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dee17

Bryce

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It's got a half-decent heightmap editor, but it can only go up to (iirc) 512x512, and from what I've heard there are better programs out there. Look at Terragen, Wilbur, Leveller (more pro, not free) - in fact, just google "heightfield editor" and you'll get a stack of them.

Most of Bryce's coolness comes from its ability to make excellent looking landscapey scenes straight out of the box. Problem is that (a) 99.9% of art made with Bryce uses the same half dozen preset procedural textures, to the point where back before it became obscure you could just look at a landscape and say 'that was done with Bryce, wasn't it?', and (b) those procedural textures are umpteen-dimensional, built into the renderer, and don't export (last I checked). So unless you want to ignore the procedural textureing system (arguably Bryce's strongest feature) and make your textures outside the environment, or stick to making 'concept art' in Bryce and leave the real modelling up to someone with a real 3D package, you're stuck.

Then again, it is an easy to use modeller for simple stuff (read landscapes and non-animated CSG) and you can get old versions for free.

Final word? I'd say get Caligari Truespace, which was on the cover of a magazine a while back. It's actually designed in part for game animation.

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Egads! Them thar be fair pretty renders, fer sure!

...damn. OK, I'll revise my opinion to "Bryce's procedural texturing system was kickass in 1998. It's not 1998 any more, evidently."

Also, no-one's yet mentioned Blender. Its interface is... different, but once you get the hang of it it's great. Basically pico : vi :: 3dsmax : blender - if you (a) understood that, and (b) are comfortable with vi(m), you should have no problems with Blender. :)

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I use Bryce5 for all sorts of things. I would not use it for terrain design. I use Adobe Photoshop for that. Its perlin noise functions are great, and it has built in light mapping tools.

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