Geo Control and World Machine: Battle of the terrain creation tools :D…

Started by BPauba, June 10, 2007, 10:04:02 pm

Previous topic - Next topic


I think everyone has at least heard and maybe even tried one of the programs. In my opinion these two terrain creation tools are fighting for first place. I would really like to hear the community's likes and dislikes of the programs stated. I think it is safe to say both are amazing, so I am sure this will not be a one-sided topic. Please no software bashing!

Geo Control:
World Machine:

Geo Control:
I have used Geo Control for about 30 days now and really enjoy the artistic qualities it brings to the table.  It renders quickly and it has a well thought out UI. On top of that Geo Controls help menu is awesome! I will not lie, I have not read through a lot of the help menu, but from what I can see and what I have read it is very informative. Geo Control is not built for Macs, and since my primary computer is a PowerPC based Mac it is a big deal for me. I have read about the possibility of the program coming over to OSX, but nothing official. I really hope that changes, because I would love to see Mac support. This gives me a reason to upgrade to a macbook pro though ;).

-Direct input! By this I mean the dynamic level brush! I am very impressed with this feature; it really makes the experience of GC become enjoyable. This is a huge advantage.
-Fast rendering. There are some drawbacks though (which I will mention later)
-Great interface and awesome help menus
-Vast array of filters
-The ability to quickly make unique terrains without much knowledge of the program
-The ability to truly sculpt out your terrain (one of the many advantages of having the DLB
-It is amazingly easy to just add in very unique terrain features.
-.OBJ support :D
-All around great detail.
-Erosion system is great.

-Once rendered we cannot look around the terrain, it seems like we can only view the terrain in four different POV's.
-The learning curve for me is odd, I really quickly understand the just of the program very quickly, but then it is hard for me to grasp good techniques to creating terrains I want.
-Is there a way to make terrain masks? If not that is a dislike for me :D.
-I seem to have brush problems every once in awhile. I will notice straight edges throughout the terrain if I lightly brush. This could easily be my mistake though.
-A little overwhelming (at least in my eyes)

World Machine:
I vaguely remember using WM 0.99 in 2005, but I was intimidated by its UI. I recently went back and downloaded the basic version. I have only been tinkering with it for maybe a week or two but I have already grown very fond of my new toy :D. I absolutely love the UI of WM. The device/node interface really is one of the best features it offers, and my my does it offer a lot! Once again WM is only Windows based, which like I said is a big downside for me. Like GC I have heard about the developments of a Mac compatible version, but I am not getting my hopes up. The rendering seems to be pretty fast, but since I only have the basic version I really cannot experience A full 4097^2 render. WM is also has a great help system :D

-Node interface. My lord. There are so many advantages to this I cannot even begin to write them down!
-Learning curve. I found it very easy to tinker with this program. I am quickly forming techniques and learning the WM system quickly.
-Devices! Again, this is an awesome advantage. I cannot really explain, but I am sure people know why I love them so much. I love the non-destructive nature of them
-"WM thinking"... When you work in WM you start to think in a totally different way, and I find it almost rewarding. It is hard to explain.
-3d viewer. I love how once I build the terrain I can zoom in/out and rotate any which way I desire. It makes it very easy to understand what is going on in the terrain.
-Explorer mode. The ability to just find another terrain in an infinite word is priceless. PRICELESS.
-Once you have built your terrain you can quickly build an unlimited amount of variants of that terrain. Either by Explorer mode, or just going back in your device tree and quickly changing dominant variables.

-I have not experienced large build times, but I have only dealt with 512x512 terrains. I believe the build times could potentially become annoying.
- No .OBJ support?
-No brush. As much as I love the devices it would be amazing to somehow integrate the use of a WACOM or mouse in an artistic manner.
-Some sort of internal masking option other then slope, height, and angle. I do not know if you can load jpeg into WM, but I would like to see just a simple masking mechanism in WM
-Not having the standard version!   

By no means am I fluent in either of these programs, but I love both of them. I am leaning towards buying WM because of its innovative UI. I just cannot get over it. I am
definitely not going to be giving up on GC anytime soon, I am betting once I sit down and really tinker with the program I will start to realize the true potential that it's unique tools present.  ;D, so lets hear it :D.
I am sure I have made some mistakes in here (most likely in the dislikes section), I am certainly sorry If I have done so and I will stand corrected.


so who wins the battle in your point of view??....I havent used geocontrol at all so cant say....I am gonna have to give it a try....little bit more expensive than WM

thanx for pointing out the software...I wasnt aware of such software....
"His blood-terragen level is 99.99%...he is definitely drunk on Terragen!"


Quote from: dhavalmistry on June 13, 2007, 01:20:34 am
so who wins the battle in your point of view??....I havent used geocontrol at all so cant say....I am gonna have to give it a try....little bit more expensive than WM

thanx for pointing out the software...I wasnt aware of such software....

I would say World Machine, but I do not know if it is a fair fight. I have been using WM a lot more lately and I really have not given GC a fair chance. Furthermore I believe both of them are in the alpha stages of their second version. WM2 has a development diary ( and  ALL of its features look crazy! I cannot leave out GC2 though because the images coming from that alpha look great as well ( Make sure you have a login for that forum!
Tis a very hard choice, and I think the competition between these two softwares is  going to act as a catalyst to some very innovative terrain creation tools.

And I appreciate the reply, I have been waiting for days!


I own both programs (registered) and as always, both have their pros and cons. Both are capable of fantastic terrains with very realistic features!
WM has a steeper learning curve because of the nodes, but once you get used to it, it is a hell of a program with many great possibilities.  A little drawback is the appetite for RAM if you build larger terrains with more than one or two erosion nodes. Masking is very easy and could be done in many ways. A big pro is, that you can get terrain feature masks with just a simple node at the end of the node tree. Macros are easy to do and install. The biggest con is, that it gets pretty slow with larger terrains (above 2049^2). If you want to use WM  with larger terrains, you must have a big machine with minimum 3GHz and 2GByte of RAM. You can certainly split up the node tree and can compute step by step, but this is a uncomfortable workaround. The help system (html-file for every node) works perfect for me.

GC works in a more intuitive way. You don't have to think about every step you do and can just play with the settings thanks to the undo points one can set where he wants. You can work visually and with brushes. Layers are as easy as in photoshop. It is fast, you can restrict filters to certain detail levels. It doesn't need that much of RAM (512MB are ok, 1GB is always better), computing power (2GHz are just enough) and you get results after some minutes where you have to think over and over in WM.

All in all, i would say both programs are the ideal addition to the other. I often make a terrain in GC or WM and modify it in the other program because of the look of a certain filter or so.

The new versions look both very promising and powerful and easier to handle. I would say it is just a matter of taste which one is the best for you.
Markus / RealUser
visit my Renderosity Gallery at