Saturday, February 09, 2008

While I take a break from landscaping (it is booooring), I thought I'd give a rundown of the various programs I'm using for this whole sim project. There are quite a few of them, and some of you may find some of them useful. Everything on this list is, for the moment, free or has a free version.

ngPlant: This is what I use to make my trees, in conjunction with Blender and Paint Shop Pro. It's a free tree generator that can export to .obj; I generate individual branches, import them into Blender, and render them.

CrazyBump: This is the best thing ever. It can generate various kinds of texture maps (such as normal maps and displacement maps) from images. It's also spectacularly easy to use. (It is the anti-Blender.) Obviously, if you're not rendering anything in an outside program, it's not going to be useful to you, but I highly recommend it if you're going to be baking textures in a third party app and plan on using normal or displacement maps.

Bailiwick: This is the second best thing ever. It's an editor for sim .raw files. I was initially forced into using this because Paint Shop Pro can't handle .raw files with the 13 channels SL uses, and now I wouldn't stop using it even if PSP suddenly could. In addition to automatically working with the required 13 channels, it will tell you things like the minimum height and maximum height in a height map, and let you see what the landscape looks like -- complete with water level -- when the height multiplier is changed.

L3DT: A useful counterpart to the above. This is a terrain generator. It does way more than you need if you're just making sim terrain, but it's pretty easy to use and will convert a crude height map into something looking like actual terrain. In other words, if you know you want a round island with a lake in the middle, you can scrawl a white O on a black background, and L3DT will turn that into something that looks like an island and not a five-year-old's drawing.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for these links!

Very helpful

whyroc

February 26, 2008 10:46 PM  
Blogger Miriel Enfield said...

You're welcome. :)

February 27, 2008 6:43 AM  

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