The Procedural World Generation of Far Cry 5

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The Procedural World Generation of Far Cry 5

Far Cry 5's technical artist explains how the team developed a set of procedural tools to generate the vast open world of fictional Hope County, Montana.

Hello PlayStation fans,

My name is Étienne Carrier, technical artist at Ubisoft Montréal. Far Cry 5 will be available in a few days and I can’t wait for everyone to start exploring the beautiful world the team has created. With Far Cry 5, the team deployed state-of-the-art tech to recreate the magnificence of our fictional world of Hope County, Montana.

Far Cry 5

The sheer size of this world was quite a challenge for us. We needed solutions to fill up these large open spaces beautifully, quickly and with the flexibility to support numerous iterations. At the same time, we also needed to allow fine tuning of smaller locations to deliver tight gameplay experiences. Filling up empty space is easy, but filling it up so it looks natural was an even bigger challenge.

Therefore, in order to reproduce the richness, variation and complexity of Mother Nature we saw in Montana, we developed a sophisticated procedural pipeline using Houdini and Houdini Engine. These tools are typically used in the cinema industry to create complex visual effects, but we harnessed them to push the boundaries to the next level.

Houdini 3D Animation ToolsHoudini Engine

In nature, everything is tied together. Mountains will funnel the rainfall into streams, rivers and lakes, which in turn erode the land and affect the surrounding vegetation. That’s why we built an ecosystem of procedural tools to generate freshwater networks, cliffs and vegetation.

When observing Montana’s distinct features, we were able to quickly identify some key visual aspects we needed to replicate. Large grasslands thrive on exposed hills, while Ponderosa forests creep through valleys. On the northern side of mountains, forests are spread thicker where the soil humidity is protected from direct sunlight.

Far Cry 5

Each species of vegetation has its own reason for growing at any specific location. The conditions have to be just right, and then several species will fight for the ground where they can grow and thrive.

Far Cry 5

The new biomes procedural system we developed simulates all of these phenomena and more. Our system allowed us to build biome recipes that react to the physical features of the land to ensure coherence throughout the world. It also gave us natural-looking vegetation patterns that can fluctuate with all the chaos that Mother Nature can muster.

Far Cry 5

We wanted to reach a degree of realism never before seen for the Far Cry franchise, so we spent time on every detail, including reflecting the terrain humidity through the grasses and orienting grass assets on a wind vector map.

Far Cry 5

Those familiar with the Far Cry franchise will remember that some plants are used as crafting ingredients. For Far Cry 5, we generated these plants through the new sophisticated vegetation system. Each species of plant can be found in its own specific type of environment.

Far Cry 5

So when you dive into Far Cry 5, take the time to observe the environment where you pick up a particular type of crafting plant.

The new world generation systems helped us deliver amazing results, but we’ve only barely scratched the surface. Hope County is beautiful and wild and we can’t wait for you to check out Far Cry 5 on March 27.

Far Cry 5

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20 Comments

  • Already preordered a long time ago! I’m so exited about this game! Can’t wait!!!

  • Pass. The original Far Cry was better. The sequels suck ass. They make no sense in storytelling.

    • Complaining about the story without playing it makes no sense.

    • Complaining about the story without playing it makes no sense.

    • Well, I tried Far Cry 1 briefly when it was new, but when I bought a Ps4 when Far Cry 4 came out, I felt the need to try the whole serie. So I got a PS3 and FC1-3.

      FC1 – Good story and fun gameplay, enemies seem more intelligent than the rest of the series.
      FC2 – God awful piece of crap (I’ve met those who like it. so consider it my personal opinion)
      FC3 – Such an awesome story, great gameplay. Going to love to beat it again on the ps4.
      FC4 – Great story, but not up to FC3. Even better gameplay.
      Primal – Bland story, awesome gameplay. There is something magical about riding around on a sabertooth tiger. ;)

      So since they apparently have found a bit more interesting topic than primal age, I’m having high hopes for the story. And with mechanics getting steadily better – this might just be the best one yet. I’ve of course got platinum on 1, 3, 4 and primal. I’ll never bother to do that on 2.

    • You cannot be serious…Farcry only got good on 3 its that type of game…1 and 2 are utter crap.

  • Given it a shot. Not gonna be to critical this time around. Hoping to see new tech on display in the coming years though Ubisoft.

  • Sadly this will be my last pre-order for Ubisoft as Ubisoft Montreal has a pretty lengthy bad track record of releasing unfinished games i.e. R6 siege, GR wild lands, AC unity, etc etc… Hopefully farcry 5 will redeem them some what otherwise they’ll be no different than EA paired up with DICE, please strive for better as being compared to EA and DICE isn’t a compliment.

    My one bit of advice to any dev team, play test your game over and over and over again. When you think you’re done testing it, genuinely ask yourself is this a game you’d sink hundreds of hours into? If the answer is no, test it some more until it’s something that you’d greatly enjoy.

    Many of us are tired of playing beta stage games and would love to see actual gold code games instead

    • In my opinion there is a fine line between “we need to get this game right” and when a game has to be released. Publishers might be responsible for deadlines and such but without them we could have a situation like Star Citizen. How long have been people waiting for this to be “finished?”

    • Can’t wait for this game

  • It would be interesting to see a comparison between Houdini (FC5) and Decima (HZD, Death Stranding) engines and how they function in relation to player choices and time intervals (day/night), etc.

  • Dear Sony, can you please release the lock on the game already? Still have to wait till Tuesday. But i see many “friends” already playing the game. So an official release Day makes no sense of you can buy the game earlier on disc right? Next time i, ll buy games on disc so i can play 3 a 4 days earlier. So please release the game on psn already :D

  • Looks pretty good…I for one am glad Farcry is finally getting the PS4 treat cuz 4 and specially Primal were far away from special from a technical aspect of course.

  • Far day looks awesome can’t wait to play it

  • I dont agree with biomes because in reality there
    is not really any biomes in montana most of
    montana looks fairly the same except for the
    mountains which are snow the rest of montana is
    forests and fields

  • I pre ordered FC5 Gold edition, which came with the season pass, which includes FC3 and the 3 other games. Now that FC5 is available and I’m able to play it, I cannot access FC3 along with the other 3 games included in the season pass. In the game store it shows “coming soon” and on the PlayStation store it shows that my season pass is already installed. Why can I not access the full content of my season pass? How much longer do I need to wait? I feel as if I was ripped off, I paid $119.00 for everything included but I’m unable to access it all. Please can someone explain to me what’s going on here?

    • Im sure you already figured it out but if not, Far Cry 3 for season pass owners will be released May 29th 2018, four weeks before none season pass owners.

  • Can’t wait

  • This is my first Far Cry game (Far Cry 5) and so far I love it. I’m a big open world rpg fan so this is in my wheel house. My only issue is that there’s no third person view option (not a huge fan of first person) but I knew that going in. I look forward to playing Far Cry 3 when it’s released for season pass owners May 29th. If you are a open world rpg gamer please give this title a go. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

  • I actually bought this game took a little convincing but playing with my one friend and cant put it down

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