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Luke Miklos

splattering or transition tiles

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Hey guys, need your input/feedback I'm making early design decisions for a simple [really simple] RTS game. I want to get small things working first, with a modular design in place... & then expand on it with more eye-candy, new levels, various AIs, & models. I'm trying to decide on the type of terrain for this game. I still have this option seeing as the only code I have written is the gui stuff, & the gameMode "engine" (or game-state & event handlers). Part of this project will be a level/terrain editor. So the user will be able to decide on the land-type for each square or tile. However... I refuse to force the user to go through tedious operations to produce maps that look good. Such as having to place transition tiles between land squares of different terrain types. I'm relatively new to terrain generation. I was thinking about using a simple heightmap, with some detail texturing [of course]. As far as the transitions between the tiles of different terrain types: What are the current methods or trends? The two I have read about are splattering & of course transition tiles. I read a small piece somewhere about vertex alpha blending, does that method differ from these two? I suppose I could use transitions tiles, if I procedurally stepped through the user generated map & inserted them into the right squares. But the only way I can think of doing this (while preserving the the number of tiles) is to give each terrain type a weight & if two types are on adjacent squares, the terrain type with a greater weight stays as it is... & the square with the lesser type is swapped for the transition tile between those two types. Does this make sense? I suppose it would come to a matter of preference: whether or not you would want a cleaner more defined looking terrain or if you would want a more natural fuzzy looking terrain (splattering). As far as the gameplay-view... this will of course be in 3D, with a default view similar to WC3, however... I will allow the camera full rotation horizontally & partial rotation vertically. The user will also be able to adjust altitude & a small amount of zoom in/out. The terrain will be in an organized tree & I will perform culling. I am not worried about multiple LODs, I think the limits on the range of zoom will be good for just 1 LOD. ( I won't allow the user to look at too much of the map at any one time, the minimap/radar is for that ). Any suggestions on what type of terrain would best suite the game? Any hints on what paths to take or what articles to read? Thanks in advance :)

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When I was working with a terrain editor, I used transition blocks (this was in 2d). I generated the transitions based on the values of the surroundings. Basically how i did it was, if it was a transition from walkable terrain to none-walkable, the transition tile was placed in the non-walkable section. If it was a transition of 2 types of walkable, you just give priority to whichever one you wanted. Or possibly, you could chek which is larger, and give priority to the larger patch or something, but i'd say priority would be simple and effective, as long as it's documented.

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You could go with something like Warcraft III, it's not too hard. They keep multiple texture "tiles" in one texture and one tile would be fit to one quad of your terrain. When say you draw grass over dirt, it looks at all the quads surrounding that quad and applies a transition tile on the surrounding quads (it knows which transition tile to use depending on what side it's checking). Applying transitions immediately is much easier than going through the map at the end and then applying them.

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