Forming a landscape. The fun stuff. When you first open the landscape editor you'll be confronted with a large light blue square. This is your work area. In the top menu bar click on the "Edit Landscape" button (next to the camera). This will open two dialog boxes.In the "brush properties" one, check the "Use Patterns" check box to open the brush selection menu. In the drop down menu, choose a brush with soft edges as such:
For this example, I'm going to create a landscape with several plateaus. So in the "Brush Properties" box set "Radius" almost as large as it will go and the "Strength" down to about 20%. Now in a sweeping notion form the out side of the shape you want that landscape to be. If you don't like what you've done Ctrl-z will undo it (Ctrl-Y to re-do).
And now fill it in up to the heights desired. To get a better view open the "Lighting Properties" dialog box under "View" in the menu bar to change the time of day and the shadows.
In the "Edit Landscape" dialog box choose "Smooth to Height" and level off the areas where the plateaus are to be.
Now we need to connect them with paths. Choose Ramp/Spline in the "Edit Landscape" dialog box. Set the brush radius to something smaller now and start at one level and bring the brush to the next level in a sweeping motion. Keep doing this until you have a smooth transition between the levels. You might want to reduce the strength also.
Let's go to the other side now to make a beach, still using the Ramp/Spline tool. As well a a path down to it.
Now, that is kinda bland and without character. So let's build some mountains now. Change your brush to one with more zagged edges and select Raise/Lower again and build up some mountains.
What's left to do now is to smooth out all of the beach areas and anywhere there are heavy shadows or black voids. You can change the time of day to see where the shadows are cast and how it will look overall. Then finally, use the lower tool to eliminate that light blue surrounding the landscape.
Now before you go any further, Open the "Objects" tool (the button with the house on it) Create a new Greek town and place a town center. This will create a .bwe file for that landscape. Now go File >> Save As in the top menu bar, name the map and save it.
Texturing. The not so fun stuff. Adding textures to a maps is not a precise science and can be done in many ways. For the best examples open any of the maps used in the game to see how LHS put them together. The following is just a basic example. The first thing we need is a base texture to be defined. Click on the "Edit Texturing" button in the top menu which will bring up a number of dialog boxes. In the "Edit Texturing" box, click on the "Add Layer" button and in the drop down menu, select "Mud" and then click on the "Set" button to choose the texture to use.
In the dialog box which pops up, browse to the Aztec folder and select "t_aztec_is_gd01_baked.dds". There are other suitable textures available in the other folders. I just chose this one as an example.
Now choose a solid brush set the strength at medium, radius at large and paint the entire landscape, except for what you want to be rock. When you're done, you'll notice that large blocks of texture will change colour. Don't worry about that. They will stabilize when a second texture is added on top. Ok, since we want our mountains to look like rock instead, create new layer named "Rock" and choose t_generic_is_mountainsharp01_baked.dds from the Generic folder. Reduce the brush size and paint the mountains and cliffs with it. You do it roughly now. Later on you can touch up the edges as you zoom in and start placing objects. But we've still got those ugly blocks.
The first two layers placed were solid. Now we're going to add a vegetation layer on top of the first two layers. Create another layer called Grass. Then choose t_generic_is_foliage01_dif.dds for the texture. Unlike the other two textures which were solid this one isn't and can go over top of a solid texture. Reduce the brush strength to about 6% and lightly paint the rocks and mud with it. As you're doing so you'll notice that the texture blocks will all turn the same colour. Great, however you will notice that the grass if layed down heavy enough isn't as green as it should be.
For this check the Colour button in the Edit Texturing dialog box, click on the box next to it and choose a deep green colour. With this, paint over any area where you had placed the grass layer. This colour will only apply to that texture. Now that the textures are in place you'll notice a number of sharp shadows. Use the smooth tool to soften those edges later.
What's a resort Isle without a beach. Use the Micro-Raise/Micro-Lower tool to create an apron of light blue where the beach will be. See above pic. Now create another layer called "Sand. For this I used genric_is_sand02_dif.dds. Use this to fill in the area under the water as well as up the land so that it looks like a beach. Next you can select the colour tool and paint the section under the water with a few patches of blue and aqua
This is only rough. As you're placing the towns and other objects you'll get in closer and see that you'll need adjust where there textures meet in quite a few places. There are many ways to do this and combinations of textures which can be used. The best thing to do is to experiment until you get the look you want. What I used and how I did it are just an example.
Finishing Touches The boring picky stuff. Edges Once you get in closer and adjusting the position of the textures you'll notice that the edges con't always blend well. Usually leaving a light line or border between them. This can be hidden (sort off) by placing a layer on top of that. Here since we've got a vegitation layer it does nicely. Else you can use a rock or pebbles texture which isn't solid on top (the ones with "_dif" in the name).
Mines Mine never seem to sit proper and should blend in with the landscape. What I do is place the mine as far into the rock as possible and then use the Micro Raise/Lower tool at minimum size and sensitvity to form the land around the mine so that it blends in.
Nav Ribbon This tells your people and creature where they can go and cannot go. Don't want them falling off the edge of a cliff do we? If the nav ribbon isn't sey, then your people will remain in the town centre unable to move.Setting the nav ribbon is a bit funky until you get used to it. And even then... Click on the "N" button on the menu bar and the landscape will turn red. Now find the edge of an area to star at and right click to set a marker. Then left click where you want the other markers placed. When finished, right click again to join the markers. To add an area right click inside an existing area, mark the new area, then place the last marker inside the original area and right click to join the areas together. To mark an area inside a marked area, hold down the Ctrl key. The markers can be moved and/or deleted after being placed.
The final result and thus it has not exceeded the layer cost.