"A man's gotta know his limitations."
- Clint Eastwood, Magnum Force, 1973
When Dirty Harry speaks, one would do well to listen. Having worked with the Electron Toolset for some time, I've finally accepted the fact that while I can churn out decent outdoor areas, none of them is going to win any awards. On the other hand, my module isn't doomed to have second-rate exteriors. Thanks to the easy availability of area prefabs at the Vault, modders with little talent in area design can still have stunning exteriors in their modules.
I wanted to create another desert area for my module, so I did a search for desert prefabs at the Vault. I soon found one that was perfect for my needs -- Just Add Encounters - Wastelands by SGK73. I still had to modify the prefab considerably, but the work that I put into this area was small compared to what I would have done if I had started from scratch.
The first thing I did was to extend the area by a few squares. This task was easy to do, thanks to Tanita's TerraCoppa plug-in. I also imported the lighting from the other desert area that I had previously made.
Next, I had to change the terrain to provide elevated ground for a castle, as well as a walkway leading up to it. Changing the terrain elevation was easy. What was difficult was repositioning the height of the placeables that came with the prefab. Changing the elevation usually displaces the nearby placeables, causing them to appear as if they are levitating a few meters above the ground. It's a hassle to try to find the placeables that were affected and to bring them back to Mother Earth. If one is not careful, a few placeables are liable to be overlooked.
Then I had to create the castle. It wasn't enough for me to use one of the castles from the toolset. I had to change the castle's texture to something more appropriate. I can't reveal my reasons for wanting to change the texture of the castle. Suffice it to say that I needed to do this to maintain consistency with the D&D setting.
Finally, I positioned the castle in place and added Nihlar's Cloud of Bats VFX over it. I also added a few more placeables and some grass around the castle. When I was done, I had created my best outdoor area thus far.
Not bad for two days' work.