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ub3rman123

Student Thread: Escha

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Double copy-pasted because it's finals week and I'm super lazy: 

Hello and welcome to the university-thing! I'm incredibly lazy so I'll mostly be copy-pasting things from other people doing teaching stuff. Generally, I'll be here to give pointers, advice, and brilliant nuggets of wisdom I've picked up over time modding. 

 

You know the basics, which is fantastic. That's always the hardest step in becoming a worldbuilding grandmaster. Is there a specific idea you want to start off with? Dungeon, worldspace, house, etc. I can help out with pretty much anything.

But yeah, welcome! You probably want to start off with exterior landscaping from your post. How about building a small island with a variety of features? Should be enough practice to get into more serious stuff. 

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Hey Ub3r, thanks for offering to help me out. Looking through your work in this project blew my mind, feeling really lucky to be learning from the master!

I sketched out a rough plan for a small island that includes cliffs, beach, some streams and a mountain. 

eg6UsV3.png

Starting out in the SE corner, I laid out some rocky coastline, sticking to the CoastBeach01 texture, adding some Rocks01 here and there. I'm transitioning the texture to FieldGrass01 followed by 02 as the elevation increases back toward the mountain. I've placed a few dead-looking trees but will move to nice living ones in the greener areas. I'm thinking of this as a harsh coastal area that has pockets of denser vegetation.

YrZ7cma.png

ukug0VH.png

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Good start! Can you make an overview of the island? Put on cell borders by pressing 'b', then turn up the cell buffer under 'preferences > misc' to a size that covers the whole island so I can have a feel for the shape of it. You can get a perfect overview by pressing 'T' to center the camera vertically, then '0' on the top row of the keyboard to go into isometric view (Make sure to scroll up a bit; isometric view will cut off anything above the camera when you press 0). 

My immediate thought was that you've overused the rocks on the coastline, but it's supposed to be rocky. Make sure that you still let the worldspace's landscape stick through in places, though. When placing large rocks, you want them to poke in and out of the landscape, instead of towering above it. Makes things feel more like landscape and less like objects. 

Can you post some shots closer in on the landscape? 

Also, it looks like you have the opacity set too high on the texture brush for landscape. I usually set it to about 7-10 for 'heavy' textures like rock that are very visible, and up to about 20 for things that need to be opaque like grass. You want it to have a soft transition into the textures around it, no hard edges. 

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Ah, yes, my texture opacity was set to 100, that helps although it still looks rough in places after re-doing with lower opacity.  I'm fairly happy with how the original rocky area looks in game, but the mountain definitely towers over everything kind of awkwardly, it feels like there isn't enough space to gracefully transition to giant mountain from rolling foothill, and I'm not sure how much larger I'd really want to make this place to accommodate . Thinking about ditching the mountain and the waterfalls that would go with it for this island.

gallery with overview and some close in shots: http://imgur.com/a/hicbX

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Generally, if an island has a mountain, the rest of the island needs to be sort of shaped along with it in a constant rise. You can try making the mountain a bit shorter, instead. Wider base. I usually recommend using the MountainCliff02 model for short mountains. 

On your third image, there's a section of land that's pretty steep, despite being made of mud. Try to cover up the absolute steepest parts of that with either rocks or the dirtcliff objects. 

This is just something I usually do, but it might work in this case. I like to trace around the base of large rock and mountain models with the rocks texture set to about 15. it helps the rock to blend into the landscape more. Feather it in a bit. 

Do you know how Object Palettes work? They're my absolute favorite tool for getting landscaping (or any other worldbuilding) work done fast. 

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Made a lot of progress tonight, thanks to the fall forest object palette. I actually had no idea such things existed, so thanks for that  :D 

The island surface has been populated with aspens / plants from the palette / a mixture of fallgrass01 and the fallforestgrass01 textures and some other little doodads.  I can see how the texture feathering works really well to blend in the "rock pile" style objects, I think I've got a decent blending going on for a couple rock piles w/ leaves.  The other big change is adding a lake to the center of the land mass.

bZmKJ7N.png

Some in-game screens of blends, plants, new coastline

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Looking good! Make sure you have a large enough set of plants in the OPAL for the area. What I usually do is make a small (4 cells or so) test area, and build it with all the plants I think fit, and make it generally look how I want the rest to appear. Then I load everything in that area (plants, rocks, trees, etc.) into an OPAL and use it to recreate that area everywhere else. After that, I do an 'interesting stuff' pass for landmarks and such.

Also, I recommend mixing up the landscape textures a bit where you have just one solid texture in an area, such as the grass in the middle or the dirt on the shore. Usual process for me: I have a base texture, typically dirt, then a grass texture. Then I have two 'accent' textures. This is usually a slightly different color of dirt or rock. Sort of feather that over everything else. I have a Python script I use to vibrate the mouse as I do this. Saves a lot of wrist strain when feathering. 

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I've added a few more plants to the palette, some ferns and a set of pink bushes that match the new giant pink tree (I know, its cheesy, but I had to).  Also a few rocks & ruins for flavor, and some emptier dirt areas in the grass for contrast.  The six texture limit is definitely chafing when I'm editing a cell that contains shoreline, grass, and rocks, wish there was some kind of hack for that.  Not sure where I'll head with it from here - it's feeling more or less done to me although it's not perfect of course.  I actually kind of like the idea of areas that don't  have any inhabitants, even the wilderness in skyrim is full of bandit camps etc - very unlike reality.  Some mud crabs could work though! 

YOYssQ6.jpg

c1YmlLc.jpg

ZnLCPsD.jpg

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Yep, that's pretty much exactly what I have to say as well. The only thing I can spot in the images that could be improved is to be sure to avoid large patches of the same texture, especially if it tiles a lot like the grass does. See the spots toward the back on the third picture? You can run over those with a light dirt or rock brush to hide the tiling. 

The six texture limit is usually pretty infuriating, especially in unique cases where you have a stream running into an ocean or something. I usually don't bother with the noGrass versions of the grass texture for that reason, since it's eating one of my precious slots I could use for more texture variety. Since that does mean you get grass more thickly, you can manually change the grass density on the landscape texture. 

Edited by ub3rman123

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Thanks! Had a lot of fun making this little island, and also realized how much there really is to know about the CK.  Not sure, at this point, what would be more useful; jumping into a bit of the Hammerfell worldspace, or spending some time learning some additional and potentially useful skills like modeling/skinning custom rocks, or using region gen.  I think I saw one of your threads uber where you mentioned you had made a custom color set of the rock meshes, which sounds like an amazing skill to have, but also not sure how much room there is in the object set for adding whatever I want while worldbuilding ;) Blender, nifskope and all that seem an order of magnitude more complex to become competent at than the CK, so my inclination is to find a small area of the map to work on, and get a feel from there of what else would be useful to pick up right away.  What do you guys think? 

Also how do you edit the grass density, do you mean the opacity in the landscape window or something else? Didn't see anything like density in the window for the texture that pops up when i go right click -> edit from the object window.

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Thanks! Had a lot of fun making this little island, and also realized how much there really is to know about the CK.  Not sure, at this point, what would be more useful; jumping into a bit of the Hammerfell worldspace, or spending some time learning some additional and potentially useful skills like modeling/skinning custom rocks, or using region gen.  I think I saw one of your threads uber where you mentioned you had made a custom color set of the rock meshes, which sounds like an amazing skill to have, but also not sure how much room there is in the object set for adding whatever I want while worldbuilding ;) Blender, nifskope and all that seem an order of magnitude more complex to become competent at than the CK, so my inclination is to find a small area of the map to work on, and get a feel from there of what else would be useful to pick up right away.  What do you guys think? 

Also how do you edit the grass density, do you mean the opacity in the landscape window or something else? Didn't see anything like density in the window for the texture that pops up when i go right click -> edit from the object window.

Personally, I think you should jump into Hammerfell.

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Ah, I was wrong about the landscape textures. You get grass density in the object window entry for the grass itself. So you'd make a new grass by using right-click > duplicate on the entry, changing the name to something unique, and then you can fiddle with the density until it looks right. Density is just the percent chance for any part of the texture to have the grass on it, so 100 will put grass on every single possible spot. Watch out putting it about 70 or so; since it places the grass in a grid, that grid becomes visible with too much grass lined up. You can also do neat things like messing with the height range for a more uneven look.

Recoloring rocks isn't that hard, actually. I posted a guide on another thread on how to do a custom retexture. Modeling a new set of rocks though.. Ah, some other day. 

Let me know if anything in the guide is confusing, I'm not great at writing tutorials. 

If you're interested in getting into work on Hammerfell, there are a lot of options. A good starting place might be one of the islands off the coast like Waffle is working on, since it makes a good sandbox where you can get used to the project's structure without worrying about claim boundaries (Not that I've been worrying about them either...). 

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Either Herne or Cespar sounds like a decent place to get to work. - my choice would come down to which location has the most of its asset dependencies ready to go.  A large part of Herne is supposed to be Yoku ruins "as they become available", so not having them to build with would be quite a hindrance. Maybe Cespar then, is the safer choice for now?

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Yep, Cespar sounds like a good place to start. We have most of the resources in place for it already. Sounds like it uses the Sentinel tileset for the most part. All you have to do is post in the thread to claim it and start building! 

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Sorry you guys aren't done helping me yet! 

Is there a post somewhere about setting up the CK with the right files for building? I've downloaded:

  • BSTamriel.esm
  • BSAssets.esm
  • BSHammerfell.esm

from the forum/git and although the master dependencies look right in the CK when I select them to load, and I can load some areas that look correct (Orsinium) afterward, I'm getting many errors during loading (I assume they are OK, it's just errors due to things being in progress and will get fixed), but things like this (screenshot of cell -16,-16 I think it should be somewhere in the desert?) seem less than OK:

mq4LdNv.png

But hmm that's weird, if the center of the map (BSIliacBayMapv5) is (0,0), this should be inland, not at the coast... is my interpretation of the grid way off?

EJJJOui.png

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I'm using the BSIliacBay world space, it's where I found the named Orsinium cells . The BSIliacBayMapv5 file name is just a map image from the forum downloads that I was using as a guide for where things should be. I do think I have the wrong version of something, the world heightmap for my BSIliacBay looks like this, with 0,0 at the center:

duHZI21.png

Notably, it only shows -32:32 and doesn't bear a lot of resemblance to the worldmaps i've seen. 

What I downloaded and from where:

  • BSTamriel.esm (BSTamriel-0-2-05.7z) from downloads section of forums
  • BSAssets.esm from git beyond-skyrim-assets/tree/master
  • BSHammerfell.esm from git beyond-skyrim-hammerfell

Dropped these into skyrim/data ofcourse.  Only thing that comes to mind is that I downloaded these through the web interface, do I need to use the cli or something? Possibly of note is that all of these files don't look updated in the last 2-3 months according to git.

Edited by Escha

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