As I mentioned in the "Bad News and More Bad News" post, I've started work on a new project intended for a Gaming Convention/Saga, and I'm happy to say that progress is moving along nicely. This morning I managed to lay out the coast line and drop in the first mountain chain (The Kreimyr Mountains) and whip-up an initial Terragen render just to see how things were looking. I have to say, at this point, that I am rather pleased with the results.

The area detailed ranges approximately 175 miles north/south and east/west. It is, I will admit, loosely based on the Northwestern portion of the U.S. and the Southwestern portion of Canada. Rather than simply reproduce said areas, however, I'm taking the liberty of modifying some of the land form and adding in a few offshore islands.

For this map, I decided to try a slightly different technique that takes advantage, at least in part, of RobA's Regional Map tutorial and touches ever so briefly Torq's Mountain Techniques tutorial. At the heart of it all is a random height field as generated by Terragen (call it Cloud Noise if you want). I made multiple copies of the height field and adjusted the color levels of each copy to represent a variety of elevation groups (i.e. Shores, Lowlands, Hills, etc.). Then, using the original height field, I've applied RobA's Blur/Overlay technique to randomize where these elevation groups appear in the form of masks. The advantage of this approach, as I see it, is that I can place things where I want them and still maintain somewhat of a "natural" look to the overall results. It also lets me control the erosion on a larger scale rather than having to wait through the Precipitation and Incise Flow cycles in Wilbur, although these will come into play when it's time to start working on rivers and lakes.

When time permits, I might write up a brief tutorial on this process as a potential addendum to both RobA and Torq's tutorials if they don't mind.
From there, it's off to Wilbur to take advantage of three features; Mathematical>>Offset, Mathematical>>Scale and Save As>>.ter. That last one is a great feature and produces far better results than simply saving from the graphics editor and trying to import as a .bmp file. There's just something about the .bmp import process in Terragen that doesn't work out cleanly, particularly along the coasts and when it comes to scaling. Fortunately Wilbur seems to solve this problem (Thanks Joe!!!!).

As for the adventure/saga . . .

It's still in a bare bones stage at the moment (along with the History and Religious aspects), but, in a nutshell, our adventurers/heros will be thrown into a situation where they must recover three unique gem stones and restore the Hearthstone. Although I'm far from finalizing anything yet, I have concluded that knowledge of the Hearthstone's location was lost several centuries ago. However, three particular peaks in the Kreimyr Mountains can be used to reveal the location of a remote "valley" in which the Hearthstone may be found. The adventurers/heros will, of course, have to recover the gem stones, root out the location of the Hearthstone, figure out how the gem stones can be used to restore this ancient relic, and then, if everything goes well, bring about a return of the three original creator divinities.

Anyhootie, here's the first Terragen render showing the Kreimyr Mountains. It's still pretty rough, color wise, but as far as land form goes, I'm pretty happy with the way it looks. I'll be adding in a coastal range of mountains next which should create a nice large valley in which most of the adventure/saga takes place.