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World-Machine Terrain Generation and Unity

Discussion in 'Editor & General Support' started by Calixto, Jun 2, 2013.

  1. Calixto

    Calixto

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2012
    Posts:
    66
    Hi, I've been doing a lot of research into the most memory effective manner to create my terrains for my flight simulator game. I've read dozens of posts and watched what seems like hours of video tutorials.

    In the end, I'm left with the opinion that the Unity Terrain Engine is good, but not that good. I was reading about stitching multiple maps together, and that lead me to World-Machine.

    It looks like World-Machine is a very capable product, but I have some questions:

    1). How does a large World-Machine terrain differ from a large Unity terrain? (Lets assume they are both the same size.) How would they be different? What makes one better than the other?

    2). If I tile a very large terrain into smaller tiles, how would that work in Unity? If you've done this, did it impact your memory significantly?

    3). Which would you recommend for a large "world" terrain. World-Machine or Unity Terrain Engine?

    I think this question requires some experience from users that have used both over a period of time.

    Thanks for your help,
    Calixto
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2013
  2. Jaimi

    Jaimi

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2009
    Posts:
    4,884
    1. World machine is a terrain generator, not a terrain engine. it just generates the terrain. But to use it in Unity, you will need to import it into a standard Unity terrain. Tom's Terrain Tools has some helpful utilities for getting the splat map in.
    2. When I split my terrain into multiple small terrains, it was actually faster. I didn't expect that. I didn't notice a difference in memory.
    3. This question makes no sense.
     
  3. Calixto

    Calixto

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2012
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    Jaimi, thank you for your reply. I am just beginning to get familiar with WM, so excuse my confusion over terms. I agree with you that WM is a terrain "generator", rather than an engine.

    In your second answer you said that your game (or scene) worked "faster". To what do you attribute that if it is not memory?

    Allow me to clarify question 3. I am asking if in your opinion it would be better to use WM or Unity to generate the terrain. In other words, is WM worth it (not in a monetary sense, but in a performance and results scenes).

    Thank you,
    Calixto
     
  4. Jaimi

    Jaimi

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    Jan 10, 2009
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    I attribute the speed increase due to the engine being able to better handle and cull terrains that are smaller.
    If you're talking about unity generating terrain, it doesn't do that. You can easily sculpt terrain with the tools (you start with a flat plane), but you will need something third party to generate realistic terrain. World Machine is, in my opinion, the best generator, and can create incredible terrains. The performance will vary depending on how you create your terrain. Terrains that are more realistic are slower, because the system cannot drop out too much detail. So my short answer is: Use world machine to generate terrain if you need realistic terrain. It is an excellent tool. But you will need both - it's not a replacement for the Unity terrain editor, and you will likely always need to hand edit terrain in some way.
     
  5. Calixto

    Calixto

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2012
    Posts:
    66
    I think that the confusion here was that I thought that the WM terrain would "replace" anything created in Unity. You've pointed out that they are both required, because WM only "generates" the terrain, which will later modify the Unity flat plane terrain. -- Understood. So, they are two very different tools.

    I'm glad we got a chance to discuss that, because that was not clear to me when I posed the question. Thanks!

    I'm assuming that after the WM terrain is generated and the data is imported into Unity, that further modifications can be made - like adding roads, rivers, towns, etc. If that's the case, then I think the WM product is phenomenal.

    Calixto
     
  6. Jaimi

    Jaimi

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2009
    Posts:
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    Yes indeed, that is the case. Once it's imported, you can modify it however you need. Here is a link to the workflow on importing a WM terrain into Unity:

    http://world-machine.com/learn.php?page=workflow&workflow=wfunity

    or, using Toms Terrain Tools:

    http://www.lasse-westmark.dk (have to go further down the page)


    For roads, I would recommend picking up EasyRoads3D - Great tool for making roads, paths and rivers:

    http://www.unityterraintools.com/tools.php

    I really like using World Machine 2, I recommend it wholeheartedly.