Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hot Curbs

Making the Halloween module that I submitted to Bouncy Rock took a lot out of me, so much so that I decided to take a week off to relax a bit. Well, I'm back in the saddle now, plugging away at the toolset once more, this time for Faithless.

The next area that I've chosen to work on is Eternity's End, which I ripped from Mask of the Betrayer. In MotB, Eternity's End looks dreary but pristine, nothing like one would expect from a war-torn city. I decided to roughen it up a bit by replacing some of the houses with burnt shells.

Of course, the ground on which the houses stand must look sooty. Normally, a modder would create this look by coloring the ground grayish-black. In Eternity's End, however, the houses all stand on city curbs, which are placeables just like the houses. The only way to make the curbs appear sooty is to re-texture them. I didn't want to do this because not all houses that stand on the same type of curb will be burnt. Hence, the parts of the curb that would be sooty will vary from one instance to the other.

Fortunately, I found a way to work around this problem. The ground in Eternity's End uses the desert cobble texture, which looks sort of like the texture on the city curbs. I can color the ground sooty black, but I can't use the Color tool to color the city curb. What I can do is raise the ground under each burnt house so that the ground rises slightly above the curb. I'd have to make sure that all placeables have their Height Lock property set to True to keep from accidentally changing their height from the ground. To raise the ground, I used the Flatten tool with the following brush settings:

  • Size: 3
  • Outer: 3
  • Height: varies, but generally more than 0.3 and less than 0.5
  • Pressure: 100%

The next step is to try to match the color of the raised ground with that of the curb. It's difficult to get an exact match, but I was able to get one that is close enough by using the following settings:

  • Brush Size: 6
  • Brush Outer: 0
  • Brush Pressure: 100%
  • Color: R = 117, G = 117, B = 133

Finally, I color the ground beneath the house using various shades of grayish black. For this task, my settings are as follows:

  • Brush Size: 2 or 3
  • Brush Outer: 0
  • Pressure: 100%
  • Color, Least Sooty: R = 61, G = 61, B = 61
  • Color, Sooty: R = 33, G = 33, B = 33
  • Color: Most Sooty: R = 5, G = 5, B = 5

Voila -- crispy fried curbs.


Lance Botelle (Bard of Althéa) said...

Hi Frank,

It's good to hear you are back to work on Faithless. :)

I am alo impressed with your attention to detail with the sooty floors. (And thanks for the tips.)


E.C.Patterson said...

Smart thinking. An option if you want to add soot/dirt *patches* is to use projection VFXs.

I agree there was something eerily pristine in that original area.

Frank Perez said...

Hey Lance, thanks for the feedback. I figured that some modders may find this information useful, so I decided to share it.

And thanks to you, E.C., for suggesting projection VFXs. It had not occurred to me to use them.