World Machine Development News

First Post of the New Year! On Texture Atlases..

Wow, time flies quickly!

Various bits and pieces are in progress at the moment. But instead of talking about this-or-that bug fixed and progress made, I want to talk about a recent forum post that jogged my memory!

Recently, a WM user was asking about using texture atlases. This is actually a rather interesting question, as so far people are generally using WM to create megatextures.

(As an aside, World Machine does this very well but could also improve itself in several ways —  efficient Megatexture creation of a resolution some fair multiple higher than heightfield resolution is one of the big improvements I want to push through in the next version.)

Back to texture atlases. They are a very space-efficient way of texturing, with the downside that you cannot blend textures easily and thus can only have one type of texture at a time at a given spot.

So if you have a continuum of texturing expressiveness, it would go like:

texture atlas  <->  multiple texture blending maps <-> megatextures

The reason why I bring this up is that both of the texturing options on the left are quite similar — you could think of a texture atlas as simply a 1bit blending map. I had a device that didn’t make the cut into WM 2 Final (and then into 2.2 Final) that was intended to be a texture blending map generator. The main reason why it didn’t make it was that it was not as powerful as simply creating a texture network from scratch, and it also didn’t very well support creating a megatexture.

However, as I’ve seen from the enduring popularity of the Basic Coverage macro, a device doesn’t need to be excessively complex to be useful! Especially if it creates good looking results. I’m going to have to see if I can’t resurrect that experimental device into a future update!

By Stephen

Founder of World Machine