1: Terrains with Satellite Data

Always been interested to get some real life reference for terrains, play with it and bring it into your game engine? Check out this tutorial on how to!

Hey guys! In this 1-part-tutorial about terrains you will learn how to create terrain and heightfields from satellite data and then export this using the tools from SideF Labs to generate all different files for Unreal!

The links from this tutorial are the following:
Haversine formula (and the wikitalk about Haversine formulas)
Heightfields from SideFX's Jeff Lait
Great Circle Distance formula



As the original founder of Dokai, Ivo is passionate about using Houdini to create procedural content for cinematics and videogames, and is currently working as a Technical Artist on the new Gran Turismo games for Polyphony Digital at SONY Interactive Entertainment with the focus on Environmental design. He graduated from IGAD (International Games Architecture & Design) in Breda with 3 years of experience with Houdini, and loves environmental design. He also interned at SideFX Software‘s game dev team in 2018/2019.He grew up in Tilburg, The Netherlands, is an avid martial artist, and wants to help you with his knowledge and share his experience from the industry through tutorials and seminars!

More from Ivo van Roij


  • Alex Amos 1 year, 7 months ago  | 

    Really sick tutorial - I've been working with DEM data and Unity for a little while now, I go about it a completely different approach, but was super excited to learn about the GameDev node for exporting maps, that's going to be really useful for me.

    Thanks a ton - I only started using Houdini this year and there was very little information out there about doing real life terrains in game engines.

    • Ivo van Roij 1 year, 6 months ago  | 


      Awesome that you like our stuff, and thanks for watching! Hope we can keep inspiring you!


  • aldenp 1 year, 6 months ago  | 

    Hi Ivo, thanks for the tutorial!
    I've followed all the way through to the normal map baking process but when I bake from the sop_maps_baker node, the output doesn't appear in Unreal the way yours does. I'm getting something that looks like a voronoi pattern of solid colors as the normal map. Have you encountered anything like this?

    • Ivo van Roij 1 year, 6 months ago  | 


      Thanks for watching and pointing it out. I haven't encountered your problem, are you sure you're using the latest build of Houdini? If the problem keeps occuring, check with Jonne Geven (I think he is on the SideFX Forums and here as Technically_Artist). Hope that helps!

      Cheers and thanks again for watching!

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