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Heightmap in 2D, Settlers. How?

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I have a question about landscapes in 2D. I am thinking of a game engine for the strategy-like game. Games like starcraft, civilization, etc. don''t have real landscapes. My question is, how can u map tiles to different heights in 2D? How did they do it in settlers?

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I don''t remember what Settlers looks like, but if you look at the early Populous series from Bullfrog it is quite easy to see how it''s done.

When rendering the tiles they are just raised according to the level they are on. To avoid gaps between levels you''ll need some tiles with slopes between the two levels.

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If I remember right, landscape in Settlers was very smooth compared to Populous.

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Settlers was made out of triangles forming a pattern on the ground with roads between the crossingpoints

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Look carefully (I still play Settlers Gold ) at the roads.
It is uses a simplefied 3D engine that draws the nice little textured polygons on the ground using the height of the three points. The roads make this obvious as the corners do not intersect correctly (a bit of overlapping).

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