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Overhanging cliff edge

Good morning to you all, or if it's the afternoon or even for you then greetings to you :)

I'm a new user to UE4 and so far everything I've wanted to be able to do in the engine I can do. Creating terrain is nice and straight forward, textures and materials likewise along with prop handling and building structures.

My big question here is something that may need to be implemented into the engine yet or maybe not I'm unsure. I need to be able to manipulate the faces/ vertices or edges of my terrain so I can create obtuse angles:

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So I'm asking basically is it possible to sculpt or manipulate the mesh itself to create bulging rock faces, inward erosion and caves? OR will I need to create this whole section of the map in my 3D client as a prop and create a low poly collision mesh for it too?

Thank you-


Product Version: UE 4.8
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asked Aug 27 '15 at 07:48 AM in Using UE4

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avatar image Anthony_Attwood Sep 13 '15 at 05:47 PM

Sorry it's been such a long time. Thank you so much for the answers they're very reassuring! I was worried using a static mesh as part of a map might be considered inefficient. I'll devise something clever to make the custom land as seamless as possible with the environment as I can. I've been studying the environments in World of Warcraft from old areas to the latest Warlords of Draenor and I've noticed so many clever and very interesting landscape ideas in there. My favorite area by far is Nagrand and Spires of Arak. If you haven't, I'd look for yourself. Their methods for efficiency are inspiring considering the passion which has gone into the design for the places.

avatar image PeteX Sep 14 '15 at 08:29 AM

Static meshes are fundamental, you should feel free to use them. In fact, it's better to think in terms of your overall graphics 'budget'. If you're targeting a particular video card, it will have various limits, and one of them will be the number of mesh surfaces it can render per frame (without slowing down too much). You can 'spend' those on anything you want, from your landscape to your player character.

I haven't played WoW for some time, but I'd recommend having a look at Elder Scrolls Online. More than other games, I think it tends to be apparent how their landscapes are put together.

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3 answers: sort voted first

Hello Anthony,

So from what you described is that you are attempting to carve out an area in the landscape for the use of a cave or an area where you would expect to see a skull.

It is entirely possible to delete a section of the Landscape which creates a square area in accordance with grid size you used to create your landscape. You can that add a static mesh that you have created in a 3D modeling program. Lastly, you can disguise the entrance with foliage or rocks until you come up with something that is acceptable.

At this time detailed sculpting is not a feature that is supported in UE4. Many other programs like Zbrush/Mudbox/ or another modeling program of your choice can handle this procedure much better than UE4 every could. Developers will sometimes opt to create the entire landscape outside of UE4 and then import it as a static mesh.

You certainly can sculpt the landscape inside of UE4 but it's features are somewhat limited.

Thank you for reporting this, I hope some of this helps better inform you of the features and limitations of the Landscape.


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answered Aug 27 '15 at 08:17 PM

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I don't think you can create overhangs directly, but you can create a hole in your landscape:


Once you have a hole, you can build the cave out of static meshes, which are probably more appropriate than the landscape tools anyway. If you want overhanging grass at the top, that can be a static mesh too.

In practice, you're always going to want some static meshes as part of your landscape. If you want a big rock to control where the player goes, you obviously can't build it with the landscape tool. It needs to be a static mesh. (You might place it in the scene with the landscape tool, depending on your approach, but it's still a static mesh.)

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answered Aug 27 '15 at 10:18 AM

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avatar image Anthony_Attwood Aug 27 '15 at 12:51 PM

I was just pondering away in the kitchen when I'd just realised that I can grab a huge portion of terrain and rotate it vertically. I tried this and as it turns out a piece of terrain is relative to the rest of the terrain it has been rotated away from meaning that no matter what I do there will always be this huge gap.

I'm thinking that I should maybe model the obtuse angled cliff from static mesh and just place it in the scene, my issue with this is the seams from the polygons which cross into one another. I have seen these particular types of seams in many games before but I just wanted a better solution than that.

Thank you for your help PeteX

avatar image PeteX Aug 27 '15 at 02:25 PM

There's no problem having a static mesh that cuts into the landscape, but of course yes it can create a visible seam. I would suggest finding a place where there is a natural break, and switching from landscape to static mesh there.

I think I would put the break at the point where green turns to brown in your diagram (but I would do a little bit of landscape rock, so it's easier to get them overlapping right). The cliff face is going to be angular with many fracture lines where the rock has fallen away. One more fracture line won't show.

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Hey there,

You also could create a new smaller landscape tool, rotate it 90 degrees and use it as a cliff.

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answered May 14 '18 at 03:28 PM

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Malzn Diez
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