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Thread: Iryth : My second project, a world this time!

  1. #1

    Default Iryth : My second project, a world this time!

    Previously I had tackled an island for an roleplaying game I was GM'ing. This time I was going to bite the bullet and try a whole world.

    To start with I turned to Fractal Terrains 3 jumped into the World Settings and chose my fractal function of choice: -

    RMF with Perlin's Improved Noise.

    The settings of choice for me were ..

    H (Roughness) : 0.865440011024475
    Lacunarity : 2
    Octaves : 30
    Offset : 20
    FGain : 2

    Then I moved to the Primary Tab and chose ...

    Highest Peak : 32000 ft.
    Lowest Depth : -9842.52 ft.

    Circumference 13258.6 Miles (about the size of mars)

    I left the Secondary, Temperature, Rainfall and Editing as default.

    Then using the next world button (f5) .. I started cranking out shapes. I was looking for something that appealed and was not too heavy in the tropical area. The world I was looking for had significant land mass in the temperate zones preferably.

    After about 30-40 tries I found a world I liked the look of, you can see it below here, a larger version is attached at the bottom.

    It reminded me loosely of our own planet and had a pleasing shape, lots of potential landmass in the temperate zones. This would do nicely.

    I then proceeded to add some land to the map and break some of those odd continental links and ended up with the following: -

    This was much closer to what I wanted. To add the landmass I changed the editing resolution to Custom 8190 (maximum) with Prescale offset editing turned on.

    I then selected the Paint Raise - Prescale Land Offset, set the width and height of the brush to 255 pixels and changed the value to 0.05. This would allow me to gently raise the land I wanted from the sea, I occasionally flipped the value to a negative when/if I went too far. When I got to a point I was happy with I saved my work and moved the resulting file over to a "Keep" folder in case I had to rewind at any point later.

    More later ... as we move to WILBUR for the further editing process!

    Any comments or critique welcome.

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  2. #2


    In the last post we ended up with some continents generated by Fractal Terrains 3, we had modified them to better fit with my aims. For example, I had not wanted continents with central mountain ranges, so adding land to one side of a continent created a more natural feel. Also the thin stranges running between continents did not fit with my ideas so I lowered them back into the seas! I actually found this part of the process quite enjoyable, teasing the final shape I wanted out of the initial rough outlines.

    Next I wanted to use the forces of nature to create a more realistic worn away surface for my world. To do this I migrated the data out of FT3 and into Joe Slayton's (Waldronate on this board) other excellent tool Wilbur. I used the "Special MDR" choice and exported with a resolution of 8192 by 4096. I wanted the maximum size I could get to keep as much detail as I could which was another reason I had lowered the planet size down to Mars sized. I also downloaded the latest 64bit version of Wilbur to take advantage of my Windows 7 64bit PC with lots of memory. When I imported the MDR into wilbur it was the flipped vertically, but that was not a problem and with a couple of clicks we were the right way up again.

    As a precursor to getting started I had read the excellent ISRAH tutorial many times, however I did not plan to do any of the erosion or incise flow work in FT3, I wanted the higher speed in 64bit Wilbur! The Israh article had some excellent colour templates for Wilbur and FT3 which I took advantage of at this point and applied the land and sea colours.

    The ISRAH tutorial can be found online at ..

    The Genesis of Israh; A Tutorial

    I suggest reading it a few times to get the most out of it and be prepared to throw away a few mistakes when you first try it

    Anyway enough for now, some more details of what I did in Wilbur later.

  3. #3


    Once in Wilbur I proceeded to do the following: -

    Fill Basin (Ctrl + B) - Which created large stretches of flattened basin "plains" for want of a better description ... need to add some bumps and noise so when the erosion began the water would not flow in straight lines.

    Select All (CTRL + A) - Grab the entire map to work with.

    Filter-> Noise-> Percentage Noise -> Add 5% noise

    Select-> From Terrain-> Flat Areas -> Default - Grab the "plains" and add some more noise

    Select->Modify-> Expand -> 2 Pixels

    Filter-> Noise-> Percentage Noise -> Add 5% noise

    Select All (CTRL + A) - Grab the entire map to work with.

    Fill Basin (Ctrl + B)
    - Fill Basins to catch any tiny dips you just made ..

    The we make the first Incision. I did some testing on what Incision did on the map before commiting, CTRL-Z to Undo is a wonderful thing and Joe has added a great preview button so you can see the effects of changing the parameters before commiting.

    There are the notes I made from Israh and my own experimentation

    Incision Notes
    Amount (depth of cut, higher = deeper)
    Flow Exponent (Severity of the incise, lower is more severe) .. 0.1 does nothing .. greater than 0.2
    Effect Blend(blend into terrain, higher is more blended)
    Blur (width of incise, higher is wider)
    Variabble blur dramatic widening
    Post Blur widens the incise, Pre blur = 0 = thin rivers

    Here are the parameters for the first cut.

    Select All (CTRL + A)
    - Grab the entire map to work with.

    Filter-> Erosion-> Incise Flow ... 1 / 0.2 / 0.2 / 0.1 / 0 / 0 - Which gives a very fine establishment of the potential water flow.

    Fill Basin (Ctrl + B) - Fill Basins to catch any tiny dips you just made.

    Filter-> Erosion-> Erosion x 0.25 - 2 pass... to wear down the edges of the incise and to smooth some of the random noise from earlier.

    Filter-> Erosion-> Incise Flow ... 0.7 / 0.2 / 0.3 / 0.2 / 0 / 1 - Wider cut, establish the riverbeds somewhat.

    Filter-> Erosion-> Erosion x 0.25 - 2 pass... same as before ...

    Filter-> Erosion-> Incise ... 2 / 0.5 / 0.2 / 3 / 0 / 0 ... gently press in river valleys as though in fingertips running through clay... wide pre-blur helps create the effect we want on the plains.

    Filter-> Erosion-> Incise ... 1 / 0.2 / 0.1 / 0.5 / 0 / 0 ... mountains get some river valleys etched in ... very lightly.

    Filter-> Erosion-> Erosion x 0.25 - 2 pass... same as before ...

    Filter-> Erosion-> Incise ... 1 / 0.1 / 0.2 / 0.6 / 0 / 0 ... bit more etching into the landscape.

    Fill Basin (Ctrl + B) - Fill Basins to catch any tiny dips you just made.

    Select All (CTRL + A) - Grab the entire map to work with.

    Filter-> Noise-> Percentage Noise -> Add 2% noise - Preparing for River run.

    Filter-> Erosion-> Erosion x 0.25 - 1 pass

    Fill Basin (Ctrl + B) - Fill Basins to catch any tiny dips you just made.

    From this point on you are at the end of the end (the river part and outputing the collection of images) of this page in the Israh Tutorial. The Genesis of Israh; Wilbur Part 1

    You will have eroded some height from your mountains, etched gentle river valleys into your lands, created an interesting crinkly edge to your continents and hopefully be pleased with the result.

    Here is how mine looked in Wilbur with the Israh Hypsomatic colour scheme. I was happy with this stage. But noticed a few holes around the edges of my continents, I zipped around quickly and filled them in with the painting tools. I left them in the following image as it was taken at the slightly earlier stage.

    I flipped the map upside down again and saved as a new MDR file and squirreled away a copy of my work in my "keep" folder as a way of going back to my work incase something went wrong later.

    I had all the maps the Israh tutorial wanted from Wilbur, so I headed back to FT3 and got the remainder required by the tutorial. In addition I also got a copy of the Graticule against a black background.

    I headed over to Photoshop and finished off the last page of the Tutorial.

    Here are the results at the end of the tutorial ... higher quality images are attached below.

    and a close up of the lovely wrinkly coast!

    Next comes topography ... an attempt to get an understanding of the heights of my world. In the grand scheme of things I would only need to classify flatlands, rolling hills, foothills, low mountains, medium mountains and high mountains in my game, however I wanted a little more detail than that!

    Comments or Critiques welcome ...

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  4. #4


    Yep. Awesome. Good information and re-route thru the Israh tutorial techniques for FT3 + Wilbur + FT3 + Photoshop. I am newly studying and applying these techniques as well, although so far I have stayed in FT3 and applied the Incise tool there. Wilbur sounds manageable though, based on what you wrote. Still haven't totally figured out why Wilbur's Incise would be better than FT3's. I have been told the latest update to FT3 takes advantage of 64bit Windows.

    I especially appreciate where you translated some of the obscure settings terminology, into understandable words, under Incision Notes. For example you tell us that "Flow Exponent" (confusing term) means "Severity of the incise, lower is more severe, use greater than 0.2", this is very helpful. "Amount" means "depth of cut, higher is deeper". That's good. "Blur" becomes "width of incise".

    Looking forward to your next write-up on topography, mountain heights, the 6 different regions of elevation that would be useful for game purposes. Maybe we can look at ocean depths as well, which could be demarcated into regions of continental shelves, abyssal plain, the depths, and any super deep trenches.

    Terraformer is a free supplement for FT3 buyers (download it from ProFantasy in your registration area), that has a bunch of image climate colors, and lgt files, that can be used to color -- I mean colour -- the land & seas, if you want to see even more variations.

    Thanks again, keep the write-ups and screenshots coming.

  5. #5


    I am glad you liked the work so far Gold

    I have used Terraformer before and like the results, definitely worth getting it. If you are referring to the /LARGEADDRESSAWARE command line switch for FT3 I am using it already and I think it helps

    While looking around I can see traces of you following the same path as myself with regard to map generation, including raising the octaves for more detail in FT3. I had settled on 30 as the amount because it gave me that much more detail before the erosion process. One trick I had found was doubling the area in Wilbur using the Size option, however once it doubles to the 16k resolution, the fill basins no longer works properly. This was a shame for me as it would have got me roughly to 1.3 miles per pixel instead of 2.6 (approximate figures). There was the possibility of doing it after the erosion work, and the large address aware FT3 did import the bigger map, however I had wanted the extra detail for the erosion, incision work. Sadly doubling without detail just results in blockiness. If Waldronate ever reads this I wonder if there is an unreleased version of Wilbur that works with 16k wide heightfields and fills basins correctly?

    Anyway, moving along, I wanted some form of contour lined map and spent some time considering how to do this. I could take the map from FT3 to CC3, save the contours as WMF (Windows Meta File), bring them into Adobe Illustrator and then across to photoshop. If someone knows a better way / easier way of doing that please post as I would love to do it!

    In the end I settled on Wilbur and using the Save Selection feature to dump out selected height ranges to PNG files. First I had to decide on a useful scale, as I had mentioned before I only needed 6 or so classifications of height, but wanted the look that a decent relief shaded and contoured map can bring. My inspiration was Relief Shading - Colors - Hypsometric colors, I loved the look of the french map shown and had noted that the Israh tutorial had used similar colours. However I also needed to meet the heights specified in the rulesbooks I planned to use, my aim was to create a map for the Adventurer Conqueror King system (ACKS) a D&D retro clone that I liked the look of. It used only three height categories, Flatlands (plains), Hills and Mountains and did not actually define any heights for them. So looking for inspiration I turned to my old Ad&D books and dug out copies of the Wilderness Survival Guide (WSG) and Worldbuilders guidebook (WBG). In the WSG I found they broke the heights down into the following: -

    0ft - 2000ft = Flatlands

    2000ft - 4000ft = Hills

    4000ft + = Mountains

    Helpful, however I like a lot of the systems in the WBG and they took a more detailed view: -

    0ft - 2000ft = Flatlands

    2000ft - 3000ft = Rolling Hills

    3000ft - 4000ft = Foothills

    4000ft - 7000ft = Low Mountains (roughly the Appalachians)

    7000ft - 15000ft = Medium Mountains (roughly the Alps or the Rockies)

    15000ft - 30000ft = High Mountains (roughly the Himalayas)

    30000ft - 50000ft = Very High Mountains (For low gravity worlds)

    50000ft - 100000ft = Extreme Mountains (for extremely low gravity worlds)

    Now I knew the last two would not feature on my world, but were interesting none the less (I had hand waived the less gravity on my world by making the core denser [Pseudo Science BS]). however the extra detail appealed to me. so I went with it.

    Here are my early attempts at the contour lines, I brought in the height selection png files, used them to generate a selection mask and used "Stroke" with a 1 pixel wide black to draw the contour line.

    The attached version below is larger and clearer when clicked.

    This all seemed to be going how I wanted it, I would now start generating contour lines every 500ft from sea level up to 30,000ft or so (less actually as max height shown in Wilbur (Surface-> Min/Max) showed a max height of 25633ft. However to get a rough feel for the areas involved I generated a Wilbur Land Colour file set it to cubic blending and tried it out. Here is the result (as usual the attachment has more detail.

    I have put the Wilbur land colour file on my webserver if anyone wants it ... right click and save this link: - Wilbur Land Colour File

    It gave me the rough feeling I was looking for so I progressed to working on the contour lines. More of which next time!

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    Last edited by Brennall; 03-07-2013 at 08:17 AM. Reason: Spelling

  6. #6


    Well after a boring few hours I generated all the 500ft spaced contour lines. Tedious, but completed now!

    You can see more detail in the attached file below.

    I used some simple relief shading to emphasise the terrain and was encouraged enough to continue onto hypsometric shading alongside the contour lines.

    Next no contour lines .. just hypsometric relief shading ...

    Everything seems to be coming together nicely, however climate definition is next on the agenda and that gets quite complex. I know that FT3 has a very rough guess at climate based upon rainfall and temperature. Sadly it doesn't take into account seasons, wind or currents which means I would need to work those out and use them to affect changes to the temperature and rainfall in FT3.

    I think currents appeal to me next ... more later.

    Comments or Critiques welcome ...

    Quick Addendum ... After noticing how close I came with the nice blended shading from Wilburs hypso colour map file I did, I might switch to that! Until I had posted both I could not see them next to each other.

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    Last edited by Brennall; 03-07-2013 at 10:58 AM. Reason: Addendum

  7. #7
    Community Leader Guild Sponsor arsheesh's Avatar
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    Oct 2009


    Looking really good so far Brennall. I'm glad to see someone working with this tutorial, I've always thought it was fantastic.


  8. #8


    Thanks Arsheesh

    I am about to leave the Tutorial however and head off into the world of climates ... The first area I chose to work on was Ocean Currents. I spent quite a while reading about them and how they work and the information makes a good foundation for later work with Winds from what I can see. I started by placing the obvious Gyre in the northen and southern hemispheres, it is always important to remember they spin in opposite directions, northern gyre spin clockwise and southern spin anti-clockwise.

    I used White arrows for currents that did not change the temperature of surrounding land, blue for currents that lowered the temperature and red for those that raised it. On an aside the Gulf Stream current is one of the reasons western europe and England are warmer than normal for their latitude. It took me a while to work out all the possible current flows, the smaller ones were harder and you have to take into account the equatorial counter current as well as the circumpolar current. Interestingly Iryth has circumpolar currents at the north unlike Earth. I am not sure it is all correct and could do with some assistance from anyone who spots any mistakes!

    Anyway here is a small version .. click the attachment for a much larger one!!

    As you can see I added Polar Ice caps!

    Once I had and idea where the temperature changes on-shore would take place I spent some time creating an overlay map to show me where to increase or decrease the temperatures given in FT3.

    Using the black and white areas as a guide, I went back into FT3 and altered the temperature layer, using a very large scale brush with minor value alteration (+1 / -1) I raised the temperature in the white areas a little and lowered it in the black areas also. This correspondingly altered the climate map which I brought back into photoshop and replaced the original. The weather (ocean currents in this case) made its first mark upon my world and moved me one step closer to a slightly more realistic climate. You can see it below, note how it is different in the areas marked above.

    The growth of brownish and light green areas is quite noticable in the easternmost island in the southern hemisphere .. bathed in an almost permanent stream of warm tropical waters.

    I suspect it will revert to green when the winds bring humidity to it later however! ... I am really happy with the way things are going at the moment, it was good to see the climate change dynamically when adding the currents and it gave me hope for the far more complex task of Winds and humidity later!

    Next up will be climate zones ... and how AD&D disagrees with the real world .. and what to do about it?

    Comments or Critiques welcome ...

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    Oooh just noticed I got all the currents lined up correctly when I look at the attachments all in a row.
    Last edited by Brennall; 03-08-2013 at 02:34 AM. Reason: Correction

  9. #9
    Guild Apprentice Realmwright's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
    I live up in the mountains, down in a cave, way out west.
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    Wowzers! You've really put a like of time into this and it has clearly paid off. Incredibly well done. Rep-a-licious.

  10. #10
    Guild Apprentice Realmwright's Avatar
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    I live up in the mountains, down in a cave, way out west.
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    *a LOT of time. I don't know what a like of time is

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