Tutorial 5 : Advanced Terrain Edit

So the last time we were learning about terrain, we learned the basics of sculpting terrain and adding some kick with terrain textures. Now we're going to get fancy! We'll learn about sector painting, a couple of water tools, and movement blocking zones.

Checking Out the Environment Edit

  1. Open the Editor.
  2. Select mod Tutorial05
  3. Find and open up 'Tutorial-Mountain_Stream_Terrain.lvl' in Editor Mode.

You'll see that the level is a large plateau with small bumps in the distance. With the help of height fog we'll make it look like these are mountain peaks high up in the sky. You'll also see a trench running along the big plateau into a pit. This will become a river leading to a pond.

Sector Painting Edit

So let's start with the Sector Paint Tool. A sector is an area that changes the world properties when the player is standing in it. We will be manipulating the fog and lighting properties of the world in the sector we create in this example. In this case, when the player is running around on the high plateau, we want the base of the peaks to be hidden in a fog.

Making a New Sector Layer Edit

  1. We start by selecting the sector paint tool. One thing to remember is that the fog effects don't appear where the sector is painted. The fog effects appear everywhere when the player character is within the sector. We want the clouds to appear in the background when the player is running around on the main plateau, so we only need to paint the sector onto the main plateau.
  2. Click 'New' to create a new Fog/Lighting sector layer. A new sector style entitled “New Sector Style” should appear. Now is an excellent time to give the new sector style a more descriptive name.
  3. Enter the name “Mountain Fog” into the 'Style Name' text box in the Sector Paint Options Pane.

Sectors at Work Edit

Let's give ourselves a quick demo of how sectors work.

  1. Select the 'Mountain Fog' layer style.
  2. Using the mouse as a paintbrush on the terrain, draw a quick patch of that sector by left-clicking anywhere on the terrain. You'll notice there's a small black sphere at the center of the screen. This is the object that the Editor uses to determine what sector your are in.
  3. Move the camera so that the black sphere is just outside the terrain you painted. You will notice a Density slider in the Height Fog portion of the Fog/Lighting Options Pane.
  4. Drag the Depth Fog's Density slider to a value of about .50.
  5. Move the camera back so that the black sphere lies in the sector you painted. You'll notice that the screen fills up with semi-transparent fog.
  6. Move the sphere outside of the sector. The fog will disappear. This same effect will happen in the game. When the character runs onto the sector, the fog effects will appear, and when the character leaves, they'll go away.

Painting a Fog Layer Edit

Since we want the fog to appear in the background when the player is running around on top of the plateau, we should just designate the large plateau as the fog sector.

  1. Select the sector layer you created.
  2. Paint the fog sector such that it covers the entire plateau.

Now, whenever the player is running around on top of the plateau, the fog effects for that sector will take effect. As nice as it is to have fog everywhere when we're standing on the mountain, it would look nicer if we could manipulate it so that each of the plateaus is poking out of the clouds. For that, we need height fog. Height fog creates a fog that gradually transitions from a specified density at one height to completely transparent at another height. Locate the Fog/Lighting Options pane on the right.

  1. Slide the Depth Fog Density down to 0.
  2. Locate the Density slider in the Height Fog portion of the Fog/Lighting Options Pane.
  3. Set the height fog's density to .99.
  4. Set the height fog's Bottom Height property to 1.
  5. Set the Top Height property to 10. The fog will fade from .99 percent opaque at a height of one to completely transparent at a height of 10. It will appear as though the plateaus in the distance disappear into the clouds as the player runs through the sector.

The Water Tool Edit

Now that we're finished with the clouds, let's move onto the pond.

Making a New Water Type. Edit

  1. Select the Water Tool. Just as we did with the terrain textures, we need to start off by creating a new type of water.
  2. In the Water Types Pane on the right, click 'Add'. A new water type will be created and selected.
  3. Double-click the “New Water Type” you just created. The Water Type Editor Window will pop up.
  4. Type “Standard Water” into the Name field.
  5. Click 'OK'.

Painting the Water Edit

Much like a plateau, water is painted at a specific height. The water's height is also obtained in a very similar manner to that of plateaus.

  1. Hold Shift and click about halfway up the rocky part of the riverbank. The water's height will be set to the height of the point you clicked. You can also set the water's height by holding the Control key and dragging the mouse up or down.
  2. Click and drag to paint the water's surface. Paint the water's surface over the top of the pit at the end of the trench. Don't bother painting water into the river trench just yet, we'll be using a special river tool to do that.
  3. To erase some of your water layer, select 'None' under the Water types and paint normally.

River Tool Edit

Making a River Edit

Now that the pond's there, let's go ahead and create the mountain stream leading to it.

  1. Select the River Tool. The river tool is tricky because instead of actually painting the river, you place points that it follows. Each of these control points has bezier handles which control how wide a turn the river makes as it approaches the control points.
  2. Select a water type. If you do not have a water type selected, you will not be able to place any points at all. You may need to create a new water type in order to use the river tool. You may want to create a new water type if you want it to flow in a different direction than other bodies of water.
  3. Hold Shift to enter point creation mode.
  4. While still holding Shift, place a control point by clicking.
  5. To lengthen the curve handles as the point is placed, hold the left-mouse-button down drag the curve handle to a point that results in the curvature you were hoping for.
  6. To create a new control point, release the left mouse button and click again in the area you want the new control point to appear.
  7. If you feel your placement of a control point is completely unforgivable, you can press backspace at any point to delete the last control point you placed.
  8. Create a series of points going down the length of the trench so that the river flows between the banks. You may choose to do some terrain editing to make the edges of the river and the riverbanks connect properly.
  9. To create a new river, release the Shift key and click anywhere on the terrain. You may now place points normally for a new river.

Editing a River Edit

You may decide you need to move the control points and curve points after they've been placed.

  1. Hold the mouse over the center of a control point. The mouse will turn into a 4-directional arrow.
  2. Click and drag to move the control point around.
  3. Move the mouse to the top or bottom of the selection circle. The mouse will become an up-and-down arrow.
  4. Click and drag to increase or decrease the height of the river above the terrain.
  5. Move the mouse to the left or right of the selection circle. The mouse will become a left-right pair of arrows.
  6. Click and drag to make the river wider or narrower at that point.
  7. After selecting a control point, move the mouse over one of it's bezier handles. The mouse cursor will become a mouse chasing its tail.
  8. Click and drag to move the bezier handle around. The curvature of the river will change as the bezier handles are moved and lengthened.
  9. You can also widen or make the river narrower with the '[' and ']' keys when editing a point. Often times you can reduce the number of control points you need just by clever placement of curve points.

The Movement Blocking Zone Tool Edit

The last tool we are going to talk about in this tutorial is the Movement Blocking Zone Tool. The map-maker uses this tool to designate areas they don't want the player to be able walk around in.

Painting a Movement Blocking Zone Edit

This brush is used the same way the terrain painter tool is used.

  1. Click and drag the paintbrush in the Level Edit Pane to paint the areas you don't want the player to be able to walk in.
  2. The Movement Blocking Zone brush can be made wider or narrower with the '[' and ']' keys.
  3. We don't want the player to be able to run down the sheer cliffs on the side of the map, so paint all of the rocky ridges around the edges of the plateau with the Movement Blocking Zone brush.

So that's it. Don't forget to re-build your pathing, as the no entry brush affects that (see Tutorial 1). Just save in the editor and build in the Art Manager the way you would with any other map.

-- Next : Tutorial 06: Dungeons and Grids

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