View Full Version : What First? Sculpt Terrain or Roads? General Advice....
15th Mar 2012, 4:18 AM
So I've played around in CAW quite a bit and keep reading tuts and starting/reinstalling all over again. I've decided that before I build my dreamworld (world based off my RPG story), that I'd like to do a small experimental map to get my feet wet. Now even my intended practice world has blown into this big thing with lots of inspiration pics and a theme song etc lol. I'm basically looking for any general insights you may have on best practices? My main concern is general order of process. I just don't want to go wild and get far then realize i'll have to scrap because i did something in a dumb order or something.
1) I read one tut (can't find it now bah!) where it was mentioned that it's better to lay roads first THEN sculpt and flatten out accordingly. I've also heard that it's best to lay lots WITH roads so it's straight. Thoughts on this?
2)Following that is it best to sculpt before laying down lots? Making sure terrain is obviously flat before laying lots?
3) Also Distant Terrain? I'd like to stick to a small map. I've realized I MAY need to go medium but I reeeeally don't want to go further than that. I play on a macbok pro running windows virtually so you can imagine my limitations. When exactly are you supposed to use DT? I'd rather just route the camera away. Is this preferred for smaller worlds?
I'm obviously building a hilly land and am not sure where to start lol. Thanks for any tips! :beer:
15th Mar 2012, 3:35 PM
Personally I do them all at once. I'll have a general idea of a landscape, and do that, but once I've got the general idea of that down I will add the roads. Roads change a lot about the landscape, and you want the landscape to look good with them so them I go in and edit the landscape again and refine it a bit. It's good for you to have an idea of the road map and the landscape before.
When you make roads it's very good to have the grid on, so you can make sure your road is straight for lots. You can add lots whenever and use the "conform edges" tool under lots in the top bar to make the lot fit the landscape if you edit it. However it is usually easier to add lots once you have finished with the main landscaping. I edit roads and the landscape right until I'm finished to get it just right, and there isn't really a proper way.
I don't know much about distant terrain, apart from that they are pain in the arse. Although I think the terrains are for large worlds, most only cover two or three sides, and you could possibly just put it close to your edges and see what that looks like. You can stop the camera from seeing the edge, but I've only seen that work properly with large worlds that have a lot of space and mountains in between the camera and world edge.
15th Mar 2012, 4:18 PM
I sculpt first, then place roads, but I sculpt in such a way that I know where I am going to place a road and lots, since I plan it ahead of time. I'd suggest drawing concepts, much like kiwi_tea does.
I place the roads and lots at the same time and just flatten the area under the road afterwards. Also, note that you must flatten the area around a lot beforehand or your lot will stay crooked.
Heres a helpful link: http://krrank.blogspot.com/p/caw-tutorial.html
15th Mar 2012, 4:57 PM
I always start off by determining the focal point of the world. So, have an idea of what you want to be the 'hub' of the world- a park, a club, a hill, a monument, whatever- and plonk down an object or lot there to mark it. Make sure this is near to the centre of the world, as this will ensure that most of the playing is done centre stage so to speak, and not right on the edge of the world.
This lot/ landmark can be temorary, you can delete or change it later, but I find it helps give a sense of scale right away so that you can think, now how big do I want this hill in relation to my park, or how far away from the town centre should the sea be?
Next thing is to determine where the sun rises and sets, so that you know the orientation of your world. So, do you want the sunrise over the mountains, or the ocean? If you are planning on building a large house somewhere, will it have great views of the sunset? Once you've figured out the approximate centre point and orientation of the world, I would then start rough terrain sculpting.
I would proceed by flattening or raising land, laying temporary roads and placing temporary lots to keep the sense of scale. For example, if you have a main street, how many lots do you want to get along it, and how large should they be? Place those lots temporarily, then lay the road and then sculpt the terrain around that. Don't worry too much about getting it accurate and making the lot edges great, just plonk things down, lay roads and design where your hills and valleys will be.
Once I had the main of the shape and design of the world laid out I would begin to refine things. So, I'd work on a small area to improve the sculpting, lay custom roads, place the final versions of the lots. This is the point where I would lay the roads to the grid, so that I could line up the lots perfectly. You will need to rotate the grid to the required angle to do this. I'd probably be thinking about terrain paints now and road textures. Possibly I'd have ideas about specific lots, what sort of views I want them to have, what type of flora and fauna each area needs. I would test things out in-game, stick a sim in and see how long it will take him to get from point A to point B- is the scale of the world correct?
For my way of working I tend to try to concentrate on the world as a whole, refining it bit by bit. Often large areas get deleted and remodelled! But I always find it hard to work as some people do, by finishing a small area and then moving on to the next. I always prefer to work on the world as a whole, which is probably why it takes me so long! So if you have a definite idea about your world before you begin, you might find this way suits you too.
16th Mar 2012, 1:27 AM
I work almost exactly like simsample.
Tons and tons of temporary roads and lots when planning the layout. I also like to use an obnoxious terrain paint to sketch stuff down. After you no longer need any sketches, you can just delete that particular paint layer and poof, gone.
As far as your third question, medium is pretty good to start with. The EA distant terrains are made for large maps, though. However, it's not impossible to use certain distant terrains with medium maps. By tightening the camera routing quite a bit on a large map and having higher terrain toward the edges with your town in the middle, you can get away with not having a distant terrain and still have it look like the world's not floating out in the ocean.
And I absolutely love that you have a theme song!
16th Mar 2012, 1:51 AM
I don't know much about distant terrain, apart from that they are pain in the arse.
I'm getting the same impression (pain in the arse). I can't even get the big lug to move out of the bottom left of my screen. Don't even think I can use them if I wanted to. :lol:
I'd suggest drawing concepts, much like kiwi_tea does.
I'll certainly be doing this. I've spent the last week just gathering reference pics/materials XD. I come from a tradional/digital art background so anything I do starts with a sketch in my moleskine. Aaaand you found the exact tutorial blog I was talking about that had suggested roads first before sculpting. THANK YOU. I spent a good hour looking for it in google and my browse history! Really wanted that tut as I like to have a variety in my arsenal before getting started :P
I always start off by determining the focal point of the world. So, have an idea of what you want to be the 'hub' of the world- a park, a club, a hill, a monument, whatever- and plonk down an object or lot there to mark it.
I like this idea alot. In all my obsessive planning I didn't even really think of it in this way. I think plunking it down at the beginning will really help give me a sense of "it's begun" and something to build around rather than just randomly sculpting all over XD.
I work almost exactly like simsample.
I think this method seems good for me as well. I guess i was worried about getting it perfect as I went for some reason. Not like I can't delete things! Temporary plotting it is! And yay for theme songs! It's a tie between Surfer Blood and Peter Bjorn & John (no it's not young folks! lol). Thanks for your input on the terrain too. I really don't want to use it XD.
Thank you all so very much for your input!! You've all done some amazing work in the world of CAW as far as I've seen and I really appreciate it. I am on my merry way to play CAW XD but of course any further tidbits are definitely appreciated/absorbed :beer:
Sorry for the length of this post geeze.
16th Mar 2012, 4:57 AM
I had soo much trouble finding that tutorial too, it took me half an hour after i accidentally closed it the first time i found it. :)
Also, just a helpful int I mentioned earlier, place your lots after you are basically COMPLETELY done with terrain sculpting, which means only minor fixes along area with no lots, because the lots will stay in the exact same shape as the land underneath them once they are placed :) Good Luck!
16th Mar 2012, 9:39 AM
I work the same way as simsample and want to stress again the necessity of putting down some lots or objects when initially sculpting to understand the scale. I've made this mistake with my first two maps, resulting giant streets and poor balance of inhabited/empty space.
Usually when I have a concept of the world I spent some time recolouring and combining terrain paints even before sculpting and make a tiny piece of land with final paint choice and flora, this saves me later from repainting, taking out trees and placing new ones. I'd also say make sure you've smoothed and flattened roads the way you want them and then replace some lots that have broken edges or don't align correctly, sometimes it's a simpler and quicker then trying to fix existing lots beacuse it usually messes roads.
16th Mar 2012, 12:02 PM
I always replace the lots too, never had much luck with the conform edges tool.
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