UE3 - UDK Huge World, but medium-sized maps

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New Member
Nov 29, 2011

For the last week-and-a-bit I've been researching and testing various 3d-engines for a game idea I have. This has been in the works for several years, first as a mod for civ4, then BF2, then Red Alert 3, but none have really hit the spot I was looking for.

Having been part & the leader for several mods in my day (still am) I know that starting big is the single most stupid thing a dev-to-be can do. So I've got about 10 pages of word and excel files for ideas and design documents, but the first thing I want done is a simple 4x4 streaming terrain, the ability to fly around using the mouse & wasd, and some music in the background. Then slowly build up from that.

I have a couple of friends also interested in the project, which I won't delve into deeper, but it will absolutely require
a) a huge world (streamed)
b) semi-realistic flight physics (that is, for winged aircraft)

I've been doing calculations, and the world size I have in mind (I've already done all the heightmaps as 16bit 1025x1025 png's using fancy photoshop scripts I wrote) would fit nicely into UE3 using a 1UU=100cm scale. Now before you shout "float accuracy!" in my face, remember the accuracy required here is for aircraft, not fingers. I have no problem with even a 10cm inaccuracy.

I do have a few actual questions I would be thrilled if someone could answer:

  1. How well can the streamed terrains be grouped? I'd like to divide the world into 8 areas, then each area into let's say 9 sectors, and each sector would have the actual terrain childed onto them.
  2. How well can UDK handle generated terrain objects? Obviously placing objects on this scale would take hundreds of years, so I was hoping I could generate the objects, like in BF2 with Overgrowth (basically paint a bit of terrain & tell what objects to spawn on that color and the game will self-generate trees, bushes, rocks etc)
  3. What sort of flight physics are available? I've been looking at the youtube videos which look promising. As I mentioned, I'm not looking for strictly Newtonian physics, just something simple that will slow you down if you go up, make you faster while going down, and allow stalling/take-off runs.
  4. What are the major obstacles with changing the UU scale? Is it just one or a few numbers, or does it affect everything in an insanely complicated manner?

I'm really leaning towards UE3 on this project, as it seems to be relatively simple to get started in, compared to other engines.

Please, your honest opinions, even if it means shouting abuses at my face.