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Creating a Landscape

Warning
The functionality described in this article is not available in the Community SDK edition.
You should upgrade to Engineering / Sim SDK edition to use it.

A new Landscape Terrain object is generated on the basis of georeferenced data (both offline and online). If you want to create a Landscape Terrain using non-georeferenced data, or sculpt it from scratch with brushes you can do that right in the UnigineEditor, the Sandworm tool is not required.

1. Specifying Data Source Type#

Generating the landscape starts from defining the type of the data source you are planning to add.

All georeferenced data sources are divided into four types:

  • Elevation — data used to generate landscape geometry
  • Imagery — data used to generate textures for the landscape surface
  • Vector (optional) — data used to generate buildings, landmarks, etc.
  • Mask (optional) — data used to generate natural features of the landscape (details, grass, trees, etc.)

To add a new data layer, click + Add Layer in the corresponding section.

To remove the selected data layer, right-click the source and choose Remove in the drop-down list.

You can add multiple data layers. Thus, you can improve the structure of your data and manage all group members at once (enable/disable, add tags, modify parameters, etc.)

2. Specifying Data Source Parameters#

When you select a data source, you can see its parameters in the Parameters panel. The contents of this panel differs depending on the layer type:

  • Georeferenced Tiles — for adding offline data stored on the PC.
  • TMS — for using online data by adding the link.
Notice
TMS data source is currently available for Elevation and Imagery layers only.

Offline Data Sources#

To use data stored on the PC, the Georeferenced Tiles layer type should be used.

Select the data source type:

  • Assets — files that are added to the file system and are a part of the project. Depending on the size of assets, they can be stored in the /data directory or added as a mount. This approach especially is recommended for team work.
    Notice
    It is recommended to import image files as Unchanged, in order to avoid creating the unnecessary runtime files.
  • External Files, which are not a part of the file system. This type of data source may be useful, if the file extension is unknown to the file system. However, keep in mind that if you share this project, the path to the external file has to be updated accordingly.

Click Import. The dialog window will open to set the path to the data source. If the data source consists of several files/assets, select them all, and they will be added as separate layers.

Online Data Sources#

The TMS layer type is designed for using Tile Map Services for the terrain generation. This option is available for the Elevation and Imagery data types.

For online data, the following settings are available:

URL A URL of the online data source. The scope of data is defined by the bounds.
A link to a Tile Map Service inserted as the URL should have x, y, and z embraced into curly brackets ({}).
For example:
  • The link to the OpenStreetMap tile map service (http://a.tile.openstreetmap.org/z/x/y.png) should be used as follows:
    http://a.tile.openstreetmap.org/{z}/{x}/{y}.png
  • The link to ArcGIS Online data (https://server.arcgisonline.com/ArcGIS/rest/services/World_Topo_Map/MapServer/tile/z/y/x.png) should be used as follows:
    https://server.arcgisonline.com/ArcGIS/rest/services/World_Topo_Map/MapServer/tile/{z}/{y}/{x}.png

For sources that require tokens, the link should be arranged in the following way:
https://api.mapbox.com/v4/mapbox.terrain-rgb/{z}/{x}/{y}.pngraw?access_token=your_token
Notice
The sources that require login and password input are currently not supported.
Zoom Zoom level that specifies the scale of the area map to be downloaded. Data providers have their own zoom levels defined, therefore, this value depends on the source. For example, OSM has the following zoom levels.
Take Bounds Encloses the area visible in the Preview window in the bounds (green frame). The data will be uploaded for the area within these bounds. The position of the tags defining the bounds can be modified, as required.

After the data parameters are set, click Import, and the data preview will be displayed. In case of heavy data, display of the preview may take some time.

Play Area#

Play Area is the arbitrary area that defines the scope of the landscape to be generated. To define this area, click on Play Area and set the points in the Preview Panel by clicking the left mouse button. To delete a point, right-click on it and select Remove.

In the Parameters panel, the following is provided:

Area Size Displays the size of the selected area in square kilometers.
Block Play Area to Changes If enabled, the selected Play Area cannot be modified. This option is useful, if you want to move around the map without occasionally shifting or modifying the play area.
Coordinates Coordinates of the points that define the area.

If the play area is not set, the landscape is generated based on all added data.

3. Setting Up Natural Layer#

At this step you can determine, which natural features of the landscape are to be generated.

The Mask data source type allows using Grass and Mesh Clutter to generate and place vegetation or other objects in certain areas of the landscape according to specified landcover tags.

Workflow: Generating Vegetation.

Notice
You may skip this step, if you don't need procedural generation of natural features of the landscape for your project.

4. Setting Up Cultural Layer#

The Vector data source type is used to generate cultural features of the landscape: buildings, landmarks, etc. You may skip this step, if you don't need procedural generation of cultural features of the landscape for your project.

Objects of the cultural layer are divided into 2 groups depending on the type of vector data used for their generation:

  • Point (Buildings, Landmarks, etc.) — objects of this type are generated and placed at certain points.

    Workflow: Generating Point Objects.

  • Buildings — objects of this type are generated on the basis of Open Street Maps (OSM).

    Workflow: Generating Buildings.

Notice
You may skip this step, if you don't need procedural generation of cultural features of the landscape for your project.

Generating a Landscape#

Sandworm stores the paths to all data sources as well as all generation parameters in an asset. So, after setting up all these parameters, you should save them by choosing File -> Save or File -> Save As and specifying the name and path for your asset.

You can also change the output path for your landscape data parameters.

To generate the landscape, click the Generate button.

In the Generate Setup window that appears, set the export settings:

  • Export Projection — the projection to be used for the generated landscape.
    The generated landscape is exported to Object Landscape Terrain, which is actually a flat (i.e. not geospherical) area. Therefore, only projected coordinate systems are available for selection and can be used as export projections.
  • Export World — the world to which the generated landscape is going to be exported.
    Notice
    If you have another world opened at the moment of landscape generation, it will be closed automatically, so save all necessary data in it in advance.
  • Export Quality — affects the final resolution of the landscape (and consequently the disk space required).

Then click Finish. The generation status window will appear.

As a result of the landscape generation, Sandworm creates the following hierarchy of nodes that can be seen in the World Nodes window:

  • ObjectLandscapeTerrain
  • LandscapeLayerMap object with the layer name for every created layer
  • BoundsNodeDummy objects marking the Play Area limits (you can use them to quickly move the camera to the corresponding point in the world)
  • Sandworm Camera — the camera placed above the center point of the landscape. Switch the camera to immediately display the created landscape in the Editor Viewport.

Regeneration of the landscape after introducing any changes in the Sandworm project will take less time, as the data is stored in cache. However, all manual changes of the landscape will be lost.

Last update: 2020-11-20