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This tutorial will tell you how to create your first basic crysis map.

Posted by Arxae on Nov 11th, 2007
Basic Mapping/Technical.

Hello and welcome to my Crysis basic mapping tutorial. In this tutorial i will explain the basics of mapping for crysis.

First of all, install the sandbox editor by going to your crysis folder and look for the sandbox folder with the .msi installer and run it. This only applies to the demo version of the game, for the retail, check your game disc. Then open up the sandbox (you can find the exe file in ./Crysis SP Demo/Bin32/editor.exe). I will first explain how to navigate the editor.

stuff > Stuff that is underlined is accesibly trough the top toolbar of the current window
stuff > Italic stuff means that you have to press that key on the keyboard or mouse


You can move around by just using the standard movement keys:

  • W to move forwards
  • S to move backwards
  • A to move (strafe) left
  • D to move (strafe) right

By using the Shift button, you will move faster. You can allso look around by holding the Right Mousebutton, pan by clicking your scrollwheel and zoom by scrolling

Your first mapping babysteps

After playing around with the movement, press File>New.

  • Level Name: Input the name of your map here
  • Terrain:
  • Use Terrain: Leave this checked, otherwise you wont have any terrain to work with :p
  • Heightmap Resolution: This will define the resolution of the heightmap (allso plays a big role when importing heightmaps)
  • Meters per unit: This will be multiplied with the heightmap resolution to get the final map size

You will get an empty map where you can paint your terrain in several ways:

Automatic Random Terrain Generation
You can access this dialog by pressing Terrain>Edit Terrain and then Tools>Generate Terrain. This dialog box is prett self explanitory: you input your needed settings and the editor will generate some basic terrain for you. But here is a rundown of all the functions:

  • Feature Size: determines amount of land created
  • Bumpiness/Noise: determines the degree bumpiness or deformation of the surface
  • Detail: determines the number of times effects will be applied
  • Variation: random seeding of the islands
  • Blurring: sets the number of times smoothing is applied to the noise filter
  • Sharpness (Exp. Base): determines the sharpness of the surface
  • Sharpness (Freq. Step): determines the number of times the Sharpness filter is used on the surface

You should note that this terrain is now where near a good terrain, this terrain should be used as a base for your own terrain.

Painting Terrain
You can acces this dialog by pressing Terrain>Edit Terrain. In this mode you can paint the terrain by yourself. Again, this is self axplanitory, but here are some hints:

  • Left Click Raises/Adds terrain, Right Click Lowers/Removes terrain
  • Black = low, White = high

In my opinion, this terrain is allso not 'that' good since it is not as acurate and you easily get large "pylons" on your train wich look ugly and unrealistic.

Viewport Painting
This can be reached trough the rollup bar (terrain > modify). The options are self axplanitory (yeah i know, again), but i will explain some of them:

  • Outer and Inner radius modifies the size and falloff of the brush.
  • Hardness will modify the power of the brush
  • Flatten: Will make the terrain perfectly flat at the selected height
  • To raise the terrain, choose the Raise/Lower Brush and set the height to a positive number
  • To lower the terrain, choose a negative number

This is the most accurate working method (not the fastest tough)to work, since you see your changes how you will see them in the game. The best way to work to me is to generate a heightmap, quickdraw one in the edit terrain box and thn finetune it in viewport editing. Or i import one from world machine or L3DT, but that will be a different tutorial. Now try to make some terrain, it doesent matter how it looks for now, just make shure its not to steep.


So you made some terrain and noticed something?... Thats right, everythings white and no its not a snow map. You will need to assign a color and detail texture to the terrain. But first go to file>generate surface texture, just press ok and leave the settings at default. This will generate the surface textur, its best to do this from time to time (when working on the terrain textures/details/shape).

We will first make the basic layer (green grass). Go to the terrain tab in the rollup bar and choose layer painter. First look for a white box and click on it. Here you can choose the base color for the terrain. Choose a grass like green color and press the to layer button (will assign the color to the layer). The filter slider will adjust the brightness of the color.

So try painting the terrain by holding the left mouse button and moving across the terrain. If you look at it now, you will see that its just green, nothing special. Thats because we havent assigned a detail texture to the layer. Goto Terrain>Texture and click on the layer that is allready there (Default layer) and click on the load texture button. A list with textures will appear, pick on and open it. For the sake of this tutorial we will pick ""

Now press the edit surface type button and the Surface Types dialog box will open where we can assign a detail texture. To select one click the material editor button and the material editor will open. Search for "plains_grass_green_and_dry " and click on it. Now close the material editor and click the "Pick selected" button. You can allso change the scaling here. I usualy choose 0.5 for the X and Y axis.

Now we have a default layer you can add another layer for different stuff (layer for sand, stones,...). To paint on that layer , choose the correct layer in the layer painter tool , assign a color, press the "to layer" button and start painting. To end, Regenerate the surface again with the default settings (i will cover the options in a later tutorial).

You should now have a basic terrain with 1 texture assigned to it. If you want to see it better, press CTRL+G. With this you will enter the game inside the editor.

NOTE! If you can't enter the game, save your work, exit the editor and load the editor and your map again, this should fix the problem.


If you did everything correct you should be walking around your first crysis map. In a next tutorial i will be talking about vegetation and object placement. I hope your map worked out the way it should have and you enjoyed yourself

Post comment Comments
Dem1se Nov 12 2007 says:

very nice tutorial! cant wait for the next ones! keep up the great work

+3 votes     reply to comment
leilei Nov 12 2007 says:

This passed without spellchecking?

0 votes     reply to comment
TKAzA Staff
TKAzA Nov 12 2007 replied:

Hes from norway dude and no it should not have passed without a spellcheck.

0 votes   reply to comment
Jyffeh Nov 12 2007 replied:

Isn't he from Belgium?

+1 vote     reply to comment
Arxae Author
Arxae Nov 13 2007 replied:

yes im from belgium -_-
norway...tsss :p
i saw that the spellchecking of this doesent suck at the same level as in word so i used it in my second tutorial :)
should i spellcheck this one to?

+2 votes   reply to comment
Arxae Author
Arxae Nov 12 2007 says:

thanks :) il try to work on it today :)
and leilei i dont use spellchecking, its allways crap
if its readable and passes on the message, then its fine :D

+1 vote   reply to comment
Arxae Author
Arxae Nov 12 2007 replied:

fine leilei i used the spellchecker in the next one -_- now happy? :p

+1 vote   reply to comment
Vecinu_de_la_Patru Nov 12 2007 says:

Good basic tutorial, I can hardly wait to mess with the CryEngine2 ;).

+1 vote     reply to comment
Arxae Author
Arxae Nov 12 2007 says:

next one just need authing and then its up :)

+1 vote   reply to comment
Vecinu_de_la_Patru Nov 12 2007 says:

I have a question, for the retail copy of Crysis, I don't believe the World Editor is included as an .MSI package.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Vecinu_de_la_Patru Nov 12 2007 says:

EDIT: The MSI is actually on the Disc, not in the install dir, you should specify that.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Arxae Author
Arxae Nov 13 2007 replied:

well, crysis isent out here :p
but il add it to the top :) thanks for pointing that out :)

+1 vote   reply to comment
BunnyJen Nov 13 2007 says:

This is really helpfull, thanks a lot :D

+1 vote     reply to comment
Pixilated|Punk Nov 15 2007 says:

Good job. Thank you!

+1 vote     reply to comment
myles Nov 17 2007 says:

Nice Raver, ust need to buy Crysis now :(

+1 vote     reply to comment
Arxae Author
Arxae Nov 19 2007 replied:

haha me to :p
i made it all with the demo editor :)

+1 vote   reply to comment
111Killer111 Nov 25 2007 says:

Nice, thanks for the help. I am ripping my hair out but you dumbed it down enough for me to understand. :) Can't wait untill your next tutorial.

+1 vote     reply to comment
dylanv Mar 1 2008 says:

Why can't I see any of the pictures? All I can see is that little X in the corner.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Duke2k2 Mar 11 2008 says:

Hello and Thanks to Dark_Raver9 at first but same prob with the Pics in this tut like in the first one 2, the just dont appear ... .
And thanks for the nice flowGraph-Tut Dark_Raver9

+1 vote     reply to comment
machette May 5 2008 says:

i got a bit lost but it was great, i can't get the material editor to change from the sand thing and i won't even let me paint that but even then thanks :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
General_Atrox Dec 5 2008 says:

Good Tutorial. Well done Dark, however you might wanna specify where some things are...

+1 vote     reply to comment
Nokiaman Jun 15 2009 says:

Mapping in this **** engine? No thx.

+1 vote     reply to comment
ChestyMcGee Sep 28 2009 says:

Is is just me, or are the pictures down? The tutorial is good without them, but they might help people to understand some of the text better.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Duck_Of_War Oct 18 2009 says:

New pictures...

+1 vote     reply to comment
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