Steep coastal cliffs

I am trying to create coastal cliffs (in bigger scale, not just one cliff, but whole coast) and I am failing. Anybody succeded in this? I am able to do this quite easily in other terrain generating SW, but I would prefere have everything in WM. Thanks.

Example of erosion style I want to achieve:

Something like this?

Here’s the .tmd file (207.9 KB) .


More or less yes. Thanks a lot!

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Cliffs are always a bit tricky as they are exactly where basic heightfield representations break down.

Beautiful work @HYLK. The distorted expander provides nice chunky rock strata. I was just playing with a version of this challenge myself, but I like yours better.


I think there should be device for this, it is quite common case. For example this solution is beyond my abilities. I understand how it works, but I would never be able to design it myself. Generally strength of WM is in ability to do anything and workaround almost everything somehow (at the cost of project complexity). Which is indeed great and other SW cant do this (yet). But if you want to move WM to another level, go in direction “more with less” is probably the only way.


I think this is a good domain for a macro, as there’s no intrinsically new behavior here that needs a full custom device.

Here’s the “Detail Cliffs” idea I was working on:

Rocky Cliffs 2.tmd (174.7 KB)

The right side has the rocky outcrop details applied from the macro; the left side is standard erosion on the source terrain. I’ve included the source file for you to take a look at.


I think important characteristic of such cliff is sharp cut of top (with various crack). This is what min device in HYLKs graph do. Damn elegant solution, I really like it.

You technically dont need new device to anything, WM has really good foundation, but it is about artistic friendlyness :slight_smile: Artists are not technicians and vice versa. This is reason, why many artists around me switched to other SW. I would too, long time ago, but WM is the only one, which handles complex projects without crashing and with reasonable speed and has tiled build, so 8k+ is achievable.
Btw current competition (both) is based on Unity, which is death sentence for this kind of use case, so I dont expect any improvements in this area (speed, crashing) unless completelly rewritten on appropriate platform. Good for you :slight_smile:

Yes, that is a distinctive look, and the min device combines sea cliffs and relatively flat top perfectly.

It might make sense to back up a step; In an ideal world, what kind of workflow are you looking for with sea cliffs? How would you like to define where they are?

Creating the basic sea cliff shape may well be something that should be added to the Coastal Erosion device, as that is within its domain of responsibility. This is very different from detailing existing cliffs, but the two steps can work together in concert.

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You are right, I am indeed using such cliffs on the coast. I was lately toying a lot with coastal erosion and I this was my exact thought. If am able to mask, where to do this kind of cliff and it makes cliffs, some debris at bottom, etc… this would be really awesome and will save A LOT of work.


Already working on a cliff macro!


Great to see people sharing files, opens my eyes to different ways of doing things.

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To add a small teaser:

The next major feature release of World Machine will likely include a device that is very effective at adding rock-cliff and strata detail to the terrain. With the settings cranked up it can very profoundly change the terrain, in some ways similar to the cliff details being talked about above.

This new Strata device was originally slated to be added to Alpine Lakes but it had to be cut because of schedule. It is slowly shaping up to the point that I believe it’s ready for primetime.

A couple pics:


This is real world coastal height map:

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