Enviroment Help Needed.



I need some advice on how to model an island. Specifically The Island in FFVIII that the shumi Village was in. Here is a screenshot from a map I found:

I am aim to make this a much larger scale than in the orginal game, and be infact be 1:1 scale. I also want it to be higher quality than the orginal.

The problem is I have no idea how to start to make such a topology, nor how to find a tutorial or guidance from someone who does. I need it to be effiecient so a game engine could load it. That means NURBS aren’t really gonna work. Not that I even know how to use nurbs anyway. I use Maya, and thats basically all I really can use effectivly. I can’t even use that to its full potential, but well enough to make something.

If anyone has any tips or suggestions on how to get started recreating geography from an image like that, or the game it self, It would be much appreciated.


The word you want to google is Heightmap.


Heightmaps aren’t quite what I’m looking for. I need to create the enviroment as if it were an area in a MMO like WoW. While heightmaps could work if I kept working at it, it is only gives me a result at render rather than real time. Think of this topolgy as the basis to make a level map. I quess I could just build the map one polygon at a time using edge extruding, but that creates alot of polygon history, and I really have a limited reference to make it from. Thanks though.



I don’t know what program you are using, but an island can be easily modeled in Vue, Carrara, and Bryce. I use Silo and Hexagon, and can model this using a grid mesh. I would decide what elevation level would correspond with the associated color from a color band, much like a doppler radar map showing weather patterns. I would then rough in the vertex heights, and smooth to check for continuity. I would start out with a low-rez mesh to try out, but would then use a higher-rez mesh to complete the model. I would then use ZBrush to create micropoly maps to be used as a displacement map. Keep us posted. -Starkdog


Well, I checked out all the programs you mentioned, but I’m JUST now starting to get used to maya. That and I don’t really have the money for any other programs. I think I should’ve probobly said what the end result would be needed for.

I am trying to make a FFVIII online game. It maybe ambitious but it’s really the journey more than the destination kinda of thing. I need this enviroment to load as a map file so AFAIK heightmap modelling it wouldn’t really help me because I have to edit the map as I develope.
Therefore I need to see what the world looks like in real time. Anyway I have a plan.

Step 1: Take reference screenshots. This plan is gonna be very messy but its the only way i know.

Here is an example of what I mean:

Step 2: It’s very easy to recognize polygons, and I think I can create polygons using these reference.

Step 3: Is texturing. Then after that I’ll make more steps.

Well if anyone has any suggestions or comments please do tell me.


You might want to take a look at Terragen http://www.planetside.co.uk/terragen/ . Its free! :slight_smile:



That’s a neat program, but still will not work. Here is some work I’ve done so far.
I’m making a game map so it has to be lower polygon and able to edit and render in realtime.


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