Ideas on how one should design Smooth Terrain

I always wonder how one should deal in regards to designing terrain. Ranging from Material Variety, Mixtures, even hills that bring life to the scenery.

So the question is, what should I visualize and think of when designing terrain?


I’m still in the process of designing my map. Actually had to restart due to optimization issues and map reduction. 2 billion voxels don’t bode well with streaming enabled. With that being said neither does half that but anyways.

I’d definitely start off by thinking about what my game is about. Then moving on from that, I’d think about my game’s dynamic. That is the way it’s meant to be played, and even the way it’s not meant to be played.

Once you have these, you can go ahead and look up some real world locations for references. On top of different types of landmasses. Volcanoes, Islands. There’s different kinds ya know. You can also check around for some fantastical environments and use something like that.

Time period really comes into play too. Especially when it comes Architecture. While it’s not really based on the environment. Architecture can still effect your environment. For instance the panama canal. Not really a good example. But this can really effect rivers and lakes.

Once you have all of this, you’re ready to start. I find it easier to have a base plane I can draw on. Whether this plane is an ocean, or a meadow field having something pre-existing can make Terrain creation go from a blank canvas, to a coloring page. From there it’s all about creativity, references, and your visualization.

More experienced users might be able to weigh in more so than I.

1 Like

Being a terrain builder myself I understand the feeling of confusion to starting a new project. What I like to do is look on pinterest or look around the web for some interesting ideas on a landscape to build. From there I make the assets and design the terrain to my choosing. Now a important thing to know is that you should evaluate your textures based on their material not colour, because in the terrain tab you can change the properties to whatever you like, here’s a example:

In terms of the design I’d recommend marking it out first with some light growing and then going into the process further with more painting and detailing, I’ve also made a article here; How to make your smooth terrain landscapes more immersive to help show you my method and it has some useful assets too!
Hope this helps!


Smooth Terrain Design – How To

Using generate is not really useful, anything that is smooth terrain is almost like sculpting. To make a terrain realistic, it is suggested to use topographical skills, and maybe a sheer of geography.

To start a design, I recommend drawing a topological map first(can be a hassle to do with extremely large scales, consider drawing segment by segment) and use it as a canvas/template to create the desired terrain. Remember, nature is not uniformal. It is always irregular and unpredictable. Begin on small squares, rinse and repeat using the tutorial above.

Don’t forget to pick a biome. Each biome has its own set of mixture. If you’re looking for fantasy-styled terrain, they are literally amplified biomes.


Topography is key, different biomes gives different layers, an unique pattern and its own shapes.
@Lolaphobia’s tutorial should be handy for shaping, while reading about biomes, geography and topology for a better knowledge on how to maintain a realistic terrain.

You may also use image references, real places or any form of media for inspiration.


I was able to learn smooth terrain by watching @Sofloann do it on twitch. He’s phenomenal at it and I believe the smooth terrain ones are available for replay still.

1 Like

I appreciate everyone’s help towards my question. Especially on the fact that you guys even linked tutorials regarding the topic. I appreciate it. I’ll read through everything, hope I can show what I come up with the new things I’ve learned soon.

Part to terrain can be a pretty useful tool as well when it comes to designing terrain just with getting a general gist of your terrain map to edit and refine (at least that’s what I do with it.)


One thing that can help when creating ideas for your terrain is putting yourself in a person from that time’s shoes.

For example, if you are making a hiking trail, try visualizing being a hiker hiking through the trail. The grounds would obviously be worn, and there would be random logs/rocks where previous campers have taken a break. Maybe even some litter. There would be some broken branches from children plucking them off trees, and maybe a little crater from concentrated water falling on the area.

Just try visualizing like that and let your imagination run wild.


@oneandonlyralph Thanks for the Plugin. I’ll try if I can utilize it to my benefit. Thanks again.

@DatOneRandomDude Though I lack imagination, I suppose visualizing the content I’m supposed to make is very effective. Thanks for telling me that, I highly appreciate it.

1 Like

I’ve also wanted to design smooth terrain. I’m not good with it so I stick with low-poly terrain.

Terrain editor UI interface tutorial

Some buttons/UIs you should commonly use:
Add/Subtract - adds or subtracts smooth terrain
Regions - I believe this is the button that creates terrain based on a region and a Fill mechanic
Smooth - smoothens terrain

Pretty self-explanatory.


Smooth Terrain: How To's and Tips and Tricks

Smooth terrain is like painting, you can get inspiration from a real landscape or just make it up from your mind. Making sketches is also a useful thing to do before you actually start the project.

What I usually do is I create a test place just to mess around with the tools and try different styles before I start the real map. You can start with the basic shapes of your world and add the different materials later. As a painting, it is hard to say when it is really done, but you can always add more later on when new ideas come to your mind.

In the end practice is the best advice I can give you.

Here are some useful plugins I use with smooth terrain:

For your curiosity, this is a view of one map I made:

1 Like