Vegetation Blueprint

One of the things that’s always annoyed me about game engines are the ways in which vegetation has to be handled by some other application. For those who can afford to work at a commercial studio there’s SpeedTree’s per-title, per platform which is over $10,000; then for indies there are some free programs, but there are extremely unfriendly and, most of the time, you find yourself having to fix the topology in 3ds Max or Maya before they are suitable for import.

What I propose is an extension of the existing Foliage tab to generate random iterations of vegetation from libraries. Initially, a simple set of sliders with a preview window could handle a collection of parts originating from a composite mesh, allowing users to select from a list of possible trunk/branch options and then apply flowers. In later versions, however, more advanced Blueprints could be used to control a host of aspects – the height of a trunk, the number/length of branches and sub-branches, the number of flowers and the placement of them on each branch, flower withering FX, exposure to wind, collision FX, and so on – to provide a fully interactive system for developers…

Hourences has already been building dynamic flower animation with plants according to time-of-day in his Solus game, so perhaps he can assist in the endeavour.

Well then what’s stopping you from attempting to create your own blueprint system? :slight_smile: Solus as a whole is a great example of what can be done with blueprints so learn from it. A tool to procedurally generate vegetation is at the same level as integrating an animation and rigging tool into the engine for me. And moreover, vegetation isn’t used in every game so there is no point for Epic to spend time on creating a whole system like that while you can do it with Blueprints yourself, if your project heavily relies on it. I’m not a great modeler and i dont have a Speedtree license so i know it can be problematic but i wouldnt expect Epic to work on something that has other alternatives already.

Well I’ve only just started using the engine today, so I’m a little out of my depth at the moment. However, if time has been taken in designing a sculpting interface for natural terrain, something to make vegetation procedural would be a beneficial addition for users.

SpeedTree hasn’t announced their licensing plans just yet, but Unity has it for ~$400 AFAIK. That being said, there are definitely more options available than their $10k/game license. Blender even has a sapling plugin for assisted tree creation, Maya has PaintEffects, etc…

The included foliage tool has options for some procedural content; orientation, painting to specific layers, range within defined scale - lots of cool stuff that makes foliage placement pretty **** simple.

I realise I might’ve been a little self-defeatist in my earlier posts, as I’ve been having trouble learning blueprint in the “First Level” videos for a job application I’m doing…

If I do build one, however, it wouldn’t be something where people could export from the engine to other formats. That said, I have done some preliminary brainstorming about how to generate tree structures and “Blossoming Technology”. It just comes down to whether I can do it all without a writing a single line of C++ code :o

@Havok: I’ve been told what SpeedTree’s plans are for indie teams, though can only say they are not ready for implementation.