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Big terrain map with foliage?

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    Big terrain map with foliage?

    Hey all,

    I've searched all over the Internet for the answer to this question and I just cannot find it anywhere. I've typed in "UDK beginner tutorials, UDK terrain tutorials, UDK foliage tutorials, UDK culling, UDK LOD, etc.".

    Basically, I'm completely new and have been mucking around on UDK since Saturday. I've got to grips with texture painting, making a terrain, making a landscape, creating a lightbox, etc. but now I would love to make some good-looking distant terrain. I checked out the following website and was astounded by the picture at the top:

    I'm also heavily inspired by Midgard on Youtube (see here:

    As you can see from the very beginning of that video, the artist has put trees on the mountains in the distance. I would really love to know how to do that. Does anyone know how it's done? Or whether it has a certain name to it?

    I thought it was as simple as putting down foliage all over the place and UDK would automatically lower the detail the further away you were. How wrong I was! I started painting foliage everywhere and my PC slowed down to a crawl. Oops!

    I then tried culling, but that just hides everything when you walk away.

    I would just like to add some foliage to my landscape, otherwise it's going to be looking very plain. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated - thank you!

    That top picture is most likely heavily leveraging LODs for the grass. The farther meshes are probably just single planes.


      Originally posted by Robsy128 View Post
      I thought it was as simple as putting down foliage all over the place and UDK would automatically lower the detail the further away you were. How wrong I was! I started painting foliage everywhere and my PC slowed down to a crawl. Oops!
      actually it does, but your foliage meshes must have LODs in them


        I'm using the default grass meshes that UDK provides. I've changed the max distance range to something like 10, but the game still lags horribly in large areas - especially when there are a fair few trees around!


          for my distant foliage i use billboard grass... you could probably use billboard trees as well... in the usage of the static mesh engine (double click mesh), on the bottom, is the cpu usage... the smallest of the grass meshes i think was 2.3 whatevers... for my billboard grass it was 0.34... just make a plane in blender (or two at 90* angles), and for the uv use a picture of a tree (with transparancy)... make it blend masked, the diffuse alpha for the opacity mask, and two sided... there is a bit more than that if you want to have the wind blow on it... but its cheap on resourses and might suit your needs...


            It sounds good

            Like I said, I'm completely new to UDK, though. Do any of you guys know of some tutorials for blending masks, etc? I'm just looking for a nice result, similar to the Midgard video I posted above


              blended masks? not sure what you mean... what i was talking about was a setting in the materials editor if you were referencing that... i could walk you through it if you decide to try the billboard tree to see if it works... but i kinda have to have a sunny day cuz i live in a bailing wire and duct tape solar house... its really simple and would only take about, oh, an hour or so depending on how well you move around in blender... if you would like that, go out and find a picture of a tree with a transparancy behind it, and blender (its the one i know)...


                I have no idea how to use blender, but sure - I could give it a go.

                I was playing around with the foliage lighting settings earlier. When I clicked on 'cast dynamic shadows', 'cast static shadows', and something else, the grass went from 3D meshes to 2D that blended with the terrain. Then, when I moved closer, it all came to life again (turned back to 3D). However, when I added a lot of grass to my small map, the performance issues started occuring again. I couldn't see a way to get that effect without those settings ticked, though.

                I would just love to create a good-looking map with okay textures. At the moment, my maps look like something from the 90s - all plain with the odd polygon object here and there.


                  in theory if it's slow you need to use more agressive LODs. however since you're not showing any pics (and we don't know your hardware specs) we can't really know what you need to do to make it smoother


                    Oops - I will definitely be posting pictures when I get home from work.

                    But as for my specs, I have an i7 3770K processor and 8GB of RAM. It should be enough to make a small map... haha. Oh, and my graphics card is an Nvidia Geforce 670.


                      So now I'm home, I can post a couple of screenshots to show what I mean. Like I said - I'm completely new to UDK so please be nice

                      As you can see, my map looks a bit plain. However, I have covered all of it with static meshes of grass clumps, a few trees and a few flowers. It's the grass that's my main concern at the moment (let's start with something "simple", right?)

                      This is how it looks normally (when standing in the map):

                      And see here, when I click on "cast dynamic shadow" for the grass foliage, it shows the grass but at a much lower resolution. It's like it's molded to the shape of the hill, rather than sticking up in a 3D format. It looks good and would be an effect I would like to have if nothing else is possible, but it really puts a strain on the hardware

                      This is also the mesh settings page... would I have to change anything in here? I hope you can see the values, etc.


                        well that's a crapload of grass.
                        in general, UDK's grass patches are waaaaay too high poly to be used in such a big map. grass patches for such big maps is usually made of a few intersecting planes with alpha.
                        see how skyrim did it:


                          hey robsy...

                          i'm going to be making a cave soon, and i'll be putting in a lookout kinda place where our hero walks out on the ledge to see a huge terrain... i'll be using billboard grass and trees to fill the landscape, so i will post a video on how to do them for you... but that will be a few weeks depending on the weather... so just go about learning the basics here till i get there :]

                          i use blender and gimp, and i get alot of my textures from, if you want to install them, they are both free... i've been fighting with the particle engine all day today to get my torch juuuuuuuuust right... finially got it (yeaaaahh)...

                          till then...


                            Oh I see - awesome

                            Thanks Northstar- let me know when you've posted it?

                            So basically I have to download/make a new static mesh that is a picture of grass or something? And then intersect them so they look 3D, rather than just 2D?


                              Almost. Your static mesh is an array of intersecting planes. The texture is a picture of grass blades with an alpha channel to mask off everything else.

                              Here's an example:
                              Click image for larger version

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