Rendering an avalanche

Hi everyone,
I am trying to render a avalanche simulation inside unreal engine. However i am still not sure if i need a real time simulation or an offline simulation that can be rendered in game.
Moreover, simulated data is already available in the form of time series height maps over an area. As my initial approach i am thinking of creating an offline animated mesh using the height field coverage data, and run this animation in game. The mesh surface should also spawn particles that can give an effect of debris and flowing snow.
Here is a couple of reference videos,.

Slab Avalanche - YouTube

I am new to Unreal engine programming and would really appreciate any help on how something like this could be achieved, or any other approach(like using nVidia Gameworks somehow) for that matter.

Thanks, and happy holidays,… :slight_smile:

Is this going to be in playable area or outside of it? Will the player be in the avalanche?

I recently had to create a lava eruption chasing the player effects sequence our game.

My initial thought was to simulate it offline and import it via the Alembic format.
However since no one in the company was familiar with this fluid-simulation workflow, we decided to go it with a different approach. Honestly, I though it wasn`t going to look good.
However, we managed to create a great effect by combining a mesh (with animated textures) and particles.

In your case, I suggest you use the Blueprint Render to Target feature to change the mesh in real time according to the avalanche shape you need. Unreal Engine 4.13 Released! - Unreal Engine

Then, spawn particles around the shape thats influencing the mesh and use a Emitter Initial Location node to make the smoke particles spawn from the particles emitting from the point thats deforming mesh.

Hope you manage to create a great-looking effect! :slight_smile:
As a side-note, you chose a really complicated phenomenon to recreate. :wink:

Good solution from Dan. You could also just do it in matinee/sequencer… depending on how you want it.

This can be in the playable area, however the player would not actually be in the avalanche at any time, he would be blacked out as soon as he hits the avalanche. Instead, there would be bird eye view through which another player can see this in action.

First of all thanks a ton for your help.
I was really bugged out with generating that animated mesh from coverage data, i am going to the render to target approach over the weekend. :slight_smile:

Matinee/sequencer wont really work for us as we would need to generate the effect at runtime, i.e. the heightfield and avalanche coverage can vary depending on the data that the user selects.

Makes total sense. Good luck with your project!

No problem! Glad I could help. :wink:

Hey guys.

Just wondering if you’ve reached anywhere with the avalanche, would really like to see the results .