Ground Tiles are the ground textures painted onto the terrain mesh, which cause the ground to resemble grass, dirt, sand, mud, concrete, pebbles, and similar types of textured ground.
These tiles can be added to any map, and can be a eye-catching way to add visual interest to the map, define geographical areas, and generally sculpt the look of the terrain.
This guide covers how to paint ground tiles onto a map and make your own custom ground tiles.
Opening the Tile Tools
You can access the Tiles tools from the top Tool Bar.
Alternatively, you can use the Scenario Tree to navigate to Scenario > Terrain > Tiles.
Selecting the tool by either of these methods will load the tile tools into the Painter panel, allowing you to select a tile type and paint it onto the map.
When you select a Tiles heading in the Scenario Tree, the universal tile settings for your map will appear, labelled LandTileBlueprint Component.
These properties are listed below.
- Locked will lock tile editing, so you cannot edit paint tiles.
- Editor Visible this setting does nothing as tiles are always visible.
- CellSize tells how many texture pixels are in a chunk. Cellsize controls tile textures vs world size and keeps the scaling consistent across maps.
- Height shows the size of the map and cannot be edited from here.
- Width shows the size of the map and cannot be edited from here.
Once you select the Tiles in the Scenario Tree the Painter Tool will switch to to use Tiles.
If the painter does not open itself, you can open it manually from the Main Menu by navigating to: Scenario > Painter.
Painter Tool Controls
Within the tool, you can set up the left and right mouse button independently. Each can use any tool available.
The brush palette contains four distinct brush tools, access through the four buttons at the top of the painter interface.
Feather Tip Brush (B) uses either a round or square brush that can be modified to have a strong blend in the middle and a soft fall off (feather) around the edges.
Textured Tip Brush (T) uses a texture to paint with. This brush excludes the feather and shape options and includes a Texture option to be used as the brush, or basically a mask (along with mirror x or y, scale and if it's tiled). Note the texture chosen will be scaled to 1m / pixel, so it's possible at "1" your brush may be bigger than the map itself. You can scale down.
Eraser (E) Removes the entire texture from a selected chunk. It will also automatically try to prevent a hard-edge by softly blending over a few meters into the adjoining chunks.
Sample Tool works with each tool above, and will populate their Tile area with whatever tile you left-click on the terrain.
Merge Tiles allows you to select one tile (From) and merge its painting/mask data to use another tile (To), removing the other. This is often used for optimizing performance.
- Show Chunks: Overlays a grid that shows how all tiles on the map are divided into "chunks." See the sections below for details on chunks.
- Show Tile Counts: Shows the number of tiles within each chunk. See the sections below for details on chunks.
Blend adjusts the strength or power of the brush. (0-1)
Feather controls the soft fall off of the brush, vs just a solid disc of the cursor. (0-1)
Mode allows you a choice of blending methods.
- Normal moves each pixel towards the "target" amount, either adding or subtracting to do so.
- Blend adjusts the blend effect near the edges of the brush.
- Add will only add towards the target value. For example, add rocks up to 50%, but not change any rocks that are already 50% or higher.
- Subtract will only subtract towards the target value. For example, remove rocks down to 25%, but not change any rocks that are 25% or less.
- Multiply multiplies by the blend value. This basically removes the selected tile and uniformly distributes its amount to the other tiles.
Shape allows you to choose either a circle or square brush.
Size sets the brush size. (1-127)
Target the max value of the height in the material that is exposed as you paint (0-255). Setting to 255 allows you to paint the entire texture if you want, where values such as "127" will only allow you to paint the top half (white to mid grey in the height) of the texture. This is valuable if you want to only paint the tops of the rocks poking out above snow, or sand.
Tile is the tile type currently active in the painter tool. You may click on this setting to choose another tile type.
Slope allows you to set a minimum and maximum angle of the terrain to paint on. If you only want to paint on the ground, and not on most slopes, set min to 0° and max to 20°.
Brush Painting Tips
Use these techniques to become more efficient at using the painter tool.
- Pressing Ctrl and scrolling the Middle Mouse Button will change the size of the brush.
- Pressing Shift while painting will lock the brush into only moving in a straight line.
How the Visuals of Tiles Work
Tiles are 1024 x 1024 in size and when placed next to each other, appear to form a seamless surface.
These tiles include qualities that include an Albedo (alb), Dielectric Reflection (die), Metallic (mtl), Normal (nrm), and Roughness (ruf).
They also include a Height (hgt) component which is used to help blend one type of tile into another tile, such as shown in the image below.
The Content Editor blends different tile materials together with this over/under method using material Height.
In the example below, the layer of rocks (left) is poking up through the layer of sand (right), causing the brown sand tile to fill between the low, black areas of the rock tile, visually blending the two together.
Creating a Custom Tile
You may create new types of tiles of your own using one or more textures.
To add a new tile type, perform the following steps:
- In the Scenario Tree, Right-Click on Tiles and select +Add...
- A new blank Tile will be created. This is done in the Tile Blueprint Properties window.
- Select the new Tile to open its Properties window. In the tile's Properties window, use the Blueprint controls to add a new texture to your tile.
- The name of your new Tile will change to match the file name of the texture you selected.
When you select a Tile in the Scenario Tree, you can access the properties for that tile.
These properties and what they affect are detailed below.
- Disable Normal Map disables the normal map.
- Force Size to Whole Map will remove tiling and scale the texture to fill the map. The areas you have painted to reveal this texture will remain the same.
- Layer Normal As Detail Normal will force this one tile's normal maps to combine with all other tile normal map textures. The examples below show this using stone tile.
- This is where you choose your Tile material (texture). Click the (...) button and browse for your texture in \art\scenarios\textures\tiles.
- Colour allows you to set the colour of the tile to be anything you like. This does not show up in game, and is only visible in the editor.
- Texture Material allows you to set the tile of the texture to be anything you like. This does not show up in game, and is only visible in the editor.
- Rotation allows you to rotate a tile. (0-359°)
- UV Offset offsets the tile along x or y axis.
- UV Scale sets the scale for the tile.
Select Tiles in the Scenario Tree and you should be presented with the Painter Tool ready for tile painting.
If not you can open the Painter tool from the top tool bar. Choose Scenario > Painter.
Like many other tools (e.g. Height painting) you can set up the left and right mouse button independently. Each can use any tool available.
Tiles and Chunks
Chunks are individual pieces of the terrain that contain tile textures blending with each other.
Each chunk can contain up to a maximum of Eight (8) different tile types. If this value is exceeded, the engine will drop the least used texture (with the lowest total surface area) from that chunk, treating it as if it did not exist.
If you wish, you can delete tiles from a chunk using the painting tool "erase" function. See Painting Tiles in the previous section.
You can view the chunks chunks and tile count of your map through several methods.
The first and easiest method is to use the Display Chunks button in the top Tool Bar.
Alternatively, you can access Chunk and Tile displays within the Painter Tool by checking Show Chunks and Show Tile Counts.
Finally, you can use the Main Menu to navigate to: Scenario > Display Chunks and Display Tile Counts.
Identifying Tiles in a Chunk
When you hover your mouse over a chunk, all the different tiles it contains will become highlighted in the Scenario Tree.
This will function whether or not you have Show Chunks or Show Tile Counts active.
When you create a map, you can set chunk size to either 16 or 32.
Setting this to 32 creates larger, but fewer chunks and uses slightly less memory. Setting this to16 creates a greater number of smaller chunks, which allows for more fine control but uses more memory.
The chunk size of a map can be viewed by navigating to: Scenario Tree and selecting Terrain. The chunk size is displayed under Size.