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Does anyone know how to make this terrain?

Brian Smith

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I stumbled upon this post kind of late so hopefully I'll still be able to get a reply to my questions since I am running into some problems.


1. I am using MAX 2009 (32bit) ... and once I attach the splines followed by adding a normalize spline (default 20) and go to select Create - Compound, MAX takes forever to show the Compound options (terrain for instance). Is anyone else experiencing this? This behavior is present in both my 32bit - 64bit version even when switching to OpenGL / Direct3D 9 or 10.


2. Putting that issue aside, when i then apply the Terrain compound I get extra polygons created on the outside of the curves as shown in the attached .jpeg. So what am I doing wrong to get this extra stuff?




3. Lastly, how do I force the triangles to become quads? I tried turn to poly but can't figure out how to change the 3 sided polygons into 4 sided.


Sorry if these last two questions are noobish but I can't seem to find how to solve this.


Getting into the Compound Objects section can take some time for some objects...only takes 10 secs on a typical machine.


Those extra faces are supposed to be there by default when you activate Terrain. You need to delete the bottom and top faces as mentioned in the 2nd to last post i made in this thread. To turn to quads, use the Turn to Poly modifier.

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For whatever reason the compound takes like 30 - 60 seconds on my system (Vista 32 or 64) on a Q6600 Quad Core. I gather that the UI is trying to determine if the object is valid to be a compound object which is why depending on its complexity it takes less or more time to come back, I just found that delay unusual and was hoping that perhaps there was some command or setting to turn off that object UI menu preview type thing off.


I did understand that you had deleted the top and bottom faces but for some reason thought you were only making reference to the faces on the inside of the splines. I guess from playing with Terrain before and finding it strange that it creates faces on the outside of the spline sort of skewed my reading.


With regards to the Turn to Poly, I am stomped / missing the obvious somewhere. Since the object ends up with Triangles after the terrain modifier, how do I use Turn to Poly to force the 3 sided polys into quads. The turn poly options that I see allow me to limit the polys to 4 or less sides but since they already have 3 choosing 4 doesn't change anything. So I am missing something simple here but ... what? :)


Thanks in advance

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  • 3 months later...

I'm having the same problem as Zolren. I can get up to the point where the terrain is made and the top and bottom are removed then capped with the edit poly modifier but when I add the Turn to Poly mod to the stack everything looks the same. I can't get the triangles to go away. Like Zolren said, the "Limit polygon size" has a max size option, so if that's set to 4 as a max size then all the triangles will stay since it hasn't hit the max value. Am I missing something?

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  • 1 year later...

interesting. this post has always bothered me. i never figured out how to do it the way it was done in this post, especially with the turn to poly. anyway, i was playing around and realized that in modeling some things like a car windshield, i've often used cross-section in editable spline. it probably wouldn't help in all situations but it can be a good step in making some terrain objects.


so an example is: make a spline and normalize it, copy and scale down, line up your vertexes where you want them and repeat 3 or 4 times. move the smaller splines up on the z-axis, attach them all together. then select this one spline click on cross-section and click on each spline sub-object from bottom to top. finally put a surface modifier on it.

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  • 4 weeks later...

This has been a great thread, I have been using max for 6 years but have still learned a couple of new techniques.


That being said I am with you Zolren & Bullet. I just can not get the 'turn to poly' modifier to make the object into quads with any combination of settings. Is it a case that this is only the first step or are we really missing something?


Could anybody elaborate on this at all?



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  • 4 months later...

woof, very old thread.


and since this thread has started I have done many a terrain height maps. I also use the terrain tool in max but only to generate a height map(Z-depth). Then I use the max displacement modifier with the height map on a nice high poly square grid to get a proper model. From here I can just Boolean out the roads and whatever else information that needs to be separated for the terrain.


One thing people don't know about the terrain tool is that you don't have to have closed splines, max will automatically try and fill in the gaps where the splines aren't closed.

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Maybe I should ellaborate a bit more, this is a MASSIVE scheme, size of a town. I will create the terrain, and then all the housing/ schools etc..........so I need something thats gonna work, and be able to work with (mesh wise). I just find the 'terrain' tool very poor quality, etc.

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