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Building terrain in sections

Started by Ben, October 01, 2005, 10:02:47 pm

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I was wondering if there is a way to slice my terrain into a set number of sections and render each section seperately without screwing with the devices. I know i can basically zoom in and pan around in the world size and positioning options but that doesnt work well when you're using lots of gradients and such for stuff like coastal regions. It would be really nice to be able to slice my terrain into 9 squares (3x3) and render each square out seperately.

In my case, i'm using this for Battlefield 2 which has a central terrain height map for the playable area and 8 surrounding lower res height maps so the terrain doesnt just end in view of the player. So you'd think i could just build the terrain and slice it in photoshop or whatever. The problem is that on the central terrain, i am able to use a 4096x4069 texture but since i can only build the terrain at a max of 8192, split that by three and i'm not getting the potential detail, if that makes sense.

Anyway, whether or not i can hack it, i think it would be a really useful feature. But i can imagine that it wouldnt be as simple as it seems with the way the different devices work. I guess my best option would be to build an 8192 terrain, use the midle 4096 of it and just stretch the surrounding terrain out accordingly.


Hi Ben,

The simple explanation is:
The terrain is already sliced, and you can edit only one slice, and to go the the slice next to it, you pan around as you did.

This doesn't sound very helpful, I know. But the reason why there is a distinction between WM's "tile" and the "slice" you mention, is because there are devices (like the gradient) that don't behave in the way you want (they're glued to the tile, instead of the ground).

What I would do in your case is:
Make the center area, in one tile, save the world as "central_playable_area.tmd"
And then pan to the surrounding tiles and edit the devices that cause havoc (those explorer-unstable devices, with the "!" exclamation mark) saving each of the as a new tmd.

If you are using erosion, you may need some work with photoshop stitching the tiles toggether in the end.
Perhaps if you use a blurred-square mask, covering most of that center tile, it may help to have the edges of the tile match those on the adjacent tiles best.

If you want to do some eroding to all tiles, and since you are using "only" 9, you can also do a mixture of both ideas:
- Make an initial 4kx4k terrain, scaled to 1/3 of the final size (all 3x3 tiles visible in a single one),
- erode it,
- then slice it up in photoshop,
- and load each tile at 4K in WM using the File Input device.
You'll get a resolution 3 times lower to start working on, ading stuff and detail. But beware that this doesn't let you "undo" the erosion, without you re-slicing up a new file (photoshop's automation might be a good idea).

In both these cases, you will end up with 9 different tmd files, but so far it is the only way to do it.

Hope this gives you ideas to solve your problem.


Unless I'm mistaken this is exactly the sort of thing for which the Pro version will be useful. There will be an automatic tile output feature that could be used for this precise need. The Pro version is not yet available of course, and will be an additional cost above the current Standard version, but it may be worth it for your needs. Hopefully Stephen will give an update on the development of Pro soon... :D

- Oshyan


Thanks for the replies guys!

Fil, i see what you mean with the seperate tmds which i may try, however, that may be a bit of a nightmare with a tmd that has over 100 devices lol.

For what i'm using it for though i think building an 8192 terrain and using the midle 4096 of it will work fine. That leaves me with 2048x4096 rectangles on the sides and 2048 squares in the corners. I'll then just squish the sides down to 2048x2048 (the surrounding terrain is half res). I'll get stretched features, but i also have the option to docter them up with WM some more. All that is important is that the sides line up fairly well, the battlefield 2 editor can stich the sides together and i can do some final touches to remove visable seams.



100 devices??

Ok, i'm not going to talk about the time it takes on 8kx8k.. :D
But beware of those file output issues. You need memory conservation turned on for 8kx8k (espetially with 100 devices) and the file output only writes the first time it is built. you need to rebuild the whole thing to write again. So use the "write every build option".

Just one question, how do you keep track of what you are doing? do you use macros much? or do you simply have the devices organized by purpose all in the same "view" ?

I'm asking this because I sometimes create a lot of devices (for me 30 is a lot already :)) and then I sepparate them in logical areas of the screen, then start putting them inside macros just for the sake of anotations.. I run out of names to give devices, and need to group them, so I also use macros for that..

But I try to have not more than, say, 20 visible device boxes. I also don't like to use an excess of macros, that makes everything look gray ;)



Err... I don't know if this will be useful, but I had made this macro in the past :

That would allow you to blend your tiles without much effort...
The screenshot that comes with shows the 4 tiles already sticked together, and you can understand that these tiles were, at the beginning, very different and that there isn't any seam now :)


Quote from: Fil100 devices??

109 to be exact :lol: I wont try to explain why i had to use so many lol. I could've probably used less but i wouldnt be able to randomize my world as well. I realise this will take a lot of time for an 8192, an overnighter probably wont even work, but i'll find out haha. I left out thermal weathering though! I didn't use any macros (i actually tried making my first one last night which i'm going to post here later) and as for organizing, yes i did, somewhat. I can remember for the most part what areas do what, mostly by seeing what a device creates in the little preview window lol.

One thing i can probably do when im ready to build the terrain is build the first half at 4096 out to a .ter and use that as an input for the rest of device network. Then disable the first half and build the rest at 8192. I did this once before with a 4096 (which i split into 3 parts, overall it had like 90 devices) to cut down on the final build time so i could do overnighters.

Should be a good challenge lol. Network rendering would be nice :D

Thanks for the reply and the macro Rhalph. Perhaps if i ever even reach the point where i need to remove any seems it will come in handy! haha


I need to do the same take in files and erode them

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