Terrain File to Cover Multiple Regions

So, after successfully getting four regions up and running in a 2x2 grid, it is time to terraform them. Doing four regions by hand would be way too tedious, so I had a go at creating and loading terrain files.

My sims are based on Ancient Egypt, the Estate Name is Greater Anubia, and the region names are Anubia, Karnak, Giza and Luxor. So I wanted a terrain that would cover the full four regions, and look something like the Nile Delta, with the river Nile winding its way through the four regions.

Here are the steps I took:-

Step 1: Prepare the Background in Microsoft Paint
I opened Microsoft Paint, and changed the Image size to 512x512 pixels (this will cover four regions), and filled the background with dark grey

Step 2: Do some Painting
I then used the brush and using black I painted a water border around the edges (yes, I know Egypt only has a water border on the North and East, but I like to sail), then a river delta and a river winding through the regions. Three higher elevations (one to host the pyramids of Giza, one to represent the source of the Nile, and one to host the Palace) were then created using the brush and painting in light grey then a little white on top. The resulting simple image looked like this (don't laugh, it does get better).

Tip: If you want low-lying land the shades of grey to paint in are so near black as to be indistinguishable. So I have started to paint in just the four clear shades you get in Microsoft Paint, ie black, dark grey, light grey and white. I then blur the image and use the terrain multiply factor to scale the heights down from 255m high (white) accordingly to a much lower elevation. I found by experiment that 0.4 left the ground still a little too high, while 0.3 left too much underwater, and 0.35 was about right.

Step 3: Blur the Image
I then saved the bitmap as a windows bitmap (egypt.bmp), then opened the file in Photoshop, and blurred the image using Gaussian Blur, and a setting of 7.2 (but you can blur it with Gimp, .Paint, and several other free programs). The resulting image now looked like this.

Step 4: Splitting the Image into Tiles
I then used 'Split and Tile Image Splitter', available from http://www.softdd.com/splitting-images/splitting-pictures.html

This neat utility will open an image, ask you to select how many cells across by how many down you want to split the image into, and it will then split the image and let you save the cells in one easy go. I opened egpyt.bmp, selected 2 across by 2 down, and it then saved the four cells as egypt1.bmp, egypt2.bmp, egypt3.bmp and egypt4.bmp into the root of my C: drive (just to save typing out long paths in OpenSim). Couldn't be simpler.

Step 5: Loading the Files and Scaling Them
I then opened Notepad and entered the following 4 lines (to save constantly typing them out each time in the OpenSim console):

terrain load c:\egypt1.bmp
terrain multiply 0.35
terrain bake

I then started my OpenSim server, and when it was ready I opened my Hippo Viewer and connected. I then changed the region from Root to Anubia by copying to the clipboard change-region from my notepad, and pasting it into the opensim console (using that little icon in the top-left of the title bar, and selecting Edit/Paste, as Control-V does not work in Dos windows) and adding 'Anubia', like so:

change-region Anubia

(all terrain commands will now only apply to this region)

I then loaded the appropriate bitmap file

Tip: The file splitter utility saves the four files, numbered from the top-left (1), top right (2), bottom left (3) and bottom right (4). In my Hippo Viewer I looked at the Minimap to remind me of the layout of my four regions, with the southwest (SW) in the bottom-left corner. I could see that Anubia need the (3) file, Karnak the (1) file, Giza the (2) file and Luxor the (4) file), so I entered the following commands:

terrain load c:\egypt3.bmp
(wait until it says it has loaded it ok)

terrain multiply 0.35
(again, wait for the console to say that it has completed this step)

terrain bake

Repeat the above until all four regions have been selected in turn, had their terrain files loaded, scaled with the multiply factor, and baked.

Step 6: Apply Terrain Textures
In my Hippo Viewer I then went to the World, Estate/Regions, Ground Textures tab, and loaded rippled sand for my first texture, rock for the second, granite for the third, and thatch for the fourth, and set the elevations to 25 and 45 for all four areas.

The resultant landscape now looked like this.

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