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A Tutorial to Build Your 3D Voxel World Like a Pro

As the developers behind the Spatial Terminal Engine, we strive to balance simplicity with versatility in our creation tool. Traditional mesh-based 3D creation tools, like Blender and Cinema 4D, have proven overcomplicated for non-professional users.

Our goal is to provide a platform that simplifies 3D world building while maintaining high detail and complexity, resonating with the simplicity of Lego and Minecraft. Our state-of-the-art MatEngine facilitates this by offering smaller blocks and PBR texture support. However, to avoid tedious block-by-block placement, we have developed a suite of tools designed to streamline and enhance your creative process.

An European Plaza built by our early access creator
An European Plaza built by our early access creator

User Interface Design

The Spatial Terminal Engine is designed to feel familiar to Minecraft users, enabling a swift transition. Our user interface includes the Asset Slot, Asset Board, and Building Tool Indicator. All essential actions are displayed on-screen, providing a semi-transparent indicator to guide both new and experienced users.

Asset Slot and Asset Board

The Asset Slot and Asset Board, along with our draggable design, allow users to swiftly filter assets for use with the building tools. Simply drag or double-click the desired asset in the board and move it to the asset slot.

Asset Board, Asset Slot, and Asset Filter
Asset Board, Asset Slot, and Asset Filter

The Asset Filter narrows down your options based on genre and asset types. For example, if you’re constructing a realistic forest, you might select the natural tag and high polygon tag. This will display all relevant blocks and non-block assets.

Building Tool Indicator

When an asset is selected in the Slot, the corresponding building tool automatically activates. The indicator on the right displays the current status. For instance, any block material will enable one of the three available block tools, whereas non-block assets enable the Magic Cursor for model placement and snapping.

Building Tools

Brush

Our Brush tool enables you to create blocks of various sizes, adjustable with your mouse wheel. Sizes can range from less than a cubic foot to over 12 cubic feet. The semi-transparent indicator displays the size number, while a blue outline in the scene provides a preview.

Creating A Cube using the Brush Tool
Creating A Cube using the Brush Tool

Deletion mode can be switched with the ‘R’ key. When the preview outline becomes red, you’re in remove mode. Left clicking will remove the blocks within the outline.

Delete blocks Using Brush Tool
Delete blocks Using Brush Tool

We are currently working on adding support for other shapes, such as spheres and pyramids, so stay tuned for updates!

Volume

Our Volume tool enriches the building experience by allowing you to define cubic volumes of any size, making it easy to swiftly build large areas or hollow out spaces.

Create Object Using Volume Tool
Create Object Using Volume Tool

Like the Brush tool, Volume also supports deletion mode. A hidden trick of the Volume tool is the ability to scroll your mouse wheel to rapidly expand your selection area in one direction, perfect for constructing tall columns or large, non-square cubic areas.

Freeform

The recently introduced Free Form tool, currently in beta, allows you to carve off-grid shapes with unusual geometries or instantly create stairs. It might require some practice to master, but it offers an unrivaled degree of freedom for your creations.

Create Lines Using Freeform Tool
Create Lines Using Freeform Tool

By pressing ‘V’, you can switch dimensions, drawing anything from a single line to a cube. This tool will allow you to design shapes that deviate from the voxel grid.

Future Plan

Your feedback is invaluable to us. Based on early user responses, we’ve already made several UX improvements, and we have more planned.

Selector Functions: Mirror, Rotate, Cut, Copy, Paste

We’re currently working on features that will allow you to select a specific area and then copy and paste, facilitating the quick creation of repeated structures. The ability to mirror and rotate will also be included, enhancing architectural design capabilities.

Adaptive Smoothing

We’re exploring options for creating smooth surfaces on the voxel grid without needing to layer the material like a 3D printer. Moreover, the smoothing tool could be expanded for large-scale terrain modification, allowing you to easily create hills and caves. We plan to release these features by the end of 2023 in conjunction with our exit from early access status.

Custom Importing

We currently offer an AI-powered material generator accessible from the Asset Board, and a tutorial on this feature is coming soon. Within the next few months, we will be rolling out import features that will allow users to include their own material, texture, and 3D mesh-based models like Fbx or Obj.

A castle in mid of forest.
A castle in mid of forest.

Join our Testing and Building Team

Interested in beta testing new features? Or maybe you want to contribute to our signature open-world game as a builder? We welcome you to join us. Please contact us through our Discord community to get involved.

Early Access Download: Steam Store Link
Join Our Community: Discord Link

Conclusion

Spatial Terminal isn’t just about tools; it’s about community. We are continually inspired by the creations and feedback from our users, and we value your input as we strive to improve and grow.

We invite you to join our Discord and Twitter communities. We’d love to hear your thoughts, see your creations, and collaborate on shaping the future of Spatial Terminal.

Thank you for being a part of our story. Together, we’ll craft the future of game creation.

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