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This chapter is from the book

The Ground Brush

I want to start with the simplest of tools first: the Ground Brush. This is the tool selected in Figure 6.2 and is represented by the white square.

Figure 6.2

FIGURE 6.2. Select the Ground Brush to make basic additions and color changes.

You already learned about the terrain selection feature and the tool brush shapes in Chapter 3, “Take a Test Drive: Controlling Objects and Terrain,” but I want to go over them with a little more detail here. Before I show you all the ways the Ground Brush works, let me explain a few modifications that you can make while it is selected.

First, if you’re using a keyboard and mouse, you can change the size of the brush by using the Left Arrow and Right Arrow keys. Notice in Figure 6.2 that the brush shape is square and that the size is about a quarter of the single block of green terrain. If I tap the Left Arrow key, the brush shape shrinks in size, as shown in Figure 6.3.

Figure 6.3

FIGURE 6.3. Shrink the Ground Brush by tapping the Left Arrow key.

Game controller users can shrink the Ground Brush by tapping Left or Right on the D-Pad.

To increase the size of the Ground Brush, tap the Right Arrow key on the keyboard or tap Right on the D-Pad. Notice in Figure 6.4 that I can make the Ground Brush size quite large, even larger than the original single square of green terrain.

Figure 6.4

FIGURE 6.4. Increase the size of the Ground Brush.

Changing the Brush Shape

If you want to change the Ground Brush shape, you can select from Square, Round, Linear Square Brush, Linear Round Brush, or the Magic Brush. The Square and Round brush shapes work the same, but simply apply terrain or change color using a round or square brush head.

The Linear brush shapes enable you to select a starting point and an ending point and then apply your terrain to all points in between. For example, in Figure 6.5, I’ve selected the Linear Round Brush and moved the brush head from one end to the other by holding down the left mouse button and moving the brush head to its end position. (You can do the same thing by using the game controller’s left thumbstick.)

Figure 6.5

FIGURE 6.5. Move the Linear Brush from a starting point to an ending point.

With the mouse, the terrain is applied when I release the left mouse button, but with the game controller you press the R trigger. Figure 6.6 shows the final stretch of terrain I added with the Linear Round Brush.

Figure 6.6

FIGURE 6.6. A new stretch of terrain added with a Linear brush.

If when you are adding new terrain the brush head moves over existing terrain, that terrain is replaced with whatever color/texture you currently have selected. For example, in Figure 6.7, I’ve placed a new square of terrain to the right of the current terrain. Notice they are not touching and are two different colors.

Figure 6.7

FIGURE 6.7. A new piece of terrain is added.

But watch what happens when I add another square of the new terrain in the space between large and small squares. Figure 6.8 shows that part of the larger (green) terrain has been replaced with the new color.

Figure 6.8

FIGURE 6.8. Old terrain is replaced with new terrain.

When you’re using the Ground Brush, any movement of the Square, Round, or Linear brushes replaces old terrain with new when you drag over the old terrain. But there’s a way to avoid that.

If you hold down the Control key on your keyboard while dragging the Ground Brush around, existing terrain will not be modified if the brush moves over it. Instead, the new terrain is placed anywhere terrain does not already exist. Figure 6.9 shows that I’ve painted a new terrain around the original green square while holding down the Control key. See how the original terrain is left unmodified?

Figure 6.9

FIGURE 6.9. Use the Control key to keep existing terrain.

What if you want to replace some existing terrain with a new color while avoiding adding any new land to your world? In that case, hold down the Shift key while dragging the Ground Brush over existing terrain. As you can see in Figure 6.10, the original (green) square of terrain now has a completely new color.

Figure 6.10

FIGURE 6.10. Replace an existing piece of terrain with a new color only.

When you have a Square or Round brush selected, right-click with the mouse and drag over some terrain to erase it; you can use the Left Arrow or Right Arrow keys on a keyboard to increase or decrease the size of the brush head to control how much terrain you erase. In Figure 6.11, I’ve decreased the brush head to a small square and then erased some terrain from the center.

Figure 6.11

FIGURE 6.11. Right-click to erase with the Ground Brush.

I can fill those holes easily enough by selecting a new terrain and then holding down the Control key while dragging the brush over those holes. Figure 6.12 shows the new look of the terrain.

Figure 6.12

FIGURE 6.12. Fill in holes with new terrain using the Control key.

The Magic Brush

Before I move on to a different tool, I want to show you how the Magic Brush works. Before you select the Magic Brush, click the Ground Brush and select a different terrain. I’ve selected a dark red painted terrain, but you can pick anything that you’re not already using.

Next, select the Magic Brush (it’s the last one to the right, just beyond the Linear Round Brush) and move it over any bit of existing terrain.

It’s a bit difficult to tell in Figure 6.13, but whatever terrain you have selected will glow and fade repeatedly while you are using the Magic Brush. You can then modify whatever terrain is glowing by using the tools you’ve already learned about; you selected a new terrain color, so tap the left mouse button and that color will be applied to any flashing terrain. Notice in Figure 6.14 that I changed the overall color of the terrain with the Magic Brush but that the smaller squares were not modified.

Figure 6.13

FIGURE 6.13. Use the Magic Brush to make large changes to terrain.

Figure 6.14

FIGURE 6.14. Magic Brush can apply colors selectively.

I showed you earlier how to use the Control key while using the Square or Round brush to change the color of existing terrain. If you had done this over the large square of terrain, however, it would have also changed the small squares. Using the Magic Brush, I was able to select just the color of the larger square and change it without changing the smaller squares.

You’ll definitely want to experiment with all five brushes (Square, Round, Linear Square, Linear Round, and Magic Brush) until you’re good and comfortable with them. The Ground Brush is the primary tool you’ll use to create larger worlds, such as the battle ring I’ve created and shown in Figure 6.15.

Figure 6.15

FIGURE 6.15. A battle ring for a fighting robot game, perhaps?

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