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Environments and Terrain Tools

Environments and Terrain Tools

Oct 26 2018, 5:40 PM PST 10 min

Terrain created by Roblox developer “Soybeen”

Terrain tools allow you to create realistic landscapes like mountains, rivers, and canyons. This overview will explain each tool used in creating terrain and how to create specific features like mountains or waterfalls.

Opening the Terrain Tools

From the Home tab, click on the Editor button to see all the available tools.

Whenever you click on any terrain tool such as Generate, Add, or Subtract, it will open a terrain widget. Each widget has slightly different features, like these below:

Attribute Description
Size The size of the brush.
Strength The speed of the tool. Higher speeds modify terrain quicker.
Shape The shape of the brush; can be either a cube or a sphere.
Material The appearance of the terrain.

Below are differences that you can expect when using the sphere brush.

Brush at largest size
Brush at smallest size

Generating Terrain

The Generate tool is used to create random landscapes. You can use this tool to quickly start a new landscape and then change it based on your individual vision.

Attribute Description
Map Size Determines the overall map size of terrain to generate.
Seed The random number “seed” associated with the terrain map.
Caves If selected, caves will be generated in the terrain map.
Biome Size Sets the size of biomes within the overall terrain map size.
Biomes Determines which type(s) of biomes will be generated, for example water, hills, mountains, etc.

Using Terrain Tools for Rough Sculpting

When starting a new terrain, we recommend doing rough sculpting first to create the largest parts of your world, such as mountains and different areas for your game. After creating a rough sculpt, you can playtest your world to make sure it fits your game before adding details.

Add and Subtract Tools

Add and Subtract are the most common tools you use. These tools are useful for “blocking out,” or building the majority of your environment, before you start getting into adding details like caves and waterfalls.

Add tool
Subtract tool

Using the Terrain Grid

When using a terrain tool like Add, Subtract, or Erode, you’ll see a grid appear at your mouse. All terrain is created on a grid. As you click and drag your mouse to edit terrain, notice that the terrain is affected by the angle of the grid. Tilting and rotating the camera will change the angle of the grid.

Using Terrain Tools for Detailed Sculpting

While you may spend most of your time sculpting terrain using Add and Subtract, it’s important to add details to better fine-tune your terrain and make it look interesting. The Paint, Grow, Erode, and Smooth tools are generally used for adding those finer details after you’ve sculpted a rough environment.

Paint Tool

The Paint tool changes the terrain’s current material, for example grass, rock, or water. This tool is useful for adding variations that make for a higher quality environment, such as dirt and rock patches in a grass field.

Grow Tool

The Grow tool slowly fills in the selected area with terrain. This tool is useful for adding details like hills or smoothing out between two different terrains.

Erode Tool

The Erode tool slowly removes terrain. This tool is useful for creating caves, canyons, rivers, and lakes.

Smooth Tool

The Smooth tool will smooth terrain in the selected area. This tool is useful for making jagged terrain more smooth and natural, getting rid of sharp corners or making terrain look less square.

Sculpting With Regions

Regions can speed up your process of creating terrain by giving you the ability to duplicate large pieces of terrain. They are especially useful for the following:

  • Build one waterfall and then replicate it to place in other areas.
  • Create a set of rock formations and then duplicate it to quickly make a mountain range.
  • Fill gaps in terrain.

Selecting and Manipulating Regions

To select and manipulate a region:

  1. Click on Select in Regions or make sure it’s active.
  1. Click and drag to create the region box.
  1. Once a region is selected, you can switch between Move, Resize (scale), and Rotate in the terrain widget menu. These tools are very similar to how they’re used with parts.
Move
Resize
Rotate

Using Copy, Paste, Delete, and Fill

You can also copy and paste entire regions — just click on Copy and then click on Paste to create a new region. Once you’ve pasted a region, Studio automatically switches to the Move tool so you can move your copied region.

You can even delete or fill entire regions with a material.

Deleted region
Filled region

Merging Empty Regions

When you select a region, you also select all the “air” inside that region. When editing regions — moving, resizing, etc. — the Merge Empty option affects the outcome.

If Merge Empty is on, Studio will combine the selected region with its surroundings. This is useful if you want to make sure a region naturally merges with what's around it, as shown here between the ice and stone.
If Merge Empty is off, Studio doesn't merge the region with what's currently there. This is useful if you want to keep a region exactly like it was built, as seen here by the “air” region remaining when the ice block is moved.

Now you’ve learned some of the basic terrain tools and are ready to create some fantastic new worlds. If you’ve made a really cool terrain, share it with someone you know like a friend, parent, or a teacher!

Tags:
  • building
  • terrain