Getting Started with Terrain Tinker
Welcome to Terrain Tinker! If you're new to the platform, this guide will help you acquaint yourself with the tools and functions of the program, allowing you to easily create dungeons and buildings for home 3D printing. Without further ado, let's dive in!
When you open Terrain Tinker you will see 3 sections: the Library, Scene, and Toolbar.
The Library is where you will find the walls, floors, and other models you can use to create your scenes. They are broken down into different themes, each with a different style of fantasy or sci-fi terrain. All users have access to the Clorehaven City starter set which you can use to start creating your designs.
At the top of the Library, you can find a series of filters that allow you to quickly find specific tile types, OpenLOCK shapes, or tiles from a specific theme. Opening the Clorehaven set, you can click and drag any available assets into the scene to start building.
The Scene is your canvas to build on. It shows a floor of one-inch squares, with a quarter-inch grid overlaid. The tiles will snap to this grid making each line up perfectly with its neighbors. You can click and drag to move these models around, or rotate them by pressing the Q or E button.
When starting out, we recommend bringing several types of OpenLOCK pieces into the Scene to play with their shape and position. This will help you get a feel for the different styles of OpenLOCK tiles.
The default build plate is a 12” (or 304.8mm) square, but you can change the Build Plate size to match your printer using ‘Print Bed Sizing’ in the File menu. If you want to create a massive multi-print dungeon, we recommend setting the plate size to Big.
Terrain Tinker has a selection of Tools that make it easier to manipulate the models while creating your design. Getting to know when to use them will help speed up your builds and create massive, complex creations.
- Build mode: This is the default mode when constructing your Scene.
- Replace mode: When active, if you select a tile already in the Scene, it will replace it with whichever tile is currently highlighted in the Library.
- Delete mode: When active, clicking a tile in the Scene will remove it.
- Drag Placement: When active, if you click and drag the mouse across the Scene, it will create a straight wall made of the tile selected in the Library. (You can also activate this by holding shift while clicking and dragging).
- OpenLOCK Clip Placement: With this active, you can add OpenLOCK ports to a tile that will be printed as a combined model. You can find a breakdown of how to do this here.
- Levels: Clicking the Up or Down buttons will change your build layer, allowing you to make multi-level dungeons or buildings.
While on level 2 or higher, the level below will be visible so you can line up the build with the previous level.
- Height: Changes the height of the current floor, allowing you to build on top of walls that are higher or lower than the standard size.
Many of the tools also have keyboard shortcuts. These can help save time during the build.
When a tile is selected, some additional options will appear on the Tools bar, including Rotate, Mirror, and Delete the tile. You can also move a tile from one level to another with the Up and Down buttons.
You can select multiple tiles by holding Ctrl and clicking on the tiles. If you do this, an option to Group those tiles will appear, allowing you to move them in one go.
Let's make a building!
It's time that we put the tools into use and create a building out of the Clorehaven parts available in the starter set.
Starting with the floor, we lay out some 2x2 E tiles to create a basic oblong floor, then add some 2x2 A walls around the outside and L columns in the corners. The connection ports should automatically align with each other, but if not Rotate the walls so that the flat ports align (this will make printing it easier at the end).
At this point We’ll add a rear room to make a more interesting shape, adding some shorter walls and floors, as well as some stairs that can lead to a second floor. By using the Replace Tool, we can swap out the floor for stairs, some of the walls for windows and a door, and the back wall of the new room for one with shackles. This building is fast turning into a small jail.
Shifting up a floor, we can use a combination of S, A, and E wooden floor tiles to build a floor around the top of the staircase. We’ll add some Tudor walls and columns, before covering the rest of the first floor with some roof sections.
Finally, we can go up to layer 3 and add a roof to the second floor. Once placed, use the Grouping function with the CTRL key to select the whole roof and Rotate it to see which orientation you like the best.
Perfect! We have created a small guardhouse or jail, ready to be exported and printed!
Once you have built your creation, you can export it for 3D printing. All the options for sharing and exporting can be found in the top-right corner of the editor.
When exporting for 3D printing, you can choose to have all the tiles separated with a parts list or to combine each level of the model into a single combined model.
When printing a massive dungeon or building, you can break the combined model down into sections using the Print Grouping feature. Many users break these large prints down into individual rooms, or to the size of their printer's bed size, whichever is smaller.
If you are DMing sessions online, you can also export your designs as 2D or 3D maps for use in game simulators like Roll20, Virtual Tabletop, and Tabletop Simulator. You can find information on how to Export a 2D map or a 3D map here.
You can also share your designs with the Terrain Tinker community, allowing others to download and print your designs for use in their own games. You can find more information on sharing your designs here.
Congratulations, you have successfully created your first model in Terrain Tinker! If you need access to even more of our massive range of tiles and themes, you can get them through our pledge manager. We hope you enjoyed this guide and can't wait to see what masterpieces you will design in the future.