Tutorial – The Art Of Textures

When it comes to texturing, there are three types of texturers: Those who do it right, Those who do it wrong. Those who don’t bother.

It’s a shame that a lot of people fall into the later category. Texturing is fantastic at adding detail to a ride. It’s also great to accompany scenery and to create the atmosphere. Texturing doesn’t have to take long –  infact a lot of my base texturing takes seconds and is rushed.

Before I start a map, I zoom out as far as RCT3 allows, select a size ’1′ brush and choose 3/4 textures and randomly drag my brush over. It’s messy, It’s random, It’s quick — but it is 10x better than not bothering at all!

Set the brush to size ’1′ zoom out and randomly cover the map in a few textures. You have a nice base to build on and it took seconds.

So what textures are good to use? That is up to you. Come up with your own blends, be artistic.I have written a little bio about each listing my personal uses.

It is also worth using a small brush set at size 1. Colour one tile a time. May seem like it’ll take a while but once you know waht you are doing you will be very surprised how quickly you can texture,

The Grasses

grasses

1) The standard default grass. Very useful as it complements most styles

2) Grass with Flowers. Nice to ad some colour to your grass. Make it look lush. I use this in large quantities when doing ‘bright’ tropical rides since its makes the grass look very colourful and healthy.

3) Rough Grass. A great grass that works for mountains or hill sides. Also works perfectly with dark rock when used for mountain slopes and cliffs. Use anywhere where the grass would be unhealthy – up in the mountains, peaking through the snow, in the middle of the destert. Its dark and dull colour also works nice in a spooky map.

4/5) The last two grasses are nice to add bold lush green. If you want healthly grass this is perfect. Blend it in with the grass with flowers and perhaps grass 1). Due to the health of this grass, I avoid using it alongside mud or the rougher grass. Sometimes I use it highlight hills.

Muds

mudds

1)  Cracked mud. Use this for your dry deserts. I have used it for a rock face since the texture can look almost rocky.

2) As with most muds blending it with grass works nicely. However, for a desert is great. Be sure to mix all of these muds together. They all work well together.

3) Dark sand. This is also great for a desert. it’s a lot softer and lighter than other mud. I use this for underwater areas such as rivers or sea as well as for softing the other muddy textures.

4) Used a long side the dark sand, the Light Sand is a nice beach texture for more generic beaches. It is light but works well alongside the dark sand and/or the lighter sands. It’s good to blend the more golden sands with darker/mud textures.

5) Grass and mud. Nice to add some colour to your mud textures. Also works great on grass to add some mud. I  often use it blended into most textures. I have used it to spray under trees to help emphasis forests or along river banks.

6) Mud. A wet mud. Probably not wise to use to against dry mud – a bit of an unrealistic contrast. However, it’s texture is simialr to the pink and grey rock textures so it blends well with them or to enable a smooth transitation from rock to mud/grass. It also blends with the riough snow to help the transistion from snow to grass/mud. Since it’s wet it looks look on river or lake beds.

Rocks

rocks1) Rock and Snow. Whilst the obvious and biggest use for this is for snowy mountains, this texture looks amazing when blended with rough grass for a cliff face. Despite its name ‘Rock and snow’ it is a good all round rock texture.

2) Probably one of the most commonly used textures. This dark rock is a greta texture for most themes. However, like all textures, advoid repetiion. This texture works great belnded with all other rock tetxures. Even try it with the pink rocks!

3) A pink rock. Use alongside the other pink rock to help vary the texture. Also great with the grey rock (6) and the wet mud since all three have the same texture.

4) A grey rock. A very unique texture. It is very light and almost has a blue tint. Use with the other light grey rocks for a great effect.

5) Pink Rock. Normally used in desert or tropical maps. Blend with the other pink rock or sand/mud. Also works well with the dark rock.

6) As with the other pink rock (3) use with wet mud and three blend together well. Also use it as a base for the dark rock. Mix it in for great effect

7) This doesn’t really have much of a texture. A great texture for a base of a mountain. Also good to soften the texture. Due to its light colour I’ve used it alongside snow to reduce the brightness of the white.

Snow

snow1) A rough snow. It has a very strong texture. Use for snow scenes or place small amounts on the mountain tips. Blend with the wet mud or the rock-snow.

2) Ice. A pale blue cool colour. I use it for waters edges or for underwater scenes to make the water look colder. Ensuring the water is shallow with ice underneath makes the water look very cold!
3) A simple snow texure. Doesn’t have much of texture. Getting snow that doesn’t look bare and just white is difficult. Use the other snow textures as well mud and rough grass to help break up the white.

Sand and Tarmac

Sanf1) Tarmac. Normally used for paths or roads, however, as a texsture it is powerful. Used sparinlg tarmac can be used to darken any landscape. Use it on mountain peaks to darken them, or in mud/rough grass to make things look dark. Works well in spooky landscape or as a base of a volcano. I have used it in shallow water to give the water a darker colour. I also like using it against pink rock.

2) Plain sand. Plain, but good for beaches. Pehaps belnd some other sand in (including the light/dark sand we saw earlier)

3) Blend with sand. I also use it for underwater or to highlight hills.

4) Sand with stones. Blend with the sand. Good for underwater. I have also used it against dark rock, since the colour and tetxure of the stones in it works nicely with other rocks.

Examples

Here are a few parks I have done as well as a description about the textures.

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For the base, I have used a light sand. Using my messy base technique I have randomly mixed in some cracked mud and darker sand. Since it features a river, the area nearer the river has grass with flowers to show luch areas. The rock is just dark rock. Since the mountains are small, I don’t think the dark rock is over used.

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In this mountain range, the lower area was a rough grass, to show tougher, less healthy grass. Over the top I have mixed some grass with mud and some normal grass to give the grass some colour.

The lake and it’s bank is wet mud.

As for the mountains I have used rock and snow. On the peaks I have added snow. To break up the repitetion I added some dark rock and some lighter rocks.

The snow is a blend of smooth and rough snow. I have added snow underneath the trees on the grass land. Adding textures under trees helps emphasis them.

FrightNight

Not one of mine, but this in game park uses a base of normal grass and some mud. The borders of the cliffs use rough grass with a mixture of dark rock and rock and snow. You can see how effective the rock and snow texture can be when used without snow.

GhostTown

Another in game map. This had a base of light sand. Near the cliffs, dark sand was added. The mountains have a blend of the pink rock.

 

A final note on texturing, take your time intialy.

Do not waste your time. The less visible an area is the less time you should spend working on it. In fact, the area around the immidate ride is all you should spend much time texturing.

Have fun!

Tutorial – Avenging The Contours!

If you’re familiar with walking and maps you will know about contour lines. If you don’t, contour lines show the height of ground as well as the gradient. The closer the contour lines are together the steeper the incline.

RCT3 has contour lines and using them may prove very useful - especially in terraforming. They provide an easy way to determine height as well as gradient. In the image below, there is a small mountain range. On right image I have turned on the contour lines and we can see the gradient of the hill.

Shot0724So, how can we use these contour lines to aid our terraforming. For a starter, we can determine what is smooth. From the image on the left you can see that the central area of the range is fairly smooth – perhaps suitable for paths to be run up it?
However, when we turned on the contour lines we can see that not as much land is as smooth as we thought. The contour lines will help us determine the gradient and find out where will be suitable for building on.

However, one of my biggest uses is that of texturing. Since we can see the gradient it’s great to use them as a guide to texture. For example, the the more lines and the tighter they are the more mountainous we need to make our texturing. For example, applying a light rock texture across the lines in the centre with a darker texture to the areas that are steeper.

Any other uses?
A big use is for rivers or other bodies of water.

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From the following image we have a simple river. Applying details to the river bed such as

scenery or texture can be difficult whilst there is water in the river. If we remove the water and enable the contour lines, the contour lines show a line which we use to reflect the depth of the water.

I’m going to use apply some mud texture to the base of the river and some muddy grass to the sides of the river. Using the line it is easy to know when to stop each texture.

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Now we have nice textured river. Perhaps some rocks or some underwater plants would be nice. Using the lines we can get a great idea of the depth of the water.

No may be a good time to introduce the terrain avenger. This tool, is used to smooth terrain. It’s great for smoothing hills. It’s great for taking out areas of steep or rough terrain. It’s great for things such as rivers or oceans as you can create a gradual beach.

I’m going to use it for the river now to smooth some of the banks down:
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In the image below I have smoothed one side of the river. You tell that many of the contour lines have disappeared indicating that the edges are smooth.

The final result is shown below:

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As I said it’s great for making smooth beaches as the image below shows. The beach on the left has quite a sudden drop. However the one on the right is much smoother and realistic.

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Whether you find lots of use for the contour tool or not it is definatly worth knowing about. The avenging tool however is an extremely powerful and useful too for creating smooth hills, smooth terrain or smooth beaches.

Park Of The Week – Abletudus Island

Abletudus has been on a mini terraforming roll. In the last few days he has uploaded  three parks onto the application.

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Curious, I had a downloaded them and I had a look around. The parks all feature some great terraforming but they all share the grass terrain (some rock textures along the cliff edges would look great :p).
But, one park in particular intrigued me. That is: Abletudus Island. Surprisingly it is one of the few ‘Grass’ Islands and it’s terrain is truly unique. Using the ‘flatten’ tool Abletudus has created a layed island that gradually climbs – almost like steps. Building on here will be very interesting and very unique.

In fact – provided no one beats me to it – I plan on creating a project here myself!

Shot0719Despite the lack of texturing, the park is a blank canvas. We are all capable of adding some rock texturing here, some sand on the beaches etc. We can terrain the park as we choose.

The flexibility doesn’t end there however, Whilst taking the screenshots, I decided to adjust the water level and discovered another level to this park. The layers meant that you can adjust the water level higher around the park – decreasing the size of the island but massively changing its shape.

With the Terraforming change prior to V1.2s release creeping up – Abletudus has certainly been practising with his parks.

You can find this park under Island, Medium, Grass

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Tutorial – Mountains without the Mountain Tool

In my opinion, the mountain tool in RCT3 is a poorly named tool in the game. The tool creates a tall spike  - I don’t know about you – I have never seen a mountain that looks like that. So many parks I have seen have had these spikes sticking out the ground.

Spike Mountain

Spike Mountain not my favourites

Now I’m going to show you how make mountains that (in my opinion at least) look a lot more realistic without too much extra effort.

For our mountain, we are going to use the ‘Ridge’ tool. This will raise the ground more evenly. I suggest making the brush fairly big –  perhaps around 30-50 squares in size?

Now just drag over the area you want the mountain to be.

Of course, it is missing the key feature that exists on mountains – the peak/s. For this, we are going to stick to reduce the size of the ridge tool to as low as perhaps 8? The lower – the sharper the peak/s. 

Our Mountain To-be

Our Mountain To-be

 We are going to use this smaller brush to ‘rough’ up the mountain. We are going to add peaks to the sides and the tops of the mountain. Feel free to  experiment. Be careful not to make the peaks too big. Increase them fairly slowly.

Rough The Mountain Up

Rough The Mountain Up

I have turned the grid on so you can see the final result of our mountain.

Now for the textures. There are a huge variety of textures you can use for the mountains depending on your desired effect or theme. In this example, I am going to use a standard dark rock texture. Cover the mountain in your desired base texture.

You may want to touch up the parts around the mountain with as shown in the following image.

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Using the squares you can see the areas where the ground is steeper than elsewhere. In the more flat areas we are going to add some grass.

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Apply grass to the areas where the mountain isn’t as steep

Now, for the peaks we are going to add some snow. Hopefully this should finish the mountain off nicely.

A hint for apply these textures. Set your brush size to one square in size and make sure you colour one square at a time. It may take a while – but the effect is worth it.

I have only used three textures in this mountain. However, using more textures may produce a better result. Spending more time adding the peaks or blending the textures will create a better mountain.

Of course, different environments require different textures and mountains with different shapes. For example, a spooky environment I like using darker textures (such as tarmac) with steeper and more pointy peaks.

The choice is yours!

And here is my finished mountain!

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Sneak Peak at V1.2

Unfortunately there hasn’t been enough parks to choose a park of the week!
Get terraforming or building on what already exists! :p

 

Guys I have been busy working on V1.2 which promises to be the biggest update so far.
I’m going to show you the updated download menu which has had a overhaul.

Park Manager V1.2
What’s new (working left to right):
1) You can now do multi select on park sizes. Select parks that are small and medium, medium and large etc
2) Select multiple terrains at once.
3) You can now look for parks that don’t have. For example, you want mountains and hills but no island.
4) You can now search by rating. (More on ratings later)
5) You can now adjust the order of the results.

As you can see…it’s been a big update. However, that’s now all. There’s some even more exciting additions – but I’ll cover those later!)

Regarding a release date?
I’m going to setup a challenge…a terraforming challenge. The update will only be released when a certain about of parks have been uploaded. I’ll reveal the target later – but for now get brushing up your terraforming skills (head over to my blog for tutorials!)

Tutorial – Flattening in Increments to create Islands

If you’re going to terraform or even building on terraformed maps – you need to know about increments.

In RCT3, you can raise the ground by small amounts a time – in fact, lift a floor tile as little as 1cm off the ground. This allows you create beautifully smooth and realistic landscapes. However, raising the ground by 1cm a time has a problem – scenery can only be raised 1m at a time.

The tile on the left is raised less than a metre. SInce scenery can only be placed on exact metres (for eg 0m, 1m, 2m etc) the wall is floating,

The tile on the left is raised less than a metre. SInce scenery can only be placed on exact metres (for eg 0m, 1m, 2m etc) the wall is floating,

Quite often, when working on terraformed maps you may find scenery floating above the ground. That is because – although the ground looks flat…it isn’t an exact metre (may be 1.1m say).

This is where increments come in. Increments allow you raise or lower the ground in increments of 1m. Therefore, when you adjust the ground using the increments you are guaranteed not to have floating scenery.

You can raise/lower the ground in increments or even flatten the ground. Flattening the ground…does as it says…flattens the ground – but if you flatten with increments it ensures that the ground is suitable for building rides/scenery.

Top: flatten tools Bottom: raise/lower Note: the tools that adjust in increments have contour lines around them...

Top: flatten tools
Bottom: raise/lower
Note: the tools that adjust in increments have contour lines around them…

The flatten tool is a very useful tool for creating areas of flat ground suitable for building on. One of my favourite uses is to create a series of tropical islands. That’s what I’m going to show you now.

Firstly, cover your park in base texture. Perhaps mud or as in my example sand. Go to one edge of the map and using any tool lower the ground a little as shown in the image below:

Lower The Ground On One Edge

Lower The Ground On One Edge

Now select the ‘Flatten In Increments’ tool and click and hold the mouse at the base of the hole you made. See how the ground is flattened to that depth?

Flatten The Hole You Made

Flatten The Hole You Made

The next part is the fun bit. Holding the mouse down move it across the map, creating islands as you do…

This is a really easy way to create a series of island. And note, that since we flattened the ground in increments it will be easy for us to build in the water – which may prove useful if the islands don’t provide much dry land!

 

Continue flattening the ground to create islands

Continue flattening the ground to create islands

In my example, I’ve just done a small part of the map. But once you fill it with water you’ll find you’ll have a series of islands. Of course, you may want to spend a little bit more time than I did to ensure they look better.

Once you’ve added some water, perhaps add some patches of grass on the island?
Experiment with textures. If you look at my Black Fire Swamp on the application – that was made in the same way, expect – instead of using sand – I used tarmac.

 

As I hope you’ve learnt from this tutorial, increments provide a great way to edit terrain to create a perfect base to build upon. Hopefully you’ll understand why you get floating scenery and more importantly…

…You should have a nice terraformed island map!

Server Side Update

SERVER SIDE UPDATE
I have just completed a big update to the server side of the application.
If you search for a path but the application cannot find a matching park – the details of your park will be stored.

This means, I can see what parks you want but don’t exist!
It’s a very very very easy way to request parks that you want

There is, alias, one problem. Instead of getting a message saying “Could not find parks” you now receive an error “Error connecting”.

Keep searching :D