Monday, 20 August 2012


So after a little break I'm back again. How's the summer going? So I have been avoiding the topic, because frankly I don't like it, but it needs to be done. So here we go.

1. This is the Easier way to do it in my opinion. So Open up a new world. Select Sunset Valley 

2. Here it is.

3. Create a New Layer if you haven't created your layers yet. Make the Layer Active. In the Metadata window, type TERRAIN in the filter and the list of distant terrains should show. Select Terrain-Distant.

4. Double-Click the Terrain-Distant. Next In the Render Panel Click ONCE to drop the object. Hit ESC to stop. If you don't hit ESC, you will end up with multiple distant terrains and we don't want that.

5. If you've done it all right, you should have only one terrain object in your layers list like below.

6. The Distant terrain object would just be floating about, don't worry about it. Now to get it in the right position, read next step

7. Right-Click the Terrain object in the Layers window, then select Find in Render Panel

8. Now this is a Cut-out from EA's manual. We are going to use the data that I have highlighted in red. Just type in the figures for X, Y and Z in the property browser. See next picture.

9. Like so... hit enter after each input. When you are done, hit ESC key to stop. Very important.

10. And Congrats! You're done. Now all you have to do is edit the Sunset Valley world to your taste.

11. Let's say you don't want to use the Sunset Valley template and you decide to start with a flat world. It's going to be harder, but it's all about choice.
So you open a new world. You must use the LargeFlatMap 300 for this. Then follow steps 3 to 9 above.

12. You would end up with something like this.

13. Now you have to fill in all that space. I would advice you use HILL STEEP with a large brush size.

14. Just go around and fill up all the spaces first. The largest Space in the corner might be a little tricky.

15. This is why it is tricky. You can raise the terrain to the maximum point and it most likely will not cover up the space. Trust me. Only Sunset Valley world fits this distant terrain object perfectly.

16. My solution is to lower the distant object just a little. You do this by changing the Y axis as below. Just remember to select the object first as in step 7 above.

17. That should make it easier to sculpt your own hills and mountains around the edges. And you're done!

Now if you look at step 8 above, you will notice that EA only provided data for China. France, Egypt and Sunset Valley. So those are easy to do. Now if you are on CAW version 1.18 like I am, you would see there are 3 other objects in the list, 'Distant Terrain' ; 'Distant Terrain' and 'Terrain Distant South (Placeholder)". Confusing I know. So I worked out the data manually. It's not perfect, but it's a start.

(a) For the first Distant Terrain in the list use: 
  • X :1121.55164 
  • Y: 9.280413 
  • Z: 1121.47644 

(b) For the Second Distant Terrain in the list use: 
  • X: 788.821533
  • Y: 126.454521
  • Z: 898.2622
  • Rotation X: 180
  • Rotation Y : -86.5564957
  • Rotation Z: 180

(c) For the Terrain Distant South use: 
  • X: 941.444946
  • Y: 13.7732515 
  • Z: 1054.81165

Well that's all I got on the topic. I hope it helps you out. Later then.


  1. Is it possible to create your own distance terrain? If you change the default world color, does the distance terrain match?

    I'm working on a desert piece and I want the distance terrain to be the same color with the similar canyon formations. It would be cool if we could make our own to match our world.

    I haven't tested this yet but will pull it up this weekend and play with it.

    Do you have to do this on all four sides of your map or does the distance terrain stay static while you rotate your map?

    1. Hi Susan,
      The Distant Terrain is really just an object like any other. So I supposed you would would have to model one from scratch in some 3d modelling program, in order to make your own

      Another option is to use the largest map and sculpt the edges into hills/mountains/cliffs, while keeping the town itself in the map center.

      For a desert town you could always use the Egypt Desert terrain.

      Distant Terrain should placed before editing your map. It rotates with the world, so its position is fixed. Generally you only need one. But if you are creative you could use more than one to cover all the sides, but why would you want to?

  2. I just discovered that you can move the distant terrain around just like any other object. Make sure the layer is selected and the terrain is selected. Then click on the move tool. If you are panned out at the right level, you can see the green/blue/red lines to move it around.

    I just discovered this. I'm using the terrain from Hidden Springs, my favorite world (I think it's first or second in the list) and I put two on each corner, bracketing my flat map.

    I even edited in game to look around. I'll need to create a few mountains to hide the corner mountain, but other than that it will be a perfect backdrop for the Supernatural themed world I want to make. Good for seasons winter and fall, too.

    1. Hi Susan,sorry I have been AWOL.
      Yes, it is an object just like any other, and thus can be moved around readily, but I really didn't want to complicate the tutorial by going into the various uses of the Distant terrain.
      But for those like yourself who are into experimenting, more kudos to you. And thank you for sharing your discoveries here. I am always happy to learn new things about CAW.
      I would appreciate a link to your world when you are ready to share to see how the combination turned out. Good luck!

  3. Hi krrank,

    I was just wondering, what would you recommend for how close you should let your sims get to the distant terrain? Cause I'm not really sure about when it starts to look ugly. (I'm trying on some mountain area with a lot of hikingpaths through the mountains, but I don't know if my sims should be able to look out over the distant terrain and if so how close the change between normal and distant terrain should be to make it look nice, or maybe should I try to paint the world a bit more greyish towards the border?)
    Also, I think you can always fill in the gap if you use the 300 height maps, even though the distant terrains are said to be made for 200.
    Furthermore, when I went searching on the internet for a tutorial on CAW, yours was in the top 10 hits, and I think it is really useful, so many thanks. I tried to make a world before without it, and lost 2 months of work through a computer breakdown, so I didn't feel like repairing it and tried to start over. Your planning section got me almost as far as I was within a week. So really many thanks!!
    (p.s.: I'm not native english and really loose my words when I get enthusiastic, so please forgive my non-sensible sentences)

    1. Hi Anonymous,
      Well it all depends on how you match up the edges of your world to the edges of the Distant Terrain. As I said in step 11 above, the terrain object works best with the LARGE FLAT MAP 300, it you are building from scratch. The unfortunate thing about distant terrains is that they were designed to fit the world they came with perfectly, so if you were to use, say a blank Sunset Valley and Edit from there, then you will not have much problem.

      Here is what I advice, with a little creativity and patience you can sculpt the edges of your world to match up smoothly/flawlessly with the edges of the Distant Terrain that you choose to use.

      Always use the LARGE MAP

      Pick a Terrain Texture/Color that matches up best to that of the Distant Terrain, around the joined edges for the best effect

      And to answer your question, don't let you sims get too close, the Large Map is big enough that you really do not need your sims to be able to walk to the ends of it. Just leave a reasonable margin and paint in your sims-nonroutable paint. Also put in your Camera-nonroutable paint a little further outwards, so that the player can see the rolling hills and the vista without being able to touch it

      In the end it is all about creating the illusion of distance. You don't have to actually touch it, just see it.

      And thank you for using my tutorials. I really appreciate it.

  4. Hey, I have a question. I'm also working on a desert world but i haven't got the World Adventures expansionpack so i can't use the distant terrain from Egypt. Is there still a way to download this distant terrain? If so, can you give me a link, please? I've already tried just building at the edge of the map but it's won't work. :P

    1. Hi Suus,
      Well I haven't been able find any downloadable ones for now. As for building the edges of the world... you can just try making Mountains all around and concentrate the town itself to the center. That should do the trick. See the picture below as an example

  5. Heyya, I have been using CAW for the first time this week, I have been wanting to alter Sunset Valley to my own liking and the distant terrain was already placed when I opened it. What I wondered was would the waterfall already be there or would i have to do this myself and if so how?

    1. Hiya,
      Yes you have to add your own waterfall. Click here to see how.>

  6. Hello, your tutorial is absolutely amazing and a great help :) I was wondering what the XYZ figures would be for the University distant terrain? I've tried fiddling with the figures in my CAW but seemingly no luck so far! Thank you :)

    1. Hi,
      So I got this from Modthesims.

      Distant Terrain Placement
      DT Placement:
      X 1400
      Y -4.75033569
      Z 1100

      X 0
      Y 0
      Z 0

      You can visit the page too. I hope this helps. Thanks for visiting!

  7. Hi Krrank,
    I am trying to make an inland world with mountains on all sides, and I would like each side to have the distant terrain thus giving the illusion that its is inland. any help is much appreciated!

    1. Hi,
      Well this would take some maneuvering and patience. I suggest you start with one DT first on default placement, then place another and try to make it face the opposite direction. If I recall my math, that would require inputting the opposite figure for the x or y axis... Or just turning the object manually with your mouse. I need to test this myself, so I'll get back to you.

  8. You are amazing! Thank you so much for everything! You are quite simply a star :D

    Kate x

    1. I am completely off the grid this year and I sincerely apologise. Thank you for your lovely comment. i hope you continue to find this blog useful to your CAW journey.

  9. Well, my sunset valley.lite in CAW already has the distant terrain...

    1. I am completely off the grid this year and I sincerely apologise.
      It does? That must be from the recent update of CAW, it's good to know, thanks.

  10. The reason why it has to be the large map is kinda onvious I guess. After all we don´t want the distant terrarin to take up all the aviable space. But why does it have to be 300? in height?

    honestly kinda miss distant terrairn for the smaller worlds. IT just makes it way more easier to cover the worlds egdges