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Real life location map sizing

Hi all,
I really cant find much about the subject at hand, so I wanted to compare notes with some of you. Maybe get some help in getting my ideas straight.

the objective: importing a real world location into UE4 to use as a map. (Easy enough to do).

the thinking: how big past my game area do I need to have in game?

the reason: it is important in my case to provide the closest possible fidelity to the real thing.

Ideally, if you stand in the same place in game vs IRL you should be able to see very similar things when it comes to surrounding mountains/hills rivers etc.

I tried rather quickly to generate a 2km squared play area based on where I live, and extending the width of the gathered height map 5km past the 2km edge (normal view sight before earth curves).

This generated a significant size map area that however is still missing key elements visible at my horizon irl. Most of which is obviously not intended to even be playable.

To get those missing mountains into view I would have to literally extend the area past the next chain of mountains, and even further to actually include the peak behind the first range that is visible.

at this point I’m starting to really wonder about performance load/impact and questioning what I’m doing…

The mountain ranges have in the past been just simple sprites. Afterall they are literally decor and have no real need to be part of a playable area. Now if the game had no need to be a 1:1 realistic copy, this would be simply fixed by popping in any random mountain range Sprite… however, that not being my situation, I’m a bit confused on how to proceed.

There is no question that taking images of the horizon and using those would be a far lighter way to obtain my end goal in theory, but I have a little difficulty wrapping my head around the technical requirements for this to be any accurate.
The size of the image for instance? What if I introduce scopes into the game? Wont that far away Sprite become pixelated when zoomed in?

I’m particularly interested in pushing the envelope so to speak. Making this and any map as accurate as I can.
I’m wondering if anyone has done something similar before.
And most importantly in wondering if there are some equations or formulas to use to define how big a lot of terrain I should get when I want to preserve the peripheral geometry of a surrounding region.
this would probably involve looking at surrounding height data and making some calculation to determine what is visible or not based on matching elevations maybe… hum…

You could always use a ring of low poly mountains around the terrain, or even bake the mountains into the skybox. Generally its best to layer those kinds of elements, using geometry, sprites, and including details in the skybox.

This website can generate a pretty good estimate of what you can see. https://www.heywhatsthat.com/ based off locations and elevations, you have to submit custom requests and it can take a minute

Sweet! That basically performs the calculations I was thinking I would need to do myself! :slight_smile:
Thanks for the link.

I agree that including the really far away stuff as a Sprite is probably the best way to go about performance rather then even low poly terrain.
Particularly so in my case scenario since you are really not allowed to travel past a certain portion of the play area. So everything else is basically “fluff”.

The only case scenario I can see where I might need stuff to actually be a low poly mesh instead of a Sprite is if I create some sort of sky camera that can somewhat fly around.
Or possibly the night/day cycle since a Sprite might be noticable even if corractly shaded given the light angle of the Sprite it self.

thanks again though, heywhatsthat.com gives me a somewhat realistic idea of how big my map is going to have to be :wink: