One issue I had early on, is pathing and scale.
If I went a popular way of doing things, one could simply step up blocks. However this would mean the critters would need to be about the same size or bigger than the hexagons. This creates pathing issues.
I also didn't want this because I want Strange Orbitz to be more of a tactical game, players to really have a sense of place and for the cliffs to form barriers. I also need to limit the depth of hexagons. The issue here is that they grow larger as you go further out of the centre.
I wrote a program that creates the fbx meshes for each tile. There are literally hundreds of permutations because each hexagon is not the same in terms of symmetry. I created enough to make sure they look right and blend in ok.
If any one is actually reading this, once my grey box game is mostly there, I'm planing on bring in an artist to create textures and models.
One of my next tasks is to create the dynamic nav meshes. I have my hex based nav working ok, but nav mesh is a critical step up. With ramps this will become easier because the convex areas will hopefully become larger. I am doing most of the work in a separate thread. I'm planing of doing the nav mesh in yet another thread.
There will be roots spreading in organic ways across your planet - friend or foe, I need to test them. The cylinders are just representive - enough to detect errors.
In order to minimise bugs I like to create a flat world version on the lighting ... here is a video.
An issue I found using the standard lighting in unreal with voxels is that light tends to bleed through walls if they are too thin. Voxel lighting solves this issue... Here you can see a thin wall separates the light from the dark and you can see how well it works.
Wall in place
visualisation from above
Blocks removed to show wall.