Build 3026

Build 3026 is making progress and should be released in the next week or two; it will likely also be the ‘Alpine Lakes’ release channel version.

Erosion now plays nicely with river systems, bugs have been squashed, and the ability to pin/edit the headwaters of your rivers introduced. But along the way, I encountered a problem.

A difficult choice

I ran into a quandary while implementing the “pinned channel heads” option for the Create Water device.

In order for you to “drop a pin” where you want a river to start, you use the Layout View to place/move the pins. But Create Water works quite poorly in Layout View! It’s very confusing/hard to see where your river will actually run.

Retiring the Layout View (eventually)

This is yet another example of the problems that Layout View have caused over the years. As time goes on, I’ve become increasingly certain that the Layout View functionality should become a “mode” of the 3D View instead of being its own very unique display.

There are a variety of reasons for this:

  • It would be very useful to be able to use the 3D View and its pan/zoom/track ability when creating masks, shapes, etc.
  • The great strength of the Layout View is that it supports viewing infinite terrain extents. In practice though, wanting infinite pan/zoom ability is rare; you’re mostly working on the area defined by your render extents.
  • The technique needed to render a realtime infinite viewing area means that devices like Erosion, etc sometimes look nothing like what they will in the actual world you’ve created!
  • Going forward, our focus will continue to double down on simulating nature; more and more new devices will be introduced that are problematic with Layout View.

However, this is a big change that we want to do properly, in concert with some other features later this year or next. But in the interim, we need something to hold us over until that changes. What to do?

Solution: “Focus Extents” mode

The Layout View now has a “Focus Extents” toggle. When enabled, the Layout View switches from the infinite-extents display to showing only what the current preview does.

This lets you see the true output of your world with no artifacts. Not only does this make devices like Create Water much easier to manipulate, but it also is much faster and more pleasing to work in.

Here’s a video showing it in action:

That’s all for now. Next time 3026 should be out and I’ll go over the full set of changes, as well as finally get a chance to talk about what comes after that!

2 thoughts on “Build 3026”

  1. I own all 3d terrain tools on the market and I must say, WM is the best. To explain why would be on whole article, so no sense to explain here. I am even not missing any features. There is only one thing, which can be still improve and that is speed. Latest multithread updates are making huge difference, but it can still be better. For artist speed of iteration is crutial. So my suggestion is to start moving devices on GPU (or at least filters and operations, where is is possible).

  2. I think the direction you are heading with the layout view sounds like the correct choice! The focus extents view-mode already sounds like a big improvement. Thanks for making the right long-run choices despite the complexity of their implementation.

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