View Full Version : Landscape / Terrain Surfacing Tool

05-30-2003, 06:53 AM

I'll keep this brief:

One thing that would I would really like to see would be a native terrain or landscape texturing plugin. There are plenty of tools out there for creating landscape models (mountains, hills, valleys, basins, etc.), but when you bring them into LW there is no EASY way to create REALISTIC texture (dirt, rocks etc.). The only option now is to have the 3rd party program generate image or UV maps and then apply these to your model (such as with Terragen). But as we know, image maps go only so far in photorealistic type projects. It would be much better to create the textures for a given landscape model using an intuitive surfacing interface oriented toward landscaping from within LW and that utilizes the existing surfacing engine, similar to how skytracer is used for atmosheric effects.

Thanks for noting this request.

Rob Zick

05-30-2003, 02:33 PM
Well, funilly enough most of what you describe can already be done in LW. It's no different from what most so called "landscape tools" do. You have gradients with slope as input, tons of fractal noises, you can use weight maps, you can use image maps, displacement is there etc. . The best part is, that you actually have more control than in e.g. Worldbuilder. So what's your point? I have done some of this stuff in the past and it looked satisfyingly good. The only thing that I miss is accesibility as an input parameter for gradients. It would allow for some more realistic dirt/ crust/ erosion effects.


05-30-2003, 06:12 PM
Yes, I agree that the surface tools in LW are superior to any of the terrain generators I've seen as far as the full feature set. What I am primarily interested in is some additional customization to make the surfacing capability more intuitive for landscapes per say.

For example, the main reason for skytracer's inclusion in LW was not because atmospheric effects cannot be created using the other tools. Its just that they arn't designed specifically for creating sky phenomenon. You can manually create even more spectacular effects with Hypervoxels (as I have done extensively), but it's much harder going and not nearly as "parameterized" as it is in the skytracer interface. Interestingly, it is for this very reason that recently another plugin was developed using LWs native volumetrics that far excedes even skytracer's ablility. That's basically what I am looking for in working with landscape surfaces. Something that will let me choose form a preset of landscapes and then further tweek the 'parameters'. To some extent this could be done with presets, but you still would have to control things in abstract terms, not with more realworld terms (dust, rocks, snow, etc.)

That being said, I am always willing to use alternative methods or take suggestions on how to create better landscape textures using LWs native surface tools.

05-31-2003, 04:07 AM
The biggest problem with LW's landscape generator is that most users don't know how to use gradients. This will need a major revision in 8 (not in the gradients, in the manual!)