Well, good friend, excuse me for the criticism on my part, but I can clearly behold Terraining is not your forte. Wished there was a better way of defining it, but definitely your skills could use some more love.
Your snow world picture seems the most decent of your selection. I liked how the rock terrain (Supposedly Valhalla Rock, I use it frequently) differs to make a path. But your mountains are out of place, mostly because of the bump map for the snow. The bump simply makes the faults so obvious it's impossible to miss it. I'd want to review on the snow's bump map if I were you, maybe tweak it or, in the extreme of cases, change it a bit so it doesn't feel like an EA made mountain on the verge of an avalanche (Unless THAT's what it has to do with the campaign [Subjection, right], then it'd be alright and cool, at best. The avalanche, I mean.).
Then, your jungle world. While I appreciate your lucky placement of the spires near some cliffs, in the second picture, apart from a few doodads, the terrain feels flat and empty, just covered by Zerg creep because it needs to be there. You could try making some more doodads like trees to small rocks and have them feel like the Zerg are indeed consuming something other than pure, open land. You can even rescale them, which I confess, rescaling rocks and trees (all types) is one of the best in the editor. Clippling rocks together also somewhat feels good, as clipping (even painfully) is quite normal with rocks, including in the real world.
But I have to criticize your use of rock doodads, which I'm clearly seeing only two variations of it, and they're the tallest possible. A world is best defined by it's DIVERSITY of everything, even the pebbles in the ground. So far I've liked the rock placements in the last picture, but they feel too alone and explosive. You could very well vary more the rocks, and even rescale them, as they give more good shapes the more you tweak them around. Also, there's one of your waterfall pieces loose, not good, not good at all. :(
Finally, the second criticizing is on your Protoss encampment and your Protoss man-made cliff. I'm seeing human crates, Castanar floodlights and Castanar computers, something you should NEVER put in Protoss-related things. Even with HDRI recoloring, they still remain human and out of place. I'd suggest trading the flood lights for the small arch in the Protoss Aiur Small buildings then using a separate omni light (preferably blue) to differ it's illumination. For the computer, I'd either use the crystal building in the same doodad or download the Observatory asset here and use it as a doodad.
Either way, you still need to considerably IMPROVE terraining skills. You could look up my "Need some Critique" thread and even not be afraid of asking opinions from Mozared and company. Sad, but it's true, if you want help on terraining.
Not trying to sound like a dick, and i realize its a work in progress, my suggestion, would be Rock placement, and mainly in the 2nd and 3rd pictures, using different types of rocks, they look very uniform, A rule of thumb i try to use is dont use the same rock variation without at least 3 other rocks in between them.
Unless your making like a passage way, then use the same rock on both sides :P
Also those sharp bumps :P, Those can look good, but usually its only when water or something is covering the bases and they are larger :P.
I'm no pro myself :P.
Since its a no life planet, I would suggest that you use some atmospheric things to hide stuff, such as Fog.
Cadimus gave you some fairly good hints. You sure look like a coder to me moreso than an 'artist', and this kind of shows in how you've approached your terrain - all of it is functionality. Clear slick cliffs, even spread of rocks, barely any doodads...
You know how to 'make terrain', what you need to do is figure out how to make it look good. For this I'll refer you to my old tutorial which handles this matter specifically. By now it's somewhat outdated, but mainly the bit about focal points is relevant - you need to get into the habit of creating areas purely meant as eyecandy and hiding up all your terrain that's not eyecandy with bushes, trees, rocks and other doodads to make them pleasing to look at.
Well, good friend, excuse me for the criticism on my part, but I can
clearly behold Terraining is not your forte. Wished there was a better
way of defining it, but definitely your skills could use some more love.
Hey that's why I'm here. On the bright side, the only way to go now is up. :P
But your mountains are out of place, mostly
because of the bump map for the snow. The bump simply makes the faults
so obvious it's impossible to miss it. I'd want to review on the snow's
bump map if I were you, maybe tweak it or, in the extreme of cases,
change it a bit so it doesn't feel like an EA made mountain on the verge
of an avalanche (Unless THAT's what it has to do with the campaign
[Subjection, right], then it'd be alright and cool, at best. The
avalanche, I mean.).
Also, there's one of your waterfall pieces
loose, not good, not good at all. :(
Where at? Picture #4 (ss3) looks fine to me. o.O
I'm seeing human crates
Don't you be dissing my protoss treasure chests. :P
But seriously, I always thought that protoss should at the very least have some human-like consoles, actual technology instead of everything just being "crystals" and all that nonsense. I'll change it though. Here's what it looks like now:
You know how to 'make terrain', what you need to do is figure out how to
make it look good. For this I'll refer you to my old tutorial which
handles this matter specifically. By now it's somewhat outdated, but
mainly the bit about focal points is relevant - you need to get into the
habit of creating areas purely meant as eyecandy and hiding up all your
terrain that's not eyecandy with bushes, trees, rocks and other doodads
to make them pleasing to look at.
Your tutorial was good. I read up mostly on texturing tutorials before I started, since that's what gives me the most problems.
Mfw I type a reply, hit post, the page reloads and my reply isn't there.
Either way - d'you think you could upload the map? There's a lot I can say, but I feel like it might be a lot easier if I could spice up an area of your map myself and toss you some screenshots so I can give you pointers on the differences of our approaches.
Looks great. I have to admit that the second episode has always been confusing to me (especially since ep1 is incomplete-able last time I played [a few days ago]) However, try adding some foliage to the grassy area... it looks unnaturally empty
Accidentally skipped the top ones... my computer im using doesn't work well... yes it does need some work... but ill leave that to others to tell how, as I'm struck of time.
its a little green, but I think if you could make it a little greener. let me open my editor and see what I can do since you posted your map, I just wanna take a look at the water and see if I cant give it that real Early Earth before complex life feel.
Edit: I took a look at it, And realized that the water just looks brighter due to the specularity? i think it was called, the shiney :P. so I removed the shinyness from the water and increased the alpha a little bit, The fog in Sc2 Looks like crap too, its a bunch of straight lines... sooo yeah, that looked like crap.
I think that looks better. I'd use even more different tiles, though.
EDIT: I've attached some examples of what you could do. Think of them more as general ways of doing it. I know, for instance, that you didn't want your winter world to look too frozen. You might not even want the temple.
I've also included some tips on how to work in general:
Don't overdo it with the raise tool. Find the right height first, then use the smooth tool to make it look good. I don't usually use those two at all (if you look at WOL, you might notice Blizzard doesn't either). SC2 doesn't really function with it as well as WC3. However, it's possible to make it look good, anyway.
Terraining has a lot to do with feelings. You need to discover a different part of you than the one who does triggers and coding. Yes, a map should serve functions (start points, base size, etc.), but you shouldn't notice that while playing.
Randomness is good. Nature doesn't have a system. It just is. Let me illustrate how to achieve randomness with an example: a mathematician asked two people to randomly put rubber ducks on an ice rink. They set out, and placed the ducks on the rink; some in groups, some alone, never really following a system. But it wasn't random. What the mathemathician did was to put the ducks in a box and just throw them on the rink. That's random. Stop thinking and just do.
Fog can do amazing things. It can be found in the terrain types in the data editor. There are three parts you should concentrate on: the color, height, and density. The color goes a long way to assist with the lighting. The height decides the difference between using the lowest cliff as a viewable but not pathable part of your map, or as an unviewable tool that can create the illusion of being on a high altitude area. Raise it high enough and you can create deep fog. The density regulates how much of the fog you see. You might want a high fog that doesn't look foggy on the pathable part, for example.
I usually clump up different doodads, usually combining rocks with some kind of brush to make it all look more natural. You seem to leave the rocks alone, which looks unnatural, especially when there's a different color between the rocks and the ground.
Unless they serve a certain purpose such as blocking the path, I keep most doodads on the sidelines, perhaps as a smoothing tool between cliffs.
Sometimes, you may want to create a layer of tiles where each layer is smaller than the one under it. You do this by filling out an area with one tile, then creating another atop of it, leaving only the margins of the lower tile visible. Then make an even smaller area with the third tile on toop.
Last, but not least: make DIAGONAL maps. Cliffs going horizontally/vertically looks horrible and should be kept exclusively for chess boards. Yes, you can use it occasionally, but diagonal should be the underlining principle.
O.O Man, if that's not close to HotS, I don't f** know what it is! But I'd change the exit vents for the mutas and such, and replace them for larger eggs, maybe the ultra ones from the Castanar mission.
Now I approve this snow. The bump didn't defect itself out, even in heights, and fits in more. Now this is a decent snow.
Also, on your Protoss installation? I liked that building where you shoved the crystal (Arbiter Tribunal, maybe?), but for the computer thingy, I kinda of imagined, honestly, that you'd copy the robotics facility model and set it's actor event to "Work Forever". The globe thing somewhat reminds of a computer, if you ask me.
Still, big improvement, you're going on a beneficial direction.
You're getting there. The last one, I ask: "Where is Za'gara?" :D You're including more details, and you have more natural cliffs. Those high rocks usually fit the edge the best, though, unless they are no fly-zones.
You're doing well enough already, looks like I can forego making my own edits. Pointers though!
First screenshot: I like your snow landscape, but it could use a little bit more. Consider a trees or some rocks or such behind the mineral line. Anything that works well, as long as it's a focal pont. Additionally, try and see if you could make the transition from 'forest' to 'pure snow' a bit more gradual. If you look at your left forest you'll see it just ends at one point and the snow starts. Compare this to the right forest, where there's cliffs, rocks, flowers and some more grass in between the snow and the trees. Also, perhaps a cliff doodad or two in the top left corner.
Second screenshot: Looking better too, though the canyon itself is still so empty. Some smaller doodads to the side (char-like flowers, rocks, or other types of Zergy doodads would work) would improve this area. Additionally, is there a reason why this area is not snowy? It'd definitely be less snowy because of the Zerg presence and creep, but if there's no in-game reason for the snow to be absent you could throw some puddles and snowy doodads around, I think. Also, something that also holds true for your third screenshot; you need to play with your creep more. Observe how Blizzard does this in TTychus03, a Zerg-infested Terran city. Creep up everything and carve out the occasional open area with creep blockers. This makes the creep look less like it just 'ends' north and south of the valley and more like it's actually creeping up on stuff.
Third screenshot: Luuuv that canyon. That's how I want to see map borders. Great job! Fog could perhaps be a bit thicker, but that's it. Otherwise - the left side could use an additional focal point somewhere along that ledge. Also, play around with the creep some more with the aforementioned technique.
Last but not least, as a general pointer;
1. Find the Broken Ground Edging doodad.
2. Place it on a cliff.
3. Understand how it works.
4. Fill ALL THE EDGES!
Hmm, in the first screenshot, it looks nice, though the transition from the trees to the snow looks a bit abrupt. Maybe you could try to do something about that. Also, that stuff on the left edge of the screenshot looks a bit awkward. On the second and third screenshots, I'd recommend simply that you use a different cliff model. The greenish Bel'Shir cliff doesn't go very well with the zergish theme. I'd recommend that you try out the Char cliffs.
First screenshot: Nebuli is right. I realize I touched on this in my previous point, but I think your main issue is that your snow/grass distribution simply doesn't really work. The grass you've placed seems to be there for the 'this is your main building' type of texturing. This generally works well, but in your case it's too large for that purpose, especially with all the trees around it. I'd suggest a different approach at this point. Redo the whole area with the grass texture, then add some rock, then add patches of snow over it, then add more rock. Don't be mistaken, there should still be more snow than grass in the end, but what you need is some of those little lines of grass texture that really show that the area is grass covered in snow instead of the other way around. The problem is that this look is almost impossible to achieve if you don't actually TERRAIN the area from scratch as if it is grass covered by snow. I'm having a difficult time explaining myself - if you have trouble catching my drift let me know and I'll try and show it with a simple example.
Second screenshot: Like this too, though when I talked about the creep I was moreso thinking along the lines of filling up the canyon and perhaps leaving the middle area empty there. Not sure if it needs to be empty for gameplay purposes, but I see no reason for it not to be creeped up for lore reasons. Perhaps you could at least put the creep from both bases in such a way that it looks like they're growing towards eachother?
Third screenshot: Same deal as the second screenshot. You just cut away at the existing creep. I meant for you to add a lot more and then cut away corners and such, like you've done with the grass and snow in the first screenie. I guess I wasn't clear though, so I'll take the blame for that.
Makes sense. If the base is supposed to be destroyed, you can do more stuff though - and some craters and smoke would be a must I think.
In regards to your first screenshot again: you have a better basis to work from now, but it's still not there. Your snow doesn't look enough like it's randomly fallen on the area and your grass doesn't look enough like it's been either walked on or simply melted for some other reason. Try and think about the foot of a huge volcano - that's what you want here with textures. Try and stretch that bottom snow 'point' out to that little clot in the middle there (north of the leftmost mineral block). Make the whole thing more star-shaped. I realize it can be frustrating because my advice right now is fairly abstract and it's abou a minor detail, but trust me when I say you'll notice it. I can have a go myself if you want.