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Landscaping: The Dreaded Black Spot ... and what to do about it


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Posted (edited)

So there you are, landscaping away, and you decide you need another ground texture. So you open up the landscape editor (H for those in the beginners class), pick a land texture and start painting. Sadly, all you see is a patch of blackness.
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You've bust your texture budget again. You can only use six land textures in each quarter-cell. However - you may not just have to ctrl-z away the stain and give up. There's a pretty good chance there's still room to squeeze your extra texture in. You need the Texture Index. Still in landscaping mode and with the render window selected press the I key.
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OK - the texture index thing is actually dead easy. Each quarter cell, or quad, can have its own, completely separate list of textures. Quad 1 is the southwest. I've been painting in quad 4, the northeast - so you can see this view is from the east.
When you start, every quad has just the LAND_DEFAULT texture - that familiar brown mud. As you paint, that gets replaced. The list shows the proportion of each texture used. Eventually, there will be more of something else than there is of LAND_DEFAULT and it will move to the top of the list. Add another texture and you get a new item in the list and so on until you use your seventh texture, as in Quad 4 above.
That bit of LAND_DEFAULT is now wasting one of our precious texture slots. In principle, it should be possible to find it and paint it out - but that's a pain, and there's a far better way. Right-click on it.
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So - two pretty self-explanatory options. We can delete it. In this case, the game will replace it with the top item on the list - elsRocks01 would jump up to 45.794%, and the LAND_DEFAULT would disappear. For this reason, you cannot delete the top texture in the list. The CK wouldn't know what to replace it with.
In any case, I generally prefer not to delete, because that top texture may not be what I want. Instead, I usually replace.
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Now we can select any texture we want. This is generally very useful anyway, but in this case we can replace LAND_DEFAULT with one of the other textures in the index for the current quad. I've picked elsDirt02. Dirts are usually a good choice. Press OK and ...
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elsDirt02 jumps to 13.150%, there are only six textures, and the black spot is vanquished.
Clearly, there won't always be a handy patch of LAND_DEFAULT to replace. Sometimes it's necessary to sacrifice one texture to add another that's more important. If we found we really needed another texture in Quad4 now, we'd have to consider whether maybe elsRocksMoss01NoRocks (3.335%) could just as well be replaced with elsRock01NoRocks.
One more thing - you're certain to mess up sometime doing this. There is no undo option inside the Texture Index dialog - but if you close it and press Ctrl-Z the CK will undo the whole index editing session. Annoying to have to redo it, but considering how powerful this feature can be it's just as well to have a backout.

Thanks to JoopvanDie for the piece of Elsweyr landscaping I'm hacking around for this.

Edited by morcroft
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