One result from Unity’s “Summer of Code” project is now available as Sandor Moldan’s “Terrain Toolkit 1.0″. From his own description:
Unity already has a powerful terrain engine as one of its core features. The Terrain Toolkit expands on this by providing the user with the ability to rapidly create a variety of different landscapes directly within Unity without needing to use third party software. An additional advantage is that landscapes can now be generated dynamically at runtime. This means a Unity game can have a potentially infinite number of levels or landscapes with a negligible impact on the file size.
Basically it adds procedural terrain generation algorithms and UI tool to Unity, letting you get away from manually modeling & importing terrain in other packages. A welcome addition to a continually growing product.
via Unity Technologies Blog » Blog Archive » Summer of Code: Terrain Toolkit Released!.
StarScene’s procedural terrain and texture generator ‘Fractscape’ has just hit version 1.5, with an impressive collection of features:
- A variety of controls for roughness, size, height, etc.
- Load in or draw heightmaps to control the basic shape of the terrain
- Adjustable auto-texturing based on height and slope
- Terrain resolution up to 4097×4097, texturemap resolution up to 2048×2048
- Virtually unlimited undo/redo of almost everything, so you can always go back to that cool landscape you just had
- Load/save even the largest terrains as small Fractscape files — everything is procedurally generated
- Export them as 8 or 16 bit heightmaps, or as .obj meshes (triangles or quads)
- Export texturemap as 4-channel .tiff splatmap, or as a solid-shaded .png
- Explore terrains from a first-person view for an up-close look
The software is built using Unity, and therefore the resulting terrains work great with it. The software is available free, but a $20 registration is required to unlock file export.
via Starscene Software – Fractscape.
On the GameDev forums, a user by the name of “sylvestre” has posted code and videos of a project he developed to allow real-time visualization of 3.6GB of terrain data.
I finally made a demo version of the software I used in this post. If you have enough space and time to download 3.6GB of terrain data, you may try it on your PC (warning: it has only been tested on Windows XP, with an NVIDIA GeForce 7900 or 8800). The demo is available here:
Otherwise you can see some High Quality videos here (made with more precise data and more realistic shaders – 16GB terrain, clouds, shadows, procedural details):
He’s using data from the Nasa Earth Observatory, which offers 500 meter/pixel resolution, and the STRM v4 from CIAT, which offers 90m per pixel. Very impressive stuff. See a video of the system in use (running at 150fps) after the break.
via realistic Earth rendering demo – GameDev.Net Discussion Forums.
Grome2, the popular outdoor modeling suite from Quad Software, has just been released and boasts several impressive features.
- New layers such as Terrain, Water, and vegetation
- Faster processing for bigger scenes
- Move advanced fractal and erosion algorithms
- New plugins and formats
- and more.
If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend you go check out their site. The examples they have online are breathtaking.
Quad Software | Technology that makes it simple.