Advice for making planetary landscapes environments?

I’m making a sci-fi environment with a moon-like landscape with planets visible in the galaxy sky. There will be tall thin mountains out on the horizon and atmosphere fog. There will also be craters and cracks. I attached some images of what look I’m going for. Should they be meshes blended with landscape with a material blend? Should they be mostly meshes? How would I approach this? I’m using UE4.26, Quixel Suite, and Blender. I also have a trial with ZBrush, Maya, and Substance for 23 days.


What mainly matters is if they are supposed to move or their lighting is supposed to change. If not, then just pre-render a 360° spherical panorama with spherical (Equirectangular) camera in cycles, and use that as a background for your level. You will avoid a lots of headaches with precision issues.

Great advice on that actually. Particularly for the distant stuff.

an image, say, applied to the skysphere as a backdrop is an infinitesimal fraction of the cost of actually rendering distant landscapes.

I would say stick with blender so you always have it.
​​​​for texturing quixel mixer can be great.

Immediately drop .26 and go back to .25. Before you even start.

Source some heightmaps at 1m or better to get a base landscape started.

The tall spike things should probably be meshes. Easier to manage. And the landscape won’t even allow you to get that level of detail on it to begin with.

The crater/dig site is simple enough on the landscape.

For the visible planets render them as emissive spheres that do not receive shadows and calculate the shadow on them bases on an angle of the sun in relation to your “universe”.
look up actual astronomical formulas for it.
it’s basically all been done a billion times before and on publicly avaliable papers to boot.

There’s performance benefits from what was suggested. But not a fan of using ‘static surround images’ for space scenes. They’re overused / abused, and are detectable to gamers versus using actual meshes (fly / teleport from one side of the map to the other and the scene looks too identical). Plus landscapes aren’t needed ultimately, as you can use the landscape tools to sculpt exotic alien landscapes and then just convert them to meshes anyway. But why not look at what others have done before starting. These packs are reasonably priced and are close to the goal (from the designer behind Voidrunner@Wanderer_eternal)……alien-part-iii…-alien-part-iv

Why drop UE4.26 and go back to UE4.25? Is there something wrong with .26? I have been using it and haven’t had any issues. I also have .25 installed.

Good advice. I could even just do this to create a space skybox too. I think I want the planets to be their own meshes with rotations maybe.

I like this advice. I could even buy that pack from marketplace which is only $10 and break it down and sort of copy it or even import it into blender and modify it completely to make it my own to fit my project. The ultimate goal of this project is to have it be done by end of the month and have high-quality visuals.

Depends on the licensing constraints of who hired you.

You can’t really re-sell someone else’s art/work to another developer.

That aside, alien landscapes are kinda simple.
Most are barren and nearly textureless or monochrome.
One of your samples has some vegetation which could be a bit of a grind to get going, but doesn’t have to be.

As you asked.
stay away from .26 unless the client commissioned it. Because performance wise it’s possibly the worse release in the last 1 year and and a half (Perhaps a LOT longer than that).
Basically consider .26 as a preview version. there’s so many things wrong with it, even the devs don’t bother keeping a list XP

Sky atmosphere still works in .25.
but realistically stay away from that too? Its basically overcomplicating a simple thing and you can make stuff look a lot nicer with much better performance by using the old BP skysphere system - when on planet.

It really all depends on what you acually need this for. A game vs a cinematic for example.

Realistically, don’t know about the other guys but whenever there’s a jam we make a heck of a lot more stuff than just an environment in less than 7 days…

You can totally complete this task even without knowing what a Normal map is today :stuck_out_tongue:

Wow, that already looks good. It is interesting to hear the idea of others.

Oh, it’s just me. By myself. I’m just trying to build my portfolio to get a job as a 3d artist. Just graduated 3 years ago with a degree in 3D digital design. But some tragic life events happened right after graduation which prevented me from working on my portfolio or getting a job until now. I have a really old pc but don’t have a job or money to get a new pc. I’ve been working on my portfolio for the past few months.

I will just stick to UE4.25.

I am making this be optimal for games but with the best quality I can go for.

Not doing any vegetation. Just a lifeless planet landscape.