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Thread: Terrain, Heightmaps (A question for people with UEd experience)

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2004
    Location: The Kingdom of Prester John

    Terrain, Heightmaps (A question for people with UEd experience)

    I noticed that while there's no terrain editor, the TerrainInfo Actor under Actors>Metadata>Info>TerrainInfo doesn't seem to have been deleted like I had expected. The TerrainMap, scale, DecoLayers (etc.) properties are still intact, which makes me sort of curious about whether or not something can be done with this. I'm not really expecting much, but could someone with UEd experience try putting together some quick terrain with the TerrainMap property? I'd do it myself but I don't think I have enough experience to be sure I wasn't just messing something up.

    I only noticed that TerrainInfo Actors still existed when I tried importing a UT2003 level that had one. My idea was that it might be possible to do terrain in UEd and then import the level into T3ed. Probably won't work, but I thought it might be worth trying.

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2005
    Location: Corvallis, Oregon
    I notice when you do a build all the dialog box says something about terrain arrays.

    BTW what is the use of terrains?

    EDIT: If no terrain in flesh then why is there a Build Terrain Option? I'll experiment with the Build Options & uncheck Build Terrain . . .
    Last edited by ascottk; 16th Jun 2005 at 02:39. Reason: Noticed something . . .

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2005
    There is no terrain in the Flesh engine. Anything left in the editor referring to terrain is just an old Ued feature that no one got around to removing. The only way to get terrain is by creating it with static meshes.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2004
    Location: The Kingdom of Prester John
    Oh well, back to static meshes I go. For large outdoor areas, is it better to leave a static mesh as one big chunk or cut it into parts? Or maybe just build the terrain out of mid-sized pieces?

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2005
    Location: Corvallis, Oregon
    I'd say modular. If you want to use the SMs for another level people might notice it's the same. Smaller parts can be adaptable.

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2005
    Location: He's behiiiind yoooou!
    Modular. If you split it up, the renderer may be able to do extra optimisations (like being able to rule out rendering terrain that's behind you).

  7. #7
    Administrator
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: above the clouds
    Gestalt, you don't really want to make an outdoor area that's too large anyway. Once you start adding objects Flesh is really going to slow down - that's the prime motivation for keeping visible polygons to a "minimum" in the production levels, or rather, having a large number of polygons in a smaller area.

    However, if you want to do terrain meshes as a base, you can create meshes from a heightmap. I know Bryce can export terrain as a 3DS file, although I've not tried it myself. Can't remember if terragen can export anything that could be used in max or another modelling program. Max might also be able to generate a mesh from a heightmap.

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2003
    Location: Shalebridge
    3ds max can indeed generate terrain from a heightmap - just use a displacement modifier

  9. #9
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    This is the suckiest thing about the editor I've found so far. If one want's to make a hill or an undulating garden...

    In fact I'm struggling to remember an outside are of T3 that wasn't flat. There is that bit near the well in the City that goes down to the dock entrance and the prison. How did they do that? Is there an "outside" set of static meshes?

  10. #10
    Administrator
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: above the clouds
    It's just BSP isn't it? I don't think it's anything very complicated.

  11. #11
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    Really? How though? I've tried using BSP sheets but they are untextured on the "top" side, and that's true even if you flip them over.

    If I could use them it would be perfect. I don't want huge outside areas but levels like Trail of Blood (T2) which are more "organic" are sadly lacking in T3. There are loads of tree meshes that can be used for gardens, goves, forests etc. In fact there are lots of really nice grasses and stuff that could be used to great effect. I'll have to do some more experimentation.

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2001
    Location: Marlboro, MA, USA
    You can make the ground slanted, if that's all you're refering to. Try Vertex Mode and using the Front and Side views to adjust your BSP to make hills. You may mean something else though, I'm not sure what BSP sheets are.
    The Keep for Thief 1 and 2 FMs, Shadowdark for Thief 3 and Dark Mod FMs

  13. #13
    Administrator
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: above the clouds
    Sheets aren't really meant to be used in that way. They tend to be used as portals or in skyboxes.

    Anyway, SE, Thief 2's level geometry is all some form of BSP (I think). Possibly the primitives make creating organic shapes easier, but all you have to do is a little more work with brush intersection and deintersection, clipping, and so forth. Also lots of vertex editing will help.

  14. #14
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    Aha, that's why the sheets aren't working. Okay. Thanks scumble. Vertex editing it is then. Gosh these missions are going to be big and take an age to build (as in Build All). And I don't just mean mine. But if that's the way it's done in T2... Funny thing is in T2 I can forgive sharp edges in terrain but in newer engines they seem to jar a little with the rest of the graphics.

    I forget if you can add horizontals and verticals to cubes and the like for vertex editing. I'm not at home right now so I cannot check. Ah well, next week I'll have a go, see if I can get some nice landscaping going on.

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2005
    You can make undulating ground by "quadsouping", whereby you create a number of adjacent brushes with their vertices moved to produce an uneven surface.

    It is very tedious to do and you have to watch out for the dreaded BSP holes - even if you snap to grid this method produces quite a lot of them.

  16. #16
    I'm making a forest area in my mission going up to a house. I just have a trail going through a series of meshes -- dirt piles, rock piles, bushes etc. It was kind of tedious placing the pieces of trees together though...I just made like 5 tree variations and duplicated them. It' working out fine so far.

    What is the maximum polygon count fleshworks can handle anyway?

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2005
    Location: Corvallis, Oregon

    TerrainInfo Actor

    Has anyone played around with the TerrainInfo Actor?

    Nevermind, seems worthless w/o a terrain tool.
    Last edited by ascottk; 19th Jun 2005 at 13:30.

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2005
    Location: Corvallis, Oregon
    Have you tried TerraEdit ?

  19. #19
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    Ok, that's an interesting little program. But I've no idea what to do with the terrain once I've built it. I'm DLing the UnReal ref now to see what the deal is.

    Ok, I've tried it using the first method in this tutorial :
    http://www.planetunreal.com/jaspos/t...raedittut.shtm

    And it it works! I'd take a screenshot but it was ugly as hell. The main thing is it works just dandy. Wiki-ing now
    Last edited by SubJeff; 1st Jul 2005 at 18:58.

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2005
    Location: He's behiiiind yoooou!
    You mean you actually managed to get terrain into T3Ed? Nice...

    Does it actually work using the Flesh renderer output, though? What about in-game? I thought Krypt said that Flesh has no terrain support.

  21. #21
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2005
    Location: Corvallis, Oregon
    It's basically a terrain designer with a .t3d export of bsp then you can import into T3Ed . . . uh . . if you understood that then good

  22. #22
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    It works with the flesh renderer and in-game. Well, you an play the map and run around on it

    All it is is a custom BSP as ascottk says. It's nothing to do with the Terrain Tool, it just does what I was trying to do with the vertex editting that was talking so long and making loads of BSP holes. As long as you follw the instructions in that tutorial you should get no holes.

  23. #23
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2005
    Location: He's behiiiind yoooou!
    Ah, I see! It's just ordinary BSP. That makes a lot more sense, thanks.

    Cool! Now we're not restricted to having (A) cities or (B) BSP holes. Nice work!

  24. #24
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2005
    The chances of Flesh being able to cope with that level of BSP detail without choking (holes, sparklies or crashes) seems rather improbable to me. That said, I have encountered some sparklies when editing for D3 so maybe Flesh is more reliable on nVidia hardware.

  25. #25
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    Well it works with just that brush, the room it's in and a few lights. Of course you can scale the brush and only use it where you feel you really have to.

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