How-To's on Terraining

AuthorTopic: How-To's on Terraining
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I'm hoping to write an article of some sort which details how to draw terrain effectively. To that extent, are there any places in BoA that any of you feel are exquisitely drawn? Mind you, I don't want mediocre examples, but I don't care if any examples you use come from non-existent scenarios.

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The first thing that comes to mind is the Emerald Mountain town in EM. The hills and waterfalls are gorgeous.

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Towns:
1) People use closest materials for building. Forest = Wood Walls, Quarries = Stone Walls, etc. Defensive structures are usually stone.

2) People usually follow the same building style for a town.

3) Inns, temples, and others "main business" buildings are near the main path through the town/city.

4) Large inns are only for Speciality Buildings (Waystations, no nearby towns).

5) Do not forget to add trash and other waste unless they have really good sanitation.

6) Open air markets are a nice variation from the "mall" look of scenarios.

7) Do not be afraid to make custom graphics or edit existing ones to make just 1 terrain. You have a lot of free slots.

8) Add height variation. It keeps the towns
being from cookie cutouts.

9) Add an underground (Nethergate.. That one town..) to the city.

10) Small villages will likely have a "commons".

11) Vary your floors. Use fl_adjust to create new colors on old patterns.

12) Expansive rooms are for the rich. The poor are cramped an likely have just a bed and table.

Outdoors:
1) Use 1 type of tree to block out forests

2) Use the random changing tool (?) to vary the tree types.

3) Throw in hills to break out terrain.

4) The roads go around the hills, not over. Only advanced engineering societies have super straight roads.

5) Do not forget to add rocks. Grass and trees looks too empty.

6) If your outdoors is on the edge, keep the team away from the unsightly water at the end (height 0 water)

7) Look at other scenarios, see what they did. How can you improve it? Do so, and incorporate.

8) Be ready to spend an hour just doing litle tweaks to get it "just right".

9) Towns are often a day apart.

Edit:
Look for photos to give inspiration! A big help.

I made a test file where I worked on towns, outdoors and graphics before I use them in my scenario. I uploaded the file to here.
The file has good examples. However, the thing isn't designed to be played. I always used the set starting location to view the towns and outdoors.
(Made an error. Forgot tar doesn't preserve resource forks. Sit file now)

[ Friday, January 14, 2005 18:42: Message edited by: Dahak ]

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That terraining is crazy-good. Like, well beyond the best terraining in BoA before. If there are any other suggestions, I'm open to hear them.

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Have architectual design and landscaping as a side interest? :P

Edit:
I was looking at the test file, and I notced that the outdoors have been chopped off (whoops). Thankfully, I have a backup with the preserved outdoors. Take a look at it too.

Here

[ Saturday, January 15, 2005 12:30: Message edited by: Dahak ]

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Walls are not always "hallow" contrary to the design of many of the cities in A3 and BoA. For a more realistic look try using the hieght adjustment to make city walls. Usually about 3 units higher than normal ground level. Also make them about 2 squares thick. Add ramparts by making the inside half of the wall one unit lowwer. Add whatch towers and gate houses by putting actual walls on your created hieght walls. Stock each whatchtower with a little food and some arrows/bolts/javalins or what ever projectile nessasary. Hallow walls have their place and they do look cleaner in the game, but to be more realistic use the hieght adjustment.

In monster built caves (like where many goblins seem to live) those cave walls are not stable so remember to put in wooden pillars to support it.

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If you use height adjustments to make walls, then do not make the walls more than 1 higher than the ground. Otherwise you can't see.

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Hey- would you mind explaining the logic of your "floating bridge" in that Farscye Gate? I still don't get it, you see... :(

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Why or how?

edit:
Why = See if I can make an actual bridge

How = 3 problems:
Deal with the cliff message
Show water flowing underneath
Show 3D bridge

The water is low so the height is the same (deals with message. The terrain/party height is up to align with the supposed height.

Thus is you want a bridge 3 cliffs above the water, you place the water floor 3 cliffs down. The bridge terrain is placed 3 cliffs above the water. The bridge is aligned with the top.

A need for a cliff side exist to cover over the blackness created required a few extra terrains. They had to be placed elsewhere using an offset to align them.

[ Saturday, January 22, 2005 18:57: Message edited by: Dahak ]

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Ohh. I forgot I had this link. I didn't check to see how many of the links are alive, but it was useful:

http://www.hut.fi/~vesanto/link.useful/maps/castles.html

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HOW, as in how do you make the terrains that you placed? (And why do you need the "cliff" terrains, anyway?)

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How? I used PS to make them. All are made/chopped from the BoA graphics/Avernum Series/Nethergate graphics.

Edit:
Remove the cliff terrain and see why. Unless Jeff has changed the code (I don't think so) there will be this big ugly spot created by a floor lower than the level.

[ Saturday, January 22, 2005 19:42: Message edited by: Dahak ]

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um, is it possible to open a .sit file on windows? my copy of ultimatezip doesn't seem to even recognize the format, and yet i'd like to give dahak's workings a look. :-(
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Stuffit Expander, which decompresses .sit files, is available for both Mac and Windows at www.allume.com

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aw, .cmg is a mac graphics format or something? couldn't get to test, the game froze compaining about missing graphics. :-(
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Well, I'd say .cmg is more of a Jeff Vogel graphic format than a Mac graphic format. :P

Seriously, though, the .cmg file is a bunch of graphics in a resource fork. As far as I can tell, editing resource forks on Windows is difficult at best, and even if you were able to extract the graphics you'd still have to convert them to a Windows-appropriate format yourself.

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I could try to clean up the data file and the graphic resources before I convert them to .bmp, but I'm too lazy. If anyone else wants to, they're welcome.

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*Bump*ed, for the sheer usefulness of the topic. Everybody could use a few pointers on terraining.

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