What landscape do you have in mind? Is it a hilly Scotland-like patch of land or a valley crossed by a snow-fed river? Are there steep mountains or a towering pine forest in the background? Whatever layout you choose, the following tools will assist you in creating natural environments in UE4 efficiently.
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Ultimate River Tool by VEA Games lets you easily add rivers and water cascades to your scene. It will take care of the flow-map UV warping and buoyancy based on the spline you make. The package also includes water shaders with distortion and caustics, blueprints for wetness and exponential fog, a sample scene, and a bunch of realistic assets: grass, different trees and bushes, flowers, stones, and more.
Landscape Auto Material by VEA Games makes dreams of auto painting come true. While you draw topology of your environment either by hand or with masks in World Machine, LAM will smartly use appropriate material layers. It supports triplanar mapping (eliminates the texture stretching at vertical sides), height-mask blending, tessellation, and more, plus also includes ready-made assets just like Ultimate River Tool.
This is what Lincoln says about his Master Material:
After looking online to see what there was out there for materials in UE4, I came to the conclusion that there just isn’t really that much. You can buy textures, you can buy material functions that help you make your own materials, you can buy packs of assets that have their own master materials (with next to no explanation as to how to properly use them), but you can’t just buy a Master Shader that has all of the functions you want to be built into it, all in a tight little bundle that’s easy to use, and quick to set up.
Using the material editor in UE4 can be really complicated. Especially for those who are just getting started with the program, or those without a background in tech-art, or programming. I’d imagine that trying to decipher some of those spaghetti noodles can seem as daunting as translating ancient hieroglyphics!
The whole purpose of the Master Material pack was to remove that element of complication; to empower the average user with the same shader functions as any AAA game-studio.
Procedural Landscape Ecosystem for UE4 by Gokhan Karadayi is a large pack that contains 257 meshes for different types of forests, meadows, slopes, roads, and more. PLE allows populating scenes with natural elements on the go without spending too much time on separate assets. Looking for man-made props like traffic signs, electricity poles, etc. that can be met in the countryside every now and then? PLE also has it.
EasySky by Ron Kamphuis is a single blueprint that will control the skybox of your level. It works right out of the box as well as offers the users various parameters for tweaking. EasySky has a few customizable features like day/night cycle, dynamic clouds, sun/moon, fog, and atmospheric light. Besides that, the tool is performance-friendly since it has been designed to fit different platforms including mobile. If you're interested in a detailed breakdown and general information about skybox production, check out our recent interview with Ron here.