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3. Render Extents and Project Setup

About Render Extents

Although the devices you connect determine the look and feel of your world, it is the render extents that define the area of the world that you are working in. In this way, the render extents control what you’re looking at. You can zoom down to a very small area of a few meters, or cover a vast thousand- kilometer region of terrain.

Definition: Render Extent: A rectangular area defined in worldspace, used to set the area of terrain being exported or viewed. A Render Extent stores the state of the world extent, resolution, and tiling information.

World Machine allows you to have multiple Render Extents defined. This ability is useful to be able to see, work on, or export multiple different areas of the world. Render Extents can be created and manipulated in the Project Setup dialog, described below. In addition, Render Extents can be graphically manipulated in the Layout View.

Project Setup

To setup your project options, select Project World Parameters from the World Commands menu, or click the appropriate icon in the toolbar.


Please note that the Basic Edition of World Machine is limited to only exporting 513×513 or lower resolution

The Resolution slider controls the size in pixels of the world to be built. Higher settings are more detailed but consume more memory and are slower to build. The exact maximum resolution at which you can build a given world depends upon the devices present in the world. The 32bit edition of World Machine is allowed by Windows to only access 2-3GB of memory at most; the Professional Edition is available in a 64bit edition that removes this fundamental limit.

+1 Checkbox: This option allows you to have the slider select resolutions of the form 2^n+1 rathern than 2^n. Some rendering applications and display engines require these “plus one” rather than power of two sizes, and this allows you to easily use this form.

Custom Resolution: You can override the slider and set any size terrain output you wish by clicking the Custom button, and then typing the size into the input field.

Memory Conservation: The “Conserve Memory” checkbox changes World Machine’s behavior in terms of keeping the build results from non-output devices in the network. With Conserve Memory on, build results are not kept and the network will have to be regenerated after any change.

Memory conservation is no longer a necessity for higher-resolution builds (2048+) sizes. However, it is still available as an option.

Render Extent Management

This very important section allows you to create, delete, select, and modify your render extents.

Create Extents: Create a new Render Extent, prompting you for a name. By default the new render extent will cover the same region as the currently selected extents.

Delete Extents: Permanently delete the currently selected extents! Note that it is impossible to delete the first render extent, as you must always have at least one extent in the world.

Extents List: You may select a render extent by clicking it in the list. By click-hovering over an entry, you can rename it.

Coordinate Boxes: Enter the X and Y coordinates in worldspace of the corners of the render extent. You may specify a coordinate in either kilometers or World Machine Units.

Width & Height:: Set the width and height of the render extents, adjusting the Upper-Right coordinates of the extent as needed.

Lock: Locking the extent will disallow further changes until unlocked. Locking an extent is useful to prevent accident changes to an important render extent

Non-square extents: Checking this box will allow the render extent to be a rectangle of any aspect ratio, rather than just a square. The resolution of the rectangle will be the chosen resolution on the longest side.

General Setup

This tab contains some general options that you can set for your project.

Project Information: Specify the author of the world file, and add any description to the project that you wish that will help yourself or others work with your project. You can optionally have World Machine show this information every time the project is loaded.

Relative File Path: This allows you to set the base folder from which World Machine will try to resolve all relative paths specified to input or output devices. Using relative paths in your project allows you to easily archive multiple copies of a world or transfer it to a computer with a different folder structure.

The checkbox allows you to set the default file path to the location of the Project TMD file.

Dimensionality: Controls whether all worldspace coordinates are shown in kilometers or the World Machine Unit. Unless you have a specific reason, you will usually want to leave this set to Kilometers. ● Altitude Scale: This import property is covered in section 3.2.2 below.

Terrain Altitude Scaling

Internally, World Machine keeps all height information stored as a number between 0 and 1. The scaling value allows you to set the elevation in meters that a maximum height value refers to. The greater this number, the taller the maximum mountain height.

Note that this scaling value is applied worldwide; increasing the value will increase the apparent height of every terrain in the world and vice versa. If the terrain you’re creating is sensitive to having exact elevations, it’s advisable to set this once at the start of your project to encompass the greatest range of elevations you forsee and then not change the value.

Tiled Export Options (Professional Edition Only)

Please see the Professional Edition Appendix for information on this section!

Updated on February 27, 2019

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