Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 Posted by Jim Thacker

Planetside Software unveils Terragen 3.1

A recording of Planetside Software’s demo of the new features in Terragen 3.1, streamed live last Saturday. The new workflow for satellite photos can be seen at 08:50, and object instancing at 17:00.

Planetside Software has unveiled Terragen 3.1, the upcoming update to its environment-generation software. The release was previewed in a live YouTube stream on Saturday.

New instancing tools and displaceable objects
The main new feature is the option to populate instanced objects on top of other objects, as well as terrains.

Those base objects can share textures with the surrounding terrain, enabling an artist to – for example – sculpt a rock feature in another 3D package, import it into Terragen, and blend it seamlessly into the landscape.

There are also new Cube and Octahedron displaceable objects. A quicker alternative to sculpting landscape features manually, displaceable objects can be detailed by applying displacement maps, like terrains.

Use satellite images to generate instant terrain
Terragen 3.1 can also now use georeferenced imagery such as satellite photos in generating terrain, via the new Geog image map shader. The workflow gives detailed, textured real-world terrain in a matter of seconds.

There are also the usual tweaks and performance boosts. Notably, the data storage engine for painted shaders has been overhauled, enabling users to create more complex terrains by directly painting height maps.

The performance of the 3D preview has been increased – in the demo, it’s roughly twice as fast as the current public release, although Planetside say the speed boost would be lower in production.

Pricing and availability
Terragen 3.1 will be available as a free update to registered users. New licences of Terragen are available for Windows and Mac OS X, and cost between $199 and $699, depending on which edition you choose.

Visit the archived Terragen 3.1 YouTube stream
(More discussion of the new features in the comments thread)

Read more about Terragen 3 on the Planetside Software website