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Feasible to make a world with UE4, or is editing a WorldMachine the way to go?

Just for some background. the idea for my game is to follow a mostly linear path through the game, but having different areas. A good example of what I’m going for is the Soulsborne series, you can pretty much walk to any point in the game without a loading screen since it’s one big world.

Knowing I want one, interconnected, large world, I have found that World Machine is a big recommendation, but I feel somehow limited by that, like it draws a square for me to play in rather than being an open canvas. I have to edit an existing terrain rather than make my own from scratch. As far as I know, to get a relative geography for what I want for my game world, I have to mess with World Machine for hours to generate something remotely similar and then I might get all the way to the final area and realize the world map is too small for what I envisioned these areas to be.

My questions are:
1.) Is World Machine highly recommended for making games, or just making pretty scenes?
2.) Are UE4’s tools good enough that I could make my world exactly how I want it, or is editing a World Machine map really the way to go?

I’m trying to get an idea for later when I actually start, I just want to be able to put the image of the world in my head into the game as closely as possible, so I’m not sure which direction to go. Any answers or advice is helpful, I’m new and like to learn as much as I can. Thank you.

If you’re trying to do a world like in the Souls games then I don’t think you necessarily need a terrain like that, most of those levels are designed with meshes, even the stuff that’s in the woods. You might be able to just use smaller sections of landscapes that you sculpt within UE4 rather than bringing in a landscape heightmap. The terrain from WorldMachine would be better if it’s a truly open world or if it’s background landscapes.

That’s what I thought, that for my type of game it doesn’t make sense. Maybe if I were making Skyrim I’d want to generate a lot of mountains and whatnot so I have less work, but for an “area” based game I see what you’re saying.

When you say most areas in Souls are designed with meshes, what do you mean by that? If I’m following correctly, that’s basically saying they’re using models with specific shapes and scaling them rather than “painting” the ground on and varying its height. That makes a lot of sense to me when you’re talking about castles and structures, but the forest? I’d love if you could expand on that.

Even the outdoor areas aren’t really structured like open world games, they’re usually paths surrounded by cliffs with rocks and ruins everywhere, if a landscape is part of it then it’s used very little and most of it is a bunch of meshes that have been specifically placed in the level.

For a Dark Souls like game I think you could get by without using any landscapes. You’d be wasting a lot of money on World Machine because the Dark Souls level of complexity requires lots of handmade tweaks where every nook and cranny has to be controlled.

If you’re trying to get an idea in your head of where to start I’d download as much of the free UE4 content as you can and actually start developing. There’s nothing quite as productive (imo) as actually developing.

There’s no harm in making a sfd, don’t be afraid to fail miserably on your first few attempts. It gives the added benefit of actually having practical experience that lets you know what your hardware is capable of. The infiltrator demo has some land meshes, I’d start with that and build a prototype level.

Yeah if you want to make a large open game world say like PUBG (huge PUBG Dev fan here! lol), they use World Machine to create their 8x8km maps, slowly trying to teach myself WM but yeah lol, another tool is World Creator 2, which is more of a 3D GUI slider based compared to WM’s nodes, which is probably better for me…

I think it’s settled then, I’ll just make the world as I go with landscaping, I plan to also use a heavy amount of meshes like rocks and vegetation, buildings, rubbish etc. My game will take place mostly within canyons in a desert scape, so I guess the “out of bounds” portions can be obscured by dunes or large rock formations.