Adding decals Edit

The difference in visual quality between Low and High fidelity is staggering. Most of the difference is due to decals. Decals are individual textures placed onto the terrain. They can take different forms. Some are placed as images on the map, like the explosion scar from the initial commander warp. Other decals act as normal maps on the ground to give the appearance of roughness. Some of the official GPG maps contain hundreds of decals. If you are serious about your map, this part can be just as time consuming as the heightmap and textures—decal placement makes the difference between a pretty map and a gorgeous map.

Go to the Decals layer in the Layer window. Click on the Decals tab in the Resource Browser window. To add a decal, simply drag it from the Resource Browser window onto the map. The controls to manipulate decals work the same as for props. Holding S on your keyboard will allow you to resize the decal without clicking. Elevation controls are not available for decals. You can create symmetrical decals in the same way as you did props. To get to the Map centered rotation checkbox, click on the arrow at the top toolbar (Editor-menubutton-arrow).

If you drag a few decals and zoom around, you’ll notice that some of them fade out much too quickly. You can adjust this in the Decal Properties window. In the LOD Cutoff box, type in a higher number and click Set. You can also give a decal a minimum viewable distance with the Near LOD Cutoff box. Be very careful with these cutoffs. You want them high enough to be visible at normal zoom levels, but performance will be poor if you have a thousand decals with a cutoff of 10,000. With appropriate cutoffs there’s no excuse to hold back on decals, so make your map look as beautiful as possible!

Have no fear if a decal gets buried under others and you can’t select it again. Holding down Ctrl while you click will allow you to cycle through multiple decals on top of each other. You can reorder the decal you have selected with the arrow buttons in the Decal Properties window. If you want to always see your decals in the editor, go to View > Force Decals.

Lesson 7: Last things to do...

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