Oh hey, it’s been a while! As you might guess what was to be a short, self-contained, reasonable release turned into a chaotic avalanche of features. Typical. You fix one thing and then you get an idea to make something better. You get on it since it’s a small change, and when you snap out of it weeks have gone by. Still, Mirage 3.5 is finally feature complete and ready for some generous user testing. Let’s take a quick recap of the new features and how to test.
- New modifiers system
- New Rotate tool
- New Basic terrain type
- Smarter and faster engine. Only recalculates what needs to be recalculated.
- Live mode for Heightmaps
- Diorama is now a setting again
- New edges option for the smooth modifier
- Terraces modifier now has a slope setting to control the falloff between terraces
- New Pixelate modifier
- New Island modifier
- Terrains from heightmaps incorporated to the engine. Now you can apply modifiers to terrains created from heightmaps
- Many UI Improvements
- Presets is now a subpanel of terrains
- New materials system
- New bundled textures and materials
- New icons for the distribution system panel
- Distribution layers now support image maps to modify the distribution
- Distribution layers now support changing the axis of the meshes, so you don’t have to make them lay down anymore
I covered most of it in the previous video:
The new version of Mirage also comes with the first iteration of the new materials system. Instead of having a few premade materials, you can now create your own using layers. Every layer except the first one has a mask tab with settings to control the height and slope at which the texture/material shows up.
Under the hood the materials system creates, deletes and modifies nodegroups in a good old Cycles/Eevee material.
Layers themselves can be one of these four types:
- Color: Just a simple color. Useful for debugging/troubleshooting.
- Ground: A selection of new builtin textures (all CC0 as usual)
- Water: A water material nodegroup
- Snow: Same, but with snow
- Custom: Same as the ground type, but you can bring your own textures.
The system is designed for Cycles and micropoly displacement but It will work with Eevee as well, though you might quickly run into the GPU texture limit. I still haven’t found a way around this, since terrains will naturally mix many materials and many, many textures and masks. There’s also an options subpanel with a couple buttons. One opens the builtin textures folder for you, and the other auto-sets the mesh and scene for micropoly displacement.
This is only the first iteration and there’s a few things I left out to complete in future versions. I’d also love to hear your comments on this!
What took you so long?
As you can see from the list above, I ended up biting more than I could chew again. Also, life happens.
I expected to launch a beta before the end of the year, but had an family health emergency around the beginning of November and I was absolutely consumed for the next 1.5 months, barely being able to complete client work. Luckily things are slowly looking up. Now that my father is under home care I’ve been able to carve more time here and there for Mirage.
How to test
Mirage 3.5 Beta is available on both The Blender Market and Gumroad.
To download from the Blender Market log in, then click on your username at the top. Select “Orders”, then look for Mirage and click “Downloads”. You can find the stable version (3.4) as well as the beta for 3.5 there. Each version has a zip for Linux, Macos and Windows. For Gumroad just login, go to your library and find Mirage. You can also find both the stable and beta there.
Creating terrains just got a lot easier.
Mirage lets you create terrains and populate them with a simple UI and powerful features in realtime.
Start creating your world today!