LTE World Machine Development News

LTE Feature #1

Over the last few posts, we’ve talked about how World Machine started, and the fact that the UI is a critical blocker. Last post, I introduced the new framework we’re moving to – QT.

As promised, I’m going to try to write more frequently about small bits of the work being done to move World Machine to the new framework.

So let’s start with something very simple – the left side toolbar.

Views are a changin’

In the old MFC framework, every button and objects on screen required that its location was set manually and specifically. You could use a visual editor for some items, but the resulting designs were brittle and couldn’t be resized easily.

We’ve moved on. In the web world, so-called “responsive design” is the norm – the idea that if I change the size of my display, the design should adapt to the space we have.

Luckily, QT defaults to something very similar with its concept of Layouts. You specify the contents you want and the constraints that you want to apply, and it will figure out where to place things.

This is a tremendous tool!

For example, let’s look at the left side toolbar. In the existing 3028 build, everything is hand-placed and hard-coded. You CAN resize the space allocated to the toolbar, but it doesn’t do anything useful..

This is almost certainly not what you want 😉 But manually adjusting all of the positions and sizes of the various elements on a resize is a very obnoxious chore.

Being able to make the leftarea bigger or smaller has been requested since the start. In QT, with minimal additional work, we get it for free:

We can now easily resize the left-side toolbar to get a bigger preview, and all of the buttons and elements resize and re-position themselves in response. This is particularly powerful in combination with the new high-def previews that occur – but we’ll talk about those in another post 🙂

Until next time!


By Stephen

Founder of World Machine

Notable Replies

  1. Hmm, why not decouple the preview window and make it float as an option? That way you wouldn’t need to resize the entire sidebar (and save screenspace) if all you need is a bigger preview window. Just a thought…

  2. Demostenes,

    I hear you. Although I do think the UI and UX is very important, productivity and functionality is definitely #1. LTE will certainly look nicer, but that is a minor benefit compared to the absolutely game-changing productivity improvements it will usher in! I’ll talk about this a lot more in the next blog post. It is the thing I’m absolutely most excited about.

    The short version is that the combination of a profoundly new architecture for project state and QT for UI fixes/shortens a lot of the tweak/tune cycle that consumes so much time creating worlds right now. I think you’ll love it, but let me know in the next post :slight_smile:

  3. In my opinion the rewrite to the new UI/UX platform is needed. While we don’t see a huge leap in features immediately, You’re missing the message: feature development has been stagnant for years because the old platform was hard to work with.

    Going to QT will make it easier for Stephen to work and develop future feature additions and enhancements.

    That’s worth a lot to me!

    Except for super rapid GPU computing, I don’t see much that competition can beat WM, even in its current state.

    They’re all good for what they do, but WM is still at the top. Robust, and with features we only can dream of in the other two. The “planet exploration” mode to look for interesting features outside of the current work area for one, and proper tiled builds, hands down best in class.

  4. Speaking of features to get rid of or add; a “search for” type widget would be great. Press TAB and start typing any part of the name of the node you want and it’ll show up as a suggestion.

    In other words; look at how Nuke is doing this. Or Unreal Engine. It’s brilliant!

    TAB -> Type “er” and you shouldn’t have to type more to get the different erosion nodes in the list, and pick the one you want.

    The nodes you use most should appear at the top of the search results.

  5. A couple updates on your guys feedback!

    1. I love the idea of a filterable tab quick search widget. This is a high priority add, as it aligns with a few other directions I want things to go.
    2. I agree that view locking is a critical feature. In LTE, there is a global view lock, but individual 3d views can override that and view a specific device, useful for seeing both what you’re working on, and the final output at the same time when you have >1 3D views showing.
    3. I think you’ll find the leftside view possibly more helpful now as it no longer shows misleading output - it shows the same results as the main 3D view. As far as getting rid of the leftbar, I can see arguments for both ways - screen space is at a premium and you don’t always need it. I think having it be resizable and also surfacing the show/hide button to the main toolbar should go a long way towards addressing this. Eventually it will be possible to float/move/hide anything you don’t want there.

    I like the idea of having view lock be an easy click. I’ve been experimenting with this, it is very helpful. I’m looking at either ctrl or alt click right now for lock the view to that device. the “F” key will remain for compatibility. This will work in both the device list and the workview.

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