This guide was created during the early development phases(s) of Landmark. It should be noted that it is intended to help players understand how voxels react when building. As we approach open beta and launch, the way the building system and the way voxels react is still being refined, updated and fine-tuned.
This guide will introduce you to the advanced building that one can achieve in Landmark. If you are just getting started, see Building for an overview of how building works in Landmark, Building Tools for an overview of individual tools, or the page for each individual tool (linked from the Building Tools page).
The purpose of this tutorial is to give some basic information for how to edit voxels and how the mechanics of that editing (what is going on) works. New techniques are always being discovered, plus there are more Building Guides and Tutorials, so please remember this is supposed to be a BASIC PRIMER only. Please search for advanced topics if you find an interest in learning more, or explore with voxels in-game.
This guide will begin with a little basic terminology and the parts of a voxel. Then it will move into some basic editing concepts and how voxels work.
Standard Voxel - (when we say "voxel" as a measure we mean this one) - Unedited cube, approx 6 inches per edge (approx 15.24 cm).
Micro-Voxel - (also called a Micro, Moxel) - Shrunken on ALL faces, from between 0 and 6 inches per edge.
Anti Voxel - (also called A-Voxel or Air voxel) - Air space selected when selecting normal voxels (not healed/unmodified air).
Zero Volume Voxel - special empty space version of micro voxel that is invisible along one or more vertices.
Zero Data Voxel - or Procedural/Healed Ground or Air. Created from land or ground regenerated by the Heal Tool or never modified by a player. Data is not saved in templates or Copy/Paste allowing for special behaviors when pasting/placing.
Vertices - (Singular is Vertex) - Think corners, we use these as "manipulation points." A voxel has 8 corners.
Edges - The line connecting two vertices/corners. Typically we think of a voxel as having 12 edges. People have discovered more, hidden, edges but for the purpose of a basic primer, consider there to be 12 edges.
Faces - The flat surface that appears between edges. Typically we think of a voxel as having 6 faces (six sides on a standard die) but just like vertices and edges, we've discovered more. For the purpose of a basic primer, consider there to be 6 faces.
Voxel Editing - Stretching and Pulling on VoxelsEdit
The basic concept for manipulating a voxel to produce a different shape is that you move the location of one or more vertices. The process of doing this is rather simple to begin with but can get extremely advanced. Lets walk through creating your first few "manipulator tools."
One of the most basic ways to manipulate a vertex is to use a Micro Voxel. To create your first Micro Voxel, use your Add Tool to create a floating standard voxel several units above the ground. Remember you can hold shift while left-clicking to go into tweak mode for this. After placing a standard voxel, select it with the smooth tool and click a few times (just 2 or 3 to begin with in this example).
Now place a new standard voxel someplace new. Copy and paste your microvoxel right next to (or above/below) the standard voxel you just placed. You should see the vertices for the standard voxel move to the location they were at in the micro voxel.
What you can learn from this simple exercise is that a placed voxel (of any type) will stretch/move the vertices of the surrounding 26 voxels that share a face/edge/vertex with the voxel you just placed - even the ones that are made of air around your voxel you just changed! The voxel you placed does not change, it is the ones touching it that change. ORDER MATTERS!
In this first image, I made a black and white checkerboard pattern of standard voxels. Then I placed the wooden voxels on top of it that you see in the image. You can clearly see that the standard voxels below the wooden ones I placed last had their vertices stretched so they connect to the wooden voxel vertices.
This image was again done on a black and white checkerboard pattern. The voxel labeled with a 1 is what I pasted above and below the checkerboard. After I did that, I pulled out shapes A, B, and C. You can see how the original voxels were stretched and where they came from quite clearly in this image.
A basic voxel reactor designed by players.
A microvoxel was inserted into the center of the reactor. A player would then copy/paste the wooden, outside corners to get different voxel shapes.
This image shows two different voxel reactor that players have designed. There are a lot more designs out there than these, but this should get you a basic idea of how to move the vertices of a voxel.
More Advanced ConceptsEdit
Now that you understand the basics of manipulating voxels, consider the image above. On the left two places in the image, I placed micro voxels, the right two were what we call anti-voxels, or an irregular voxel string. You can clearly see that the micro voxels pulled the ground upward because the microvoxel is less than full voxel size on those vertices. This makes the vertices match up and is commonly called "warping," "deforming", or "blending." The anti-voxels, or irregular voxel strings, to the right were already the same height as a normal voxel, so they didn't pull the ground upward, only inward (right/left and forward/back, not up/down).
This behavior is the difference of how an anti-voxel behaves differently from a micro voxel. Micro voxels are centered in a space, so when they are placed they will pull voxel vertices inward in all directions to them. Anti-voxels will contain at least one face that holds to the original location of a standard voxel, so it won't pull surrounding voxels on that side inward.
In this image, consider the voxel labeled with a 1. One whole face of it was not manipulated (the right) so when it was placed it didn't change the three voxels closest to that face (the three black and white voxels between the 1 and C to the right were unchanged by placing the #1 voxel.)
This image shows a gold micro voxel placed at an intersection with a wall. You can clearly see that the floor and the wall were both pulled towards the micro voxel. I later then copied and pasted out the three wooden sections from the original on the left to get different shapes.
At the beginning it was suggested a voxel has 6 faces and 12 edges. This is not entirely true. The image above shows what happens if a micro voxel was placed above and to the right of one of the corners of the original voxel. You can easily see that the top of the original voxel and the right/front of the voxel have an extra edge drawn from the vertex furthest from the regular voxel to the microvoxel. That means this voxel in this image has at least 8 faces. There are actually 12 different faces and 18 different edges to a single voxel, only most of the time they lie flat to each other, therefore several will appear joined to be a single larger face.
To stretch voxels you have to use other voxels. Place one, then manipulate it by placing a 2nd already changed voxel. Reselect the first voxel and use that one to build with (or to manipulate even more voxels.) Thanks for learning a little bit about voxel manipulation. The study of this field is ongoing in the game and there are always new discoveries being made. Please feel free to search more advanced topics listed below and to join the community!