Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Some eyecandy

I have taken some screenshots from a long ride in the new landscapes.

These are from the westen lands called Andlang. First the vally of Tiwsborg, and then the plains that will be covered with forests.

Then I went to the east, where the river Vanir will work as the border of this section of the world. The town of Freigard will sit at the shore.

Whent for a swim in the river, took forever to get to the other side :)

Along river Vanir is were I originaly held my DnD roleplaying game. This is the site for the town of Skollsbro.

Riding up the vally from the town.

Looking down at Skollsbro from the mountain ridge.

These mountains are the border between two kingdoms, Vidblain in the west and Hoddminir in the east. On the other side from Skollsbro is the Hugin Vally, were my original game started. From the pass you can see down in the vally. I plan to make a lake there, with the village Åmot at the shore.

And no screenshot collection can be without sunsets :)
From along the Vanir river.


Monday, September 5, 2011

A new more detailed world

When I tested my 16 x 16 quad world I felt there were some problem areas: The world felt too small for what I had in mind and the terrain was flattened out to much. I have now decided to divide the world into 5 pieces trying to use rivers and mountains as natural barriers between each section. The idée is that each section should be up to 16 x 16 quads. The mod will primarily be in section 1 and 2, but I worked a bit on 3, 4 and 5 as well to have the height map ready if I ever want to expand the mod more. The idée is that the player can’t cross the mountains except for specific mountain passes, and that the two large rivers are too big to swim, so they can only be crossed by boat or bridge. I have to figure out how to make connections between the separate sections, but that will have to be a later problem.

The next issue was the flattened feeling of the world. I fixed with a lot of work in GeoControl2 and PS.
First, GeoControl works best if the height range of the image is between 100-0%, not 100-76% gray that is what Oblivion can handle (see previous posts). I had my map in 100-76%, so I fixed it with the brightness function in PS. Image -> Adjustment -> Brightness/Contrast. I changed the brightness to +150 two times to get the height range I needed.
I divided the height map image in to sections of 4096x4096 pix + an overlap with the next section, so the final size of each section was 4608x4608. I used the guide tool in PS to make sure that everything was strait (View->New Guide-> vertical and horizontal lines in pix on image). I then had to resize each section to 4096 to be able to run them in GeoControl.
First I used High sedimentation-invers and High fluvial terraces-invers to get sharp edged mountains. Then I run Thin flows deep-invers, Thin flows sediment, Thin flows deep and Mountains ridged to get the nice eroded effects I wanted.
I have put a zip file here with the settings files if anyone is interested.

Next problem was to glue everything back together again. The exported files from GeoControl were first resized again to 4608pix so they could overlap, and then with the help of the guide lines I could put them back in the original image where they belonged.

Now there wasn’t a perfect match between sections, as you can see, so before I merged the layer together I had to even things out. I erased some of the overlapp from one section and it worked, I could not see the division anymore.

One new problem was that much of the big rivers had disappeared when GeoControl did its thing. I solved the problem by making a separation in the height map in PS, painting in a “lower” color in the gap. The borders between land and river didn’t look so good, the edges were to sharp. I divided it into sections with overlap, run it in GeoControl, and glued it back together again. The result was a big nice looking river!

Last thing to do before I turned the height map into an .esp file with TESAnnwyn was to lower the colors back so the range was in between 100 and 76% gray again, by the use of Brightness -150 two times in PS. There was a high mountain that needed fixing with more lowering, but it was only a small area.

The darker height map doesn’t look much in GeoControl, but in game those mountains are huge! And they have lots of details too :)


An in-game Map

There are two guides that I have read for making an in-game map, Silgrad Towers guide for an in-game map and Nexus Wiki, Oblivion custom in-game map.
First I needed an image for my in-game map, as a start thought I use a 2D representation from GeoControl. I took the 16384 x 16384 pix height map image and resized it to a resolution Geocontrol can handle 2048 x 2048, and saved it as a tif, 16 bit grayscale. In Geocontrol I exported a image of the landscape. Generation -> Image Export / Colour -> jpg

The max size that Oblivion can handle for an in-game map is 2048 x 2048, and it also has to be in an image format the game recognizes, a dds file. I used a plug-in for GIMP to convert my jpg to a dds.

One of the guides said to put the image file in Data\Textures\map\”your­_mod_name”, the other in Data\Textures\Menus\map\world\, I used the later and it have worked fine.
In the CS, I loaded my esm, World -> World spaces. Under Map Data, Add Image File, brows to where the file is located.
Usable Dimensions X: 2048 Y: 2048 (this is the size of the map).
Cell Coordinates NW Cell X: -256, NW Cell Y: 255, SE Cell X: 256, SE Cell Y: -255 (the cells the map should cover).
Save as a new esp.
When I test it out in the game, I mark both my esm and the map esp.

Works really well :)