Terrain is the fundamental building block of all planets in Astroneer. It can be dug up, placed back or manipulated by the player in various ways. The player needs to store it as Soil inside of Canisters to be able to do more than just digging the terrain.
Terrain has various properties, the primary one being the surface that all items in the game sit upon. Most items in the game rest loosely on top of the terrain, however Platforms have the ability to anchor themselves in place when the use key is pressed, "F" for pc, "Y" for Xbox or "triangle" for PS4. The starting Shelter and Landing Pad also will remain in place, even if the terrain is dug up around them. Terrain also has four varying degrees of hardness, with harder terrain being found deeper underground or on harder difficulty planets. Terrain naturally comes in 107 different colors that can be collected and used with the Terrain Analyzer (full list of colors there). The Creative mode provides even more colors.
Terrain has four hardness levels, visibly different based on the texture and also indicated when the Terrain Tool hovers over the terrain.
- Hardness 0 is the base terrain in the game, found on every planet.
- It doesn't need any Drill Mods to dig up at full speed.
- The Terrain Tool cursor displays five dots arranged in a small plus when hovering over this terrain.
- It has a smooth texture, without any lines.
- Hardness 1 is found in some biomes on the surface of every planet, and in large quantities underground.
- It can be dug up without the use of a Drill Mod, but at a reduced speed. Using a Drill Mod 1 allows for full speed digging.
- The Terrain Tool cursor displays thirteen dots in an extended plus when hovering over this terrain.
- It has erratic lines throughout it, slightly darker than the original color.
- Hardness 2 is found in the Mantle layer of Sylva, all cave layers of other planets, except both moons, and sparingly on the surface of Atrox.
- It cannot be dug with the Terrain Tool without the use of at least a Drill Mod 1, however, a Drill Mod 2 is required to dig at full speed.
- The Terrain Tool cursor displays twenty-eight dots arranged in a thicker plus shape than Hardness 1.
- It has slightly larger and more dense lines than hardness 1.
- Hardness 3 is only found underground on harder planets, usually starting at the mantle layer.
- This is the hardest terrain. It requires a Drill Mod 2 to excavate at slow speeds, or a Drill Mod 3 to excavate at regular speeds.
- The Terrain Tool cursor displays thirty-seven dots taking up the entire circle.
- It has many lines that are significantly darker than the terrain's color.
- The dark gray terrain under Shelters lacks the lines, but is hardness 3 terrain.
Terrain is intended to have many uses in Astroneer, both functional and aesthetic:
- Using the flatten mode of the Terrain Tool, the player can easily build ramps down or up to get to hard to reach areas.
- Flatten mode can also be used to build bridges over large gaps in the terrain.
- Terrain can be used to mark certain areas or directions. This is especially useful when creating a network of Beacons
- With the variety of colors, and the flexibility of the Terrain Tool and Augments, players have many creative options available to them.