The Terrain

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Carsten
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The Terrain

Post by Carsten » 2006-02-03, 15:37

Hello all,

after the common sight-seeing through the TechDemo.cw map the day before yesterday, I suggest to start some detailed "brain-storming" or concepts for the outdoor terrain.

Here is some summary / some thoughts:
  1. The starting point should be somewhere on the beach (e.g. because we've been dropped from a helicopter or a small boat).
  2. There can also be bays (Buchten) or embouchures (Flußmündungen) breaking the coastline, and the starting point might be more in the mid of the terrain if it is at a bay or embouchure.
  3. There should be two paths from the starting point to the indoor entry point: One that is pretty short and obvious, one that is longer, probably roughly around the island, along the coastline, for those who like a refreshening walk in a sea breeze.
  4. The terrain will be covered with LoD vegetation.
  5. The story background is that we enter our employers research facility "backwards" through it's emergency exit, in order to investigate communication breakdown.
I think that this would be enough for a minimum implementation. Even if we did not manage to create any models except for the boat or helicopter and a small jetty (Anlegesteg), this would be enough to create an impressive outdoor area.

If we can do more, it would be even better, but this additional work would be entirely optional.
Examples:
A bridge across the water where the bay is narrow, additional vegetation models, wooden signs (e.g. "Welcome to Monkey Island!"), rocks and other stuff that marks the path around the island, small wooden buildings (Hütten), animals, etc.

Therefore, I'd like to start a call for topographic suggestions of the heightmap, that is, sketches on how the island should look like from a birds perspective.

The goal is to be able to subsequently create a "final" heightmap that will be used throughout the TechDemo (if at all, only minor, local changes can be made after we have come to a global descision).

I've posted my suggestion here (really a good training for Gimp layers): http://images.ca3de-community.de/main.p ... itemId=175 ;-)
Best regards,
Carsten
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Thrawn
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Post by Thrawn » 2006-02-03, 16:50

I 95% love the design proposal, fantastic idea. I just would let the player, after he walked along the beach for some time, enter the jungle in the middle. Beach -> Open Space with palms and bushes -> jungle

:D
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Post by Carsten » 2006-02-03, 18:54

Ah, I see, I like your idea a lot!
So I've added some rocks that block the beach. :)
Updated sketches at http://images.ca3de-community.de/main.p ... itemId=175

Btw, the player is free to move anywhere anyway (unless the terrain is too steep), so he still can run almost everywhere and discover everything.

In order to let the player know that there is a predetermined path that he can/should follow, I'd suggest to, for example, make the diffuse-map along that path a bit darker than elsewhere, and/or give it a different detail-map (as soon as I implemented the required shaders).
Having the diffuse-map show a darker, brownish color along the path should be somewhat sufficient though, especially if the path is "flat" while to the left and right the terrain is curved and rocky.
Best regards,
Carsten
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Post by Carsten » 2006-02-06, 10:11

Anybody else?
Please post your opinion / suggestions!

Note that the true terrain will be a lot more detailed than the sketches promise, as it will at least partially be auto-created with random noise and the appropriate tools.
Best regards,
Carsten
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Post by Carsten » 2006-02-07, 16:40

This post has a few notes to myself, on how I'm constructing the terrain (or at least try to):

Definitions of dimensions:
  • 1024m * 1024m area,
  • 1025 * 1025 pixels heightmap,
  • lowest possible point (under water) is at 0.0m,
  • highest possible point is 200.0m (that's more than enough...),
  • water level is at 10.0m.
  • In CaWE, these are 40320 * 40320 * 7872 units (1 unit = 2.54 cm = 1 inch, end results slightly rounded so that they are equal to (630*64) * (630*64) * (123*64) units), water level at 400 (6.25*64) units, 10.16m above 0.
Beach and coastline:
  • We want "flat", smooth beaches with a predefined coastline.
  • Easiest to control with a blurred basis texture, whose range 0 to 1 is mapped to height range e.g. 8.0m to e.g. 12.0m.
  • Then add another noise heightmap with sand dunes whose 0 to 1 range is mapped e.g. to 0.0m to 1.0m, so that with beach alone, we may get up to 13m absolute height, which is 3m above water level.
Entrance to the indoor facility:
  • At relative coordinate (0.469 / 0.0), i.e. at 46.9% of the width and at 0% (bottom) of the height.
Last edited by Carsten on 2006-03-29, 11:01, edited 4 times in total.
Best regards,
Carsten
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Kai
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Post by Kai » 2006-02-08, 03:54

Here is my attempt !
http://images.ca3de-community.de/main.p ... itemId=193
I moved the start point a bit more away, so it is more realistic, to walk this way. I also moved the point to take look at the island.

Its all just a suggestion ^^
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Post by Carsten » 2006-02-08, 11:24

Kai, I like the basic layout of your island (shape of the coastline etc.) a lot, but I was wondering how you expect the player to cross the water near the pier?

I'd suggest to have the pier rather near the players starting point, because that would be the natural anchor position if one arrives with a small boat (even if the pier is old and broken), or even if we're dropped from a helicopter instead.
The water should then either be very shallow where the player is expected to cross the water, or there should be a wooden bridge (possibly old and half-collapsed, too).

Btw, the sight-seeing point in my sketch was intended to provide a view over the entire island, too. ;) I'd remove all mountains that block the view of course. But the location that you indicated for the sight-seeing point is probably better than mine!

About the position of the starting-point: Well, I liked your earlier suggestion to put it into the mouth of a river or into a bay, as it is only natural to build piers and anchor docks in the relative protection of a bay, rather than at a shore that faces the open sea, unprotected from wind and waves in a storm.
Thus, I'd suggest to keep the starting point as well as the pier approximately where I've indicated them in my sketch...
(Also remember that 1 Pixel == 2 meters for a 512*512 sketch! Even for the very short way in my sketch, that's quite a distance to travel.) Of course we can still make the short way somewhat longer, though, e.g. by adding an arc to the north.
I would also prefer if the player could see from his starting point the entrance to the indoor part in the distance, as that helps a lot for his orientation (e.g. we start looking north, and after a 180° turn it can be seen in the south, beyond the bay). A sign near the bridge that explains that he can also follow the longer path (Trampelpfad) along the beach for exploring the island in a "guided tour" should be enough to make the player aware of his options, while still providing sufficient orientation and awareness of the "preliminary goal" (namely to eventually enter the indoor part).
I'd expect most people to explore the island on their own anyway. ;)

Anyways, these are just suggestions, too, and I'll continue to experiment with the best implementation of that Island until we've reached a final descision.


I think that we can already agree on the shape of the coastline, the boundaries of the vegetation, and the location of higher rocks/mountains. (There is some randomness and variation for the final result involved anyway. ;) )

The sight-seeing point, paths to reach the indoor entrance, and other details discussed above will be hand-tuned with Leveller later anyway, once the base heightmap is complete, so that I think that I can well continue with the rough geographic stuff for now. :)
Best regards,
Carsten
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