As a Roblox developer, it is currently too hard to create unique, large maps.
Here are a list of features/improvements I believe will greatly benefit developers who work with smooth terrain.
- The biggest feature I’d love to see in smooth terrain is the ability to modify a color property within the current materials. If developers were given the option to modify the color of their materials, maps would start looking a lot more personalized. Parts were recently given the full RGB spectrum. Smooth terrain should be given the same feature. Additionally, when generating terrain, developers should be given the option to disable rock formations and rivers completely.
Hilly plains wanted. Instead, there are rocks and rivers which must be manually removed.
Larger maximum bounds for terrain generation. At this point, we are restricted to a 1024x1024 voxel (4096x4096 studs) map when generating terrain. This is sufficient for general use, but for developers such as myself creating maps twice to four times this size, it becomes a headache. Larger bounds would be one of the biggest time savers for creating large maps.
Terrain editing tools with larger bounds. Again, when attempting to create large maps, it becomes a pain to work with the tools, which become relatively tiny when compared to the rest of the map. I have found many plugins which increase the size of the tools, however, they are all unstable and extremely laggy.
A smooth tool that actually works. At this point, the smooth tool hardly does as it suggests. Here’s a before (left) and after (right) after attempting to smooth a depression with the smooth tool:
This is why I suggest a new leveler tool which smooths terrain based on an initial Y value. First, the user would click on a point of smooth terrain. Then, by dragging, the user could create more terrain that is at exactly the initial Y height as the point they clicked on. This would help enormously with creating towns and roads, where a flat surface is often needed.
- An option which allows developers the ability to manually set the distance before terrain is approximated. What do I mean by that? Well, if we take a look at smooth terrain up close, it is, indeed, very smooth:
Zoom out a not so far distance, and notice the hill is no longer smooth…
This causes problems both in studio, and in game. In studio, when editing a large map, it becomes hard to find problems in your terrain like these glitched rivers:
In games where long distance combat is involved, approximation also becomes an issue. The terrain is approximated, sometimes, in such a way that it can hide, say, player A from player B, even though player A would be able to be seen by player B if the terrain had not been approximated. As a result, player A could shoot player B, completely unseen.
The approximation also takes away from the aesthetics of many games where driving is involved. Because ROBLOX approximates terrain so close to the camera’s position, terrain is constantly shifting while you move, while ROBLOX renders a sharper version of the terrain. This effect would be effectively reduced if the distance before approximation was increased.
Even if this feature could not be added yet because of performance issues, it could at least be enabled while in Studio, to give developers who are creating large maps the ability to spot holes/glitches in their terrain without having to zoom extremely close.
Overall, smooth terrain has improved massively over the past few years. If some features were added or improved, it would make Smooth Terrain a tool which is much more friendly towards developers.