What is the best way to plan landscapes and how big can i make them?

Hey guys,

i recently started to work on the 3D Part of the game and thought about planing my world.
Several questions came to my mind.

  1. Can i merge two landscapes at one edge so that i can add more landscapes over time?
  2. How big can i make a map before i have to think about performance?
  3. Is it better to build a city and than add the landscape or add the landscape and build a city later?

My game is an open world survival crafting game which you can play with 1 to maybe 16 players.
It should be one big world and i don’t know if i need to split the world into a few worlds that are loaded if you want to go there or if i can just make it seemless.
Do i have to use this “LevelStreaming” thing or is that not suitable for multiplayer?

Hello eXi,

i made a landscape i believe was 3000x3000 and when i tried to rebuild lights it crashed my PC after a few. what i would suggest if it fits your setting is to make islands of some kind and then use water to connect them. that way you reduce the amount of terrain for building. just an idea.

as far as connecting landscapes seamlessly i believe you would have to do procedural generation. From my understanding the Unreal Engine cannot generate Colliers at run time so that would mean that your initial landscape wouldn’t hold your player for example. you would just fall through.

One thing to look into would be to separate your Large world idea into sections and then have everything in sections at certain distances from the player not be visible so they wont be rendered. and once the player gets a preset distance from a section/s they become visible. the downside is would be that you will have to create EVERYTHING in your world manually.

I don’t want to generate something at runtime.
The 2 options are, making a really big landscape
like 3000x3000 or make multiple small ones and connect them.
And than the question is, how to connect them.

There is no option to merge vertices of landscapes so i guess you
would need to find areas which can’t be seen, like mountains or
areas that can be covered by a mesh like a bridge or just rocks.

Hm, yes, thanks,
it just doesn’t feel good working with such a large area
if i only create the world part for part.
So i need to modify the terrain only a small area and than with the next part.
Hmpf, is there a free version of a hightmap generator?
I only read about the world machine thing or so and i won’t spent 100$ for it at the moment :confused:

According to The Documentation, i don’t see a way to merge landscapes but you shouldn’t have to due to the ability of creating up to 8192x8192 heightmaps.
Here is the Documentation!

here is an example of a 8192x8192 map Here. I may be wrong but i believe this to be so. I will see if i can find any Generators

Here we go I just tested it out and it works really well for being free! Program

Thank you (: i will test it in the future.

I would appproach this problem as generating a number of smaller worlds/levels (say, 500x500 meters each) and then load multiple of them using level streaming. Specifically, I would design view distances etc to not require viewing across the entire map, so I can unload the further-away level pieces.

Here’s a link for level streaming: A new, community-hosted Unreal Engine Wiki - Announcements - Unreal Engine Forums
Here’s a Youtube video: Unreal Engine 4 - Introduction to Level Streaming - YouTube

Each sub-level block would have its own landscape instance.

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I know what level streaming is, but the problem persists.
If i have a town that is one map and i would make the outside (lets say a forest) in another map and only load it, when the player leaves the town, i would still need to connect the two landscape brushs if i dont want to have a loading screen. And since the world isn’t THAT big, i don’t want to have loading screens at all.
I just want to know how i could easily merge the ladscape pieces.

For example the edge of the city entrance. A big wooden gate that is a bit open. Here ends the town and i would load (or stream) the forest as soon as the player reaches a certain point, how would i make the transition between the two landscape floors? They would need to be at the exact same height.
That’s why i ask if there is a method to merge them at these edges or if i need to overlay something. Maybe a small third landscape which is a bit curved and stuck in each landscape or a mesh where the edges of the landscapes go into.

I see – no, I know of no way of doing that. If I were to hack that, I’d probably try to build geometry along the edges, and then match the separate level blocks to the geometry – ditches, mountain cliffs, city walls, hedges, … can all be built as large-scale geometry in 3ds Max or whatever, and placed first, and then the level would have to be artfully sculpted to match.

Yop, that’s what i thought. So i need to think about realistic transitions between 2 brushs. As you mentioned, there are several props to use.

Maybe i open a request for a method to merge 2 brushs.

I read last night that the landscape is a bunch of section connected by vectors. There might be a way you can attach the vectors from multiple landscapes and in turn it should seamlessly match the edges. If this is so you would be able to do your world section by section instead of All at one time.

That’s what i first thought. Like you would do with a plane in a 3D model programm or the displacements in the source engine.

Just bringing the edge vertices or vectors to the same height. But as long as this isn’t possible to do automaticly, i will work around. Writing a script for this is a bit to much work right now ^^

Did you find an answer ?
I have the same issue.

Did you find a solution ? Please share.