Artificial Terrain Tools & Software Packages

The primary emphasis of these packages is on artistic, synthetic terrain, although many of them have at least some limited ability to import real-world data layers. The primary emphasis of these packages is on artistic, synthetic terrain, although many of them have at least some limited ability to import real-world data layers. There is very little plant functionality. Built-in objects include 14 trees, a cactus, and 5 other small plants, not very detailed. Their better trees use their proprietary volumetric textures, which aren't exportable. It is difficult to distribute and 'plant' trees on the terrain. Realtime 3D heightmap editor and painter, makes 'maps' up to 4k*4k, with freehand tools for raise/lower/smoothing, freehand painting of terrain color and up to four detail textures. User interface is very fast and smooth. includes river networks, a scripting language, and (surprisingly for a artificial game-oriented software) 25 map projections Procedural creation of geometry using fractal algorithms and natural erosion, procedural textures, creates shadowmaps, distribute objects including vegetation Imports and exports and very large number of formats, including BT, TerraGen, HFF (L3DT), bitmap, and JPEG, with export to 3D model formats .obj, .b3d, .3ds, .X, GLScene and others. The pro version handles really big maps, up to 131,072*131,072 for heightfield, 2M × 2M for the texture with a paging system. The terrain algorithms are implemented as GLSL fragment shaders, operating on floating point textures, which allows realtime modification of the terrain. tool for creation of terrain, manually as well as automated/randomized terrain generation including heightmaps, texturing, vegetation, seas and rivers, static objects and environmental sounds 'Create large voluminous terrain meshes... create overhangs, caves, or an endless labyrinth of tunnels with a few mouse clicks.' One drawback: i was unable to get it to import any USGS DEM in 2000, although it is probably fixed later (2006). The product literature doesn't distinguish between 'DEM' and '2D import', which implies that they don't handle geographic coordinates at all. In 2010, they produced a version of Vue + CityEngine (for $300) but this later disappeared, probably when CityEngine was bought by ESRI. Plants ('over 100 L-System generated 3D vegetation specimens') look good, placement of grass well done. The L-System language is built-in and specific to WorldBuilder, so the set of possible plants is not easily extended. Individual species are sold for $40 each (!) landscape creation and rendering with rock, trees, vegetation, moving water and evolving clouds (volumetric clouds, cloud shadows animated on a landscape) For working with real places or serious GIS data, 3D Nature offers a more professional product, Visual Nature Studio, listed on Uses an interesting graph-based visual design approach, connecting a series of operations (noise, erosion etc.) in a easy-to-use visual manner 2D & OpenGL views, many Perlin Noise generator styles, weathering and fluvial erosion, real-time previews of all adjustments apparently 'Terraformer' was a powerful module, for creating terrain with water and vegetation, once bundled with Alias Power Animator, not later mentioned on the Alias site later, Maya contained a module 'Artisan' which allowedyou to 'paint' and 'sculpt' terrain surfaces, even non-heightfields like caves open-source project which focused on simulating artificial life, but does so in an environment with terrain simulation features: flowing rivers, water currents, cloud formation and rain, and reproducing plants that grow in real time create and edit heightfields up to 2048*2048, paint with textures, cast shadows, place 3D models, distribute plants, procedural roads import and export of heightfields is via 'BMP, 8bit RAW, 16bit RAW and 32bit RAW', or export to a number of 3D model formats (3DS, OBJ, X, etc.) features include blending of surface textures, attractive water, procedural and billboard vegetation that casts shadows, and sky colors by time of day the DLL does not provide direct access to the heightfield, so it is not possible to work around the lack of an import feature the great-grandfather of non-realtime terrain rendering programs, from the mid-1980s, which has gone through many different hands, although the UI looks much the same as it did in 1990 the author explains: despite the name, 'actually voxelworld doesn't do any caves, only fog is voxel and landscape is just heightfield.' Source.

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Last Modified: May 16, 2016 @ 4:43 am