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How To... Tame Africa In Far Cry 2

Feature: Design your own savannah safari

WHAT WILL IT TAKE?
Skill - very easy
Time - one hour

WHAT WILL I NEED?
Far Cry 2 - the level editor is installed with the game
Malaria shots - because only the stupidest mercenary would forget something like that

RESOURCE HARVESTER
The official Far Cry homepage. Here.
Keep an eye out for the best new maps. And steal their ideas. Here.
Reality can provide the best data. Here.

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1. HEART OF SPIFFYNESS
The Far Cry 2 editor is a thing of beauty - so much so that before using it, you really owe it to its creators to go and play with some other map editors, just to make sure you'll enjoy it to its full. However, it has its limitations, most notably that you can only make multiplayer maps with it right now. That means Deathmatch, Hunt The Diamond, Team Deathmatch, and Uprising. There are a few other restrictions too, notably in terms of how many of the cooler props and textures you're allowed to use for each map you create.

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2. INTO AFRICA
Editing terrain is much like any heightmap based editor. The tools at the top of the editor raise and lower the land as you hold down the mouse button, giving you the rough shape you want. The controls on the right affect the radius of the brush, its hardness, level of distortion, and other important properties. Use a big brush to add a few ripples and important details to your map, then finish off with the Erosion, Noise and Smoothing tools to make it look natural, rather than the work of some capricious god.

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3. WATER SHORTAGE
To add lakes, rivers and other water features, we need to raise the water level. Look for the cloud icon in the toolbar, click it, and drag the water slider on the options menu. Move it up a decent amount, but not too high. We can now use the terrain tools to carve out the appropriate areas. We're building a peninsula map here, so we're leaving a decent amount of space around the central area to help focus the deathmatch action we'll be implementing later. From the same panel, you can change time of day and weather but do this at the end.

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4. TEXTURE PAINT
Textures are where we hit our first stumbling block. In short, your whole map has to make do with just four of them. That's not as bad as it sounds - we're only talking about pure dirt textures: trees, roads, buildings, and all the other objects handle their own affairs. To assign a texture to a slot, simply double click on it and choose the texture you want. If you change it, the map updates with the new one. Textures can be overlapped, and will automatically blend together. They look much more artificial from the air than the ground.

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5. ROAD TO NOWHERE
It's time to start blocking out a few areas. We're going to have a central town area, with a road leading out of the map and lots of nice looking trees. We've started by flattening out an area and laying some urban textures underneath it. Time to add the road. These are laid out using curves, and drawn onto the map by clicking the road icon in the toolbar and laying out the points. The default starting width is about man-size, so we'll boost that a bit, and get a nice bendy curve leading off into the edge of the map area.

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