Seith’s little island (Crysis map)

This is actually more of a general tips page than a tutorial per se.

So this is the little map I’m working on right now to discover how Sandbox2 (the Crysis editor) works. It’s fun, and actually doesn’t feel that different from Maya or 3DS Max…

In all those pictures there was only one texture for the terrain, one kind of grass patch, etc… So no special texture, but here are some important things to pay attention to:

– It’s been said before, but the lighting of your map (“Time Of Day”) is everything. And I’m not talking just about the time-of-day slider on top of the window. Everything is important in there. So experiment by cranking up individual parameters to be able to isolate their effect on the look of the picture.

– The Ocean settings are extremely important; both in the Time Of Day window, AND the Environment tab (maybe even more so in the latter). Again, don’t be afraid to pick a pretty dark Ocean FogColor: deep bodies of water are almost never light blue…! (except in the Caribbeans of course 😛 )

– When you paint your base level (the dry_grass stuff) don’t be afraid to choose a VERY dark, desaturated color.

– It sounds silly, but when you apply your color, do so in a 1 to 2PM kind of light. That way, you’ll see your texture at its brightest. And that’s the critical time where everything can look really fake if you chose too light a color at the beginning. Don’t forget to add color variations that make sense. And make sure the grass patches have their UseTerrainColor set to 1.

– It is extremely useful, after you placed your main vegetation to do another pass at painting the ground (again I’m talking color here, NOT fancy textures). Mostly darken it around trees and bushes, and make it lighter in places where shadows can’t reach.

– I also use a very slight depth of field effect embedded in the HUD node which adds a bit of realism. But if you overdo it it looks like all those video games trying to disguise the fact that they can not render big vistas. I also removed the HUD altogether (no radar, etc…) and took all the weapons out, so it feels more “natural” (no cross-hair, etc…).

You can download the map here:

  1. ragecg
    November 3rd, 2007 at 19:31 | #1

    Can any of this be exported as geometry, or rendered out as frames?

    If so, then THAT would give Vue a run for it’s money:)

  2. Seith
    November 4th, 2007 at 23:42 | #2

    I think so, but I’m not sure (the game has not been released yet). However they said they would release importers/exporters for the main 3D applications out there.

    Well I never used Vue, but until you try the Sandbox2 editor, you simply can’t imagine the speed and freedom with which you can create any kind of landscapes.

    I certainly think the CG feature animation industry should take notice.

  3. November 5th, 2007 at 15:01 | #3

    All i can say is wow. The atmosphere in this map looks absolutly amazing. looks like a springish time of year , and you got the lighting dead on just wish i had the time to learn the sandbox as much as you , althoguht it would take twice aslong to get what you have acheived. could you tell me how you got the terrain so life like? i tried but each time the heightmap is to sensertive and ends up with mountains way to big , then when i lower them the textures will only paint in blocked sextions so i cant make the textures ‘blend’ . tahnks if you can reply .

  4. DJ
    November 6th, 2007 at 07:13 | #4

    Have you made this map available for people to download ?

  5. Seith
    November 6th, 2007 at 23:27 | #5

    The map’s not released yet. Keep checking this thread:

  6. Erik
    November 8th, 2007 at 13:56 | #6

    Seith, how did you start your island. e.g. Fist make all the terain then add textures etc. or did u create some part then added on to that? Regards, Erik

  7. weirfik
    November 9th, 2007 at 12:35 | #7

    Thats absolutely awesome! your map makes me feel so tiny playing it!

    I m so disppointed the editor doesn’t work on my computer :( im a victim of the loading crash…

    Anyway… Very good job, this is a good example to show that a good game is not only made of extrapowerful weapons:p (even if it’s fun)

    The ambiance is really well given, and fully felt!

    Really nice work.

  8. Seith
    November 9th, 2007 at 13:13 | #8

    Nerd Culture! Woohoo!

    Sean and Erik: I didn’t use the automatic terrain creation. I went in the map itself and raised the terrain with a brush. Then I started adding the vegetation. Then I painted the textures to make sense with both the vegetation and the terrain’s features.

    Overall there are only 4 textures used: dry grass, mud, stones and glistening pebbles.

    Everything was grown organically from around the central island. So I didn’t really plan it ahead… :)

  9. Scott.R
    November 11th, 2007 at 00:02 | #9

    Hiya Seith,

    Truely great work here mate! Hands down one of the best renders i’ve seen for Crysis thus far.
    Had a quick read over your site here and noticed you do lectures and whatnot, and it got me thinking. I’d LOVE to see a few short web tutorials from you on what you’ve done here.
    For example, how you went about fine-tuning the surface textures and colors.
    I think it’d be really inspirational, not to mention useful!

  10. Seith
    November 11th, 2007 at 09:54 | #10

    Weirfik: Thanks, and sorry to hear about your editor related crash. I’m sure there must be a way to fix that, if you do researches on all the Crysis forums.

    Scott: Thanks. I will, at some point, put a few Crysis tutorials up on the page. It’s just that right now I don’t really think I could teach anyone anything new about the Sandbox2 editor, as I made a VERY limited use of it to make this small map… But I will eventually do it.

  11. November 19th, 2007 at 18:27 | #11

    It’s pretty much the BEST game engine ever. Those screen shots are amazing dude. I should try doing landscapes instead of blowing things up… 😛 I’m currently waiting (patiently) for my pre-ordered version to arrive…

  12. Seith
    November 19th, 2007 at 18:47 | #12

    Semaj: Naaah, blowing things up’s good! And when you get your copy, you’re in for a ride. If you got the rig for it, that is… 😉