Training Stream - Getting Started with Landscapes - Jan 17 - Live from Epic HQ!

Creating an environment in UE4 is easy! In this livestream, Andrew Hurley will show you how to start a new landscape and then he’ll walk through the myriad of tools at your disposal. While going through the basics, you can expect to hear a lot of cool tips and tricks to getting more quality out of your scenes. If you’re just getting started with landscape editing or if you are an old pro who is looking for some new techniques, this is the stream for you!

Part 2: Foliage and Landscape Materials
Tuesday, January 17th @ 2:00PM ET Countdown]


Andrew Hurley - Engine Support Technician - @DesignHurley](
Alexander Paschall - Community Manager - @UnrealAlexander](

**The resources Andrew used on the stream: DOWNLOAD
Feel free to ask any questions on the topic in the thread below, and remember, while we try to give attention to all inquiries, it’s not always possible to answer everyone’s questions as they come up. This is especially true for off-topic requests, as it’s rather likely that we don’t have the appropriate person around to answer. Thanks!


oh… sounds great!

can never know too much about UE4 landscapes!
and landscapes are such a huge subject and so much you can do with them!

should be a great stream! looking forward to it! thanks! :cool:

Can’t wait!:cool:

I know this question has been asked numerous times before (and youre all probably tired of hearing it asked), but are there “official” plans to have the terrain be editable at runtime. For instance having it flatten out under a placed building in an RTS, or having an explosion that “dents” the area around it instead of applying a flat 2D sprite to the surface.

That is quite the feature request, and having a landscape with destructible properties built into the system would be quite the feature! I don’t forsee that becoming an integrated feature in the near future, but if I were to give you an alternative solution to the sprite route you mentioned, it would be to use mesh decals, regular decals, and a serious of replacement meshes that can be used as destructible meshes. Run a line trace at the hit location, spawn the mesh, make it explode, place decal. I would also do this within code, as it would be faster to step through which ultimately makes the function better.

Best of luck!

Looking forward to sharing with you guys some of the tips and tricks I use when creating and working with landscapes! Let me know if you have questions and I will do my best to find the right answer!

Excellent topic!

I’m new to UE4 and one of the hardest things to grasp about the engine is how all the different tools fit together.

I would really appreciate it if you guys can cover optimization tips for getting your landscape looking good while still running smoothly! Another request would be to please explain (and compare) the “cost” of the various features like LPVs and distance field shadows etc. When should you use one over the other? If I had to “cut corners” to improve performance, which features should I cut to still keep fidelity high??

Thank you so much!

My question would be … a terrain with mountains as it hides the triangles of everything behind? Because in wireframe mode you see “everything” … the terrain does not hide that?

In udk you could use volumes to hide the meshes and you could fill the stage hiding triangles … some way to ue4 for the stage - terrain many triangles behind things?

(Use traductor sorry)

Q1: Landscape instancing:
Is there a way to clone landscapes to avoid bloating the Map file size (slow loading / saving etc)?
i.e. Why do 10 identical landscapes in a level, each 30MB in size, push up the file size by 300 MB.

Q2: Limits of Deformations:
Limits of aggressively deforming landscapes: imagine a ‘dense forest’ of cave-like Stalagmites.
What kinds of problems might that lead to: Collision / Rendering Performance / other catches?


It would be great if you could address (at least some of) the following:

  • techniques to prevent texture tiling (especially at a distance)
  • landscape tesselation (4.13 had improvements in this area)
  • how to get proper blending of meshes with the landscape layers
  • height blending between landscape layers
  • terrain holes (i.e. making caves)
  • world space UV mapping applied to landscape (with performance in mind)
  • possible techniques for “evolving” terrains (like covering with leaves or snow dynamically)

i would second eyoli excellents questions especially the tiling one , and add this one :

  • techniques to make very large seamless paged terrain with large view distance .
    like in flight sims type games/apps for example

Hi Epic Guys ! Very need this topic!))question-are any chance …converting created terrain in anoder 3D aplication geometry to Landscape Terrain inside UE ? (my english bad-sorry):slight_smile:

Question 1: So it sounds like that could be a bug you are trying to report and not as much a question. However, if a single landscape (no context as to the size and overall resolution) is 30 MB and when you create 10 of them it moves up to 300 MB, that seems expected. 30 x 10 = 300 so the “bloating” you are reporting seems to be expected. Whether they are identical or not, they will still occupy the same amount of memory as their baseline cost. If you set your texture samplers to ‘Shared:Wrap’ that can reduces the overhead by allowing your samplers to be shared throughout the landscape’s material, which ultimately reduces texture memory consumption.

Question 2: This would be better handled by using static meshes instead of landscapes. Some of the problems you would run into if you attempted to use a landscape would be the inaccuracies of collision, as stalagmites have steep vertical and aggressive changes. If you were to use World Position Offset and/or Displacement, that could further complicate things as your collision would need to bake the offset to be accurate.

Hope this helped!

That depends on the program you are exporting from, but for Terrain generators like World Machine, you would actually export your terrain as a tiled heightmap. You can then import these tiles and use World Composition to arrange each tile to match up with one another. If you were trying to work with a smaller landscape, then you can simply import a heightmap and sculpt on top of that mesh itself. Once it has been imported and essentially stamped as a Landscape actor, it can be sculpted and painted on just like a regular landscape actor.


I will cover almost all of these topics to some measure, aside from the last request. That is a more advanced process and requires blueprints and possibly code to implement.

So, I have no real idea what I’m talking about on this because I’m not a programmer. However. There’s a plug-in component for Rhino’s Grasshopper addin called Kangaroo. This runs physics calculations on meshes to generate proper solutions to tensile geometries like catenary curves and the like… Being that UE4 uses visual scripting like grasshopper does I was just reminded of it. Maybe there’s a logical bridge between those programs that would assist in creating such a thing. Thoughts?

It will be about paint materials alpha, masked, and resolution textures - high? and number or texture-samples,etc?

i would be interested in importing/using DEM’s or maps/textures from NASA to create landscapes, places like Mars, Ceres, Vista :- yes i know most of these might be “low res” but any tips would be very useful cheers :slight_smile:

Adding tens-of-thousands of Static Meshes to a map (not ISM / HISM) doesn’t increase file-size much.
Imagine a map with a 1000 landscapes. In the future, any plans to offer Landscape Instancing features?

Had a gut feeling that might be the case… Thanks for confirming and for the overall advice…

Answers well in advance of the broadcast? … Definitely… Cheers Andrew :slight_smile:

+1 to runtime editable terrain, be it with either blueprints (impossible still if i’m not wrong) or in C++ codes. Like allowing the use/calling of sculpt tools features during runtime.
From what I’ve read somewhere, an alternative to enable ourselves to edit the terrain is by removing the “#if WITH_EDITOR” from the engine source code, I could be wrong and I’m not skilled yet to mess around with the engine.