Replies: 4 (Who?), Viewed: 819 times.
Lab Assistant
Original Poster
#1 Old 10th Mar 2020 at 2:43 AM
Default Help With Custom Distant Terrain
I am working on a rural world set around a lake on the edge of a mountainous forest. About half of the map is rough terrain and forest while the other half is nearly perfectly flat farm land. I am wanting to make a custom distant terrain to fit it (especially considering there is a dam from which you can very easily see the edge of the map across the fields).

I have a heightmap for the world as well as the distant terrain.
Here is the heightmap of the distant terrain:

The hole in the middle is where the actual world area is. This is it's heightmap:

I have tried following this tutorial but was not able to follow it very well (it probably didn't help that the images are hosted on Photobucket, which is one of the worst image hosts as they tend to place an overlay over all their images that blurs everything, and that many of the links to the needed software simply redirected to my Internet Service Provider's homepage)
I managed to get the needed software, but the tutorial had no information on how to use them, how to get them installed, or what to do with the files they made. I also tried looking through the site linked in that thread for meshing tutorials, but I was also unable to follow those.

In Milkshape, I managed to generate a terrain from the above heightmap (the one with the hole in the middle), but when exporting it as a .obj to open it in the UVMapper, the UVMapper simply gave me a white page:

I do have experience with modelling, though not much. I have managed to make a few mods for other games (mostly Cities: Skylines) which involved making models in Blender (which was torture, I can't use Blender), 3ds Max, Sketchup, etc. as well as UVMapping and texturing. However, I can't seem to figure out Milkshape or the UVMapper linked in the above tutorial.

Basically, I am seeking help getting the above heightmap turned into an actually usable model and how to get that model textured (what are some useable UV programs, perhaps I can use 3ds Max for this step?), and how do I get the model and texture into proper format to get it imported back into a package file? This is all something the above tutorial never went over, so it has me lost.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Lab Assistant
#2 Old 10th Mar 2020 at 6:54 AM
I followed armiel's distant terrain tutorial without the pictures with success. But I used Blender instead of Milkshape. Too bad you're not comfortable with it, it's pretty easy to UV map in Blender. I don't use Milkshape so can't help with that unfortunately
But here's a tutorial on how to make a mesh from heightmap in Blender:
I did not follow that myself but seems fine for beginners. Ofc, you won't need the "improve quality" part. You'll want to make it as low poly as possible.
To decide the size of the mesh, I think you can use the references from this tutorial.
Then you need to triangulate your mesh and swap it with the original DT mesh. Here's the mesh swapping tutorial by cmomoney:
You actually don't even need that whole tutorial for distant terrains and instead of editing MLOD, you need to edit MODL for DT. Anyways, I can explain more if you're interested in using Blender.
Lab Assistant
#3 Old 10th Mar 2020 at 7:34 AM
Hydrangeachainsaw has a fairly recent distant terrain tutorial here:

While it does use both Blender and Milkshape, the tutorial is made with beginners in mind and walks you through the process step-by-step.
Lab Assistant
Original Poster
#4 Old 10th Mar 2020 at 10:21 AM
Thank you both for the replies! I made this thread right before I went to bed (which was right after I got lost, confused, and upset about it) and was worried I'd get up the next day thinking "let's check that post and get to work!" only to find no replies. Let's just say your replies are making for a good way to start the day so far!

Blender is way to complicated for me when it comes to trying to get anything useful put together. However, being able to follow a tutorial on getting a mesh made from a heightmap and UVMapping it should minimize the amount of other things I poke (therefore minimize the amount of things for me to break).

As for the size of the terrain, I planned mine to be way too big, as it's always easier to trim out unnecessary area than it is to add more area.
The heightmap for the distant terrain is an area 8 times larger than the world itself. I can probably take out a lot of space in the DT's hills, as the hills in the world itself can also provide cover for the edge. However, I do need a decent distance on the east and south as there are some spots in the hills where you can see a very long way from.

I look forward to seeing what I can come up with from these tutorials. Thank you very much!
Lab Assistant
Original Poster
#5 Old 10th Mar 2020 at 1:13 PM
Well, so much for that recent Distant Terrain tutorial...
Option 1: World Machine will not work because trying to import a heightmap simply results in no terrain being generated along with the error "No scale data present in file", because apparently the program can't use it's own scale data, but instead is trying to read such data from a picture!

Option 2: Blender will not work because he simply says what keyboard shortcuts to use (rather than actually telling how to get to the window, option, etc). Blender no longer uses the same keyboard shortcuts (such as pressing W to find a "Subdivide" option simply chenges these things (whatever they are)

Why can't anyone simply say "press this button to open this thing" rather than "press this key which will likely do something completely different next week when the software has an update"?

Perhaps I will have better luck with the tutorial on how to make a mesh from a heightmap for Blender, then doing some research on UVMapping in Blender.
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