Generate incredibly realistic landscapes with Terragen 3

The latest iteration of Planetside's natural terrain renderer has finally arrived. Steve Jarratt checks out the new feature set.

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It seems appropriate that Terragen's development has been somewhat glacial in its pace. The first publicly available code was released back in the late '90s, and it wasn't until April 2009 that version 2.0 was released. Version 2.2 arrived in 2010, 2.5 at the end of 2012 and now, just seven months later, we have version 3.0.

If you're unfamiliar with the software, it's a procedural landscape generator designed to render micropolygon displacements. It's driven by a layered, node-based system, which allows you to drive fractal functions with various shaders. So, for instance, you can have a fractal node generating the landscape, with a displacement shader adding specific details. Then the colour can be derived from another node, and masked by a shader driven by slope or altitude - which in turn can be driven by another node - and so on.

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