truly one of the more depressing statements I've heard from a politician (discounting the last four years across the pond, here). I realize there are people who think such things, but to hear it from a major politician just makes me sad. I'd long known Thatcher was especially reviled by certain segments, but never fully understood the specifics. Guess that clears some things up for me...

The Incorporated States of Terrabod

Mount Seymour wrote:While I really do appreciate your commitment to complete freedom, my past experience with conducting flag redesigns and redesign contests suggests that it is extremely important to include some sort of quality/consistency check -- whether through a (proactive) set of design guidelines for entrants to follow, or through a (reactive) narrowing-down selection process by a group of well-informed government members.

I obviously haven't published the dispatch yet, but it states that all submissions are subject to approval by the Flag Contest Committee - meaning the cabinet will be discussing the designs and ensuring their suitability. I hope this also allays Northern Wood's concerns. I reject the notion that your jubilee flag was bad, Northern Wood - I think Forest made the best choice there!

Mount Seymour wrote:I did not mean at all that any update should be limited by what the current flag is; rather, I said I hope that a process is put in place to ensure that a new design "retains the same connection to the rest of our graphic identity". Let me give you an example of what I mean by this [...] But simply saying "let's put everyone's designs freely into a poll and let the best ones win!" eliminates the prospect of having any sort of consistency check like that.

You haven't seen the guidelines yet! I hunted down that specific shade of green this morning and it's already in the contest dispatch. I've also got details about flag sizes as well. What I meant by giving people creative freedom was that I won't tell them they must have three fir trees of equal size to the ones in the existing flag in the same position as the existing flag and the bottom half of the flag must be green and this and this and this... not that we're going to give you twelve different meme flags to vote on and you should pick the one you like best.

Mount Seymour wrote:I'm pretty sure whoever told you that is wrong! I recall several pages' worth of designs submitted on the old forums (sadly lost to the mists of history). I know I myself submitted at least three, and Bruination also submitted a whole bunch. There were quite a few other designers and submissions as well.

Clearly my source was unreliable - I won't name any names Ruinenlust.

EDIT: I just found this [https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/nationstatesforest/new-forest-flag-competition-t77.html] which shows some of the designs submitted during the contest four years ago! Most have been lost to the ravages of time, but there are still designs from Mount Seymour, FuF, Bemberna and Mozworld. The watermark on Mozworld's entry makes it my favourite haha.

The Cicada Celebration of Ruinenlust

Northern Wood wrote:...guess I'll just be throwing this out, then

https://i.imgur.com/RZywmNq.png

Stop everything! This is...life itself!!!

Burn it all down; take that algae-colored rag out of here, because we have VOLCANOES AND FRENCH FRIES!!!!

But seriously, this is quite tastefully done. How do people get so good at design? Like for that, what program did you use? I would always struggle mightily to use Paint, but I absolutely suck at it. I wish that I could design things. Actually being able to design maps would be the best. I used to draw maps by hand as a child all the time of imaginary places, mostly just for their geography and climate. I never was good at assigning peoples or histories to them, though.

Omg, and it could even have a name: French "Fires!" :-D

This flag me actually laugh audibly to the empty room, haha. :-)

---------

Edit:

Terrabod wrote:Clearly my source was unreliable - I won't name any names Ruinenlust.

Yes. I am very unreliable for many things of that sort. It's why I try not to put much stock into my own memories. But it's the thought that counts. Wouldn't it be nice to think that last time there were only a few options?

In reality, both Mt. Seymour and I were wrong: the current flag came to Seymour in a dream, and the hand of God wrote it through them, and thence the flag came, and thereupon was promulgated to the peoples, who rejoiced. Obvi.

The Kingdom of Arklanda

The Northern Kingdom of Einswenn

Uan aa Boa wrote:Margaret Thatcher reputedly said that if you were on a bus after the age of 30 you should consider yourself a failure.

Northern Wood wrote:That quote of Thatcher's is truly one of the more depressing statements I've heard from a politician (discounting the last four years across the pond, here).

First of all we must always remember Thatcher was living in a very, very different time. Whatever her life views were, they are outdated and invalid now. Public transport, i.e. aforementioned bus, is nothing like it was in her harsh era. Well, at least in the areas I've been to, although GB is not in the list :P But I truly doubt, say, London still exists in the setting of the mid 20th century.

However, it's unfortunate to see any kind of social shame for using public transport. I live in a city with quite developed system of métropolitain (subway/underground)/busses/trolleys/trams/trains and it's socially okay to use them. In fact, sometimes even [traditionally distant] wealthy people would rather prefer to use a quick public transport ride instead of using their cars with all those traffic jams/lack of parking slots in central town/other headache issues.

For legal reasons I must also clarify here that I broadcast pre-pandemic reality where taxi was a bit less popular option; now wealthy people, along with the "regular" ones, would rather hire a cab using one of several decent competitor companies in case if the distance is short & not in the rush hour; for a long ride they would either take metro train or abstain from going anywhere :P

Metro system is not trashy here and the area is literally clean and well-maintained, although it's historical one so lack of modern vibe may be also an issue for some very specific wealthy people. Using the underground electrified miracle is the fastest and safest way to travel from point A to point B. There still exists stereotypical approach to the matter when people look down at those who travel via metro but it's an outdated social script and no one takes that seriously, rather laugh at such embarrassment of a wannabe bully. Some other people don't use underground train due to various personal reasons and go via trolleys/trams/busses instead. Some of the fleets got modernised and such ride may be quite pleasing or even big-rainy-city-life ambient-rich.

Not gonna lie, given a choice I'd rather prefer to avoid using public transport in rush hours not because of the shame or something but because of me disliking crowds of people in general. I don't feel comfy to use a full-packed train/bus and this doesn't bring me joy (unlike the free hours with just a few other passengers). In most of the rush hours cases when I happen to go somewhere I try to prefer taxi option for the sake of comfort, if I have a choice [traffic-wise]. For about a year my work schedule was nearly perfect and I didn't crash myself into morning/evening crowds of rushing people except for just a couple of cases of "extreme joy".

Uan aa Boa wrote:A journalist writing a satirical piece on cultural differences said that if you decide to walk somewhere in the US because it's a nice day people will think you're an unusually well dressed and purposeful homeless person.

Outrage! :D As someone who loves such nice-day-walk I can't agree with the American society. Americans rely on cars way too much and their infrastructure is also dependant on it personal transport. It's hard, or nearly impossible to overhaul the whole city planning system there and I don't even know if they need to. Europe is just perfect for long walks around both in big cities, small towns, suburbs, or even countryside (although with more exceptions than in cities). I find it crucially important to be able to go for a comfortable stroll any minute and any weather without relying on any kind of transportation except for the bicycles maybe.

The Federated Bailiwicks of Verdant Haven

Ruinenlust wrote:

Actually being able to design maps would be the best. I used to draw maps by hand as a child all the time of imaginary places, mostly just for their geography and climate. I never was good at assigning peoples or histories to them, though.

I've been making maps for decades, and something that eventually "clicked" for me somewhere along the way is that it doesn't work to first make the map, then give it a history and people. Maps reflect the history and people of the place they show. If you're looking for more than a geographic outline, the worldbuilding needs to come first.

Take a look at some maps even just of the United States. Look at the shapes, sizes, and boundaries of states on the east coast. Now look at them in the midwest. Pull up county maps and consider those. Why are the counties so very different looking in some states vs others? Where are the major cities, and why? Geography is huge when you're dealing with an older-settled area - natural barriers like rivers, rolling hills, and mountain ranges provided real barriers to movement, and thus impacted borders. Coastlines matter too - everybody wants to touch the coast, so you get narrow states that extend far inland, but don't stretch up the coast as much due to other states needing sea access. On the other hand, if you're far from water and have flat open plains as far as the eye can see, with counties being laid out before people even got there? Now you've got squares laid out by a surveyor "artificially" as it were. The difference between boundaries created by law, vs boundaries merely recognized after being chosen naturally, tend to be quite visible.

Transportation at the time of settlement is also significant. When a horse was the fastest transportation to be had, and most movement was done on foot or with wagon, states were smaller and towns built up around coach houses and inns every 30 miles or so - about the distance you could reasonably travel in a day. Those towns would arise along the easiest path between two large cities - wherever the route was most heavily traveled. Those large cities in turn would have arisen because of some value to be had - a natural resource, a sheltered harbor, a defensive position (so many ancient cities on hills!), or the highest navigable point on a major river. If you're dealing with more recent settlements, come along in the age of the railroad or even the motorcar, you get bigger states, wider spacing, and less reliance on what is passing through versus what can be brought in.

Politics always plays a role, too. Why are so many capital cities in the United States not the biggest and best known cities? It's because the capitals got assigned to central locations in the states, rather than to just the biggest or most dominant cities. This was a way to get agreement and be equitable among the potential constituents, all of whom wanted to be able to reach the capital in a reasonable amount of time and not feel dominated by some distant point. Ask most foreigners to name some US state capitals, or even many Americans, and they might guess cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Portland, Houston, Seattle, and many others, but none of them are actually capitals. In fact, of the 20 largest cities in the US, only 5 are their state capital. Politics can also include the effects warfare, inheritance, political intrigue, land grants, whatever lies in the past of the area being mapped. A set of entities that developed under a centralized monarchy may have certain administrative structures that are different from a system that was born out of the unification of independent city-states.

Anyway, long story short, maps are great, and they reflect the people and politics of the place they represent. I've mapped out all 393 shires (county-equivalents) of the 12 bailiwicks that make up Verdant Haven, stemming from what was once four grand duchies. Each of those four grand duchies had its own unique character and laws, which have informed the borders of the shires as they appear today. Some parts of the history may be obvious looking at the borders, but most probably will only make sense once the context is known. As the mapper, you have the privilege of knowing it, and it will probably help make your maps feel more real if you're able to draw with that in mind.

(The map in question, questions/critiques welcome: https://i.imgur.com/DiSooTV.png)

The Hushed Shade of Northern Wood

Ruinenlust wrote:
Stop everything! This is...life itself!!!

Burn it all down; take that algae-colored rag out of here, because we have VOLCANOES AND FRENCH FRIES!!!!

But seriously, this is quite tastefully done. How do people get so good at design? Like for that, what program did you use? I would always struggle mightily to use Paint, but I absolutely suck at it. I wish that I could design things. Actually being able to design maps would be the best. I used to draw maps by hand as a child all the time of imaginary places, mostly just for their geography and climate. I never was good at assigning peoples or histories to them, though.

Omg, and it could even have a name: French "Fires!" :-D

This flag me actually laugh audibly to the empty room, haha. :-)

:D

Regarding how I made it, I'll try to explain in a bit of detail, in hope of dispelling any mystique around creating images, here. Because my process is pretty slapdash and cobbled together, and actually a bit embarrassing when the curtain is pulled back...

First, before discovering this site in 2017, I had zero computer skills, nor any knowledge of design, digital or otherwise. But I was so taken by NS that I really wanted to figure out how to make my own flags and banners.

I settled on Inkscape, a vector graphics program, because it was free and, after reading tons of reviews, seemed to have greater potential. Yet, over two years later, I barely understand what a "vector" is, let alone how to properly manipulate them. Another option that is both powerful but still free is GIMP, which I understand is more simple to use but has less potential in the long run.

I began watching video tutorials on youtube. This is a massive aid, as it somewhat forces you to become acquainted with the dizzying array of options. Definitely boring, but I can't recommend them highly enough. Specifically, the more user-friendly ones that just some random helpful person on youtube made, rather than Inkscape's own tutorials. For instance, early on I stumbled upon a tutorial for creating the "nordic cross" flag, eventually resulting in the very design you see on my nation, now (though with tons of gradual tweaking).

Just follow any given video, step-by-step, trying to remember where tools are located and what various buttons and pull-down menus do. After a handful of these, you'll begin to get a hang for the rudimentary workings of the program. And that, alone, is enough to create a pretty decent flag that looks original.

Once you get the page layout right for the project you have in mind -- correct dimensions and page grid -- then you're really off to the races. So, You can copy anyone's flag, paste it into the program, then "set" the page size around that object. Everything within that page, once exported, becomes the file for the flag. Same for banners. This also means it "clips off" anything that hangs off of the sides, allowing you to isolate specific fragments and portions of images, in a jerry-rigged kind of way. Eventually, you can figure out more elegant solutions.

Probably the most useful discovery I made was a tool within the program which can convert any simple silhouette image into something that can be easily manipulated. For instance, google "tree" and "silhouette" or "png" to pull up tons of flat, clip-art style images. Import it into Inkscape, press the button to "convert into bitmap," and it churns out the same exact image but now with perfectly clean sides and able to be recolored at will. The new image can also be utilized as a sort of "stamp," where it can be placed over another larger image in order to cut out that shape from it.

I can't emphasis enough what a game-changer this was, once I discovered it. For instance, it's how I created the jubilee flag.

For the volcano flag, I just googled "volcano vector" and played around until I found an interesting one. Then I imported it into a free site that allows you to make the backgrounds of images transparent:

https://www4.lunapic.com/editor/

From there, paste that image, now with transparent background, into Inkscape. Convert to bitmap, to change the color. Do the very same thing with the french fries. Google until locating an interesting image. Make the background transparent. Convert to bitmap. Recolor and resize.

Everything else is tinkering. Would you like to have text bend along a given curve? Just google up until you find a tutorial, whether video or text. Want a block of color to be a gradient? Just follow the tutorial. Do you like that Betsy Ross flag, but wish that circle were made from the fleur-de-lis on your own flag, rather than stars? Tutorial :)

I still lack any real drawing talent. Yet, I feel very little restriction on my ability to create a flag. So long as the end result is something like a flag for a simple web browser game, and not something to be used commercially or professionally.

After awhile, if you do it long enough, you begin to discover on your own the design elements that work, and the ones that don't. Fun new ideas can be experimented with. New techniques tried. Etc. Practice, practice, practice, as they say.

Hope that wasn't unbearable to read...

The Eco-Republic of Mozworld

Mount Seymour wrote:One more question for Chan Island and Mozworld as well: The Forest Regional History dispatch hasn't been updated in over a year at this point. It's always been one of my favorite little neat things about Forest -- not many other regions keep such a record of their history. Is Mozworld still planning on updating it at some point, as a sort of "unofficial project" despite not being a RO anymore? Or is it unmaintained at this point, or being transitioned to someone else? Would hate to see it discontinued (especially since we've just experienced perhaps some of the most important developments in all of the region's history).

I'll be updating it soon. I was waiting for the Errinundera / Election situations to move from news to history. Given the prolonged nature of the last government there hasn't been all that much to add to the history until recently. Also, since Ruinenlust was going to be required to give the new Forest Keeper their powers, it would just be sod's law that the moment I post that Errinundera is gone, never to return, they return 5 minutes later.

Mount Seymour wrote:I believe it's the latter. But I do hope that either it's a temporary thing, or some fairly strict parameters are put in place so that whatever new flag we end up with retains the same connection to the rest of our graphic identity.

Well, there's nothing to stop you resubmitting the existing flag you made. Worked for New Zealand.

The Most Serene Republic of The Most Serene Republicans

Verdant Haven wrote:
I've been making maps for decades, and something that eventually "clicked" for me somewhere along the way is that it doesn't work to first make the map, then give it a history and people. Maps reflect the history and people of the place they show. If you're looking for more than a geographic outline, the worldbuilding needs to come first.

Take a look at some maps even just of the United States. Look at the shapes, sizes, and boundaries of states on the east coast. Now look at them in the midwest. Pull up county maps and consider those. Why are the counties so very different looking in some states vs others? Where are the major cities, and why? Geography is huge when you're dealing with an older-settled area - natural barriers like rivers, rolling hills, and mountain ranges provided real barriers to movement, and thus impacted borders. Coastlines matter too - everybody wants to touch the coast, so you get narrow states that extend far inland, but don't stretch up the coast as much due to other states needing sea access. On the other hand, if you're far from water and have flat open plains as far as the eye can see, with counties being laid out before people even got there? Now you've got squares laid out by a surveyor "artificially" as it were. The difference between boundaries created by law, vs boundaries merely recognized after being chosen naturally, tend to be quite visible.

Transportation at the time of settlement is also significant. When a horse was the fastest transportation to be had, and most movement was done on foot or with wagon, states were smaller and towns built up around coach houses and inns every 30 miles or so - about the distance you could reasonably travel in a day. Those towns would arise along the easiest path between two large cities - wherever the route was most heavily traveled. Those large cities in turn would have arisen because of some value to be had - a natural resource, a sheltered harbor, a defensive position (so many ancient cities on hills!), or the highest navigable point on a major river. If you're dealing with more recent settlements, come along in the age of the railroad or even the motorcar, you get bigger states, wider spacing, and less reliance on what is passing through versus what can be brought in.

Politics always plays a role, too. Why are so many capital cities in the United States not the biggest and best known cities? It's because the capitals got assigned to central locations in the states, rather than to just the biggest or most dominant cities. This was a way to get agreement and be equitable among the potential constituents, all of whom wanted to be able to reach the capital in a reasonable amount of time and not feel dominated by some distant point. Ask most foreigners to name some US state capitals, or even many Americans, and they might guess cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Portland, Houston, Seattle, and many others, but none of them are actually capitals. In fact, of the 20 largest cities in the US, only 5 are their state capital. Politics can also include the effects warfare, inheritance, political intrigue, land grants, whatever lies in the past of the area being mapped. A set of entities that developed under a centralized monarchy may have certain administrative structures that are different from a system that was born out of the unification of independent city-states.

Anyway, long story short, maps are great, and they reflect the people and politics of the place they represent. I've mapped out all 393 shires (county-equivalents) of the 12 bailiwicks that make up Verdant Haven, stemming from what was once four grand duchies. Each of those four grand duchies had its own unique character and laws, which have informed the borders of the shires as they appear today. Some parts of the history may be obvious looking at the borders, but most probably will only make sense once the context is known. As the mapper, you have the privilege of knowing it, and it will probably help make your maps feel more real if you're able to draw with that in mind.

(The map in question, questions/critiques welcome: https://i.imgur.com/DiSooTV.png)

You know... I never thought about it this way, but now it makes a lot more sense why the three provinces in the map of MSR that I actually like are also the three provinces which have some lore for why they have the shape they have (Two of them, Gurá and Matos and Land of Amari, are separate islands mostly inhabited by specific ethnic groups with their own history there and the other one is a province which contains the mountains inhabited by the mountain people), while the other ones, which are just arbitrary divisions, always felt a bit strange.

After reading this I'm totally gonna remake (or re-divide, rather) the map of MSR, probably taking a fair bit of inspiration from post-inca empire south america, because the whole point of MSR is that there was already a sort of "empire" in the island, with it's own cities and infrastructure, before european colonization, and that the inhabitants today are direct descendents from these original inhabitants. Thank you a lot for the insight, this is just one of those things that are really interesting and I just hadn't thought about it too much before.

And also, I have a new flag! And to make those two topics meet:
Middle Barael how did you make that wiki-style factbook thingy? I want to make a similar one for MSR

The Hidden Pirate Cove of Chan Island

Ruinenlust wrote:Stop everything! This is...life itself!!!

Burn it all down; take that algae-colored rag out of here, because we have VOLCANOES AND FRENCH FRIES!!!!

But seriously, this is quite tastefully done. How do people get so good at design? Like for that, what program did you use? I would always struggle mightily to use Paint, but I absolutely suck at it. I wish that I could design things. Actually being able to design maps would be the best. I used to draw maps by hand as a child all the time of imaginary places, mostly just for their geography and climate. I never was good at assigning peoples or histories to them, though.

Omg, and it could even have a name: French "Fires!" :-D

This flag me actually laugh audibly to the empty room, haha. :-)

Nothing wrong with a good hand-drawn map. I myself have drawn many, many maps and a few I even decided to richly populate and story. As I type, I currently have a very large hand-drawing of a map I'm setting a novella in hanging on the wall. It's fun.

Not so great for, um, internet uses, but hey, least it's there.

(And on a totally unrelated note, I would absolutely be curious to see how a graphically talented person would interpret the map.)

The Most Serene Republic of The Most Serene Republicans

Hey, does anyone know how would calculate the territory of an archipelago country? Is it the sum of the areas of each island or... Something else?

The Federated Bailiwicks of Verdant Haven

The Most Serene Republicans wrote:Hey, does anyone know how would calculate the territory of an archipelago country? Is it the sum of the areas of each island or... Something else?

Depends on the version of the area calculation you want, but generally speaking yes. The US government uses three calculations:

- "Total area" is the sum of all land and water areas delimited by international boundaries and/or coastlines.
- "Land area" is the aggregate of all surfaces delimited by international boundaries and/or coastlines, excluding inland water bodies (lakes, reservoirs, rivers).
- "Water area" is the sum of the surfaces of all inland water bodies, such as lakes, reservoirs, or rivers, as delimited by international boundaries and/or coastlines.

The Most Serene Republic of The Most Serene Republicans

Verdant Haven wrote:Depends on the version of the area calculation you want, but generally speaking yes. The US government uses three calculations:

- "Total area" is the sum of all land and water areas delimited by international boundaries and/or coastlines.
- "Land area" is the aggregate of all surfaces delimited by international boundaries and/or coastlines, excluding inland water bodies (lakes, reservoirs, rivers).
- "Water area" is the sum of the surfaces of all inland water bodies, such as lakes, reservoirs, or rivers, as delimited by international boundaries and/or coastlines.

That was quite helpful, thanks!

The Pacific Alpine Commonwealth of Mount Seymour

Northern Wood wrote:...guess I'll just be throwing this out, then

https://i.imgur.com/RZywmNq.png

This is actually... a nice flag. Perhaps for Forest's alter ego in another universe? ^_^

Terrabod wrote:EDIT: I just found this [https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/nationstatesforest/new-forest-flag-competition-t77.html] which shows some of the designs submitted during the contest four years ago! Most have been lost to the ravages of time, but there are still designs from Mount Seymour, FuF, Bemberna and Mozworld. The watermark on Mozworld's entry makes it my favourite haha.

Oh, awesome! That looks like the main flag submission thread, at least. I had thought that that forum was inaccessible since it got pushed over to Tapatalk, but apparently it's still online. Good to know that it's still there.

Northern Wood wrote::D

Regarding how I made it, I'll try to explain in a bit of detail, in hope of dispelling any mystique around creating images, here. Because my process is pretty slapdash and cobbled together, and actually a bit embarrassing when the curtain is pulled back...

First, before discovering this site in 2017, I had zero computer skills, nor any knowledge of design, digital or otherwise. But I was so taken by NS that I really wanted to figure out how to make my own flags and banners.

I settled on Inkscape, a vector graphics program, because it was free and, after reading tons of reviews, seemed to have greater potential. Yet, over two years later, I barely understand what a "vector" is, let alone how to properly manipulate them. Another option that is both powerful but still free is GIMP, which I understand is more simple to use but has less potential in the long run.

I began watching video tutorials on youtube. This is a massive aid, as it somewhat forces you to become acquainted with the dizzying array of options. Definitely boring, but I can't recommend them highly enough. Specifically, the more user-friendly ones that just some random helpful person on youtube made, rather than Inkscape's own tutorials. For instance, early on I stumbled upon a tutorial for creating the "nordic cross" flag, eventually resulting in the very design you see on my nation, now (though with tons of gradual tweaking).

Just follow any given video, step-by-step, trying to remember where tools are located and what various buttons and pull-down menus do. After a handful of these, you'll begin to get a hang for the rudimentary workings of the program. And that, alone, is enough to create a pretty decent flag that looks original.

Once you get the page layout right for the project you have in mind -- correct dimensions and page grid -- then you're really off to the races. So, You can copy anyone's flag, paste it into the program, then "set" the page size around that object. Everything within that page, once exported, becomes the file for the flag. Same for banners. This also means it "clips off" anything that hangs off of the sides, allowing you to isolate specific fragments and portions of images, in a jerry-rigged kind of way. Eventually, you can figure out more elegant solutions.

Probably the most useful discovery I made was a tool within the program which can convert any simple silhouette image into something that can be easily manipulated. For instance, google "tree" and "silhouette" or "png" to pull up tons of flat, clip-art style images. Import it into Inkscape, press the button to "convert into bitmap," and it churns out the same exact image but now with perfectly clean sides and able to be recolored at will. The new image can also be utilized as a sort of "stamp," where it can be placed over another larger image in order to cut out that shape from it.

I can't emphasis enough what a game-changer this was, once I discovered it. For instance, it's how I created the jubilee flag.

For the volcano flag, I just googled "volcano vector" and played around until I found an interesting one. Then I imported it into a free site that allows you to make the backgrounds of images transparent:

https://www4.lunapic.com/editor/

From there, paste that image, now with transparent background, into Inkscape. Convert to bitmap, to change the color. Do the very same thing with the french fries. Google until locating an interesting image. Make the background transparent. Convert to bitmap. Recolor and resize.

Everything else is tinkering. Would you like to have text bend along a given curve? Just google up until you find a tutorial, whether video or text. Want a block of color to be a gradient? Just follow the tutorial. Do you like that Betsy Ross flag, but wish that circle were made from the fleur-de-lis on your own flag, rather than stars? Tutorial :)

I still lack any real drawing talent. Yet, I feel very little restriction on my ability to create a flag. So long as the end result is something like a flag for a simple web browser game, and not something to be used commercially or professionally.

After awhile, if you do it long enough, you begin to discover on your own the design elements that work, and the ones that don't. Fun new ideas can be experimented with. New techniques tried. Etc. Practice, practice, practice, as they say.

Hope that wasn't unbearable to read...

You've followed a very similar trajectory with digital design to me. I really first started learning about graphics software in order to make flags and things for NS. Slowly, over the course of several years, I've developed it into a hobby that extends well beyond the game. I still have to do a lot of tinkering to get many things to work, and I still don't really think I can actually draw anything -- I just composite various pre-existing elements together with some basic shapes and text. :P

Here's one of the first maps I ever made digitally (in MS Paint, I believe):

And here's the most recent map I've been working on -- still unfinished (in Adobe Illustrator):

https://i.imgur.com/uZzxtOG.png

The Most Serene Republic of The Most Serene Republicans

Northern Wood wrote:

Probably the most useful discovery I made was a tool within the program which can convert any simple silhouette image into something that can be easily manipulated. For instance, google "tree" and "silhouette" or "png" to pull up tons of flat, clip-art style images. Import it into Inkscape, press the button to "convert into bitmap," and it churns out the same exact image but now with perfectly clean sides and able to be recolored at will. The new image can also be utilized as a sort of "stamp," where it can be placed over another larger image in order to cut out that shape from it.

I can't emphasis enough what a game-changer this was, once I discovered it. For instance, it's how I created the jubilee flag.

The convert into bitmap thing is absolutely the life of me. I'm way too lazy to draw most things from scratch lol. Illustrator has pretty much the same tool too, I don't remember what it's called though.

I also recommend downloading actual SVGs online, because there are soooo many of them available for free and since they were already made as vectors, you can basically separate the parts you need and use them without the slight distortion that convert to bitmap has. My two main sources are Wikimedia Commons (to which I've started giving back a bit recently) and OpenClipart. You know that CoA I used as a flag until a few hours ago? The ring of grain is from the CoA of china, just recolored and in solid colors rather than a gradient. Here are them both for comparasion:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/ab/National_Emblem_of_the_People%27s_Republic_of_China_%282%29.svg/1024px-National_Emblem_of_the_People%27s_Republic_of_China_%282%29.svg.png
https://i.imgur.com/1KprksB.png

Wikimedia Commons actually has a whole section of svg heraldry elements I use for flags and emblems all the time.

Mount Seymour wrote:I still have to do a lot of tinkering to get many things to work

You know how the first thing I said when I sent you a vector file was "the strokes might be screwed and I don't know why"? At this point I'm entirely convinced everyone who does any sort of design has to deal with this sort of thing and just... Improvise a bit. Sometimes I'm doing something on inkscape and suddently everything becomes mildy transparent.

PS: I also found that drawing something on a very low resolution on mspaint and then converting it into bitmap on paint makes it look like my artstyle sucks a lot less than it really does. You're welcome

The Planetary Alliance of Jutsa

2 Truths 1 Lie Time* Lets Go~

1) I've been pronounced dead
2) I presently live with 11 cats
3) I watch Leave It to Beaver

The Most Serene Eco-Republic of Middle Barael

Jutsa wrote:3 Lies 1 Truth time lets go~

1) I've been pronounced dead
2) I presently live with 11 cats
3) I watch Leave It to Beaver

Your truth is that it is “3 Lies 1 Truth time” and we did go~

The Republic of Effazio

Alright, this seems fun so I'll contribute my 2 truths and a lie:

1. I can be found on Google Street View, not once but twice.
2. In my youth I won the New Jersey state geography bee.
3. I moved to a new country that I had never been to with just a suitcase.

The Most Serene Republic of The Most Serene Republicans

Jutsa wrote:3 Lies 1 Truth time lets go~

1) I've been pronounced dead
2) I presently live with 11 cats
3) I watch Leave It to Beaver

3 is too normal to be a lie, 1 is too weird to be a lie. It's 2

Effazio wrote:Alright, this seems fun so I'll contribute my 2 truths and a lie:

1. I can be found on Google Street View, not once but twice.
2. In my youth I won the New Jersey state geography bee.
3. I moved to a new country that I had never been to with just a suitcase.

3 is a lie, hopefully. 1 is true and it's actually on the same frame, they didn't photograph you twice you just... Can do that.

The Most Serene Eco-Republic of Middle Barael

Woah, Effazio, you changed your flag! It's very cool, though I really liked the old one too. We don't have enough purple flags, and I've always loved the Argentine sun, so kudos for the new flaG!

And MSR, your new flag is also really nice! I like the ring of Amasarian glyphs (I think that's what you said they were - correct me if I'm wrong) around the sun, and I'm glad you decided to keep it. The sun has always looked really cool, so I'm glad you kept it.

The Most Serene Republic of The Most Serene Republicans

Middle Barael wrote:Woah, Effazio, you changed your flag! It's very cool, though I really liked the old one too. We don't have enough purple flags, and I've always loved the Argentine sun, so kudos for the new flaG!

And MSR, your new flag is also really nice! I like the ring of Amasarian glyphs (I think that's what you said they were - correct me if I'm wrong) around the sun, and I'm glad you decided to keep it. The sun has always looked really cool, so I'm glad you kept it.

Thank you!! And close enough. They're montanian glyphs.
By the by, I think I asked about your wiki-style factbook thingy, I really want to make one for MSR. Did you use a template or something like that?

Effazio sun on flag gang?

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