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Creating A Map For Intermediate Users - (very Image Heavy)


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Who is this for?

This tut if for intermediate users who has made a beginner map using the official EA tutorials and my beginners map tutorial.

Please follow these tutorials first as I will refer to these in this tutorial at points and skip over items that you should know having worked through these tutorials.

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The Aim

The aim is to learn more techniques than the first tutorial and to make your map look less like a beginner map.

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The Tools

Tools you will need are as follows...

Battlefield 2

Battlefield 2 Editor

Battlefield 2 Lightmap Samples

BF2 tpaint

BF2 Pack

Thanks to all the members of the community that contributed some of these tools.

These tools are all available HERE with the exception of Battlefield 2 and Photoshop, which of course you need to buy.

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Terrain Textures

Ok, lets get started...

Open up the map you are working on, in this case I am using a 512 x 512 map I have quickly knocked up using L3DT Heightmap Generator and have given a basic paint using tpaint.

Now, lets start by looking at the texture layers and setting them up.

You probably won't have run lightmaps at this stage but I suggest that you run terrain lightmaps on medium settings as the lightmaps will effect how your textures look.

Don't worry about sky, light and sun settings yet, we just want some lightmaps down so we can see roughly what our textures will look like.

Having run terrain lightmaps on medium we can now look at setting up your terrain textures.

As you know, layer 1 will be your steep texture, layer 2 will be your high texture and layer 3 will be your low texture.

General Settings:

Go into terrain editor and select the painting button.

Next in the resources bar select "General" (Fig. 1)

Fig. 1

fig001.jpg

Now, in the tweak bar, change the settings to something like in Fig. 2

Fig. 2

fig002.jpg

Ok, so now we want to go back to the resources bar and expand the layers folder (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3

fig003.jpg

Click on "Layer 1", remember this is your steep layer which you will probably choose as a rock layer if you are creating a normal map set on earth.

Now in the tweak bar you will have the options for this layer (Fig. 4).

Fig. 4

fig004.jpg

You can change most of these to suit your level, I will go over some of the important parts next.

"DetailTexture"

In here you can select the detail you would like for this layer.

"ColourTexture"

In here you can select the colour texture that merges with the detail texture.

"Material"

This will select the material for your detail, so if you had grass as the detail, select grass for the material, now when you shoot at the ground this is the material that you will see fly up as you hit the ground. Likewise this will choose the sound of walking on grass when you walk over it.

"TopTiling"

This will change the tiling of the detail texture, the higher the number the smaller the detail will look, but the higher the number the more noticable the tiling will be.

The lower the number the larger the detail will look and the less noticeable the tiling will be.

You will have to play with this to find something that suits you.

"SideTiling"

Change this to match the setting you entered in the "General" section of the layers (Fig 2).

"PlaneMap"

Now for most layers you can leave this as 0, but if the layer is your steep layer then you need to change this to 1.

This will activate the sidetiling for lowdetail 2 (Which we will cover just below).

Leaving this as 0 on steep layers will give some strange stretched textures (In game only) on medium and high settings so it is important to change this to 1 on the steep layer.

"ColourTiling"

Now, this isn't so important if you've painted your map with tpaint only, but once you start painting manualy it will be important.

Similar to TopTiling above but it won't change on the fly, to see the changes you must repaint over the area you want to change!

So what does this do? Good question, if you look at Fig. 5 you will see an area painted with 1/1 as the colour tiling, a bit blocky isn't it?

Well now look at Fig. 6 and you will see the same area, repainted with 0/0 as the colour tiling.

big difference isn't it? So for most applications I would set the colour tiling to 0/0.

Fig. 5

fig005.jpg

Fig. 6

fig006.jpg

"LowDetailType"

For steep layers set this to 2, for all other layers set this to 1.

"EnvMap"

Do not check this unles you are using a detail texture that has an envmap, ie a puddle layer.

If your making a layer to produce puddles in game check this box.

Once you have run final lightmaps and run the envmaps this will then show a slight reflection of the sky and light settings as a real puddle would.

Checking this on a layer without an envmap will cause the whole layer to appear as if it is the sky.

Next generate your low detailmaps for each layer as shown in my beginner tutorial.

If you want to see what it's looking like you can click Render/Detail Texture Mode.

Now, go file/save all and check the boxes shown in Fig. 7 and say ok.

Fig. 7

fig007.jpg

Great, that is the texture settings out of the way for now so lets move on.

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Light Settings

Light settings are very important to a map, they can really change and set the atmposphere.

They control everything from the sky texture, clouds, terrain lighting, object lighting and sun flares.

In Fig. 8 You can see all of the light settings that are available to change.

Fig. 8

fig008.jpg

Below that I'll explain the settings that give the most immediate impact on a maps look.

A good tip to have in mind is that in real life the sky colour will show on buildings, shadows and terrain.

Load up your chosen sky in photoshop and using the pippet tool, choose some of the skies most predominant colours.

In turn, use these colours as some of your colours in the LightSettings shown below.

You can see the change the light settings can have on terrain, trees, statics etc. bringing all these items together with the sky in one colour scheme in the following screen shot;

ne2.jpg

To get to the light settings look in the tweak bar and next to the tweak tab click the tab with your maps name on it, then expand the LightSettings.

"FogColour"

What it says on the tin! This is the colour your fog will be.

Now there are 2 trains of thought when it comes to fog colour, you can either match it to the bottom colour of your sky, or you can make it a slightly different colour to create a better horizon.

Which whay you go is up to you, I prefer to match it to the sky most of the time.

Sometimes a skys colour doesn't allow you to match up well as the sky may be multiple colours at the bottom.

Now there is a trick to sort this out if you are working in your own mod and it's not a BF2 map.

I will quickly explain this now;

1) Load up your prefered sky into photoshop.

2) Now using the colour picker choose a colour from the sky that matches it and is also a good colour for fog.

3) Next, click on the gradient tool then at the top choose the "Forground to Transparent".

4) Then starting at the bottom of your sky click and pull the gradient partway up your sky.

Now save your sky as DXT5 with a black alpha channel.

The reason for the black alpha channel is that if you decided to use the weather effects your whole sky will flash when the thunder strikes, if you would like to have a small area light up then in the alpha channel you can choose to do this.

You will see that you now have a fake fog blended into your sky as shown below in Fig. 9 (Before) and Fig. 10 (After).

Fig. 9

fig009.jpg

Fig. 10

fig010.jpg

Place this new sky into your mods Common/Textures/Sky folder and you can select it in the editor.

Make a note of the RGB value you used in photoshop to make the gradient and select your fog colour and use the same.

"FogRange"

This will set the thickness and depth of your fog. Again it is best to play around until you get the best effect for your map, whether you are after a cloudy map or a sunny map you can achieve this by tweaking these 4 fields.

Try looking at the sky.con of other vanilla maps to see what settings DICE have used.

The sky.cons can be found in the levels server.zip file.

For this tutorial I have now set my fog to 0/400/5/0.7

"TerrainSunColour"

Another good reason for us running lightmaps on medium earlier is to see the effect of this field.

Where the sun hits the terrain this is the colour and lightness that will be cast.

Move next to a terrain shadow cast by a hill for example, click on TerrainSunColour and move the slider in the colour box up and down.

You will see this effects the contrast against the shadow, the shadow will remain dark, but the sunny area of the terrain will change darker and lighter.

"TerrainSkyColour"

Similar to the above setting (TerrainSunColour) but this is more the ambient terrain colour, clicking on this and changing the colour or slider will also affect the shadow this time.

Try this and see the whole terrain lighten and darken as you change the colour.

"StaticSunColour"

Now for this I suggest that you place a static down of some sort and run lightmaps on it so you can see the effect that changing the colour has.

This is similar to the TerrainSunColour above but this time it will not affect the terrain, it will effect the static object.

"StaticSkyColour"

As with the TerrainSkyColour but for statics. This will not affect the terrain though now, only the static objects.

At this point it is good to note that you will not notice the effect of these changes on the static objects like runways and helo pads until you have run lightmaps and you are in game.

"EffectSunColour" & "EffectShadowColour"

Changing these colour values will change the colours and shadows of effects such as smoke.

"SunDirection"

Now it is best not to guess this one! You can change this a different way.

1) Go into level editor.

2) Now, move the camera to the terrain and look up at where the light source is in your sky.

3) Go to Light/Set Sun(flare) Direction.

4) Now click "Set Sun Direction To Camera.

Your sun direction in "LightSettings" will now have changes and you will notice any statics will have changed to reflect this.

"HemiLerpBias"

Now when you compile/make ground hemi, this will set how much of the hemi is used.

Firstly we need to know what the ground hemi does.

When you drive over grass for example, the green from the grass will be reflected on the bottom of vehicles (As long as you have made your ground hemi).

Then as you drive over concrete for example the colour of the bottom part of the vehicle will change to reflect that you are now on concrete.

This stops vehicles (And soldiers) from appearing bright when the map is dark.

In the words of [dice]o2car;

"The hemimap is a texture that is used to reflect light from the ground onto dynamic objects. (Park your Humwee on a lawn and a green tint will be reflected from below)

It other words it makes everything fit in its environment."

The groundhemi can be made by going to Compile/Make Ground Hemi...

It is best to do this at the end of making your map, once all your painting is final.

"SkyRotation"

Altering this will rotate your sky, bear in mind that you will then need to change the sun and sun flare directions.

"FadeCloudsDistances"

Playing around with this field will change the distance at which clouds fade in/out of your sky.

"HasCloudLayer"

Checking this box will enable clouds, unchecking will disable, it will also disable the secondary cloud (If selected).

"ScrollDirection"

Changing these multiple fields will change the cloud scroll speed & direction.

"CloudTexture"

An obvious one, clicking this will open up a box allowing you to change the cloud texture.

"HasCloudLayer2"

As above but for the secondary cloud.

"ScrollDirection2"

As above but for the secondary cloud.

"CloudTexture2"

As above but for the secondary cloud.

"SkyTexture"

Clicking this will allow you to change the sky your map uses.

Skys are in .dds format (DXT5) and are located in Common/Textures/Sky if you wish to add your own.

"FlareTexture"

This is the type of flare your sun has.

"FlareDirection"

To change this follow these steps;

1) Go into level editor.

2) Now, move the camera to the terrain and look up at where the light source is in your sky.

3) Go to Light/Set Sun(flare) Direction.

4) Now click "Set SunFlare Direction To Camera.

Your flare will now be up in the sky, ready to blind anybody stupid enough to look at it!

"TreeAmbientColour", "TreeSunColour" & "TreeSkyColour"

These are the same as the terrain and sky setttings but will not affect the terrain or sky, this time the trees.

This can be used to adjust the look of the trees to match your sky. Leaving it default will result in black horrible trees.

Play around with these and match them up to your skys colours for a great atmospheric look.

For more on light settings you can view 1/2 Hawks more detailed tut HERE.

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"WaterSettings

So having changed our light settings we can now move onto the water settings.

To get to the water settings look in the tweak bar and next to the tweak tab click the tab with your maps name on it, then expand the WaterSettings.

These are the options you will be given (Fig. 11)

Fig. 11

fig011.jpg

"SeaWaterLevel"

This is what level your sea water plane will be at, it is set as default to -10000, which means you won't see it by default.

Set it to 10 and keep changing it upwards until you can see it (That is of course if you want to use it, if not then just leave it alone).

"WaterAnimSpeed"

This is the speed at which your water is animated (The waves), never set it to 0! The lover the number the quicker the animation. 0 will not work and could throw up errors if I remember correctly.

"WaterFogColour"

Same as for your sky fog, but for your water fog.

"WaterFogRange"

Play around with this as you can make the water appear more murky or clearer.

It is the same in principle as your sky fog, but unger water.

"WaterColour"

This is the colour your water will appear. Remember to keep it realistic (If you are making a real world map).

"TerrainWaterColour"

This is the colour your terrain will apear under water.

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Undergrowth

Now we can really bring some life to a map with this.

Remember not to overdo this as it could cause some lag for lower end users, but then again, don't be affraid to use it.

We don't just have to use this for grass, we can use it for stones, seaweed, reads, bushes and if we are clever, lumps of snow lumps as seen in the picture below.

screen012-2.jpg

It is good here to note that undergrowth is seperate to your level initially and does not need to be included in your map or mod.

if you are making new undergrowth items they are .obj files and the skins .dds.

Once you have layed them on your map, you do not have to include these files in your mod or map!

So how do we deal with undergrowth?

Firstly we need to switch to terrain editor then select the undergrowth button.

Now in the resource bar select "General"

Then in the tweak bar we will be given a list of variables.

At this stage we only need to change the "ViewDistance", this is going to to be different for every map according to fog distance, view distance etc.

You will need to play with this once we have some undergrowth down. For now I am setting it to 150 as in Fig. 12

fig012.jpg

Now, back to the resource bar and right hand click on "Material", this will load up another box (Fig.13).

So I'm going to make some grass first, so I'm going to give it a name of grass and give it a colour blue (Fig. 13).

Fig. 13

fig013.jpg

Select "OK" and you will notice in the resource bar under "Material" you will now have "grass [1]" (Fig. 14).

Fig. 14

fig014.jpg

This isn't the grass it's self (we still have to do that), this is simply the grass group so once we get some more types of undergrowth we can easily select between them.

Now we need to save at regular intervals here because the editor likes to crash during this process, so save now and we will continue.

so, going back to the resource bar, right hand click on your newly made group "grass [1]" and select add type.

Now I'm going to call this one "grass", then I'm going to do it again and call the second one "field_grass".

As you can now see in Fig. 15 we have two types of undergrowth under our group called "grass [1]".

Fig. 15

fig015.jpg

Now to make sure I'm ok for the next step I'm going to save again.

Under the group called "grass [1]" click on "grass" (Still with me?), you will see in the tweakbar we now have some options for our grass (Fig. 16).

Fig. 16

fig016.jpg

I'll explain a little about the variables you now have available.

"Mesh"

The mesh will bring up a box of names, these are all the .obj files you have available to you in the editor.

So for the grass I'm going to choose "Hexagon".

"Texture"

This is the texture that will be overlayed on your mesh, for the grass I'm choosing the texture called "Defaultgrass".

"RandomSizeScale"

This will change the height of your undergrowth on a random basis within the set parameters, for this I have chosen 0.5/1

"Variation"

The variation where your grass is placed, I have selected "1" for a random field of grass look, if you were doing a field of rice that is not natural but is man planted you could choose 0.1 to give some nice rows of rice.

"TerrainColourScale"

This will change the colour of the undergrowth slightly to match the colour of your terrain if you play around with the figure, I have left it on 1 for now.

"SwayScale"

This is the variable for how much the grass will sway. It's not too windy on my map so I've set it to 0.4 for a nice gental sway.

I'd suggest you save now after changing these variables.

Now time for another tip.

When we get to paint the terrain soon, we are not going to know how high the grass is in relation to your soldier, so what I do is click on "Camera" at the top and then select "Soldier".

This will allow you to run around your map in the editor (Careful of ladders, they may crash the editor if you get near them or climb them).

When in soldier mode you can press the "c" button on your keyboard to toggle soldier views.

To get out of soldier mode just go Camera/Normal Mode.

Ok, so now I'm going to back to the resource bar and select field_grass and change the variables as you can see in Fig. 17

Fig. 17

fig017.jpg

Now lets get painting!

Now to start with we need to make sure we can see what we are painting so up the top of the editor click Render/Toggle Draw Undergrowth so that it is checked.

Now we have a choice, we can paint in normal terrain mode, or we can paint in undergrowth mode (Render/Undergrowth Mode).

I'm going to paint in Render/Detail Texture Mode so I can see the terrain a bit clearer for now.

In the resource bar click on the group called "grass [1]", now on the right of the editor in the Editor bar, select your brush size (And strength if you like).

Back to the main window and paint away, it should look something like Fig. 18

Fig. 18

fig018.jpg

Now save your work.

So that is the undergrowth wrapped up, remember you can add as many groups of undergrowth as you like.

If you are using the stones don't forget to set the "SwayScale" to 0 otherwise you'll have swaying rocks which is ok if you want to do peoples heads in or if you're putting rocks under water and you want to give them the water refraction and movement effect.

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Weather Effects

Rain

Firstly, before you get started download the files below and extract to your mod.

DOWNLOAD FILES HERE

There are two types of rain included, heavy and lighter. The lighter is a version I tweaked from the original that we used in EoD2

1) Right click on your terrain and select "Create AmbientTrigger".

2) Call it "Rain".

3) Select your ambient effect you just created.

4) Change the properties to the following (fig1).

fig1

(Highlighted parts MUST be the same as the image or adverse affects will occur)

fig1.jpg

5) Again click on your maps terrain (as close to the center of your new trigger as possible). This time selecting "Create AmbientEffect [rain]". Call it something like "rain_AmbientEffect"

6) Select your Ambient Effect and the only part you need to change is the "Linked EffectContainer".

Click on the blank "Linked EffectContainer" (fig2) and change to "raineffect" (fig3) or "raineffect2" depending on how heavy you want the rain (raineffect2 is lighter rain).

fig2

fig2.jpg

fig3

fig3a.jpg

7) Now save!

8 ) Right, in the trigger radius of 20 you will now have rain ingame.

Not engough though is it, you want it on the whole map, not just the one 20 meter radius you just made.

Now you have 2 options...

9a) Repeat the above steps untill all of your map is covered (dont need to place outside your combat area).

9b) Select the "Ambient Trigger" and "Ambient Effect" at the same time and copy, then paste.

WARNING:

FOLLOWING STEP 9B MAY RESULT IN EDITOR CRASHES. SAVE REGULARLY.

WARNING:

AS YOU ADD MORE EFFECTS THE EDITOR WILL LAG, TURN OFF UNWANTED ITEMS LIKE OVER/UNDERGROWTH, STATICS, PARTICLES ETC IN "RENDER/TOGGLE".

NOTE:

ALL TRIGGER RADIUS MUST OVERLAP (fig4), ANY UNCOVERED (fig5) AREAS OF YOUR MAP WILL RESULT IN NO RAIN IN THAT AREA INGAME.

(blue circles are rain effects, and green circles are sound effects)

fig4

fig4a.jpg

fig5

fig5a.jpg

10) Add an ambient sound of rain on your map.

NOTE:

ENSURE THE SOUND IS LOOPING SO NO JOIN IS HEARD IN-GAME.

The last step is to package your map & mod.

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO PACK THE MOD AS YOU ARE ADDING FILES TO IT

End Result:

screen0008.jpg

NOTE: Known issues.

a) After placing this many effects you may experience EDITOR LAG! So place them last! (no game lag though).

B) I wouldn't use the editor to pack the map, it has nasty habbits of not packing sounds and effects!

C) Rain doesn't look very good when you look straight up.

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Snow

Firstly, before you get started download the files below and extract to your mod.

DOWNLOAD FILES

There are two types of snow included, heavy and lighter.

Unpack the snow.rar and place in your mod directory (Files packed in correct location within snow.rar).

1) Right click on your terrain and select "Create AmbientTrigger".

2) Call it "snow".

3) Select your ambient effect you just created.

4) Change the properties to the following (fig1).

fig1

(Highlighted parts MUST be the same as the image or adverse affects will occur)

fig0001.jpg

5) Again click on your maps terrain (as close to the center of your new trigger as possible). This time selecting "Create AmbientEffect [rain]". Call it something like "snow_AmbientEffect"

6) Select your Ambient Effect and the only part you need to change is the "Linked EffectContainer".

Click on the blank "Linked EffectContainer" (fig2) and change to "e_lightsnow" or "e_heavysnow" depending on how heavy you want the snow to fall.

fig2

fig0002.jpg

7) Now save!

8 ) Right, in the trigger radius of 20 you will now have snow ingame.

Not engough though is it, you want it on the whole map, not just the one 20 meter radius you just made.

Now you have 2 options...

9a) Repeat the above steps untill all of your map is covered (dont need to place outside your combat area).

9b) Select the "Ambient Trigger" and "Ambient Effect" at the same time and copy, then paste.

WARNING:

FOLLOWING STEP 9B MAY RESULT IN EDITOR CRASHES. SAVE REGULARLY.

WARNING:

AS YOU ADD MORE EFFECTS THE EDITOR WILL LAG, TURN OFF UNWANTED ITEMS LIKE OVER/UNDERGROWTH, STATICS, PARTICLES ETC IN "RENDER/TOGGLE".

NOTE:

ALL TRIGGER RADIUS MUST OVERLAP (fig4), ANY UNCOVERED (fig5) AREAS OF YOUR MAP WILL RESULT IN NO SNOW IN THAT AREA INGAME.

(blue circles are snow effects, and green circles are sound effects)

fig4

fig4a.jpg

fig5

fig5a.jpg

The last step is to package your map & mod.

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO PACK THE MOD AS YOU ARE ADDING FILES TO IT

End Result:

screen001-1.jpg

To make the snow mounds on the ground is simple. Find the rock's texture "EA GAMES\Battlefield 2\bf2editor\Content\Terrain\Undergrowth\ME_genrock01.dds", paint it white and save as snow.dds with the dxt 3 setting.

In the editor, using the undergrowth tool, select the rock mesh "ME_genrock01" use the texture "snow"

Then adjust the size to suit your map.

Don't forget to make the swayscale 0 otherwise your snow won't look right as it moves!

NOTE: Known issues.

a) After placing this many effects you may experience EDITOR LAG! So place them last! (no game lag though).

B) I wouldn't use the editor to pack the map, it has nasty habbits of not packing sounds and effects!

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Edited by [EoD]Junglist
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Work In Progress

Updating Throughout Day

Please Bear With Me!!!

Jung

***EDIT***

Ok it's 15:20 time for a break, I'll continue this tut later.

Jung

***EDIT***

Ok, off we go again!

***EDIT***

Tea time, time for another break! I'll pick this up later.

Jung

Edited by [EoD]Junglist
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Looks great so far.. Nice tut.. good for us who need a little more help on some specific options!! :P And it hasnt even been finished!! :lol:

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...

Maybe how to create Pickup kits or integrate custom objects and stuff (not that i dont know how :P)

And add links to some other tutorials maybe? Maybe EnvMaps and Triggerables?

And maybe how to create cool loadmaps like mine: http://bfeditor.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=12372 or this one: http://bfeditor.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=3493 (Ill send you the files if needed)

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Maybe how to create Pickup kits or integrate custom objects and stuff (not that i dont know how :P)

And add links to some other tutorials maybe? Maybe EnvMaps and Triggerables?

And maybe how to create cool loadmaps like mine: http://bfeditor.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=12372 or this one: http://bfeditor.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=3493 (Ill send you the files if needed)

All good topics but possibly for the next tut on advanced mapping I think.

As some of it involves flash and some coding.

I'm looking at more of level design for the intermediate.

Thanks for the input, I'll add them to the next tut.

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Great ;)

How about great tips of aligning stuff.. like when you use the anchor-aligning, align according to the position decimals or Copy-paste transformation.. Thats one of the most useful things I've learned when placing objects, trying to make them look good.. Especially when placing sidewalks.. Dont know if this should actually be in beginners tut? But thought I'd mention it..

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  • 4 months later...

Definitely good stuff! In the section about the light settings, you could link to this tut: http://bfeditor.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=11145

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  • 5 months later...

I have a problem with the terrain painting part. Whenever I paint a terrain it looks alright but not as good as stock BF2 maps. THe textures are all blocky and when u get up close it gets detail. I have set a low detail map and whatnot but no difference. I am using tpaint btw.

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I suggest to play around with the numbers for texture tiling:

SetColorTiling affects the repetion of your color texture while painting. the numbers affect horizontal / vertical tiling

SetTopTiling

SetSideTiling are for the detail tiling. These can be changed anytime without painting anew.

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  • 3 weeks later...
"ColourTiling"

Now, this isn't so important if you've painted your map with tpaint only, but once you start painting manualy it will be important.

Similar to TopTiling above but it won't change on the fly, to see the changes you must repaint over the area you want to change!

So what does this do? Good question, if you look at Fig. 5 you will see an area painted with 1/1 as the colour tiling, a bit blocky isn't it?

Well now look at Fig. 6 and you will see the same area, repainted with 0/0 as the colour tiling.

big difference isn't it? So for most applications I would set the colour tiling to 0/0.

Fig. 5

fig005.jpg

Fig. 6

fig006.jpg

That part should help.

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