Environments and Terrain Tools
Environments and Terrain Tools
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:
|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.
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.
|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.|
Terrain Generation Tips
- Terrain generation can take time. Make a small map so you can get building quicker.
- If you generated a cool terrain, you can give that “seed” number to your friend so they can plug it in and generate a terrain just like yours. Write down the number for your seed, send it to a friend, and have them type that number in before generating a terrain with your same settings.
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.
Terrain ScaleYou can do the following to make sure your terrain looks great to players:
- Place down an object you expect to find in your game, like a tree or a street light. This will help you better understand the scale of your terrain.
- Playtest your game and walk around. Think about the size of your terrain and if it would feel natural to someone playing your game.
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.
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.
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.
The Erode tool slowly removes terrain. This tool is useful for creating caves, canyons, rivers, and lakes.
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:
- Click on Select in Regions or make sure it’s active.
- Click and drag to create the region box.
- 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.
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.
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.
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!