Looking for tips designing a massive landscape
I'm working on a flight simulator type game that takes place on a large island. The island is about 55 kilometers wide. Using the default world_max, I'm assuming that using world composition this will mean about 11 levels across. I think I understand the mechanics of getting this together, but I am at a loss on certain aspects of this project. First off, my island has already been designed, and I have a 8192x8192 heightmap. I'm not sure that this is going to be enough detail, though. The nature of the game is low flying, so the terrain will often be very close as the player zips through canyons and between trees.Higher altitudes will also be possible, though, so visibility of the entire island will be required. So I guess I'm curious how to assemble this island in the editor. Also, I'm not sure how water will work. With such a huge area, would a plane with a water material suffice, or am I going to have to get more creative? I'd like the water to look good when close, but still perform well. The player should be able to swim in the ocean, as well. I know that's as simple as a swimming volume, but I wanted to be sure it was known that proximity to everything will be as if the game was a third person action game, not a typical flight sim.
asked Nov 25 '14 at 06:24 PM in Using UE4
In order to make a large open world game like this, you need to take into account all of the variables you want to be strong and apparent. This in turn send the visual message to the player you desire in order to create strong immersive environment and game. If you already have your map built then that is great, but keep in mind building your iterations with a map of this size will take a very long time unless you can split it up into sections.
The first thing you want to tackle is the textures and materials you want your island to have. For example, rocks, sand, grass, etc. The next part is filling your environment with foliage like trees, bushes, and other meshes. For the grass that will be seen when you are on the ground, you will not need to render these foliage meshes when in the air. The most important thing in your case would be to have Level Of Details for every material so when you are far away from the object it is not trying to render your assets with full resolution textures. This will save your graphics and overall processing so it can be allocated elsewhere.
As for the water, you will also want to have Levels of Detail (LOD's), if your island will be surrounded by a plane. I actually wrote a tutorial and posted it on the Wiki on how to create a Water Shader which has also has the actual material editor set-up pasted into a notepad document. There is also a Swimmable Water Volume tutorial linked at the bottom. This should give you enough information to get started with creating your open world. Keep in mind, it takes large teams to optimize something like this and usually starting small and expanding on your core concepts can yield better results.
Water Shader Tutorial https://wiki.unrealengine.com/Water_Shader_Tutorial
Swimmable Water Volume https://wiki.unrealengine.com/Swimmable_Water_Volume_Tutorial
answered Nov 25 '14 at 06:54 PM
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