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!
3d magician Wiktor Öhman recorded a nice tutorial, showing how you can build an outstanding environment with Megascans assets. It’s insane.
You’ve probably seen a nice little video, where MAWI guys showed how you can build a Redwood Forest in a couple of seconds. Well, guys from Quixel took a more thorough approach and recorded a video, showing the way to build a natural environment in just under an hour. All the assets in this project are taken entirely out of the Megascans library.
Wiktor showed a simple landscape generation in Maya. A couple of planes and primitives. If you want to go ‘full loco’, you can always do some more stuff with World Machine or mess around with UE4 landscape tools. Then he went to apply the vertex landscape material to the scene (everything is set up in UE4). Then he added some grass, sand. It’s all pretty streamlined but looks gorgeous.
After the main setup is ready he adds all the rocks, trunks, boulders and all the other stuff. Then comes grass and trees and UE4 rendering magic. Obviously, it’s not super easy, guys, but it’s definitely a nice illustration of the approach to environment building. And it’s all real-time!