[Need Advice] Understanding the logic of building with nodes?

Hello everybody ! I’m new to world machine, I understand how most individual nodes in WM work. However when I follow along with tutorials I get really confused because I can’t understand why the artist arranged the nodes in the order that he/she did. Can you help me out with some tips how I can simplify WM in my head , so I could have easier time building my terrains. I apologize if my question is confusing, basically i know what each individual node in WM does, but my problem is that I have no idea how to combine them and when I watch tutorials I don’t understand why the artist combines them in the way they did.

There are 3 major types of nodes you’ll encounter with a simple terrain network. “Generators”, “filters”, and “outputs”. The general concept you follow while creating a network:


  1. The data you manipulate in world machine, underneath it all, is “heightfields”. It’s just grayscale 2D image data. The terrain you see in the viewport, is a flat plane, with an image applied on it as a “displacement map”. All you do in world machine, is “create and manipulate” that displacement image.

  2. Generators “create the image”. You can either use “noises” to procedurally generate it, or import premade maps from your disk using “file inputs”. You can also draw basic shapes and gradients through these nodes.

  3. Filters “operate on the data that is generated by the generators”. You can manipulate the data through a range of mathematical operations, or “natural filters” like “erosion”. Natural filters simplify the geological processes which would otherwise be a headache to recreate in 3d.

  4. “Output” nodes do exactly that, output the final displacement map etc. You can choose the type of data to output using these nodes. Commonly used ones are “height”, “bitmap”, “mesh”.

  5. There are a plenty of nodes besides these 3 types, like “combiner”, “chooser”, “selectors”, and “converters”. These help you further manipulate your displacement data. I just didn’t include them as they will further complicate the “easy” paradigm I’m trying to present here. Once you get the hang first 4 points here, you can easily follow the tutorials.

I’ll be following this thread, so you may ask any more questions you have. Make sure you open a simple “example terrain” in your world machine while you read this, it would make it easier to visualize.