Help with 3d mapping
Ok, this is a multi-faceted problem, so bear with me a moment.
Tools were recently released to allow the modding of the campaign map for shogun2 total war, my love of both mapping and total war naturally led me to want to mod this map myself..
The catch.. The tools released are for converting raw data into something the game can use, for the campaign map this raw data is layered map made in 3dmax, which im horrible with, and even if I werent, an entire campaign map from scratch in 3dmax is a 1000 man hour endeavor. Simply not a realistic goal for a small mod team.
The question(s).. What could i create a height mapped 3d map in that would easily import/convert to 3dmax for finishing? Secondly, could anyone point me in the direction of open access maps i could import to 3dmax to practice with finishing (alternately an open access 3d real world map that could be converted into 3dmax would be an invaluable community resource). Third (tertiarily?), any pointers on using 3dmax for mapping would be greatly appreciated.
Any answers, input, advice, resources, or anything s greatly appreciated, thank you!
I'm not sure if this will work, but Bryce is an effective program for creating natural looking landscapes, and it does so by creating greyscale height maps on a mesh. In essence it takes the fractal generators and the adds in realistic erosion. You might be able to do some import/export with it. I'm not entirely sure, but its possible. At the moment, I believe the most recent version of Bryce is a free download. They tend to make their money on DLC.
Not sure if this helps or not....
You could do it with Bryce, but it depends on the detail you provide. By default, Bryce will generate a random white image on a black background and use that to generate a mountain, thus the term "landscape", and you can modify the mountain in a myriad of ways. But you can also import any greyscale image and Bryce will use that to generate a landscape. Therefore, depending on what kind of image you import, you can make a mountain or any number of custom shapes, 3D text, architectural elements, etc. Check out my "Planet Eben" thread. The last two images are a height map of the continents done in Photoshop and then a 3D terrain using the same height map image. I might try doing a high resolution height map later.
I've got superficial experience with about half a dozen 3d programs, and personally I found Blender the easiest to learn and use. Making terrain manually is pretty easy, especially in the sculpt mode with some noise brushes. I believe there are also plugins which can generate terrain automatically. However, I'm not sure how good it is at handling larger projects, maybe someone else knows?
There's a tutorial on how to move files between 3dmax and Blender here.
Hope it works out, and keep us updated ;)