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Note № Two: About Deserts

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111222333444: thank you!

ggamgus: With such an amount of files uploaded on the STEX and LEX SimCity 4 simply can not be just a game, it’s an instrument for creating art (pathosly said, but true).

Schulmanator: …we will we will rock you… © :)

NMUSpidey: the monastic life is not so sweet even in such places, so think well ;)

TekindusT: yeah, thank you for your comment! :)

escilnavia: there is nothing difficult in doing deserts, and you will see it now. :)

Escilnavia's comment on my previous entry enspired me to practice in desert landcsaping, and in this note I will try to make some kind of tutorial on how to make realistic landscape of sandy desert. I've never done any tutorials before so don't judge me strictly and ask if something is unclear.

So, first of all, what is sandy desert? Usually it is dunes, stretching for hundreds or thousands of miles,

A lot of useful information about dunes can be read on Wikipedia, I will only show the main details that we need.


Dunes are formed by wind. Its windward side is flat (till 15 °) and leeward is more steep (till 35 °) and crumbling. The height of the dunes can reach 100-150 and in some cases even 300 meters, and its length can reach many kilometers. A single dune has a crescent-shaped ridge and elongated in the direction of the wind edges called the horns. Usually dune is perpendicular to the direction of prevailing winds, but there are some places on the Earth, where winds change periodically, and the dunes get fancy forms there.

How to make dunes in SimCity.

Take a hill instrument …


…and make an elevation so that one side is flat and the other is steeper. The form of elevation is on your choice, but it will be better if it is round – then dune will look more realistic.


Smoothing tool can be used to make smooth slopes of the hill.

When the hill is ready, Take a plane tool and align the steep slope so that the whole elevation gets a form of crescent.



Trim the edges a little…


…and here it is. The dune is ready.


And so, the easiest way to make a sandy desert is to place many dunes on the terrain.

First it is needed to choose where the wind will blow from


When the direction of wind is known, we can start placing the dunes.


It is better to place them starting from the edge in the direction of assumed wind to .




Dunes can different sizes, so fill free and experiment with it.


This is how I made a desert landscape from the previous entry.


What I wanna say is that this way is not very suitable for most of desert landscapes. In reality dunes have such forms when they are not numerous and are separated one from another, like this:


In big deserts on large areas with lots of sand dunes merge into barchans, like this:


The principle of making barchans in SimCity is the same as dunes. We choose the direction of wind…


… and make long elevations from one edge of the map to another, with flat windward side and steep downwind side.


Make it smoother…


… and align the steep slope…


…but not straight on the line. Crests of the barchans being formed by the wind are wavy and sinuous.


And so on.




Nature loves to experiment with very different forms of terrain and she does it very well. We are very far from its perfection, but why not to try to experiment too?


By the way, yes, the black spot on the image is an oasis.




And of course do not forget, that the desert itself is not only sand dunes.



That’s all, thank you for viewing, hope someone will find it useful.

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I agree!
Well presented with fantastic results!

Thanks for sharing this! [img]http://www.simtropolis.com/forum/public/style_emoticons/default/44.gif[/img]

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Just breathtaking... which terrain mod are you using?

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