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Chaplaindm
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:37 pm    Post subject: Heritage Lost Reply with quote



Joined: 10 Jan 2009
Posts: 15
Location: USA

Hello!

Just announcing I am starting a new project. As some of you know, I am an amateur Christian Fantasy writer working on my first novel, Heritage lost- The White Tower.

Along with a novel, I have wanted for several years to model the fantasy world I created. I bought GROME3 and am starting to use it to do just that.

Any feedback is appreciated!

Chaplaindm
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ALicu
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 1326

Hi,

I am looking forward to see updates about your project. Please post screenshots, information and other materials as you progress.

And also let me know if you need any support working with Grome.

Kind Regards,
Adrian L
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Chaplaindm
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 10 Jan 2009
Posts: 15
Location: USA

Thanks!

Here is the original map of the world in which the novels take place.



I'll probably be asking for opinions on presets that would work for certain regions. I am interested on how much time I save using the procedural settings over handpainting the terrain.

Chaplain
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Chaplaindm
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 10 Jan 2009
Posts: 15
Location: USA

Here is the same image with some notation. Could you give me some advice on a good starting place?

The actual world is quite large (several hundred miles) but I will scale it down to a workable size. What do you suggest? 10 X 10 miles? Also, is there a place I can go that has a picture of the presets?

to everyone: Feel free to pipe in on this!

Chaplain

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Chaplaindm
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 10 Jan 2009
Posts: 15
Location: USA

A picture of the book cover. I am hoping to use a lot of pictures of the GROME terrain on the Webpage and at some point allow the reader to explore it.

The world is known as an "Open World" meaning that several stories are written using the same setting.

Chaplain


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ALicu
PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 1326

Hi,

Some useful tips:

-------------------------
SYSTEM

Because data is edited and can change at any time, the editor will need more power than the final game hardware:
- Use at least 4 GB of RAM
- Use the 64bit build (it can use more than 2GB of RAM, compared with 32bit which is limited to 2GB).
- Use a video card with 512 MB of video ram or more.

-------------------------
SCENE MANAGEMENT

The size of the map doesn't matter for Grome as long as you are using its swap system. But you will just have to work on smaller sizes at once.

So it is a good idea to have parts of the map with very distinct features (for example a desert compared with a plain temperate area) loaded entirely in the memory. This will help you manage the layers and textures for the entire zone at once.

With 4GB of RAM you can have up to 4096x4096 of heightmap tiles at once in memory. The tile size (distance between vertices) depends on the detail you need. Probably 1 - 4 meters. So if you have 2 meters per tile, you can certainly have 8x8 km at once in memory.

For terrain zone size, I recommend 512x512 or 1024x1024 tiles per terrain zone.

-------------------------
GEOMETRY

- It is a good idea to apply some procedural effects first and after that to go and modify by hand (with brushes) where is needed (where gameplay dictates certain roads, valleys, flat areas for buildings etc).

- For procedural effects start with some fractal noises. Presets you can find here: http://www.quadsoftware.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=105
Combine fractal effects (apply one on top of another with Blend mode or with multiple heightmap layers).

There are various presets you can use out-of-the-box for frozen mountains, desert areas, hills but you will most probably want to apply some additional effects so:

- Then apply erosion effects on top. Thermal erosion is very good. It can simulate from deserts (sand slides) to rocky mountains with snow when applied with correct parameters on top of a fractal effect.

- Use multiple heightmap layers to separate your effects. In this way you can later go and modify a certain manual editing area without affecting initial the procedural effect. You can also apply procedural effects combined, each on a different layer so you can later go back and modify the tools parameters and reapply them. In general it doesn't matter how many heightmap layers you have since you will be collapsing them at export. But make sure you don't run out of RAM memory if you have an enormous number (>10). Also processing and updates may slow down after a certain number.

- When applying brushes to add details (not to smooth and level), use a texture mask. Use some noise and other fractal pattern (created for example in Photoshop) so you add proper details. You can also use a tabled with pressure for better control.

-------------------------
TEXTURING

First decide what texture layers you need and then start the work. For example:

- Have a base texture layer (what is visible when there is nothing on top) which can be frozen earth (for snowy areas), normal dirt (for temperate), some sand texture or dry earth (for deserts).
- Then have 2 layers which will be used for vertical textures: rocks, vertical dunes, earth etc. As you probably know from Grome tutorials, you need two so you cover the entire vertical range, one from North-South and one West-East.
- Then have 2-3 layers of other vertical variation: snow, grass, other type of blown sand etc. Each can have a detail texture on top (greyscale image with big tiling to give details and variation). Refer to the video tutorials from site for details (most relevant probably being the flight simulator tutorial).
- Then you may also need additional textures that are not normally rendered: normalmaps, ground holes (image that indicate where there are caves entries) etc.

So you will probably have 7-8 layers per terrain zone. You add them globally by giving them generic names that you know what represent based on the zone you are in (desert, temperate, cold etc):

- Holes
- Global normalmap
- Base
- Vertical 1
- Vertical 2
- Detail 1 (mud, frozen earth, dry earth)
- Detail 2 (grass, dust)
- Detail 3 (grass 2, snow, sand)

The above layers, even if they are allocated for all zones, will have their textures different depending on the climate (depending on the zones they are on) - texture is chosen at assignment to a zone but can be later changed by clicking on their thumbnail.

Also, you will need transition layers, for example used when a temperate zone will be neighbor of a desert one. This layers will have the same texture (example: some generic dirt that can go both in temperate zones and in the desert ones) and they will be put on top to cover where, for example, a grass layer suddenly finished and a sand one begins. You will probably need only 1-2 transition layers (put on top of the stack) and this will be allocated only for climate transition zones (they are added in the stack but assigned only to certain zones).

Also, make sure your heightmap is almost finished before deciding to do the texturing since the texture masks generation will be most probably made procedurally, based on the heightmap slope, altitude and orientation (MaskGen tool). If you change the heightmap, you will probably need to reapply texture generation again.

Use the flowmap parameter (>0) at the mask gen to apply the top most layers. This will add nice, detailed flow effects which are needed for all zones (snow in crevasses, sand between cracks, mud on slopes etc).

On some places you also need to manually change the texture masks (use the brush for this).

-------------------------

This is all I can think right now. Of course there are many other details to cover. Don't hesitate to contact us for any problem you may have.

Regards,
Adrian L.
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Chaplaindm
PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 10 Jan 2009
Posts: 15
Location: USA

Sounds like a great starting place. I will be trying it out after I return from England (on vacation!).

Chaplain
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ALicu
PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 1326

Ok,

Have a nice vacation and Happy New Year!

Regards,
Adrian L.
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