Thursday, March 12, 2009

Open Source 3D Landscape Generators

I recently noticed two free 3D landscape generators and thought to myself: "I bet there are dozens of never-finish terrain generators for games and vr apps!" I was wrong. In this article, I will introduce the handful of floss scenery generators and editors that I was able to find.


InnerWorld is a Blender-based landscape generator that shines through a nice online documentation. Landscapes are generated from Blender noise functions or external sources. The tool's specialty appears to be object placement. The project is four years old and the last release (0.0.5) is two months young.


Terraform is an open source interactive height field generation and manipulation program, giving you the ability to generate random terrain and transform it.

The project seems to be non-living - last CVS activity: August 2003.


Height Map Editor is a 2D GUI for generating and precise-editing height maps. It is cross-platform and has a KISS philosophy. However, the last release is seven years old.


Wing, a GPLed, DirectX-based and thus Windows-only landscape editor, is aimed to
proceduraly generate four key ingredients of nature: plants, terrain, water and weather, with simple but powerful user controls

The project was found three years ago but appears to be in early development stages. It is looking for programmer help, so I assume that the project became active only recently.

Real Landscape Project (supposedly)

RLP is a one week-old, pre-anything landscape 'thing' project looking for programming aid. I'm afraid the language barrier will prevent it from thriving.

3D Landscape Generator (Processing)

One more, just for fun: 3D Landscape Generator for Processing is a GPLed, minimal, 120 LOC-long landscape generator and renderer that runs in your browser.

That's it folks! I hope these projects will prove useful for content creation in games. Be welcome to comment if you know of additional landscape generators or of open source games that feature their own!


parasti said...

Scorched3D does terrain generation.

Andrew said...

This is a hot topic for Hardwar where we're finding it very difficult to find anything that fits what we need.

We need a terrain editor which is able to make caves and it looks like we're going to have to come up with something home done if we want to do it with heightmaps.

Also you missed one project which is part of WorldForge called Mercator.

kyle said...

This one belongs in the comments.


qubodup said...

kyle: this blog is not about freeware, it's about open source...

kyle said...

Fair'nuff. No p*ssing match here. I missed the mark with free/libre open source software. Was just a program I'd run across in the past and was eager to share.

Unknown said...

There's also the one being worked on for DungeonHack.

Anonymous said...

Nice list on a cool blog. However, I'd like to see some other apps included and maybe tested:

Unknown said...

Hey, your post comes just in time as I started looking for a useful heightmap editor myself. :D

This also looks very promising:

It's Windows only though. :(

qubodup said...

ginkgo: mostly python, but there is some C code in there and I'm unfortunately too inexperienced to compile it without a makefile (which is not available)


I'll ask on the FGD forums for help!

Toby Haynes said...

You should also include GeoMorph for heightfields. And in danger of tooting my own horn, I have a set of highly experimental sources "Flow Motion" for manipulating heightfields over at

If you want to see what you can do with GeoMorph, Flow Motion and the GIMP, you can take a look at

I have no idea if I'll update the flow motion tools. They do have one really useful feature - you can define a road layout using an image editor and apply it to a height map to get smooth, believable roads.

Erik Hjortsberg said...

Worldforge has it's own terrain generation library called Mercator. It's all GPL and a short demo can be seen here.

Free Gamer said...

Good stuff Q, nice post!

Unknown said...


Jules said...

Your link to 'terraform' is broken, but the project appears to still be available at

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