Advanced Shading

by Lord Tanthos

This article covers the vast variety of uses for the excellent shades and tints in the Stronghold: Legends map editor. This article will cover customized textures, new terrains, and new water, as well as creative ideas! If you want to improve the look of your maps and add some creativity, read this article.

Surely any mapmaker that has used the Legends texture toolbar has at some time felt disappointed that there are only eight textures to pick from. I’m included. However, with a lot of experimentation, it is quickly noticed that using shades and tints can give you some of those important missing textures.

For example, the most important texture on an Arthurian beach would be some form of sand, as always. Well, by quickly glancing at the texture bar we do not see any “sand” texture.

Therefore, we will have to toy around with the shades and tints (paintbrush icon) to see if we can “make” some different sand textures.

Hmm…after ten minutes of work we find that this mixture makes very realistic sand:

Upon mixing Shade 5 with Tint 4 on Texture 5 (simple grass) we can create a very nice-looking sand for our islands and beaches. The texture possibilities are limitless. Another set of textures missing from Legends are varying forms of grass. We only have a moderate color of grass, no dead grass, dying grass, or lush grass. By using Shade 1, the lush grass comes into reality by adding a strong dark green to the texture. Tint 1 mixed with Shade 1 makes a dry grass color, and then Tint 2 mixed with Shade 1 makes a perfect dead grass appearance.

But, in addition to making new textures, shades and tints can also be used to enhance certain areas of your map. This adds great variety and eye appeal to that region. Here are a few examples:

Other possible uses include black shades under an Oil Tipper (to tell the player that they’ve been used before), or gray shades on top of pitch ditches (to give the player a hint of where pitch ditches are). Tints have a wide number of uses, and can be used in many different ways. Perhaps you want to make a haunted forest? Add a dark and shadowy feel by placing gray and black shades on the forest floor.

Another thing that has been missing since Crusader is the good old pond, still water that doesn’t look like marsh and can be quite beautiful in a forest clearing. Here’s how to use tints and shades to get a few types of pond water. First, start with marshland water, and then be sure to prevent the player or AI from harvesting pitch from it. Next, try some shades and tints in it. For example, here are three types of ponds:

(Tint 8, Shade 8)

(Tint 6, Shade 8)

(Tint 1, Shade 8)

And that’s not it just yet! Shades and tints also allow for some extremely creative ideas, such as a “Dungeon” map which takes place underground. You would paint the entire tunnel with Shade 8 (Black) to give it an eerie, dark look, and then you could use braziers for torch light, or in this case, a campfire, at which you slowly reduce the darkness with lighter and lighter greys.

This is but a taste of the great potential the Stronghold: Legends map editor has available for you. Hopefully, this will help to improve everyone’s map design and help spark even more new uses!