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Old 04-25-2010, 01:59 PM   #1
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Default Starcraft II Editor Talk - Art, models, textures and terraining related stuff.

So yeah, there are some threads on SC2's editor features, but they are mostly focused on script and GUI issues, and the another one seems to have started focusing on UI and usability.

Here we'll focus on the artsy part of the editor.

First things first. Once you enter to the editor you get a big map with only one tileset, just like Wc3. So there's no need to show that.

You can apply cliffs and other stuff like terrain textures (not tiles) with 3 different brushes: Square, Circle and Diamond Shaped. That allows some nice touching up on terraining.

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Cliffs work nicely, you can get a 4-cliff-height easily, and applying fog with those cliffs you get a neat "emptyness" or huge hole effect.

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You can also have up to 4 different cliff types. So, applying that with the fact you can also change terrain textures just like one could change tiles in Wc3, you can virtually have two tilesets on one map. It's important to note that cliffs no longer depend on specific tiles, so you can have a natural cliff with artificial textures.

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So yeah, moving on up, we also have a nice change, tiles are not really tiles, but actually textures or patterns. You can blend them and play a bit with the textures to get a nice effect. That's really useful mainly for natural scenes.

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There are also some interesting tools here. There's a blur tool and a smudge tool, plus a fill tool.

You can also remove one specific texture from the blending.

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Yo can replace an specific texture from the blending.

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There's also a different kind of tile, which allows you to put roads.

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There are 3 different roads, which you can add via the Data Editor.

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Roads work with helper points, which can be moved to change the path of the road

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Modifying the height from the terrain works fairly the same as Wc3, but thanks to higher poly count and shaders, you get a neater effect.

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There's also a tool called "Foliage", which allows you to add foliage on some specific terrain parts. Foliage depends on the tile(texture) it is added.

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Now we move up to another interesting feature/change. Water.

First up, water no longer depends on cliffs. Water is now made by planes, which btw start up incredibly high.

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Thanks god, you can edit this (and many other options) with the water editor.

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Since water is no longer tileset dependant you can have both nice clean water and molten lava in the same map.

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Terrainers are not free from the data editor. To change up cliff types, tiles and fog (and gravity and others) we will have to face this little monster. It's not that hard to understand though.
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That's all I know regarding terrain itself. I'll try to get on different aspects later.
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Old 04-26-2010, 05:42 AM   #2
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Old 04-26-2010, 06:03 AM   #3
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Defining different heights for different water types is quite handy; the only thing that would make it better would be to allow us to define water body shapes, and as distinct instancable objects, instead of tiling. The only game I can recall that did that for water was Command & Conquer Generals.

Also, it is worth pointing out that water bodies do not apply pathing, nor can different types be stacked.
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Old 05-01-2010, 03:48 PM   #4
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Thanks to Archmage for the wee bit more of info about water planes.

Time for another huge informative post... We'll continue with some terraining related aspects for now. We'll also talk about Doodads, and finally a whole new editable little aspect: Lighting.

-------------------

So, this feature will sound interesting to some people. While placing textures and heights you can use your tablet to control the pressure and size of the brush. The following image was done directly via tablet.

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There's also an option on the tools menu to merge cliffs. That's interesting and somewhat useful...

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Now on to a bad thing, I already talked about the cliff height. The sad thing here (although it could be a beta-stage issue) is that you can only have 4 cliff heights (counting with the 0 height) and no more. I even tried editing the cliffs on the data editor, but I just get screwed up results.

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So, let's move on. There's another brush called "Terrain Objects", right now there doesn't seem to be ANY terrain objects on any tileset, but that's probably beta-stage stuff. Anyways, on that brush you can also hide terrain cells... that must be interesting for making floating isles with custom models and stuff...

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Another interesting thing, related to the tileset, is that you can change creep textures at the data editor... This will be useful for those planning to make a Wc3 mod. I'd like to point out that you can change everything creep-related, like its specular map, its noise map, its height map and some settings more...

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Now to another subject, still important for terrainers. Doodads.

First up, destructibles are no longer at the doodads palette, but at the units one. This makes sense actually...

So, Doodads are nicely organized, there are x groups:

1- Blockers, Pathing and Line of Sight
2- Cliff and Ramp
3- Environment
4- Props
5- Structures
6- Track Pieces

The editor placeholder models are different than our usual pink(or green) checkered box. They have different shapes and the shape tells us what does the doodad do. The pathing blockers have feet on them, the creep blockers(truly useful little things) have a strange creep like shape. The pathing and sight blockers have an eye. The enviromental doodads have a cloud with rain. The other unclickable doodads (Like moving birds and stuff) have a huge arrow. The unexistant model placeholder is a little light blue sphere (there are a lot of doodads without models right now)

It's important to note here that rain and wind and weather stuff are no longer tied to regions, but are actually doodads.

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There's a new doodad type called "Curtain". It's a simple doodad that blocks the line of sight for ground units. For those with the beta, they are used in different maps already and works just nice.

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Although Cliff Doodads are called that way, they are not Cliff dependant. This means you don't necessarily have to put them on a cliff, you can put it anywhere you want.

While placing Cliff Doodads the good ol "shift+pageup" or "shift+pagedown" trick to change the height of doodads is really useful. About this, you no longer have to hold shift to do this. It's important to say that when you copy a doodad with its height changed it no longer resets like in Wc3... A great thing....

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There's a nice variety of doodads. And some of them are huge... They look really well and work nicely for a good terraining. The problem with these huge doodads is that some of them don't have pathing, but, adding pathing blockers and No-Flying-Zones allows them to work perfectly. My personal favorite are these rocks.

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Also, terrain doodads now work using the ground textures, so craters and others are now totally possible. While in Wc3 a crater model was utterly hard to do, in Sc2 it's totally possible.

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Another group of doodads which shows us all that you can do with models on Sc2 are the Billboards and Signs, You can have a crazy Vegas style map with them

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I'm now going to show you guys a nice option for doodads. You can directly change the color of an individual doodad, but changing colors works differently now. It uses an HDR multiplier so changing colors now has some different effects...

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Finally, we got the last doodad group, the track pieces. It has some pieces for a monorail engine, which doesn't move :(

Still, its fun to play with the whole variety of pieces. And with triggers I'm pretty sure people can make a wonderful moving monorail.

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Now, to the next subject... You guys are probably going to love this one: Lighting!

So, thanks to shaders and specular maps, lighting is extremely important in Sc2 art. It can change stuff dramatically indeed... If you look for instance how Void Rays and Stalkers look on certain tilesets, you get a totally different color just for the lighting.

Each tileset has a default lighting. Of course you can change this via the Data Editor, lights on each tileset are truly different, giving the different planet feel of each tileset.

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But that's not all... There are also a lot of different light options like some "Console" lights and the portrait lights of every single unit. These ones are the ones that change ambience more dramatically.

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Still, we have not seen the most amazing part... Aside from being able to choose from different lights, we can also create our own lights. That means that there are almost endless possibilities for our map environment. There are a lot of options on the light editor, so I won't get over that aspect for now...

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Old 05-01-2010, 08:50 PM   #5
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HDR. Nice ^^. Now recolored doodads are going to look good instead of RGB coloring of Wc3.

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Old 05-03-2010, 02:18 PM   #6
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You can turn everything black and white via lightning? That's hax.
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Old 05-03-2010, 02:41 PM   #7
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should be usefull for infrared and night sight :P
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Old 05-03-2010, 06:54 PM   #8
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Terrain textures are just one large repeated tile rather than a set of tiles and sub-tiles as in wc3 where the sub-tiles were randomly added. It's not as desirable from a technical stand point but it makes it easier to make custom tile-sets.
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:45 PM   #9
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i have learned the the red channel is for the blending
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Old 05-03-2010, 11:21 PM   #10
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red channel of the terrain texture?

I noticed that they do use an alpha texture in the diffuse map and it has details that are so faint I didn't notice at first. I thought that might have something to do with blending. Why would they use a color channel for the blending when they have a perfectly good alpha channel?

For normal maps this guy explains the steps to convert between the two.
http://sc2modding.e-studios.eu/tutor...t-normal-maps/

The normals are inverted and in tangent space(pretty sure). The tangent and binormal data are stored in the green and alpha channels--as opposed to green and red.

I still can't understand why some of my custom terrain glows bright white though.
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Old 05-04-2010, 12:27 PM   #11
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i havent triedit myself, i got other stuff to wrap my head around now, i just repeated what i read on another forum...
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Old 05-04-2010, 03:24 PM   #12
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We'll now try to take over all I know now about Textures.

So... There are four kinds of textures on any model that are taken into account now in Sc2.

One is the Diffuse Map. It's your common use texture, so not much to say here.

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Another one is the Emissive Map. This determines which parts of the model can Glow brightly with an specified color no matter which light you use. This is nicey.

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The next one is the Normal Map. It's the one thing that works with shaders to make everything look a lot more "textured". It's a Bump Map. For some reason it seems to use orange, red and black to determine everything.

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And finally is the Specular Map. This determines parts that will bright stronger with light as in reflecting the light. Truly useful for making metal and gooish textures.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adovid
Terrain textures are just one large repeated tile rather than a set of tiles and sub-tiles as in wc3 where the sub-tiles were randomly added. It's not as desirable from a technical stand point but it makes it easier to make custom tile-sets.

It's not that bad either...

If you combine custom terrain textires with custom hard tiles (Roads) you can have tiles with borders just like in Wc3. Like in this (somewhat crappy) example.

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Well, using custom terrain textures has its tricks... Mainly for one lime ke who doesn't really understand anything from Normal Maps and stuff... I started making some tests with the following Wc3 based texture:

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First up, I used the texture with a full white alpha channel, using a normal map from Sc2.. Just like Adovid's texture is totally screwed, because the specular is waaaay too high...

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So I decided to change things a bit... keeping the same texture and normal map, but chaning the alpha channel of the diffuse texture... To almost black(About 90%)...

The result surely is better. Alpha channels on Diffuse textures (at least on terrain diffuse textures) seem to have an interesting little purpose. They are the "specular control map" so it controls where to glow brightly and where not to glow.

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So, in order to get a nice result you must also play a bit with the alpha channel, adding some texture to it too... I then used this alpha channel:

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And got the following result... It's not too different to the last one, but it does look somewhat better...

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So, now I must try to actually make a normal map for this texture...

So, I heard that the red channel is blending related when it comes to normal maps. Nevertheless, it seems that normal maps can work in two ways in Sc2. One is with red and orange and such...
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The another one is a common black and white one...

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I decided to start making a black and white one... Again, full white alpha... This is the texture:

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And the result... It's fairly boring but it seems to work out...

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Now just for fun, I wanted to see what happens with the same normal map, but with a full black alpha. I actually expected the opposite result. It seems that alphaing out the normal map actually increases the brightness, thus removing the "drawing" of the texture"... Interesting.

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Now, to another test... A white map with textured alpha channels... Just in case, the alpha channel is exactly like the old normal map showed up... It's a bit different...

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Now I tried making an orange and red map...

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The result is quite too simillar. So I still don't know what could be the difference between Orange/Red and Grayscale normal maps... Perhaps you guys can help me out there...

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I think that there's no real difference... Because the game seems to consider it grayscale too... It's just helpful when doing the texture because you get more control over the blending...
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Old 05-04-2010, 04:34 PM   #13
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Hero Contest #3 - 2nd PlaceModeling session 2 - Chimeras

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Next on the list we got something relatively related to Textures... Icons!

There's not really much to say about Icons to be certain, but there surely are some nice changes on how icons work now.

Icons have their own little space at the data editor at the "Buttons" tab. There you can change the icon file, the name of the button, the tooltip (yes, all of these info are not directly related to spells or units, usefully you can put the same icon with the same tooltips to more than one thing) and the hotkey.

Icons now use a 76*76 format (some of them stayed 64*64 BTW) The game automatically resizes any texture you use as icon. As you guys may have noticed, Zerg, Terran and Protoss use some similar icons with the main difference being the color. As I expected, the icons are actually black and white...

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They no longer have the borders at the icon, which means borders are added automatically on each icon. There are several borders, and good news here is that if someone wants to change every single border of each icon for a certain mod, now he just has to change a single texture... Also, you don't have to make an alternate icon for passive buttons

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In order to test icons I made my own little custom icon. It's quite simple but whatever. Alpha is full white.

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And changed the attack button to see it ingame. Surprisingly enough, the border isn't added... Good thing that the color did change...

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So, I guess it's again an alpha issue... I will just copy the icon's texture to the alpha channel, making the icon full white. It works, that means that the border texture is actually below the icon itself.

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An amazing thing is that not only don't we need to make alternate passive icons, but also we don't have to make alternate disabled icons as they are automatically generated by the game (also thanks to the fact that disabled icons now are simply grayscaled)...

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Now, we must wonder, how to prevent something on the icon to change its color? We can see that happening on several unit, building and upgrade icons, so it must be possible...

The answer is actually incredibly simple. There's an option at the data editor which says "Tint by Race" with the options Enabled/Disabled. So you can make any icon be tinted or not...

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I still don't get how to change the preset race colors... But I will continue searching...
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Old 05-04-2010, 06:48 PM   #14
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did u find anything out baout the decals?
units can have now decals printed on them...
also u might wanna write about the regions, which u can now make in your own custom shapes i heard
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Old 05-04-2010, 06:59 PM   #15
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Regions are not as art related as they used to be, now that weather is not linked to regions... But well... I believe one can make custom shapes, but they are mostly based on squares and circles... Haven't seen any triangle option yet...

Next big post will have a bit more on decals...
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