importing 3ds max models as terrain

Hi guys,

would just like to ask for some assistance here.

I have some 3ds max models (as .fbx files) that I've imported to Unity, and some of these models are supposedly to be used as terrain.

Is there any way to let these said models become terrain, so I could paint over them with Unity's terrain tools?


Use this to convert a standard mesh to a Unity terrain.

You could generate heightmaps of the terrain meshes in Max and then create terrain objects in Unity and import the heightmaps onto them. This requires that the meshes are non-overlapping.

Making a heightmap from a mesh is pretty easy in Max. Just put a camera above the mesh, set the camera's environment ranges to the min and max height of the mesh and make the camera orthographic. Then make the material on the mesh pure white, self-illumination at 100, and set the fog in the scene to pure black, linked to that camera's environment range. The resulting image will be black at the lowest point and white at the highest. It can then be tweaked in Photoshop and imported into Unity.

By the same token it's likely possible to build an editor script in Unity that would do a similar thing.

I could be wrong, but I think the resounding answer is No. Would be GREAT if this were possible as the fixed resolution of the built-in terrain mesh is to low in most areas. Our project is recreating our entire university campus of 2 - 3 dozen buildings spread over several hundred areas. Due to the extensive scope of size of the campus, the terrain isn't "large and fine" enough to sculpt the terrain around the buildings identically to the real world. So, we, too, are creating "terrain" meshes surrounding those buildings to "interface" with the default terrain (such as modeling terraces, planting beds, loading docks, etc). Problem is, the unity terrain in these areas must be pushed below our "high detail terrain" extensions to the buildings, thus preventing us from planting trees / shrubs so they appear to be to rooted on our meshes. They're anchored to the unity terrain mesh, which in some case must be several "feet" below our "high detail terrain extensions," so only the top parts of the plants poke up through our mesh. Sad. .

Normally, Heightmap terrains are fast because they assume they only have to calculate intersections at one vertical point (no caves), and are a continuous mesh stored on a grid (no holes).

It is possible to implement holes, and yest cutting holes in the terrain is a cool feature, but it's not as easy as one might imagine.

As a workaround to the plants sticking thru terrain, you can place the plants by hand on your "interface" fake terrain objects, instead of using the terrain editor to place them. All terrain plants are just normal Unity objects. Of course you migth not get some benefits of real terrain plants, but at least they won't look like they're underwater!

I wonder why the guys in Unity are so lazy about this issue...

You can make the terrain as a mesh-terrain without using Unity Terrain. It works as a substitute terrain instead.