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101 Do's and Dont's of Terraining

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1. Before making a terrain, always think you're making a world living inside your imagination.
2. It is good to plan ahead what will be inside this world (plants, doodads, trees).
3. Do not try to put every element of warcraft III objects to this world.
4. Make a specific theme (always works best).
5. Do not use the random height field, it is a noob feature.
6. Always pick a the water cliff level, then increase the height field of the map using huge brush to coverup the water.
7. Learn to love you're mouse before you terrain, it is your drawing tool.
8. Plan ahead whether you're going to do a realistic approach and unrealistic approach of the terrain.
9. If realistic approach, search for custom tree models and custom grass models.
10. Also alter the scalings of each doodads, trees, structures, and other stuff.
11. Do not use cliff's if you're doing a realistic approach.
12. If unrealistic approach, open up few melee maps and learn how the terrain works.
13. Do not just put random trees and rocks and stuff, always think of a pattern in the terrain.
14. search for pictures of your landscape on google.com
15 .Thou shalt not use blizzard trees.
16. Thou shalt know that fog and atmosphere play a large role in your end result.
17. Thou shalt not use blizzard cliffs.
18. Make an outline of your terrain in the editor using tiles
19. Practice using blizzard doodads and units to sharpen your creativity with a limited palette.
20. Do not rely on custom models. Many amazing effects can be done with what you're already given
21. If doing a natural landscape, find out how plants and natural elements work in real life.
22. Be sure to check ability and buff models. They have a large variety of useful items you can add to your terrain.
23. Learn to use units tastefully. Nothing like overcrowding a terrain with units to depreciate its value.
24. The angle you take your screenshot from plays a big role in how your terrain looks.
25. Dont be afraid to get inspiration from other's terrains. Just dont copy them.
26. If it looks good, it IS good. Same in reverse, if it looks bad, it is bad.
27. Do not be scared to use ctrl, Page up/down.
28. Don't be scared of what other people think, they might help you.
29. Say NO to Noise! (Even though I used noise a bit in my map.. becuase I'm not very good at terraining!)
30. Don't use big brushes, use small brushes when terraining to give details.
31. To make a mountain, increase the height field of a particular area and change the terrain to rocky terrain.
32. To make a good fog, sometimes the combination is y = 1000 z = 6000 density = 0.6
33. You can actually modify the sky display, just open up mpq editor look for the sky skin file and change it to your preference.
34. Always match the color of the fog with the sky.
35. Kevin Costner is a bad terrainer.
36. Turn Antialiasing (AA) to as high as possiable before taking a screenshot (smoother looking terane and objects).
37. Turn Anisotopic Filtering (AF) to as high as possiable before taking a screenshot (to make the terane and object textures far away look better).
38. Do not digitly enhance your terane using an art program.
39. Think before pressing "Print Screen".
40. Do not show blank map edges or unfinished areas in your pictures.41. Use tile variation! Make sure that you do not use too much nor too less.
42. Read terrain tutorials from the tutorial section, they will help you a lot if they are good.
43. Crop your pictures before posting them!!
44. Try to be creative as much as possible, but do not make it too unrealistic
45. Do not create pointy bumps with a 1 size brush, use a bigger brush to make it smooth.
46. When using plateau, always remember to smooth out the edges
47. Use different tiles from other areas, but make sure that they go well with the rest of the terrain.
48. Do not think taking a Computer Science class solves everything for making games (maps), learn how to do the art!
49. Try to advance your terrain to become part of a dynamic world.
50. If your making TD's, Castle Defense, Hero Arena, or Maze, do not substitute the gameplay balancing with the terraining.
51. While terraining try to turn on the Grids, works well if you want to balance your terrain, determine the height field comparisons.
52. Do not dream of making a good citiscape or dalaran terrain without 200% custom doodad enhancement.
53. It is sometimes best to work randomly while terraining which gives a naturistic sense of art to the end-product.
54. Replace cliffs with pathing and sight blockers.
55. The key "p" is used to show the pathing in the terrain.
56. Read here for Castle Terraining tutorial.
57. Read here for Making rivers and lakes.
58. Make melee buildings become doodads and transform an area into a real city!
59. Do not use wc3 original trees, they look like sticks.
60. Chuck Noris is a bad actor.
61.Don't have absolutely 100% custom doodads unless there is nothing included in blizzard models that you need.
62.Make sure that your terrain(if its natural) Looks REALISTIC.
63.Don't be afraid to use Buildings as doodads, its completely fine.
64.Don't touch 'raise cliff' or the blizzard trees unless really necessary.
65. Oversized bushs make good trees
66. The Object editor is your best friend
67. NEVER, EVER EVER EVER EVER NEVER FOREVER
68. NEVER EVER FOREVER EVER, Use a square brush for making water.
69. Be Creative!
70. Dont overcrowd your terrain with numerous doodads
71. Tall and short doodads look better when placed near eachother rather than near other tall/short doodads
72. UTM owns you
73. UTM owns me.
74. Don't use blizzard cliffs!
...
101. Reread this guide.

Hey guys lets pile up a bunch of do's an dont's of terraining, and maybe it will be a usefull guide for beginers.
I'll start...
  1. Before making a terrain, always think you're making a world living inside your imagination.
  2. It is good to plan ahead what will be inside this world (plants, doodads, trees).
  3. Do not try to put every element of warcraft III objects to this world.
  4. Make a specific theme (always works best).
  5. Do not use the random height field, it is a noob feature.
  6. Always pick a the water cliff level, then increase the height field of the map using huge brush to coverup the water.
  7. Learn to love you're mouse before you terrain, it is your drawing tool.
  8. Plan ahead whether you're going to do a realistic approach and unrealistic approach of the terrain.
  9. If realistic approach, search for custom tree models and custom grass models.
  10. Also alter the scalings of each doodads, trees, structures, and other stuff.
  11. Do not use cliff's if you're doing a realistic approach.
  12. If unrealistic approach, open up few melee maps and learn how the terrain works.
  13. Do not just put random trees and rocks and stuff, always think of a pattern in the terrain.
 
Last edited:
Level 7
Joined
Aug 10, 2004
Messages
185
15 .Thou shalt not use blizzard trees.
16. Thou shalt know that fog and atmosphere play a large role in your end result.
17. Thou shalt not use blizzard cliffs.
 
Level 8
Joined
Jul 16, 2004
Messages
390
18. Make an outline of your terrain in the editor using tiles
19. Practice using blizzard doodads and units to sharpen your creativity with a limited palette.
20. Do not rely on custom models. Many amazing effects can be done with what you're already given
21. If doing a natural landscape, find out how plants and natural elements work in real life.
22. Be sure to check ability and buff models. They have a large variety of useful items you can add to your terrain.
23. Learn to use units tastefully. Nothing like overcrowding a terrain with units to depreciate its value.
24. The angle you take your screenshot from plays a big role in how your terrain looks.
25. Dont be afraid to get inspiration from other's terrains. Just dont copy them.
 
Level 3
Joined
Apr 8, 2007
Messages
42
29. Say NO to Noise! (Even though I used noise a bit in my map.. becuase I'm not very good at terraining!)
 
Level 12
Joined
Aug 7, 2004
Messages
875
30. Don't use big brushes, use small brushes when terraining to give details.
31. To make a mountain, increase the height field of a particular area and change the terrain to rocky terrain.
32. To make a good fog, sometimes the combination is y = 1000 z = 6000 density = 0.6
33. You can actually modify the sky display, just open up mpq editor look for the sky skin file and change it to your preference.
34. Always match the color of the fog with the sky.
35. Kevin Costner is a bad terrainer.
 

Dr Super Good

Spell Reviewer
Level 64
Joined
Jan 18, 2005
Messages
27,233
36. Turn Antialiasing (AA) to as high as possiable before taking a screenshot (smoother looking terane and objects).
37. Turn Anisotopic Filtering (AF) to as high as possiable before taking a screenshot (to make the terane and object textures far away look better).
38. Do not digitly enhance your terane using an art program.
39. Think before pressing "Print Screen".
40. Do not show blank map edges or unfinished areas in your pictures.
...
101. Reread this guide.
 
41. Use tile variation! Make sure that you do not use too much nor too less.
42. Read terrain tutorials from the tutorial section, they will help you a lot if they are good.
43. Crop your pictures before posting them!!
44. Try to be creative as much as possible, but do not make it too unrealistic
45. Do not create pointy bumps with a 1 size brush, use a bigger brush to make it smooth.
46. When using plateau, always remember to smooth out the edges
47. Use different tiles from other areas, but make sure that they go well with the rest of the terrain.

:spell_breaker: More to be added, possibly. :grin:
 
Level 12
Joined
Aug 7, 2004
Messages
875
48. Do not think taking a Computer Science class solves everything for making games (maps), learn how to do the art!
49. Try to advance your terrain to become part of a dynamic world.
50. If your making TD's, Castle Defense, Hero Arena, or Maze, do not substitute the gameplay balancing with the terraining.
51. While terraining try to turn on the Grids, works well if you want to balance your terrain, determine the height field comparisons.
52. Do not dream of making a good citiscape or dalaran terrain without 200% custom doodad enhancement.
53. It is sometimes best to work randomly while terraining which gives a naturistic sense of art to the end-product.
54. Replace cliffs with pathing and sight blockers.
55. The key "p" is used to show the pathing in the terrain.
56. Read here for Castle Terraining tutorial.
57. Read here for Making rivers and lakes.
58. Make melee buildings become doodads and transform an area into a real city!
59. Do not use wc3 original trees, they look like sticks.
60. Chuck Noris is a bad actor.
 
61.Don't have absolutely 100% custom doodads unless there is nothing included in blizzard models that you need.
62.Make sure that your terrain(if its natural) Looks REALISTIC.
63.Don't be afraid to use Buildings as doodads, its completely fine.
64.Don't touch 'raise cliff' or the blizzard trees unless really necessary.
 
Last edited:
Level 1
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Jan 30, 2007
Messages
152
#) always save different versions in case it crashes
#) dont make it protected , other poeple want to learn 2
#) relese betas so other experienced players can review yur work

and thats about all i can think of
 
Level 8
Joined
Jul 16, 2004
Messages
390
Dont spam small doodads to make a bigger doodads, such as small rocks to make a giant cliff


Use dynamic camera angles to make the terrain more interesting

Determine beforehand whether the terrain will be playable or not

Be aware importing extra tiles takes up a lot more room and is often uneeded.

Make sure to download the misc.txt file if you want steep cliffs.

If your terrain is not meant to be played, download custom trees to replace blizzard's for better screenshots.

Custom models do not make a good terrain. Precision, knowledge, and unity do.

Turn off pathing for more freedom in placing doodads. (But remember to put pathing blockers for playable maps).

Units can walk on elevators no matter their height or model, this can open up a lot of possibilities when terraining playable maps.


Constantly avoid sharp edges in the terrain, the smooth tool is your friend.

Spells, buffs and missiles can make interesting doodads and effects.

Terraining takes practice, dont give up!

If large doodads are getting in the way of other doodads in the editor, go to the object editor and check true for "Ignore Model Clicks" for that large doodad.

I dunno if i repeated any, thats just all that came to mind
 
Level 2
Joined
May 30, 2007
Messages
8
@ "5. Do not use the random height field, it is a noob feature."

Sorry, but this one really annoys me. It's a GREAT feature if you use it with the Smooth tool, which most people don't.
 
Level 9
Joined
Oct 23, 2006
Messages
327
You guys know blizzard cliffs, can be useful in a few regards, but not in the regard that blizzard intended them to be used. If you use them skillfully a blizzard cliff could be used to enhance your terrain and how it works. You just have to modify your idea of how to use the cliff, cliffs aren't always a bad thing.
 
Level 5
Joined
May 27, 2007
Messages
132
People are too whiny.

If someone came out with high res replicas of Blizzard trees, I'd say everyone should use them. But it's more effective at this time to not bother tracking down a suitable, good quality, low file size model, and then using that.

So here's a tip.

DON'T EVER take a tutorial and make something that looks EXACTLY like in the tutorial and use it in a map. Tutorials are great, but make it your OWN terrain first. This goes double for textures. If someone makes a nice tile, and you want to get a feel for making textures, and make one exactly like in the tutorial, or as close as you can get, DON'T use it. Even if it looks different due to randomization and such that may occur in Photoshop, it's still NOT YOURS.
 
Level 5
Joined
May 27, 2007
Messages
132
Yeah, it's annoying when someone replicates it. It's ok to learn, but nobody should rely on it to make the same thing once they understand it well enough. And if you don't understand how to do it yourself, but NEED it for a map or something else, then just keep practicing until you can apply the lessons to your own work.

I took a Photoshop tutorial for making text look like rocks in a river, lined up to make words. And what did I do? Without practice I made a realistic Castle stone wall. Granted it wasn't for Warcraft 3 or anything, but it was for a Guild Layout for my WoW Guild, and it came out pretty nice. I didn't even practice.
 
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