Monday, December 13, 2010

The Basics of Terragen 2 - Part 2

Hello, everyone!  In the last tutorial, I demonstrated the basics of the navigation controls, and a small breakdown of what exactly everything was that you were seeing.  Well, now we're going to actually generate a landscape!

If you missed the previous tutorial, you can find it here

So, jumping right into this, you'll see in the outline that there is already a default "Heightfield shader 01".  If we click the + button next to it, we'll see that a "Heightfield generate 01" is connected to it.  We won't be using these currently, but later on in this tutorial, I'll show you a very interesting function you can use them for.

Since we don't need these at the time, click the - button to minimize the smaller outline.  Let's start by first clicking on Add Terrain, and selecting Power Fractal from the menu.

You should now get a pretty cool looking result in your 3D Preview window, and if you wait a minute or so, you should get something like this:

This looks really good already, but we can tweak it more by changing the Noise Basis in the Properties panel, by going to the Tweak Noise tab.  There's an option that says "Noise flavour", and if you click on the drop-down menu next to it, 5 different choices are displayed.  For now, we'll choose Perlin Billows, and you'll notice the update in your 3D Preview.

The land now looks more billowy, and it creates the illusion of something similar to rolling hills or worn-down mountains.  All of the other settings are fairly self-explanatory, but one that I use a lot is the Random Seed button.  Think of the seed value as a random value; every number that is inserted into the seed value box will randomly scatter the terrain.  This is good if you're not happy with what is currently there, and you want to regenerate it randomly.

Now that we know a little bit about the Power Fractal, let's move on to another type of terrain (which is my favorite).  On the outline, select your Fractal terrain 01, and press the Delete key to delete it.  Add another terrain, but this time, choose Alpine Fractal.

You'll notice it says (slow) next to it; this is because the Alpine Fractal is slower than the power fractal.  Basically, the Alpine Fractal combines layers of sediment to produce a much more realistic mountain result than the Power Fractal.  You'll also notice that there are less settings on the Alpine Fractal than there were on the Power Fractal.  Because the alpine is more realistic, and based on the way land is formed, you don't have as much control over it, as you would ruin the results if you did, and might as well have just used a power fractal.

That being said, let's take one last look at the Add Terrain option.  You'll notice an option for opening heightfields.  Basically, you can create your own heightfield in a separate program, and open it to use as displacement in your Terragen 2 landscape.  I haven't had much luck with this though, as I haven't found enough information to learn how to do it.

Now for the thing I said I'd show you earlier; something interesting you can do with the default heightfield shader.  Add a new terrain (I'm going to add an Alpine Fractal, but if you add a Power Fractal, this will still work.  It's up to you), and then click on the Move button with the arrow pointing upward.  This will move the new terrain above our default heightfield, and you'll notice (if you move your camera forward a little bit) that the area inside the white square is all flat, but everything else has mountains (or hills).  This is a very cool feature, and you can do a multitude of things with it.

And that's all for this tutorial!  Thanks for reading, and if you had any problems, or have any questions or comments, post them in the comments below.

The next tutorial in this series will be on rendering, so you can actually see your landscape in it's environment with the right settings to create an amazing render.

No comments:

Post a Comment