Creating Landscapes

Guide to creating new Landscape terrains.

Unreal Engine 5 (UE5) is capable of creating massive terrain-based worlds using its suite of powerful terrain editing tools. Use the Landscape tool to create immersive outdoor terrain pieces that are optimized to maintain playable frame rates across a multitude of different devices.

You can create your Landscape using any of the following methods:

For examples of the Landscape tool in action, see Landscapes Content Examples.

Opening the Landscape Tool

Before you can create a Landscape, you must first open the Landscape tools. From the Main Toolbar, click Select Mode, then select Landscape.

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You can also press Shift + 2 on your keyboard to change to the Landscape tool at any time.

The first time you open the Landscape tool, you will automatically be taken to the Manage Mode tab. If you do not have any other Landscape Actors currently in your level, you will be prompted to create one. In Landscape Manage Mode, you can create new Landscapes and modify existing Landscapes and their components.

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If your Level already contains one or more Landscapes, the Landscape tab will look different. The Landscape Editor section will display a dropdown menu with the Selection tool visible. From this dropdown menu, you can select a Landscape to work with.

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Creating a new Landscape using the Landscape Tool

You create a new Landscape from scratch from the New Landscape section of the Landscape tool panel.

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Number

Option

Description

1

Create New

Creates a new Landscape Actor in your Level.

2

Import from File

Imports a Landscape heightmap made in an external program.

3

Enable Edit Layers

Enables the use of Non-Destructive Landscape Layers and Splines.

4

Material

Assigns a Material to your Landscape.

5

Layers

Displays any layers that are a part of your Landscape Material.

6

Location

Sets the location in the world where the Landscape is created.

7

Rotation

Sets the rotation of the Landscape in the world.

8

Scale

Sets the scale of the Landscape in the world.

9

Section Size

Landscapes use Section Size for LOD and Culling. Landscapes with smaller sections can have more optimized LODs but at a higher CPU cost. Larger sections have fewer components and are less costly on the CPU.

If you want to have a large Landscape, you will need to use a larger section size, since using a smaller section size and then scaling the Landscape will increase the cost on the CPU.

10

Sections Per Component

Helps with the Landscape LOD. Each section is the basic unit for the Landscape LOD. One component could have 2 x 2 sections, which means that it is possible that one component could be rendering four different LODs at once.

With a larger section size, you get the added benefit of reduced CPU calculation time. However, you might run into issues with the Landscape rendering too many vertices at once. This could be especially prevalent when using very large areas of Landscape. These issues could be even worse on mobile devices because of the limited amount of draw calls you can have due to hardware limitations.

11

Number of Components

Sets the size of your landscape along with Section Size. This value is capped at 32 x 32 since each component has a CPU cost associated with it. Going over this cap could result in performance issues with the Landscape.

12

Overall Resolution

The number of vertices your Landscape is using.

13

Total Components

The total number of components that will be created for your Landscape.

14

Fill World

Makes your Landscape as big as possible.

15

Create

Creates your Landscape in the world using the settings you specified.

For the example below, we are going to leave all of the Landscape settings at their default values that are listed below.

Property Name

Value

Section Size

63 x 63 Quads

Section Per Component

1 x 1 Section

Number of Components

8 x 8

Overall Resolution

505 x 505

Be careful when choosing Section Size because as the number of components increase, build times and performance can be dramatically affected. 63x63 quads per section is generally recommended as it gives good performance and size.

When completed, you should have something that looks like this in your New Landscape properties box.

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In the main viewport, there should be a preview of the new Landscape you are setting up which should look like the following:

Landscape Actors can Move, Rotate, and Scale like any other Actor.

You can assign a Material to your Landscape when you create it. To do so, select an appropriate Material in the Content Browser, and then assign it in the New Landscape section, next to Material, by clicking the Assign arrow icon. For more information about Landscape Materials, see Landscape Material Layer Blending.

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When you are ready to create your new Landscape, click the Create button in the lower-right corner of the Landscape tool panel. The Landscape will appear in the viewport as a flat plane. If you assigned a Material to it, it will appear with the Material applied. If not, it will use the Level Editor's default Material.

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If the Landscape is large or complex, it may take a few seconds for it to appear.

Once you have pressed the Create Button, you should have something that looks similar to the following.

The final Landscape Actor

With your new Landscape now created, you can now start to Sculpt or Paint the Landscape to your liking.

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