Making heightmaps with World Machine

Making heightmaps with World Machine

Tutorials & Resources For Mappers

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hunterw
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Making heightmaps with World Machine

Post by hunterw » 28 Feb 2009, 10:33

i like to start my maps off with an ancient art called "drawing"

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after manipulating in paint shop pro i have my template on which to paint heightmap layers

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i've used 5 inputs for Tundra, the map from which this faq is centered around. here's my worldmachine view, which you can follow along with:

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looks complicated, but its not. starting with 1, i input my base heightmap file. here it is:

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take notice that my river and mountains are not part of this heightmap. anyway, all i do is apply a mild gaussian blur (2), before combining. now i'll jump to input 2.

here's input 2:

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mountains. i immediately run four sequential gaussian blurs of high power, then use a very strong erosion filter. this erosion is so strong it would completely rape any meticulous heightmap detail.

notice that this heightmap is asymmetric - it only has half of the hills of the map. well, the next triangle you see there on the roadmap is a little trick of mine i use to create symmetry. i duplicate the heightmap with a splitter, apply an X + Y flip to one of the copies, then recombine using the ADD method. i do this a few times.

now we are back and ready to combine with 1, the base heightmap. the combiner used here is called MAX, and it takes the highest value for every pixel from either heightmap it is combining. on a usefulness scale of 1 to 100, thats pretty motherfuckin useful.


the next step is another combine, so we will jump to input 3. here it is:

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as i was testing the heightmap in-game, i noticed i could build LLT-sized structures on the tops of my mountains. i didn't want this, so i went back and created this heightmap, which is simply running down the spines of my mountains.

after a gaussian blur, mild erosion, and the flip X + Y trick, these little mountain caps are ready to prevent porc. i use the ADD combiner to add to the chain. on this ADD, i don't use full power, i scaled to ~30% so they were sharp enough to disallow building, but not too steep for kbots to climb.

NOW i finally run the big erosion on my map. this erosion was the first component i ever made in the chain. the settings are pretty mild to preserve my detail work, but it really smooths out all the different added components and makes them mesh.

now we are ready for the river, input 4.


here's input 4:

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rivers and lakes tend to fill up with worldmachine's various erosion parameters, so i like to separate them as well. here i've drawn the river inverted, as if it was a ridge. i blur it, give it mild erosion, then SUBTRACT it from my main heightmap.

the next step is a splitter, which is just to obtain a mask. masks are useful as fuck. i use "select height" on my split in order to select underwater and beach-level heights. now its an alpha layer which i use as an input to the mask layer of a powerful gaussian blur. this simulates underwater erosion.


input 5 is different from my other inputs, as it is used simply to be converted in to a mask. here it is:

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i run a gaussian blur on it, use the X + Y flip trick, then use select height, this time starting at height 255 with full fuzziness. now its a mask which i use for another powerful gaussian blur to smooth out ramps.

we are almost to the end!! the heightmap is basically done. this last flip trick i've done just for shits and giggles is different in one slight way from the rest - the recombination uses AVERAGE. this makes the heightmap perfectly symmetrical.


go make maps~!!!!!!!!!!!
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Hoi
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Re: Making heightmaps with World Machine

Post by Hoi » 28 Feb 2009, 10:41

Nice hunter, good tutorial :)
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BaNa
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Re: Making heightmaps with World Machine

Post by BaNa » 28 Feb 2009, 12:22

Thanks man, I've been checking out world machine recently and this is helpful. Worldmachine+WICED+springmapedit makes for teh awesome.
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Beherith
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Re: Making heightmaps with World Machine

Post by Beherith » 01 Mar 2009, 23:55

This is some really cool stuff man! Thanks for sharing.
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smoth
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Re: Making heightmaps with World Machine

Post by smoth » 07 Mar 2009, 07:29

how do you export it without getting terracing? does the mapconv support one of the 16bit formats?
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hunterw
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Re: Making heightmaps with World Machine

Post by hunterw » 07 Mar 2009, 08:04

smoth wrote:how do you export it without getting terracing? does the mapconv support one of the 16bit formats?
i export to terragen .ter file, then using terragen export to 16 bit .raw intel byte order which mapconv accepts, and don't use -l 8)
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Doleo
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Re: Making heightmaps with World Machine

Post by Doleo » 11 Mar 2009, 08:13

Nice tutorial, Ive been playing with World Machine and it seems like a good program. But you need to fork out money for an upgraded version to be able to export your heightmap to anything besides 513x513, right?
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hunterw
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Re: Making heightmaps with World Machine

Post by hunterw » 11 Mar 2009, 12:16

Doleo wrote:Nice tutorial, Ive been playing with World Machine and it seems like a good program. But you need to fork out money for an upgraded version to be able to export your heightmap to anything besides 513x513, right?
yeah and they really jacked up the price on it now that its worldmachine 2 :( but smoth has it and im sure will be happy to post screenys of all the new stuff it does
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Peet
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Re: Making heightmaps with World Machine

Post by Peet » 11 Mar 2009, 12:19

Doleo wrote:But you need to fork out money for an upgraded version to be able to export your heightmap to anything besides 513x513, right?
Yes, but from smoth's ranting about it, it appears to be worth the $180 for the full pro version.
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smoth
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Re: Making heightmaps with World Machine

Post by smoth » 11 Mar 2009, 14:56

I think worldmachine 2 is one of the coolest heightfield editors I have ever seen. download the manual and read chapters 5-7... that shit is amazing.

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You are going to need some serious ram >=4 gigs for the textures but yeah.... you don't needs the ram for the height fields... also bear in mind I am doing a WHOLE LOT with the texures.
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SirArtturi
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Re: Making heightmaps with World Machine

Post by SirArtturi » 11 Mar 2009, 16:15

very nice...
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Gota
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Re: Making heightmaps with World Machine

Post by Gota » 11 Mar 2009, 16:16

Peet wrote:
Doleo wrote:But you need to fork out money for an upgraded version to be able to export your heightmap to anything besides 513x513, right?
Yes, but from smoth's ranting about it, it appears to be worth the $180 for the full pro version.
right...
Maybe if someone is planning on doing some other work with it besides spring maps..
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Beherith
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Re: Making heightmaps with World Machine

Post by Beherith » 23 Mar 2009, 13:17

World machine 2 is absolutely massive!
The layout editing mode is the most natural way of making maps I have ever seen. Also, the texturing option is quite powerful since it can bake the shading on to the texture. And you can use the flow and sediment maps to texture too.

Now im gonna start saving my monies for the pro version, cause the 513 limit in the demo makes me cry huge crocodile tears :cry:

This was made 100% in world machine in about an hour. (my first try at layouts)
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Kneel before the absolute world shaping power!
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smoth
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Re: Making heightmaps with World Machine

Post by smoth » 23 Mar 2009, 14:27

I am going to be tossing up my worldmachine files for a few of the maps that I have already made as soon as I release them so you guys can use them to learn from.
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1v0ry_k1ng
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Re: Making heightmaps with World Machine

Post by 1v0ry_k1ng » 23 Mar 2009, 14:33

world machine 1.25 is all over warezbb if do what you want cus a pirate is free, but no sign of 2 anywhere. 180 dollars..
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TheFatController
Balanced Annihilation Developer
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Re: Making heightmaps with World Machine

Post by TheFatController » 23 Mar 2009, 16:20

As someone who was happy to pay for lt3d I do think the pricing on that does seem excessive for anyone who isn't going to use it commercially or just wants to play around with it for an afternoon.

I wonder if it would be worth contacting them and seeing if they'll do a non commercial licence for it for less, probably not!
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smoth
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Re: Making heightmaps with World Machine

Post by smoth » 23 Mar 2009, 18:02

they have a scaled cost model. The pro version is 180, most of you would be fine with the standard which is 89.

http://www.world-machine.com/chart.html
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Beherith
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Re: Making heightmaps with World Machine

Post by Beherith » 23 Mar 2009, 18:09

Smoth, do you have standard or pro edition? Is the tiling feature worth it? At what size/complexity does it become necessary for generating, if one has 4gb of ram?
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smoth
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Re: Making heightmaps with World Machine

Post by smoth » 23 Mar 2009, 18:13

4 gb will cover a 4096-6000~ texture/height field most of the time provided your pipeline is clean. Tiling is more for people doing something like a paging landscape or say a farcry map.

I have the pro for the 64 bit and dual threading, that part makes a big difference for me. Time is money and gundam needs me to be efficient.
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hunterw
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Re: Making heightmaps with World Machine

Post by hunterw » 23 Mar 2009, 19:38

Beherith wrote: Image
I like this layout, release it pls 8) but make the base platforms flatter
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