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Infinite Terrain Pack

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Graphics Modpacks' started by orlanth, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. orlanth

    orlanth Storm God. Yarr!

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    For your modding enjoyment.. over 200 new Terrain Textures for use in Civ4 or Civ4 Colonization! :cool::king:

    This pack contains dozens of unique terrains, from picturesque agricultural landscapes to searing magma fields and freezing arctic wastes, fetid swamps and misty moors for fantasy fans, a wide variety of otherwordly planetary surfaces and rare rocks & minerals for scifi mods, and even a few exotic choices like circuit boards or glowing plasma for truly adventuresome total-conversion modders.

    Of course I could never have drawn these myself - a huge thanks to SpiralGraphics.biz for making a set of royalty-free seamless texture jpgs available for download. Also thanks to tesb and other makers of the mod Master of Mana; from which I learned the trick of using a single "blend" and "grids" dds file for a large set of textures. Thanks to this I was able to quickly convert a big set of jpgs to useable Civ4 terrains using a Photoshop macro.

    To use a terrain texture:
    Spoiler :
    1) copy your desired textures (and the included LandBlend.dds & LandGrids.dds) into your Assets/Art/Terrain/Textures folder
    2) edit your Assets/XML/Art/CIV4ArtDefines_Terrain.xml file to create new entries for your terrains. Add your new terrain BEFORE the hills and mountains, and adjust <LayerOrder> tags of each terrain so they're different and in ascending order. For all new terrains, set <Path> and <Grid> to:
    <Path>Art/Terrain/Textures/LandBlend.dds</Path>
    <Grid>Art/Terrain/Textures/LandGrids.dds</Grid>
    3) set <Detail> to the path for your desired texture, e.g.
    <Detail>Art/Terrain/Textures/Fertile/Agrarian.dds</Detail>
    4) if modding in Civ4 instead of Colonization, download the attached btsterrain.zip, and copy the included files to your mods Art/Terrain/Textures folder
    I've only tested most of these in Colonization so far, but I think they should work in basic Civ4 as well. For some of them I added an alpha channel to make the water sparkle using Civ4Col shader system; if this causes problems reset the alpha channel to black using Gimp or Photoshop.

    To make your own new terrain textures for use with this, first find a seamless graphic you want to use (e.g. google image search for "seamless sky texture"), then open it in GIMP or Photoshop, resize to 512 x 512 pixels, and save as a dds file. (select DXT3 and use mipmaps as options while saving.)

    argh it won't let me upload files over 10MB.. :rolleyes: for now I've uploaded it as several zips to the database below:
    http://forums.civfanatics.com/downloads.php?do=cat&id=41

    Since there are literally several hundred terrains included I don't have enough time & storage space to upload screenshots for every one, but there are several ways to preview them. The best way is to use the free DDS Thumbnail Viewer lets you see thumbnails of all dds files when browsing in Windows Explorer:
    http://www.nvidia.com/object/dds_thumbnail_viewer.html
    You can also open the files with any graphics viewer for a closer look. Also the original source images can be browsed on spiralgraphics website:
    http://www.spiralgraphics.biz/packs/terrain_civilization/index.htm
     

    Attached Files:

  2. orlanth

    orlanth Storm God. Yarr!

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    An Expert Farmer tills the verdant fields and pastures near the colony of Isabella.


    A portly Master Distiller glumly surveys Great Dismal Swamp, while beavers cavort in a nearby lagoon


    A scene from the ill-fated French effort to colonize Hell, presumably in search of the 3 tiles of pure sapphire located mid-screen. The colonists look on hungrily as lava crabs cavort in a pool of magma :mischief::p


    Rocky


    Arctic


    Scifi​
     
  3. keldath

    keldath LivE LonG AnD PrOsPeR

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    wow looks amazing, my god the amount and possibilities...awesome...

    will be great for barsoon ;)
     
  4. LunarMongoose

    LunarMongoose King

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    <picks jaw up off floor>

    There is no way that's Civ4. It has to be Civ5 or something.

    ...

    Nope, not possible.

    ...

    Seriously?

    ...

    Nah, can't be.
     
  5. LunarMongoose

    LunarMongoose King

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    Oh, I see, it's Colonization. Whew, scared me for a bit there! I thought the buildings, units, trees, water, and interface were all new as well. Sorry, my fault; I've never actually SEEN what Col looks like before, lol.

    I was right though - it WASN'T Civ4! :D

    Still amazing terrain though. :) That lagoon, in particular, looks awesome; I hope it's part of the terrain. Whelp, I'll find out in a minute hehe.
     
  6. orlanth

    orlanth Storm God. Yarr!

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    Haha thanks :king:
    Yeah, pretty much everything you see on the ground itself is part of the terrain textures. I haven't tested them all in base Civ4 itself, let me know if there are any problems displaying them especially the ones with alpha channel in the DDS.

    I'd have to say Civ4Col actually has better graphics in general than Civ5 itself.. the Civ5 water is very pretty but many of those shader improvements are present in Civ4Col, and some of the Civ5 forests look like some kind of flattened steamed broccoli :crazyeye: It's very frustrating that the prospects for true total conversion modding in Civ5 is so limited, with extreme difficulty in changing anything like terrain graphics, resources, improvements, sounds etc. Let's hope this terrain pack can help stimulate plenty of creative total conversion modding in Civ4/Civ4Col! :king:

    Anyway more people should give Civ4Col a try, especially the recent mods such as Religion & Revolution (and my own 2071 :mischief:). With recently modded AI improvements and many additional new features, the strategy involved with multiple yield types really adds a lot to the game. The experienced modder raystuttgart has just started a new scifi mod which I am excited about. If anyone's interested to participate definitely check out the thread and upcoming subforum.
     
  7. LunarMongoose

    LunarMongoose King

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    Speaking of water, I'm EXTEMELY excited about the new graphics I was able to make for it by modifying Sezereth's FFH water, so don't count Civ4 water out yet. ;)

    Here's the post with the screenshots I put up a month ago, if you're interested. (It's not available yet though; it'll be released when MM 4.1 is done in another week or so.)

    I was saying for over 6 months before Civ5 came out, to anyone who would listen, that Civ5 was going to suck, and to not get your hopes up, or waste your time or money with it.

    But as usual, no one listened. Sigh.

    Unfortunately I have my hands completely full maintaining my own Civ4 mod, and that will probably remain the case for quite a while yet...
     
  8. TheLadiesOgre

    TheLadiesOgre Aspiring Codesmith

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    These are gorgeous. tyvm good sir.
     
  9. Lemon Merchant

    Lemon Merchant Superconductor Moderator

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    I must be doing something wrong. It isn't working right for me. Notice what it does to the shoreline when I use the "commonground" texture in BTS:

    Fail0000.JPG

    I followed the instructions, and this is what the map generator gives me. It's strange because the screenies in this thread show clean shorelines. I'm puzzled. :crazyeye:
     
  10. LunarMongoose

    LunarMongoose King

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    His screenshots are from a different game: Colonization (as discussed above ;)). It apparently has a different mechanism for rendering coastlines.

    I know from my own recent work that Civ4's graphics engine extends water tiles out an extra half-tile distance further than they actually are, in order to render a transition zone between Coast and Ocean.

    This causes an annoying problem for me as well with my new intermediate Sea depth (specifically half-tile displacement), which I doubt is fixable. In this case though, it would be theoretically possible to fix the problem by creating the missing parts of the texture graphics. I doubt it'll be easy for him to do though, heh.
     
  11. orlanth

    orlanth Storm God. Yarr!

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    Thanks for the report.. I didn't realize the Civ4 coasts used such a different system!

    Fortunately I think I've jury-rigged a way to resolve the Coast transitions in Civ4. Once again I based it on the solution used by the Civ4 mod Master of Mana; they used a modified Coastblends and Coastgrids dds files to overcome this; so I included these at the top of this thread for use by Civ4 modders.

    Below, a Civ4 Spy surveys some of the dank swamps found in the "Fertile" pack: :king:
     
  12. WilliamOfOrange

    WilliamOfOrange King

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    Dude! These are sweet!! Will take a look at using them in my mod if I ever get there.
     
  13. Keinpferd

    Keinpferd King

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    Very nice orlanth! I have to report a problem, though. We're using one of your textures in Pie's Ancient Europe, the sand dune desert, and it looks like it's not Mac compatible. (Hope I'm wrong!;))

    Numider im Grauen.jpg

    When I put a few of your textures in my Mac BTS, I got these greyish tiles as shown above. I figured I made a stupid mistake until I found, I'm getting the same when opening a map from within the game, which already has the new Sahara freshly implemented (unpublished version from Pie's server). For everybody else the desert seems to show fine.

    I suppose it's in the LandBlend und LandGrid files. Do you have a chance to work something out for us Mac users?
     
  14. orlanth

    orlanth Storm God. Yarr!

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    Thanks for the report keinpferd. Unfortunately I don't have access to a Mac and am not familiar with them, so I'm not sure how to make those Mac-compatible. Perhaps its worth a try to open them on your Mac in a graphics program, then save them so they are in the right format. You might also try to either remove or inverse the alpha channel as well to see if that might help. I'm not sure what else to try, but did a google search "convert dds to mac", I hope something in there might help you?
     
  15. Keinpferd

    Keinpferd King

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    Thank you for the quick reply! I'll let you know, when I find a solution.;)
     
  16. tesb

    tesb Emperor

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    as orlanth mentioned i was the "inventor" of the technique and the bug that you are having is the only one dowside of displaying terrain in this manner.

    basically the terrain uses the big blend and grid textures just for blending, while the actual looks is in the detail texture. the problem is that certain computers (like old laptops, even my onboard graphic card displays detail textures) can not display detail textures thus you only see the grey blend/grid textures. there is no way to fix this besides getting a system that can display detail textures. there might be a hidden option in some *.ini file that forces the drawing of detail textures, but i am not aware of one. the funny thing is that if your system can display detail textures you cannot disable them even if you set all graphical options to the lowest possible and vice versa.

    from a technical standpoint the technique saves a ton of memory.
    basically in vanilla the scaling is
    1 terrain type = 1 blend texture (1024*512 with alpha) + 1 grid (1024*512 with alpha) + 1 detail (512*512 without alpha)

    with this technique:
    shared by all terrain types:
    1 blend texture (1024*512 with alpha) + 1 grid (1024*512 with alpha)
    and the scaling is:
    1 terrain type = 1 detail (512*512 without alpha)
     
  17. tesb

    tesb Emperor

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    another comment on this method:

    as i said vanilla cIV uses blend/grids textures for the terrain that are twice as big as the detail textures, this means the vanilla setup can cover double (not entirely true, like most things it is a lot more complicated in reality) the tiles before stuff gets repeated. (the problem is that it is very hard to make new texture because the blending is a bit complicated)

    with the technique used in this mod or master of mana a detail texture covers 4 tiles and then gets repeated (using bigger textures does not change that). what that means is, if you have a texture that employs easily recognized patterns you will easily spot the repeat of the texture especially if you zoom out and/or have a large piece of the same terrain. my general advice is that when you make a texture avoid big and or easily spotted patterns on your texture. map scrips can also help by avoiding a lot of tiles (18+) of the same terrain next to each other.

    another advice for terrain textures in general:
    i usually avoid making textures with a lot of sharpness (color contrast, sharpness filter, brightness contrast etc.). a highly detailed terrain might look nice on first sight, but it strains the eyes after a while and it disobeys on primary role of terrain: it does not fade in the background. if you take a glimpse look at terrain you should easily recognize features, units and cities.

    it took me quite a lot of iteration in master of mana to arrive at terrain that looks decent while staying in the background and not easily showing repeating patterns.

    examples:
    hell terrain with a new tileable feature (spiky plants)
    Spoiler :


    grassland with mountains:
    Spoiler :


    grasslands with mountains and a volcano:
    Spoiler :


    more grassland, features, units and volcano:
    Spoiler :


    defiled land near an undead city: also tundra, hills, mountains and other stuff:
    Spoiler :
     
  18. orlanth

    orlanth Storm God. Yarr!

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    Thanks for that insight tesb. Those are some great new MoM terrains/features, I'm looking forward to the next release! I really like that new shroom forest on your forum as well :king::smoke:;)

    For keinpferd and others, if you have an older computer that can't display detail terrains but still want to try new textures, I would guess you could try these basic steps to make terrain the conventional way:

    1) Make a copy of vanilla PlainsBlends.dds and PlainsGrids.dds file and rename these for your new terrain
    2) Open the detail texture you want to use, and paste copies of it onto your new Blends and Grids files while leaving the alpha channels intact. If you have a seamless texture, I'd think you could fit one copy at the top and one at the bottom.
    3) If you want to keep the show grids option, you can also make a copy of the gridlines from vanilla PlainsGrids.dds (using Color Range Select or similar tools in Gimp/Photoshop to get only the gridlines) then paste them onto your new Grids dds.

    I think that should work, but some details of the terrain system are still a mystery to me (the TextureBlend settings in CIV4ArtDefines_Terrain are wayy too much to figure out :crazyeye:)

    Anyway, I'm really hoping many of these terrains could find use in Civ4Colonization modding, where it could add a lot to gameplay to incorporate a wide variety of local terrains with subtle differences, and you wouldn't need huge swaths of a single terrain type. For base Civ4 and most other strategy games, apart from the improved graphical appearance most mods won't want a really large variety of terrain types at once, since the possible differences in gameplay are limited to a few yields plus defensive bonuses etc. However in Civ4Colonization, some of the more recent mods have now enabled 20 or more different types of independently tradable economic Yields. So having access to a diverse variety of terrains and features could open up really interesting strategic possibilities if these are balanced carefully. :science:
     
  19. tesb

    tesb Emperor

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    that does not work sadly. the main reason i changed the terrain texture setup was not to save memory (although it is a nice sideffect) but to make creation of new terrain much easier. the problem is that the way vanilla terrain textures are used (i.e. most of the look is in the blend and grids textures) is that those textures are broken up into 64*64 patches that are quite complicated placed to each other. you either have to make a huge hassle to find out how this works or you are restricted to use seamless 64*64 textures which significantly reduces the options you have.
     
  20. AIAndy

    AIAndy Deity

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    Here is how I think it works:
    The blend texture is broken up into 128*128 pieces and numbered (so from 1 to 32 in the 512*1024 textures). Those pieces are not centered on plot centers but instead on the middle of 4 plots each. That means up to 4 different blend textures will be rendered on top of each other there (with 4 different terrain types next to each other), so layer order and alpha matters.
    Which of the pieces to use is mapped by the TextureBlend map.
    Depending on which of the 4 plots have the terrain type we are just looking at we take a different line of the TextureBlend map. The numbers from 1 to 15 there are actually from the binary representation of has/has not terrain with least significant bit being the upper left plot and then clockwise.
    So 1001 means upper left and lower left plot have the same terrain that we want to choose a texture piece for, which means TextureBlend9 is the line checked. That line has piece number then a comma and then the rotation in degrees. It can also have multiple alternatives separated by space (that is common for the 1111 case, which means TextureBlend15, as that is the case when no other terrain is blended in so it gets boring if there are not some alternatives).
     

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