Tired of waiting for your terrain to come out of the TRGen only to find it has a bunch of glitches you could tell from your height-map?
Well, if you happen to have 3DMax that supports the "Displace" modifier, you can easily and quickly import your height-map onto a 1024m square plane and do any necessary adjustments.
- Export your height-map into a .TGA or .DDS.
- Note: You can use a .JPEG but make sure it's 100%
- Open up 3DMax
- Make sure your system units and File units are in Meters
- Create a 1024x1024 meter plane
- Center your plane about the origin
- Apply the "Displace" modifier
- In the roll-outs, click on "Bitmap"
- Select your height-map
- in the roll-outs, adjust the strength to 128m
- "Strength" means that the maximum displacement that will be done to the object (on the displacement map, this would be a pure White pixel) will be this distance. Values between Pure Black and Pure White on the displacement map will be in increments of (Strength Value)/256
You now have a terrain mesh that you can manipulate in 3DMax for your enjoyment! The next part of this tutorial will take you through the steps in making minor fixes to the terrain, as well as tackle the process of making a new height-map from your edited terrain mesh.
To export your height-map:
- Punch F10 to bring up your Render Scene Dialog
- Punch the Render Elements tab in the Render Scene Dialog
- In the Render Elements Roll-out, click "Add..."
- Select "Z-Depth" and click "OK"
- In the Render Scene Dialog (with your Render Elements tab open) scroll all the way down and find the "Z Depth Element Parameters"
- For your Z-min height, punch in "0 m"
- For your Z-max height, punch in "128m"
- In your photo, this will mean that a height of 0m will be pure black, and a height of 128m will be pure whie
- Click the Common tab (in your Render Scene Dialog)
- Change your Height and Width to 1024x1024
- Make sure that the "Displacement" checkbox is Filled.
Creating game terrains with 3DMax