There’s been some talk lately on the forums about creating a library of terrain types in the form of macros.
This is something that I’ve wanted for a long time; I think it would be immensely useful to have a standard set of macros that can help move things upwards one large level of abstraction when putting together a terrain. There are really three things you need to be able to do:
- Specify the distribution of the terrain types where you want them
- Transition from one type of terrain to another in a manner that looks proper; this is a much more difficult problem than you might expect.
- Have each terrain type macro produce a realistic non-geographically-specific output for its type ie that macro alone will produce endless mountains or dunes or what have you with no large scale variations.
How do these pieces fit together?
The first point is something that will probably be much easier in WM Pro. Right now, you can procedurally control the large-scale location of things, or import a bitmap that has your own placement map in it. But there’s no easy way to go from the single greyscale map to a terrain type mapping. Some modifications to the Height Splitter device would provide an easy way to dice up a single placement map into individual bands of coverage strength that seamlessly mesh.
The second point is really quite difficult. A naive blending scheme between terrain types just doesn’t look very good. There are various degrees of hacks possible on this subject though; more musings on that later.
The third point is not that hard: It’s just the magnitude of the task of creating good macros for each geological terrain type.
Is there any interest in forming a “task force” for the creation of this type of terrain macro package? If so, I would be willing to open up a new subforum on the WM forums for discussion of all of all things related to this task. The goal woul d be the eventual creation of a WM Terrain Type library that could be “bolted together” with some possibly new devices to produce realistic terrain without having to do extreme amounts of network wizardry; this could even tie into the Wizard system that was mentioned as a possibility earlier.
What do you guys think? Any interest in participating in such a thing?