Workflow for large world composition landscape based of real world data.

So I am in the process of biting off more than I can chew and hope I might be able to get a little advise on more affective mastication.

I am looking at creating a landscape based on a real world location at 40km2. Only about a 20km x 4km strip will be playable. The reason I am importing a terrain so much larger than the playable area is so I have a reference for how the landscape will look in the distance. Once I have figured that out I will replace the distance landscape with much simpler terrain, art, possibly obscure it with fog, see which bits would never be visible to the play anyway etc.

At my disposal I have UE4, Houdini Indie and World Creator 2. I am able to get data on the area from however the terrain data is not great.

Here is the process as I currently see it, though there might be much better options.

  1. Get the data from terrain party.
  2. Import it into wold creator at a 1 to 1 scale of 40km x 40km.
  3. Work into it in depth in world creator using the import as a guide for where there are rivers etc. This will be a fair bit of work but means I will get the geography correct.
  4. Export from World Creator 2 as tiles
  5. Import the tiles into UE4 using world composition.

What I am trying to confirm is if there are better options keeping in mind my intended goals, which are as follows.

1 . would like the distance between locations, river locations etc to all be correct, so I need to be working from an accurate map or imported data etc.
2. As Houdini and World Creator 2 have more sophisticated tools for making great looking landscape I would like to do all of base terrain world outside of UE4.
3. I would like to create some base masks for landspape textures layers so that my landscape starts with some good defaults. For examples cliff sides / banks etc already have a different texture to flat areas, areas with certain elevations have a different texture to areas of lower elevation etc.
4. Once in UE4 I can then make alterations to terrain as I add building, tweaks for performance, to hide certain areas, tweaks for gameplay etc.

This is obviously a pretty broad topic. Does the approach above seem realistic, reasonable, wise? Are there other better options? Any advise from those who have done this, or tried and failed?


Hi, your workflow looks correct but I’m not the world greatest environment artist. If I would ever need to build such a large area I would check this out
Hope this helps a bit.

  1. terrain party is not 1:1 but 20:1 so you have to correct it.

  2. world creator… does it have projections algorithms? If no, then your map will always be wrong. You have to use qgis or a GIS program to transpose the flat data into the correct sphere coordinates for your region.
    3,4,and 5.
    sure. If you started with good height data.

  3. no. The distance without initial projection crrection will automatically be wrong in unreal. Flat distance vs spherical distance. There is a formula for correcting but its nonetheless incorrect as the bigger the terrain the more the distance is wrong.

  4. probably a good idea. At least to save the paint layer masks out for import.

  5. … exactly, so with 2 you can work into automating it via slope angle and rendering out to a flat black/white for export. World creator may be better for it.

  6. wrong re performance. The tile size you import dictates that. You have to pick the largest possible tile size you can afford in order to reduce drawcalls.

Generally speaking go with 8km2 tiles in the second to last configuration options and, since you only have 40km2 to deal with.
thats 5x5 tiles which means performance will be better having only 25 impostors.
if you go with 4km you have 100 impostors - this can work too. Its starts to be bad when you have 500+ impostors to deal with.