Lesson One -- Map Basics

Discussion and help with creating scenarios and campaigns in the Editor
Matt Zimmitti
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Lesson One -- Map Basics

Postby Matt Zimmitti » Tue Nov 30, 2004 12:45 am

The first thing I tend to do before going into the editor is draw up a concept of what the map will look like. The fewer decisions you make with the editor open the better. So then, I drew a mockup on my whiteboard (see mockup.jpg below). Nothing too crazy, but it’s good to have something to refer to while you are in the editor.

Orange: cliffs
Yellow: desert
Green: grassland
Red: high flood
Brown: flood plain
Blue: river
Purple: dots are mines, squares are quarries



Now here’s the step-by-step of what I did…

1) Open the Editor

1.1) Write “SAVE OFTEN” on a Post-It note and stick the note to your monitor.

2) Set the Map Size
-Click the Map button
-Leave the default terrain set to grass
-Set the dimensions (in this case 150x150)
-Click Create New Scenario

3) Carve the River
-Click the Elevation button
-Set the brush to Tiny
-Select Paint Hills
-Whenever you make any elevation changes in or near the river it is wise to click Create River and make sure there are no errors.

a) First we paint High Flood areas. We are going to paint on everything that is brown or blue on the mockup. The slope elevation will actually take care of the High Flood area. This should make sense once you give it a try.
Settings are as follows:
Terrain Elevation: -1
Fine Elevation: 90
Slope Elevation: 6

b) Next we paint the Flood Plain areas. Here’s where things get interesting. Click the button called “Normal” under Flood Level if it isn’t already set there. There should be some jaggy water visible at this point <Lesson 1.2.scn>. What I do here is set the elevation to what’s listed below and paint from the center of the river outward until all the jaggies go away.
Terrain Elevation: -2
Fine Elevation: 89
Slope Elevation: 12

c) Finally we carve the riverbed. Similar method to step ‘b’, except this time I set the Flood Level to Low and use the following settings:
Terrain Elevation: -8
Fine Elevation: 0
Slope Elevation: 60 (80 for the tight areas)
Your map should now look something like <Lesson 1.4.scn>

d) Verify that you can place a reasonable amount of barge landings. To do this select Units->Land->Players and select Barge Landings from the list. Check to see if there is space by the river to build a reasonable number of barge landings by hovering over the river edge. In my case, I felt that there wasn’t, so I repeated step 3c and smushed out the riverbed a bit further in the spots that I wanted more barge landing possibilities. <Lesson 1.6.scn>

4) Cliffage
-Select Elevation
-Set the brush to Tiny
-Select Paint Cliffs
-Set the Height to 16 (just my preference)

a) I then used that brush to paint in the orange sections of my mockup. For every clump of cliff, I started out with just a height of 16 and painted a plateau.

b) Once I was sure the river had no errors I went back and set the height to random amounts between 20 and 36 and added some mounds. <Mounds.jpg>

c) Finally I used the Paint Cliff Paths tool with the brush set to Small and made the mounds more jagged. <More Jagged.jpg>

d) Do this one clump at a time, verifying the river if you are doing work near the water.
At this point we’re at <Lesson 1.10.scn>

5) Rough Terrain Texturing
-Select Terrain->Desert Med
-Set the Brush Size to your preference
-Paint out the rough areas where your desert will be (yellow in the mockup for those of you playing along). Don’t worry about the cliffs, that’s a battle for another day.

6) Flood Plain Texturing
-Select Elevation and set the Flood Level to Low
-Select Terrain->Flood Plain
-Set the Brush Size to Small
-Paint this over the darkened area that is above water
-Avoid going all the way to the edge of the map (we’ll discuss why when we get into sprites)

7) Mud Texturing
This step is purely cosmetic and is used to indicate to the player where clay is likely to be found. It does not actually generate the clay. We’ll get into the madness that is clay tomorrow when we get into sprites.
-Select Terrain->Mud
-Set the Terrain Color to the reddish palette (4th from the bottom I think)
-Paint a few bands above the floodplain with this color. I tend to leave some spaces, but that is just my preference. <Lesson 1.13.scn>

And here’s where we leave off for now. The map looks reasonably similar to the mockup so I’m happy with that. Tomorrow we will first cover transitional texturing then we’ll cover sprites.
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Dog of the Sun
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Postby Dog of the Sun » Tue Nov 30, 2004 1:05 am

I'm not getting this paint river step 3- I set the elevation and the river doesn't come up. Do I make it with the brush? HELP!

HELP!

HELP!

HELP!
Last edited by Dog of the Sun on Tue Nov 30, 2004 1:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

sitearm
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Postby sitearm » Tue Nov 30, 2004 2:13 am

Matt: Say a little more about the "create river testing"? I've done it but what is it checking for?

Great instructions and I love the whiteboard diagram!

Keith
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Postby Keith » Tue Nov 30, 2004 2:29 am

Dog of the Sun wrote:I'm not getting this paint river step 3- I set the elevation and the river doesn't come up. Do I make it with the brush? HELP!

HELP!

HELP!

HELP!

Set the paint cliffs or elevation to a negative number (below zero). In the previous info posted, it was suggested to set the paint cliffs to -10. Click paint cliffs button, then set the elevation to -10. Then set the brus to tiny, then paint the river on the map.

Matt Zimmitti
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Location: Brighton, MA

Postby Matt Zimmitti » Tue Nov 30, 2004 2:39 pm

More on step 3:

When you hit the "Create River" button, the editor makes a bunch of crazy calculations and generates a river model that corresponds to the elevation levels of your map. It does a whole lot more than simply put a plane in at height x. Every river is like a snowflake (a crazy, multi-level, interconnected, flowing, reflective snowflake :eek: ). The editor has to make a custom river model for each and every map so that all the flows and lighting and floods work properly. Actually carving out the river is step-by-step process of digging out some terrain, recreating the river, then digging out more terrain. Repeat.

It's probably best to go into the editor and "play" around a bit when learning how to create a river. The Editor Manual (in the 'documents' directory of your install) has the specs on what the exact water levels are. go into the editor and test out what different elevation levels have what effects on the river.

Now remember: If you make changes to the elevations below the water line, you must re-create the river to make sure those changes are valid. Secondly, the Create River part of making scenarios is arguably the most frustrating. If the river has errors in it they are often hard to find and fix. When you are just getting started you'll want to hit Create River after every 2-3 brush strokes and if the river has no errors SAVE IT. After a while you'll get used to what works and what doesn't and you'll go a bit longer without recreating the river.

Dog of the Sun
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Not good

Postby Dog of the Sun » Tue Nov 30, 2004 9:20 pm

:mad: I start to get the hang of it and look at the instructions and Microsoft error screen pops up and closes Just as I started getting the hang of it :mad:

Josh
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Postby Josh » Tue Nov 30, 2004 10:59 pm

[i]1.1) Write “SAVE OFTEN” on a Post-It note and stick the note to your monitor.
[/i]

Zander
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Postby Zander » Fri Dec 03, 2004 12:05 am

I've read all the lessons posted and have questions on each, but I'll leave those questions in each lesson thread. Okay, acouple questions about this first lesson.

.: How do I get a red grid mesh like the one posted in your pics? That would help me a lot.

.: I "visually place" almost all of my turrain. I start with the lowest elevation (river bed) and work up from there. Is the wrong to do? If I visually tested flood stages and they appear to flood the areas designated for Flood Plains at high flood stage only, should I assume these areas are staged correctly?

Matt Zimmitti wrote: If the river has errors in it they are often hard to find and fix.


Is there a way to disable the river after creating it to get a clear view of it for further error fixing or modifying? Can you define the type of river errors I should be looking for?

Thanks a bunch

Raccoon_TOF
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Postby Raccoon_TOF » Fri Dec 03, 2004 2:25 am

I have yet to go into the editor (been having too much fun playing to start working on a scenario yet, though I've been making a list of ideas...) but I would guess that the ctrl-G shortcut works in the editor just like in the game to give the red grid lines...use the shortcut again to toggle the grid back off.

Shirkon
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Postby Shirkon » Fri Dec 03, 2004 2:28 am

Raccoon_TOF wrote:I have yet to go into the editor (been having too much fun playing to start working on a scenario yet, though I've been making a list of ideas...) but I would guess that the ctrl-G shortcut works in the editor just like in the game to give the red grid lines...use the shortcut again to toggle the grid back off.



Unfortunately Ctrl-G doesn't seem to work in the editor, at least I haven't been able to get it to.

sitearm
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Postby sitearm » Fri Dec 03, 2004 2:37 am

try <ctrl><t>

it will cycle you through showing the red grid and (sometimes) a lot of numerical coordinates. just keep pressing <ctrl><t> to cycle through

Zander
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Postby Zander » Fri Dec 03, 2004 5:29 am

sitearm9 wrote:try <ctrl><t>

it will cycle you through showing the red grid and (sometimes) a lot of numerical coordinates. just keep pressing <ctrl><t> to cycle through



Ahh, yes. Thank you Sitearm. btw, Happy Birthday.

Matt Zimmitti
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Postby Matt Zimmitti » Fri Dec 03, 2004 1:30 pm

<shift><ctrl><t> will cycle backwards by the way.

Jacquou Le
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Postby Jacquou Le » Thu Dec 16, 2004 8:56 pm

Could you please explain more details of the relationship(s) between Elevation, Fine Elevaton, and Slope Elevation?

I can only understand Elevation, but still get confused with two others.

Thanks!

Raccoon_TOF
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Postby Raccoon_TOF » Fri Dec 17, 2004 11:24 am

From what I can tell, they work like this:

Elevation is a rough slider, each step being a large step from the previous.

Fine elevation is the variance within the large steps of elevation. IE: if a tile has elevation 10 and fine elevation 50, it is actually halfway between the height of an elevation 10 and an elevation 11 tile.

Slope I'm not sure of the mechanics of, but it has the effect of automatically adjusting the elevations of the tiles adjacent to the tile you click. Larger numbers in slope result in steeper slopes. The way I think of it (and it may not be accurate, but serves to keep things straight in my mind) is that slope represents the allowed difference in elevation between the tile you click and the tiles beside it...it then goes and checks those tiles and once again adjusts the elevations of adjacent tiles, etc, until it reaches a point where the difference in elevation between one tile and the adjacent tiles is less than the slope value.

sitearm
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Postby sitearm » Fri Dec 17, 2004 5:12 pm

Spent WAY too much time on this, mebbe', but see if this helps... :p

Jacquou Le wrote:...more details of the relationship(s) between Elevation, Fine Elevaton, and Slope Elevation...
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Last edited by sitearm on Fri Dec 17, 2004 5:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Raccoon_TOF
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Postby Raccoon_TOF » Fri Dec 17, 2004 5:46 pm

VERY nice visual reference there, and good to see it appears that my thoughts on slope interaction seem to be roughly accurate at least. Should come in handy once I start modeling a real world location....

sitearm
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River demos...

Postby sitearm » Sat Dec 18, 2004 1:53 am

These screenshots illustrate the river creation process documented by Matt Zimmitti in tutorial lesson one. Water has NOT yet been filled in.

Priest's houses etc. are shown for scale and also are placed at the edge of the high flood plain (i.e., where safe building starts).

Plantable area is typically painted on the greyed areas between houses and blueish river channel.

A key thing I notice is how SPREAD OUT the slope elevations are. You'll see that in the green edge shots... house on edge of high flood on right, gradual slope up returning to default map elevation on left.

Hope this is informative :D !
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Zander
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Postby Zander » Sat Dec 18, 2004 3:42 am

STICKY!, get the sticky out. A good quick refence to elevations... Oh wait, it's already a sticky. Nice work Sitearm. :D

Image
Last edited by Zander on Sat Dec 18, 2004 3:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

sitearm
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Postby sitearm » Sat Dec 18, 2004 4:17 am

welcome y'all... it's fun... and it's teaching me much more rigorously how the elevation works... :)


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