Mapmaking 101 – A Waterfall

by Inquizative

I think everyone will agree with the statement that “water is the cornerstone, if not THE keystone of the eco-system”. As such, water plays an important part in how players react with the terrain. In many Stronghold sieges, the offense must contend with some type of moat or natural waterway that has created a difficult barrier between the offensive and defensive teams. Personally, I prefer the natural beauty of water in a scenario in contrast to a barren, dry terrain. Due to the Stronghold Editor’s ability to create varying heights of cliffs and massive and beautiful waterfalls not previously seen in the RTS world, this article’s focus will be on the creation of realistic and wondrous waterfalls.

The first important question to ask yourself is “what role will water play in my scenario”? Is the river and or waterfall going to be instrumental in the game play of the scenario or will they strictly be used for aesthetic purposes? For this article, we’ll focus on creating a river and waterfall for a strictly visual effect.

For the first step it is advisable, even before laying down any terrain, villages or castle, to find a suitable location for the waterfall. After that has been established, first place your varying elevations. As can be seen below, Mid-Plain and High-Plain have been used.

After the degrees of height have been added, the next step is to lay down the river that will run from the very top of the High Plain to the underlying meadow below. Use the “river” tool with a small brush size.

Above: As can be seen, the river has a fork in it, which allows it to spread in more than one direction. This effect gives the river a more natural, free flowing look. Of course, you can make the waterfalls as wide or small as you’d like.

The next step is to add more elevation and eye candy to give the river and waterfalls realism.

Looking at the finished product above, it can be seen that a few changes/additions have been made. In the case of the river bed itself, small rocks and bushes have been added with the purpose of getting the natural element in without detracting from the look of the river and waterfalls. The same thing was done with the small trees. They were positioned so as not to hide any part of the waterfall. Pine was used in the higher elevation, as it is colder the higher up you go. Animals and scattered oak trees were then positioned sporadically around the base of the waterfalls.

This is but a small example of what can be done with just elevation changes and the river tool. Better, more intricate work can be done with the editor to create the “perfect” waterfall that will fit into any scenario you may have.

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