Post tutorial Report article RSS Feed Black & White 2 Mapping Tutorial(By Kays)

A basic mapping tutorial that will get anyone the basic skills they need to be a mapper for BnW2 and create their own custom maps.

Posted by Daxter_06 on Jan 7th, 2008
Basic Mapping/Technical.

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: 

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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). 

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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. 

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In the "Edit Landscape" dialog box choose "Smooth to Height" and level off the areas where the plateaus are to be. 

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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.   

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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In the dialog box which pops up, browse to the Aztec folder and select "". There are other suitable textures available in the other folders. I just chose this one as an example. 

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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 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. 

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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 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. 

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 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. 

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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 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 

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 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). 

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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. 

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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. 

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 The final result and thus it has not exceeded the layer cost.


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Post comment Comments
Spector Jan 8 2008 says:

Someone else that has BNW2, oh mai. Nice Tutorial.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Snake-Eater2k6 Jan 8 2008 says:

A cracking tutorial, easy to follow and productive. Great work

+1 vote     reply to comment
st.ern Jan 8 2008 says:

wow kays, you did a great job on this.
im proud you are still working on this :D

+1 vote     reply to comment
Lucífer Jan 8 2008 says:

Very nice Tutorial, the editor is like a bigger Crysis WorldBuilder :P

+1 vote     reply to comment
Daxter_06 Author
Daxter_06 Jan 8 2008 says:

If you really want to thank Kays for his work, or just want to check out one of the greatest BnW/BnW2 fan sites around you can go to or by clicking on the link for Kayssplace on forum site at

+2 votes   reply to comment
Karner Jan 10 2008 says:

id like to try this i just cant find the editor or mapping tool to use for it. Can someone help me to get it so i can try this.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Daxter_06 Author
Daxter_06 Jan 18 2008 replied:

You can download the modding tools here, and make sure that you have both patches 1.1 and 1.2 installed

+1 vote   reply to comment
modmaker2008 Feb 3 2008 says:

nice tutoriul , but i do not (at all) have the game

+1 vote     reply to comment
Karner Feb 8 2008 says:

when i'm laying down the grass texture it says in the middle of the screen in red layer cot limit exceeded. what should i do because i cant put on any grass at all without it saying that

+1 vote     reply to comment
Karner Feb 9 2008 says:

nvm its all good

+1 vote     reply to comment
Karner Feb 9 2008 says:

how do i insert them into the game

+1 vote     reply to comment
dvd604 Jun 6 2009 says:

nice tutorial i have found many but none as good as this :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
VampireMonkey Jul 14 2009 says:

Does anyone have this problem
-The landscapeditor WILL NOT start up?

+1 vote     reply to comment
bonethewise Apr 18 2010 says:

it wont work i got the walk pat ter bwe but not the chl and when i try to start it it either stays at the loading screen and makes noises or just sais not responding

+1 vote     reply to comment
Lantis11 Jun 23 2010 says:

Never try this editor! It is extremely unstable. I worked hours on one island, created the land, put down layers and vegetation some cities and than when I opened the file after having a break:
"An exception was encountered loading C:\...Land12.ter. The file may be corrupt."
Followed by another three error messages! I almost threw my PC from the window. And btw. that wasnt the only bug in the editor...

+1 vote     reply to comment
revengous Jun 23 2010 replied:

sounds like you got a corrupt file.

also, save save save

+1 vote     reply to comment
Abignore Aug 21 2010 says:

I have done everything this editor told me, but I can't get the game to start my map, I'm stuck at a white screen, with the loading light thing still moving. I hear the sound of the water and birds, but I see only the white screen... What have I done wrong? Help!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Etherhigh Mar 7 2011 says:

hmmmm anyone know where I can get this map editor I litterally just found out about all of this today.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Madscorpion Mar 22 2011 says:

Hey Thanks alot for the tutorial I managed to do something pretty amazing thanks to you help. Problem is I don't understand how to play the map I made. I tried to save it, save landscape, set a land number. I tried exporting the landscape too. What happens is that I can succesfully save my maps, landscape and all, i put in 2 town centers and set village members on both. When I save them it creates files in my data/landscape/BW2 file but when I go to that folder, the files seem to be hidden. Plus I dont understand how to reach those from my running black and white game. Yeah Im no computer genius but please give me a hand!

+1 vote     reply to comment
migx Nov 16 2011 says:

lo he hecho mil veces y aun no me canso de editar, si alguien puede responder porfavor XD, quiero ayudar , se como usar las herramientas, llevo 3 años editando black y white 2 , y quiero aportar en algooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

+1 vote     reply to comment
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