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GAIA - AAA terrain generator, procedural texturing, planting and scene creation

Discussion in 'Assets and Asset Store' started by AdamGoodrich, May 21, 2015.

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Would you pay an upgrade fee for Gaia 2 so that we can hire to accelerate its development?

Poll closed Sep 3, 2018.
  1. Yeah super cool - I would pay a $15 upgrade fee to get it faster!

    83 vote(s)
    80.6%
  2. No way - you promised free and i am happy to wait!

    20 vote(s)
    19.4%
  1. Shawn67

    Shawn67

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    I've yet to see any game that suggests they have infinite terrain actually be full of interesting terrain. Personally, I'd rather see Adam stay on course with providing us the ability to create awesome finite terrains than fall victim to putting time into infinite terrain. Save that for some time when he is bored with nothing better to do.

    I never really understood the concept of infinite terrain. It has the same feel as "end game", it just doesn't make sense to me. Give me a game where the designers take the time to think things out to develop content and design areas for all of their players any day.

    Sure you can do a lot of things automatically with Gaia and other generation tools, but if you just leave it as the tools throw it out and don't tweak it/improve it, your players are going to miss out in the end. To me, these tools are there to take care of the heavy lifting and create a canvas or produce the clay. At that point it is our job to use other tools or manually paint/mould it into a masterpiece. No generation tool is perfect. You always need to make adjustments. Which makes be believe that all of you who are interested in actually providing good quality environments are also going to love the new unnamed tool Adam is finishing up. It is a perfect companion for doing the fine detail stuff after Gaia does the heavy lifting! :)
     
  2. AdamGoodrich

    AdamGoodrich

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    Another milestone !!

    Gaia just hit 450 reviews with an overall average of 5*'s, plus 151 written reviews ... not too shabby for something that has been on the asset store for less than a year :)

    For those of you have taken the time to rate or review Gaia - thank you so much. Every time one of you bothers to do this - it makes my day - and inspires me to do more and better!! :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2016
  3. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    I'm not advocating for GAIA to do something it's not set to do or the author don't want to do, I just want to dispel some myth. The first problem is that people tend to confuse procedural generation with emergent design. Game with (potentially) infinite level/terrain also are not new, tetris is one of them. Most people who are attracted to procedural generation actually want emergent design but don't design for it, they think procedural generation will magically bring it back to them. More importantly, most people who use procedural level design don't even make a rules for the most important aspects of level design aka circulation and encounter. Which bring me to the critically acclaim cult classic praised by game designer: SPELUNKY. It wasn't made by a programmer but by someone who is traditionally trained in art and is a game designer, and that's what makes spelunky generation a step above, it's full of deep thinking about encounter design, emergent situation and circulation is at the heart of the algorithm.

    And saying procedural generation cannot compare to handcraft is a non sense, procedural generation is not magical, it must be handcraft to work, just like using randomness in game (ie not procedural) must follow some statistical design to work and be fair. Ex: looping back to tetris, did you notice the game shuffle the brick order every 7 bricks (the total number of bricks) which mean in one cycle you are guaranteed to have all bricks and never have more than two times the same bricks consecutively (ie in between cycle), that design to keep the game fair.

    In conclusion a lot of people use procedural design as a magic replacement to design, those people make procedural generation have a very bad name and actually don't understand anything about it. I can fool people into using procedural design just by calling by another of its name: a tool! :D
     
  4. Shawn67

    Shawn67

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    I think you misunderstood me. My post wasn't at all against procedural design. I use procedural design every time I use Gaia's spawners. I love it. But I don't rely on it for final product. I review and tweak the spawns, where necessary and often add to them. With infinite terrain, you can't do that because you rely 100% on the code to place everything perfectly. Not as important in 2d games, like what you referenced. Do you have any 3D realistic world type games you can reference where it actually worked? Gaia's worlds are a lot more complicated than a bunch of bricks falling on a screen or a 2d platformer where the player always goes in one direction.

    At any rate, for those of you who want infinite terrain, more power to you. I see them working for some games but not others. Just my opinion.
     
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  5. AdamGoodrich

    AdamGoodrich

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  6. reggie_sgs

    reggie_sgs

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    Thanks, the terrain's Y value was non zero as well as one of the rotations. With those set to 0, it seems to be working now. Thanks!
     
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  7. AdamGoodrich

    AdamGoodrich

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    Cool! This was only pointed out to me relatively recently and its a nasty gotchya.

    Next release of Gaia will sort this out. It never occurred to me that anyone would ever make a non zero based terrain.
     
  8. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    The design principle stay the same, whenever it's realist or not, and spelunky you don't go always in one direction. Anyway, there is very little emergent game these days in general, procedural or not. I intend to do something about this anyway.

    The main problem of use of procedural generation is what I call the dictionary problem, I mean you can have infinite chair, but chair is a single function, so is landscape or universe, it's shallow because it's the description of a single thing that do one thing. What you want is various function, you either do it by increasing the dictionary (ie the number of description of many function) or you create an expressive algorithm that describe many functions through a small number of atomic elements (basically a grammar).

    Also people tend to burn variation to fast, repetition bring meaning, procedural generation seems repetitive not because they are factually repetitive but because there is either to shallow function variation (for superficial form variation) or counter intuively, not enough meaningful repetition to stabilized meaning. Most handcraft game have plenty repetition but we vary function and ensure repetition is meaningful, all small chest yield small keys or rupees and big chest yield items or boss key in zelda, so seeing a chest create anticipation through repetition, ie there is meaning in seeing the all similar chest. Genre is another way to enforce repetition that make sense.

    For example GAIA is gear toward description of terrain, it doesn't do much, I wouldn't rely on it for infinite terrain as is, because terrain alone has finite function and GAIA is not design to express them anyway, for example it reason in term of fidelity rather that gameplay function like barrier, circulation, push, pull, critical path etc, nor it does reason in term of aesthetics and expression, like using composition rules to adjust elements so they have artistic meaning ... nor is fundamental elements can be assemble to create them through algorithm, they aren't design for that, ie why you need to add those elements by hand afterwise. Procedural is many thing, it's not magic, fidelity is not enough. Bring those missing elements and you will have no problem. Even then it would not be magic, it would just be automation through style guide.

    That's my final word because I'm hijacking the thread and this is getting longer than I thought :eek:
    I'm obviously passionate in sharing the right gospel of procedural generation lol :D Don't believe the false prophet lol
     
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  9. AdamGoodrich

    AdamGoodrich

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    One of the things I have always encouraged in this forum is the sharing of knowledge and ideas, and there are a bunch of people who visit regularly for exactly that.

    So, @neoshaman, and anyone else who cares to contribute, as long as its done respectfully, your collective thoughts are very welcome :)
     
  10. Shawn67

    Shawn67

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    Again, I have nothing against procedural generation. If I did, I wouldn't be using Gaia. Just not a fan of infinite terrain because I've never seen it done right in an RPG/MMO environment which are the environments I use Gaia for. 3D first person or third person environments that the player can get immersed into.

    At any rate, before calling someone a false prophet you should at least understand what they are talking about. Most of the stuff you have stated about procedural generation, I agree with you on.. It's only the infinite part that I do not. :p If Unity provided support to make it easy for developers like Adam to make such a tool that worked well, I might look at it. But from the sounds of it, they currently don't. And from Adam's comment earlier, if he did build something custom to get around the inadequacies of Unity's lack of support in the area, I'd definitely expect it to be a totally separate product in order to help cover the costs of time involved to get through it, maybe a Gaia extension or something that people could purchase as an add-on.

    But like I said (and tried to get across earlier), I'm not disagreeing about the benefits of procedural generation. Just the scale of it that would be needed to get a truly immersive 3D type environment that Gaia is best at creating. :)
     
  11. TeagansDad

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  12. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    Wait! Sorry if I express myself bad lol, I didn't call you a false prophet, I'm calling all the procedural enthusiast who think it's magic false prophet (cough no man sky's hype cough cough), I wasn't saying you have something against procedural generation, I use your quote to point at some procedural stuff I want to propagate so the field became more sophisticate, sorry if there was any misunderstanding :oops:

    Though you raise some intriguing question about game design in general about the infinite terrain (ie too big terrain). Or maybe it's a technical one?
     
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  13. ArcticHorse

    ArcticHorse

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    Witchwood is also nice for spooky trees that might want to entrap or engulf you--by MotuProprio. I think your project is wonderful. Love spooky haunts for Halloween.

    https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/23570

    And Protofactor probably has the scariest witch --

    https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/29076

    You see those tattoos on her thighs--those are the names of the people she's coming for. : )
     
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  14. ArcticHorse

    ArcticHorse

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    That's really nice. : ) I love your work. Not sure if the cattails would move so well in a breeze. They're heavy guys and probably would be best left just static. It would take a big breeze to move a cattail. : ) But I know we could adjust that.

    Loving it.
     
  15. turboscalpeur

    turboscalpeur

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    Thanks !
    Of course you can settle every winds on Grass, truly i have added too much wind in some Grass as the Cattails ones (i was too much in the idea of showing off alternates winds on my Grass^^);

    Considering its just a question of settlings, every peoples whose will try to build grass as i did, will be able to adjust them on their on own tastes and carefully :)
     
  16. shwa

    shwa

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    Hi,
    I downloaded 1.5.3, i think, in June 2016.

    Asset store says current version is 1.5.3 , but the date is Aug 17, 2016.
    What is the difference between the two versions?

    I'm going to dig in on the learning curve side.
    Are there any demo scenes in the download that show a fully built scene?
    I couldn't find any.

    thanks.
     
  17. reggie_sgs

    reggie_sgs

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    That would be great. In my case, I don't want any water in the terrain and it seems like that even with the sea level set to 0, there were points on the terrain that were being considered at sea level so I bumped the terrain up to avoid that. There may be a better way to deal with this but I wish there was a way to just indicate the terrain should have no water in it.
     
  18. TeagansDad

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    I believe the Asset Store changes the "last updated" date whenever the price is changed. So when an asset goes on and off sale, the date will get updated each time.
     
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  19. FutureAI

    FutureAI

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    I have purchased GAIA! I love it, but now I have some challenges to overcome.

    I'm developing for iPad Air 2 or higher, so I'm aiming at the best possible quality I can go for right now (knowing that technology will only get better in the future, and I'm going to be building this for a long time).

    I've spent the entire day reading about the pros and cons of using Unity terrain vs converting to a single mesh, using splatmaps vs basemaps, etc. I was almost convinced about converting to a mesh, then I read this thread, specifically this post:

    http://forum.unity3d.com/threads/using-a-terrain-vs-using-a-model.229824/#post-1532044

    This convinced me that, actually, for a large playing area, using a Unity terrain for mobile is not such a stupid idea. So now I'm looking at pixel error, etc.

    I've watched a few tutorials, and will watch some more, but I haven't seen anything yet advising the best possible way of using this system for mobile. Would anyone be willing to save me, and others, probably days/weeks of mistake making by suggesting some "quick wins" and "must/not dos" when building terrain for mobile?

    Any optimisations I can make to trees, grass, water etc. would also be helpful, as it's the decoration which really sends the FPS through the floor.

    Thanks in advance, and congratulations on such a well thought out solution.
     
  20. PraisedBeLordGaben

    PraisedBeLordGaben

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    hello,

    I just bought Gaia to get me started with learning Unity (I have some professional programming experience but lack any artistic skills).
    The first thing I tried was to create a procedurally generated terrain following your guide on youtube, but one of the tree assets doesnt seem to render correctly (see screenshot). Also, there seems to be some aliasing issue. Would be great if somebody could point me in the right direction as I'm completely new to unity and games development in general.

    Also, is there a guide on how to make your own spawners using custom assets?

    P.S.: Sorry if this is in the wrong thread, if there is a Gaia specific help thread/forum, I will move my posting there.

    thanks in advance

    P.P.S.: the console is showing "GetFileByPath(filePath) == NULL UnityEditor.BuildPlayerWindow:BuildPlayerAndRun()"
    So I'm guessing it's just a matter of some asset not having been imported correctly.

    Grab 20160908225703 w1900h1200 x-12y118z140r203.jpg
     
  21. FutureAI

    FutureAI

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    I had the exact same problem with solid squares in the trees, I also installed today. I imported the standard environment assets with SpeedTree included, when I know now it's also included with GAIA. I'm wondering if that's where we went wrong, or another bug?
     
  22. TeagansDad

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  23. AdamGoodrich

    AdamGoodrich

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    Yep - the default settings in Gaia are desktop focused.

    For tablets / mobile I would reduce the terrain resolution, and drop the amount of grass you place in the scene. Unity water is a killer too... Aquas seems to be a good high performance alternative.

    The place to look is in the Gaia settings file. Make sure you make a copy of it before changing it. As you mouse look over the settings the impact of the setting will show.

    Something that might work well for mobile / tablet is something be along the lines of:

    Gaia Tablet.jpg

    Watch your fps and your profiler to get a sense of the performance impact of the settings you choose.

    Another thing which makes a difference - after you have stamped your terrain - run a smooth on it - this will reduce the number of poly's that need to be rendered and increase performance.
     
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  24. AdamGoodrich

    AdamGoodrich

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    Yep, some days I wish I had not included them in Gaia - its a Unity / SpeedTree issue - but the first impression is always that its a Gaia issue :(

    The questions also highlight how few people actually look at the quick start guide. Its essentially the first thing you are told to do.
     
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  25. AdamGoodrich

    AdamGoodrich

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  26. Shawn67

    Shawn67

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    I'm not sure it changes with the standard Unity sales, but anytime an asset publisher makes a change to description, sample images, price, etc, Unity updates that date. I think they are working on some things. Would be nice if they could fix it so that date changes only when an actual package is uploaded and submitted for review.
     
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  27. docsavage

    docsavage

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    Hi Adam, wondering if you or anyone here had any experience of Forest Vision? https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/59910

    Looks nice and on his thread it says he's doing a new version but the price will rise when released.

    Unity are taking so long to sort out the issues with speedtree for next project I wil probably be looking at other alternatives and this looks like a contender.
     
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  28. AdamGoodrich

    AdamGoodrich

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    UT 5.5 has speed tree instancing :)
     
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  29. docsavage

    docsavage

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    Thanks Adam. 5.5 should be done by time I need it.
     
  30. docsavage

    docsavage

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    Out of interest has anyone used forestvision? They look nicely done.
     
  31. FutureAI

    FutureAI

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    Ah, I see now. I did read the guide, if I'm honest, but my Unity editor didn't report any errors in the console. For this reason, I wrongly assumed that this issue had been fixed since the guide was written.

    It's my own inexperience with Unity (I've been using it for about a week!) that led me to make that assumption. I see now that it's nothing to do with GAIA.

    Thanks so much for your recommendations on mobile, I'm going to have a play with these settings, export to IOS, and see what I can achieve.
     
  32. AdamGoodrich

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    This new asset called QuadIT looks interesting - could be an awesome way to make trees mobile friendly.
     
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  33. antoripa

    antoripa

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    Hi,
    I bought Gaia few days ago. I am not an artist or designer, but I have a solid background code developmen. It is my first experience with terrain designer. Never good to use the default one .. but with Gaia I am doing amazing stuff. Congrat to @AdamGoodrich
    I would like that some one could suggest me what are the "best" resource to build the cutting-edge enviroment with Gaia. Thanks a nice weekend
     
  34. GambitMonkey

    GambitMonkey

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    Adam or Shawn,
    I maybe looking at an issue the wrong way. I have a 4K x 4K terrain I am working on using Gaia and some of Shawn's stamps. What I am wanting is to basically have a sea floor and be able to stamp land masses around it. I have attached a screen shot of how my brain is trying to accomplish this, but it isn't going well.

    What I did was create a sea level of 200m stamped a Mesa terrain to create a sea floor and then tried doing a Coastal Area stamp and some others. I just end up with big cube with the stamp on top. I was hoping I would be able to use a mask and kind fo blend the top stamps down to the mesa sea floor, but that isn't going anywhere.

    I have even tried to put the additional stamps on the sea floor and raise their heights, but that was a no go. What am I missing or is this just not feasible period? Doesn't make sense though to have a coastal area and the water depth is like 50m deep. I'd like players to have to dive down and see interesting stuff off the coast .

    Does this make sense?
     

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  35. Acissathar

    Acissathar

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    Speed Trees coupled with MegaScan will likely be your best bet for "cutting-edge" visuals. You'll need some powerful post processing, which can likely be achieved with Prism or Scion. Aquas is also a great water solution.

    I'm sure there are some more that I missed out on.
     
  36. recon0303

    recon0303

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    I'm someone who develops for mobile with Unity a lot and using non mesh terrains .. To many people try and say a mesh is better, well it depends on how you handle your world LOD's so many factors. But for my bottom level of terrains, I use Height Maps, and use lower resolution as Adam had said to you.. I also Stream by terrains, which you would need another solution like World Streamer, this has helped us create a very large world, with mobile... Far as Trees and Grass, no disrespect to GAIA which is a great tool, I would NOT use it for Grass ...... I would suggest using a new tool coming out called Unature, which I have tested and i'm able to get all the grass I want with great frame rates.

    Gaia is great for terrain and many other things for Desktop, but many of the other tools like Gaia have the same issue I have NOT been able to use any of them for Grass or Trees ...Unless you use very little....Hate to say its worlds look ugly with out a decent about of grass or trees. So mobile can be tricky... it takes alot of trial and error, I spent the last 2 years with our world. and still going now..We are at the point though that we have some nice frame rates with the help of GAIA, World Streamer, Unature, and InfiniGrass. Plus some of my own solutions ..
     
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  37. recon0303

    recon0303

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    I also will vouch for Mega Scans, if your looking for Photo Realism.
     
  38. Olander

    Olander

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    I can try to help with the thought process.
    1) Set up a consistent Game Scale that this 4k x 4k will represent. Typically 10x Scaling is a really good place to start. What this means is that the Scene Terrain and Character Movement Scale is 1m = 10m or basically this the 'Visual Game Scaling' or 'Feel' of your scene/game. Remember here....you are designing at 1m Scale but want to Visually Pull Off 1m = 10m on the Landscape to Compress the Distances.

    2) Once you have this set then you can set up your scene to the proper measurements. In this case Gaia can be set up from the Sea Floor Up.

    3) Now simply set up your Sea Floor and Sea Level. To what your Deepest point will be...200-300m is nice and deep...at 10x scale this would be 2000-3000m deep or 6560-9840ft deep (perceived depth).

    4) Now begin stamping On Top of the Seas floor by continually building Up in minor amounts developing your Sea Floor to how you want it to look like. Once you have that...keep building up until you begin developing the landscape that will be above the sea level.
    Note: Make sure you drop into game and run around to test from time to time to make certain you have the scaling right.

    Rinse and Repeat.

    To get this Scaling down right while painting landscapes is Critical to getting proper landscaping painted. You will throw away quite a few test landscapes before getting a good solid feel of where you need to be. It really helps to plop down some prototypes that are set up in exact meters as well so you can See the reference.

    Last thing to note...you will want Gaia and all associated stamps in a completely separate project set up for landscaping. Once you are happy...export what you have for adding the Flavor Things like buildings and bridges and models. May small local adjustments to Gaia placed things as you build out a town.
    Note: I am not a huge proponent of the POI system...it does work but I prefer hand placing things to my hand sketches. Just me though.

    Hope that helps.
    Cheers
    O
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2016
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  39. AdamGoodrich

    AdamGoodrich

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    Yep. I have to concur for mobile. The issue is the lack of processing / gpu on your mobiles. You don't generally see grass on mobile because the graphics on these devices because they just cant handle it.

    Wrt to trees - you need to go fewer and low poly. The sample trees I provided with Gaia are not suitable for mobile. So choose low poly tree's instead of the ones that come with Gaia, and spawn them in instead.

    And everything the @Olander said - except for POI of course - which rock. The new thing I will be launching soon gives you a lot more control as well :)
     
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  40. AdamGoodrich

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    Gaia allows you to change the sea level - you will see it in the session manager when you create a new environment. Just change it there before you go stamping and spawning.
     
  41. GambitMonkey

    GambitMonkey

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    Adam I am not sure what changing the sea level in the session manager will do. I am not playing back the sessions but rather just using the Stamps from the Coastal pack. I attached two new screen shots of what I am seeing when I stamp the coastal on top of the Mesa (sea floor) stamp.

    I was thinking that the Operation type might help, but that is just me reaching for straws.

    Olander I appreciate the great ideas and process for laying out the terrain and layering the stamps but I don't believe that will solve the issue I am having. I will definitely keep the ratios in mind though while I am building my landscape though.

    Thanks,
    Garry
     

    Attached Files:

  42. Olander

    Olander

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    Yeppers...the same thing I was talking about. I simply added the ratio thingy.
    Your stamps are smaller than your terrain...which is why you are getting a ledge. Make the stamp larger to fit your entire 4kx4k terrain or make certain the edges of the stamp are below what you are stamping into. This will nullify the Ledge you are seeing.
    Cheers
    O
     
  43. GambitMonkey

    GambitMonkey

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    Olander,
    I see what you are saying, but the issue is that I don't want the coast line and or islands to take up that much real estate as I still need to add in mountains and valleys, etc. Also if I put the coastal stamp below the mesa (sea floor) stamp then all I will end up with is a coast line or islands below the sea as well. I am trying to process what you are saying, but every which way I attempt this it does not yield good results.

    What I was hoping is that the water or empty parts of the coastal stamp would just be open water down to the sea floor and the coast lines and islands, things with land masses would just blend in with the sea floor.
     
  44. AdamGoodrich

    AdamGoodrich

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    The Gaia stamping system easily handles the things you are trying to do - and it sounds like something about this is confusing you.

    To get seamless blends between stamps you can use image or distance based masks. The one I use will generally be based on what I am trying to do. For my image masks, I often use the preview image of other stamps, as it can sometimes provide a more natural look.

    There are 3 video tutorials showing off the different nuances of stamping here : http://www.procedural-worlds.com/gaia/tutorials/

    If you are still stuck after viewing them, then PM me and we can connect via Skype so I can talk you through it.
     
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  45. Shawn67

    Shawn67

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    Sorry.. Just now seeing this. Adam is right. You should be able to get rid of the block with the distance blending. Another thing you could try is turning the stamp base off. You will still need to deal with the "cliffs" at the edges where you have the coastlines stamped higher, but it might be easier to use other stamps around the edges of the coastlines to form an artistic looking sea bed.

    Gaia's stamping system is very powerful and there are a few different ways you can address what you are trying to accomplish. The stamping tutorials Adam linked to should be a huge help. If not, feel free to contact me as well. :)
     
  46. witchscroll

    witchscroll

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2015
    Posts:
    131
    Hi adamgoodrich

    thanks gaia for a desert in my indie game.

    here is my question:
    how to rise/lower the terrian's bottom? i can dig it to the terrain's bottom, but need more deep to look good.
    I mean, when i want to make lake/sea in a terrian, usually i create a new terrian, then use unity standart terrian tool to rise whole terrian to a height like 100m, then dig down to make lake/sea. but with your tool, is there a way to change this allready made terrain's bottom height in order to dig more deep?
     
  47. Shawn67

    Shawn67

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2014
    Posts:
    2,196
    Using Gaia, what you should be doing is adjusting your sea level to 100. Gaia will put your water level that high and you then stamp your terrains how you would like them to be above the sea level. Then you have the full 100 to use subtractive stamps, unity terrain tools, special terrain brushes or whatever method you want to use to dig out your sea beds.

    Unless things have been changed, you can run into problems manually raising your terrain through Unity if you try to use Gaias spawners afterwards. So best practice is to set your sea level right in Gaia from the start. You can set it in your GaiaDefaults file in the Gaia/Data folder.
     
  48. antoripa

    antoripa

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2015
    Posts:
    1,162
    Hi guys ..
    another suggestion from you ....
    Any experience with SECTR or WORLD STREAMER with GAIA ?
    What do you suggest to use ?
     
  49. Shawn67

    Shawn67

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2014
    Posts:
    2,196
    I think they are both great tools. I don't have World Streamer yet but know of people who are using it. I used Sectr back in the original Gaia beta in summer 2015 and it worked fine.
     
    antoripa likes this.
  50. runningbird

    runningbird

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Posts:
    379
    Both are great tools each have their pros and cons.
    I would suggest SECTR if your budget allows
     
    antoripa likes this.
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