L3DT is a Windows application for generating artificial terrain maps and textures. It is primarily intended for game developers seeking to make large high-quality 3D worlds (eg. for MMORPGs), as well as for digital artists who would like to have full control over their creations. This version of L3DT Professional comes with a plug-in that allows end-users to directly export their creations from L3DT to Torque 3D and Torque Game Engine Advanced with no hassle.
Want to learn more? Take the visual tour!
As a sweeping and perhaps wildly over-simplistic generalization, programs that generate 3D terrain fall into two classes:
- Those that generate the entire map algorithmically, based on a few user-defined settings like fractal persistence, number of perlin octaves, etcetera, and;
- Those with which the user builds the terrain by hand, using mouse-driven brush tools.
L3DT mixes some features of both approaches. You can, if you want, make a whole map by setting a few parameters and hitting the 'next' button (a la the 1st class). You can also manually 'design' the height map in L3DT a la the 2nd class. However, you don't have to do all the finely detailed manual labor yourself. Instead, you can edit a high-level 'design map' that sets out the general shape of the terrain and specifies the locations of various overlays like mountains, plateaus, volcanoes, cliffs and erosion. When L3DT generates the terrain, based on your design map, you get the features you want without having to do everything yourself.
Another significant feature of L3DT is that it can handle really big maps. Importantly, you don't need gigs of RAM for these maps - L3DT includes an automatic paging system that swaps map 'tiles' from RAM to the hard disk drive as required. It's called a mosaic map, and it usually caps the RAM usage to the 100-200Mb range (even for gigabyte- or terabyte-sized maps).
Pretty terrain isn't much good without a pretty texture image to match. L3DT includes texture generation and light mapping algorithms that provide realistic ground textures. If you want to do your own texture mapping, then L3DT can also help by generating the alpha maps.
L3DT is a pretty big and complex program, so to alleviate some of the learning-curve difficulties that might be experienced by new users, a substantial and regularly updated on-line user guide is provided. Also, there is significant community support, including a forum, users' wiki and mailing-list.
So what is included in L3DT Professional?
L3DT does quite a lot. A brief list of features would include:
Torque Terrain Exporting
L3DT for Torque
- Designable height fields using a high-level 'design map' in which you can specify land altitudes, roughness, lakes, climate, etc.
- A fast and flexible fractal 'inflation' based height field generator, including effects such as erosion, terraces and cliffs, volcanoes, mountain peaks, etc (all controlled from the design map).
- An integrated 3D renderer and editor that allows you to easily shape and reshape your terrain using mouse-driven brush tools.
- An automatic disk paging system (A.K.A. map tiling) that supports heightfields up to 128k squared pixels in size (16 gigapixels) and textures up to 4M squared pixels (16 terapixels). Want to make megatextures? No problem!
- A texture generator for high-resolution interpolated ground texture maps, as well as the ability to export alpha maps for run-time 'texture splatting'.
- A extensible climate modelling engine for controlling the distribution of ground textures, including water-table and salinity modelling. Supports up to 65,000 unique and user-definable land types per map.
- Automatic and manual water-flooding routines, for making sea and lakes at different water levels.
- A fast light mapping module for pre-calculated terrain lighting and shadow casting. Now includes high-resolution light mapping and bump mapping!
- An automated calculation pipeline that allows you to queue-up some or all of your calculations, set the relevant settings, and then walk away while L3DT does its thing. No program baby-sitting is required.
- Support for a broad range of file formats, including common binary terrain formats, image formats, and mesh files. Furthermore, L3DT has a plugin API ('Zeolite') that allows users to add even more format options.
can export terrain to the T3D terrain format, and also writes the associated mission and materials files. For more information about the T3D exporter, please see the exporter user guide here
- 2Ghz+ Intel Pentium processor or equivalent.
- 512Mb+ of System Memory (RAM)
- Microsoft Windows 7 Operating System
- At least 10 Gigabytes of available hard disk space
- An OpenGL 2.0 (or later) compatible 3D-graphics card, with 256Mb+ video memory
- 1Ghz Intel Pentium processor or equivalent
- At least 256Mb of System Memory (RAM)
- Microsoft Windows 2000, XP or Vista Operating Systems
- At least 100 Megabytes of available hard disk space
- An OpenGL 2.0 (or later) compatible 3D-graphics card, with 128Mb of video memory