terraed vs ale

Community Forums/Developer Stations/terraed vs ale

ryan scott(Posted 2004) [#1]
i am confused as a newbie what i should buy - or both? anyone who has used these please give me your thoughts!

ALE or TerraEd

what really is the difference? what limits would i run into as I go along?

i am looking to build an outdoor game at this point - don't really need 'level' editing per se, at this point. but i need to build a terrain and place objects in the easiest way.

aCiD2(Posted 2004) [#2]
well, Ale would be your best choice as a newbie (your words, not mine :P ) because that is a terrain generation tool. It will be your best way of painting the land aswell. TerraEd however, will only create heightmaps and skyboxes for you so you will have to do more of your own coding

IPete2(Posted 2004) [#3]
Er... I havent used ALE and I know nothing about it.

TerraEd does not create the graphics/textures needed for skyboxes so beware, it just makes a skybox from component graphics you already have created in Bryce or whatever. But you can use multiple planes for sky if you want too (the skybox code can be switched off effectively).

TerraEd provides all the b3d code as an include and some default generic setup code to load levels created with the TerraEd editor - to make life easy. There ia little coding to do, except where you game may go.

You can give every object, placed in the editor, a unique name and set it up to move or rotate in your main loop. It includes the code for moving, turning objects you just copy and edit it for your own objects names. It also includes a colour map generator, a height map generator, a water plane setup section, camera and fog set up, and acts as an object placement tool - so it is a very powerful tool.

The detail layer for ground texture definition can be adjusted to be large or small, you see it right in the widnow as you alter it which is useful. Most things are WYSIWYG.

There are functions to animate the water plane already built into the terramap player code (which is mainly an include), you just call a function.

TerraEd has wind swaying effects objects such as trees and grasses and ferns built in too, placement for blitztree objects (simply use a series of green dots to tell the editor where you want the trees). It also has 'spread' function built in so you can have reeds only growing at the water's edge based on minimum height and maximum height placement and how many you want to place in one go.

The skybox function is fine and works very well. You get some media free with TerraEd too, the tree is nice, the grass is good and the fern is good too - so all very useful.

It does terrain shadows too and object shadows - for example trees and fences placed in the editor all get shadows.

All in all TerraEd is a fantastic tool. ALE may be as good, I dont know.

Some piccies may help: These were made in the first week of me having TerraEd:


In the spirit of being a good community person I just went and found ALE - it looks great!

I guess you should get the demos and try them BOTH out - then choose the one which suits you best.


aCiD2(Posted 2004) [#4]
Oh yes, IPete2 is correct - I was thinking of Terragen :P

Synchronist(Posted 2004) [#5]
Aren't there demos available for both? See which works best for you...

Paul "Taiphoz"(Posted 2004) [#6]
TerraED also now comes with full height map creator, Nice easy to use, set your brush size and rise or lower your brand new terrain to fit your own map.

jhocking(Posted 2004) [#7]
It's not an either/or thing. The two tools are different (though related) in function. ALE is to create a terrain mesh, including painting textures on the terrain, using a very advanced and visually effective "splatting" technique with vertex alpha. TerraED is for object placement and setting up the world. So you could create a terrain in ALE and use TerraEd to place objects on it.

That said, there's little point in getting both. I would recommend getting ALE (to create really nice terrain) and then using Droplet (free) for entity placement. That said, if you want a simple all-in-one tool, use TerraED to create a heightmap terrain (not as good as ALE terrain, but still very nice) and place entities.

Doggie(Posted 2004) [#8]
For free there's always HomeSPun. You'll find it in my sig.
It does everything that Terraed does except lightmap the terrain but you can get free terrain lightmap code in the code archives. Also, as far as I know, the heightmap creator included in Terraed is a public domain editor(complete with source code) and as such isn't really part of Terraed. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I know I'm not since I got the source right here in my Blitz dir.
Anyhow, try mine for free to get an idea what you really need.