Weekly Digest: UE4 Tools for Landscapes

Weekly Digest: UE4 Tools for Landscapes

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.

Layout

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.

Materials

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.

UE4 Environment Prop Master Materials by Lincoln Hughes is another valuable helper when it comes to texturing. Basically, this is an all-in-one shader with lots of functions designed to assist you in creating different materials in UE4.

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.

Assets

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. 

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Sky

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.

 

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Comments 1

  • Delta Three-Eight

    These are very expensive tools and some of them not optimized well enough (like LAM)  or just an overkill (like EasySky).

    Brushify and Ultra Dynamic Sky for the win, IMO.

    0

    Delta Three-Eight

    ·a month ago·

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