What do I have to follow to create a good-looking RTS Terrain?

Hi there,

I want to create a terrain like one knows them from AoE or ANNO 1701 and games like that.
When I try my terrains look totally artificial, like too flat. But when working with the Terrain Toolkit it gets to too hilly to have this AoE/ANNO feeling.

I know that might sound stupid somehow, but can you give me some advice on creating a good-looking and well-playable RTS Terrain?


Unity’s Terrain tool can make some nice stuff, with practice and with good textures:

Put some reference objects on the ground, like a cow model. Helps give a sense of scale.

Set Opacity really low so you can “brush on” some faint bumps, or slide to make a low hillock w/o getting super high and jaggy. Try the setHeight tool and a giant brush, then Smooth to blend in the edges. Can quickly make some diff ht areas.

Make terrain textures with more detail then normal. A single high-contrast tilable grass texture will have obvious artifacts when seen from a distance, but Unity can hide that really well. Use the tileSize option to blend in (Opacity set to about 3) a detail texture, and a very large “hide artifacts” texture. You can reuse the same texture for small, normal and large.

Make your own “standing grass” textures. Make sure the base is close to the color of the terrain, and lightly brush some in. The color is tricky, since Grass is lit differently than Terrain. For testing, jack the DetailDistance way up.

RTS terrain is often more about plateaus, cliffs, and ramps. You don’t really want hills as much. You can do this with unity terrain. Just make extremely steep parts of the terrain rocky and impassable.

You could do tiles, which included some of the properties and pass it onto the terrain, but that would probably work best for Civ-style games :slight_smile: