By George Maciver

We are going to make an island in a river course with a current that Lara will be able to swim upstream against. So that Lara doesn’t keep getting stuck in corners, we are going to use a number of sinks so that she will flow easily with the current.

To keep things simple I’m going to use a fairly shallow river around the 4 click deep mark.

* Bear in mind that the TR4 engine has terrible clipping problems in that Lara gets stuck on the bottom if it sticks up. Try to keep your bottom shelving downwards to minimise these problems.

Make your river and island rooms, join them up, and then texture and light them.

In our example, the current is going to split and flow around the island, then join up again and continue downstream.

Select a sink from the menu and place it where the current is ultimately going to flow to (NOT where the current is going to flow from).

Highlight the Sink, bring up the OCB settings using the ‘o’ key and set the sink strength to 2+4.

Note that hitting 2 + 4 gives the sink a strength of 6. You can have the settings as high or as low as you like, and you can mix the OCB settings and add them together to adjust the strength of your current. Have some fun experimenting!

Watch carefully where I set the triggers for this sink!

Notice that I didn’t put a trigger for it on the same square as the sink. If I did, Lara would get stuck on that square. When Lara reaches the actual sink square, she will be able to surface and climb out. Also notice that I have not set triggers for the sink around the island either. Using just one sink, Lara would get stuck at corners and her movement would be extremely ungraceful. So I have not set triggers for our first sink at the three corners where she would get stuck.

To get the current to flow smoothly around the island we are going to need 3 more sinks, and they will be placed as follows:

Select the first sink, give it an OCB strength setting of 6, and place a trigger for it as shown:

It is important not to put a trigger for a sink on the same square as the sink or Lara will get stuck. The trick is to have another sink which will pick Lara up as she moves onto a previous sink.

Now select the second sink, give it an OCB setting of 6 and place the trigger for it as shown:

Select the 3rd Sink, give it an OCB setting of 6, and place a trigger for it on the three remaining untriggered floor tiles around the island. This sink will draw Lara back into the current of the first sink where the main current will then pick her up and draw her downstream.

Once that’s done, do the same thing on the water course in the bay on the other side of the river.

How sinks work can now be understood. As Lara reaches a corner she will stick if a sink trigger is further downstream. So you need another sink to gently pull her away from the corner and back into the main ‘flow’. In this case, she will be gently taken around the island by the other sinks until she again reaches the main current. If she swims into the bay, she will flow downstream until the final sink picks her up and draws her out into the main current again.

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Last update: 16/08/2007