Need Help with a World Machine Purchase Decision

I want to buy World Machine, but before I do I want to verify if this will do what I need it to.
I’m a student of Unreal Engine, learning that the more I know, the more I don’t know. :wink:

For procedurally creating landscapes, recently through a promotion at the Epic Market, I acquired both the MAWI Broadleaf and Connifer Forest (Procedural) Asset Packs. I initially thought “no problem”, I’ll just plug this into my existing landscape height map and I’m good to go…

Not quite, the MAWI product which produces a procedural landscape, has foliage that is tied to specific landscape layers. In a recently Landscape Tutorial, the MAWI author says, “if you use a third party program to generate the terrain such as World Machine, to make sure you import both the landscape and the layer info, and to set those up.” This would be the height layer height maps, sand.png, dirt.png, etc.

Here is my problem, MAWI has a policy that if you don’t “buy” their product versus getting it in a promotion for free, it’s like pulling hens teeth to get any info from them. Basically "we only support those who have spent money on our products, no support for those who we have given our products to for free, which is my case.

So watching the MAWI tutorial on how to setup a landscape material, they have multiple layers such as sand, rock, grass, etc and besides the main landscape height map that is imported as a .png, there are additional layer height maps such as sand.png, rock.png, etc that define each layer as to what part of the landscape they encompass. Also the material has vegetation that is tied to each layer and auto generates across the landscape, if you have set it up.

Well at this point, I’m thinking I need to know in World Machine, how to setup and generate layer height maps for layers and since I really can’t get any support from MAWI, I’d like to know if there are tutorials here on how to accomplish this?

Plugging the layer height maps into the Unreal Engine Material should not be terribly difficult, yet I’m not sure how to do that because I think they used UE4 when the video was made, and the interface is arranged different for UE5. But first I need to create layer related height maps, and a tutorial here would go along way to get me going.

Thanks for listening! :slight_smile:

First of all, before buying, make sure you get the demo version and get your workflow up and running with it! Then you’re assured WM fits into your workflow and a purchase makes more sense.

I’m not familiar with MAWI (never heard of it up to this point), but I suspect at least one tutorial to be out there on YouTube. If the layers needed are just black and white masks, then WM would suit your needs! I’ve not made a specific tutorial on mask exports, but do have some in-depth videos on devices and such, maybe those can help a bit?

So I propose you get the demo and with the help of the WM community we may can figure out how to get it working with MAWI. :slight_smile:


@OTHorizon Not familiar with MAWI either.

That said, World machine has a very flexible workflow for terrain modelling. You can export all kinds of data, and mix and match between them in infinite number of ways. There’s a free version with resolution limitations (and missing pro features like tiling and automation). You can download it by registering HERE

If I understand correctly your problem, you want to build a full “landscape” in Unreal Engine. So here’s what “World Machine” can offer, the workflow itself is up to you (be it through custom plugins or manually):

  1. Everything “terrain”. You can create a terrain you like, then you can export it as a “heightmap”, or a “mesh”. Unreal can bring both in, with some minor “gotchas”.
  2. You can “select” any area that you like, and some devices can export special algorithmic data (for example: Flow and deposition maps for “Erosion” device). You can select custom “slope range”, “height range”, “wetness”, and a mix and match between all of them. So for example, you can select some low areas using height, then limit your selection with 0-30 degree slope range. This will give you a sort of “soil” or “Basin” mask. Later you can use that to drive material distribution etc. HERE is an example I made with just plain bitmap textures right within wm, you can do a hell lot more in Unreal (use those masks to drive vegetation and rock placement, limit material layers to a specific area, the list goes on…). HERE’s a somewhat advanced example, all screenshots from wm viewport itself.
  3. Finally, all data can be exported in formats most apps recognize. HERE is a list, and you can do a lot of stuff to mitigate any limitation with some creative wrangling.

Hope that helps with your decision somewhat. You can additionally take a look at this manual (a bit dated) for some more info.

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Thanks for the replies! As I understand it, but not sure, outside of Unreal Engine, in a terrain generator program like World Machine you would generate a height map and then upon this map, you would create a mask, so it would be a black and white .png image where white defines the area of the mask.
For anyone not familiar, when creating Landscapes in Unreal Engine, you can define landscape layers. Primarily these layers allow you apply textures such as rock, dirt, grass, either manually or using automatic blends. If manually painting texture, you are defining the area that a particular layer is being applied.

The auto blends for mountains are sweet, but this happens automatically based on the settings you have picked. These auto layer textures can also be manually painted onto the landscape within UE.
As I imagine it, when it comes to large procedural landscape generation, the big advantage of having height maps with masks that you would generate in World Machine. is that this would be another way to auto-paint a textures or automatically place static mesh plants in the masked area, that would cross over the boundaries of the UE defined landscape layers.

The reason I was asking here is because the developer that I got the asset pack from at the Epic Market on a promotion, has zero interest in discussing how to create the terrain masks. It’s like you have to buy something from me before I’ll help you :expressionless:

The creation of a height map with a mask applied sounds easy, and maybe it is very simple. I was just hoping that I might run into someone here who has done this or is familiar. I can also drop a message on the Epic forums, but the responses I get there have been hit and miss.
Thanks for listening! :slight_smile:

Examples of terrains with masks:

The one with red, was colored by Unreal Engine, for visual display, it’s a white mask.

To be fair, I get their point, as their time helping you cost them money. Still annoying and a bummer for you :frowning:

I think this is very trivial indeed. I suggest downloading the demo version of WM, create just some simple terrain with the Advanced Perlin device, and then do some slope selection with the Select Slope device. It should look something like this:

Then export both the terrain and mask using the Height Output device, and import in UE5. Sadly this is where my knowledge ends, but I’m sure there are others here with experience who can help you!