outdoor environment

Want to start off by saying I love this engine. Though the one area of development it seams to be extremely lacking is the outdoor systems. Yes somethings can be created, rain and snow for example, but it always feels more like a hack or reinventing the wheel for each project.
Outdoor systems should (at least in my opinion) be staple systems in any modern engine, simply because so many games, will utilize these systems in one form or another.

landscape sculpting tools are adequate for smaller maps, these i am happy with. Importing options are about as perfect as I can think. Being able to import weight maps with the terrain is such a time saver and easy to do. and world composition now that is incredible and was much needed.
it is once you have got your landscape into unreal that things become incredibly hard, and trying to track down all the information and tutorials becomes a nightmare. more so if you are a hobbyist.

foliage seams to work ok, though lighting of the plants and trees seams bad.

so some suggestions i hope will be looked at and or developed soon.
landscape system that supports overhangs and shear cliffs, even arcs. currently, the only way i know to achieve this; is to model each separate asset. i figure there has got to be a much better way.

texture your landscape, currently there seams to be 5 or 6 different ways to texture your terrain, yet all of them feel like you are reinventing the wheel with each project. there needs to be better control over your textures, for instance, aligning rock/cliff faces to handle steep slopes. also typically in nature, grass sits on top of dirt, and dirt sits on top of rock, and grass sits on top of sand. currently blending looks more like your fading one material into another, when it should look more like a solid sits on top of another. and of course more layers (texture images) in your terrain material please. I really feel, terrain layers and texturing needs to be overhauled, a whole new system.

next up, atmosphere
proper controllable day/night cycle, rain/snow/wind, clouds, fog, haze and lightning. currently yes, these all exist if you reinvent them for each project. seams to me there is a much better, easier way, and they should be a core component for any modern engine.

and last water features. i know, water features tend to be the one of the more difficult aspects to master, i still hope for a much better system for handling water features, and each should actually be handled differently. lakes and ponds, rivers, and streams, oceans, and coastal waters. not only do they behave differently, but there appearance actually changes with temperature, depth, and lighting.

sorry for my rant, to be honest i am only a hobbyist trying to learn. Just currently these areas feel extremely lacking, and in need of major upgrades. Please remember as a hobbyist, and even some indie developers, time required to track down, and try and learn hacks or work arounds, when many have full time other jobs not related to games or development. it is a daunting to track down information especially these particular areas.

so i am more wondering, are these areas going to be improved upon in the near future? any ideas as to what we can look forward to concerning outdoor environment development.

I would imagine that terrain and foliage will get improved over time. As far as other stuff, those requirements change greatly depending on the game. Not all outdoor games require those systems so they’re not necessarily important enough to have as a standard engine feature. In other cases there can be performance or gameplay requirements that change what approach is used for those systems which makes it harder to develop something that the most people can use. I wouldn’t be surprised to see those types of things on the marketplace though, there’s already a cloud system built for UE4.

Cryengine is the only engine I know that has implemented a half way decent implementation x/y deformation. The solution you should look into is modeling a kit of rocks that can be used to construct a variety of shapes.

It’s actually great that the system is so flexible for a variety of needs. You might be making a single player game that has a small landscape section, someone else might be making a massive landscape. They both have different needs and they are both filled.

Triplanar projection? You can do that already with the world aligned nodes.

You are referring to vertex blending- you should do some research on height maps.

You are not going to like this but you should really learn the current system instead of believing the whole system needs to be overhauled because you don’t understand it.

I don’t really agree with this- you should check out the Hourences tutorials on the weather system he made, it’s pretty ******* cool. And the amount of control you have over fog/scattering/post process volumes is amazing as well.

This I do agree with, only because it is such a staple and is something Epic has already said they are addressing.

Forums & AnswerHub are your friends. Simply ask about the things you had questions about.

If you have any more questions about landscapes, I’ll do my best to answer them.