At long last I've taken up mapmaking again, and I think I'm satisfied with the color scheme I've adopted. After a lot of struggling with schemes both too bright and too dark, I am at last satisfied.
Here's the latest incarnation:
The gentle reader simply cannot imagine the level of work that is in the above; or how difficult it was to have a different program version produce a map similar in color to the original, linked here. I never wanted a different color - I was forced into making this upgrade by the collapse of the previous computer, and the old program I used to work with it. However, I will admit that the new version has smoother lines, a softer look overall and - except for the fact that I'm doing work I've done before - the new program is faster. It's difficult to tell, since when you create the png in 150 dpi, a lot of the clarity is lost. It's 7 megs, however, in 300 dpi ... I've reproduced a small section here:
That, hopefully, gives a better impression of how it looks to me.
Upgrading every map I have is a year-long process ... presuming I really work hard at it. It will probably take until sometime in 2014 - at which point I'll probably have to upgrade again.
I really do love maps, though. It is very important to me that they are easy on the eyes, both mine and the players - that they look professional, that they are easy to understand and that there is level of detail that to some degree directs the game. These maps will never be quite enough, however. I would rather have mapped the world in 5-mile hexes rather than 20-mile ... but since that would mean I was still mapping a sixteenth of what I've got finished now, I knew from the beginning that it was impossible.