Terrain tutorial - Part 3

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He intermediate.png

Tutorials in this series:

Creating multiple heightmaps

To create a large area, you will probably want multiple heightmaps. These can then be split HeroBladeSplitHeightmap.png or stitched together HeroBladeStitchEdges.png as needed.

When you've been clicking on the standard CreateHeightMapButton.png button, it creates a 32 x 32 heightmap. In this section of the tutorial, we will go into more depth on what that 32 x 32 means, and how to create heightmaps of different sizes, or multiple heightmaps at once.

Structure of a heightmap

Heightmaps are defined by the number of vertices along the edge (note that this is vertices between polygons, not the polygons themselves).

Heightmaps can be created in any size from 2 vertices on a side up to 128 vertices on a side, though the most common sizes are:

Heightmaps can also be created in other smaller or irregular sizes, anywhere from 2 x 2 to 128 x 128, such as 10 x 15, or 125 x 50, or anything else, depending on your needs.

The Grid Menu

If you would like to create an irregularly shaped heightmap, or multiple heightmaps at once, this is done with the Grid button Grid.png on the Terrain Panel, which opens the Create Heightmap Grid menu. With this menu, you can create anything from a tiny 2x2 vertex heightmap, to an area that uses multiple nodes and thousands of vertices.

This menu will also advise you on how many heightmap nodes are needed, if you want to make a very large area.

The Create Heightmap Grid menu

For example:

If you were to click on "OK" at this point, you would create a heightmap that is exactly the same as if you clicked on the "Create Heightmap" button. CreateHeightMapButton.png

Create the smallest possible heightmap

Next, we will create a very small heightmap node, to better view how this works.

For best results, cancel out of the grid menu first, and maneuver your viewpoint so that you're looking out into a void somewhere, with no current heightmaps visible in the viewport. This will make it easier to observe the new heightmap node without interference from other nodes.

Next, we'll look at the polygons of this new node. There are multiple ways to do this, but probably the easiest is to hover a Terrain Tool over the node and get the polygons to highlight that way.

The smallest possible heightmap, 2x2, with only two vertices on each side

Create an irregularly shaped heightmap

A 2x5 heightmap, has two vertices on one side, and five on another. Note that the 2x5 is referring to vertices and not polygons.


See also: vertex-coloring

Further practice:

Create a large area

Next, we'll create an area that takes more than one heightmap node.

Grid of 32x32 nodes, creating an area 100m x 100m. This requires one "full" 32x32 node, and three partials to complete the space

Overlapping heightmaps

Stitching heightmaps together

When heightmaps are not completely aligned, red lines will appear to highlight the areas where there are gaps. To heal these gaps, use the Stitch Tool HeroBladeStitchEdges.png.

At this point you should have overlapping heightmaps, with some bumpy terrain on each

Creating a cave roof

Overlapping heightmaps might also be used for a cave system.

Note: For a good cave though, it is usually better to use a heightmap node for the floor, and static assets for the top.

Splitting a heightmap

If it's desired to split one heightmap into multiple nodes, this can be done with the Split Tool. This can sometimes be useful for Rooming, splitting heightmaps and assets between rooms.

Next step

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