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.
So, 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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.