Techniques for Sculpting the Surface of Your Farming Simulator Map

By Jason van Gumster, Christian Ammann

The real fun comes in making real, actual changes to the topography of your FarmingSimulator map. Don’t like that hill? Flatten it out! GIANTS Editor provides some very powerful terrain-editing tools that make all of this possible.

Use the Replace brush

The Brush section also gives you the ability to change the key mappings for your left, right, and middle mouse buttons. You can actually change any mouse button to have one of five different brush behaviors: Add, Smooth, Subtract, Replace, and Remove. However, the Replace behavior is very interesting for terrain sculpting.

You can change any mouse button’s behavior from the Brush section. Click the drop-down menu next to LMB, MMB, or RMB to bind a different brush behavior to any of those mouse buttons.

If you change the left mouse button to use the Replace behavior, GIANTS Editor will push or pull all terrain under your brush to a specific height, as defined by the Replace value in the Brush section of the Terrain Editing panel.

This brush is incredibly useful if you need to flatten out part of your terrain. Think about using it not only for terraces and plateaus, but also for in-town areas, such as roads or parking lots.

You can also quickly set the Replace value by moving the brush over the terrain in the 3D Viewport and pressing Ctrl+R. Doing so sets the Replace value to match the height at that part of the terrain.

You can further customize the Replace behavior using the Replace Limit drop-down list in the Terrain Editing panel’s Brush section. You have three choices:

  • None: The default value. All terrain, whether higher or lower than the Replace value, is raised or dropped to match accordingly.

  • Lower: Only parts of the terrain that are lower than the Replace value are adjusted and lifted. Any part of the surface that’s above that value remains untouched.

  • Higher: Only parts of the terrain that are higher than the Replace value are adjusted and brought down. Any part of the terrain that’s below that value remains untouched.

Incorporate randomness with noise

At the opposite side of the spectrum from the Replace brush behavior is the ability to add noise. You occasionally may want to put in some random surface variation while sculpting. You want the terrain to appear more natural and rugged. If so, activate the Enable Noise checkbox in the Terrain Editing panel.

With noise enabled, you can start adding natural surface variations to your terrain sculpt. However, when you start, you may not notice much difference because the default noise values are pretty small. The following list describes each value in the Noise section of the Terrain Editing panel:

  • Seed: By default, this value is set to zero, but it can be any integer value. You may want to change the seed value periodically while you sculpt by clicking the Random Seed button. Doing so can help prevent having any kind of visible pattern in your noise, thereby ensuring a more natural-looking rough surface.

  • Persistence: Think of persistence as the strength value of your noise. The higher the persistence, the more influence the noise has over your Add or Subtract brush behavior. If you turn the persistence value all the way up to 1, your brush will appear to both add and subtract, regardless of the behavior you’ve chosen.

  • Frequency: This parameter controls how much noise occurs within your brush’s influence area. High frequency values add more up and down variations within that area, whereas low frequency values have less variation. You may not be able to take full advantage of high frequency values unless you use a very large brush because the geometry of your terrain may not be fine enough to take use that additional variation.

  • Octaves: Consider the numbers in this drop-down list as multiplication factors for your noise. The more octaves, the more dramatic the noise influence. If you want subtle variation, use a lower octave value.

The noise feature only works on the Add and Subtract brush behaviors. It doesn’t have any influence on the Smooth or Replace behaviors.

Add surface erosion

Direct, traditional sculpting is a fantastic, tried-and-true way of customizing map terrains, especially if you want to make man-made terrain adjustments. In the natural world, terrain does change over time using some fairly simple rules regarding erosion. Ironically, reproducing these effects with traditional sculpting methods can be quite tedious. For that reason, GIANTS Editor includes Erosion parameters for editing terrain.

Erosion settings only work on the Add brush behavior.

Generally speaking, erosion makes steep slopes even steeper while flattening terrain at the bottom of the slope. After you enable the erosion settings by toggling the Enable Erosion checkbox in the Terrain Editing panel, GIANTS Editor offers two forms of erosion:

  • Thermal: Thermal erosion simulates how dirt and rock break loose over time and slide down a slope to form a pile at the bottom. For this reason thermal erosion only works with the Add brush behavior on terrain that has a slope greater than 45°.

  • Hydraulic: This type of erosion tends to be the most useful. Using hydraulic erosion and the Add brush behavior, you can quickly sculpt a creek bed or roadside ditch. Crank up the values in the Erosion section of the Terrain Editing panel and you can find yourself sculpting a system of canyons.

If you try to add erosion over a cultivated section of terrain (where crops are growing, or will grow), it may appear as if nothing is happening. Don’t be fooled. If you move the 3D Viewport camera below the surface of your terrain, you can notice that your erosion sculpting has definitely affected the terrain’s surface. Those surface variations are reflected in the textures and geometry of that cultivated area.