This post has nothing to do strictly with Pro Edition. It does, however, have alot to do with the Standard and Basic editions that will come out following Pro.
One common problem when people first pick up WM is that, frankly, they’re not quite sure what to do. Some people learn by the “Columbus Method” — they just start clicking and exploring their way through the software until they’re proficient. I learn this way, and I know a lot of people who also do — but there’s also quite a few people who can’t or won’t do this. Maybe they don’t have the time to learn mastery over an app, or maybe they just don’t learn that way.
Whatever the case may be, newbies to WM often end up rather lost.
One possible partial solution to the problem that I’ve been thinking about over the last few days is implementing a New Terrain Wizard. Now, let me first say that I’ve never been a fan of Wizards in the apps I use. They are linear, constricting, and to me feel like they are just “handholding” you through a dumbed-down process.
With that said, I can see ways in which a new Terrain Wizard could guide a newbie through the rough terrain creation process. Imagine the following wizard steps scenario when a new user opens the program and wants to create a terran:
How would you like your terrain to be distributed?
- Endless terrain everywhere
- Islands in the Ocean
- (I’ll handle my own distribution)
What kind of dominant terrain would you like to create?
- Buttes and Mesas
- Desert Dunes
- (I’ll handle my own terrain shapes)
What kind of overall erosional effects you would like?
- No erosion
- Lightly eroded
- Heavily eroded
How would you like to output the terrain?
- Use a Heightfield
- Use a 3D Mesh
- Use both
- (Checkbox) Output a normal map for this terrain
Obviously this wizard could never account for all the types of terrain that people might want, or that could be envisioned. However, it gives people a starting point that is going to be hopefully not terribly far off from what they want. If each main “step” of the wizard is eperated into its own functional block (see last blog entry) to keep things organized, I think it might even be quite helpful as a learning tool for newbies to see how things are hooked together to do something.
And after a user gets proficient enough to find the wizard lacking, they’re probably proficient enough to be able to make their own terrains from scratch.
Anyways, this isn’t any kind of guarenteed feature, but the more I think about it the more I like it. What do you guys think?