This text was supplied by Wolfgang Stroh firstname.lastname@example.org
"Unofficial" texts are member contributions that have not yet been discussed or approved by the ESP community.
Mountain and valley design in WorldMaker
As the XP scenery grid is pretty coarse, the topography is very much
levelled/smoothed. This is not a problem for plains, but it is a big
problem for areas with high mountains and deep valleys side by side (like
in the Alps).
One possible approach is to take an atlas, look up the elevations of major
mountains, convert them to feet (if necessary) and open your env file. As
the rough topography is okay, you quickly find the area, where your
mountain should be. Now choose a node and change its elevation. It is
quite common to adjust the altitude by about 2000 ft! In order not to have
one single peak above everything else, you might need to adjust adjacent
nodes as well.
Valleys in XP are often much higher than in real world. So we need to
lower their elevations. Try to find the elevation of a village in the
valley (atlas, map), and then set the node elevations. But be careful, as
far as diagonal elevations are concerned, higher elevations go before
lower elevations. I will explain this with a small example:
Let's assume that we have nine polygons with their nodes:
The upper left polygon is made up of A-B-F-E, the lower left one of
I-J-N-M, the center one of F-G-K-J. You got the idea? Our next assumption is that there is a 2000 ft valley going from the top-left corner to the bottom right. The rest is high mountains (about 8000 ft). If we only set A, F, K and P to 2000 ft, this will result in deep holes instead of a valley. The high-elevation diagonal E-B is "stronger" than the low-elevation diagonal A-F. So in order to get a good valley, we have to
set A, B, F, G, K, L, and P to 2000 ft and probably move the nodes to get a more or less straight valley.
BTW, in our example E, J, and O would be a mountain ridge - all about the same elevation, no valleys inbetween. North-south or east-west valleys are of course much easier. You might, for example, set B, F, J and N to 2000 ft. That's all you need for this north-south valley.