Terrain Generation with Houdini Heightfields
Houdini Terrains in Unreal Engine. Since Houdini 16 we can do our Unreal terrain generation with Houdini Heightfields. Heightfields are 2D volumes that are commonly used in modern game engines like Unreal Engine or Unity for terrain creation. I use the terrain tools in Houdini to both create a realistic terrain, but also for the ability to embed splat masks. As an example, I can use the curvature of the surface as in the image above. There are multiple ways of masking heightfields in Houdini. Even more so, I can use geometry to drive shapes in the terrain.
Watch a tutorial on terrain generation in Houdini here
Anyone can download a free learning edition of Houdini on the Sidefx Website
Using Houdini terrains in Unreal Engine I can embed masks that I can access in a material. We can use the landscape blend node for this. Moreover, we can use any mask created with the erode node or with the mask by feature. The masks will come into Unreal with the correct naming. As an example, the erode node will give us debris, water, bedrock, etc.
For the shader, I created an adaptive tessellation shader. As a result, the model will increase in resolution the closer that the viewing camera gets to the surface.
Procedural Foliage Spawner
Any mask that I create using Houdini terrains in Unreal Engine will be automatically available. Therefore, I can quickly create and prototype. As an example, I am using masks to drive the procedural foliage. Moreover, All of the terrain and foliage generation is handled procedurally through Houdini’s heightfields.