Advanced terrain creation in UE4

I am about to make a switch from Unity to UE4. In unity I have been busy creating a very detailed landscape that makes use of tesselation so one can really ‘feel’ the rocks and stuff. Now, I am bouncing against the limits of Unity here and believe that UE4 is the better choice to make some real quality content.
Now the version I have in Unity stil looks good, but I am missing some real organic kind of feel to the terrain. World machine seems to fill in that gape…but the terrain only looks very nice from far away.
I think I am not suppose to create a 8k terrain for 100m in order to get back the fine details…beside, I would have to create about 16 x 16 x 200 tiles to do so. Sounds like a bad idea.
so my question is: what is the ‘correct’ workflow to accomplish this? How does one make use of world machine to get the a real nice nature feel like terrain and continue make it absoluty stunning in UE4? Much like the new Star Wars battlefront terrains.

Close up shots: build in Unity very nice with tesselation, but looks to tiled, less organic
Far away shots: build in WM: very nice flow, erosion, very organic and less computer

What to do inbetween??

Hopefully this all makes sense.

This is an early version of my terrain:
As you can see, the rocks are displaced very nicely but it al looks not really organic.

Looking forward for your ideas!
Best regards! Tom

One of the big reasons tesselating landscapes isnt really supported is the huge load it puts on levels. The way I overcame it was to create a bunch of landscape brushes with rocks etc and to paint those on the landscape.

Welcome to you Supporter,

I"ve used unity off and on, then came here to get serious stuff done, various reasons, & from what I"ve seen your terrain looks nice and the non organic look I can comment on directly if its ok:

The rock formation front and center looks nice enough, only first two levels going bottom > top, as the very top is the unorganic looking area, its too formulaic, that’s where you lost your ‘natural’ look, the rest is ‘ok’

Also, again from a artists POV, the rock formations could have been larger, longer perhaps portraying a more organic look , but then the Earth is a vast and complex living thing, so many patterns exist :wink:

World machine, or even ‘l3dt’ which I’m trying atm ( which can also export tiles ) can import , say, srtm realworld data which often is semi rough quality from my experience anyway and always needs to be made into a heightmap of course, which can then be enhanced with erosion , blah, as you already prob. know.

I am doing what you are doing, trying to not go to WM or l3dt too quickly and concentrate on natural scenery but MYmade LOL

I like the idea of ‘new’ worlds designed by artists, with fallback positions to enhance and create a bit less work , so you can concentrate on other areas of your game.

How do you get the tessellation, is that a dx 11 feature somehow ?

I’m rather newish to game dev myself at least advanced topics such as that.


Yes, that would be my workflow as well, only in this case, I would have to paint about 200 chunks where 1 pixel = 1 meter. In unity I have converted the terrain to a mesh and used LOD. Then I was able to do tess. Indeed, it is a performance killer, but the results are just really nice.

Heey, thnx for the feedback so far!
The tess is indeeda dx11 feature. Actually, I am trying to get to World machine earlier. I noticed in my heightmaps that I have been reling to much as they are indeed really rough. WM gives me some very nice erosion, but more important, the correct maps to create organic sand, flow etc.

I guess, what I am trying to figure out is, should I try to use WM to fill in the real rocks at a scale of 1 meter or should I use textures with tess to fill in these details?