Hi Elliott, This is a great breakdown and very generous in sharing your process and insights, you came a long way from the vending machine days!
Are you planning on releasing the UE4 project to the public? Or only builds? I'd love to play around with it in the editor if possible!
If you are working with open world projects, trying to create huge environments with mountains, valleys, lakes, forests, you should definitely check out Auto Terrain Texturer for UE4, which recently got updated to version 2.0. It’s a small handy tool, that lets you create wonderful detailed locations, filled with the necessary kind of materials. It’s fast, easy to use and really powerful.
Here’s a short description of the updates from the developer:
- Modulated the texture into material functions.
Fixed issues with the slope selections.
Fixed the masking calculation errors when masking the beach area from the grass mask.
Added Dynamic and Manual Texturing defaults.
- Currently Grass/Soil/CliffFalloff/Cliff/Beach/Snow are dynamically calculated and textured. In addition to this I have added nodes for Soil/Grass/Trail textures. – Note – Without soil the texture meets the texture sampling limit with 14/16. Adding Trail causes you to go over the sampling limit. 1 from the new mask that is added from adding a new texture to the terrain painter and 2 for the normal and diffuse texture used in the terrain material. The trail material is set to shared wrap for both the diffuse and the normal to go past the limit of the terrain sample. So in the end the current texture should be at 15/16 after you have painted the terrain with all manual textures.
Notes 1: I have noticed that some things act funny when using this for the first time. When you initally open the Grass or the Forest Cover Grass Type if I change any parameter the editor will crash. The reason behind this is unknown and the error popup links the issue to an array read error in the engine so it looks like it is not related to a fault on my side. A work around for this is to simply paint at least once on the terrain with the grass brush this should start populating grass and forest around the area that you are painting. After this save and then change any variable in the grass type node and all of the terrain will then update with the correct type of ground cover.
Note 2: There are no speed tree or kite assets in the released plugin. Everything there-in was created by me with Zbrush/Bitmap to Material 3/3DS Max. That being said I’m no artist so change everything lol.
You can read more about this plugin in this thread on UE4 forums.