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Alturntive tool -- Level design

I love the capability of the engine itself… I actually like the blueprint system and I am tolerant of the persona system. I have made 3 games from the ground up (another words wrote the engine (with help I was a professional game dev) Built the tools and even the network engine on a mmorpg. I have used all kinds of game development world tool sets/editors. There are so many great things in this engine that I do not want to go to another product, plus I have access to the code which if you didn’t know up until now was unheard of for a current version anything involved in gaming… IT is sweet…

Now the actual landscape editor is about 3 generations behind even opensource world building platforms. OH the actual abilities of the landscape engine stand above just about everything out there. But I have been working with UE for a month now and I have nothing to show for my work. Partly because I was learning (I have no experience with UR (I haven’t even played tournament since unreal the first one). I used the UDK for a day and switched back to a project I was working on building a toolset for Ogre. So the learning curve is steep. However After reading about the terrain tools in the documentation, watching a few really simple tutorials on youtube (that give absolutely no information) I am still left wondering why things happen like entire chunks of my terrain turn black, Sometimes the sample content tree and bush also get black boxes around them that stretch along the shader even though the engine did not warn me I have overlapping UV’s. BTW once the foliage tool went wrong and I had a “OH THAT ISN’T GOOD” moment I could not correct it loosing the entire map. I read that it was a alpha issue so I tried to correct that as suggested to no avail… I have had so many problems with the terrain editor INCLUDING REBUILDING shaders every time I apply a new layer even though I have lit off (which I know isn’t really off just not showing)…

I have never had so many problems. Now I understand that the engine is far more advanced than anything I have worked with having retired in 2005. It is like playing wolfienstien 3d and now I just got to play a modern game… So finally can I just build the work in something else and put the finishing touches in UE4 are their compatible toolsets out there? Because even if I am being a ****** and not getting it I have a game I want to make and I am not planning on making it a life long hobby with a touchy toolset.

I’d love to see the open source landscape editor that is three generations ahead? Can you link me?

Also, I can better answer your question if you give me an example of what you are trying to build and if that can be done outside the engine. What type of game, you have a screenshot of something comparable? Strictly speaking landscape you can import heightmaps and weightmaps made in any 2D image program/world machine/etc. You can’t import geo but you could make a heightmap from geo in another program easily.

Sorry you are having such a difficult time with the editor, it does have a learning curve. I’ve come to really like it and the devs are improving it all the time. Hang in there.

Most editors be it the aurora engine or the cry engine or a number of others have less cranky smoother landscape tools. But Like I said in the end they fall short of the capabilities of the ue4 engine.

Honestly right now am intending on making a 3rd person/first person (you get your choice as the situation warrants) very different type of game, at some point there maybe cars with launchable controllable drones (via the hud first person view). Having been a developer for years and taken a long break to actually enjoy gaming for awhile (because when it is a job it kind of kills the experience for you because mistakes are glaring at you because you are always looking at your teams mistakes and it is the mindset that comes with the job).

So this game (because I actually have the tools capable to do it) is going to be very special. I am not doing it for management, I am not doing to it to get back into the business and I am not doing for anything other than I love making video games and I have been doing it on and off longer than a lot of people these days have been alive who are in the gaming industry. Another words it is quite elaborate and different and the coding is sooooo **** sweet I wish I could marry this **** engine (er don’t tell my… oh nvm) I want to prove you can put out something different that is awesome. I left gaming because it was indeed just a means to make money by the end of my career and I wanted to make one more game. A hurricane destroyed that product literally. So with that in mind I have a huge job in front of me and my partner who are pretty much doing this out of pocket. Its scope is more than alot of title (Maybe all of them).

Height maps aren’t the issue I can do one of those in M$ paint if I was so inclined LOL. Everything up to actually painting part of the terrain is great, sculpting is a bit cranky but better than it is worse. I have tried every type of weight, height, blend, lerps and so and so forth (alpha maps, bump/specular maps/normals)and it just doesn’t really blend the textures correctly. Then the huge swaths of black that occurs. and two textures of close height don’t operate the same way even though they are exactly the same type of image and OMG adding a new layer in the blend can cause catastrophic events on the shaders. Like I said before, the capabilities of the terrain is pretty awesome. Who would have ever thought we would have materials that are tessellated? Who ever thought you could put shading values on a material texture? Man none of us back in the day thought you would ever have a model over 1200 polygons and now look…

I have tried geocontrol 2, and scape and also Terragen 2 and today I started with world Machine which is like pouring belch in my eyes. I just want a decent terrain (OK I am lying, I just want an amazing terrain that tells a story by looking at it, which means it has to be detailed) that I can import easily and then alter as needed. BTW after writing the first post I did succeed in rocking a tiled world machine setup. But in the end I really need to just make one terrain map that is large and build a city to start. I already have a lot of animation and characters built my pipeline is stable and quick. Many of the assets are done and I am still fighting with the terrain painter and the constant building of shaders that I can’t seem to escape… those black spaces and the opaque blending in addition to the shadows going nutty on my foliage) is driving me crazy… I spend alot of time reading because I keep thinking I am being S T U P I D only to realize it isn’t me. So if I am going to go to all this trouble to make terrains in lets say world machine why can’t I use something that is solid to make maps with (Sadly like the old days) and then import the entire thing in. Like lets say the days of QTRadiant and the quake series (Not to mention many other titles that used it) Not saying that world editor is an option but is there something else that is simple and smoother. Don’t get me wrong here, alot of the tools are superb and I fully intend on doing the production product using them. But all this struggling to get the texturing right is wasting alot of time that could be used to actual make the assets and get them put together.

OH to be honest could the black problem be that I have been using global illumination? I know they don’t feel that it is production quality yet?

Sorry I am trying to be clear.

Many small indie companies make awesome looking games already.

UE4 is in a work in progress, today you can encounter some artifacts with terrain and lightening, but they will improve throught time.
Actually you can make amazing terrains, only performance can be a stopper.

Hi Drixil,

The black splotches are a known issue that is currently being looked into. To correct them, what you will have to do is paint over the entire landscape quad with a single layer of paint, then you should be able to proceed as normal. If they continue to crop up, you may have to cover your entire landscape with a layer then paint. Additionally it should be noted that you should have at most 9-12 textures (including normals, roughness, etc) on any quad of landscape. Any more will cause it to revert to the default texture until less textures are present. This is being looked at to be increased to about 32 textures but I don’t have a timeframe on when that would occur. The landscape tool in editor does have a few quirks, but once you get used to it it is a very powerful tool that can put together some remarkable scenes. Here are a few tutorials that may help you in your future development:

Thank you very much I will try that :slight_smile:

As for the other reply. I am not making just a good looking Idie game. There are tons of good looking games out there, they are a dime a dozen. I am doing a DIFFERENT type of game all together. To be honest most of my career was spent doing all the programming then creating horrible level design because we just couldn’t get the artists who were actually interested in working (Even when they were getting paid) it was a long serious problem and I was forced to do it myself most of the time begrudgingly. Going into this I decided I would actually learn 3d for real just not a passing knowledge. So before I even looked into a game engine I spent the last few months learning blender.

I guess what I am trying to say is most of my years of development and design have been doing my part then doing everyone else’s too. This time I have the skills just do it all including sound. At this point the only road block is good voice acting. The terrain thing was standing in the way of me working on several huge coding projects which is why I was getting annoyed. It use to be I wrote all the code and then had to wait for the assets to see if it all worked right. Now I have the assets and I have to wait to get alot of design done to get to the programming LOL

So I tried the one color thing that did not correct the problem… Which is very disappointing. I can’t waste more time on trying to make the ground on which the game will take place… That is very anti productive.

Just curious about something. Where in the documentation does it say that UE4 has the ability to replace any modeling tool (whether it be landscape generation or just plain modeling)? The reason I ask is because I’ve seen tutorials on building landscapes with several external landscape tools and therefore have had no reason to expect UE4 to have the same capabilities. I don’t expect it to model better than Maya, and it does not. You’re supposed to build things and import them into the editor, I’m pretty sure that’s the idea.

The problem here is and has been no matter how many tutorials I do… No matter what terrain generation program I use. Or if I decide to do it myself. Those big black splotches that apparently look more like alpha channels now in 4.5 and having a terrain blending properly only until you go in to paint detail and epic failures ensue. The shaders compiling every time you apply a new texture, the entire tile changing its base color… It just doesn’t work and takes a ton of time doing it the way the tool is set up right now. It would take forever to get a 512x 512 terrain custom built let alone anything bigger… If I have to use an outside program to build the terrain why not just build my level too… 3d studio max/blender/maya are all modelers not level builders…

I think you may be confusing my intention with the differences between base geometry and modeling which is not the case.