LTE World Machine Development News

Little Things

A series of posts describing the changes afoot for the Long Term Evolution of World Machine.

I hope this finds you in good health! We have to mention the elephant in the room: the spread of COVID-19 is changing all of our lives. Seattle was one of the early places in the US to get hit, but we’re all in the thick of it now together. I hope that, for people who might suddenly have a little more free time during quarantine, World Machine can help them work on that dream project.

Luckily, WM development is unaffected and moving forward briskly! I mean, I work from home anyways 🙂 This week, I wanted to write about a couple of the small tweaks and features that aren’t going to rock anyone’s world, but are helpful.

Resolution Strategies

The “+1” res checkbox in WM has now turned into a selectable “Resolution Strategy” in your project settings. This specifies what resolutions are valid and how we should increase or decrease the resolution. This will then be used throughout WM, including when your preview is refined.

The strategies available are:

  • Custom (no restrictions)
  • Power of two
  • Power of two +1
  • UE4 Landscape

That last should be a helpful convenience for anyone who deals with the, ehm, interesting resolution requirements of Unreal Engine landscapes. You can now just use the slider to select a valid UE4 terrain size.

Although it won’t be available in the first build, this also suggests a new option for aspect ratios; you should ultimately be able to set the render extents to only allow aspect ratios that are valid in the current res strategy. So for example, make non-square extents automatically snap to 512×128, 512×256, etc.

Also, I’m looking at changing some nomenclature a bit for LTE that might help newcomes. Rather than calling the rectangle of terrain being build/exported the “Render Extents”, I’m thinking of simplifying to calling them “Scenes”, which should be more instantly understandable. What do you think?

Automatic Device Names

This simple tweak comes courtesy of a suggestion on our forums by Consue. Combiners, Clamps, and other devices that have very different functioning depending on their mode now automatically change their displayed name in the device network based on their action. Of course, if you provide a custom name, it overrides this behavior.

This is a small tweak that nonetheless helps in understanding large networks.

Tiled Parallel Merges

Short and sweet, tiled builds now can do the “blending” phase of the build process in parallel. For very large tiled worlds, this will save you a fair amount of time waiting for the final files to be exported.

That’s all for now! Stay safe out there.


By Stephen

Founder of World Machine

Notable Replies

  1. Hey! Good to know that you’re alright during this outbreak!

    Nice additions all around. I personally like “render extents” better than generic terms like “scenes”, especially since world machine’s “world” is more accurately a “scene”. Also, changing naming conventions would break compatibility with older tutorials, scarce as they are.

    I also love everything that speeds up general operation, so parallelization in any area gets me hyped lol! I’d love to test these features as they become more “idiot proof”, is there a way I can sign up for a closed alpha or something…? :grin:

  2. Automatic device naming sounds great!

    I think for new users Scenes may be a better name indeed, as it is a more common word, but it could be confusing for users who are familiar with other 3D animation programs. As if one were to have a whole different world/terrain, since scenes often refer to a totally new workspace. I do think Render Extent is a lot more descriptive, but the word Extent could be vague for non native speakers. Maybe use Render Area instead?

    Also, will the QT framework allow users to implement their own keyboard shortcuts?

  3. Hi I bought professional version of World Machine yesterday. Is there a way I could become a tester of the new version that’s being developed? I like the new full dark theme and list of UX features being mentioned in the blog, also UE4 specific settings when building the maps.

    I’d be really interested to use LTE it for my project and give you valuable feedback if given chance to test it. I’m also wondering if creators have a timeframe of when new version is going to be made available for public consumption? I notice that it’s been in development for some time now.

  4. Just here because of the recent newsletter about Mt. Rainier.
    Good to see you being well and actively developing WM.

    Regarding Render Extent:
    As a non-native English speaking person I agree with HYLK - I had to search for a translation of “extent” to grasp the concept of a render extent. Area is probablyl easier to understand.
    Nowadays I would not change it anymore though. Lots of tutorials out there would become invalid.

    Regarding GPU usage:
    Are you planing to move erosion calculations (if possible) to the GPU at some point?

  5. Hi Polynaught,

    Naming things is hard :slight_smile: I agree - Render Area would be a less cumbersome term.

    Re: GPU:

    GPU brings some definite advantages but also complications and limitations. I’ve done some initial investigation of moving device calculation to the GPU; I am continuing to evaluate the pros and cons of doing so. There are some exciting investigations into this arena that I’ve been exploring, but nothing ready to see the light of day yet.

Continue the discussion at

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