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Re: [Nel] How to build landscape with 3DS max

From: Robert Bjarnason
Subject: Re: [Nel] How to build landscape with 3DS max
Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2002 13:11:26 -0800

Hi Neuser,

njp> Is somebody can tell me the how to begin ? i just want to make a very 
njp> landscape  ( a plane is sufficient ! )

There is an outline for generating the Landscape at

I'll give you my perspective that you can
check out in addition to the above mailing-list
post. (This is a more hand on approach compared
to Ligo, I'm not sure my self how to use Ligo):

You have to install the plugins in Plugin_MAX:
nel_export, nel_patch_converter, nel_patch_paint,
and tile_utility.

You need to install and compile zone_dependencies,
zone_welder, zone_lighter and zone_ig_lighter. And
set up you tools/3d/build_game_data correctly (it
is good to use the Cygwin tools when dealing
with the command-line interface of the build_game_data
tools.  Set the build_game_data config to only
process zone and rbank if you are not processing
something else.  Also you have to install the PACS
collision processing tools for the rbank process.

0. Open an empty MAX project.
1. Set the MAX units to Generic Units.
2. Create a Quad-Patch with 4-5 segments
3. Set the size of the Patch to 160x160
4. Find out the positions the Patches need to be, positions are
fixed based on the name you give the Patch. For example
if you have a Patch that you decide to call 8_AN the position
if that patch would be 2160(x), -1200(y) in the Max world space.
5. Name the patch the Zonename you decide to start with for
example you could start with 8_AN at above position.
6. Clone the Patch you just created.
7. Set the name and position correctly by using a new zone
name and corresponding absolute world position. If you set the
name to 8_AO then the position will be 2320(x), -1200(y) it
seems to me that the x position changes with the letter
counting in the end of the Zonename and the y position changes
with the numbers in the front of the name.
8. Now clone as many patches as you like to create a plane that
is the Landscape. Make sure to use the right Patch/Zone names
and their position are correct.
9. Now you got a Plane with x many Patches.
10. Deform the Patches as you like using the Edit Patch modifier,
a standard tool in Max.  You can also use a Displacement map
at this point, just use the appropriate modifier in MAX.
11. Now you have shaped the Landscape as you want.
12. Find the NelConvert modifier in the MAX menu, apply it
to all the patches.
13. Now select Tools and find the tool called Nel Tile Bank,
use this tool to select the Tile Bank you have created. The
Tile Banks hold all textures, transition maps, displacement
maps (for making geometric noise) and info about what
vegetations set is connected to tiles.
14. Select the first Patch you want to paint and make that
selected Patch fill up your Perspective View.
15. Find and select the NeL Patch Painter and apply that
modifier to the Patch.
16. Press the Paint button in the NeL Patch Painter, Geometry
17. Now you can Paint you patch with the tool that pops up.
The key definition is included in the src archive of the
nel_patch_paint plugin.
18. Quit the paint tool and select the next Patch to paint.
19. Finish painting all your Patches.
20. Run the build_game_data ./0_setup.bat.
20. Select all your Patches/Zones and use the Export Model
function in the NeL Export tool.  Save them into your
build_game_data/processes/zone/zone_exported folder
manually using ./3_build.bat or use build_game_data
to automatically export the Patches from Max using
the scripting interface, then use ./2_export.bat.
21. Copy your shapes into processes/shapes/shapes, your
.smallbank tile file into processes/smallbank/smallbank
and you instance_groups into processes/ig/ig_land.
21. Change all the config files in build_game_data to
reflect the names you decided on for the Patches/Zones.
22. If you are exporting the Patches/Zones manually
then use: ./3_build.bat if you are exporting the
Patches/Zones automatically use ./2.export.bat.
22. Now Landscape will be welded and lit and the
final result appear in zone_lighted in the process/zone
tree. And the lit instance groups will appear in
23. Your collision files will be in processes/rbank/output

This was from the top of my head... It's not very
complete especially tile creation and build_game_data
parts.  Feel free to ask if you have specific

Warm regards,
RĂ³bert Bjarnason

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