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===[TASK]=== Terrain Textures Overhaul (Milestone: Alpha 25)

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I have already been experimenting with giving the game a much needed update to the terrain textures. I have been exclusively using assets from this website here, licensed as cc0: CC0 Textures - Public Domain PBR Materials

We could contact this gentleman and ask for his assistance in creating new assets if his site currently does not have them and WFG could even become a Patron (his highest Patreon level is $5/month). Even if we don't try to partner with him, we can still utilize his excellent CC0 assets and ask him to check out how we're using his stuff.

cough I am very keen now on using CC0 or CC-BY-SA materials. eh hem. And so far the results have been better than I'd hoped. 







Desert (using assets from the India biome)




Alpine-Polar (I think these 2 should be combined)





Pros for updating the terrains:

  • The game's current terrains are inconsistent in quality and scattershot in style. A new set of terrains can unify the quality and style.
  • Terrains take up a massive amount of screen space, or what the player sees, so improving them gives a large boost in visual quality.
  • The current terrains don't fully take advantage of the graphics engine's capabilities. A new set of terrains can do that.
  • Improving the terrains can bring the look of the game closer to modern expectations.
  • We can reduce the sheer number of terrains by half, which comes with the benefit of visual consistency and ease of use for mappers.

Cons for updating the terrains:

  • It will take considerable effort and take attention away from other possible tasks.
  • The new textures will be on average 4x larger than the existing textures and will add normal maps and spec maps where previously there were few.
  • Will increase the graphics memory load and possibly push out those with low-spec computer rigs.
  • ?
Edited by wowgetoffyourcellphone
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Let's take stock of the current terrains situation (Alpha 23-24)


Current Biomes. Inconsistent.

  • Alpine
    • 41 terrains
    • 41 textures
  • Desert
    • 58 terrains
    • 59 textures
  • Mediterranean
    • 40 terrains
    • 42 textures
  • Polar
    • 17 terrains
    • 17 textures
  • Savanna
    • 36 terrains
    • 37 textures
  • Steppe
    • 13 terrains
    • 13 textures
  • Temperate
    • 47 terrains
    • 48 textures
  • Tropic
    • 32 terrains
    • 33 textures



Let's look at a potential Alpha 25 situation. Consistency.

Proposed Biomes

  • Aegean-Anatolian
    • 18 terrains
    • 36 textures
  • Alpine-Arctic
    • 18 terrains
    • 36 textures
  • East Asia (Bonus)
    • 18 terrains
    • 36 textures
  • Equatorial Africa (Bonus)
    • 18 terrains
    • 27 textures
  • Hispania-North Africa
    • 18 terrains
    • 27 textures
  • India
    • 18 terrains
    • 36 textures
  • Italy
    • 18 terrains
    • 36 textures
  • Mesoamerica (Bonus)
    • 18 terrains
    • 27 textures
  • Middle East
    • 18 terrains
    • 27 textures
  • Mongolian-Tarim (Bonus)
    • 10 terrains
    • 15 textures
  • Nubia-Savanna
    • 18 terrains
    • 36 textures
  • Sahara
    • 18 terrains
    • 27 textures
  • Steppe (Bonus)
    • 15 terrains
    • 30 textures
  • Temperate-European
    • 18 terrains
    • 36 textures

Why do some proposed biomes have 18 terrains and 36 textures, while others have 18 terrains and 27 textures? It's because they will reuse many of the same assets, specifically normal maps and spec maps. Some diffuse maps will simply be color corrected for the biome and can share normal maps and spec maps from other biomes. For example, the Alpine-Arctic biome could use the same diffuse map as the Temperate biome for a cliff texture, just color corrected for Alpine theme, and then share the same normal and spec maps between them. This saves time and effort as well as unifies the look of the complete set of terrains.


(Bonus) Biomes are lower priority. For instance, if the Xiongnu are added, then the Mongolian-Tarim biome would good to add. If Scythians or other similar civs are added, then the Steppe biome would be good to add. Otherwise, these biomes could be added lastly, the others a greater priority since we have civs already in-game for these biomes.

Edited by wowgetoffyourcellphone
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I propose that we curate the current list of biome assets, such as trees, animals and rocks, and fill in any gaps where necessary.

Each biome should have:

  • 3-5 tree species
  • 3 or more bushes
  • 1 berry bush object
  • A set of eye candy rocks
  • A set of eye candy flora
  • 2 Stone Mines
  • 2 Metal Mines
  • 2 or more dangerous animals
  • 3 or more cosmetic animals
  • 3 or more huntable animals (not including fish)
  • etcetera

Biomes can obviously share many of the same assets (Oak Trees or Date Palms for example will be used in multiple biomes). But a new spreadsheet must be created and agreed upon to go with the new proposed terrain biomes. Also, limits should be imposed for visual consistency. For instance, no more than 5 tree species per biome. We're not going to have 10 grass terrains in a biome, so there shouldn't be 20 tree species all mixed together in that biome either.


This will obviously necessitate a lot of random map script tweaking, but the final product will look very nice indeed.

Edited by wowgetoffyourcellphone
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For maps situated in Africa, it's important to realize the continent consists of several distinct ecoregions (get a decent map or consult Wikipedia (linked). From north to south:

  • Mediterranean zone (used to be fertile): coastal Morocco to Egypt.
  • Atlas Mountains (wooded): Morocco to northern Tunisia.
  • Sahara (desert): Mauretania to Egypt.
  • Sahel (transition zone): Mauretania to Sudan.
  • Sudan (savanna):
    • West Sudanian savanna: Senegal to Northern Nigeria;
    • North Central savanna: southern Chad, northern Central African Republic, western South Sudan;
    • East Sudanian savanna: Uganda to Eritrea.
  • The Sudd (swamp along the Nile in the centre of South Sudan) separates the savanna regions.
  • Forest-savanna mosaic (nomen est omen):
  • Tropical moist broadleaf forests (I doubt anyone would ever use this technical term in daily language):
    • Upper Guinean forests: Guinea and Sierra Leone to Togo;
    • Lower Guinean forests: Benin to Cameroon;
    • Atlantic Equatorial coastal forests: Cameroon to Democratic Republic of Congo;
    • Northwestern Congolian lowland forests: Cameroon to DRC;
    • Congolian rainforests: Cameroon to DRC.

The above is roughly the situation north of the equator. Below the equator you get practically the same ecoregions, though in reversed order, under different names, in different countries.

The different ecoregions are actually identifiable from space:



Of course, it's easier on schematic maps:



These vegetation zones correlate (i.e. not a 1:1 correspondence) with climate:



precipitation (rainfal):








and, to a lesser extent, even language families:




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