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Developer Emeritus
22 Nov 2003

Location: Prague, CZ

This tutorial is a guide to making landscape for TR.

After seeing still the same errors on and on, I’ve decided to write a small tutorial about the most common ones in TR exteriors.

First of all, I’d like to clear one thing: there is no such procedure called DETAILING for exterior claims that are currently being developed. This detailing business is for claims submitted long time ago [mainly maps 1&2]. So, if you have an exterior, don’t count on some “detailers” to come after you to “flesh out” what you’ve made. That is simply YOUR job to do.

Issues addressed in this tut.:
-vertex shading
-claim borders
-matching your neighbors
-some final tips&hints [yet to come]


Lot of people think making a road is just to paint the texture and add a rock here and there, but it’s actually one of more tricky things to do it right.
A road in order to look good requires:

1. a reason to exist! And a logical trace/path
2. correct texture
3. to be lowered compared to surroundings [as if worn out]
4. vertex “outline”
5. a lot of detail around
6. some “points of interest” along the way

1.If there is a road on our drawn maps in your claim, follow it as close as possible. When you want to add a new one, think of its use. Will people use it? Does it have a start and an end? Do you want to go into so much trouble of detailing it? Also, remember we are not building some highways, just simple roads which are very often curved as hell, gaining the best out of existing terrain [not changing it much], but as well with some logic to it [no unnecessary river-crossing and such]. Just use common sense.

2.use a correct texture – depends on region and on other claims around you

3.after you’ve “painted” a road texture, there is the trickiest part:

- select brush size 3 and lower the entire road a bit piece by piece. You may lower it more than the final result will be like; smooth tool will take care of it.

- now that it’s lowered, keep brush 3 and turn on “smooth” and the real hell begins:
By SEPARATE clicks [where one brush-click ends, other starts] smooth the area AROUND the road. Important: don’t hold&drag, that would ruin it! Place the brush on the very edge of the road, not half/half. See screenshot for precise location.

- now use the same technique on the road itself, but brush size 2! Again no hold&drag, but separate clicks. Be very careful and if needed, press ctrl+z to reverse last click.

- that wasn’t so hard, was it? Why to do this: it looks much better this way, bethsoft did it too, and most of all, I will NOT approve a claim without this done properly. In reviews, this will be called the road error and will result in not approving the claim!

4. an “outline” done by vertex shading. There are no exceptions to this!

5. now a lot of detail is needed along the road: trees, container/noncontainer flora, rocks, various traces of human presence [rotten food, broken wheel, etc] and stuff like those de_railing pieces. Check out other exteriors to get the idea and use your creativity…

6. every couple of cells, there should be something to be worth looking at: a tomb, a mine, an inn, etc [or just a place with nice view]. Again, a matter of creativity mostly.


A simple part, really. Every single object has to have a shadow. Just a few tips&tricks here:

-color: I prefer 135,135,135 for light shadows like under opening in gate, larger shade under huge trees [not under its trunk], road outline and small plants that stand by itself [not next to a rock f.e.]. And 90,90,90 for darker shadows – under all other objects. But this is a matter of personal taste and imagination [for example Prom used a wide range of colors, including bright green and such]. Just please use more or less the same intensity or we will end up with claims too different from each other.

-brush size: NEVER use size 1. Size 2-3 should be all you need

-vertex-shade smaller objects before you place trees – really useful

-make lighter tones of color first, than the darker tones. The opposite way: the lighter color would overwrite the darker one, which looks awful.

-how not to forget/find missing shading: set view to top-down view [press “T”], zoom out so that you can see about 1/3 of a cell and search Pleased . Some places require more attention and rotating the camera, but it should work most of time.

-and the most important rule: don’t be afraid to vertex shade! If you don’t like the result, set color to 255,255,255 and paint over it – it will “erase” previous shading.


Two most common errors:
1. on very edge of a claim, land drops to sea-floor level

2. edges of a claim are raised, but only a bit above sea level, even though the very cell has mountains/hills

-both errors are easy to fix when merging, but it causes that there are no objects along border, which forces the map’s merger to actually create about ½_cell_wide strip of land – and that takes time. Remember, your claim is yours to do to the very edge of appropriate cells, so raise land and add refs on borders too. Don’t be afraid to “step” over to next cells – that can be easily cut off in tesame [works forks for everything].

-when you are raising land and approaching an edge of claim, keep raising even behind the border – about 1/3 of a cell deep. Than, when forming and finalizing the land, do so as well in this area too – that will make [when merged] the border almost invisible, which is the goal here; we don’t want to be able to recognize where one claim was ending and other starting in completed maps!


Few suggestions/rules first:

-if there is a finished claim next to yours, it’s the one to be followed, check it out. If there is an issue [not following drawn map, weird terrain, etc] contact the map’s moderator.

-already claimed land [but not finished yet] next to yours: talk to it’s claimer to get his WIP file and cooperate with him/her – both sides should be able to ask the other one to change his/her land a bit if needed. But take into consideration, that the other side may be getting near finishing the claim, so may not be able to change his land much.

-if you have the first claim in an area [no neighbors yet], it’s up to you. Pleased

Now, how to:

-raise land and give it somewhat final shape [including an area around your claim – as mentioned above]

-name your [but ONLY your-not those around] cells something you will recognize [“my” for example], save and leave CS

-start Tesame [d/l on our mainpage]. There you will see [among other stuff] a number of lines labeled “cell” and “landscape” [cell is first and directly bellow is its landscape]. Note: you will see also cell name, but only if named – “wilderness” is not a name for tesame, thus no name will be shown.
Now mark [press spacebar] all unnamed cells [and those named anything other than the “my” name] and press “delete” button. Save, leave tesame and go mod your now cleaned land.
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