Thanks man. You know I'm sure you'd be pretty disappointed to see how simply this is all done. There was only one texture for the terrain, one kind of grass patch, etc...
So no special texture, but here are some important things to pay attention to:
- It's been said before, but the lighting of your map ("Time Of Day") is everything. And I'm not talking just about the time-of-day slider on top of the window. Everything is important in there. So experiment by cranking up individual parameters to be able to isolate their effect on the look of the picture.
- When you paint your base level (the dry_grass stuff) don't be afraid to choose a VERY dark, desaturated color.
- It sounds silly, but when you apply your color, do so in a 1 to 2PM kind of light. That way, you'll see your texture at its brightest. And that's the critical time where everything can look really fake if you chose too light a color at the beginning. Don't forget to add color variations that make sense. And make sure the grass patches have their UseTerrainColor set to 1.
- It is extremely useful, after you placed your main vegetation to do another pass at painting the ground (again I'm talking color here, NOT fancy textures). Mostly darken it around trees and bushes, and make it lighter in places where shadows can't reach.
- I also use a very slight depth of field effect embedded in the HUD node which adds a bit of realism. But if you overdo it it looks like all those video games trying to disguise the fact that they can not render big vistas. I also removed the HUD altogether (no radar, etc...) and took out all the weapons, so it feels more "natural" (no cross-hair, etc...).
- The Ocean settings are extremely important; both in the Time Of Day window, AND the Environment tab (maybe even more so in the latter). Again, don't be afraid to pick a pretty dark Ocean FogColor: deep bodies of water are almost never light blue...! (except in the Caribbeans of course)
Anyways I'm rambling now. But man I love this process of being able to think in artistic terms (my background is in feature animation) rather than strictly technical.
I'm still working on the map, refining stuff and experimenting. So I'll post it when it's a little more advanced... But believe me, the first time I walked from the (little) forest to the open shore, with smooth sound transitions... hearing the wind in the branches, then the humming of the sea until I could hear the gently lapping water on the shore... There was a big smile on my face.