Gaia: First Look at an Environment Generation Tool

Gaia: First Look at an Environment Generation Tool

Johnathan Rossitter studies the features of the environment generation tool Gaia for Unity 5.

Our good friend Johnathan Rossitter, who does an enormous amount of work with Unity 5, has recently started a series of videos with In§ each video Johnathan is having a first look at one of the countless plugins for Unity. He figures how it works, uses it any way he can and figures out if it’s useful for you guys. Hope you guys enjoy it. This time we’re having a look at environment generation tool Gaia from Adam Goodrich ($45).

So, today I had the chance to unbox Gaia by Adam Goodrich. All of my friends and peers have been going on and on about Gaia, but I just had not had the time to check it out yet. I had a vague notion about what Gaia could do, and I had seen a few minutes of YouTube video showing the end results, but I had no prior experience with it. I have actually been watching it on the Asset Store for a few months, and every time I saw it I thought about how I should grab it up.

So today, I had the time to invest into something new and decided to kick off this Unboxing program by taking Gaia for a test drive. As you can see in the video below, I really had no idea what to expect from the package, but overall I was very pleased with the end results.Overall, I was more than satisfied with Gaia. There were a few technical glitches in the installation process, but given the extensive size and complexity of the package, I was more than willing to overlook them. Though initially the UI seemed a bit complicated to me, it became apparent that it was a very clever design given the complexity of the system as a whole. Gaia is packed with options and features, and gives you the ability to create very complex and detailed terrains/environments.





Gaia allows you to take complete control of the design of your terrain and pack in as many details as you like. You can stamp out environments using the stamps provided, or load in your own. In Gaia, there is an inspector option for virtually every possible setting, so it may take you some time to fully wrap your mind around it. But, for those of you just wanting to crank out a beautiful and unique environment, fret not, as Gaia comes with an entire suite of automation and randomization tools which can procedurally create your terrain/environment for you.

I think that Adam did a good job of documenting the features and keeping the examples simple and digestible. He introduces you to some basic concepts early on which bolster your foundation in Gaia learning. Once you have a grasp on these foundational concepts, you find yourself building your own terrains in hardly any time at all.





The one thing I didn’t care for was what seemed like extraordinarily long bake times for the procedural pieces. It seemed like I spent more time waiting for things to bake than I did creating things, which I can’t be too upset about anyhow, as after all, we are talking about 3D design, which is notorious for long baking times.

For the money, you will not find a better environmental/terrain system out there for Unity. Adam did a great job in making sure his code understands the context of what it’s building, so its not going to do something silly like, place a forest of trees in the middle of a lake, or snow at the foot of a mountain. The “spawners” as he calls them are very intelligent pieces of code, which seem to really take the time to consider the context of where things should go, leaving you with a very natural and organic feeling environment.

I would highly recommended Gaia to anyone working in Unity, as it takes the pain out of making terrains.

Johnathan Rossitter, Game Developer

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