Time for another field trip. This time to the area around Palisades, WA, just east of the Columbia River.

So, help me out here.

There are two terracing settings here. One with about 12 terraces, and one with about 24 terraces. Which looks better?

So, the terracing for the Plateau of Gorgoroth is done. As you can see, it consists of a large plain of large flat slabs of basalt that have been tilted over and warped to some extent, creating a network of terraces that are navigable on the ground without the need for (much) in the way of modifying the terrain. That means placing roads and whatnot becomes possible.
Now, technically the Plateau is quite arid. There’s a lot of channeling in the shape of the terraces, indicative of some major erosion in the past. Thermal shock can only do so much, there needs to be water. There’s not much rain on the Plateau, so another explanation will need to be discovered. Fissuring and general uplifting can account for the tilting but not really the erosion.
But, it looks cool so, going with rule of cool here.

So, the terracing for the Plateau of Gorgoroth is done. As you can see, it consists of a large plain of large flat slabs of basalt that have been tilted over and warped to some extent, creating a network of terraces that are navigable on the ground without the need for (much) in the way of modifying the terrain. That means placing roads and whatnot becomes possible.

Now, technically the Plateau is quite arid. There’s a lot of channeling in the shape of the terraces, indicative of some major erosion in the past. Thermal shock can only do so much, there needs to be water. There’s not much rain on the Plateau, so another explanation will need to be discovered. Fissuring and general uplifting can account for the tilting but not really the erosion.

But, it looks cool so, going with rule of cool here.

The Plateau of Gorgoroth. Finally nailed the look for the terracing.

Oh look, a nifty topographic map.

Oh look, a nifty topographic map.

Built a handy macro for helping me preview the effects that terracing will have on the terrain. Given how much terracing work I have to do, this should make my job quite a bit faster.

The macro handles the entire terracing operation including masking and modulation (tilting of strata).

I’ve been playing around with World Machine’s explorer mode, which allows you to drive, fly, or walk over the terrain you’re working on. It’s fairly low-resolution, but it doesn’t look too bad. These pictures are of the Plateau of Gorgoroth. If I had a more powerful machine I’d actually be able to render it at pretty solid resolution in real time, but unfortunately that will probably have to wait until I start work on the full thing.

One more post for the night. Here’s the whole shebang: all of Mordor from Udun to Khand to Harad. The highlighted area is the part I’m working on as the Beta. As you can see, it’s a pretty tiny chunk (25 tiles out of 600) of the whole project.
I need to mention again that the genesis of this project, that is, the underlying terrain, was done by the awesome guys over at www.me-dem.org. All I’m doing is refining it, texturing it, and making it compatible with my chosen game engine.

One more post for the night. Here’s the whole shebang: all of Mordor from Udun to Khand to Harad. The highlighted area is the part I’m working on as the Beta. As you can see, it’s a pretty tiny chunk (25 tiles out of 600) of the whole project.

I need to mention again that the genesis of this project, that is, the underlying terrain, was done by the awesome guys over at www.me-dem.org. All I’m doing is refining it, texturing it, and making it compatible with my chosen game engine.

Some work from a few months ago. This is the area surrounding Orodruin and Barad-Dur. It’s not in the Beta scenery, but it’s pretty so I figured I’d post pics. The difference here versus all the other screenshots I’ve posted is that in these screens the texturing was done with bitmap texture files generated in Genetica rather than with simple colors. As you can see, things look pretty cool.

I haven’t forgotten that it’s the Black Land of Mordor.

Here’s some early terracing/erosion work from the edges of the Plateau of Gorgoroth.

The rivers of the north-western Ephel Duath.

Next job is terracing/stratification.

Back to work

So, notes on what we’re doing.

TL;DR: Hi.

The beta scenery is a 128kmx128km chunk of the northeast corner of the larger scenery. I’ve imported it at a standard 3 arc-seconds (90x90 meters per  per pixel of data). The goal now is to sculpt it, weather it, and texture it down to the resolution of 5 meters per pixel or better. I’m going to try to make every piece of terrain at lest somewhat unique, and pay attention to making an engaging landscape for others to explore.

I’m going to try to apply at least a little real-world geology to the process but a) I’m not a geologist and b) it’s fantasy, so it won’t be perfect and will in some places be fantastic. I do hope to create some good-looking visuals.

But please understand this is a beta. If I stopped to do everything to perfection on my first attempt at seriously using the software in a systemic way, I’d never get anywhere. I need a test run. It should still be pretty, but it probably will have some rough patches.

Finally, a note to all the people who are serious Lord of the Rings fans, please understand that this is just my interpertation of things. I’m not going to take anything out of the Peter Jackson films, not only because I respect their copyright, but also because I think it might be fun to imagine things differently.

As such, there may be deviations from what is strictly canon, or a need to simply invent plausible explanations for things when none exist elsewhere (see: all of southeastern Mordor).

Thanks.

Time to start carving rivers.

Time to start carving rivers.

Applied a bit of what I learned from my road trips through Eastern Washington to the western mountains of Mordor, the Ephel Duath. Just trying to get the basalt and grass desert look down.

So, obviously I’ve not been posting anything around here lately. The project isn’t dead, rather I’ve spent the last 6 weeks or so caught up moving long-distance (San Francisco to Seattle) and going to Burning Man.

The nice thing is that this has meant road-tripping through some volcanic terrain (the great plateaus of eastern Washington and Oregon), first hand observation of which should help me out a bit.

It’s good to get out once in a while…

Spent the last few days driving from San Francisco to Seattle. This is normally a pretty boring drive, as I-5 isn’t exactly the most interesting road in the world, however since I started this project I’ve developed a new appreciation for geology (particular volcanic geology), and north of Redding, CA I-5 goes right through some areas with very cool geologic features. Suffice to say that I’ve now got a much better feel for how to make things look more natural in the texture department after spending some time up close with big walls of basalt, studying a few cinder cones, and taking some good pictures of the erosion patterns on Mt. Shasta.