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"Brushed" Art: Terrain - A Tutorial for Counter-Strike 1.6

A tutorial focusing on terrain and cliffs in GoldSRC

This tutorial assumes that you have basic knowledge about brushes, vertices, the VM tool, and errors. 

Terrain in GoldSRC isn't hard to make, except the only problem is the errors you can cause when manipulating brushes, and they are quite easy to avoid.

In this tutorial, I will tell you the methods used for making terrain, at least the ones I know, for cliffs and ground.

A1. Manual displacements (Triangle Terrain)


I call them Manual displacements because they are similar to Hammer 4's displacements.

The most recommended size of a polygon (in this case, 2 triangles which form a shape, like a square) is 240x240 units if you will not move the vertices in the Top view. 

1. Create a brush with dimensions you want, the minimum allowed is 64x64 units, or else it's going to l-la-l-la-lag, and you don't want that to happen, and it will take a looooooong time to compile:



2. Cut it diagonally:



3. Copy them like this:



4. Use the Vertex Mani. tool, and select the tool again to show the white dots only, which represent the vertices themselves, and modify the brushes by moving the vertices up and down:



If you want control over the bumps in the middle of each polygon, cut them in an 'X' shape:



Half-Life 2 style, isn't it?

You can also move the vertices in the Top view, for more control over the look of the terrain, because you can't have everything just there, following the same grid.


A2. "Facial" manual displacements (Optimized manual displ.)

Just like these, but without the Cutting tool.

1. Make a brush

2. Open the Vertex Mani. tool. And select it again to show the white dots.

3. Select 2 vertices which are not connected, and press Ctrl+F (without the plus):



Don't worry about the error which says "Brush has coplanar faces", it only says that the faces share the same plane, but that will soon be solved by moving the vertices.

4. Select a vertice on the top of the brush

5. And move it up, or down. If you want to move it down, then select a vertice which doesn't have the cutting line, but if you want to move it up, select a vertice with the line, to avoid the errors (brush not convex, brush not planar etc.):




Not bad, not bad, except it's quite limited.


A3. "Ugly" brushes method


One of the cheaper ones which is the easiest one to work with, if you know how to.

1. Make a brush

There is no step 2., you have to modify these brushes with the Select Tool and now make something you need, and that depends on the map:



I used a bit of the Optimized displacement method to avoid some of the errors. Just keep this fact in mind: GoldSRC is an engine from 1998, people didn't even have triangular model meshes for terrain then, except for Carmageddon, and a few more, but they were limited to scripting instead of entities. And now, we have GTA V, with crazy terrain meshes, and BeamNG Drive, one of the most demanding games, has everything, and Far Cry 4 has got, well, you know, yet GoldSRC can't have that.


Cliffs

They can be used for canyons, yet they're really simple to make.

B1. "Wave" method


1. Make a brush standing vertically (a wall is preferable)

2. Cut it in the Top view:



3. Move it's vertices to something like this:



4.  Cut it horizontally, in the Side and Front view.

5. Then use Vertex Manipulation again, like this:



You can see that I moved them sideways.

This is a useful technique if you're looking for fast, and convincing landscape regarding canyons, deserts and such.

B2. Triangle method, or Manual displacements


Just like the one for the ground, the steps are the same, except you move the vertices in the X and Y axis, that is, in the Front and Side view. But be careful about the SKY brushes for this one, because if placed improperly, these cliffs will cause leaks, so I advise you not to change the top itself, unless it has an extension (like ground).

You can also use the "Ugly" Terrain method for the cliffs. 



End note: You can also mix some methods to form this, let's say, Wave Facial displacements method:



Yet it causes no errors!


This tutorial is yet to be updated with new info regarding terrain and so on...

And for the end, here are some tips:

  • The best recommended size for a brush, when using the method A1, is 240x240 units in width and length.
  • The bare minimum for method A1 is 64x64 units.
  • When using the method A2, if you get an error saying that the brush is not convex, then just move an other vertice, probably the one which isn't used for splitting the faces, or perhaps that one indeed.
  • When you're making big, open-space maps, then scale the textures up at least twice the original scale.

  • Ghost1495111 avatar
    Ghost1495111 Joined 6y ago
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    5y
    Good vertex manipulation :)!
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    5y
    Pro tutorial, thanks!
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    6y
    http://forums.svencoop.com/showthread.php/40783-trimesh-%28displacement%29-for-hammer-3-5

    Trimesh is a cracking tool for hammer, it makes this stuff much easier

    Tinkerer
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    Admer456 GoldSRC Snowball
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    Posted by LiveWire

    Any one know if jackhammer has a 3d vertex selection box like hammer?


    Probably, if this is what you are talking about:



    So Jackhammer has the same, except you can't move them in the 3D view as far as i know:






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    Thanks For Tutorial Bro :)

    • Thanks x 1
    Another Black Mesa Fan <3
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    6y
    Any one know if jackhammer has a 3d vertex selection box like hammer?

    Tinkerer
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    Posted by Devieus

    Alright, neat, another displacement tutorial for GoldSrc.


    Not quite... at least the Ugly brush and Wave methods are squared.

    As long as they work, they can live.
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    6y
    Alright, neat, another displacement tutorial for GoldSrc.

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    Mantra
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