Help me make my prototype island map!

Ok so I played around with World Machine for a few hours, watched some videos etc and the best I could come up with was:

I was wondering if you guys thought this heightmap is good enough, too detailed, what does it need?

It’s 100km by 100km and will be rendered at max pixels.

It will then be resized to 10km by 10km to get the highest quality heightmap I can in UE4, I think that’s how it works at least?

It’s max height is 3.5km

Any suggestions?

Also to double check, this should be my workflow?

  • Make heightmap in World Machine
  • Bring it into UE4 and resize etc
  • Build a cave in Maya and Zbrush
  • Bring it onto the map and integrate it in a natural manner
  • Add custom rocks to the map to give it a nicer feel
  • Maybe smooth it out a bit depending on how it looks
  • Add trees and some basic assets
  • Add a lot more assets
  • Add fog effects, lighting effects etc
  • Add realistic water and play with the shoreline?

Is this the correct way of thinking about this?
It’s meant to be a 10 by 10 island

I’m not an expert at world machine by any means, but for this (and most of the other programs related to game-dev) I would never personally think that something I made in a few hours was good enough. I personally would get used to the program doing smaller setups, exporting them into UE4, applying landscape materials etc a few times to see what works and what doesn’t work, before going for creating my actual game’s world map. Experience is the key here, I can tell you yes it looks like it works or doesn’t work, from my experience, but detailed answers on whether this will work for your game are not as easy to answer (mostly due to the size of your game world, and the technical aspects in the background, for example the networking for an MMO of this size), but I will try.

I know from previous threads I have read that you are making an open world MMO type game, so overall it would probably meet that criteria. I think the edges are a little rough, everything seems to have strong edges, and could be smoothed out a bit more. Are the mountains supposed to be 100% climbable, or will you add pathways for the player to get to the top? Also where is the setting of the game (I mean as far as look, is it a tropical island, or somewhere with rough/rocky terrain)? Reason I ask is the mountains aren’t all that detailed, I see some areas at the bottom of the image that look more like cliffs, and portions like that can add a lot of realism to the scene. But that really depends on how the mountains should look for your game’s setting. Overall I would say it’s a good base to start from, but could use some more refinement if you are going for the most realistic look possible.

But again as I mentioned before, it is hard to say how good this will look when it is actually imported into UE4, things could look even rougher when it gets compressed 10x smaller. So in the end, does it look good enough? You may need to hold off on deciding until you have seen it in editor.

As a high level overview, yes that sounds about right, you may end up doing some things in a different order, but this depends on how things go during development. As you will be using the world composition tool for a map this size, and because it should be so detailed, you may run into technical issues and performance concerns that could cause you to alter course, but it is hard to say at this point.
Hope this helps at least a little bit. :slight_smile:

You should start with making a small terrain, 1000ft x 1000ft. Import that into UE4. Get a cave working, trees, rocks, lighting, etc. Same workflow, but you will learn the pipeline much faster. Then you will realize what you need to do to build a massive area. The 10km scale is going to be overwhelming to work with if you are just starting out with UE4.

Thanks, that’s true. 1000ft by 1000ft is a little small, as I want to to be able to include a large cave, a river that leads to a lake inside a forest, and beaches. I want to do this just so I can start testing and playing around with the different components I will require. I wonder if there is a better editor, the World Machine seems to lack the amount of control I’d like to have. I want the feeling of carving the map into what I want it to look like, what tools would I use for that other than Maya?
Or should I go with maya?

I can show you a little pencil drawn overview of what I want it to look like for the demo

Have you already tried out the built in landscape editor in UE4? Because with it you cut/carve/mold etc the terrain how you want it, and then use tools like erosion to increase the detail. I would try it out if you haven’t already, it is really a powerful tool when you get used to using it.