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[Official] New Terrain System

Discussion in 'General Graphics' started by bibbinator, Jul 4, 2014.

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  1. bibbinator

    bibbinator

    Unity Technologies

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2009
    Posts:
    507
    Hi all,

    It's time to add to terrains to the discussion of systems we're upgrading!

    As with our other discussions, we'll start with a clean slate and see where it goes. We'll summarize and add our own ideas later on, but we really want to hear from you all first.

    As usual, it's super helpful to know something about you when you comment because it helps us understand much better the use-cases and goals you're trying to achieve.

    Who are you?

    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?

    How does terrain fit into that?

    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?


    Thanks!
    Brett


    ------ edited by moderator as follows ---------

    Locking this now as it's redundant, and pointing people to the new forum for the purpose of terrain (also you should check beta forums):

    https://blogs.unity3d.com/2018/10/10/2018-3-terrain-update-getting-started/


    https://forum.unity.com/forums/world-building.146/
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2018
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  2. Don-Gray

    Don-Gray

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    Posts:
    2,271
    Who are you?

    Hobbyist

    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?

    Puzzle Adventure

    How does terrain fit into that?

    Want believable terrains of various types to travel through.

    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?

    I'd like to be able to sculpt terrains from a distance on large scenes and have the brush be responsive,
    I find now I must be close to the terrain to make any real impact with the brush.
    I'd like to be able to create overhangs and caves, to be able to adjust terrain height options without having to flatten the terrain.
    To be continued...
     
    Ascensi and ChrisSch like this.
  3. Murgilod

    Murgilod

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2013
    Posts:
    6,146
    Who are you?

    I'm Elizabeth, sole developer in my tiny studio of one.

    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?

    When it comes to terrain, I'm working on an large area outdoor sports game.

    How does terrain fit into that?

    Simply put? It doesn't. I've had to completely disregard Unity's terrain options in favour of a series of split meshes that I generate in a custom terrain tool. I need a lot of overhangs, caves, and other concave surfaces and that's just not possible with the current terrain workflow. I also require a lot of special material cases for translucent surfaces.

    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?
    • NORMAL MAP SUPPORT. Proper normal map support too, not one that makes my terrain look like it's covered in a layer of plastic wrap.
    • Platform independent terrain tessellation. Don't make me rely on DX11 for this. I want to target things other than just Windows platforms.
    • Object intersection tessellation. Let me put down a tree mesh with roots and be able to sculpt around the roots to have them more realistically interact with the terrain itself.
    • Realtime runtime terrain deformation with fast collision updates.
    • Better in-engine sculpting tools, or maybe even some (very basic) analogues to World Machine's terrain functions.
    • Performance, performance, performance! It feels so finicky getting Unity terrain to perform well.
    • CONCAVE SURFACE SUPPORT.
    Even if the terrain tessellation is pre-baked that'd be fine.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014
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  4. tgraupmann

    tgraupmann

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    Posts:
    828
    Who are you?

    Hobbyist on personal projects and games. And then... I might help port a few games... several... okay a lot of Unity games...

    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?


    3d Graphic Novel

    How does terrain fit into that?


    I plan on remaking concept drawings into 3d scenes. I have environment like, forests with campfire. Exterior houses. Interior houses. Barns. Caves. Train tracks. Bridges. Western Towns. And a smoke stack to create.

    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?

    I might have a scene for sections of the environment that link together. Some of the scenes might overlap or fade in and out based on proximity to the camera. I might want to edit the terrain for all the scenes together while logically when I save the various components save into their individual scenes.

    I have a need for building props, vegetation and trees. Of which I'll likely use content from the asset store.

    It would be great if while working on the scenes there was a popup prop selector which would cycle throw all the assets that I've purchased and downloaded and when I select something it fetches it right out of the that package. Without the need of importing 5GB of art assets and only using some of it. Quick selection would keep the scenes leaner if it only imports the assets I need when I use them.

    Most importantly I need to be able to publish to Android.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2014
  5. Sievlar

    Sievlar

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2012
    Posts:
    60
    Who are you?
    Indie game developer.

    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?

    Endless runner with enemies that chase player.

    How does terrain fit into that?

    I would like to have pieces of terrain that can be placed and joined at run time.

    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?

    Features I would like
    1 - Nav-Mesh
    a - Bake nav-mesh into terrain prefab that can be moved at runtime.
    b - Join nav-mesh with adjacent terrain placed at runtime.​
    2 - Built in object-pooling for everything, including terrains.
    3 - Tools for modelling seamless seems for terrains that can be placed side by side at run time where each side of the terrain can be joined with different sides of another terrain.
    4 - Run-time deform of terrain and associated nav-mesh
    5 - Run-time placement of objects / nav-mesh breaks. Not the same as placing nav obstacles, since multiple obstacles that block a path does not cause character to navigate around them.
     
  6. hippocoder

    hippocoder

    Digital Ape Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Posts:
    25,814
    Who are you?

    Fat thing that's not really fat, that lurks a lot on forums that people put up with because a) sometimes he's helpful, b) they've no choice.

    OR: Director at Simian Squared, purveyor of fine British console and mobile games.

    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?

    We're doing a game for Sony that will use a heck of a lot of Unity 5.

    How does terrain fit into that?

    We've actually done a few years research here from rolling our own ROAM back when it was vogue, to stitching together loosely culled meshes to using a water-like structure of detailed geometry close up. We've also used Zbrush and World Machine among other applications in our research. We do a lot of R&D as we like to put something new out there. Ultimately, the reasons for avoiding Unity's terrain always came down to poor tools, poor performance and no overhangs.

    This upsets us greatly, because we know that the number one best way to create terrain in games is within the actual game editor and not externally. The nature of terrain is that it must be modifiable with short notice to fit playability, situations that cannot be forseen etc, and this is the main reason generating terrain in external apps is a poor workflow that creates stress within the team.

    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?

    Idealistic futuristic next gen terrain request:


    1. It uses voxels and we can just fly around digging the perfect terrain. There's a few asset store entries but they're unsupported and not ideal. We would love overhangs. We'd love to carve a world offline and online.

    2. It just works beautifully with enlighten.

    3. We have choice of vertex based splatmap and texture based splatmap, vertex based lighting and shadow (which can update if we carve or add new geometry)

    4. Triplanar and other options supported, including a nifty feature to match the uvs of any object to the terrain so meshes "just work" and fit - like in Skyrim's toolset.

    In short, fine-grained resolution isn't as important as a living and breathing terrain that feels organic and raw and realistic, and caves and other exciting things are within reach just with a few brush strokes.

    Wacom support is an absolute MUST or artists can't function so well. Adjusting the strength constantly isn't much fun is it.

    Toned-down existing style terrain request in the realms of sanity:

    1. Maximum performance.

    2. It just works beautifully with enlighten.

    3. We have choice of vertex based splatmap and texture based splatmap, vertex based lighting and shadow which updates. But importantly there must be hole support as people do like their caves.

    4. Triplanar and other options supported, including a nifty feature to match the uvs of any object to the terrain so meshes "just work" and fit - like in Skyrim's toolset.


    So that's two options. The thing is, if you're going to overhaul the existing terrain it has to be something pretty next gen for people to bother, or at minimum very flexible. That's the thing about terrain made in game editors, you want to tweak all that. We also need some form of broad world navmesh support going on here too among other features supported by Unity.

    Just some thoughts.
     
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  7. tatoforever

    tatoforever

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    Posts:
    3,890
    Hello Brett,
    I guess you already know about us, so I'll go straight to our project needs and feedbacks about the system. This is the system in Unity that really need a lot of love and the most hacked by all Unity users in order to get somewhat Okaish visuals. We are currently prototyping an open world game that features larges natural landscapes (using GIS and CIGI data). The terrain is 256 square KMs terrain. We also work with other sister companies that specializes in Simulation and Visualization applications.
    So here are my needs and feedbacks about a new terrain system in Unity:
    We need more tools to create natural terrains and faster, such as erosion, noise and the like algorithms. Better painting tools (colormaps that will generate terrain splats). Also a way to split large terrains into multiples chunks. We need procedural planting tools, just imagine adding grass, trees and rocks to 250squareKMs by hand, that's insane. A tool that will let us use a mask to tell the engine where to randomly put grass/trees/details, etc, density, variation. An option to make terrain grass use the terrain color (this is a nice feature in CryEngine that adds a lot to realism).
    Materials: Support for multiple splats (more than 4 layers) with all kind of custom settings and any custom material (we also need a better and more open terrain API). Leadwerks Engine currently have a very nice terrain texturing technology, I recommend to check it out.
    Navigation: A way to make Navigation work on very large terrains is also a plus welcome.
    Also please, fix batching, trees on the terrain doesn't get batched (even when using the same trees everywhere). Results = 20000+ drawcalls, that's insanely injustifiable. Make a better impostor (or billboard system), currently impostors doesn't cast any shadows, it's ugly when shadows pops in and the reason is because they are quads facing the camera, solution: let us chose between impostors and cross billboard trees that will cast correct shadows (and blend between billboard trees and trees meshes).
    Side problem1: Double precision of coordinates (an option that we can tick on/off in per project basis).
    Side problem2: You cannot cast way too far shadows otherwise the resolution will shrink and you'll end up having tiny shadows resolutions = really ugly blocky shadows. Btw, this is an other area where Unity really needs to put some men at work onto it. Improve shadows please.
    Lastly, Two features that will complement really well the new terrain system: an ocean system, an sky with clouds (time of day system). Why having a nice terrain and a ugly static skybox? If you really want some examples, take a look at CryEngine or Unigine (they both shares similarities in their terrain/ocean/sky system). I guess I don't need to post any image or video?
    Currently, is just impossible to create proper large natural landscapes in Unity the way you can do in other Engines and this is a huge problem for us and our sister companies.
    I haven't upgraded all my licenses yet and will probably not unless we see solutions to those problems described below.
    Side note: We are currently evaluating Unigine and so far it have been a great experience managing very large and detailed natural landscapes.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2014
  8. judah4

    judah4

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Posts:
    222
    Who are you?

    Student, Indie guy

    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?

    Large world rpg

    How does terrain fit into that?

    I need large terrains for the large world

    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?


    One of the big things Ive run into is performance and the inability to edit heights on a separate thread. I am able to tile the terrains very well in runtime but I need the ability to read the heightmaps on another thread and change them so I dont lock down the fps when loading in chunks of the world. Also, being able to edit multiple terrains at the same time would be nice

    Bullet List
    • Read/Write in other threads
    • Multi-terrain editing
     
    RendCycle likes this.
  9. christides11

    christides11

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Posts:
    672
    Who are you?
    Indie developer, head of LittleForestGames

    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?
    Action/Adventure RPG (in first person)

    How does terrain fit into that?
    Terrain in the game is important, as the terrain would be something like OOT. Not a big map, but the feeling
    of being able to go to different areas in the world.

    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?
    There are a few major things that are needed.
    • Voxel terrain (or at least the support for overhangs, cliffs, etc.)
    • Splatmaps
    • Normal mapping
    • Support for streaming multiple terrains (think Skyrim or any openworld game).
    • Triplanar support as said above, really needed
    • performance
     
    konsnos likes this.
  10. jc_lvngstn

    jc_lvngstn

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Posts:
    1,503
    Who are you?
    Hobbyist

    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?
    World Survival

    How does terrain fit into that?
    Alter terrain (raise/lower), change the texture. A simplified voxel/digging system.

    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?

    • If you do something voxel based, please make it separate from the heightmap based implementation.
    • More options as far as LOD, stitching, and updating the terrain. Smarter handling of these.
    • Vegetation that is not "melded" with the terrain. Vegetation can make use of the same height data, but remain a separate component.
    • Allow people to disable the separate components (like the terrain, or the vegetation) in case someone wants to use a substitute. Some may like the vegetation...but want to use their own terrain system. Right now, it's either all or nothing.
    • Access to terrain/vegetation data on the main and other threads, via a nice clean well documented API. Open up the terrain system. Allow easier use of custom shaders and options.
    • The ability to atlas textures would be nice :)
    • Nice to haves: nearby tesselation (DX11 is fine with me) based on a noise texture possibly.
    • Global colormap support.
    • Performance and memory usage.
    • "Holes" in the terrain unless there is a better way (depth mask or whatever).
    Also, please clarify if you are talking about the terrain only, or vegetation/trees also. Currently they are tied together. If you are talking about vegetation also:
    • Rotatable trees (1 byte would give enough accuracy).
    • Individual colliders.
    • For billboards, at least allow custom texture resolutions for the billboards (too low now), and please fix the "bowing"
      issue where the trees bow towards the player when you tilt the camera.
    • Better vegetation shaders! Right now grass especially can look horrible unless you use AA or don't mind not having shadows.
     
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  11. Cascho01

    Cascho01

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2010
    Posts:
    1,117
    Who are you?

    Architecture Vis Studio


    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?

    No games, but architecture presentations from small to very hughe sizes


    How does terrain fit into that?

    Bad as it works now:
    In architecture scenes we have streets, stairs etc..... all not really possible with terrain


    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?

    - use custom mesh with sub ids / materials
    - must accept materials with custom shaders, (Shaderforge, Marmoset,...)
    - rotatable
     
  12. creat327

    creat327

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Posts:
    1,129
    Who are you?
    Indie studio. Echoboom.com

    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?

    We have a flight simulator right now, but we have a whole bunch of games on pipeline that we would love to build but terrain is real slow.

    How does terrain fit into that?

    Flight simulator... terrain... need to say more? www.dogfightplay.com

    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?


    Right now, we can't use the unity terrain system because it is incredible slow. We build for mobile, and although the terrain runs fine on hyperfast mobiles and regular desktops, on the average phones as soon as you plug a terrain with a few trees the frame drop is huge. We have to use 3d meshes for it all. It doesn't make sense to us because in theory the terrain should be more efficient than having huge 3d meshes all around.

    To us, the quality it has right now, trees, shadows and all that, could be improved but we are ok with it. What it's a big no-no is the performance. With that performance it doesn't matter to us what is improved because we simply cannot use it.
     
  13. angel_m

    angel_m

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2005
    Posts:
    1,125
    Voxel Farm in Unity :)
    If not,...performance.
     
  14. Whippets

    Whippets

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2013
    Posts:
    1,775
    Who are you?
    Marcus Lear-Jones - Indie game company

    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?

    (M)MORPGs - from fantasy to post apoco

    How does terrain fit into that?

    It's the majority of stuff you stand on.

    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?

    Two Separate types of terrain:-
    1. A realtime deformable voxel based terrain
    2. A static high performance terrain

    As people have already said; terrains must:-
    1. Be capable of holes/caves/overhangs
    2. Have shaders with colourmap, normal maps, specular maps, height maps (see RTP).
    3. Wind systems that are scriptable
    4. Trees that work day and night, don't "bend" into view, have believable billboards - currently terrain trees make me cry.
    5. Vegetation that doesn't look like a cardboard model stuck on the terrain. Believability is the key.
    6. Beauty - Cryengine style jaw-dropping beauty. If players' jaws don't hit the floor, it's not good enough.
    7. Shadows and ambiance - will GI make this good? If you've got low ambient and a sun/moon(s) as light sources, the shadows waver and blob their way across the terrain and models like a bad migraine. Horrible, truly horrible.
    8. Rivers and roads tools (better water for rivers and oceans out of the box).
    9. Built-in systems for seamless terrains.
    10. All of the above with PERFORMANCE. Use as many threads as it takes, just blow us away with the performance.

    Sorry for being so disparaging about the current terrain system. I'm a huge Unity fan (company style and product), and I want to see it being the best. Terrain is what all of our customers/players see most of, so it's got to be great. Currently it's fallen a long way behind.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2014
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  15. zenGarden

    zenGarden

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2013
    Posts:
    4,538
    Who are you?
    Amateur Indie guy

    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?

    PC games Third view RPG (later FPS exploration game)

    How does terrain fit into that?
    Main payable area to explore to find dungeons and towns.


    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?

    - Extended terrain shader : Better Normal map, specular maps option for rocks and grass floor texture (Wow have terrain specular from years), Glow map option for lava , poisonnous swamp etc ..
    - Voxels and editor tools : would allow caves and avoid distortion UV like we have in standard terrain on slopes and cliffs
    - performant grass and trees shadowing
    - advanced terrain LOD
    - perhaps terrain chunck system to allow really big terrains, only chuncks terrain near player beeing displayed.
     
  16. Deleted User

    Deleted User

    Guest

    Who are you?

    ShadowKind Games

    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?


    Large openworld RPG

    How does terrain fit into that?


    It's about 75% of the game.

    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?


    Tree system is irrelevant as we'll be using SpeedTree with Unity 5.0, what we do need is or nice to haves:

    -Performance: Streaming, streaming and did I mention streaming again for tiles? (I'll update this section with a list of others tonight, so keeping blank for now).


    -Origin shifting: So when absolute camera position is far from origin, it shifts back to zero.

    -Stitching: The ability to stitch multiple tiles together to create the size required for open worlds.

    -Expandable per tile shader support: Correct use of normal map per splat, support for multiple layers within Unity 5.0's default shader system. Set the layer preset (amount of layers) to something around 10, that would usually cover the basis. Must also cover the use of color maps (see worldmachine or any varient, as this is what most people use).

    -Tool expansion: Noise Tool, Valley tool (Sinkhole / flatten), Erosion tool, sculpt tool.

    -I'm not sure how people are using SpeedTree with UT 5.0, but I hope you can batch vegetation and trees.

    -Better vegetation shaders (not necessary but would be nice).

    -Ocean and river shaders (same as above)

    -What would be REALLY nice to have is a TOD system (like you have in UE4 and CE), the skybox system is a bit long in the tooth. Still not necessary but a nice to have.. Reason I mention this is two fold, one a template for correct use with Enlighten would be great, secondly it's great for beginners or advanced users to expand on.
     
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  17. Tenebrous

    Tenebrous

    Volunteer Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Posts:
    99
    Who are you?
    Hobbyist and general tinkerer

    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?
    The requirement for a better terrain came when I was trying to build a modern 'remake' of 3D Ant Attack.

    How does terrain fit into that?
    I really wanted a 'realistic environment', but procedurally generated. A major part of this would be the ant's tunnels which would be a major area of exploration in the game. Generating the landscape procedurally would allow re-playability and allow the player to 'own' his game as it would be unique to him.

    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?
    • Support for tunnels, caves & overhangs without having to resort to hacks like a depth-mask shader.
    • Being able to create the entire terrain from code is essential as most things I do are procedurally generated.
    • For this specific game there is no requirement for real-time modification (the game was not to be about digging or crafting, as I felt this would detract from the feel of the game and overcomplicate it)
     
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  18. Teila

    Teila

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2013
    Posts:
    6,728
    Who are you?

    Indie Game developer

    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?


    Multiplayer RPG

    How does terrain fit into that?


    The terrain is the foundation of the game.

    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?


    • Performance

    • Better billboards and vegetation brushes

    • Wind effects for mesh foliage

    • Erosion features to create more realistic terrains

    • Finer control for brushes

    • Support for multi-terrains and paging

    • Spline based river placement with flow (like Torque 3d)

    • The ability to link textures to vegetation so you can place TextureA and assign a billboard or mesh to the texture and have it generate wherever the texture is placed (like Torque 3d).

    • Better water with much better performance for both Pro and Free.

    • Ability to make overhangs and holes.

    • Better built-in shaders for the terrain and vegetation

    • The ability to place roads and paths easily on the terrain
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2014
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  19. Arowx

    Arowx

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Posts:
    7,139
    Instead of a terrain engine could I ask for a procedural planet builder? ;)
     
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  20. KheltonHeadley

    KheltonHeadley

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2010
    Posts:
    1,685
    +1. Everything here, also performance.
     
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  21. Whippets

    Whippets

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2013
    Posts:
    1,775
    This has to be good, everyone's saying the same things XD
     
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  22. tatoforever

    tatoforever

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    Posts:
    3,890
    Terrains are an important part of a game, no matter which game you are making you need larges, fast, rich and bullet prof terrain technology! Even outside games (Viz and Sim)! :)
     
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  23. AnomalusUndrdog

    AnomalusUndrdog

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2009
    Posts:
    1,494
    Who are you?

    Chief Technology Officer of our small development studio, Dreamlords Digital.

    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?

    Right now, a turn-based tactics game.

    How does terrain fit into that?

    Terrain is used for the outdoor maps, during combat, and for the world map.

    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?

    The kind of game I'm making is top-down, which means I often don't want overhangs as that would obstruct the view of the game, so I don't need voxel terrain for the foreseeable future. However, built-in voxel terrain indeed sounds useful for the other devs here.

    Honestly I would feel better if Unity didn't try to be the be-all-end-all of everything game dev. I'm pretty sure UT needs to be economical in what parts of their engine they should improve.

    My point is I'm content in having more realistic terrain be the job of other tools, like World Machine. But at the very least, it would be nice if, say, the .tmd files that World Machine creates can be imported by Unity, same way .fbx files are. Or whatever you guys deem to be a good 3rd party terrain making tool to support, have Unity be able to import its files. Then they would turn into heightmap files that Unity already uses.

    If that turns out to be a lot more hassle, then ok, perhaps Unity should have a very good built-in terrain making tool. Programs like Axis Game Factory I think are already doing a good job, considering that program is made in Unity.

    Visuals: The kind of art that our game needs benefits from realistic graphics, so all those stuff that the top selling terrain plugins in the Asset Store (like RTP) are the stuff that we want: parallax mappping, triplanar support, heightmap-based blending, paint terrain texture on bottom of static objects (e.g. rocks), etc.


    Wind Zone component: I'm hoping in the future, wind zone can affect grass, terrain trees, and particles. Imagine spawning an explosion at a particular position and the grass, trees, bushes, and nearby smoke reacting properly to the shockwave caused by the explosion.


    Re: real-time terrain deformation

    Isn't this possible already? TerrainData.SetHeights?
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2014
    Eric2241 likes this.
  24. sebas77

    sebas77

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2011
    Posts:
    897
    Who are you?

    CTO of Freejam

    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?

    We are the Robocraft developers (http://www.robocraftgame.com)

    How does terrain fit into that?

    the "planets" are built over the standard terrain engine

    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?

    1 - importing exporting hight maps perfectly from maya.
    2 - Better sculpting and manipulation tools, including huge brushes (ours are tiny).
    3 - More materials to blend including spec maps (6 or more materials)
    4 - Faster performance
    5 - Voxel painting would be good, would also help cut down on extra meshes.
    6 - Better grass, foliage, rock and tree systems.
    7 - a library of different features that could be painted like rock formations, natural surfaces and details.
     
  25. ZJP

    ZJP

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2010
    Posts:
    2,646
    - Color Blending between terrain and meshes.
     
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  26. Frpmta

    Frpmta

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2013
    Posts:
    461
    Who are you?
    Indie, student.
    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?
    Action/RPG
    How does terrain fit into that?
    Most of the world is made up by terrain.
    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?
    +1 to all that have been written and:
    -Deeper sculpting tools and brushes customization.
    -Emphasize on high performance vegetation shaders a'la CryEngine that don't weep with alpha/transparencies.
    -Terrain with caves export to DCC.
     
    Eric2241 likes this.
  27. Tiny-Tree

    Tiny-Tree

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2012
    Posts:
    1,283
    Who are you?
    freelance and work on independant project when i have time
    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?

    open world rpg for mobile
    How does terrain fit into that?
    it does not
    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?

    control over the polycount
    ability to create caves/holes
     
  28. derkoi

    derkoi

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2012
    Posts:
    2,009
    Who are you?

    Dangerous Derk Interactive

    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?

    Fishing Simulation

    How does terrain fit into that?

    We use terrain for the lakes and surrounding environment

    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?

    I pretty much echo what others have said but I'd like to add this:

    PLEASE MAKE THE WIND ZONES PUBLIC SO WE CAN ADJUST THEM AT RUNTIME!! The real world doesn't have static weather.

    Speaking of weather, out of the box day/night and weather system that works really well with the terrain would be welcome. :)
     
  29. shkar-noori

    shkar-noori

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2013
    Posts:
    833
    Who are you?
    CTO At Kurdify Technologies

    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?

    First Person , Third Person Shooter Games targeting Consoles, PCs

    How does terrain fit into that?

    the current system? , it doesn't fit anywhere, we have to use other assets to fill in the gap

    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?

    1. Voxel-Based Terrain
    2. Better Integration with Nav-Mesh
    3. Runtime Deformable [see Frostbite3]
    4. Better Vegetation shaders.
    5. Better editing tools, copying, pasting, cutting parts of the terrain
    6. Integrated 3D Ocean system.
    7. ......
    so please, most of us have already pre-ordered U5.0, so please make changes to the terrain system, and may PBR any how affect the terrain system?

    Thanks!
     
  30. deram_scholzara

    deram_scholzara

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2005
    Posts:
    1,026
    The only thing I'd really like to see is support for pressure sensitive tablet devices (wacom, etc.). Allow us to use the pressure to control the brush's size, strength, or both. This support should also be made accessible for editor script developers, and also possibly for use in built games.
     
    MattGen likes this.
  31. charmandermon

    charmandermon

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2011
    Posts:
    351
    Who are you?

    -Dustin Hagen, Base75.com longtime fan and friend of unity & and pro user

    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?

    - Many ...much many :) , so many games. Racing games, Planetary exploration games, Fantasy Games, First person shooters, Third person games, Rts games, flight simulators, WINGSUIT simulator....i know this sounds crazy but i really do have a ridiculous amount of prototypes and ideas that I am working on.

    How does terrain fit into that?

    - Terrain is exremely important to me for the future of true immersion of games and applications. I don't want to worry about micro details but i would love to paint mountains and have algorithms already set to change the texture blending based on the angle and height of the terrain areas.
    - Voxels are very important for my motocross game - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mad/id537741863?mt=8
    voxels would allow me to make some really amazing caves and cliffs that would just be amazing.

    - I also would love greater support of roads, streets and race maps. loops, jumps, angle banking of roads for hard turns. I would also love for the ability to have it branch away from terrain for more sci fi race maps. I don't like constantly switching between 3d modeling applications.

    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?

    - Auto Environment - Eco System Generation
    - Brushes to tweak your environment without having to worry about texturing. For instance I would love the ability to auto generate a 5k by 5k open world map in the editor, then for advance precision i would go in and add Huge mountains in the middle of the map and the textures would automatically know what to do based on settings applied before hand for which textures are applied at which angle and which altitude.
    - greater Support for Substances.
    -Realtime Terrain destruction - with support for applying alternate "under earth/ground" textures for altitudes
    -Realtime Terrain generation with streaming serialization (import and export) for large open world games - Like a flight simulator.
    -WATER...I need real water, water that causes waves and wakes when you move a boat or jet ski on top of it. Water that can have dynamic waves, water that can interact with wind. Water that can support bouncy out of the box with physx. Water that Runs off a cliff that forms a water fall from your voxel mountains. Water that can fill holes or can be leaked out by opening a dam.


    Thanks guys keep up the great work!
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2014
    Eric2241 likes this.
  32. AdamGoodrich

    AdamGoodrich

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2013
    Posts:
    3,638
    Who are you?
    Unity Hobbyist/Freelancer

    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?

    All different kinds. Currently working on a survival game.

    How does terrain fit into that?

    The game is set in it.

    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?

    I have been working on a real time world generation system for awhile.

    I would like to see a terrain system in which you can create gorgeous immersive worlds without bringing the system that is playing it to its knees. Particularly with grass and other ground cover.

    A terrain texturing approach which reduces tiling. I have seen some nice shaders out there - why can't we do this out of the box. An ability to dynamically mix groups of similar textures to create more varied texturing.

    If you are doing dynamic procedurally generated worlds, it would be great to get some form of dynamic nav mesh generation working... even if it was something that you could kick off in the background and have it improve itself over time as it computes a better nav mesh.

    Proper day night system. Cloud and weather systems. Mobile friendly performance.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 5, 2014
  33. gsokol

    gsokol

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    Posts:
    76
    Who are you?
    Artist at AAA studio and Unity Hobbyist/Freelancer

    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?

    All different kinds. Currently working on a giant, Nature based RPG.

    How does terrain fit into that?

    Many of the games I work on use terrain as the base layer for their worlds.

    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?

    1. More User Friendly detail mesh painting. It seems like, besides the default meshes/standard assets, I can never get detail meshes to properly work. Meshes always scaled wrong, using wonky shaders, not visible, etc.

    2. Custom Terrain shape. Many times I have to do a lot of fudging to make up for the fact that terrain is always a square shape. Would be nice to use a custom shape and apply a terrain 'modifier' on top so I could put holes in the terrain, or make smaller, odd shaped portions that match the rest of a level I'm building, etc. Maybe Voxel based terrain will answer some of these concerns, but even then, there are times where I want to stop using the terrain and start using a custom mesh instead.

    3. Rotation with tree placement. Modifying size and such is nice, but not being able to rotate trees is a bummer.

    4. Custom Materials per Splat. Having the ability to use custom materials for terrains was a nice addition, but I would like to use different materials per splat. If I'm blending some bumped,diffuse,reflective,parallaxed Ice material with a bumped, diffuse, specular scaling UVs dirt material...I have to avoid the terrain system. Also linking Physics materials to be per material would be nice as well.


    Overall though, I will say that I'm a big fan of Unity's Terrain system overall...strikes a nice balance between features and usability. Definitely my favorite terrain system to work with. You guys rock :D

    If I can think of any other ideas for improvements I'll edit this post and throw them in there.
     
  34. Samuel411

    Samuel411

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
    Posts:
    622
    Who are you?

    Programmer, Hobbyist

    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?

    Working on 2D but I also have a first person 3D game.

    How does terrain fit into that?

    The terrain is going to be a big part of the 3D game. It will be what the player will see mostly throughout the game.

    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?

    Better performance, caves, rotating trees, and better painting tools are all I can think of.
     
  35. ChezDoodles

    ChezDoodles

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Posts:
    85
    Who are you?
    Indie developer

    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?
    Railroad/transport simulation game, featuring trains, boats and airplanes.

    How does terrain fit into that?
    Does not.
    Had to make custom terrain. My largest map is 360448 x 196608 float samples at roughly 2m resolution. It decompresses from 24mb in total into small chunks that works nice even on mobile, and can be deformed by paths at runtime. I really don't need 2m resolution for anything but where I need to modify the terrain because of paths / roads. 8m works fine by the rest of the terrain.

    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?
    Water and Rivers - with navigation
    Roads/paths that can deform landscape at runtime
    Tunnels
    Compression
    Supply Unity with terrain-generator at runtime
    Sub-divisional surfaces
    Ability to tag areas as for instance "forrest" and have the terrain engine put down as many trees as possible (defined by the runtime platform).
    Vertical uv-mapping
     
  36. zRedCode

    zRedCode

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2013
    Posts:
    131
    Who are you?
    An indie developer group,
    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?
    Full physic simulation game, witha a big terrain.
    How does terrain fit into that?
    I actualli need an optimal system to make terrain painted textures not repeated.
    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?
    Water, rocks and rivers. tunnels. Terrain generation at runtime using precalculated images and/or perlin noise based terrains). Better terrain LOD's, better billboard. Support for normal images in gray scale as heightmap. Possibility to malke rounded terrains (like planets.)
     
  37. Voronoi

    Voronoi

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2012
    Posts:
    276
    Who are you?
    Programmer, Indie games, installation artist

    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?
    Working on a 2D game, have done a lot of AR games, experimental apps

    How does terrain fit into that?
    Used it once for an installation, had to keep things so simplified for performance I probably could have used geometry instead.

    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?

    Procedural support for building terrains, including vegetation placement based on slope, erosion tools. Basically, the same tools dedicated Virtual World tools use. If terrain is meant for realism, it's just not possible to hand paint an entire landscape, this should be done procedurally, through rule based systems. Then, carve out the roads, villages, etc. manually.

    Obviously some weather, lighting changes would work great with PBR, allowing the world to mimic real life changes. I don't see a need for real time changes in the landscape in game, unless it is performant.
     
  38. ataloss

    ataloss

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2014
    Posts:
    69
    Who are you?

    Hobbyists and Freelance Graphic Designer/Game Designer/UI/UX designer


    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?


    I'm currently working on:
    2D side scrolling mobile game for Android (For children and my daughters)
    2.5D Side scrolling adventure game for Android (for my company)
    3D game Desktop game for Mac,Linux,PC (for a client)
    2D Side scrolling mobile game (for a client)
    3D Space Sim/open world space game (for myself)
    3D Open world native American game (for myself)

    Experimenting with using Unity to create two mobile apps (yes I know...)



    How does terrain fit into that?

    Currently the terrain system works just fine. I don't worry much about terrain design so I can't ask for anything more.



    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?

    Shader's and Particle effects. Those are my two biggest request.

    The current particle effects systems leaves much to be desired. It's a entry level system where if I (or a client) wants more advanced/appealing particle effects I have to use something from the Assets store.

    The current shader system I don't even use it. Because Shader Forge is That good, so good that I won't work on anything 3D without Shader Forge. If you can create a visual shader system on par with shader forge and enhance the particle effects, that would make things a lot easier for me. As you know creating mobile games file size is a very important thing to keep in mind.
     
  39. Murgilod

    Murgilod

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2013
    Posts:
    6,146
    I hope that UT takes note of the not-insignificant amount of people here who have to roll their own terrain systems.
     
    Mikael-H and Ostwind like this.
  40. deram_scholzara

    deram_scholzara

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2005
    Posts:
    1,026
    Care to elaborate? What you just said is basically the equivalent of saying that you hope your favorite restaurant takes note of the number of people who aren't satisfied with their food. It would be helpful if you specified the reasons people need to implement their own terrain systems, or proposed a solution that you feel might accommodate a wider range of users.
     
    Whippets likes this.
  41. Murgilod

    Murgilod

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2013
    Posts:
    6,146
    You mean like I did in the second post in this very thread?
     
    Chariots likes this.
  42. imaginaryhuman

    imaginaryhuman

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2010
    Posts:
    5,653
    Indie developer... small games...

    I'd like a terrain system capable of planets, I mean, very large areas with multiple levels of detail... maybe some kind of GPU-driven fractal-detail generator. We're in 2014 now, we shouldn't be looking at height maps.

    There are some interesting modifiable terrain systems on the store which let you carve out the environment etc, some are super expensive, some are pretty good and more affordable, but in general it seems they're all relatively slow at either generating or updating modifications. What's needed is a much, much faster pipeline of uploading changes. But another big key part is collisions... updating terrain means changing the collision mesh which seems to be incredibly slow for anything but a very small area of modification. This needs to be super optimized, so that `animating` a modification becomes possible. I'm picturing those games where you can launch some weapon that `raises` land or whatever and you see it animated over a large area. Or more to the point, i'm thinking of `The Genesis Probe` in that star-trek movie, where the whole planet can be dynamically terraformed and animated. This surely calls for treating the terrain like some kind of massive volumetric particle system or something, but with fractal details that can be modified.... e.g. multiple levels of subdivision or whatever.

    This would automatically then support any kind of shapes whatsoever including overhangs and tunnels etc. Freeform. It seems there was some ninja camp project trying to do something along these lines.

    In terms of texturing etc I'd like to possibly see some procedural texturing capabilities with much more variety. Think terragen 2 in realtime? I mean, this is 2014, we have very very fast GPU's (combatively) and they really need to get involved in rendering and positioning and modifying the terrain.

    As well as that though there needs to be much more large-scale ways to modify and build terrain, not just hand-painting blobs and hills and pits, but more of a fractal/procedural way to add stuff that really looks good quickly. Like to add a whole mountain range.

    How about some kind of screen-space terrain shader or something? Not forgetting shadows and lighting.
     
  43. mgear

    mgear

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2010
    Posts:
    5,536
    Who are you?

    programmer & hobbyist

    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?


    serious games/simulations/vr, and just playing with unity on free time..

    How does terrain fit into that?


    usually looks horrible, especially with the default terrain resources/materials..

    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?


    basically cryengine visual quality & performance: terrain, trees & plants, that means unity should come with, even just a few, proper materials to get started (examples: link#1 , link#2 ..).. and of course its just too slow currently (with more than few mesh trees..)

    also you could "license" this system for unity (or support him to release cheap version as in shaderforge?)
    http://forum.unity3d.com/threads/te...es-infinite-procedural-smooth-terrain.174595/
     
  44. Cheetoturkey

    Cheetoturkey

    Joined:
    May 15, 2013
    Posts:
    54
    Who are you?

    Programmer, Hobbyist/Freelancer

    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?

    A Fps/rts

    How does terrain fit into that?

    it is what most people will see in the game

    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?

    -Better engine sculpting tools
    -Proper Normal map support
    -Performance!!
    -Stitching multiple terrains together
    -tunnels
    -Being able to tag areas
    -Better integration with Navmeshes
     
  45. larsbertram1

    larsbertram1

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2008
    Posts:
    5,252
    hi there,

    updating unity’s terrain system just sounds like a dream.
    and if i keep on dreaming that dream i see:
    - dymanic megatextures like in leadwerks engine
    - halo war’s like vector displacement fields (http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1277/HALO-WARS-The-Terrain-of)

    but let’s get back to reality.

    geometry
    - personally i do not need voxel based terrains. heightfield based terrain solutions are still state of the art in most engines: they are fast and reliable. so it is still fine for me to go this way.
    - if one needs cilffs or overhangs: support proper mesh blending like the color map ultra shader or rtp do.
    - if one needs caves: support cutting holes into the terrain. that works perfectly in conjunction with using mesh blending.
    - a road/path and river tool is absolutely necessary.
    - smoother switches between the different lods would be nice.

    shading
    - i do not rank triplanar shading that high as it is just very expensive!
    (may be adding support of triplanar shading for 1 or 2 detail layers might be a good compromise.)
    but i would like to see features offered by already available packages like:
    - global color map
    - global normal map
    - parallax or even parallax occlusion mapping
    - heightmap based detail layer blending
    - texture atlasing and at least 8 detail textures in one pass

    large open worlds
    when it comes to large open worlds things get very complex:
    - improve stitching and streaming
    - make terrain materials less demanding (cpu costs)
    - i can not imagine large open worlds without a general time of day solution and a proper weather simulation. so the terrain and its shaders should at least support:
    -- sunny, dry weather
    -- wetness (no big deal when using physically based rendering) and puddles
    -- dynamic snow

    most of these features are already available through third party packages – nevertheless they should be incorporated into the core.

    details
    right now terrain details are the most serious concern to me as there is not much that can be done about those using custom solutions.
    - grass
    -- speed up rendering and reduce the number of drawcalls.
    -- add the possibility to align grass meshes/quads to the terrian’s normal to get rid of floating grass
    - custom meshes (vertex lit)
    -- add the possibility to align those to the terrian’s normal to get rid of floating grass
    -- allow those to cast real time shadows (like in unity 2.6!)
    -- add a proper vegetation shader that supports bending , translucency and slope aware lighting (like the advanced foliage shader)
    -- give us a third „shader“ for small objects like rocks

    trees
    - store those in a quad- or even octree based data-structure to speed up any calculation (like e.g. culling but also physics! having 10000 tree colliders just kills your frame rate as well as z-sorting 10000 billboards does).
    - enhanced billboarding like the advanced foliage shader offers including smoother fading using:
    -- camera aligned billboards
    -- billboards casting realtime shadows (a 2nd billboard texture rendered from the sun’s position would already help a lot here to render correct billboard shadows if you used an approach like afs does)
    -- rendered billboard textures including real time self shadowing (otherwise translucency just makes the billboard textures useless)

    lars
     
    crudeMe, Nanako, Howllo and 7 others like this.
  46. deram_scholzara

    deram_scholzara

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2005
    Posts:
    1,026
    My mistake, I thought you were trying to communicate something new.
     
  47. jmatthews

    jmatthews

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Posts:
    199
    I agree with lars on most counts, however I feel like a voxel solution is the way to go. You guys are obviously aiming for a large upgrade as far as 5.0 is concerned and a voxel representation with any of the dual triangulation methods would give you a great selling point.

    Some form of procedural texturing is a must. A cohesive paging system that eliminates the floating point errors as you move away from the origin would also be a huge selling point. Blending of meshes and terrain is a must.

    It's a tough project to tackle. Most complaints i've seen are related to the imposter system and performance.

    If you're looking for a band aid before you tackle a re-write I'd look at the imposter system and the data representation.
     
  48. derf

    derf

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2011
    Posts:
    346
    Who are you?

    Independent Developer

    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?

    Have several projects in motion, horror survival, Space Real Time Strategy, tactical horror survival and fantasy tactical.


    How does terrain fit into that?

    Creating large terrains for zones a player or players can explore.


    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?

    For one would like the ability to generate a height map with settings we can adjust and generate a map as needed. Add in multiple textures based on the height map settings to very quickly generate maps.

    Better paint tools for blending textures.

    Better tree creator tool for more natural looking trees and the ability to rotate trees after they are placed.

    Normal maps for terrain textures.

    Improve the bill board system.

    The ability to tag on area so we can validate code against it to play specific music when player is in scene 01 or 08 so we can have a reusable code for background music.

    Better performance overall.
     
  49. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    Posts:
    12,141
    I haven't had much use for the terrain system myself due to the nature of most of my projects, but the impostor system is something I'd love to have had access to. I think it should be separate to the terrain system, even if the terrain system also uses it.

    I want to be able to give a generic impostor system any GameObject/Renderer and, from there:
    - have some general controls over when the impostor will be updated;
    - be able to manually force an update of the impostor from script; and
    - have access to the generated sprite/impostor texture to re-use elsewhere.

    I know this isn't terrain specific, but since the only impostor system in Unity is the one currently built into the terrain I think it's relevant to mention.
     
    jamesflowerdew and Chariots like this.
  50. HeadClot88

    HeadClot88

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2012
    Posts:
    691
    Who are you?

    My Name is Benjamin Stanley. I am a member of a 2 Man team (Myself and my Dad)

    What kind of game are you trying to build or would like to build?

    Our Current game is a Top Down GTA Clone with a heavy focus on modding.

    How does terrain fit into that?

    We are using allot of terrain based plugins for our game. Things like Road Architect and World Composer these save us allot of time.

    What use-cases, features, workflows do you have or would like to see?

    Features we would like to see -

    Splat Map Support - See Link

    Overhangs, Caves, etc. - Self Explanatory :)

    A generic Road tool or Tool set for making roads. - See Road Architect

    Continuous World with a 2D Editor for manipulating terrain objects * - Link
    - The 2D Editor should show the terrain in a like hierarchy view (Sorted Alphabetically)
    - The 2D Editor should also have Separate render view with a top down view of the game world.
    - We should be able to drag terrain around the 2D editor and have it update in real time in our main view port.

    Some form of API for calling new terrain functions. - Self Explanatory.

    The ability to populate a terrain quickly - A few Minutes to a few hours depending on the Complexity of the game world. - See Terrain Composer

    Make new terrain perform awesome on both Desktop, Web and Mobile.

    Make the new terrain look pretty.
     
    Antony-Blackett likes this.
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