View Full Version : Building outside environments?

01-08-09, 19:57
Anybody have any tips for that :o. Ive always wanted to build an outside area, but it always comes out sloppy or boxy looking.

I avoided it so much that my last level took place underground entirely :o. How do you make things look "organic" and natural?

01-08-09, 20:03
Texture usage can help, but in this case, you can also rely on creating randomized landscapes for hills, ditches etc.

01-08-09, 20:08
Well, you could Make some really nice ones and make them realistic! Even if they are boxy! It depends on how you Lay it out! Usually in Nature there is no Path! So jsut dont make it obvious that there is a path! Mayhbe make a valley and you can create it as if there are mountains to either side, By creating rooms around the room and adding an environment similar to that in the Main room, but make it as if players cant go into the Room.. :)

01-08-09, 20:19
Or you can make some plains and use fog to add some distance effect :)

01-08-09, 20:22
I have this problem alot....

I never know how much space to create and never think about adding hills and such around the walls so lara isn't walking into the horizon:p

but for this I guess creating clif walls and temple/rock wall structures helps keep the environment closed in while still being outside:)

01-08-09, 20:25
I have tried to build outdoor environments and they always look bad. It's almost like you are either good at indoors or you're good at outdoors but not both :p
But, I will say that with the TRLE engine its hard not to create a somewhat sloppy outside environment. It takes a lot of textures and plants and objects to make it look really convincing, and at that point there is so much stuff it is sloppy.

But, good luck haha

01-08-09, 20:46
There is some terrain feature in NGLE, isn't it? Random Smooth Floor Up, yeah that's the name. Dxtre3D, I'm working in, has not something like this. We, Dx-builders must do everything manually :(

01-08-09, 20:56
Practice is all I guess.
If you have absolutely no idea how to start have a look at other prjs. Either from TR or Custom ones. May help you. :)

01-08-09, 20:59
Perhaps looking at real life pics would work? It would get you inspired methinks.

01-08-09, 21:01
I'm kind of feeling the same thing at the moment.
After Lara leaves the Stairway to nowhere, she follows an upward-flowing river downhill towards its source.
All of my attempts at building this river have been really bad! :(

01-08-09, 21:05
This is how I make big outside environments:

1. I create all the rooms needed for the area I'm creating. (these are vertical and horizontal portals.)

2. I make geometry for each room- eg: uneven ground, sloped rock up against the sides of the room, etc.

3. I then add the horizon to the rooms. I then make sure the player cannot in any way reach the horizon. This also means using geometry against the sides of the rooms.

4. I then fully texture the rooms. If it's nevada desert for example, I use sand for the ground and rock for the walls.

5. Then light the rooms.

6. Finally create the gameplay for the rooms- add static objects, make buildings- (if it's a ruin add old looking walls varied around the rooms.) You can also add enemies here too- in a valley you would put dinosaurs, etc, etc.

Hope this helps. :)

01-08-09, 21:35
Triangulated tiles. :D

With these you can make an environment a lot less boxy.
Make irregular slopes going up to walls, make walls irregular by not making the wall segments straight. Put visible slopes on top of the walls.
Extent the environment beyond the walls, putting slopes there too, also visible but not reachable.

Objects are not really a must. It al depends on the type of environment you want to create.

God Horus
01-08-09, 21:50
Outside areas are my biggest weakness :o I have only built one in my levelset.

Basically, use lots of diagonal tiles (when you raise the tiles up diagonally) to try and make it look more realistic. If you're using TRNG then test out the random smooth up and random smooth down features and try and recreate that effect which looks really realistic.

01-08-09, 21:52
Oh and When Texturing Be sure to Keep Pressing Alt so that u dont have to get Ugly looking worngly rotated textures. ;)

01-08-09, 21:57
Random smooth up/down is not always the best way to go. Especially not in areas that Lara can get to.
So, like God Horus said, recreate a similar effect yourself, manually. :D

01-08-09, 22:06
No I think Really that you should work with your own style! :D

01-08-09, 23:14
Random smooth up/down is not always the best way to go. Especially not in areas that Lara can get to.
So, like God Horus said, recreate a similar effect yourself, manually. :D
check your email titak D:

02-08-09, 00:24
Thank you for all the suggestions :).

The problem with using uneven terrains and walls is that when textured you get that dreaded squished texture effect, and if you segment the wall and fix it you get the dreaded lighting cracks, which require tons of effect bulbs to fix :(. When placing statics they can also look really sloppy, especially when I do it, and with uneven ground, its difficult to get them not to float in mid air.

I'm trying to make an island surrounded by water :o.

02-08-09, 00:35
you only get crappy cracks if the segments don't match up.

and for the objects, just apply them on the ceiling and lower them.

02-08-09, 02:06
Hard to do with stacked rooms :rolleyes:

God Horus
02-08-09, 02:12
Well I also had that problem a lot because I made the ground very bumpy in my levels. I always made it flat towards the wall and it was bumpy away from the wall (if you get what I mean) so texturing the wall is easy. And I had to place my plants on the roof and lower them down so they would touch the ground perfectly.

02-08-09, 02:14
I know about the lowering trick, but don't you ever get the feeling that the plants dont exactly "blend". I don't know how to describe it, but it makes the scenery seem fake.

02-08-09, 11:17
its not hard to segment stacked rooms??

The best thing i've found is to not make huge 16x16 rooms and stack them. Make small rooms, stack them, and expand outwards.


but remember, with outside environments the player is not as limited as usual so you have to make sure any triggers lara ect steps on happen at the time you want them.

03-08-09, 02:14
Hard to do with stacked rooms :rolleyes:

In this case all you do is switch on Toggle Opacity on your door for a moment, place your object, and then turn it off. I do it all the time when placing sunbulbs in stacked rooms.

03-08-09, 03:17
I had a crash when I tried that last time :confused:
It didn't work for me :(

04-08-09, 09:49
Mine look all boxy too.
Whenever I start a new one, I post pics of it but other members always say 'it's too boxy' and 'start again'.
Try building an urban level so you don't have to texture the ceiling, if you don't texture the ceiling, it will be black which is what the sky is at night.

The level I am building now is in Japan and one of the walls I have gridded for good texturing has stretched further than the ground and it looks horrible. It is in a big business building that had a major flood. Tell me if it is too boxy (It's my loading screen):


04-08-09, 09:50
It Alll Depends on the Type of outside Environment! :D