Are you an indie game developer? And are you interested in creating beautiful landscapes? Great! I’ve tried the most popular Unity Terrain extensions on the Asset Store and the four below are my favorites. Let’s check them out!
First, a note about the rankings. The 4 top Unity Terrain Generators below are evaluated based on two key characteristics: 1) the power and features they offers, and 2) how easy they are to use. Offering complicated features isn’t always an advantage, and a steep learning curve tends to drown creativity.
World-building is not just about quality and realism – all top editors are capable of that. The optimal Unity Terrain Generator will give you great tools to explore your vision – and then get out of your way. So, with that in mind, let’s continue to the final rankings!
Unity Terrain Assets Rankings
1. Gaia – the Joy of Building Worlds.
Gaia ( available on the Asset Store ) successfully strikes the balance between extensive features and great usability. This Unity Terrain asset uses an intuitive “Stamp and Spawn” system which is the easiest way of creating and populating terrain I’ve ever seen. On top of that, the results are highly customizable and strikingly beautiful.
Gaia may not have the procedural node-based approach of MapMagic, the complex texture-tweaking options of TerrainComposer 2, or the sheer computing power of World Creator, but it offers the best of all worlds. That said, with regard to indie game development, for me Gaia stands solidly at Number 1 (there are more details in my Gaia review).
2. MapMagic – Infinite Possibilities.
Map Magic ( aka MapMagic, available on the Asset Store ) is a procedural, node-based terrain generator. It creates the landscape as the sum of the parameters you enter in each different node. This makes it easy to change the landscape as a whole; on the flip side it’s not suited for specific local tweaking.
The area in which MapMagic truly shines is creating Infinite Worlds. Are you are building an open world type of game, or do you need randomly generated levels? In such cases you should really look into this powerful and practical asset.
3. World Creator – Calm and Professional.
If these four assets came to an interview, World Creator would be the one in a suit and tie. Based on the stand-alone software with the same name, this Unity Terrain Generator ( available on the Asset Store ) is definitely the most polished one in terms of interface and organization.
Unfortunately, it is also a bit, well, too complex. Don’t get me wrong – if you are part of a larger game development team with defined goals, and you can concentrate on the terrain alone for a few weeks, this might be the best option of all four. However, chances are that you are a modest indie game developer juggling all sorts of tasks and focusing on one thing is a luxury you can’t afford.
4. TerrainComposer 2 – the Experienced Veteran.
TC1 was one of the first high quality terrain asset on the Unity Asset Store. Terrain Composer 2 ( aka TerrainComposer 2, available on the Asset Store ) is built upon that foundation and comes as a capable and proven asset.
However, in the recent 1-2 years other terrain assets surpassed it in terms of capabilities (World Creator) and user friendliness (Gaia). That said, if you find a compelling reason to use it, more power to you!
All right, so I’ve given you my opinion and impressions. Now it is up to you, fellow Game Developer, to try the assets and pick a favorite. I can say with certainty that each of the four Terrain Generators above can make your life much easier. Working with terrains in Unity 3D doesn’t need to be chore – and these assets are here to make your experience more rewarding and, ultimately, more enjoyable.
So it came to be in the year 5.6 of the Age of Unity that a tremendous Battle took place. Heaven and Earth shook as the Great Four clashed for domination over the lands of Astoria. Oceans broke apart and valleys rose into mountains so high they would darken the sky…
/from the Scrolls of Elderly Developers/
Haha, good luck and happy World-building! 🙂