Landscape Demo Questions

Im going to start creating a landscape scene, and I have a few questions on how the “Landscape Demo” scene that was created.

To start, the landscape itself appears to be one giant static mesh called “Landscape 10”. The material for this appears to be entirely procedural. Was any of the landscape hand painted or is it entirely calculated by the material’s blueprint? I saw a video where it was described that World Builder was created for this, but was any of the texture from World Builder carried over? I do not see a reference to high res mountain facades.

Also, There is a road that runs through the scene. It appears to be created as a separate object from the landscape. How was this road created? It has an icon of a mountain throughout it, but I can not click it and I’m not sure what it is.

Should I invest into World Builder? Or wait for the Kite Landscape update that is coming in a month or so? What is your ideal solution for a small landscape scene for a personal non-profit project?


Edit: I figured out how the road works. It’s a spline on the landscape Manage dropdown. Also, I noticed the “Paint” option on the landscape, is this how it was done for the Landscape demo’s material painting? Basically did the devs import the mesh only from World Builder and hand painted the rocks, grass, and snow?

World Builder = World Machine - a program that generates a greyscale heightmap image you can import into UE4. You import the image into UE4 and modifies the vertices of a Landscape Actor.


-landscape -> was made with world machine and imported into the landscape tool
-textures -> were textures with weight map made in world machine -> they define where which texture should be
-road -> was made with the spline tool -> https://docs.unrealengine/latest/INT/Resources/ContentExamples/Landscapes/1_2/index.html :slight_smile:

With world machine you can create high quality landscapes in a pretty short period of time, but when you are good with the landscape tool, you can also create awesome landscapes with it.

yes, even the engine creators declare defeat about using the landscaping tools :eek:
and I’m pretty sure the landscape in the Kite demo was done with World Machine too

personally I’m a fan of WM myself (bought it long ago at version 1.x, yes before it was cool), but to see mostly everyone using WM instead of the engine landscaping tools is a very strong indicator that the tools aren’t good anymore. and it really feels that way, seeing UE4’s landscape sculpting tools are pretty much the same as UE3’s terrain sculpting tools from 10 years ago
/rant off

for me the sad thing is how WM terrains have made it extensively into the marketplace. everyone is free to buy and sell content the way they see fit and I have no problem with that.
but the thing is a landscape is a very important part of a game’s level and a game’s level needs to be designed with the gameplay in mind, not left to the arbitrary criteria of another artist that knows nothing about that gameplay

Would it not be possible to do a WM terrain and then go in after with default UE4’s landscape sculpting tools, to tweek it to the gameplay requirements?

Yes, that’s possible. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the replies everyone. I’m looking into getting World Machine. Do you guys use the 99 dollar standard version or the 250 professional version. The only real difference I can see is the resolution, but it doesn’t say what that resolution is. Im assuming the standard version isn’t good enough for a 2-5k terrain size huh?

I personally use the basic edition which you can download here: :// :slight_smile:

But -> “The maximum resolution output from the Basic Edition is limited to 513x513 pixels.”

When you are searching for a good and free heightmap generator -> take a look at “terresculptor”

Checking out terresculptor right now, thanks for the feedback on this.

The UE4 landscape tools are great for defining gameplay spaces after you import from WM. You can also reexport the landscape from UE and run maps on it again WM after you have modified it.

Out of interest, I experimented with many ways of generating my 3km x 3km Norman France countryside landscape, and in the end I settle with a terrain out of World Machine, but hand painted it with my landscape material. One of the issues I found with painting via Height/Weight/Slope mapping is that it ties your hands in total creative control. If you’re very keen on scene creation, I’d recommend creating a Landscape Material that acts as a palette, and then hand painting the terrain. I did this largely as you’d paint a real life miniature (bless all my Warhammer days):

  • Consider references and the type of terrain and build an essentials texture list (grass green, grass dead, rocky dirt, worn dirt, sand)
  • Create post-process volume and tweak until you achieve the desired atmosphere (I like to do this before textures, as it alters the color palette).
  • Blend the textures to check colour palette under PPvolume settings
  • When happy, apply base dirt colour to whole terrain, and then paint the rest of the textures according to purpose. This follows a basic natural terrain order (sunbleached grass on highest locations, dark green in lusher locations, etc). The idea is to blend them naturally so that the player does not notice any dramatic shift.

Hope this helps.

you can, but the more you modify the terrain, the less the extra textures that come out of WM (deposition, flow, etc) will match the new topology

like says, you can also re-export it to WM afterwards. this is fine if you only generate the painted layers from WM, but you AFAIK you have to run the erosion again to get the updated depo/flow/etc textures (with with this extra erosion applied it won’t match the topology anymore either)
and anyway to have to go back to WM over and over for any slight change is a workflow killer

I just wish the choice between the UE4 tools and an external terrain tool wouldn’t be so obvious :stuck_out_tongue:

The best way to create game-play friendly landscapes for now is to create a rough landscape with UE4 tools, creating the general shapes and areas for your game-play and then exporting it out of UE4 into Mudbox or zBrush and do whatever sculpting you want (why don’t do the rough shape in Mudbox, zBrush at the first place is because you’d not have a good sense of scale and things usually don’t end up as you want. But in UE4 you can directly walk into every narrow path etc. and it’ll be much more accurate.
From there export it to WM for natural effects, general tweaks and masks. It’s so wrong to just use WM2 (or any other terrain generator) for creating terrains for games without going to that process before double clicking WM2.exe. That’s if you are creating one for yourself of course.

The landscapes on marketplace can’t be really suitable for “any games” unless you’d want to heavily modify them or just create a game based on how the landscape looks or unless the artist who created those cared about making it flexible enough for game-play and you can easily see that by the images. But one advantage of getting those packs is you learn a lot of cool stuff out of it just by looking at how it’s done. There are many games out there with beautiful maps that I’d never use for any games, but still I’d love to pay so I could have a walk through the shaders etc. to learn from it.

Hope that helps.