First of all, I’m no programmer so I don’t know what I’m talking about.
We’re in dire need of a fairly small engine feature that Epic once said they might implement but in the last stream claimed they had no idea what we were talking about so I guess we’ll have to find a way of implementing it ourselves.
What we need is any way of randomly selecting a mesh from a list upon spawning a mesh using Foliage Types (either by hand painting with Foliage Mode or procedurally with Procedural Foliage Tool).
Keep in mind that I am NOT asking to instance different meshes, I know that’s not doable and for some reason that’s what people assume when I ask about this even though I never used the word instance.
The reason we need this is that currently you can make clusters, or groups of meshes that spawn close together using steps under the “Clustering” category in Foliage Types, but it can only consist of one mesh.
This is a great feature but with the limitation of a single mesh it looks rather bland most of the time.
Example: We have 3 different versions of Plant X, (PlantX_01, PlantX_02 and PlantX_03), 3 different meshes that are of different “ages” of this plant. This plant usually grows in groups in nature as it releases it’s seeds within a few meters of the plant and isn’t spread by either wind or animals.
We spawn clusters/groups of lets say ten Plant X, but due to the limitation of only 1 mesh per Foliage Type, we end up with a few clusters from Foliage Type 1 consisting of **ten **PlantX_01. Then Foliage Type 2 spawn a couple of clusters of **ten **PlantX_02 and Foliage Type 3 spawns clusters of **ten **PlantX_03.
So we get a bunch of clusters, but they all only contain one of the three versions of Plant X. This looks very repetitive and dull and not realistic at all.
Epic did talk during the procedural foliage stream about having a feature for having different “ages” of plants in the same foliage type and the further away from the center of a cluster the “younger” meshes would spawn. But in the last stream they claim they have no idea what we we’re talking about and asked “Who would want a feature like that?” so we’re stuck.
Since Epic won’t be doing it we’d settle for the simplest implementation of something like this that we can. Simply randomly spawn one of a list of meshes with a single Foliage Type. We’d be okay with not having different “ages” as that would complicate things I guess. We want to add as many meshes as we want to a Foliage Type and then have that Foliage Type randomly select one every time it spawns a mesh.
So, I am NOT asking to instance different meshes. We simply want a single Foliage Type to be able to randomly spawn meshes from a list.
Then every PlantX_01 will be instanced together, PlantX_02 will be instanced separately together and PlantX_03 will be a third bunch of instanced meshes, they will just spawn from the same Foliage Type, not instance different meshes.
I hope I explained it so it’s understandable.
Could something like this be implemented?