Some terrain-related questions

What is the vertical resolution of the terrain? From the videos, it looks something like 1m, is that right? Are there any limits to how deep or high the terrain can go?

Second, as far as I understand, the terrain is basically made of vertices each with a distance from the center of the planet and a terrain type. Would it be theoretically possible to have several layers of terrain, eg. dirt above rock, or even ores and caves? I think that could add a lot to the realism, although it could probably get rather hardware-hungry.

Lastly, are there / will there be different kinds of a specific type of terrain? Like high and rocky (young) v. lower and smooth (older) mountains, mesas, canyons, rock formations, sand dunes etc? I think it’s pretty important to have not only a biological, but also geological variety, especially in a world as large as this.


I think you should put the suggestion for geological biomes, rather than just biological, ones on the discord. I’m not sure how much Dave has thought about that, and it might lead to some good discussion etc. The current system is tag based, so it would be easy to combine those, as well as any other types of biomes together (details probably in the devlog on biomes).

As for the rest, there is basically nothing under ground. If the terrain is adjusted the vertex is simply lifted or lowered accordingly, so there is nothing underneath like it is in minecraft.

From what I know there won’t be any underground anything in Sapiens 1.0, as that is harder to do (kind of like you said with hardware, plus a few other things). There are no caves and there is no underground mining until something like industrial age, which won’t be in 1.0 (probably). I don’t know exactly when Dave talked about it, but it probably was in one of the early devlogs and i haven’t gotten to that one yet.


Firstly, I think the vertical resolution is one. Second is possible, but until Sapiens 2 won’t change much about the gameplay, so is a lot of work for little gain. Third, I would like to see on the Discord under suggestions.

Edit: PS: Welcome to the forums!


It would be real neat to be able to dig tunnels and caves and such for resources or temporary homes. Or make artificial rivers.

that would be sweet but I think he said that wouldn’t be a thing, though I’m not sure

Yea, it would probably require a lot of the engine to be rewritten, and also it would effect performance due to how voxel displacement would work.

I’m not on the discord. But I got the same impression on the way the world is built. It’s kind of sad that you can’t have caves and overhangs.

Are there even cliffs and rugged terrain or is everything something between hills, rolling plains and flat plains?

So far, I’ve only seen plains, mountains and things in between. My guess is that it is all just noise with different intensities and frequencies in different areas.

I’ve been thinking a bit about caves and overhangs and I think some basic ones could be made as environmental entities (same as trees and boulders, just bigger). If you set up the colliders and pathfinding nodes correctly, people could even live inside. Of course, the inside would have to be above the actual terrain for it to work. A similar system could be used for rocks and cliffs.

Anyway, I was thinking more about what happens when you dig very deep. It doesn’t make sense that there would be the same material (like dirt) all the way to the core, but currently it seems to be that way.

EDIT: Posted these questions on discord, along with a link here. Let’s see what we learn.

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Perhaps there should be a limit to how deep you can dig, not sure if that exists yet, but it’s kinda necessary.

As i said, you’re not supposed to be able to dig very deep simply because you won’t have the technology. so it’ll be something like that until in 2.0 Dave will probably find a way to make things work. it’s not like he hasn’t made a mining game before.

For those not on Discord, here are answers from Dave himself:

The engine would allow you to keep digging down under the water to lower the terrain and make it deeper. However I’m unlikely to allow you to do that very far in the game, just to keep things simple at least for the initial release. So you might be able to dig down to 1-2m below sea level if a sapien can access it OK, but that would be about it.

@Tubusus it is 1m vertical resolution, yep. there is no limit to how high you can build, but there will be a steepness limit, so you wouldn’t be able to build a really high spike, you’d have to build a mountain over a wide area to achieve significant height

Layers are something i have thought a lot about, but haven’t implemented yet. I expect to be working on that quite soon, it’s high on the todo list. There won’t be air layers though, so no caves. But you will definitely be able to dig down through dirt or sand and find rock beneath.

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Thank you.