Dawn of War III Modding Diary – Part 2

For Part 1, please click here!

I’ve enjoyed creating maps for Dawn of War 3; not only to play them, but the actual design and process to get them from just an idea to finally playable is a great experience.

And each one is a learning experience. So for each map I’ve been creating, the intention is to keep learning the editor by doing and try out new features for each one. So for this map I had a few initial goals in mind to learn.

Grass/Water

With my last map I had figured out tile painting and textures, but hadn’t looked into a little more advanced forms of features such as both grass and water features I knew the tool had. Therefore the utilization of both of them was intended.

Objects

Previously I had only used necessary game objects; base, generator, turret, etc. And so for this map I wanted to expand the usage of objects somewhat and see what exactly the tool had to offer.

Impassable Terrain

I think deciding where units can go, and where can’t they go, is great when it comes to creating a fun, interesting map. So I wanted to get used to how impassable terrain worked to create more interesting maps.

And with that said and done, here’s the Diary!


 

When first starting the map, I decided to go again with a Desert theme. Deserts are relatively flat with little needed scenery, which I thought would be best. The general theme going into it was a central oasis of water, the only one for miles, which was highly sought after by the different armies.

So to start with, I used the elevation tool to create a small pool and connecting river. I made sure the river would go off out of the playable map area so as to look realistically like a river flowing from a coast.

Step1

After some fiddling with the settings (as the first useage just filled the entire map), I then used the water tool to fill up the area I’d created.

Step2

This worked well. In less than 1 minute the basic premise of the map was already well underway. And now it was just a case of fleshing out the map a bit more to make it appear more substantial.

To start with this, I began painting the edges of the river/oasis with a mud texture.

Step3

This gives the idea of moisture and instantly made it look much more like a river should.

Step4

Next I began to use the grass tool to add some around the edges of the oasis along with the mud. As with the water tool, this was simple to use and was done up and down the river.

Step5

Step6

After the grass was placed, I used a darker muddy texture to paint just underneath the grass which had been placed. To, again, add more boost to the feeling that this was a lone body of moisture in a barren desert.

With the oasis done, I moved onto making the desert feel more believable.

Step7

Deserts aren’t flat and will often have very smooth dunes all over them. So I began creating the idea of dunes. To start with I randomly applied some elevated areas all over the map.

Step8

And then using the smoothing tool in the same tile setting, I gently lowered and smoothed out the dunes to get rid of any ‘sharp’ areas that wouldn’t exist in a desert. This instantly gave the map a much more 3D feeling, rather than an absolutely flat plain.

Step9

I continued this process by then making some additional, larger dunes to begin smoothing.

Step10

Step11

With that done, the map was looking a lot more 3D and interesting.

Next was one of my final main goals of the map, which was impassable terrain.

Step12

The editor features a tool to paint which areas would be passable or not, and by what. So I made sure that the lake itself was impassable, but skimmers were still able to pass over it. Though the settings above don’t show it, I also disabled droppods to avoid a potential bug of drop-podding troops into impassable terrain. As funny as it would be to see a squad of Space Marines stuck in a pool, I decided best to avoid that scenario.

Step14

And with that done, the bulk of the map was done in regards to the actual design and it was time to clutter with a few objects.

The story I had in my head was that this Oasis was once part of an Eldar outpost, and so I used ruined and destroyed Eldar objects in order to populate the area slightly and make it look like that. Though abandoned for a long time, now while in the system the Eldar want it back, the Space Marines want to capture it, and the Orks are just looking for a good fight. As Orks do.

Step15

I decided to use this arena to create the Eldar base, which Player 3 would start in.

Step16

I used the map editor to make it look like it was a much larger structure that had been buried under the sand. Due to how sand moves, it worked well to make it look ‘filled’ with sand, unlike other terrains which would very obviously look like it was clipping through.

Step18

I then added a few more objects around the oasis, continuing the theme of ruined Elder structures, and also painted the tiles underneath a darker colour. Following on from the above, this was to suggest the idea of these objects being slightly buried rather than standing on the surface.

Step19

And the final step in adding a bit extra was this large Eldar forcefield. To make it appear that, though destroyed, the Eldar technology still functions and could have been the reason the Space Marines and Orks picked it up in the first place.

Step20

This was what I decided the Ork base to look like. A giant pile of metal in the desert seems fitting of the race in question. I added huts to make it appear more like a settlement that had grown over time rather than just a hulk of metal randomly there.

Step21

And for the Space Marines I added a few Imperial artifacts, as if to show that the Marines had once tried to capture this area and failed. But in the background I added a variety of ships to suggest that this was yet another assault by a different Space Marine chapter rather than a continued battle.

Step23

And with that the 3 bases were completed, and I added in the necessary gameplay objects in order to make the map playable.

Step24

And after generating the territories, I can see that apart from the Eldar one being a bit smaller, they’re all relatively equal in size. The Eldar terrain being smaller I believe to be counter-balanced by it being closer to the Oasis.

Step25

And this is the terrain after adding in control points. I decided to add in a variety of points around the map, but specifically the 5 points in the centre all feature Elite resource captures. Which makes them very sought after. In such an open map, a 9-point Elite could be devastating.

I saved the map, exported it, and booted up DOW.

Step26

There is the map all available to see in the select tool.

Step27

And here it is in action. I’m using a camera tool to zoom out further and so that is why the game looks a bit white; the fog scales with the camera.

Step28

And this is a picture of me showing the impassable terrain working. No matter how hard the

Another issue with the camera zoom, it seems, is the grass not loading in. As the game was not designed to have an unlocked camera zoom, that is just a by-product of my game and something I’ll look to fix in the future.


But that’s it done!

I believe I learned a few things which I’ll be applying to my next map.

  • Height & Camera
    • The height of the map was left to default or raised, but I believe this was a mistake as the camera felt very zoomed in initially. I think initially lowering the height of the entire map and making the playable area much lower will be able to remedy that situation.
  • Impassable Terrain
    • The impassable terrain worked perfectly! I look forward to using it more.
  • Objects
    • And I believe I figured out the movement and rotation of objects very well. I’d like to be a bit more adventurous in mixing objects with impassable terrain.

For next time, I want to look into the lighting a little more, to make it seem more dynamic (as I saw a few options for it while browsing the tool), and ensure the elevation is correct!

And already I have a great idea for the next one, too.