Nates "Blob Method" tutorial

I'm writting this tutorial because I don't think very many of you guys fully understand the power of a blob =). The whole concept behind the blob method is that Triangles are VERY flexible. other shapes like squares and Octagons and whatever might be flexible but they are very hard to manipulate unless you've become a pro at finding out new ways of Intersecting and intersecting with void to create the desired shape.. I find these methods to be less than optimal and at the same time less flexible than with the Blob method. I believe that for the most part BSP gets along with the blob method better too.

I was in the passenger seat of Jason's car when I realized a new technique for working the blobs.. originally I would take the regular Terrain.t3d brush and simply manipulate it until I got a desired effect.. this works great but I have a new method that I think might just work better than that.

Here is the old method which should show most of the blobs goodnes. First Import the mediumterrain brush. it should look like this.

Now subtract the brush and click on one of the points on the bottom side. You probably already know about Vertex manipulation but I'll go ahead and explain a few things. First of all I use just the 3d view unless I'm trying to line something up really good. UnrealEd's VM is sweet because you can do this!! click a vertex press alt+mouse1 to move the point in and away from the current view in 3d you can use the camera to flip around and push it different ways. Sometimes it's hard too see the depth of the point so you'll want to keep moving the camera to get an idea where that point is. Use Alt+mouse1+mouse2 to move the point vertical and to move it side to side from the where you are looking from. With this you really don't need all the other views to get your desired shape. all you have to do is stay in the 3d view and sorta mush things around. Go ahead and pull all the bottom points down to make a roomish shape like this.

To connect blobs you'll want to align the vertices rather than your normal Intersect/subtract deal. prepare the blob to accept another blob for use as a "cave" by pulling down a few points like this

Now import another blob (we'll use smallterrain) and subtract it like this:

Now figure out how to get the blobs to line up exactly. in this picture you can see where My first move was from the start:

Here are the rest of the movements..

Ok now the blobs are lined up.. all you need to do is to alter the second blob to look somewhat Like a cave. All I need to do is too bring a few of those points down and call it good.

Now we have a cave but it looks ugly!! we want to move the points around untill it looks good.

In my first attempts I found that lighting this stuff can be difficult.. In Quake the radiosity effects would have covered the dark triangles but in Unreal you have to do radiosity manually or just align the planes(triangles) so they are at a more perpendicular angle to the light. Here's some before and after shots..



This example doesn't nearly cover the possibilities of blobs. As you've seen in E1L1 section 1 there is a whole lot of stuff you can do with blobs. Feel free to open E1L1 and take a look at how I aligned the brushes and used smaller sized terrains for caves and rocks. Ok on with the New method that should be useful in even non-Natural environments. Ok here's a basic rundown on the new technique:

You must have some sort of plan to be able to use this new technique. Ok we'll start with the smallterrain brush and make it into a block like this:

Now export that to a brush and call it Block. Import the brush and start laying out a square outline of the path you want to build with natural terrain like this:

Deintersect all of this and export it to a brush and delete all those singular building blocks like this:

Now you can subtract the new brush and tweak all the points to give a more natural look like this:

Of course what you see is pretty simple. If you had planed to have more detail you could have added a second layer of blocks and made the path wider.. say you wanted to have a ledge hanging over a river like in Strike(Quake map).. you'd plan ahead and build the path three blocks wide so you could have that ledge in there. I haven't used this method in any of my maps but after doing this tutorial on it I know it can be very handy. It'll save me a lot of time.

I hope you have get something out of this tutorial. any questions?

-Nathan Silvers

PS: I've included the Tutorial maps for you to screw around with.