How to UV Cliffs like Shadow of the Colossus

Hello community,

sorry for the bad english, my native language is german :slight_smile:
I hope you can help me at my RPG Project.

I have problems with big cliffs, Stones like you know it from popular games like Dark Souls, Witcher & Shadow of the colossus.

I make my lowpolys at Blender, Highpoly at Zbrush and texturing with Substance Painter. Everything fine… Till i need big meshes. Like Cliffs… I want them to be big and massiv, but with one Texture, it looks awful. Sure i can unwrap the cliff with 10 Materials and bake all 10 with Substance… But is this the fastest, best way?

I hope you understand me. Do AAA Designer creater one big cliff with 20+ Slots of Materials or do they just place cliff parts together, so that it looks like one massive cliff? Cant get it…

Here is a link of SotC… You see the Cliff wall at the end… I mean wow? One Mesh with tons of Materials or just little meshes placed together?


There is no definite rule how to do this. Whatever works best for you. You would want to avoid having 20 texture sets which look very similar for memory reasons. So maybe try world tiling materials on modular meshes. World tiling means you could scale and kit bash them together any way and the texture scale would always be the same.

Many instanced meshes with one master material. Using a single material keeps it simple, unified across your meshes, and keeps overhead down.

It’s VERY cheap to send 1 mesh + a list of Transforms to the GPU. It can draw that mesh many many times, use the same material (which can have logic to make each instance somewhat different) and keep a low overhead.

ref - UE4 Optimization: Instancing - YouTube

BTW, SotC is easily in my best-10 list of favorite games. Good inspiration!

It’s a PS4 game locked at either 30FPS or 1080p
You can probably do whatever you want with the scene and tris counts on a PS5 given those 2 parameters alone.

Is it Dynamically lit or Static?
From the gameplay trailer it looks like a static scene where the light is constant. (was it PS4 or PS3 originally?)
So yes you need good UVs and a baking setup.

Regardless of it all.
It’s surely made up of different parts.
And the textures are possibly managed with a world aligned height.
You can refer to videos like this for some simple techniques to keep stuff looking constant.