Texturing with Editor42
This tutorial makes the following assumptions:
1. That you have an installed and functioning copy of editor42.
2. That you have configured the settings properly for editor42 and can open your map.
3. That you know how to move around the editor42 interface.
If you do not meet these assumptions, you will have to look elsewhere for information regarding those items, it is not included in this tutorial.
Editor42 is simply the most powerful way to edit the base terrain textures for a custom map for BF1942. Battlecraft can do textures, but lacks many features to make those textures look incredible. Other programs, like 3ds Max, can do amazing textures but are generally out of the realm of affordability of the average map maker. Only Editor42 can allow anyone to make rich, amazing textures for their BF1942 custom maps.
This tutorial will attempt to explain how to utilize Editor42 at a moderate level. We will start with some basics of texturing in Editor42 and move quickly into more advanced topics. Ultimately it is up to you, the user, to take what you learn here and experiment, extending and advancing your knowledge in the art of designing your maps.
Texturing the terrain of your map can be done at any stage of map making. In fact, I generally texture my terrain early on, and then redo the textures several times as my map progresses. The initial texture render helps me better see the form of my terrain, and later renders will correct for changes I make to the overall heightmap or placement of water levels and so forth.
Editor42 uses Layering to create rich, detailed textures. Layering is the process of dividing your map textures into various child layers that render specific textures in specific ways and allows you great control over the appearance of your terrain textures. Layering will be explained in greater detail as we go along.
Once you have launched Editor42, open your map and switch to Texture Mode.
You are now ready to begin texturing. There are two methods to laying down a texture. You can paint directly on the map in front of you using the icons for the brush shapes , brush size , and brush opaqueness . Or you can simply click the icon to paint the whole map with your chosen texture automatically , but once you have chosen to do so you can't undo this action (the program warns you of this before it proceeds). I will focus on the primarily on the later method, using the brushes simply to gauge how the texture is turning out before I paint the whole map.
To begin changing textures to suit your needs, click on the texturing icon in the bottom menu bar . An interface will open that looks like this
Before you begin, you need to decide how to layout your textures. Editor42 provides you with several different types of texturing layers to choose from. Let's examine each one in turn, and use Market Garden as our base map to play with:
Default - Default is the setting that the first layer always starts with, and is the same as Plain Color layer in this list. When you click on the word Default in the texture interface, the following additional types of layer choices will be presented to you to select from:
When New is selected on the top left, you will have the following choices of layer types:
Plain Color - This will paint the map layer a chosen color, and is also the Default layer type. There is only one sub-layer for this type of layer.
Texture File - A Texture file layer allows you to choose a specific graphic file from several supported types (including .dds, .jpg and .tga) and layers the terrain with this file. Make sure you are using tileable textures.
Noise Selector - This will create a layer that has two choices underneath that can be any of the other layers or additional Noise layers. A noise layer creates a texture that has a random distribution of the two sub-layers.
Height Selector - A height selector layer will give you two choices underneath that can be any of the other layers or additional Height Selector layers. A height selector layer creates a texture that divides the landscape into low areas and high areas using those two chosen sub layers.
Slope Selector - A Slope Selector layer will give you two choices underneath that can be any of the other layers or additional Slope Selector layers. A Slope Selector layer creates a texture that divides the landscape into flat areas and sloped areas using the two chosen sub layers.
Stripe Selector - A Stripe Selector layer will give you two choices underneath that can be any of the other layers or additional Slope Selector layers. A Stripe Selector layer creates a texture that divides the landscape into irregularly striped terrain using the two chosen sub layers.
Color Adjust - The Color Adjust layer has one sub-layer, and allows you to adjust the brightness, contrast, etc., textures of that sub-layer.
Geometry Transform - The Geometry Transform layer has one sub-layer, and allows you to resize and rotate that sub-layer.
I have yet to use either of the last three, though I can see their relevance and possibilities, as I expect you can as well.
If you click on Library in the upper left of the Layer Selection window, you will see the following choices displayed:
Editor42 has several built in layers in their library that you can choose from to help in creating your terrain. However, the choices are limited and I personally have not gone through the process of learning to add new textures to this library, so we will stick with the New selection and the various layer types.
Determining Your Top Layer
How best to determine which type of layer you should start with? Well, it depends on your map. If your map has absolutely no water at all - no lakes, ponds, rivers, oceans - then there are lots of choices you can look at, but the best is most likely Slope. Pick Slope first, so all sub-layers can then be divided up into whether then are on flat ground or on sloped ground. But if your map uses a combination of water and land, the best choice is almost always a Height Selector layer. A Height Selector layer will allow you to set the very lowest areas - those that are wet - to sandy textures and the higher layers to grass and rock and so on.
For our Market Garden test, I first paint the whole map (using the Paint Map icon) with a default color (I chose a light yellow, you can choose whatever). Since we are rendering a single layer texture it will take almost no time at all to paint the whole map, but as we burrow downwards into the sub-layers, rendering time will increase gradually. The result looks like this:
Tip: ALWAYS use Plain Color for your lowest sub-layers when you are first laying things out, and use multiple colors, it's much easier to see how the terrain will render and will be divided up then if you use your final texture files.
Now, let's make that first layer a Height Selector layer. Click on your texturing icon, click on the words Default Layer, and choose Height Selector. Now, click on the Edit button to the right of the layer name and you will be presented with a new interface that shows you the sub-selections for the Height Selector layer:
As you can see, the default layer choices for this are Plain Color again. Go ahead and click on the edit icon next to each color and choose different colors for the two sub-layers. I've chosen green for the top layer (grassy areas) and yellow for the bottom layer (water/sandy areas… the bottom layer in a Height Selector layer will be the lower part of the terrain). Click on Ok until you're back to your map and run a little test if you like. You'll probably only see one color painted on your map.
In order to determine at what height the two different colors will appear, we will need to adjust the Threshold settings. Threshold settings will do slightly different things for different level types. The best thing to do is simply play with these two sliders, moving one at a time and then testing. Clicking on the Proof button on the interface will open a large box that will give you some idea of what the texture might look like. I use the paintbrush tools to paint small portions of my map until I start to see the results I seek. In this case, I found setting the upper slider to 36 and the lower to 48 worked well enough for what I was trying to do, and the results begin to look like this:
You can see the green is now appearing at higher spots, and the yellow only at the lowest spots.
Well, you could stop there, but you wouldn't have begun to tap the potential of Editor42. Let's create a few more levels of child layers and see what else we can do.
Go back into your Texture interface, click on Edit beside your Height Selector layer, then click Plain Color in the top layer choice. The upper layer, as you recall, is our grass, but grass is not uniform across the landscape as we all know. If you look around you, two things should come to note very quickly: 1., grassy areas are not uniform (there's dark grass, thin grass, spots where the grass is worn out, etc.); and 2. on slopes there usually isn't much grass at all, or its thinner or very different. Using this information, we will sub-divide the grassy areas into flat but varied areas and sloped areas.
But which first????? Either is actually a good choice, but in my case I'm going to choose Slope Selector first, then sub-divide that into a single texture rocky layer and a Noise layer. The Noise layer will be further sub-divided using two separate textures. You could possibly do the Noise Layer first, then subdivide that into two slope layers if you prefer, with each slope layer having different types of textures.
So I set up my Slope Selector layer. In the interface that came up when you clicked on Plain Color, choose Slope Selector and click OK. Then click the edit button beside Slope Selector. You will once again be presented with an interface similar to the Height Selector Interface. Leave the selections as Plain Color for the moment, and change the colors to easily recognizable ones. Then play with the Threshold selectors and paint on your map (paint an area that has good flats and slopes together) until you start the see the results you are seeking. I've chosen green for the upper selection (in a Slope Selector layer the upper choice is for flats) and a dark red for the lower selection (the slopes). The default threshold values give me the following results when I paint:
Pretty good, but let's make it not quite so distinct a change. Look for the slider called Threshold Width. That changes how clear the line is between one sub-layer and another, and by increasing it they will blend and overlap more. I increased the value to 0.40 and now this is the result:
You can see that the green is now blending into some of the red areas, and the red is blending out into the green more, which is more to my liking. Too abrupt a texture change is generally very jarring unless it is a road or some other man-made feature.
Now let's make the grassy areas less grassy and more changeable. Click on the words Plain Color in the upper box of your Slope Selector layer and choose Noise Selector and then click on Edit. Once again you will be presented with two sub-layers, and with two threshold sliders. And again, let's change the colors so we can see what's going to happen. I've made the top blue, and the bottom color green. With the default threshold values I get the following:
Not exactly what I want, it's too muddy looking. Let's play with those Threshold values again. I get the results I'm seeking with the top one at 0.21 and the bottom one at 0.45, which looks like this:
It's less "mottled" looking, the blue areas are more distinct and fewer.
Ok. So you've created your layers, painted them with bright colors, tested and retested. What now? Well, it's time to go back to all those bottom layers and change Plain Color to Texture File, then select the texture file of your choice. In my example, let me list the layers and what I'm choosing for textures, then show a final render.
Top Layer, Height Selector: No texture choices here, it's divided into two sub-layers.
1st Sub-layer, Slope Selector: Also no choices as it is further divided.
2nd Sub-layer, Plain color: This is my sandy river bottom, so I choose a sand (dark, wet) texture.
1st Sub-layer, Noise Selector: Also no choices as it is further divided.
2nd Sub-layer, Plain Color: My rocky slopes, a rocky texture is needed.
1st Sub-layer, Plain Color: My blue color, now it becomes a sandy (light colored) texture.
2nd Sub-layer, Plain Color. My green grass, so obviously I choose a grass texture.
Now paint another area and see how it's looking. Once you start putting textures on, you might find need to fiddle with your thresholds again. In my case, here's what I have:
I think there's a little too much rock in my rocky slopes, and not enough sandy areas in my grassy flats. After a little adjustment of those threshold levels again...
That definitely looks a bit better to my eyes, the grass is more "broken up" and not so uniform, and the rocky slopes have more grass growing on them.
The only way to learn is for you to take this simple basic example and expand upon it. Try some of the other layers instead of height, slope or noise. Make more sub-layers, test how it renders. People can tell you a thousand times over how to do things, but the best way to learn as always is to try it yourself, figure it out on your own. With the basic knowledge you have learned here, you should be able to begin to see the potential, and the ways that you can expand this information to suit your own maps.
Best of luck to you, soldier!!!