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Terrain generation software, need help.

Hey guys, I need some help choosing terrain generation software, I’m considering buying one. I’m looking towards “World Creator” (as most feature-packed and game-dev oriented), also how about “Gaea”? looks promising and easy to use. “World Machine” is an outsider for me, UX/UI and workflow look kinda outdated.

World Machine has been used in many AAA titles by big studios, as well as small indie titles and projects. The team behind the most popular plugin for it, GeoGlyph, are the ones that branched out and created Gaea.

I’ve used dozens and dozens of TGTs, and Gaea by far, is the best all-arounder. The team know terrain, they aren’t just some developers regurgitating the same boring noise generation algorithms with a fancy logo on the box.

That being said, many actually combine other tools such as World Creator for the base, then import that base into Gaea to run the powerful filters and make it more realistic. The masks that you can generate and export in Gaea are useful for when you work on your landscape materials in UE.

Personally if I had to choose one… It would be Gaea. The QuadSpinner team and the lead developer are awesome and engaged with the community. They are receptive to feedback, and with every new release, I am wowed. From bold new features, to the little “quality of life” improvements. The changes and new features coming in the next releases are going to kick it up a notch, to say the least. Plus, they are working on features specific for UE, expanding on what’s already there (which is currently exporting at UE’s expected resolutions for optimal quality/performance).

My suggestion is to spend a week with the free/community editions of the all the major ones, and play with the not-so-major ones:

  • Gaea
  • World Machine
  • World Creator
  • Instant Terra
  • Terragen
  • L3DT (a classic)

While these procedural terrain generation tools are great, one thing that hangs many up: "Hey, I got the fancy tool. My terrain still sucks, though"… Study geology. Understand shaping, and how landscapes work, what is appealing, what makes sense, how to break up repetition, the difference between focal points and background filler, etc. It’s a wide field, and having an understanding of the core fundamentals will serve you greatly, and make the tools powerful in your hands. It’s not the brush, it’s the painter holding it.

Big thanks for such a detailed answer! Yeah, Gaea is clearly a winner here, going to try the free version.