View Full Version : Terrain Tutorial?

12-03-2002, 09:22 PM
Can someone point me to a tutorial for for terrain for JK2 (or just Q3 in general).
I'm talking about that little system/terrain shader ;)

12-04-2002, 02:22 AM
The best thing to do is get GTK radiant. In the plugings section it has GENSURF. Its a pretty neat little program that Emon pointed me to.
For your terrain, you need to make a heightmap. This is an 8 bit Grayscale BMP file. The darker the shade of gray, the lower the terrain, and the lighter, the higher. Its always best to start out with a middle gray color for a base.
make sure the file is 33 pixels or 65 pixels too! I don't know why,but its what I was told.

Type in "Heightmap" in a GOOGLE search, and you'll find some examples .

Now , open up GTK radiant and go to plugins.
Next, select Gensurf and then Ground Surface.
here are the tabs and settings/ explanations for them


under game, make sure Quake 3 is selected
under Orientation, click ground surface
under Waveform, click from bitmap
leave the other settings alone......

" Extents"

This is where you plot your terrain on the editor grid. Its jsut like Geometry class, x y -X and -y .

The divisions section is basically how in depth your terrain will be. Terrain is all triangular brushes, so the greater the divisions, the greater amount of trinagles, hence, the greater amount of detail!

your divisions should be divisible by your corresponding extents as well for the terrain to be done effectivlely. so X division should be able to go into each x extent evenly. This goes the same for Y.

* note*

Terrain is very framerate intense, so try not to go too overboard. You can actually get a really nice sized terrain with a good amount of detail in game and not ahve much problems.

leave the rest of the tags in extents be.


this is where you find your heightmap. It doesn['t ahve to be in any kind of directory specific to jedi Outcast. its all good :)
Next, go down to the map color section, and make it looks like this.

Map color 0 to 0
Map color 255 to 2048

Don't ask me on th number, i was told to do it this way.

* Fix Points*

I have no F'n clue what this box does at all. I have never used it or figured it out. i guess you can jsut look at your terrain move around with it.

* Texture*

make sure it looks like this...this is my texture setting for Imperial Brewery, you can use any texture you wish

Surface Hoth/snow_01
Other System/caulk
Steep leave this blank

make sure use detail brush box is selected too!

now, hit preview and you'll be able to see your terrain...in a greenish grid setting.

finally, hit OK and watch it load in radiant!!!!

thats about terrain with Gensurf in a nutshell. I do not know how to blend textures, but then again for my map i don't need it...
I'm not sure if anyone else here on the boards knows either.

If you have any other questions, E-mail me at Uptheirons@earthlink.net, and i can get back to you faster.....

12-04-2002, 01:23 PM
woha! thanks a lot!

hmm this is complicated.make sure the file is 33 pixels or 65 pixels too!
you meen 33 by 33 or 65 by 65 pixels?

12-04-2002, 01:49 PM
yep,33 x 33

i'm sick, so bear with me on this!:)

12-09-2002, 05:13 PM
I have found some useful stuff on the subject.

Terrain Turorial on QERadiant.com (http://www.qeradiant.com/manual/Terrain_Manual/start.html)

And also a neat little stand alone terrain generator, feed it a bitmap and it spits out a .map file :D I'm not shure it has all the features of Gensurf but i found it quite useful for getting my head around the concepts and skills required.


More people should use terrain in their maps. I just made a fairly detailed block of it thats about 6500 map units square, and it runs at 150 fps! looks great too.

12-09-2002, 06:15 PM
Whoa there! I use a great many sized heightmaps with my GenSurf, no problems!

12-09-2002, 06:28 PM
terrain is jsut a royal pain in the ass, regardless what the tutorials say. actually, i have more problems making a heightmap then anything else, they all look aweful!

someone needs to come up with a heightmap maker

12-11-2002, 05:07 PM
Use Adobe Photoshop.

Or mspaint.

Or draw it and scan it in.

12-11-2002, 05:30 PM
GenSurf is peachy for me, but doesn't do metashader stuff, and EasyGen never seems to work right. I'd just go and do it all the hard way, all manually. GTKRadiant comes with the complete terrain guide.

12-15-2002, 03:25 PM
well, the biggest problem i had was making a belivable snowy landcape. It seems i was only able to use no more than 32 divisions before my terrain would load all white. I have no idea why this happened, but i decided against snow because of it.

It turns out better though because I have a neat little forest area instead, with rain! Looks alot better too.

12-15-2002, 04:54 PM
I found height maps easy to make once i figured it out. I used Paint Shop Pro took a while to get the paintbrush settings right and figure i needed to run the finished product though some pretty heavy "average" filtering to get everything smooth. Had trouble at first with landscapes that looked like spiked hair :D

For the record in PSP I have found that the normal paintbrush with Opacity 5, Hardness 50, Step 25 and Density 100 works realy well. The more you run the brush over stuff with that setting the darker it gets so making slopes easy; no annoying constant color switching.

I mentioned before that I made this fairly impressive test with the little terrain gen program i linked to above. Its about 6,500 map units square, has 1251 brushes and runs at 150 fps on my average machine (80 with a few enemys spawned).

Look at the pic :)