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    matching up terrain pieces

    what I was wondering, is how can I match up terrain pieces or maybe slice them into smaller pieces or something to create a decent set of streamed outdoor map that actually fit together?
    I do not want to merge the two terrains into one super terrain, I want their edges to snap together, or possibly just allow me to edit two terrains at once so the terrain verticies stay in the same place.

    to clarify:
    I am working with different levels loaded by a master level.
    each level has a terrain piece (nothing else for the time being)
    master level has a dominant directional light.
    the 4 sub-levels stream properly using the distance method.
    when I edit a terrain piece only that piece's verts move, causing tears between verts
    i'm assuming there is a way to match up the pieces so that I don't have to overlap them and sink one into the other.

    #2
    Export the heightmaps to bitmaps, then do some blending on the edges, then reimport.

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      #3
      or just place them together so they are exactly next to eachother, and use the terrain smooth tool. it's a little tricky but if you go over them it works
      beware though, you'll see seams on your terrain when you're far and LOD kicks in

      I'm also creating a big world with streamed sub-levels, except I have all my terrain in the master level

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        #4
        so Chosker, you say you've got your terrain saved in the master level and i suppose you then have the more detailed objects (houses, etc) in the sublevels? How is this working for you? when I tried creating a terrain chunk of a XL size, the terrain alone was enough to cause my machine to slow. What I had been planning to do was create a large (but VERY low res) terrain piece on the master level, and have the levels the player is close to contain a higher res terrain piece.
        Unless I'm mistaken, this is how many larger games such as Oblivion handle this. thoughts?

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          #5
          also, perhaps you've worked this out yet....
          how do you place the levels in the right spot when you load them into the master level? because what I'm doing now (drag-and-drop the actors in the level with the translate manipulator tool) seems far too clunky and unprofessional a way to do this.

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            #6
            well I myself have a very big terrain. thing is, it isn't too detailed. luckily for me though, I realized I can live with a not-so-high terrain polygon density. I guess a super-big low-detail terrain with smaller high-detail terrain chunks would work, but you could never avoid seams between the two.
            games like Oblivion probably handle this a similar way except with a single terrain and more complex LOD's, but remember those are games that are made and optimized for outdoors, UDK isn't (well not yet anyway).

            when creating a sub-level, I create the level on my master file (content browser - levels tab, level -> new level, set the sub-level as the active one, and just place my level objects (houses, etc) in there, as if they were placed on the master level itself.
            also, I do drag and drop actors into the level, then manually move them into the right place. houses usually need some terrain flattening so the door isn't sunk into the ground, etc.

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              #7
              Large Scale Map Question

              Chosker, since you seem to be the resident expert on this subject, may I ask how large your large terrain model is in unreal units? (With 512k x 512k being the total max level area for a UDK level).

              Are you using more than 1 patch stitched together or one large patch?

              What is your performance like?

              If I can get away with just using a bunch of stitched together terrain meshes (taking advantage of occlusion whenever possible) that would be ton easier than trying to stream terrain meshes using distance level streaming (which sounds like a nightmare waiting to happen).

              Best regards, lsc9x

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                #8
                I'm not the 'resident expert', though sometimes it seems I'm the only large-terrain user that speaks :/
                if I compare my terrain with the full UDK level space, my terrain is half the width, and 1/3 the height, so I'd say roughly 256x170 unreal units.
                I'm using more than 1 patch stitched together, but my seams are always at completely flat areas (underwater). I'm using like 5 patches, the main one is probably some 80% of the full terrain, the other ones are small.
                my performance isn't too great, depends on if I have the ocean at view (slows like hell). I'm still trying to find a way to cull the max distance the terrain is rendered at though, if that's even possible.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Excellent information! Thank you so much.

                  Actually, I think there IS a way to increase performance using something like a either a "fog volume" or a "height fog volume" to occlude your geometry at a distance. I wish I could remember the exact link, but it's somewhere in these forums. Yeah, this is pretty old school (a lot of earlier developers used this trick to speed up frame rates), but is definitely something worth checking out.

                  I'm not sure exactly how it works, but theoretically when the fog occlusion reaches 100%, everything beyond that max view distance is fully occluded, and thus doesn't need to be rendered. I'm pretty sure this is how Blizzard treats "view distance" in World of Warcraft, which is why the greater the view distance in that game (less fog) means you have to have a better computer and video card to render, but you get to see more and see farther.

                  Hope this helps, and thanks again for the info. =)

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                    #10
                    Oh my God, I feel like an *** now. The fog volume comment was in one of your previous posts. =)

                    So, thanks, AGAIN for that information. LOL

                    Peace.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      in other games, the fog is matched with some kind of far clip (which doesn't clip the skybox), but I don't know if UDK does it too.
                      I've tried it in the editor by activating "show occlusion" (or whatever it's called) and I don't see a difference (unlike when you're facing a hill, that you don't see the terrain behind). Thing is, I can't seem to get my fog to be 100% though, even as I turn the density up to ridiculously high numbers, I can't make it be a solid color and still see some of the things on it.

                      anyway glad I could be of help

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                        #12
                        I thought I'd chime in here... I'm working on a large environment, made of 16 sub levels streaming into the master persistant level, taking up the entire available work space. getting them all aligned was not difficult as I made the terrain heightmap in another app(s), then split them into 16 quadrants and imported them into the individual terrains. At the scale i'm working, each level terrain is then 147,456 units apart, and they all line up perfectly. You can even get the textures to align by checking the "use world coordinates" in the terrain material preferences (I think thats where it was, tho i may be mistaken).
                        Then each level is set to load and unload on distance. I plan to model low poly static meshes for LODs for each of the terrains when they are unloaded.
                        This method worked well up until I had added multiple terrain materials. I think at around 5 or 6 materials per terrain I started to get performance drops whenever levels where getting loaded in. That and each terrain was 256x256.
                        I'm reworking everything now trying to get things optimized. I'm down to 1 material for all the terrain, and i have to recut the terrain heightmap down to 128x128 per level, although i'm hoping that i can keep it at 256x256.

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