WorldMachine + UE4: Full Workflow
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WorldMachine + UE4: Full Workflow
24 February, 2017
Opinion
Ruslan Nazirov showed how you can create a very pretty landscape in World Machine and import it into Unreal Engine 4. Ruslan started working with Unreal Engine only a year ago, but he’s already showing some fantastic results.

Landscape creation workflow for UE4.

1.Create required landscape in World Machine. I’m using GeoGlyph macro library to speed up the whole process of landscape development.

2. Create required height maps for landscape layers. You can use default erosion outputs, like Flow, Wear, Deposition maps. Or you can use some external macroses, like ReFlow from GeoGlyph. Then you need to connect these maps to Splat Converter to enforce proper splat map weighting.

3.In this stage, you can start colorizing your landscape to get an idea of material distribution on the landscape. You can also start searching for proper textures for your landscape in this stage because in UE4 instead of plain colors you should use them.

4. Next, you need to export heightmaps for landscape and for your layers (you will use them to get proper material distribution on the landscape in UE4).

5. After that, you should create a proper material for landscape in UE4. It’s a complex thing and I’ll try to give some advice on it. First, you should use different tiling values for textures which should be based on camera distance. In this case, distant areas of the landscape will use stretched versions of textures to prevent visible repeating of textures.

6. Landscape material usually contains multiple layers and you should create a definition for each one. You can do a simple material setup for tests, like this one.

7. Repeat this for each layer and use Landscape Layer Blend node to mix them into one.

8.You can enhance your layers’ setup with more parameters and use proper Ambient Occlusion, Roughness and Displacement maps to add more details to your landscape.

9. You can use distance-based tessellation to drastically increase performance when you’re using a displacement map. Use the code below for tessellation multiplier input. Keep in mind that you also should disable adaptive tessellation and crack free displacement checkboxes in material parameters.

10. Instead of painting grass manually, you can use one of the exported layers from World Machine. To do this, you should use Grass node and populate it with your layer sample (use the same name like in landscape layer blend node). Also, you need to create Landscape Grass Type asset to setup parameters for your grass, like density, size, etc. Basically, you can use this thing not only for grass but for rocks, trees or other objects on the landscape.

11. When your landscape material is ready, it’s time to import your landscape. Open Landscape tab in modes window. Select import from file. Select your landscape material. Select height map for landscape, which you created in World Machine. Create Layer Info for each layer (Weight-Blended Layer). And for each layer info select proper layer map, which you made in WM. You can adjust Scale for your landscape if required. After all of these actions click import and you will get a landscape with your created material.

12. After that, you can start adding object and details to your landscape and create lighting and post-process setups. There are many other things, which you probably will need to do for your landscape. For example, it’s a good idea to make distant low-poly landscape meshes to extend visual borders of your landscape. Keep experimenting and you will achieve required result. I hope you’ve found some useful information here, which will help you to make your own worlds with UE4.

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max3d2@aol.com
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max3d2@aol.com

Beautiful! Distance Scale is an issue. Maybe I am not doing it right! The mountains look really good from a distance but when you approach them your character seems about 8 times the size of King Kong!

Jeff
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Jeff

I just based my landscape material on this. I just wish I could exactly figure out what is going on with normals, ao and displacement here.

Umut Piynar
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Umut Piynar

I wish there is a tutorial.

derjyn@gmail.com
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derjyn@gmail.com

@ J.J – “1e+04” is a scientific notation/number. You can convert these numbers to “regular” numbers, using a tool like: http://www.easysurf.cc/scintd.htm

For your reference, that number is 10,000 😉

onibodebest@hotmail.com
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onibodebest@hotmail.com

so where will I plug the tessellation node into?

Jakob Skøt Nielsen
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Jakob Skøt Nielsen

Hi, Does anyone know where to find this macro “Basic Renderer”? I can’t find it in Geoglyphs library..
Thanks

derjyn@gmail.com
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derjyn@gmail.com

I love World Machine… However, not everyone has the lump of cash laying around for the GeoGlyph macro library. I had to save up for a long time to get a WM license, and now the trend seems to be moving to GeoGlyph macro usage, rather than WM exclusively. I wish article, tutorial, etc titles would start being called “GeoGlyph + UE4”, haha…

J.J
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J.J

The “1e+04” is a rather odd one, not sure how to add that into a parameter as all I can do is change the Default Value in the material expression :/

Space Person
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Space Person

@Bassam 83 – World Machine sculpts the terrain using erosion algorithms and other techniques to create realistic looking terrain, both the heightmap and texture. To do the same by hand in UE4 would be nearly impossible and it would take a lot longer (years, as opposed to half a day twiddling with World Machine).

Bassam 83
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Bassam 83

Thanks for sharing useful tips , help me a lot for my landscape materials , but I’m a bit confused on what exactly did world machine do , If I could use UE4 default landscape sculpture pretty handy , do I still need world machine , what’s the different between the two of them ?