Altering Your Island Part 2

The other method availible for creating landscapes is the GuideGrid. Using the GuideGrid, you can create your own islands exactly how you want them. However, it can be a little tricky to use, and if you aren't careful, the islands you make will look very artificial.

The GuideGrid
Select your Island and click the GuideGrid button. A new window will open up. There are a few options in this window:

Just like before.

This defaults to 0, but you will need to turn it up to at least 1 to use the GuideGrid. Turning it up will fill most of the window with a blank grid. You will probably see your island change when you do this. The values range from 0 to 5, but you'll probably want at least 2 or 3 to make any real use of it. The higher the Resolution, the more squares there are in the Grid, and therefore the more detail you can add to your island.

This alters the size of the tool you will use to 'paint' your island. Size 1 will fill 1 square on the grid, 2 will cover a total of 2 squares, and so on. Toolsize can range between 1.00 and 40.00.

Painting tool number 1. Allow you to paint land onto the grid by holding the left mouse button. Painting will basically increase the height of the land in that part of the grid. You can lower the height by using the Right mouse button.

Painting tool number 2. The flatten tool will change the height of the area to the average height of the rest of the tile. There is a little deviation in this so that it isn't perfectly flat, however.

Painting tool number 3. This will change the height of the selected area to the max by left clicking, or the minimum by right clicking.

The tricky part in using the GuideGrid is the fact that the heights are all relative to the rest of the land in the tile. For example, if you have a completely blank grid, and you tap the left mouse button using the Freehand tool, you will create what you assume to be a small piece of low land. However, because there is no other land on the grid, your little island will end up as a high moutain. If you then go to another area of the grid and hold the mouse button down to max out an area, clicking generate will cause your original land mass to shrink down to the size you would expect - its now relatively low compared to the massive moutain you just created. The other thing that can make it tricky is that the brush is extremely sensitive. Holding the mouse button for just a second will set something to its max height. Still, it can be a very powerful tool in creating your islands just the way you want them.

In order to create large landmasses, with moutains, flat areas and lakes, you will probably need to overlap more than one island. Give it a go yourself. Create an island using Method 0, lower its height to around 40, then create another with Method 1 and move it on top. By overlapping more than 1 island, you can create very diverse landscapes.

Flatten Areas
The other Landscape type that you can use is the Flatten Area. The New Flatten Area button is below the New Tile button you used to create your other islands. Flatten Area's, as you had probably guessed, make an area of land completely flat. It will flatten all land in the area of the tile, and leave everything else around it unaffected.
Before you create a Flatten Area, click the Edit Flatten Areas button in the Main Edit menu in the top right corner. If you don't do this, you will be able to create Flatten Areas, but you won't be able to move or edit them.
Note: If you create a Flatten Area in the water, the height will default to -10 (assuming you didn't change the Height option in the Landscape window). This means it will be under the grid, and you won't be able to see it, so its important that you select it right away so that you don't lose it. Turn its height up to above 0 so that you can see it. You will also find that you need to use the Generate button a lot more than you normally would for normal landscape tiles.

Flatten Areas have only 2 options:

The size that the Flatten Area will make flat.

The height that the area will flatten to.

There is little else to say about Flatten Area's, so give it a try yourself. Move the cross hair over your Island and click New Flatten Area, and play around a little with it. Deleting the area will make things return to normal.

Depending on how you want your level to look, you should try and limit the use of flatten areas. A large flat square area in the middle of an otherwise hilly region of land is going to look very unnatural.

You should now be able to create your own landscapes! Like most things, it might take a little practice to work out how to make what you want, but you should be on your way to making levels like the ones in the game in no time.