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Thread: WTF - none of this works!

  1. #1

    WTF - none of this works!

    Really, really, really fucking me off this is.

    No matter which terrain tutorial I do I do not get what they say I will. I cannot create terrain in any useful way. I fluked some hills that were only textured on one side but overall the tutorials have been very dissappointing.

    On this page about 2/3 down at Rebuilding the Map nothing happens. I do not see my terrain. The texture is not applied to it. Same happens with other tutorials (all of which give slighty different instructions - no terrain to be seen).

    I can paint it with the Vertex editor but as I cannot see the damn thing (only where the Vertex cursor is) it's pretty hard. And then it plays like crap because of the issue above.

  2. #2
    Registered: Oct 2000
    Location: Massachusetts
    It's probably little consolation but I can't figure it out either.

    I'm going to try this one now -

    [EDIT] No, I definitely don't get it.
    Last edited by JediKorenchkin; 13th Sep 2004 at 23:38.

  3. #3
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: above the clouds
    Terrain is often a pain to set up in UnrealEd. The problems sound familiar, but I can't think offhand how I've fixed them in the past - I'd have to try it again myself. All I know is that the CryEngine is much better at handling terrain...

  4. #4
    The annoying thing is I need very little terrain really. I don't want anything fancy, just some ground for my buildings to stand on.

  5. #5
    Previously Important
    Registered: Nov 1999
    Location: Caer Weasel, Uelekevu
    I've never had a single problem with terrain (okay, that's a lie... it was a giant pain at first), and I use it pretty much by preference -- I'm much more fond of exteriors and landscapes.

    Stupid things to check:

    You have a ZoneInfo with bTerrain set to True in the level with the Terrain Actor.

    3d Viewport has Show Terrain checked.

    The terrain itself (not just the actor, because that just sits where the heightmap is 128/128/128) is in the airspace. (good way to check: check Show Terrain on the top view... if you see it there, but not in the 3d, then it's either too high or too low)

    The terrain heightmap is 128/128, 256/256, 512/512 etc, and is a greyscale G16 texture (only important if you've imported a heightmap -- and the G16 only matters if you've imported a heightmap that you want to tweak with the smooth tool or whatever when it's in the map)

    THE BASE LAYER TEXTURE IS SET TO FULL WHITE... That is, Alpha Fill set to A=0, R=255, G=255, and B=255

    Make sure the camera is not underneath the terrain... there is no opposite side to the terrain, you will see right through it.

    Terrain does NOT like to span multiple zones. This is a giant pissoff. Terrain tends to only render / exist in the zone that the terrain actor is in. I do not know a way around this, short of making multiple terrains and trying to line them up.

    So there are really idiot things to check. Apologies if they are TOO idiot, but it is my experience that it is the stupidest things which thwart us.


    Quick and dirty terrain set-up, just for reference.

    1) create big-ass airbrush and rebuild
    2) put a zone info in the airbrush, make sure TerrainZone is set to True
    3) in the terrain edit dialogue, make sure the heightmap is selected on the first tab
    4) go to the second tab
    5) select a texture for the base terrain from the texture browser
    6) return to the Layers tab and select an Undefined slot
    7) click the New button
    8) fill in the fields (myLevel / ground / BaseRock, for instance)
    9) for the base layer only, set A0, R255, G255, B255 under Alpha Fill
    10) click OK
    11) rebuild
    12) make a >:| face and put a sunlight actor in the level so you can see
    13) rebuild

    Subsequent layers should be made in the same way as the base layer, but with Alpha Fill set to A255, R0, G0, B0... then paint as needed. Don't forget about rotating and scaling the textures.

    For extreme slopes, textures will stretch horridly... Deal with this by painting primarily X-facing cliffs with a texture stretched strongly in the appropriate direction, and the Y-faces with the identical same texture painted and stretched in the other direction.


    deco layers are a pain in the bottom at first... start by painting where you want deco layers to appear in a garish-ass colour so you can see. Set this texture (in the texture browser) as the density texture (right-clicking in the newly-created deco layer you made), right-click and set the mesh (have the mesh selected in the static mesh browser), and fiddle the dispersion and density and random yaw and whatever settings in the TerrainActor properties under where it says all about DecoLayers.

    And don't paint with the vertex editor, it's shit. Float the viewports, maximise the 3d view, and go to town with the regular old paint. Just make sure you have the terrain map selected in the Terrain Dialogue Thingie, or you'll get all frustrated.

  6. #6
    No info is TOO dumb. My map making extends to the DromED and ShockED tutorials and an incomplete ShockED map (which, coincidentally, has an "outside2 - just a massive room with cliffs and a sky textures).

  7. #7
    I went through this tutorial and managed to create my first terrain with (almost) no problems.

  8. #8
    I did that tutorial before. Don't know why I switched.

    Thanks for reminding me - it works (so far).

  9. #9
    Registered: Oct 2000
    Location: Massachusetts
    Quote Originally Posted by Eshaktaar
    I went through this tutorial and managed to create my first terrain with (almost) no problems.
    I got it to work with that one, thanks.

  10. #10
    Now I know, it is easy. Ish. Roll on Nightblade.

    A Q: on the Unreal Dev site is says that converting everything to static meshes is a good idea. I'm building with brushes and meshes at the moment. Should I be thinking about converting my brushes to meshes at some point?

    What are you working on Jedi?
    Last edited by SubJeff; 15th Sep 2004 at 16:07.

  11. #11
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Depends how many brushes you're using. Also bear in mind that the shadow detail you can get on static meshes compared to BSP is poor.

  12. #12
    Previously Important
    Registered: Nov 1999
    Location: Caer Weasel, Uelekevu
    Converting brushes to meshes is suboptimal in many ways. Especially due to lighting concerns... But the other thing is that (hrhm, hard to explain)...

    Say you make an L with three square brushes, intersect them, build a single solid out of that, and then convert it to a mesh. Instead of an eight-faced L you have a 14-faced L with two pairs of faces interior to the model and sharing the exact same space. That's really dumb.

    In my opinion, meshes and brushes should be planned to work in concert with each other -- they each have particular strengths and weaknesses. You'll never make a good curve out of brushwork, not without using a hundred faces or more, and when it comes to more organic (or weirdly-snapped) brush combinations, you're going to get all kinds of holes in the mesh if you convert it over to meshwork. Too many meshes will skyrocket the visible polycount (I don't care WHAT they say about memory-instanced, you try plonking fifty gratings somewhere and see if your fps doesn't take a hit) and you have to start anti-portaling the hell out of things -- which is its own little corner of hell.

    Use brushes for things that work best as brushes, use meshes for things that work best as brushes. Obvious and simple. Plus it makes the map WAY easier to parse later on, unless you're some kind of fanatical group-making machine.

    And here's another terrain tip I just remembered: If you have terrain built in your level, ANY subtract operation seems to nuke the terrain from visibility. So if you make a terrain, then add a cube for a building, then carve a room out of that added solid, the terrain will vanish and you'll need to rebuild to see it again.

  13. #13
    Previously Important
    Registered: Nov 1999
    Location: Caer Weasel, Uelekevu

    New Reply to make the light go on \o/

    Also a stupid thing:

    The center point of a terrainActor MUST be in air. If it is in a solid, you will get no terrain. Not sure if that extends to semi-solids and antiportals, but I assume it does.

  14. #14
    Seems you have to manipulate it in perpecitive view too. At least I have to. Well everytime I've used a different method I've messed up. May be a coincidence.

  15. #15
    Previously Important
    Registered: Nov 1999
    Location: Caer Weasel, Uelekevu

    Should work fine in all views.
    Although, the best way to do things (well, only if you're making maps that require balance) is to set the Movement properties in the TerrainActor's ... erm ... properties so that it's in the exact middle of things, and then use the painting brush with mirroring turned on.

    You ought to be able to move things around in all four viewports, though. THat's just weird if you can't.

  16. #16
    No, I can move things in any view, that's fine.

    But when accessing the actor properties (those realted to terrain anyway) the tutorial that I find works for my specifically says in perpective view. As long as it works I care not.

    Q: My terrain experiments have been intersting so far. However, all my terrain is slap bang in the middle of my room, vertically speaking. It seems to form at the height of the actors. Am I correct? And if so, will moving the actor down before I start painting allow me to alter the position of my terrain?

    Q2: Why have mirrored on?

    I don't want this to turn into a Q&A session. You have maps to make! These are the only questions I have. Probably reduntant as I now have 600MB worth of UEd training videos. . .
    Last edited by SubJeff; 22nd Sep 2004 at 11:40.

  17. #17
    Previously Important
    Registered: Nov 1999
    Location: Caer Weasel, Uelekevu
    The terrain is built on a heightmap with a default colour of 128/128/128, yeah. Any value higher than that is a height increase, lower is a decrease. You usually can't see anything but the more extreme elevations when you look at the heightmap in the texture browser, though.

    This means all default terrain is generated as a flat plane centered on the actor in all three dimensions. So yeah, it's always at the height of the actor to start with. Moving the actor down will lower all the terrain (exactly as if you raise everything BUT the TerrainActor) but obviously the better way to lower bits of terrain is the right-click+ctrl when you paint instead of left-click+ctrl. You can move the TerrainActor around at any time... which is often a real piss off if you're carefully blending it with brushwork and static meshes -- in which case i find it an absolute Godsend that you can go into the TerrainActor properties and disable bMoveable under Advanced.

    You can only paint in the perspective view, yes. That's why I tend to unfix the viewports (view > viewports > floating) and maximise the 3d window when I do a lot of terrain stuff. It's just easier to see what I'm doing.

    As far as mirroring goes, that's really just important if you're making CTF or BR maps and need some basic symmetry in the terrain layout... Set mirroring to XY and you only have to make a quarter of the terrain. Mind you, it's smarter to tweak and smooth etc with no mirroring, just to preserve some sense of organic constructions. Otherwise it just LOOKS like a mirror. Same goes for texturing it.

    Another thing to keep in mind: When you've got the terrain how you want it, you should always roughly chop away everything that extends outside the map (and, if you're feeling adventurous, everything inside the map that you will never see... like terrain inside solid brushes -- but it really IS only a rough thing, as the default terrain tile size is 64x64, iirc)... but basically all terrain that cannot ever be seen should be chopped out with the Visibility brush and a right-click+ctrl painting. Best to be way high above the map and staring straight down for easiest results in that. (NumPad 5 will give you a quick 90 straight down view, and NumPad 6 gives you a straight-ahead 0 to get back -- unless you're really loving the whole Rotate Camera stuff)

    If you don't invisible useless terrain like that, you're losing lots of overhead in rendering... terrain is NOT cheap to render, so it's smart to lose as much as you can because whether you can see it or not it'll be taking up brainpower. Best to invisible it so it doesn't.

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