Terraining - Underwater Universe

Tutorial By rayquaza218

Step by step
Terraining An underwater area
By Rayquaza218



[2]The Basics

[3]Getting the “feel”




[7] Questions and answer


Hi all, I’ve seen a number of terraining tutorials in the tutorial repository, but not one on underwater effects, so that’s why im writing this now. This is a pretty basic tutorial on how make your very own underwater universe.

[2]The Basics

Ok, let’s get down to the basics. First of all, we need to change the tileset to one that would suit an underwater environment; an obvious choice would be the “sunken ruins” tileset. Why sunken ruins? It includes sand, rough dirt, darker dirt and grassy dirt, GREAT for a seafloor. It also contains things that might be useful for a Naga village, if you’re making one. Round tiles, small bricks and large bricks make this the ideal tileset.

To change the tileset, go to Advanced>Modify Tileset and from the drop-down list, pick sunken ruins, you can choose a custom tileset if you prefer to do so.

The ground should change to the default dirt setting, this will be our main terrain. Go over the map with random spots of grassy dirt, this kinda suits the under water “feel”, the grass not being too thick and all. You should try to make little clumps of 3 or more, try to make the terrain seem as random as possible and yet look good. Go over it with another random spot-spam of rough dirt and sand, sand doesn’t look really different, but gives the terrain a bit of variety. Finally use the noise tool, as much as you want, all over the map, making your land uneven, like a seabed. Now you should have something that looks like this.


Now, you do realize that the land looks really jagged and kinda screwed up, so you’ll want to use plenty of smooth over the noised parts to even it down. I can’t emphasize more on using smooth after noise, it’s a must. It should look something like this, much better than the junk before, but still needs some more work to make it under waterish.


You can even see from the green square that a little bit of brown is showing, not too much, which is good.
So were pretty much done with the basics

Key Pointers
-Use Sunken Ruins
-Smooth after noise
-Variety of terrain

[3]Getting the “feel”

You now have your basic piece of wavy ground, now we need to make it really “underwater”. Some people might already know this, but the most affective way to do this is by making the air all blue. This is called “fogging”. (lol)

Its simpler than you’ll ever expect, click on Scenario>Map Options when there, check the box that says “use terrain fog” you should be able to control a number of values, change the value “Z Start” to 0 and fog density to 0.40. You should see a box that pops out when you click the “Set Color” button. Like this

(NOTE: In the screen shot it says z tart is 300, use 0. The screen shot just shows you what the fog changing area should look like)
NOTE: This varies depending on personal preferences, personally im using anaverage depth sea, so i chose light blue, you can change it to what ever you want. Less red and a mix of green and blue make the sea look better.)

I will use “light blue” for this tutorial, because it’s not too dark or bright, just the right color for my sea. Now you look around your map, the terrain is beginning to feel really like an underwater area, but to enhance this effect, you will need rays of moonlight.

Hit “R” on your key board and create a region that covers the entire map. Right click the region in the palette and click “edit region properties”. Change the weather effect to “Rays Of Moonlight”. And then take a look at your map. You will realize that its starting to look kinda calming, and much better than before, it is less still, and looks great if you move the camera around


Take a second to admire your work so far, but still, the terrain needs more work! I’ve never actually seen a seabed so devoid of life and corals, so you can just guess what were going to do next…

Key points
-Fog density at 0.40
-Z start 0
-Colour used Light Blue
-Rays Of Moonlight

[4] Doodads

Doodads, the thing that will break or make this map, possibly the most important part of all.

First of, lets start with bigger objects, always terrain from biggest to smallest details. We need corals. You can find them in the doodad palette, Sunken Ruins, Water. Use many Corals, and a few Coral Arches here and there, not too many though.

Next up, try using a variety of rocks, you can use either Sunken Ruins rocks, which have vine and moss all over them, or just normal rocks. For this tutorial I will use Sunken Ruins rocks. Try to clump them near the corals, don’t have too many rocks.

Next up is the greenery, now the basic thing to do is to randomly spray shrubs and viny plants al lover the map, but try doing this. Make BOTH viny plant and shrub so that they can be placed anywhere, over each other, etc. To do this, you can simply base them off shrubs. Now, clump shrubs around rocks and a bit near corals, if used affectively, this looks great.

The next step is almost too simple, seashells!!! Click-Hold-Spray. Try not to over do this, this is to give the terrain a “sprinkle”.

You are almost complete! This is pretty much all there is for basic underwater terrain, take a look around your map and feel proud. But now we need to add something special.


What I have after sea shelling looks okay, starting to seem like an underwater paradise… but still needs some finishing touches.

Yes a sunken, pirate ship, with lots of bones and such, we could make one that was really big, and enterable, but well just stick with the exterior. The “foundation” of our pirate ship will be the doodad “sunken ship” Place it in an open clearing, we need to make the ship look really abandoned and simply cannot leave it as it is. We might need a few weird things to spice this ship up.

First of all, you could start with putting lots of rocks around the ship, shrubs and viny plants will also help, a lot. The rocks make the ship look like it’s really sunken, and also gives it a realistic feel when a unit approaches it, so that they don’t just walk straight through the ship. The ship should be put in a sunken in-area, and tilted so that it seems like the ship is buried within the sand. Details- I put bones, and lift it up so that they litter over the deck, making it look dead. Hang lots of floating seaweed around the ship. Don’t forget, what every pirate ship has… CHESTS OF TREASURE!!!! Once again base it off shrub and change the model file to the treasure box, change the scaling value, and stick it in where you deem most a appropriate. One word of caution, you have to scale your ship to proper size; some ships look extremely unrealistic due to its tiny size.

This is just an idea, you could have other ways to frame up the ship, block it out with something else. You could even have an undead crew, its up to your imagination. But for now, we’ll stick to this until the rest of the terraining is done.

What I came up with…


That’s pretty much what you’ll see in a real life ocean (I think) the other fantasy stuff like Atlantis and Naga Land will have to wait, for now, keep experimenting different combinations, and you might come up with something really nice.


You might wonder how there aren’t many units in an underwater area, but your severely mistaken. What ever happened to those little underwater critters, sea snakes, turtles, crabs (don’t use fish yet, I will explain why later). All need to be taken into consideration. The ocean isn’t dead, it’s filled with life, we can start with the critters. Most of them you don’t need changing just make sure they don’t get in the way of things. This is my way of making sure.

Open the “Object Editor” and locate your critter. For example, I want to use a fish. I find the “fish” unit under critters, neutral passive, and take a look at its abilities. It will contain “Wander” This is good if you want your creature to walk around, leave it and whatever abilities may be there alone. One ability you need to add is “Locust”, simple “Locust”. This is an awesome ability, extremely useful, but only available to TFT. It makes the unit-non selectable, non controllable, and indestructible (unattackable) and immune to all spells. It basically is a moving model which can do damage. Since we are using a critter, it doesn’t attack either. Change the movement type to flying and the flying height to about 500. Set the movement speed to about 400-500. You then need to create a trigger, to allow the fish to move.

Events Time - Every 10.00 seconds of game time Conditions Actions Set TempLoc1 = (Center of Region 006 <gen>) Set TempLoc2 = (Center of Region 001 <gen>) Unit - Create 1 Fish 1 for Neutral Passive at TempLoc1 facing <Default>) Unit - Add a 30.00 second Generic expiration timer to (Last created unit) Special Effect - Create a special effect attached to the overhead of (Last created unit) using Doodads\Ruins\Water\BubbleGeyser\BubbleGeyser.mdl Unit - Order (Last created unit) to Move To TempLoc2 Custom Script: call RemoveLocation (udg_TempLoc1) Custom Script: call RemoveLocation (udg_TempLoc2)

Ok, region 006 is at one point in the map, and 001 is another point in the map, both need to be far away. Keep making triggers like this, each time, set the critter to be different, like different fish models, and different regions. Also, the Event has to be different also, for example, it says every 10 seconds, change it to like 14 seconds, or 12 seconds. The generic expiration timer also needs to be modified depending on the distance between regions. If you don&#8217;t get what im saying, its all right, you can look at the attached map to find out more.

Other than that advanced stuff, you might need a few other basic units. Like crabs, hermit crabs, and the sort, what ever you feel necessary.

Exact Directions on how to make your own movable fish.
1)Right click custom units and make a new one. Base it off Owl
2)Change the model file to "fish school"
3)Change scaling value to 1.25 (not freakishly huge or small either)
4)Change the value "Art-Shadow Image(unit)" to none
5)Change the abilities to nothing but "Locust"
6)Change Movement type to "Flying"
7)Change minimum "Movement-Height Minimum" to 600 and "Movement-Height" to 600 too
8)Set "Stats-Hide Minimap Display"
And your done!


That&#8217;s all I have for now, everything basic you need for a underwater terrain, of course, these are the mere basics, once you get the hang of it, you can add your own stuff, for now this is all I have.

[7]Question And Answer

How do I raise and drop doodads for the sunken ship?
Simply select them, hold down ctrl, and press page-up.
How do I view a larger portion of my map, a black sheet keeps covering it.
Hold down ctrl, and use your mouse scroll to scroll downwards.

My water looks way too shallow to be deep sea, how do i fix this?
Well actually you notice that the water is way darker at night, so choose use this trigger.
Untitled Trigger 002 Events Map initialization Conditions Actions Game - Set the time of day to 24.00 Game - Set time of day speed to 0.00% of the default speed
It turns day into night and make it stay that way.

Yellow lines are blocking me from seeing the terrain, how do i remove this??

Hit G on your key Board till the lines disappear. (Question asked by ayumilove)
Why can't i see the fog effects in game?

Hit V on your keyboard.
What Sky should i use?
Use the default sky, its actually all white, but your fog makes it look blue and never ending... just what we wanted

*More to be added, ask away if you want.

-Big thanks to Smith_s9, for teaching me how to do underwater effects in the first place. Thanks alot smith!
-To 2-P my terraining idol =p for telling me about fogs. ^^ Thanks 2-P!
-To you for reading this.

Happy Terraining!!

v1.2 Changed Borders, bold outlined titles, changed Sky

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