3ds Max method of finishing landscape tiles.

Assumes you have the landscape file plus the Max script bruno wrote ( badly ) for processing. The landscape tiles all have unique names and are arranged to that they line up correctly. When exported as .fbx & imported to UDK the 3DsMax 0,0,0 point is the origin of the tile so they easily fit  together in UDK. All of the tiles have had a script run on them to randomise the colour of each poly (from 4 colours) – However what I’m doing now is modifying them by adding a 5th colour which represents the rock faces, on the mountainy bits and for the flatter bits by the sea, adding thickness to the ice sheets. Don’t worry about the horrific colour scheme, its just to see what’s going on. The final colours are very subtle. Currently each tile is a group which contains 2 LODS. These have to be recreated also.

In the 3dsmax file I have 3 layers. Done by bruno and Will be done by bruno – I will take care of these tiles so just concentrate on the rest – I think they are all mountain tiles. 

So to begin….

When you open the file, check Adopt the File’s Unit Scale.

The terrain file is basically one big island – tiles in the middle I will refer to as ’mountain tiles’. Parts on the edge I will refer to as ‘coastline tiles

– for a Mountain tile

01. Select a tile, In Utilities under Level of Detail select an LOD from the list  and click Remove From Set, do this for both LODs

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02. Hit Group, Ungroup. Then delete the lower resolution mesh (which is the lower detail LOD)

03. Select the remaining hi-res mesh Rclick and Convert To Editable Poly, then select the Polygon button in the Modify menu, then in the menu ribbon under Selection, select ByNormal, in Y with a setting of between 18-23 – you can fiddle this to get some nice cracks and crevices slected If that isn’t looking so good then try with Selection By Surface Concave or a combination of both methods  to match the already processed tiles. 

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04. When you have a good selection, Under Modify in the Polygon Material IDs section Set ID to 5, then go to the Material Editor and apply the 5way material (that i made, its stripy looking) it will make the selection go dark grey.

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05. Also need to make UV channels for the thing. So just  select all polys & apply a UnwrapUVW modifier, -planar mapping is fine, but open the UV Editor to07Uv make sure that all the verts fit into one UV space with no overlapping parts – overlapping causes a freak out in UDK. (The UVs will need to be in the default map channel 1). Then Rclick and Convert To Editable Poly to flatten it. 

06. Now click the BrunoNext button (or run the script). (This will basically clone it) Set Clone Options to Object Instance. (For some reason my script makes 2 clones of the hires mesh so select one of them & delete.it  Then you can shift select the low & high res meshes and hit the Group button in the menubar, name the group the same name as the Hi res mesh eg something like G_1_1_B.

07. Go to Utilities tab, then under Level of Detail hit Create New Set -this will add both LODs to the set and show the low detail mesh in the window. Now export a .fbx mesh, naming the fbx to the group name (this preserves naming conventions right back to my original terrain heightmaps.) Set the FBX export presets to NOT include smoothing groups or Turbosmooth – this saves the low poly look.

For a Coastline tile the process has an extra few steps. 

01. Select a tile, In Utilities under Level of Detail select an LOD from the list  and click Remove From Set, do this for both LODs.

02. Hit GroupUngroup. Then delete the lower resolution mesh (which is the lower detail LOD)

03. Select the remaining hi-res mesh Rclick and Convert To Editable Poly, then in the Modify tab hit the Border button and swipe select over the whole mesh to select all the borders.

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Hold Alt and click the  Edges button to covert the selection to edges then holding Alt swipe over and deselect the ’non-coastline’ edges.

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04. With the edges still selected hit the Extrude Settings button in the Modify Edit Edges section. In the popup menu thingy set height to -0.1 and width to 0, then click the tick to apply the extrude.

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need to do the Unwrap UV thing – this also requires a bit of fancy selection to get the extuded polys. 

Now do steps 06 and 07 from above to make the low-res LOD and export as FBX. For a tile which has some mountains and coast do the ByNormal Poly selection and Material ID change (from step 03 and 04 in Mountain tile section ) first, then do the edge extrude part. 

Hope this makes sense