Terrain Tutorial

Part 1 - Intro!

OK, so often (just about every day) I see terrain in a map or a screenshot that looks similar to what is pictured below...

It's horrible, you can't say that looks remotly realistic. When was the last time you were out walking outside (hahaha :p) and saw the bottom of a cliff that was made out of 45 and 90 degree corners O_o Every time I see one of those 90/45 degree corners it makes me want to stab myself in the eyes with a pen. It's just rubbish. Also, the texture alignment on the rocks sucks and it's a high poly way of doing things. This is because most people either don't know how to use the terrain brush builder properly, or they are lazy and want to use terra edit (teh evil program which spawns the horrible 45 and 90 degree corners).

A classic example of this would be CTF-ProjectX and ProjectX2. They are both really solid maps, ProjectX2 is one of the better ctf maps out there, but when you look at it critically, you see these 90 degree corners everywhere, and combined with the horrible terrain textures, it just makes you puke (well, not quite, but it's not nice to look at)

In this tutorial, I want to give people a step by step guide on how I make decent terrain. I won't start by saying this is the only way to do it, one of the other popular techniqes is to use a load of tessalated cubes to make a giant tessalated cube and mould it. That tequnique by far owns this one when it comes to making more dramatic terrain with really tall cliffs on either side. It's the technique used all the way through Operation Na Pali. However, that is almost useless when it comes to making large outdoor areas with low hills and rolling mountains (what most people want to do when they try to use terra edit.
So if you want to make a dramatic, narrow canyon with steep sides, then this technique isn't the best (I would give a link to the tutorial on the tessalated cube technique but I have absoloutly no idea where I saw it...

A final note, this tutorial is not meant to be a bible, you don't HAVE to follow it step by step. Most likely, when you start getting more practice with terrain you'll want to do things in a different order. Maybe you'll come up with some new techniques so that you find a quicker or better way to do things. This tutorial only represents the way that I use to make MY terrain. It's just what I found worked best for me over the last 1-2 years.
And REALLY REALLY finally, the entire of this tutorial and all it's content are copyright to Michael "Bot_40" Rippon, 2003. It was all made by me and it's all mine. Don't even think about ripping it or I'll send the zlal mob round to break your kneecaps.

So without further rambling, let's get started. First up, I'll be using extensive vertex editing and I will be doing 90% of this entirely in the 3D view. I don't use the side/front views at all when making terrain and the top view only rarely. Since there will probably be people reading this who have no idea how to vertex edit entirely in the 3D view I will briefly go over this technique before I start designing the terrain.

PART 2 - Vertex editing in the 3D View