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Old 05-04-2008, 06:24 PM
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Default [RCT3] Meerkat's landscape tutorial (posted by Supernova)

Meerkat's Landscape Tutorial
'FOR NETHERO' Posted with Meerkat's permission, original link here


"Creating a Landscape

When I browse around the exchange section of this forum, I see too many parks that are being drastically let down by the terraforming, which is either terrible or nonexistant. Hopefully this tutorial will give anyone the means to make a decent landscape on which to build their park, which will undoubtedly make it much better than if it were on a plain piece of flat grass that extends for miles.

I also intend to follow this up with a tutorial on building on very uneven terrain, so people can make the most out of every map. And for people who think terraforming is too arduous or they don't believe they are good enough at it, I will make a "Landscape Library" with loads of maps of different sizes and terrain types, available for download so people can use them as a quick start to a park without having to do lots of terraforming.

So without further ado, onto the Tutorial!




I am going to create a small and very basic grass-based map, with a lake and some hills, and a small wood. This will be my example to you all, and I shall show you as many techniques as I can in the process.

There are 3 stages to the creating the landscape - Terraforming, Terrain Painting, and Scenery. They overlap a tiny bit, but each section of the tutorial deals primarily with one of these stages.


Stage 1: Terraforming

A lot of parks that I see are completely flat, with maybe a tiny puddle or mole-hill conveniently placed within the park to enhance a ride, or if the park builder really really wants to build a bridge (but there is no other water). This needs to change.
Once you've opened up a new map in the Scenario Editor, the firt thing to do is to decide what size you want your landscape to be. Here, I've picked the nice round figure of 100x100, and adjusted the map accordingly.





Next, I deleted the entrance and Paths, and bought the tiny bit of land that is left. I usually take the fence around the park out when I build a park, but for now I'll leave it in so it's easy to see where the map edges are.




I want the lake to be roughly in the middle of the park, so I'll use the "Trough" tool at full size to mark out the area. However the lake shouldn't be too deep, this would be unrealistic and makes it harder to adjust terrain around the edges later on. It should be shallow, and the edges shouldn't be steep. The size and shape doesn't have to be perfect, for now it is only there to show roughly where it should be so that I don't accidentally build a hill in the middle of it or something.



The next thing to do is to adjust the land height for the rest of the map, for this I use the "Mountain" tool at full size, as it raises the land quickly. None of the original flat terrain should be left, the whole map needs to be adjusted. It will look odd, because of the shape the Mountain tool creates, but it doesn't matter at this early stage.



The whole map then needs to be smoothed over with the "Smooth Terrain" tool, to iron out all the rough bumps and silly pointed mountain tops.




Now I fill in the lake to roughly the size I want it.




I now need to make the finer adjustments to the hills. For this, all the terrain tools can be used, at varying tool sizes, to create the desired shape. It is a good idea not to use the Smooth Terrain tool too much, as it gets rid of the natural bumpy rock-like surface that most terrain tools leave behind, which looks good for these areas.




This is what my landscape currently looks like. I am happy with the amount of hills I have, it is enough to make the landscape look rugged and wild, but any more would take up too much space on the map and would make it hard to build a park.



On the subject of building the park - it is usually a good idea to have a small flat area near where you intend the entrance to be, so that you can build a decent main square/plaza/street, without having to worry about terrain. The tool for this is the one that flattens terrain at specific heights, to fit paths and rides . This little bit of flat land is not a necessity, but it is useful.
(By the way, ignore the tiny little shadows on some of the steep bits of land - I don't know what causes them, but they're harmless and go away when you next open the map).




Next I smooth out the edges of the flat bit so that it blends into the landscape.




I've decided that the lake takes up too much space, which would make the park harder to build, so it needs shrinking. To do this I simply raise the terrain at one end, then smooth it out as much as possible.




Stage 2: Terrain Painting

Very few people take the time to significantly alter the terrain type in their parks, except plastering any hilly/rocky areas with the dark rock. There is so much more that can be done, the boring job of plastering can be turned into the glorious art form of Painting.


First of all is the base layer. The areas around the lake and on the open plains I have painted with a vibrant green grass, and the hills I have covered in different types of muddy or darker grass.



Next I fill in the lake bed with sand, allowing a tiny amount of it to show above the water at the edges. Any type of sand or mud usually works well for this.




Now for the hills. I see a lot of people use the dark rock and nothing else for hills and mountains, but in real life it is rare to see such an abundance of near-black rock, except around volcanoes. I think the lighter ones look much more realistic.
I have painted all the really steep edges around the hills, and some areas that aren't quite so steep. There is no rule on where to put the rock, you simply have to use your own judgement. Though covering the entire hill in it is sure to look daft.
Once this is done I then fill in the rest of the hills with normal grass, leaving a little gap between it and the rocks so the dirty grass shows through.



Here is an overview of how the landscape is looking so far.




The flat land is trickier to paint than the hills, there are only a few techniques to get it looking realistic. One is to separate the land into farmer's fields, each with a different grass type, separated by fences or hedges. Another is to scatter different grasses all over the land, which is what I have done in this example. I've also put a small bit of stony sand at the edge of the lake right next to the rock face.




To break up the mass of grass (heh, that rhymes ), I've used the "Muddy Grass" type terrain to highlight anything that can be highlighted, such as the contours of the land, or near the edges of the rock faces.



Now for a little detail on the rocks themselves. First I use a lighter rock around the edges by the grass, and in any grooves in the rock faces....



....Then I use the dark rock (very sparingly) on the bits of rock that jut out, or simply to vary the shade of the rock face.



The main bulk of the terrain painting is now complete.




Stage 3: Scenery

Not too much scenery is needed in most landscapes until you actually start building the park, unless you have features such as roads. However, foliage is a necessity, and it is easy to mess up something as simple as placing trees if you overlook the details.


I'm going to start with a small number of various deciduous trees, placed around the lake and on the plains. I personally avoid using the orange and yellow ones, because no matter how colourful they make your park, they are not the colour of normal red trees - they are the colour of trees in Autumn. So if you use green trees mixed with red and yellow, it looks totally unrealistic, as though half the trees are in Autumn and half are in Spring.




If they're just dropped into the map with no regard to detail, the trees look a little out of place. In real life they would alter the look of the land, so they should in the game too. I have put some brownish grass under the trees here, with some vibrant green grass around it so that it stands out more. This also helps remove some of the scattered grass types that covers the plains.




Now the trees look more like they are a part of the terrain.




The landscape now needs some Pine trees. They are best placed around the hills, and following contours on the plains, but used very little in the flatter, open areas of the map. The method I use to get a good variation in size is to place a few large trees in the areas I want there to be a concentration of Pines, then medium size ones everywhere that Pines will go, and finally some small ones to fill in the gaps.




Since the Pines were placed on the hills and contours anyway, little to none Terrain Painting is needed.



It's important to never be afraid to change something in the map if you think it could be better. Here, I decided that there were not enough deciduous trees, so I placed some more in an open area and painted the ground accordingly.




The landscape is now ready to be built upon!



End Product:

A Scenic landscape that will make any park look beautiful:







I hope this Tutorial has been of use to you. If it has, please show your support by passing it on through word-of-mouth or by putting a link in your signature. I'd also appreciate it if you took a look at my park, Riverside Fair (link in sig), I discovered many of the techniques used in this tutorial whilst building it."

Last edited by Wacky Worm; 02-16-2012 at 12:05 PM.. Reason: fixed codes
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  #2  
Old 05-04-2008, 07:06 PM
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Ethan Ethan is offline
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Default RE: [RCT3] Meerkat's landscape tutorial

Thanks for posting this :smile:
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  #3  
Old 05-04-2008, 07:45 PM
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Default RE: [RCT3] Meerkat's landscape tutorial

Did Meerkat give you permission to post this?

[EDIT] Ignore me. I'm stupid.
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Old 05-04-2008, 07:46 PM
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Default RE: [RCT3] Meerkat's landscape tutorial

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethero
Did Meerkat give you permission to post this?

[EDIT] Ignore me. I'm stupid.
Do I need to make it bigger?
EDIT: Yes, yes I do :wink:
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Old 05-04-2008, 08:18 PM
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Default RE: [RCT3] Meerkat's landscape tutorial

Got confused for a second when I read the title..
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  #6  
Old 05-04-2008, 08:40 PM
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Default RE: [RCT3] Meerkat's landscape tutorial

I see. Meerkat's tutorial posted by Supernova.
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  #7  
Old 05-05-2008, 08:00 PM
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Default RE: [RCT3] Meerkat's landscape tutorial (posted by Supernova)

^ There, that should clear things up.
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  #8  
Old 05-05-2008, 08:08 PM
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Default RE: [RCT3] Meerkat's landscape tutorial (posted by Supernova)

Atari...*tsk* *tsk*
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  #9  
Old 05-05-2008, 11:09 PM
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Default RE: [RCT3] Meerkat's landscape tutorial (posted by Supernova)

Quote:
Originally Posted by chevelleROCKER
Atari...*tsk* *tsk*
Yes, but some of the best tutorials and stuff come from there.
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  #10  
Old 03-25-2009, 03:25 AM
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I really liked it, the spray bit definetely. I knew all the teraforming, and I know this isnt technically yout tutorial. But thanks for posting, it helped me alot.
If at first you dont succeed, skydiving is not for you



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Old 03-25-2009, 08:41 AM
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Egypt2112 Egypt2112 is offline
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I think this is a new record for thread that is oldest but then brought up. Its like a 9 month old thread. Lol
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  #12  
Old 02-16-2012, 11:29 AM
haotion125 haotion125 is offline
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HI thanks having a nightmare with realistic terra forming and this is of great help.
Inspired to start my new park!

Cheers

Hao
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  #13  
Old 02-16-2012, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Egypt2112 View Post
I think this is a new record for thread that is oldest but then brought up. Its like a 3 year old thread. Lol
Fixed


Updated the first post to have working images.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug View Post
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  #14  
Old 05-09-2012, 08:20 AM
christian christian is offline
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that is beautiful!!!! Fantastic job i am sooo using this!
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