Terrain Extensions (Advanced Tutorial)

From WiCWiki

Revision as of 14:48, 22 November 2007 by Gearhead (Talk | contribs)
(diff) ←Older revision | Current revision (diff) | Newer revision→ (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search


In this tutorial I will explain the terrain extension concept. Later I will let you familiarize yourself with the tools we use to bring terrain extensions back and forth between Modo and into the game. I will tell you everything you need to know about how to make it all work properly in-game. Because there are a lot you can do, that you will find an urge to play around with if you are a hardcore modder like me.

Then what is a terrain extension?

A terrain extension can be anything from a bridge, tunnel, and viaduct to a garage driveway. It can be a modified road with advanced pavements that is uv-mapped way different than how Wiced handles the uv-mapping.

The core concept is an imported mesh that follows and enhances the terrain’s structure, creating the extra detail that is needed for a really great looking map. The harbour wall from the Seattle maps is an example.

What a terrain extension isn’t

This is the part when you fire of your imagination and ask yourself; what is possible? What can I do with this game? You might’ve seen a place at your map that needs a viaduct. You want a road to cross over that tunnel.

There are a few things you should know about this scenario.

First of; the general design of the Wic gameplay engine is that it is based on a 2d architecture. Everything might appear in 3d, but the gameplay and path finding code is all designed from a 2d perspective. So you won’t be able to design gameplay elements consisting of two land based vehicles crossing on top of each other.

It won’t even work if you were to modify the terrain so that it features two cliff edges; later adding a bridge connecting these two edges and having the featured terrain below being passable. It won’t work; the bridge layer will override the terrain feature and you will get mad.

So you are left with the visual effect you were after. But not the gameplay mechanics you had in mind. Then again, as I said; you can fake the effect and that is a powerful thing.

You can fake a lot of things in World in conflict. Especially with the thing we call a Terrain-extension. And that is why I am writing this.

The terrain extension has no purpose of being to any help for gameplay attributes what so ever. It is purely designed for a visual appearance only.

From export to import

As soon as you import a road mesh from Wiced into Modo it becomes a terrain extension. Now you have the possibility and perhaps the ability to modify it into something completely different.

When exporting roads as LWO objects from Wiced they will be positioned exactly how they appear in Wiced or in-game when imported into Modo. As soon as you export road meshes from Wiced you no longer will be able to modify these objects when you are about to import them into Wiced again.

So you still feel an urge to import your roads into Modo? No problem! Just go to File/Open and you will be able to open your exported roads without further ado. It is that easy since Wiced exports the road meshes in the LWO format which is one of the Modo standard model formats. Now Modo will import the road meshes. Each road you placed in Wiced will appear as its own item in Modo.

Working with terrain extensions

So you are working with a terrain extension in your 3d application. I would like to point out a few pretty important things you should know about.

  • For each different texture you assign to a part of your terrain extension; you must save this as a separate model when done. Each part using its own texture always has to be its own model file.

  • During the development of World in conflict we quite early decided to use a certain naming convention and folder structure. So should you; on heavier maps terrain extensions tend to become a major feature on your map; which means a load of files. To have an organized workflow means it will become much easier to bring your work back and forth between Wiced and your 3d application.

  • Work in quads and not triangles, the engine will triangulate your meshes. Always remember to double check so that you don’t have two vertex based polygons. Five or more vertex based polygons should be banned at all times. The only polygons you will be able to work with are three and four vertex based polygons. I often had problems with meshes having “hidden” and bad polygons. Duplicated polygons lay on top of each other was quite common as well. The characteristics for this event are over-brightened areas on your mesh when having it brought in-game.

  • This is probably the most important part in this part of the chapter. You will soon realize that some terrain extensions need different material shaders before being brought into the game. And there are even some kinds of terrain extensions that need their own specific file suffix after being converted to MRB files by the showbox.

The different kinds of terrain extensions can be described as following:

  • Underlay mesh which is the most common material for re-imported roads. This is often used for asphalt. This kind fades out at impact of rockets.

File suffix example: UsCity_asphalt.mrb. (Uses Roads 2 layers material)

  • Overlay mesh which is polygons put on top of the asphalt such as road-paint. Preferably a few centimetres above the asphalt. This kind fades out at impact of rockets.

File suffix example: UsCity_roadpaint.mrb. (Uses Roads MARKINGS ONLY material)

  • Solid mesh that fades out and creates crater at impact of rocket.

File suffix example: UsCity_pavement_zwrite.mrb. (Uses Roads 2 layers material)

  • Solid mesh that gets darkened at impact and keeps the terrain intact under itself.

File suffix example: UsCity_Harbour_zwrite_static.mrb. (Uses Roads 2 layers material)

Bring that terrain extension in-game.

So you are done with your terrain extensions and want to bring them in to the game. I guess it is tutorial time!

The 3d application

1: Before you save your work in your 3d application. Remember to assign the right uv set and bitmap for your models.

2: If you assign the colour map/diffuse map as the texture for the models this texture will automatically be assigned to the model when brought into the showbox.

3: Make sure you did assign a texture or else showbox won’t load your model.

4: If you want your model to use the second uv set read the following, Yes; that is correct. We have a second uv set for the roads in World in conflict. It is mainly there for creating variations; such as oil stains and skid marks to the roads. (See chapter part 2.2 - 4 - (e. - 2-Variation Tex for more info). If you are using Modo you can assign this texture by adding a new layer. You do this by clicking add layer, choose image map. Then Choose your variation texture and change the Effect from Diffuse Color to Luminous Amount.

5: And that’s it. Save your model and bring it into the showbox.

The Showbox

1: Save your work in the LWO format in the following folder path. X:\wic\maps\Y\Roads (X= your drive letter; Y= your map name).

2: Open showboxn.exe

3: Go to File/Open. Navigate to X:\wic\maps\Y\Roads. Open yourmodelsname.lwo.

4: A window will pop up. Choose Stand; then click OK.

5: Almost at the top left of the screen click Meshes. The bottom column will change.

6: Click Surface

7: Here you will be able to choose Surface files. This is the part when you will give your model type the correct material. Choose the correct surface file. There are two surface files we are using when working with roads/terrain extensions, and they are Roads 2 layers and Roads MARKINGS ONLY.

8: Now assign the right kind of textures for the right kind of slots at the left white area. To your right there is also a white area containing information about what goes where; where normalmaps and specularmaps goes etc. For roads and terrain extensions we will most commonly use. Diffuse 1; Diffuse 2; Bump 1; and Specular 1. You are free to use the other slots as well.

9: If you know what kind of model you are working with and are about to save your fine. Is it a zwrite model? Or is it a static + zwrite model? This is the last call naming your type of model in the right way.

10: Go to File/MRB Export and save your mrb. And you are done with the showbox.


1: Open Wiced.

2: Go to File/Import/Terrain Extensions.

3: You should now have your terrain extensions in Wiced.

4: At next map compile the terrain extensions should automatically be scripted to your mapname.juice. Next time you start your map ingame they should be there.

Personal tools
User Created Content