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Sand/Desert Dunes - Better chains?

Started by Zehryo, June 23, 2012, 12:53:32 am

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June 23, 2012, 12:53:32 am Last Edit: June 23, 2012, 09:18:08 am by Zehryo

I'm trying to make a huge map for Skyrim and I'd like to have a full gamma of possible terrains to spread all over the worldspace, and now it's desert's turn.

A desert is mostly made of sand dunes, so dunes it is. But it seems it's not as simple as I thought, because this (attached screenshot) is the best I could come up with and it's nothing I can successfully repeat over large stretches of terrain.

The problem is the displacement device, which does not add pixels when deforming the terrain, but only moves the existent ones. The result is that once all the pixels have been moved, an area of the extent remains untouched, leaving straight lines to ruin the landscape.

This chain I made is a review and rebuild of part of one I've found here on forums, but it's not enough to cover a whole terrain....

I've also seen the nice results of a macro made by another member, but it's in .dev format which, I guess, is the older WM versions' extension.

Anybody faced this same problem and found his/her own way to build nice and smooth sand dunes that can be used to cover large terrains? =|

Thank you.


Maybe something like attached?



Ok, I've got quite a nice dunes effect, in Skyrim, now!! =)

First of all, thanks to lwiseman for sharing his macro! ^^

I've used it as a base to build my own desert dunes set for Skyrim and it works great! =D

I'm attaching my final chain (complete of some basic coloring). Looking at it from above (high above) it doesnt look that much of a dune field, but in-game you get quite a nice desert set, filled with large and smooth and wind shaped dunes.

The good part, thanks again to lwiseman, is that it can be used for any extent size as the devices used have no extension limits and everything is fully scalable!!! ^^

PS: I would've loved to also attach a sample, but as I said my world height is almost 7500 meters and the 3D view camera doesnt get close enough to the surface to take an appreciable screenshot. =\


Looks very nice!
I'm new to WM and was actually trying to learn more about creating some nice dunes.

How would you make those straight "sand" bumps going from one side of the the terrain to the other more "swirly" and random?
Some longer sand dunes and others smaller would also really sell the idea.
Would really appreciate any direction!

Cheers, Dan


Hi Dan,

the first thing I think of is using Distortion to swirl your dune lines. This will also break up the same-sized rows into some isolated bigger and smaller sections and give a more organic feel!
-- Stephen Schmitt
- Creator of World Machine


It's been a while since I've come up with this setup, I suggest you to just disassemble it to better understand operations.

What I remember is that an Advanced Perlin with low values for octaves and persistence has been used to mask a repetitive gradient to make dunes look random.

Then I just mixed two sets of this same type to converge with different angles to get more dunes and with different shapes and directions.

You could try disabling one of the starting branches and see what happens, that should give you just what you are looking for.


Thank you so much for the replies.
I just looove what I have seen with World Machine, and can't wait to share some results with you.
Forgive me if I might ask some "dumb" questions every now and then, but I really want to learn :)

Have a nice day,
Cheers Dan

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