Landscape/Terrain obsolete?

I was wondering - and since the demo scene is only composed of megascans assets - if traditional landscapes will become obsolete in UE5.

This is basically a question of how people will create their games in the future.

What do you guys think?
Will you use the UE Terrain tools, or stick to meshes?

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Landscapes will not be removed from UE5, mainly because you still want to import heat/height maps from software like World Creator.

True.
Basically you could generate a Static Mesh from the maps as well and use that (maybe blending materials using vertex colors or UVs?).

I guess that depends what’s faster - Nanite or the terrain system.

Yeah! I also wanna know about this. These terrain softwares allow exporting tiled static meshes as well. So, technically we could use Nanite.

But in the docs, it says Nanite is best for assets we can instantiate more. For terrain tiles, it’s not the case.

What I been thinking with landscape is to use it for rivers and coastlines. And I am loading in a heightmap to use as a guide for placing and mapping out with nanite assets.

Landscapes are faster and easier, I also would like to know how we are supposed to make our terrains now.
I put several landscapes next to each other in a scene with no problem at all, but it’s not possible to sculpt those landscapes seamlessly like we were able to with world composition where all landscapes belonged to the persistent level. Or, at least, I didn’t manage to do it.
I guess we will soon see landscape components artist flood the marketplace with modular landscape elements for all kinds of terrains anyway.


Is this a good hope for your question?

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No, you will always need a landscape system unless you’re working on small scenes with restricted area of movement/view.
How will you fill an 8km² map with only meshes, without holes, with rivers/roads splines, with the possibily to quickly flatten an area to place some building, etc.
Actual landscape system is planned to be replaced with Virtual HeightField Mesh but the work is done on the engine side, you will use it like actual landscapes.

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You can add to your landscape in the manage tab of landscapes and simply add more components.

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The current landscape system is (unfortunately) not deprecated. It’s still (unfortunately) central to the water system but it’s by far the most oudated tool in the engine by this point, constantly crashing, with no proper undo support. I sincerely hope it’ll be addressed in the near future.

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It’s noted that landscapes are currently NOT (yet!) supported w/lumen, likely why one was not included…

Can you recall where you heard that, as I’ve been hoping both that and virtualising LayerInfos (for more precise edit time landscape painting and physics boundaries) were on Epic’s radar. Started going down that track with the code myself but quickly saw it was going to be a nightmare to keep compatible with future updates.

I disagree. Even though better support for water without landscape would be nice, landscape is very quick and easy, and most importantly runs pretty well on all platforms, as its just displacements, and I have never ever had it crash, and undo support does exist. However yes, it definitely needs an update, or a suitable replacement. Voxel system perhaps?

I converted my 4.25 project to UE5 and activated Lumen and it is so much better than the old baked lighting. No patchy shadows, which I was strugglying to overcome despite having the maximum detail on the landscape - all the lighting just worked. And having done all the work I built the project and tested it on an i3-2100 with a GTX1050 and it ran perfectly.

Somehow I completely missed that bullet point. That explains why I’m getting a ton of crashes on every project using Landscapes.

I don’t think landscapes will be obsolete, because it’s always better to have tools in engine to build something other than relying on third party software.

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Is there an official source that Virtual Height Field will replace landscape. The reason I ask it that if you watched the livestream on Nanite the guy did not even remember the name Virtual Height Field, this did not inspire confidence that VHF will be a solution.

Unreal landscapes have been obsolete for years arguably, for anyone who could drop them 100% completely or use Voxels or other techniques instead. Epic just don’t care about this whole area. Every week there are new threads about this, but you can find hundreds more:

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I don’t tend to suffer crashes w/landscapes nor do seem to have a disability w/undo. Been working for me quite well, the only issue I have had is w/tessellation/displacement but that’s been addressed by the Virtual Heightfield.

Performance can still be a bear but from what I read on the roadmap landscapes will get an update, be integrated into Lumen, and with the heightfield, can be very serviceable with spatial-geometry… I don’t see UE5 getting rid of them in any way.

The new world-comp/tile-streaming feature is perfect for landscapes and if they get a full nanite treatment, you can textually-drive a LOT of good looking details… looking forwards to it.

Yes, this is a very old problem with landscape in UE. Far Cry and Assassin’s Creed series and so many other games have, for years, insane large landscape with detailed tessellation, collision on displaced landscape, many material layers with adaptive virtual texturing with complex blending, and everyting running at almost 60 fps ingame on an old GTX1080 in 1080p, while a basic 8km² displaced landcape with 4 material layers is barely able to reach 60fps in 4.26 on the same setup in a scene without any actor.

This is not possible in UE unless you want to burn most common GPUs (Yes, the only meshes on this screen are foliage meshes):

That’s why Epic is not making large open world games except Fortine which has a very stylized art style.
We have some experimental features because they need it for the next versions of Fortine but limited for their own needs, not to compete with 5 years old open world games.
The problem is that you can’t do this kind of games without a landscape mesh that you can sculpt in the editor. As I said, you would lose so much time by making large landscapes with only small static meshes and to check if there is no holes, floating meshes, clipping issues, etc. Even in the Epic demo scene, there’s way too many of them for a commercial game.

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Would be great if UE5 could have some new landscape like the voxel Plug in, something that would allow us to shape the landscape the way we want and at the same time have Heightmap import. Something that would work well with Procedural foliage, and foliage in General. (im sure they are also working on the foliage tec as well)
The landscape system we have now is getting old in did and new some work, special in performance. I’m sure epic will come with something great on its release. :slight_smile:
I feel like Landscape and Foliage are the main reason they have not release UE5 Yet. I’m full of hope for the best!