Bro: Hey is that Crysis?
Me: Yeah why?
Bro: It still looks pretty awesome. Look at the foliage density!
Me: Ha! Just kidding, I created it using UDK.
Bro: Wow! You totally had me fooled. You rock!
Me: I know.

Fairly dense terrain to hack my way through while play testing my latest UDK map.

Yup, I finally found some time to mess around with UDK again and decided to try my hand at creating some realistic looking terrain. Well, okay, my efforts are hardly going to win me any awards but I was pleasantly surprised with what I managed to do considering my limited artistic abilities.

UDK makes it relatively easy to model realistic terrain.

UDK’s tools are pretty incredible to be honest, and using it really hits home how important good tooling is if you want to build rich interactive 3D worlds. Unreal Engine’s terrain editing features make a task that would otherwise be quite time consuming and difficult, relatively easy. I think I spent no more than 30 minutes shaping my terrain before adding some realistic mountain textures, and a scattering of static meshes for foliage. In many ways it feels just like you’re spray painting the decorations onto the landscape.

Snooping around looking for those killer bots.

I’ve still got lots to learn but I feel like I’m making real progress. I even had a few killer bots chasing me across the landscape, which was fun. Of course, with all these great features at your disposal, it’s very easy to create content without thinking too much about performance. My map really did struggle at points on my PC when the foliage density got quite high. I haven’t really looked into optimization yet but I’m guessing that it’s probably a whole discipline in itself. Given I’d like to eventually target iOS, it’s definitely something I’m going to have to look into.

Anyway, the next few weeks aren’t looking too hectic, so fingers crossed I can crack on with even more UDK experiments.