Amazons v5

Back in early June of 2003, there was an upheaval in Amazons world. It was decided to start over from scratch and I was appointed to create a new terrain for the world. The geographic theme of Amazons was that of a peaceful valley, nestled in the bottom of an extinct volcanic caldera, and set in a warm sea. One of the desired features of the previous Amazons terrains was that of a river system cutting across the floor of the valley. At that time they still had AzNWoods world and I decided to try to make a terrain that incorporated both worlds. Amazons and AzNWoods were each a P-50 world.

For speed and rendering efficiency I decided to use the built-in terrain. Previous to v3.5 the default altitude of the built-in terrain was fixed at 0 meters. I decided this was to be the depth of the seafloor and that the sea surface would be at +50 meters. The built-in water was to be used for both the sea and the rivers crossing the interiors of both worlds. The majority of the valley floor in Amazons was to be up at about +55 meters, giving plenty of room between the surface of the valley and the water table for, cellars, tunnels, etc. I also decided to try overbuilding the terrain for each world out to the size of a P-500 (10 x 10 km). Therefore the overall heightfield file was to be 12 km wide and 11 km tall, with overlapping 10 x 10 km sections used when building terrain for each world.

The Design In Leveller

Quarter-scale image of map file
Quarter-scale image of map file

I started with creating a map file; showing the boundaries of the worlds (orange lines), a 1 km grid (blue lines), and the limits to which the bot will build terrain in the two worlds (black lines). Note that the two black areas will not be used for anything. Amazons is the orange square to the right of center, AzNWoods the orange square to the left of center.

Quarter-scale image of heightfield
Quarter-scale image of heightfield

Next shown is a quarter scale image of the completed heightfield with the map overlay. It is the ability to overlay a map that allows precise knowledge of where certain world features are, such as the exact center, or the edge.

I've chosen to only sculpt the zone that is common to both worlds. The other zones were left flat, at 0 alt (50 meters below sea level).

Click for full-scale image of Amazons heightfield

Finally, click the thumbnail to view a full-scale image of the Amazons portion of the heightfield with the map overlay. At full-scale a lot of things become apparent, such as the precise center and boundary of the two worlds. The world Amazons is centered on this heightfield and you can see the black dot that is the precise 0n 0w center of the world. Each pixel of this image represents one heightfield value, which will be one vertex of the built-in terrain (the corner of one cell). Thus, pixels represent a 10 meter spacing of the terrain.

Elevation color map

The small rainbow picture to the right is an elevation color map. This is a feature of Leveller to make it easier to visualize the relative height of the terrain. The Colors of the full-scale heightfield are a blending of this elevation color map and the mostly white map file. Additionally, water is shown in Leveller to clearly visualize the surface of the sea.

While working in Leveller, I had the terrain moved down so the sea level was at 0 meters altitude. When I get ready to run the heightfield through DEM2RWX I move it up to +50 meters.

A Few Screen Captures

These were taken in Amazons world, in the ActiveWorlds "universe" on 11-Jun-04, the day before the license expired for the world.

246n 256w 5.5a, facing NE

#1. Standing on that small island that is at the end of the arc of islands, and facing back toward the arc. The Max Fog/Viewing Distance obscures all but the next two islands of the arc.

254n 120w 11.9a, facing SE

#2. Standing on the highest point of the double peaked island that is both part of the arc, and the ring of islands, then looking toward the center of the ring. Fog obscures the far islands in the ring.

263n 93w 6.0a, facing SE

#3. Floating in the air about 10 meters above the surface of the sea and looking toward the central peak of the island ring. Note the oddly shaped island on the left, rising out of the fog.

214n 52w 5.4a, facing E

#4. Standing on the lower edge of the central peak in the island ring and facing that oddly shaped island. I'd conceived of this island as an arena, a natural amphitheater, a place for people to go and be as loud as they want without disturbing others. Arena Island could be used for public speaking, trial by combat, tournaments, or just plain screaming matches. We are over a kilometer north of the northernmost edge of Amazons Island.

222n 76w 15.6a, facing SE

#5. Floating in the air a bit NE of the central peak of the island ring, and looking SE and slightly down. The south end of Arena Island is visible on the left, while the string of islands leading to Amazons Island is visible a bit to the right of center. Note the gap between Arena Island and the small island to its east.

187n 55w 4.3a, facing E

#6. We're underwater! Located between Arena Island and that little island clearly visible in #5 and facing east, we're down about 7 meters below the surface. The southern tip of Arena Island is just visible at the left edge of the frame. Note the change in seafloor texture with depth.

101n 67w 6.7a, facing SE

#7. From #5 we've followed the sting of islands south, toward Amazons Island. In this screen shot we're standing on the final island of the string, facing the NE corner of Amazons Island. The two nearby peaks of Amazons Island are outside the world limits (check the full-scale heightfield), but see that peak between them? That is the tallest peak on Amazons Island and partly inside the buildable limits. We're going there next.

49n 41w 16.4a, facing SE

#8. Standing on the highest summit in the NE corner of Amazons world, and facing toward GZ. Amazons is a P-50 world. The red poles were placed by me and are precisely at the edge of the world and space every 10 meters. That cinder cone a bit to the NE of GZ is where we're headed next.

One of the greatest advantages of using the built-in terrain is the ability to modify the terrain after delivery. That pond visible near the river on the right side of the screen shot was added after the terrain was completed. There is supposed to be a bathhouse over it, but we're too far away to see ordinary objects.

9n 7w 11.6a, facing SE

#9. Here the view is from near the summit of the cinder cone, facing the GZ entry pavilion. The center of the pavilion is at the center of the world. I had envisioned a seaport in the bay, just visible in the distance.

16s 50e 11.4a, facing SW

#10. Here we are standing at the eastern boundary of Amazons world, a bit south of the centerline and facing the bay. There are a few things built down there, but we are beyond the rendering distance of ordinary objects. Note the big hole at the end of the peninsula, that was added later (there is a big pile of rocks in the hole, I'm not sure of their purpose).

50s 19e 8.0a, facing E

#11. Standing at the southern boundary of Amazons world and facing the bay. The ship is just at the rendering limit for ordinary objects. The pile of rocks and other builds on the peninsula are not visible at this distance. Here you can clearly see (by the red poles) that the bay is within the world's buildable limit.