The basic process is to generate a height map which outlines the features of the world, then I texture it, and finally I add vegetation.
It typically takes me about 3 hours to generate a new world from scratch. Most of that time is spent tweaking texturing and vegetation.
The actual generation process on a 4km x 4km world currently takes about 5 seconds. I am in the process of making this multi threaded and that should reduce it down to a few seconds.
Ideally I want to be able to describe a world and inject it into any game by sending just the settings of the world across the network. This moves you from a 10-20MB file transfer down to less than 1k
First I start with a rough 'map' which describes the approximate features I want to have in my world.
Then I apply various types of fractal noise to the map - the broad features become more interesting.
When you step into it, you get a sense of its size and perspective.
And when you add light it's gorgeous.
And finally some vegetation brings it to life:
There's lots more I want to do, but here's a few screen shots of my progress to date.
Video's are available http://www.youtube.com/btektube