Part of the Atlas (Scenario Editor) Manual
The Heightmap Import feature (accessible via File -> Import Heightmap... menu item) allows to generate terrain based on a heightmap image file. One possible usage of this feature is generating game maps based on real-world data (see Digital elevation model).
The image should be:
- with power of 2 dimensions (128x128, 256x256 etc.)
- greyscale (darker parts of the image produce lower terrain)
An excellent source for large scale real-world heightmaps is the NASA Blue Marble image series. You may combine topographic and bathymetric (ocean floor height) images for a better result. Detailed maps can be found via this digital elevation data search engine.
The resulting map size is calculated based on the image size (128x128, 256x256 and 512x512 correspond to Tiny, Medium and Giant map sizes respectively, see map_sizes.json).
Currently the heightmap importer doesn’t have any configuration, so if import doesn't produce the desirable result, the source image should be edited in an image editor and re-imported. Fine-tuning of specific areas can be done using Atlas terrain tools (see Atlas Manual: Terrain Tab).
By using a hex editor you can also manipulate directly the .pmp map file storing the height data. This reduces unwanted artefacts resulting from the limited height resolution of 8-bit greyscale images. You can find further information in the heightmap guide linked below.
- Palaxin's Heightmap Guide in the Forum.