Earlier today I learned about a great way to import real world terrain to Unity for free. I’ve used Worldbuilder, Gaia, and other methods before, and they’re all great. But none of them are as easy as the method I’m about to present. That’s not to say that this solution is ‘better’, the competitors have some amazing functionality, but if you just want to get some real world maps into your game, do it in 5 minutes, and do it freely, terrain.party may be right for you.
If you take a look at the site https://terrain.party you’ll quickly see that it’s a minimalist website, but with some awesome functionality.
Selecting an Area
While you’re there, you can scroll around the world to find the location you like, or click the search button and enter the place you’re interested in.
Choosing a Size
On the right hand side, you’ll see a few controls for zooming and exporting.
Use the zoom control to adjust how big of an area you want.
Take note of the size, you’ll want to use this as your reference when importing into Unity (you can re-scale, but it’s a good starting point to keep in mind).
Exporting the Heightmaps
Once you have a terrain area you like, click the Export button and save off your heightmaps.
Clicking the export button will download a zip file with multiple heightmaps.
Converting the PNG to DATA/RAW
Take the (Merged) one and open it in GIMP (or photoshop if you have it and prefer).
Select File->Export As
Choose the type “.data” and click export.
Keep note of where you decide to export it, you’ll be importing into Unity it in a minute.
Creating the Unity Terrain and Importing the Heightmap
Back in Unity, create a new Terrain object (GameObject->3D Object->Terrain)
Select the Terrain Settings
Set the Terrain Width & Height values to match what you had in Terrain.Party.
Set the Height to 2000.
Click Import Raw…
Browse to your heightmap file and click Open.
That’s it, your heightmap should be imported!
Your terrain should look something like this (of course it will vary based on the location you picked)
Conclusions & Thx
I really like how easy it is to get a terrain pulled in with this method. But I want to be sure to mention that other alternatives while not free are great as well and provide a lot more in the line of options and functionality. If you don’t need that functionality, or don’t want to spend money, this is definitely worth trying out. And it only takes about 5 minutes…
I also wanted to give special thanks to Adam Smith for bringing this to my attention in our FB Group