Large Landscapes, single or tiles?


I’ve only been playing around with UE4 for a few days so I apologize in advance if this is common knowledge.

Importing a .raw file as a single landscape works perfectly and I’ve been having problems getting the tiled import to work correctly (the wiki page ‘WM to UE4 using World Composition’ tutorial doesn’t work, please don’t link me to it), so I’ve been wondering if there’s a performance benefit to using tiled landscapes if all the tiles would be visible/active at the same time (as in a top down “grand strategy”-type style) or if I’ve been wasting my time trying to get tiling/world composition to work?

Thank you for your time.

From what I gather tiled import gives you better performance because of hiding the tiles that are far from the player. If you wan’t them all visible at the same time then there should be much of a difference. But mentioning it’s a top down strategy style, why would you want all the tiles visible at the same time while you only have a small part of it on screen. If you are planning to go far above so when you look down you’d have whole the terrain in view, then I doubt you’d be able to see anything going on on the ground from such a high altitude.

BTW, There has been no note regarding this yet. 4.8 preview came out but still nothing about it. It was supposed to be a 4.8 feature to be able to render really large landscapes with good performance but it’s not in the preview and we don’t know if it will even be there in 4.8 final.

Thanks for the info re: 4.8.

Obviously I would prefer the game not have to deal with/draw the unneeded tiles if the player is zoomed in sufficiently. But I also don’t know how the tiling technology works. E.g., can AI players interact with one another on a tile that the player can’t see and would therefore be unloaded? If not, then it’s a nonstarter. Or is the tiling a purely visual/rendering function?

I’m not sure about that. But for 4.8 (if that feature come with it) your tiles would be automatically using really aggressive LODs, yet keeping a good shape. So tiles aren’t going hidden and they’d still be there in the far distances. So I doubt you’d have any problems there.

There are two different types of LODs available

  1. the standard de-tessellation LOD that you already have access to in current ue4 versions

  2. the whole-level LOD replacement that happens when you tell the editor to bake LOD.

What that 2nd one does is capture the landscape with all the selected buffers, as well as make simplified static meshes for all the meshes in the level. Then you tell it how far you want that LOD to be visible for (most cases you want it to be basically forever).

In terms of how AI handles unstreamed levels that gets pretty tricky. You could keep the AI in a separate level that does not unstream, but if you are saying the AI needs to interact with objects in unstreamed levels that seems like a bad idea. In general special work is required to have a massive amount of distance pawns still active. You could have them go into a state where they do bare minimum work for example. Really depends on the scope of the project and AI needs. is what I’m trying to describe. A, B and C AIs still need to be able to go to war, trade, etc even if the player isn’t on or looking at those tiles. So it sounds like using tiled landscapes wouldn’t be appropriate.

Thanks for the reply RyanB!

I was wondering the same. for me it’s even more tricky because it’s for a multiplayer game
but even if have to keep all landscape tiles loaded at all times, I think I’ll do tiled landscapes anyway. sharing a 500+ MBytes terrain map on a repository with your dev team seems more friendly if it’s split into several files :slight_smile: