–please note: BOLDS were given to emphasise important point, I have no intention to offend anyone–
The short answer
The long answer
My project would involve a player playing in 1 area for maybe 30 minutes then transporting into another area for the next 30 minutes then another, etc…
That sounds strange, I wonder what’s the objective is. Anyhow, this can be done by using script yes, easily, provided that you have other scenes built, and added in the build setting.
I have read about random map generators - but this is not quite what I am after - at least i don’t think so.
If you don’t want a random level generator, then you have to build the scene one by one. If you need 50, you build 50. Mind you,
scene != world model + texture. But
scene >= world model + texture. A scene normally contains scripts that encompasses logic between players and the world, including the geometric representation of that world. If each scene will have different kind of interactions, then you need to make sure you have the scripts to define the behaviour. Say, scene 1 is a forest scene where player hack woods, than you need to provide the scripts to provide the behaviour, possibly to control the lighting, grass movements, animal behaviour, etc, etc. If scene 2 is an mountain top scene with a lot of snow, than make sure you have the script to control differing footstep sound, snow, winds, and possibly a different lighting setup.
I don’t want one big map, just a lot of small maps and if the maps were to go mutiplayer - then I would like them to be the same to all players - obviously. So random maps sounds like its not quite right.
Then, you need to design each map by using prefabs. So the answer is, there is no short way. UNLESS, if you create a lots of prefabs, for stairs, roof, walls, ladders, then you can use these prefabs as a “building blocks” to create your level easily. But, again, it takes time. You need to make sure what items are needed for the prefabs. Actually, you can shorten the time by buying items from, say, www.turbosquid.com. Once you purchsed these items, you can create prefabs for Unity to speed up the scene creation. Design process takes time, if you buy ready made items as per your requirement, you can do this speedily, but no 1 button to automagically create 100s scenes.
So, its just in the design phase, I would like to create a couple of thousand small terrains, all slightly different but using similar parameters.
Have you look at http://www.world-machine.com/? If you don’t want random terrain, then you’re in for a LOT of work!
Design is one thing, making it happen is another thing. Your specification was not clear enough to warrant best possible answer, somewhat too general. All the best.
If I made mistake in my answer, would someone kindly point it out.