Author Topic:  Cellanys Basic Terraforming Tutorial  (Read 851 times)

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Miss Cellany

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Cellanys Basic Terraforming Tutorial
« on: September 14, 2014, 11:55:43 PM »
Hel~lo!
I made this Guide *forever ago, but forgot to post* to help those people who want to start terraforming but don't know where to begin, or just want to learn 'a new trick'.
For the time being I will:

Cover the basics of terraforming in Total Miner 'as I have come to learn it'.
There are a myriad of different techniques and styles that can be used, and the best terraformers develop their own!
So hopefully this guide will get you started on becoming the next "name" in Terraforming! ;)


Before we Begin:
I've outlined a few points for you to note before beginning this Tutorial. I ask that you read this before the rest as there is pertinent info inside!

-I reiterate my statement above, that this guide is simply the way that I have come to terraform my maps.
While I will share the various techniques I have picked up along the way, please do keep in mind that this is in no way the only way to terraform!

-I DO NOT recommend that you begin your terraforming project in a existing map or developed world. I suggest you create a new creative map as you will be doing major editing.
I do not take responsibility should you ignore the prior warning. As always it is safest to create a backup of your TMF Data file onto a USB. There's a guide for that here

-Please note that the step-by-step portion of this tutorial will be using the System Terrain Kit for the Terraforming with Component Packs section - Feel free to make your own or use a different one. The basics should remain the same across all Terrain Kit Packs, regardless of which one used.





Learning the Tools of Total Miner



   Hand Terraforming: Learn it!
      
Spoiler for content:
There are many pros to hand sculpting terrain, building it up block by block.
The most obvious of these is the amount of detail and character that comes out.
While there may be guides to show you how to do this out there, and you are free to refer to them, I won't be showing you a step by step guide to hand terraforming; Instead I will give you some exercises, challenges if you will, that will help you to develop your own style.. Let your own creativity flow y'know?
-Make sure to leave me a photo of these completed challenges in your post below! I love seeing peoples Terrain Projects!

Please note that these are techniques I found to be helpful when learning to terraform.

All these challenges should be done by hand, no sissying out and using creative features the first timearound!!!


      The First Challenge: Make a pond
-Add as much details as possible, google one if you've yet to see one in person. Go Nuts, take as much time as you need. Carefully mold every little dip and curve. Blow my mind.
      
      The Second of the Hand Terraforming Challenges: Make a hill
-Steeped on one side and gently sloping in the other. Go the whole ten and add all the details a hill could have, make it a beacon of nature, or a vision of despair, flaming with the tears of lesser terraformers. Go crazy!

      The Third Challenge: Make a River!
-With all the trimmings. Curve it around a hill maybe? Add a sandy bank, or a muddy ford. cattails and gravels. Take as much time as you want or none at all, just make sure that it pukes details into the faces of whomever sees it!

      The Fourth Challenge: Make a Plains/Grasslands Biome area
-This is a little more difficult. I would recommend you start from a Flat map.
I say that this exercise is more difficult because it is a relatively flat terrain type.
There is little in the way of visual height changes to break up the monotony, Instead relying on grass, different block types, leaves, and trees will be what makes this biome exercise difficult.
These kinds of biomes are usually larger than most and have very little elevation change. Details will make this biome type shine, so be sure to put as much as you can in!

      The Fifth Challenge: Make a series of rocks
-Small ones, jagged ones, weathered in a stream, jutting from the ground like Atlas holding the world, peppered with different rock types, smooth long ones hidden in the grass, stout wide ones, thin fingerlike ones, craggled old ones. Red ones, blue ones, green and gray. Mossy or clean.. this one is a fun one to mess around with.

      The Sixth Challenge: Make a cave!
-A small one, a large one, stalactites and stalagmites, overgrown mossy one, or a empty hollow echoing with the neglect of detail.
Make it connect to others and twist and turn, double back or dead end, or have roots dangling from the ceiling, water dripping or lava pouring..
It sounds easier said than done but a cave is only as good as the level of detail put into it.

      The Seventh: A waterfall
...Sounds easy huh? Do it by hand. Believe it or not there's a surprising amount of detail that you can add into this feature. Google a handful if your lost on how to do one. The norm doesn't cut it. Add all the details you can think of!


      
   Effective use of Explosives: Boom!!

      
Spoiler for content:
This is the most fun way to terraform for me by far! TNT, C4, Grenades, and Boom arrows are like the carve tool of Total Miner!

There are a few exercises you can do to familiarize yourself with using explosives for terraforming.
-Start a new creative map, toggle combat off & dig a hole 15 blocks down. Plant a TNT, light it & observe the blast radius.
-Now move over 15 blocks, and repeat the experiment with C4.
-Move over 15 again, dig down 10 blocks, aim a Grenade launcher at the bottom block & take notice of the damage caused.
-Do the same using boom arrows.

The reason I asked you to do this is so you can observe the blast radius of these tools. This will come in handy when doing the following exercises;

      First : Make a river
-Using explosives, mark the course of the center of your river, keeping in mind the blast radius of both TNT and C4. Make sure to stack the explosives accordingly.
Usually, TNT on the third block above the center line will explode a layer off of the ground. Using that info, use the explosives to carve your river.
After it's all done replace the exposed layers with whatever material your using for the river and voila! ..Add any details you learned when hand terraforming a river and you got a semi-quick way to a decent river!

      Second: Make giant blocks of varying heights and widths
Connect them or leave a small gap. Build it up as big as you want, or not! Just make sure that the cubes that are stacked are a couple of blocks smaller than the one below it. -(pro-tip: don't make it too big or your gonna regret it! >,<)
When you have the basic shape down, get a Launcher and bow on your hotbar. You're gonna explode the corners! Yay!
Go around the chunks of rock with the launcher first. The corners will have floating blocks as a result of the explosion, disregard that, you'll fix it later!
Once all the corners have been "smoothed", start "smoothing" the hard edges of the chunks.
    Now using boom arrows, smooth the edges and connect any slope-like ridges.
When you're done running around exploding rocks like a madman (+cred for wearing the Madman Skin! >,<), get a hammer and remove any floating blocks, & fill in any single holes.
Smooth the areas till you're as pleased as a peach!
After all the explosions and smoothing out are done, use whatever tools to add details to your new terrain feature - I like making jaggy hills near the base of these kinds of mountain; pepper the base with scoria, dirt and whatever block you used to make this feature.


   Flood, Fill, Replace: They're not useless!
      There's a quick guide on the forums explaining how to use the markers that are needed for these creative functions.
Check it out here if you don't know what they are.
The rest of this guide will assume you have familiarised yourself with them.


      Flood: This here feature is stupid useful if your like me and tend to spruce up your ocean floors before adding the water in 'em.
In relation to terraforming though, this tool is pretty self explanatory.. You got a few odd looking holes you want filled, pop a marker at the height you need it filled in, select the block and BAM! Instant(ish) flood fill!
The Flood tool can use almost any block so don't forget about using this feature when making rivers or oceans and anything else that needs a bit of filling.


      Fill: Hoo-boy! This little gem has been around for awhile, does it even need explaining at this point?! Either way this tool comes in handy for filling in those queer holes as well as the flood feature.
Unlike the flood feature, fill only shoves blocks in the pre-defined area set up by markers. So, ya got it yet?


      Replace: Oh Baby! This is my favorite tool in Total Miner, right up there with editing NPC text and the Books! Super useful and uber fun when used in conjunction with existing System Terrain tools. Neglect this tool and-and well your a tool! :P
In all seriousness though, I found that using the Replace Feature with my terrain kit allows for some pretty darned awesome biome types! Replace the grass and grassy stones on any of the Grassy Transitionals, and BOOM, Instant Desert/Wasteland biome tool! -Or better yet, swap the Snow out with Sand, the Diotite with Sandstone on the Snowy Rock Tools and Presto, Insta(ish) Mesa tool!
I love this feature and I swear to god I'll box your ears if I find out you read this whole guide and still complain about lack of biome tools in my packs! (Harrumph to all you haters!)



   Components: Fun Stuff, dudes...
*NOTICE* I realize the pics are broken...still working on that...kinda :p just visualize if you feel like reading still...


      
Spoiler for content:
This one it a bit of a doozy to cover... but I'll do my best!
There's a guide on the forums explaining how to load, save & paste components
Check it out here if you don't know how to use them.
The rest of this guide will assume you have familiarised yourself with them.

Using Components to terraform is like a warped version of Voxel Sniper.
Instead of various sphere sizes to place you have pre-made land chunks.
Instead of a carve tool you got explosives.
Instead of a smooth tool we have a hammer (PSA:your hand will eventually hurt from this!)
While you are free to use your own pack, this guide will be using the System Terrain tools since everyone has access to it.

While I can explain the basis of different terrain types, however to familiarize yourself with the capabilities of Component Terraforming I will be providing a Instructional Guide on creating one of the easiest terrain features; A mountain.

      1) Select your area and prepare the ground. Selecting a larger Rock Type from the Terrain Kit, Paste one down with the merge or no overwrite attribute.
Paste again roughly halfway up on the last paste. Like So:

When you have finished setting up the base of the mountain, find a smaller Rock type you like from the Terrain tools and in a conical fashion, paste more above the existing pasted components.

From the photo below you can see that I used the Rock Peak tool and Merged my Pastes;




      2) Once the general shape of the mountian is finished you can either choose to use a Snowy piece from the Terrain Kit or do as in the following picture and layer the top few Rock Layers with Snow blocks;



If you are using a Component, keep in mind to NO OVERWRITE Paste at least one block above the rocks. Like so:



      3) Once you have the main chunk of the mountain done, turn your attention to its base.
Using a Transitional piece you can either No Overwrite or Merge the Transition piece around the base of the mountain.
Never mind if it doesn't smooth well with the ground yet. When your done it should resemble something similar to this:


      4) With the transitional pieces down you can now use the grassy pieces to smooth the base of your mountain into the ground; Similar to this:


      5) With the main part of your mountain complete, all that's left is to add finishing details.
First scatter long grass and flowers, like so:


Then add small bushes and little rock outcroppings. Like this:


Finally add the trees

Please note that I am using my own personal Custom Trees pack in this photo.
There are a great many tree packs out there by various community members, grab as many as you can and experiment with them to find the ones you like best!

   


   Other Creative Tools: Uber Important in a Not Always Kinda Way! :p
   
By other Creative tools I mean the Clear Random Feature really. Forget scattering lots of dirt in that large flat area by hand; Mark the area and use the Clear Random tool once or twice (depends on the amount of material you're adding), then replace the air with whatever block you want.. and just like that, you've got bits and pieces scattered faster than a mouse in Cat shelter!

This section is still in progress too, sorry
Spoiler for Hidden Content:
-Practical Application: A Lets Build of Sorts! (with Pictures!)
Click the Spoilers for pretty pictures if your brain is starting to hurt from all that reading (like mine! :D )
This portion of the guide will show how to make a basic custom terrain area.
For the purpose of this guide and to provide some contrast I will be using a Grasslands Map type during this portion of the guide.
Here I will be using every technique/ tricks I've explained in the Above guides.

   -Choosing a Project: Know your limits! (Hint: it's the sky! :P)

   -Laying a Foundation: A house on the Sand, Yadda-Yadda.

   -Getting a Rough Started: Between a Rock and a Hard Place, not THAT silly! ;D

   -Refining the Terrain: Stop! It's Hammah time! >///<

   -Decorating the Terrain: Deck the Halls!

   -Adding Final Quirks: Magnifique!

Jectz

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Re: Cellanys Basic Terraforming Tutorial
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2014, 11:58:12 PM »
Very nice guide Cellany well done on this!
Welcome, come on inside...


Gary

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Re: Cellanys Basic Terraforming Tutorial
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2014, 12:00:06 AM »
Great work on this guide! Wondering when it would come out ;)


               

Link to my youtube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCo4rmelSOUB9YMM0Is-zWyQ

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Re: Cellanys Basic Terraforming Tutorial
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2014, 12:06:20 AM »
Very useful and well organized guide. Terraforming is one of my weak points so this guide was particularly useful to me. Great job!


RXZ x REPLAYZz

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Re: Cellanys Basic Terraforming Tutorial
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2014, 02:37:41 AM »
Nice guide, I might try some of those challenges! ;)

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Re: Cellanys Basic Terraforming Tutorial
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2014, 02:48:15 AM »
I love terraforming, now that I have finally got a grasp on it. It's so interesting to see these other ways and challenges to do terraforming, well done Miss Cellany! /sage

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Re: Cellanys Basic Terraforming Tutorial
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2014, 02:29:33 PM »
Yay, its here!

Also, if I may add a technique for Pointy and thin, jagged mountains(this involves some lag, and scripts/markers, but not hard.):

Its a bit tricky, but make a ball of Teflon(it needs to have blocks under it to hold it into shape. About a 5x5 or a 7x7 will be perfect.

Next copy, then replace(clipboard) whatever block was holding the Teflon needs to be air. Next, save your Teflon ball.

Now just paste above your starting position, and keep going up as you paste, also moving sideways or any direction(slightly, as you want it to be tall and jagged)

Now, the boring part(at least for me)

CLEAR CHANGE LOG
You need to highlight the area around the Teflon, and replace air, to air(this will give you your script and coordinates. Next make a new script from change log and replace the before air to Teflon, and the after air to your rock type.

Last step(optional)
To have snowy mountains, make a square above your mountains of some block(any) and then make the same block +1 height directly above it but with Teflon. Clear the bottom layer and let it "snow". Next, script the Teflon, just as before, and change it to snow.

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Re: Cellanys Basic Terraforming Tutorial
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2014, 02:33:22 PM »
Yay, its here!

Also, if I may add a technique for Pointy and thin, jagged mountains(this involves some lag, and scripts/markers, but not hard.):

Its a bit tricky, but make a ball of Teflon(it needs to have blocks under it to hold it into shape. About a 5x5 or a 7x7 will be perfect.

Next copy, then replace(clipboard) whatever block was holding the Teflon needs to be air. Next, save your Teflon ball.

Now just paste above your starting position, and keep going up as you paste, also moving sideways or any direction(slightly, as you want it to be tall and jagged)

Now, the boring part(at least for me)

CLEAR CHANGE LOG
You need to highlight the area around the Teflon, and replace air, to air(this will give you your script and coordinates. Next make a new script from change log and replace the before air to Teflon, and the after air to your rock type.

Last step(optional)
To have snowy mountains, make a square above your mountains of some block(any) and then make the same block +1 height directly above it but with Teflon. Clear the bottom layer and let it "snow". Next, script the Teflon, just as before, and change it to snow.

Interesting method, I may have to try it sometime.