When we wanted to find the right 3D space for our own project we were convinced there had to be a better way than mocking one up from scratch.
Why couldn't we just browse spaces to find the right one? A WYSIWYG for 3D spaces. As it turns out, now you can.
Mantle's ease of use masks its incredibly powerful generation and styling system. Pick a location anywhere in the world, choose a visual style and generate.
Powered by Unity, 3D environments are auto-constructed in the blink of an eye by feeding Mantle with open source mapping data, meaning you can browse locations anywhere in the world and if the particular location doesn't feel right for your purposes you can just generate another - after all it didn't take you days or weeks of work.
Build the massive world you've always wanted to set your dream experience in or simply use Mantle to create a 3D environmental sketch as a base layer for your work.
Mantle creates several streams of content stitched together into a fully geolocated scene providing an incredibly versatile build tool. Out of the box 1.0 is powerful and we have many more features in development.
Areas of terrain are created from land and sea map data as 3D meshes. Terrain meshes integrate the many land use types available providing landscapes that can be incredibly complex and interesting. Mantle 1.0 utilises a terrain stacking technique with 2D data to create stacked 3D plates for content to be placed on which looks great and is easy to style.
For those of you who are wondering about full 3D height-mapped terrain, it is in development right now and looks AMAZING.
Height-mapped 3D terrain will be provided as a free update.
Building Meshes with Facading
Structures defined by map data are automatically created as 3D building meshes at 1:1 real world size. They can be decorated with surface materials as well as our 1st generation facading technique on roofs and outward-facing walls during generation time. Buildings with known types such as hospitals and cafes can be independently targeted for styling. Buildings are actual height when height information is present and style overrides allow you to either override existing data or set completely new heights.
Building generation is a key element with many more features in development.
Transport Network Meshes with Directed Graphs
Road, rail, paths and even shipping routes are all able to be freely styled generating UV textured meshes. Bridges and tunnels are supported in 1.0 with further features in development.
Importantly Mantle generates Directed Graphs for all transport networks providing instant simulation capability for objects to follow these routes. A basic transport simulation component is included along with a basic vehicle script allowing basic traffic simulation out of the box.
User Customisable Procedural Decoration
Arguably the most useful and powerful of all aspects is Mantle's Procedural decoration capability. Across all terrain, buildings and transport, Unity prefabs can be placed with fully customisable precision as fills and edges. This allows parks to be filled with trees and edged with fences as well as highways to have street furniture and barricades placed. Placement is seed based allowing fine tuning of placement and is also deterministic meaning that the same objects will be placed in the same location each time provided the environment settings and seed is the same.
Covering an entire planet with content has never been easier.
Environment & Game Prototyping
Rapidly build and iterate 3D spaces then experience them immediately to prove your theories and assumptions about the experience you're crafting.
Save pain and build time by testing your prototype environment before you spend time creating one from scratch.
Fact & Fiction
While Mantle's content is created from factual map data, that certainly doesn't mean you are limited to creating environments based in boring reality. Using styling options and your own content you can easily generate fantasy worlds from map data. No one need ever know!
3D Environment Production: Early Stage
Mantle can automate the early core stages of 3D environment production. Let it build the boring stuff fast so you can get straight to adding life and detail to your scenes saving you time and sanity.
3D Environment Production: Final Stage
Spending effort creating a fully customised Theme, Mantle can produce final environments ready to publish in record time saving effort every time you need to add more areas or levels. Just add interactivity!
Augmented & Virtual Reality Environments (AR/VR)
Generate volumetrically accurate environments for specific geolocations then step straight into them in VR and AR through the available Unity Plugins. Correct environment scale is crucial for believable AR/VR experiences which Mantle natively generates.
At its heart Mantle is a 3D map renderer, it just happens to add loads of customisable detail. Simplifying the environment generation provides 3D maps ready for inclusion in your projects.
Provide environmental context for architectural and development project designs by generating the surrounding environment and then importing your model as the centrepiece. Save significant time and expense by generating it yourself and add value to your designs by making them the focus point of a larger scene.
All content in Mantle is geolocated making it easy to create environments as the basis for geographic data visualisations.
Further detailed support is in the works!
Mantle's straightforward Theme creation system will have you generating environments based on your content in no time. Using an environmental layering system and universal Mantle Style you can control environment creation and decoration down to object granularity. In the time it used to take you to generate a prototype of a single space you can create a planet's worth of spaces! Create a calm clean aesthetic or a vibrant overpowering space, the tools are yours.
If you're not ready to create your own styles no problem! Right out of the box Mantle supplies two full Themes complete with custom models, materials and generation styles ready to auto-create worlds for you. You'll even get use from the system default style rendering porcelain-white environments for a clean look base layer.
Mantle is designed to work alongside your project, providing you with a variety of integration points to your current workflow. A typical flow would be:
- Add the Mantle component to your scene.
- Create a Mantle Theme using your existing Unity prefabs and materials.
- Iteratively preview your scene as you go by generating whole scenes at runtime.
- Make any required changes to your Theme based on previews.
- Generate a full scene ready for design time edit.
- Finalise the scene with your standard workflows by editing in Unity or export to 3rd party 3D software and then reimport. Prefab by prefab or layer by layer.
- Run occlusion culling, lightmap baking, navmesh passes and other optimisation processes.
Need to add transport simulation? See how daylight and shadows affect your scene? Maybe you want to use physics to create interactions with your environment? All environments generated in Mantle are physics supported and ready to roll. Drop in drivable vehicles, first and third person controllers, physics particle systems or any 3rd party content based on physics and all you need to do is refine the experience - no extra prep required. Mantle also provides a basic transport simulation capability out of the box ready for you to play with.
You've created the most stunning environment but now what do you do with it?
Thanks to the power of Unity you can publish your production to any modern device platform ready to blow people's minds. From PC to mobile, tablet, console and web it's one of the most powerful reasons we chose Unity as our platform.
With the use of 3rd party scripts you can also export generated environment mesh data for use in other applications to flex to your workflow. We're working on more ways to use Mantle's generated content so stay tuned.