Terraining - General

Tutorial By Rad

Terraining Tutorial
By Rad

This tutorial as requested by Ryoko is created to teach and explain the features of the Terrain Editor. This tutorial will cover the basics, from choosing your tilesets and customizing them, to creating ramps and cliffs.


-:Palette Information:-
Palette Selection: Allows you to switch through different palettes - Terrain, Unit, Doodad, Region and Camera palettes are available.

Tile Selection: Select one to allow you to change the tiles on the map. Ones with a blue box in the top right are unbuildable. Blight can only be placed on buildable tiles. Boundaries are the black limits that prevent all pathing types - air, ground, buildings etc.

Cliff Type: List of the different type of cliffs you can choose from, they are pretty much self explanitory - Decrease 1/2 lowers one/two levels, Same Level applys the cliff level selected to wherever you drag your cursor to, Increase 1/2 increases cliff level one/two levels, Shallow Water decreases one level and applies water, Deep Water decreases two levels and applies water, and finally the Ramp tool applies a ramp to the selected area, but only if the selected area is within 1 cliff level difference.

Cliff Variation: Select one of these, it will be the type of cliff applied with the Cliff Type. They can be difficult to move, and wont look correct so try to match them with each other.

Height Type: Raise - Raises the terrain smoothly instead of using cliffs. Lower - Lowers the terrain opposite of Raise. Plateau - Similar to the Same Level cliff tool, applies the same height of the first selected area to wherever you drag the brush. Noise - Randomly raises/lowers the area around the selected brush. Smooth - Raises/Lowers the area around the selected brush to match nearby brush.

-:Choosing Your Tileset:-
• Whenever you start a new map, you are prompted to choose a new tileset. Even though you can modify your tilesets it is still wise to choose the closest tileset to the theme of your map. Also, you should think about what type of cliffs you would need. If your wanting some manmade-type cliffs for a city, use Cityscape etc...

• To edit your current tileset first choose the one you want to use, select the dimensions of the map, water level, and base cliff level (Somewhere in the middle). Now to get some tiles of another tileset you would go Advanced > Modify Tileset. There you should check the box 'Use custom tileset', then a bottom part of the window should appear allowing you to view other tilesets. The only way to change the cliff tile is changing your overall tileset altogether, otherwise select one tile in the top box and one in the lower and select 'Replace Tile'. You can add more, but take notice of the tile limit!

• Some things to remember when choosing a tileset, dont use tiles that dont match. You wouldnt use Grass Trimmed (Cityscape) with Lumpy Grass (Ashenvale), because it wouldnt match right if they touch.


-:Using Cliffs and Ramps:-
• To make cliffs, you should first open a Terrain Palette. If you dont already have it open, then go to Window > Palette > Terrain. Now select the cliff type you want to add. This is also where you can choose a different brush size (Hotkeys 1-5 also change the brush size). The terrain palette has all the basic terrain functions you need.

• Some things bad about cliffs, you can only place a natural ramp on a cliff with a certain size, and within 1 cliff height. Also, when raised more that two cliff levels it will automatically make another ring of cliff around it, so this will force you to use mountain-looking cliffs if you need it that tall.

• To make ramps, select the ramp tool in the cliff selection box, Now remember you can only place cliffs on cliff areas within 1 cliff level difference, also cliffs are noted by a blue circle when you have medium or small grids on (To activate go to View > Grids). To make ramps, you simply drag your cursor over cliffs. Note that ramps ignore brush size. To remove a ramp hold shift and go over it again. Also, beware the bugs! Sometimes ramps will leave a straight edge ramp on the side that is black, or a square empty black spot in the middle.
Ramping Tips by Ryoko wrote:

Ramping sloppy cliffs can sometimes cause distortions in the terrain. For best results, start with cliffs that are square to eachother, and straight in the editor.

Start at one end of the cliff and move in a single direction. Sometimes it may miss a spot. Go over those spots again with the ramping tool, and it will correct it.

The blue dots that appear show you where units can walk now. If there is a spot without dots, the unit will not be able to cross over, and the ramp is incorrect.


-:Terrain Objects:-
• Theres many terrain-type objects, try changing the 'Terrain' selection in your terrain palette to 'Doodads'. Now change the catagory type to 'Cliff/Terrain'. Now you should see many different types of caves, ruined grounds etc. Select one and put it down to see what happens. As you can tell, with caves it automatically raises the terrain 2 levels. For ruined ground it usually turns nearby tiles to Dirt.

• You should try toggling 'Enforce Water Height Limits' in Advanced, then mess with the Water tool. You can make water that has no cliffs if you know how (Check the Tutorial for smooth rivers).

• Use the Height tool in the Terrain Palette. Like cliffs, it raises/lowers the ground. When used with the water tool you can go in the ground after creating water, then raising it back up. With enforce water height limit off it will leave the water underground. Therefore you can lower the ground and it will reveal the water below! Also, a short definition of the Height features:
- Raise: Raises the terrain height
- Lower: Lowers the terrain height
- Plateau: Flattens the terrain to the height at the center of your brush size
- Noise: Randomly raises/lowers the height in the brush area
- Smooth: Smooths out the height differences a small amount, the more you use this the smoother it gets


-:The Edit Menu:-
• When making symmetrical terrain theres a few things you NEED to know! Copy+Paste is of course a good feature, very standard so rarely would people need to know about this. But with the World Editor you can also rotate your brush! When you finish copy and pasting, make sure you still have the pasted area selected. Then select Edit>Rotate 180/90CW/90CCW (Clock wise/Counter Clock Wise). Now it should rotate, note that 90 degree rotation only works when selecting a perfect square.

• Just like the Rotate feature within the edit menu, you can Mirror horizontally/vertically. It does just like it says, and hardly has any requirenments (Like being a perfect square)

• For both rotation and mirroring (Excluding 180 rotation), you can also Paste it rotated. This doesnt require to be a perfect square either! All these features can make a Solo TD terrain very easy.


-:Other Features:-
• Advanced>Random Height Field - Basically does a worldwide noise of the magnitude chosen, then smooths over that at the smooth magnitude. You have to option to skip water areas as well.

• Advanced>Replace Cliff/Tiles - Replaces all cliffs or tiles chosen to a new value. You have the option to swap both tiles.

• Advanced>Reset Texture Variations - Randomly resets every tile to a new variation on the map. Note that some custom tiles can be bugged severly when you do this and may be hard to fix (Ex: The road tileset from wc3search)

• View>Terrain - Allows you to toggle the terrain view between Textured, Wireframe, and Hidden (None). Note this does not modify the tileset in game, and does not work when view game settings is in effect.


-:Decorating Terrain:-
• To make a good terrain, you must match your tilesets, terrain, water etc with each other. Using a dungeon tileset with ashenvale rocks wouldn't look very good... at all! Some terrains can be hard to decorate. Most of the doodads are designed for forest/cities. Take Barrens for example, though there is still lots of doodads, there is a vast amount more to match ashenvale, cityscape, lordaeron etc.

• Do not mass doodads in an area, a good rule of thumb is that if two or more environment features touch you are probrably packing them in to much. There is a doodad limit. Some cases this does not apply, for example if you put some flowers and a shrub on the empty part of a rock then it would look good. But say your making a farming field with the wheat doodad, if you just heavily pack them in an area it will not only create lag, but will look terrible.

• Variety is important in terrain, its a good idea to have random scale and variation on. Its on in default, but both are located under 'Tools'. The picture belows shows a good variety of terrain without the fancy water tricks, or imported trees like those cheaters always do (Note: The picture only has 1 tile type... its best to fit many in but I didnt want to go through the trouble). But one thing to always remember - Using shrubs, flowers, rocks, trees, birds etc make the terrain look much better.

• Placement is also very important, its almost as important as variety itself. Try making tricks with the trees and shrubs, use mushrooms around logs. Remember to overwrite pathing with doodads you can hold shift upon placement.


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