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Thread: Hearthstone Saga - WIP

  1. #11
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    To me it seems that there are large 'gaps' between the mountains. It appears more as a group of separate peaks than a mountain range.

    Maybe some more transitional terrain between the mountains? *shrugs*
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  2. #12
    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steel General View Post
    To me it seems that there are large 'gaps' between the mountains. It appears more as a group of separate peaks than a mountain range.

    Maybe some more transitional terrain between the mountains? *shrugs*
    Yep, same problem I am seeing. The problem is deciding whether or not to try to fix it in the elevation file or in the surface mapping. There is transitional terrain between the mountains, but getting it to surface out properly in Terragen is proving to be a pain in the hind-quarters. I toyed with the idea (last night at work) of trying to ramp this map up in GIMP (or Paintshop) using RobA and Torq's tutorials. I may fiddle with that idea today and see where it goes.

    GW
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  3. #13
    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
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    As Steel mentioned, there was a bit too much "empty space" between the mountains, and I fully agreed with him. He also mentioned adding in more terrain variation/transition between them. Sadly, however, that variation already existed, it just wasn't showing through as well as it should. In light of that situation, I took some time to think about the best method to solve this problem.

    One option would have been to rebuild the entire mountain group. That is something I'll have to do eventually as the current mountains aren't the only ones in existence in this particular region, but, I felt it was more important for the time being, to square away how they were displayed. So this option, at least for now, is out.

    The second option would have been to try to tweak the Terragen surface maps as they existed at the point of the last render. The problem with that is the fact that the only real tweaks I can make to a basic surface is based on elevation, slope, "coverage," noise, bumpiness and how closely they mimic the terrain. All these tweaks would have been very straight forward and applied across the full of the elevation and slope ranges involved. While this might have worked to some degree, I don't think it would have solved the "problem" as a whole.

    The third, and best option as far as I could see, was to use distribution masks in the surface mapping file. These I could base off the same masks I am using to develop the elevation model as a whole. Because they are rendered on an independent level (unaffected by elevation and slope constraints) they would appear exactly where I placed them. An added benefit to this approach is that I can apply child surfaces (and additional distribution masks if I so desire) within the distribution mask, and these, in turn can have elevation and slope constraints applied to them for greater variety. The only downside to this method is the rendering time. That, however, is negligible as I can set things up to render while I am at work rather than having to actively sit at the computer.

    So, after about an hour's worth of work to rebuild the surface maps and a couple of small scale renders to make sure things were going to work out the way I hoped, I set up this latest render and headed off to work for the night. It's still not "perfect" as I would like to see a bit more contrast between "vegetation" and "bare rock," but it is, IMHO, much closer to what I am looking for than where I was at before. I still have a long ways to go on this map, obviously, but my overall process is becoming more and more refined. My only real concern at this point is the "perception of scale." As mentioned in an earlier post, this map covers an area of approximately 175 miles north/south and east/west. As it stands right now, I'm not quite "seeing" that, but it could just be me. Too, the perception of scale might change once I start placing some of the more specific features such as forests, lakes and rivers.

    So here's the latest render. As you can see, the "empty space" between the peaks and/or ridges has been filled in and looks a bit more mountainous. As always, I'm open to thoughts, suggestions and criticisms.

    GW
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  4. #14
    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
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    Very brief post here, and not really an update.

    I wanted to get an idea of what things would look like at full resolution (I'll never be able to post the full sized map because of size and time outs), so I zoomed in by a factor of 4 and rendered another 12 by 12 version of a more localized region. It details an area of approximately 44 miles north/south and east/west. It is, for the most part, a fairly close approximation of what the map should look like, sans the extra features, once it is rendered at full size and printed (intended to be 48 inches by 48 inches).

    I've played with some of the coloring, trying to give the "bare stone" a darker look, as well as trying to add a bit more variation to the snow caps. I'm pretty happy with the "bare stone" look now, but may tweak it just a tiny bit more at some point. I think, though, that I'll have to do a bit more work with the snow caps as they still seem just a bit too "solid" in some areas. I may be able to adjust this with some slight alterations in coloring along with a few more "highlights."

    I did this render mostly to get a better idea of what the "players" will see when the map is laid out on the table, so to speak. As before, I haven't added in any extra features just yet (i.e. forests, lakes and rivers), and I have as yet to rebuild the mountains.

    In terms of rebuilding the mountains, not only is it my intention to add to those that already exist, but I'm also aiming to get a better transition from low to high elevations. As it stands right now, too many of the existing mountains appear to have overly aggressive/steep slopes. While this would be fine for a few of the mountains, it is a little too frequent at this point.

    All in all, though, I'm just about satisfied with the "base" look of the map as far as coloring goes. I'll probably tweak the base "vegetation" at some point so that forests, plains and barren lands (including deserts) stand out fairly well, but that won't happen until I've started masking them in.

    GW
    When nothing is going right and you can't find someone else to blame, start beating your head against the wall, 'cause it'll feel so much better when you stop.

  5. #15
      Coyotemax is offline
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    About the only comment I would have besides "nice progress" ( ) would be in terms of the snowcaps - but I see it's already on your to-do list. I'm not familiar with the prog you're using, so I don't know specific techniques or limitations, but in terms of look I would suggest a bit more of a transition if possible, they go straight from bare rock to solid snow.

    Nice work though!

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  6. #16
    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
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    Right now, the snow caps are being handled by elevation and slope constraints only (internal Terragen features). Eventually, I'll do a distribution mask for them to get better control of where they appear, then lay highlights over the mask based on elevation and slope constraints.

    That's one of the downside to using Terragen. While it includes both "fuzziness" and "noise" sliders for elevation and slope constraints, it's really difficult to get a nice transition without adding in several surface layers. Additionally, those elevation and slope constraints are applied to the entire file based on elevation and slope rather than being applied to specific regions, but that's where the distribution masks come in handy, even though they drastically increase the rendering time.

    GW
    When nothing is going right and you can't find someone else to blame, start beating your head against the wall, 'cause it'll feel so much better when you stop.

  7. #17
    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
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    Just a quick and dirty experiment to see if I could "loosen-up" the transition between bare rock and snow through the use of a distribution mask. The process worked out fairly well, but I'll have to refine it a bit. Still, better than the crisp/sudden transition from before. I'm definitely going to have to play with the coloring a bit to give it a nicer look, but wanted to get an idea of how the process was going to have to work before heading off to work myself.

    While it isn't much progress on the actual map, it is progress on the technique, which is equally important where this project (and future projects) are concerned. And it's giving me ideas about how I'll approach the development of forests and other terrain features, so it's all good in my book.

    GW
    When nothing is going right and you can't find someone else to blame, start beating your head against the wall, 'cause it'll feel so much better when you stop.

  8. #18
      Coyotemax is offline
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    Yes that's a lot nicer looking, for sure. Hopefully the technique doesn't take too much extra rendering time for the full one.

    And I hear you with the process improvement for the future - more work now playing with settings could save a lot of time in the long run

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  9. #19
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    You've brought it along quite far from the image I initially commented on, the transitions from one mountain to the other are much better now.
    My Finished Maps | My Challenge Maps | Ghoraja Juun, my largely stagnated campaign setting.

    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.



  10. #20
      Jykke is offline
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    looking pretty nice.. first I saw just snowy holes in the ground.. had to stare it for a while to see the snowy mountaintops.

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