I was reading Pawnable's excellent thread on making castles (http://www.thehelper.net/forums/showthread.php?t=42873), but I realized that I had been doing it in a different way, and thought it might be a new perspective for maybe one or two other terrainers. Here's a quick tutorial that'll show anyone the gist of a new way to terrain a castle/cliff town. I'm not an especially good terrainer so please excuse my quick, sloppy work. Bear in mind that I used no high-res wall doodads or B2M's tiles so it's kind of eh :P
First, start out on your map in shallow water. It's always important to start your water level in shallow water because it makes terraining rivers/lakes/ponds/moats easier and a lot prettier. If you desire a moat with a drawbridge for your castle, you can use an elevator trigger. But for my quick tutorial map, I opted not to do a moat.
Next, find the 'MiscData' txt file (tutorial here: http://momm.seiken.co.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=3674) and put it in a folder called 'UI' in your Warcraft 3 directory. My full path turned out to be: C:\Program Files\Warcraft III\UI\MiscData. This MiscData text file let's you raise tiles higher than WorldEdit would let you normally. Haven't tried this in WEU but I think it let's you do that automatically. Use the raise tool to raise a very high, pointy, 'needle' on one tile.
A very sharp 'needle', which is now possible
Use the plateau tool and raise a large area of high 'needles' so that you have a raised cliff effect. Doing cliffs this way is much better than the clunky cake-layer blizzard cliffs. :)
Use the raise, lower, and smooth tools (although I prefer not to use smooth) to even out and beautify your cliffs. Go for realism. No cliff is jagged or completely 90 degree straight.
Once the cliff is fairly even, use the ROCK tile to cover the cliff face.
Finish covering the cliff with rock tiles and start terraining the bottom of the cliff. Directly touching the rocky cliff, you should either have dirt or grassy dirt, and then grass. Doesn't have to be that exact combo, but a tile gradient is good because it gives a nice gradient.
Start covering the cliff with doodads. Remember, Wc3 rock doodads SUCK, so make sure to use the Ctrl + Page Up/Page Down tool to lower doodads in and out of the cliff. Rocks DON'T just semihang out of a cliff, so beware of that. I find that when using plant doodads in a fall setting (I'm using Lordaeron Fall as my base), reducing the amount of blue by a lot and green slightly (change the tinting of those from 255/255/255) will give for a more withered look. Remember, don't oversaturate! And plants do not just grow on smooth, ROCKY CLIFFS. Not only do extra doodads take up extra memory, but this is a cliff. Loading too much on a cliff will make it look like a landfill.
For walls, I'm using Wc3 Stone Walls as base doodads, but it may be better to find a custom one. Adding towers to the end of the wall gives a good impression of a city entrance.
Okay, so you're basically done now. You have the outside of a city, and I'm not going to go in-depth about house, street, market, etc placement in this part, but read onto the "Castle Town" section if you want to find out more about that. What can you add? Well for starters, you need to make the portion of the cliff into a ramp, so that people can actually get into your city. You should use the smooth tool for this, and use the raise and lower tools until you get a nice little ramp (use stone path for ramp).
You also might want to add secondary walls, and a bottom gate as well as a top (I only added a bottom in my picture). Here's the finished product. Doodad placement is obvious in the pictures, and changing units' movement heights or making doodads out of unit models (and using Ctrl + Page Up) will allow you to get them up into the towers, to make them look like tower guards :)
ONE LAST THING. Remember to use pathing blockers on the top and bottom of your cliff, so that no ground units will be able to walk 'up' the cliff. Make sure that both sides of your ramp are saturated with pathing blockers as well so units can't walk off of the ramp and onto the cliff.
PART TWO - The Castle Town
Now that we're finished the outer wall, I'm going to do a quick intro into how to make a very realistic (hopefully) and aesthetically pleasing castle. There are 4 main parts to a castle: the castle town, the garrison (aka barracks area), the market, and the keep. To find more about how real keeps are set up, Wikipedia 'castle keep' xD For this part, I'm still using Blizzard tiles and doodads. Yes, custom doodads usually have higher-resolution and are more detailed, but this is for someone who does not have 20 mb's of map size to spare.
Okay, so first, follow up on the previous castle wall/cliff part and clear a grass or grassy dirt space into your stone path inside your castle walls. Place a couple houses there (it should be apparent that this placement is wierd-looking)
Yes, okay, WOW. That placement is terrible ugly. What's wrong? Here's one of two things that you should watch out for: (#'ed below part not a necessary read)
1. ALWAYS scale your houses to at least 2.0x the default size. Why? Warcraft 3 housing models are not realistically scaled. Footmen are almost taller than houses.... change the scale to something reasonable. Personally, I used the farm as a base model and scaled it to 2.75, but you might want to use a different model or make it a different size.
2. NEVER use the player color for houses. In a medieval or fantasy-type RPG, houses just don't have ORANGE, LIME GREEN, or ROYAL BLUE doors and parts. Nope, doesn't happen. It stands out too strong and looks queer. Dark green, brown, and neutral hostile/passive player coloring for housing is ideal. But again, if you actually need the specific colored player color, keep the player color and do what you like.
4. ALWAYS change the rotation on your houses. In real life, houses aren't all completely 120 degree or 270 degree or 90 degrees in the same direction. To make this, change the "Is A Building" to FALSE (may want to read on before changing)
Okay, so here's what I changed:
Still not very good eh? Well I changed up the housing angles a little to make it realistic. But it still lacks a lot o stuff. There is no detail in this little row of houses. They look like cookie-cutter Wc3 houses. My favorite doodad is the table. You can scale the 'Table' doodad (found in the 'Dungeon' tile section) so that it looks like steps, beds, wooden flooring, etc etc... The possibilities are endless.
Now other doodads should be added to the mix for optimal effect. Using the table doodad as steps (scaling the Z value of a doodad to a smaller # makes it lower, creating a "descending" step effect if 3 'table' doodads have successively smaller Z values) is a good choice. Using it as a border around houses, and then siphoning off the border with fence doodads also brings out more flavor. Using the Ctrl + Page Up/Page Down command (raises and lowers doodads, respectively) allows one to raise other doodads such as flowerpots, wheelbarrows, chairs, and other lovely objects onto the raised 'veranda' area :)
Okay, we're almost done now. Repeat the process for every house, and make sure every one is 'unique' in its own way. Note the smoke rising from the chimney of a house (create a new doodad with no pathing and use the smoke smudge model, and Ctrl + Page Up right onto the chimney). Now in mine, I added a little grave tribute in communal backyard area. A tribute to a fallen friend or a revered elder? That's for you to decide :P But adding wells, stables, other fences, signposts, and otehr doodads are perfectly fine. What would people back then have on and around their houses? How would they 'decorate' or maintain them? Use your imagination, and don't be afraid to try something kooky or wierd! Here's what mine turned out to be:
And an overview:
Yes, there are a lot of other things I could have done better in that area. For one thing, adding more houses would have made it have more human appeal. But yeah, remember to fill the space with doodads, but don't overfill!
Now let's start the garrison area. Clear a sizeable piece of land...
First, make the barracks unit. Every castle needs a large structure(s) to house its array of soldiers and defenders. It doesn't matter if you make your soldier-housing structure a unit or a doodad, as long there's no pathing. Do the usual torches or w/e doodads to this. I added some towers in the middle. This may look tacky, but it's just an example of how you can place units 'inside' of other units.
Now for some finishing touches to this garrison area. Adding a training area out front makes this all the more attractive. In the picture below, I made two units and gave them the Archery Target and Corpse Sitting/Impaled (heavily red) models respectively for archery accuracy and dummy combat training. I gave these 'training' units the max amount of hp and gave them ungodly hp regeneration. You can trigger the archers to attack their respective archery targets and the swordsmen to attack their respective dummies through the simple GUI action (Unit - Issue Order Targeting A Unit), and since the 'training' units will never die (super regen), you don't have to worry about keeping track of anything.
This is the overview of the entire castle town so far...
Maybe some other stuff I left out, but I'll update or post it later. Thanks for reading