Jump to content

Map Editor Tutorial - Sculpting the Terrain and Blocking


Recommended Posts



Hello again!
This part is dedicated to sculpting the terrain, adding water and working with the blocking tool.

If you encounter any issues, don't hesitate to ask in Skylords Reborn Map Making Discord.



  • Terrain Cliffs
    • Setting up Cliffs
    • Painting Cliffs
  • Height Tool
    • Sculpting Terrain
    • Recalculate Aviatic Heightmap
  • Water Tool
  • Blocking Tool
    • Blocking Tool
    • Blocking Visualization Settings
  • Next Chapter


 Terrain Cliffs

Your biggest ally in creating the layout of your map is the Terrain Cliffs tool.
With it, you can easily block out the map, as cliffs automatically block ground unit movement.

Let's look at how we can set the cliffs up.


• Setting up Cliffs

Open the Terrain Cliffs tool - you will find it under Windows -> Terrain Cliffs or Shift + C shortcut.

The Terrain Cliffs window will appear.

image.png.2a55446b46d2e8c57ce438f0d55fe41f.png   image.png.b8838793c7b7d296a67f328c9d33bdb6.png


Before we can put down any cliffs, we first need to set up which cliffs we'll be using for the map.

Clicking the New button creates a new Cliff Type for us to use on the map.
Then, click on any of the
Cliff Sets in the list at the bottom of the window.
You can have multiple Cliff Types and every
Cliff Type is set to one Cliff Set from the list at the bottom.

Now, you can place down your cliffs by clicking the Attach automatically button and painting the cliffs onto the map.



Note: Because the cliffs are set up this way, if you want to change the type of cliffs you used on the map, simply select the Cliff Type and choose a different cliff set from the list below.
This will replace all the cliffs of that type with the newly selected cliff set.



• Painting Cliffs

Attach Automatically means, that the cliff tool will automatically adjust the height of the terrain, and generate the selected cliff type along the terrain that was raised/lowered - if there is enough of a height difference.

In Attach Automatically you can set Destination Height for LMB and RMB - this determines how high your cliffs will be generated with Left Mouse Button and Right Mouse Button respectively. As an advice - keep this in multiples of 100.

Attach Manually means, that the tool will not deform the terrain. This is usually used alongside the Height Tool.
With a cliff type selected, you can brush over the terrain and the tool will generate cliffs along steep enough slopes.

  • Add cliffs with the Left Mouse Button
  • Remove cliffs with Right Mouse Button

You can set the Brush Size, Brush Shape and if you want your brush to Snap to Grid in this window, just above the Cliff Set list.

You will spend most of your time using the Attach Automatically option, but Attach Manually comes in handy from time to time.


 Height Tool

Height Tool is the most basic form of terrain manipulation. Creating map layouts with this tool is not very effective, as the squads can walk over the steepest of terrain slopes - if they don't have a cliff, or aren't manually blocked off.

Its role, however, is in adding smaller details to a more finalized map - uneven terrain, craters or smooth beaches.

Find it under Windows -> Height Tool (Note: From now on, whenever I mention a new tool, simply open it via the Windows tab)

image.png.f7cde1ec6e8a23211774535f0a014bcf.png   image.png.bb3b469a75888c7b50c3ed834d204f35.png

Sculpting Terrain

To sculpt the terrain, we use the Additive Height, Fixed Height, and Smoothing functions of the Height Tool.


Additive Height
Additive Height gradually raises or lowers the terrain in the area highlighted around the mouse cursor. The speed of the raise is determined under the Settings part of the window.

  • To raise the terrain - hold Left Mouse Button
  • To lower the terrain - hold Right Mouse Button


Same as with the Terrain Cliffs tool, you can change the Brush Size and Shape at the bottom of the window.
Falloff modifier linearly fades out the strength of the Additive Height the further away it is from the center of the brush.

With Single Step ticked, you will raise the terrain by the amount set ONCE with each click.
Single Step unticked, the terrain will raise by the selected value as long as you hold the Left Mouse Button.

Locking upper/lower cliff border can come in handy when you have cliffs that you don't want to deform.

  • Lock Upper Cliff Border means, that the terrain at the top of the cliff will not be raised/lowered by the tool.
  • Lock Lower Cliff Border means, that the terrain at the bottom of the cliff will not be raised/lowered by the tool.


Fixed Height
Fixed Height is great if you need a flat piece of land.
ou can set the height of the terrain you want to apply with left click and right click in the Left: and Right: fields under Settings.

With the Pick button, you can sample a height of terrain from the map by left, or right-clicking on the terrain. Alternatively, you can hold Shift and left, or right click.

Locking upper/lower cliff border works the same as with Additive Height.


Fixed height works great in combination with the Cliff Tool's Attach Manually option, that applies cliffs onto steep terrain.

image.png.4c9a4cbccdd774eb38dae403bff5dabd.png   image.png.924b080394f0ed57d9c9610be27bd240.png


Smoothing, as its name implies, smoothes out uneven terrain.
Adjust the smoothing power with the slider in the
Settings part of the window.

You can play around with the terrain like it's Play-doh and have interesting looking terrain in no time.



Note: You may have noticed a little button with an arrow at the bottom of the window. Some tools have these little hidden compartments that you need to open.

In Height Tool's case, this button hides the option to raise or lower ALL the terrain on the map by the set amount.
This can be useful if you need to make a deep canyon, but your ground is level too low.


• Recalculate Aviatic Heightmap

There is a pretty big and important button secreted away in the Height Tool, and that is the Recalculate Aviatic Heightmap.

Flying units use the aviatic heightmap to determine how high their model should be when flying over the terrain. The aviatic heightmap is not updated automatically, meaning if you change the terrain height, you need to recalculate the heightmap for the flying units to fly at a proper height.

Let's look at an example to explain what it does in action.
Images below are before and after. On the left, we've adjusted the height of the terrain - as you can see, one swamp drake is pretty high up while the other is nearly touching the ground.
After we recalculate the heightmap, the drakes snap into a more reasonable height above the terrain.

image1.jpg.72ed4bfb17da3191c186ccf7f5afa5bf.jpg   image2.jpg.e43a5463db4d1216914de6e62f042a5c.jpg


 Water Tool

The Water Tool is how you set up and paint water onto the map.

Not only can water look cool on a map, it also automatically blocks ground unit movement.


To create a new water layer, click the New button. A water layer "unnamed" will appear in the list. When we select it, we even get some properties in the Entity Properties window.

Of these - only the Height property is of importance for now, as it determines how high the water layer will be generated when you paint it.


Now, with the water layer selected, we can press the Paint button and paint our water layer onto the map.

  • Paint water with LMB
  • Remove water with RMB

To change the height of the water, change the Height property in the Entity Properties window and paint a little bit of it anywhere. The water layer will get updated to the new height you set.


Our water is looking kind of dull at the moment. We can easily change it to one of the waters used by the campaign maps.
Water properties can be saved as a definition. Access these definitions by clicking
Import Definition button.

Choose one from the default water definitions and our water starts looking pretty good, just like that.

image.png.e7e0212077639fe8455d139a9154e0bc.png   image(8).thumb.jpg.0e1241eba4d39ea5bae580e3b73170fd.jpg


Note: There have been some rare cases, where a blocking was present on a map for no reason and we couldn't delete it.
It turned out that the water sometimes doesn't get removed when editing the terrain. So if you run into an issue where you have an inexplicable blocking on your terrain and you don't know how to get rid of it - try removing water through the water tool.
If that doesn't work, there might be some blocking item hidden under the ground.

If you want to create your own water definition, you can do so through the Show Advanced Properties button with the water layer selected.
Now you can access a lot of extra properties through the Entity Properties window.
We won't be covering this in detail - experiment and explore these options as you want.

If you find a good definition and want to use it in the future, you can save it with the Export Definition button.



Note: You can select textures in certain properties - such as Fluid Map, Detail Map and Fluid Normal.
DO NOT USE YOUR OWN CUSTOM TEXTURES if you want other players to be able to play your map - using anything outside the textures available to you by default will mean that nobody else will be able to open or play the map.


 Blocking Tool

The Blocking Tool is essential for map creation.

With it, you can block certain types of units to walk over specific parts of the map and adjust map borders.

The Blocking Tool actually has two windows.
Blocking Tool itself and Blocking Visualization Settings.


You can view the blocking on the map at any time by going into View -> Blocking



• Blocking Tool
Blocking Tool is how you block off certain areas of the map.

  • Paint blocking with Left Mouse Button
  • Remove blocking with Right Mouse Button

It has several blocking types, let's look at them now.


  • BlockBit blocks ground units from passing over - also blocks buildings
  • Flying blocks only flying units from passing over - also blocks buildings
  • Ground+Flying does what it says - blocks ground and flying units (and buildings)
  • MapBorder paints custom map borders - these parts of the map will have black, unrevealable FOW in the game
    You can show how the map border will look like in the View -> Map Border
  • NoBuild prevents building buildings, while allowing units to pass over
  • VisBlocking should prevent units from aggroing and attacking enemies over the block
    However, this blocking doesn't seem to work in all cases
  • Vis+Blockbit combines VisBlocking and BlockBit
    As with VisBlocking, the visibility blocking part doesn't seem to work in all cases
  • Vis+Ground+Flying combines VisBlocking and Ground+Flying
    As with VisBlocking, the visibility blocking part doesn't seem to work in all cases

Important Note: The MapBorder blocking does not block unit movement.
If a player sends his units into the map border, he will lose control of them while keeping their population cost.
Make the map border unreachable by painting a layer of ground+flight blocking around it.

To quickly fill an area with blocking, you can use the Fill functionality.
You can either click the
Fill button and click the area you want to fill, or hold Ctrl and click while in Painting mode.

Always paint the blocking around the area you want to fill in, first.

image.png.2095b320f6b038c558eabfe19f32ce87.png   image.png.ed735817fd254a54146e883967d76b20.png


Note: When you remove painted blocking, you might run into an issue where you cannot move squads into the previously blocked space.
The editor doesn't update the blocking when it's removed, so you need to reload the map to be able to place squads into that position.

The same applies with buildings - when you place a building and move it / remove it, you need to reload the map to be able to move squads into the building's previous position.


• Blocking Visualization Settings
Blocking Visualization Settings is where you can set which blocking type you will see when viewing it through View -> Blocking.

Yellow blocking symbolizes temporary blocking, such as buildings - once the building is destroyed, the blocking disappears.

Red blocking symbolizes permanent blocking - blocking painted by the blocking tool and created by terrain cliffs.

You can set which unit size blocking will be shown and if only temporary and/or permanent blocking will be seen.



 Next Chaptersplitter.png.6e92ce8e18c8406d26a7b7e577d338f4.png

This concludes terrain sculpting and blocking. Now you have all the knowledge necessary to create very simple functional maps - layouts bordered by cliffs, correctly working blocking, and even with some enemy squads and buildings thrown in.


Next, we will get to the last part of the map working tutorial - texturing the map. Texturing has one of the largest impacts on map visuals.


• Texturing the Terrain




Edited by R4bitF00t
Metagross31 and Emmaerzeh like this
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • R4bitF00t changed the title to Map Editor Tutorial - Sculpting the Terrain and Blocking

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Terms of Use