Friday Dev Update: A Mass of Grass

12:38 PM Robert Gamble 2 Comments

You may have noticed that we gave grass a makeover in our most recent update. It’s thicker, greener, doesn't magically face you whichever way you turn, and I think it fits our aesthetic much better. Seeing as it’s Friday, I thought I’d let you all in on a few details about the design and purpose of the new grass.

When designing the new grass, we wanted a dense, lush look for our islands. This meant we needed a lot of grass meshes in a small area, so we opted to continue using Unity’s built-in terrain foliage system to reduce the performance impact this would have. This left us with less flexibility than we would have liked, but we were able to wrangle in the system to give us some nice looking grass where we wanted it.

The grass is placed in a grid over the terrain. We can decide how many grass meshes go in each square based on where that square is located. This is how we prevent grass being placed on sand or rocky areas. We can then set additional settings on the terrain to determine how tall and wide those meshes can get, what color they can be, etc. Unity’s system takes care of the rest, giving the grass a nice flowing variation using a perlin noise function. It can really create a nice effect!

In addition to the new look, grass is now randomized from island to island. Each island’s grass will have different heights, widths, lushness, colors, and amounts of variation. This helps give each island a unique feel, and makes them more recognizable. It is our hope that this will make exploring even more rewarding, if only on a cosmetic level.

Though this new system isn’t quite as flexible as we might like, it’s not limited to just grass. It can be used for any cosmetic that we would want to place on islands, given that they’re non-interactable. Bushes, rocks, seashells, and more are able to be plugged in, so expect to see more of their like showing up on islands in the future.

The new grass is included in the “The World Has Changed” update, which was just released. I hope you enjoy the new look!

- Robert Gamble (Game Design, Coding, Environmental Design)


  1. Just got the game a week ago or so, so this is my first update, and I'm loving it! Your grass looks great and really adds to the sense of a lush tropical island. I think I may be sailing around in Salt for quite some time, you are making a great game, keep up the great work!

  2. The update looks great, really liking it.