Improvements to the Terrain Editor

Hello Creators!

Today, we are excited to announce a host of new improvements to the Terrain Editor. These changes aim to accelerate existing workflows and also open up new possibilities for working with large areas of terrain. As always, we welcome any and all feedback.

Simplifying the Toolset

In order to simplify the terrain tools experience, we have merged several tools together. We’ve also combined the region and edit tabs.

Draw and Sculpt Tools

The draw tool replaces what used to be the add and subtract tools. The draw tool can be used in add, or subtract mode, and holding down CTRL/CMD performs the opposite action. Holding down SHIFT will temporarily perform a smooth action. The same goes for the sculpt tool which replaces grow and erode.

DrawShortcut

Paint Tool

Paint tool now has a replace mode which allows the paint tool to select a source material to replace.

Select Tool

The terrain editor now has a universal region selection, which gets used by all region-based tools, including generate and import. This can be created by clicking and dragging in the viewport, edited by using the dragger handles, and manually set with the textboxes in the settings. We’ve also added keyboard shortcut support, so long as the select tool is active.

CTRL/CMD + C: Copy

CTRL/CMD + V: Paste

CTRL/CMD + X: Cut

CTRL/CMD + D: Duplicate

DELETE: Delete

Standard behaviors for draggers are available everywhere the draggers are accessible, including the generate and import tools.

Extrude Handle then SHIFT: Scale Selection Proportionally

Extrude Handle then CTRL/CMD: Scale on Selection Center

SelectionShortcuts

Note: The above GIF is out of date, the ALT modifier has been exchanged for SHIFT in the interest of alignment with other studio tools.

Transform Tool

The transform tool helps with placing terrain. You enter this tool automatically when performing a paste or duplicate action. In order to perform a standard move, rotate, and/or scale operation just enter the tool manually after making a selection. It is also worth noting that the size limit has been increased and rotation is no longer limited to 90-degree angle increments.

Live Edit mode is on by default and the terrain will be reshaped as you move around the draggers. We understand that these actions may be slower for larger operations and especially on slower machines, so we have included the option to turn Live Edit off. This will allow you to move just the wireframe and apply the action when you’re done using either the ENTER/RETURN key or the apply button. You can also exit the placement mode by hitting ESCAPE.

LiveEdit

PreviewMode

Fill Tool

The fill tool now has the option to replace materials as well. It also fills the role of the sea-level tool by allowing you to replace air with water, or vice versa. The ENTER/RETURN key works here as well.

Gizmo Updates

All region selection mechanisms now use the same region selection in-viewport gizmo, this includes the generate and import tools. The Select Tool also shows a wireframe that approximates the terrain that is included within the current selection. The Region Tool shows that same wireframe, but stretched, rotated, and repositioned to match the target region.

The old terrain brush cursor has also been removed in favor of a more streamlined version which better shows the actual selection. This also comes with some keyboard shortcuts for adjusting brush settings.

B + Move Mouse: Adjust Brush Size

CTRL + B + Move Mouse: Adjust Brush Height

SHIFT + B + Move Mouse: Adjust Brush Strength

ALT + Click: Material Picker

SHIFT: Temporarily Apply Smooth

BrushAdjustments

What’s next?

We want to improve region support even further by adding new functionality such as being able to move parts and models together with terrain in the transform tool. You will also be able to save terrain regions as stamps which can be shared between places and experiences.


Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns below!

Special thanks to @RickleSandwich, @hyperhumanist, @wengawenga, @PixelMiner47, @MetaVars, @PotionSeller33, and @slim_fandango for helping with these improvements!

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Good to see some more terrain editor improvements for quick switching.

7 Likes

This actually makes me want to use terrain now. The lack of a proper select tool was like a massive dealbreaker for me

19 Likes

Awesome! This’ll be a great addition to the existing editor.

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Absolutely incredible! Thanks for these changes!
Are there plans to increase the maximum region size? The usecase I have in mind would be to move a massive chunk of terrain all at once.

4 Likes

Very nice!

We have large areas of terrain and the improvements help us create seamlessly and quickly. :+1:

1 Like

Seems good, it has been a while without update on this

Do you intend to re-add the position and size parameters to the heightmap options? This was a very helpful and frequently utilised feature when importing heightmaps from the likes of World Machine, for example.

4 Likes

Holy moly these changes look super slick. Big fan of the wireframe and the transform tools are impressive. Bless the people who made this happen.

9 Likes

Great update / announcement. This will make many creators happy and be able to be more creative / do more with Roblox terrain. This definitely couldn’t have come at a better time & I look forward to testing it out this evening.

Thanks,
Tyler

Yup, the max size has been increased! There is still an issue right now, where if the volume processed would exceed 128MB of storage, the plugin crashes. I’m fixing that bug now and am trying to figure out where we actually want to put the limit at.

This realistically lands you at a terrain size that has the equivalent of a part that is 4096 x 4096 x 256 for now.

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The currently suggested workflow for this is to use the select tool first (to specify position, size, etc), and then use the import option.

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Why exactly has Alt been chosen as the key to handle proportional scaling and Shift for smoothing?

Wouldn’t it be better and less confusing to keep Shift as the “proportional” key, so it’s the same for both part scaling and terrain scaling?
And you could have Alt handle terrain smoothing instead. Then, Material Picker keys could be Ctrl + Alt.

I believe the current choice has been made due to having “no keys left”, but having to press two keys for the Material Picker would make more sense and be better than messing with muscle memory and changing up which key does what. Plus, Material Picker wouldn’t require you to keep holding two keys all the time, you’d just hold it for a second, click a material and be done with it.

4 Likes

These are some pretty solid changes - especially the quick toggle between tools with keys!

One question; previously we could hold Shift or Ctrl + Scroll wheel to change Size or Strength values. Is there a possibility to return that function? I know that Ctrl now toggles Addition/Subtraction, and it may seem like too much overlap, but we (well, I) don’t click while Ctrl+Scrolling so I can’t imagine ever intending to increase Strength and accidentally subtracting my terrain. The risk of annoyance is much lower than the benefit of speed.

Also since this new Shift and Ctrl difference only applies to two tools (Draw and Sculpt), it’s unfortunate it supersedes the previous scroll wheel function value changing of Smooth and Flatten tools for consistency.


I can tell that this update is to improve hotkey workflows, so I guess I’m asking for more of that for all the values in all of the tools, because wow does it make such a difference in speed! If Shift and Ctrl are locked as-is now, then maybe provide us a different hotkey + Scroll wheel alternative we can set up. I have so many unused mouse buttons and F13-F24 are rarely used unless you’re a tryhard (it’s me I’m the tryhard :joy: )

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We chose these shortcuts to keep more in line with other software such as Photoshop, ZBrush, etc. We’ll take this feedback into account and I’ll get back to you on that.

Edit: Its also worth noting in this case that we can have shift both work as shift to smooth and for proportional editing. One is meant for usage on selections, the other one for usage with brushes.

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You guys finally made terrain easier to use.

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In this case, you don’t actually need to click to adjust the values, just move the mouse while holding down the other keys. This was done, so that trackpad users will have an easier time adjusting their brush size, height, strength, etc, because they do not have a traditional scroll wheel. I’ll look into adding shortcuts back to the other tools, I seem to have missed that.

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I see your reasoning! Out of curiosity, is trackpad use that substantial in Studio? I imagine the vast majority of devs work on laptops, but I’m curious :slight_smile:

I’d also be interesting if trackpad settings could be applied to things like drawing tablets - I’d LOVE to paint/sculpt terrain with my Wacom. Talk about getting in line with other software like ZBrush!

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Not sure if you can link pressure sensitivity to any sort of special action in the wacom drivers (I mostly use an iPad). Unfortunately, directly integrating pressure sensitivity is a bit iffy. That being said, you should be able to bind your express keys to above shortcuts and you can hold those down instead of having to rely on a keyboard.

4 Likes