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What is a good way to keep a sense of scale?

Started by Tecknowolf, April 24, 2013, 09:54:01 pm

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While working with World Machine, I noticed that I was having problems keeping a sense of scale.  How do you guys keep your sense of scale?



True, but I mean for land deformation.  How big are those hills compared to a city block, or a building?


This is actually a very good question.. something that I constantly ponder myself. There are some interface changes I can envision that could help, but I am very curious what kinds of ideas people have or what techniques they currently use.
-- Stephen Schmitt
- Creator of World Machine


I personally was thinking of something I did with HeroEngine and Realmcrafter.  I would place a building on the terrain for perspective.  Knowing the diminsions of the building then I could see how big a hill or valley was and know if it was suitable. 

Maybe have an image of a building, nothing physical though, that would sit on top of the terrain at a specific point.
Another idea I got from Campaign Cartographer was a floating scale bar, that had both Kilometers and Miles.

Hope that helps, and the more I learn the more I am impressed with your software!


I have two techniques that are helping me out.

1.  Show water. I like to know what the outline of my zone looks like. The waterline is my anchor point for everything.
2. Grids in Photoshop files, one for each major size I tend to work in. I load it up as a diffuse map in Mudbox for the sculpting phase which is where almost all of my design work is done. They can also be overlayed onto the preview / etc using a photoshop like macro to blend them in (usually with overlay and 25-50% strength). You can merge them into the coverage file and import that into CryEngine to keep the scale sense in there until you are ready for a release.

The grid is a lot more detailed than a simple grid, allowing you to quickly see right down to a scale of meters, 64 x 64 meter blocks, or kilometers based on markers I laid out on it. I'll include an example. I chose 64 x 64 as the base size, since a pair of them gives you an oversized football field, and half of one gives you a nice 32 x 32 area for a large building. At 16 x 16 you are down to the size of a large house and lawn area. By finding something in your mind you can associate with the various grid subdivisions you can use it as a fast ready-reckoning tool.

Something like this would be nice built in as an overlay I can flick on and off rather than hacking it into place in the machine.


Wow, very impressive, I love how you did exactly what I was imagining.  Very well done, thank you very much.!!!


mostly its just approximation based on perception. the real sense of scale comes after importing into vue or maya, and setting up camera, lenses and other visual aberrations


November 04, 2013, 01:34:50 pm #8 Last Edit: November 04, 2013, 02:02:13 pm by Hotshot
I am on to a macro to generate a overlay.
Here you see a overlay with a 100 meter grid.
But how can I drive the Gradient Width from Macro Parameters? Gradient Width goes from 0 to 256KM and the Macro parameters can only handle 0-1...???


you would have to manually create a table of corresponding fractional values to specific km values. there is no way you can port real world scale into parameters of a macro, for now...


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