If you go for Unity and Biomes, as you wrote in your article, please do support Vegetation Studio Pro. Your work is awesome, can't wait to see it on the store.
Great breakdown of the process and optimization, thanks for sharing.
This article just not only provides great tools for level design. It's also useful vocabulary to express ideas with our team. https://xbeasts.blogspot.com/2018/12/Remove-Wall-Decals.html
Joe Garth has recently launched Brushify, a terrain library with 8k res meshes and terrain Alpha brushes that will allow you to craft high-quality landscapes directly in UE4. Dig in!
What is Brushify.io?
Brushify is a next-generation terrain library. It contains high-resolution terrain created from real-world data. Terrain packs are available as modular environment packs for Unreal Engine 4 and source assets are available on Gumroad and Sketchfab. They come with unique 3D mountains that can be used to build 3D landscapes and game levels quickly and effectively.
Mountains come as both 3D objects for placement as background meshes, but also as sculpting brushes for the terrain. This means you can add huge amounts of detail in real-time.
The Unreal Engine 4 packs also come with examples of how geometry can be distributed procedurally. In this case, the grasslands pack has a procedural spawner that adds rocks to slopes in the level.
How can it be used?
Brushify packs are built to be used as the basis for environment creation in an AAA game. All shaders and assets are highly optimized. Also, only the core features that are absolutely necessary to create the visuals are included. A major problem with many art packs for UE4 is that they contain overcomplicated shaders and blueprints that ruin performance while adding very little visually. It can also be extremely hard for other developers to understand these shaders. Brushify packs aim for a more minimalistic approach, giving a solid basis from which developers can add any extra features they need.
What’s the advantage of brushes over importing full terrains?
The main advantage here is that the developer can quickly craft terrain directly in UE4. If you’re running along in the editor and see something you want to change, you can just jump out of the game and immediately modify the terrain or background without having to touch world machine or another tool.
How do you use these alpha brushes in UE4?
You can load the alpha brushes from the Landscape tab. Just choose sculpt brush, change the circle to alpha, then select the alpha brush you want to use.
How are these alpha brushes and meshes created?
The brushes are created using real-world point cloud data from aerial LIDAR captures.
This data is extremely high resolution (<50cm). Areas of terrain are selected and processed into geometry.
Any unwanted noise from objects such as trees is removed with custom world machine macros.
The resulting data is then converted into height maps where it undergoes a complex texturization process in world machine. This is necessary as real-world lighting is captured with any RGB LIDAR data. Splatmaps are calculated from an angle, slope, height, and flow maps are generated to add natural details to the texture.
Once textured, the heightmaps can then be converted to alpha brushes, and ultimately game resolution meshes.
A finished brush is ready to be placed or sculpted in Unreal Engine 4.
Below you can find some example scenes created with Brushify.
I hope you found this article informative. If you have any questions about Brushify feel free to get in touch!