Hi, we've been around on the boards for a while now. Look like this a better place to post future updates. It's exciting to see so many things happening with user content!
Our original thread is here:http://www.outerra.com/forum/index.php?topic=326.0
Here's some stuff we've done previously:
The ME-DEM project has been given kind permission by Cameni and AngryPig to post some development shots of our terrain within Outerra.
We recently moved over to an entirely new workflow in ME-DEM for building the terrain. We've been testing whether that would be feasable of itself and also testing the specifics of getting it into Outerra and how Outerra renders it with its procedural fractals at the sub 90m scale.
We got our initial terrain into Outerra which was built on our old workflow using procedural terrain generators. After viewing it from orbit and having seen the real earth data in Outerra (SRTM v4 at 90m), it was pretty obvious that it didn't stand up very well to scrutiny from high orbit.
While procedurals terrain generators are great are small scale (sub planetary- Outerra is BIIIIIG!!) terrain modelling, they don't currently have tools for creating convincing large scale structures like continental mountain ranges. So we decided to use real earth data instead...
We're currently using two methods: a more traditional manual modelling approach using real terrain from SRTM sources in Photoshop, Leveller, and World Machine and procedural tile blending of tiles from the same data. We use Global Mapper to select and export the tiles.
The manual modelling of the mountain ranges is the long term goal- but it will
be longer term. the procedural approach will be handled by Robes' texturer and take care of any terrain I've not modelled manually in the meantime.
First up was Mordor. Bear in mind that in the future the texturer will be set up to incorporate user defined textures. We're still with the default Earth texture settings here.
The highest point on the terrain is at around 16,000 ft. Not sure where that is exactly...but everything looks good. We've used artistic license and extended the height of the Mordor mountains. We're probably going to roughly double the height of the mountains in Middle Earth over our previous estimates.
I used the Carpathians as the basis for Mordor- sorry to people who live there, no offence
. The problem with that was that they are not young mountains like say the Himalayas with all of those sharp glaciated ridges, so I had to apply ridge sharpening in World Machine. The Photoshop processing removed some of the high frequency detail from the terrain so I had to replace that procedutally while preserving the flatness of the valleys.
These are all shots of just the lower right quad of the ME-DEM terrain. I'll post some shots later with the entire map.
Another problem we had was creating a good transition from mountains to lowlands. This turned out to be not too difficult to solve.
One of the spooky mountains- this is really cool when you travel across the Udun crater- it's huge and very evil looking up close
Just to get an idea of the scale of this, it takes about 20 minutes to travel across the crater of Udun "running" along the ground.
I added a sea of mist and took some pics- you get an almost tropical feel.
In this one the mist fills the caldera of Udun. The Morannon Gate (the location of the battle at the end of The Return of the King) is at the south at the gap in the crater. To get a sense of the scale of this, the arrow in the pic points to the summit of the tower in the previous pic just poking its head above the mist!
Here's Mt Doom
I was playing around in World Machine with Voronoi noise and came up with the beginning of a surface for the plains of Mordor. http://www.skindustry.net/medem/files/Phase2/Terrain_1.0/NASARun/2011/RW_Terrain/Test/Mordor/11_09_11/Mordor_surface.png
It'd be really sweet to be able to add to this plain the occasional displacements like these: http://blackheart6004.deviantart.com/art/Terragen-2-Shear-163303491
Terragen 2 has a workflow which can export displacements as meshes to 3Ds Max. That's one possibility, Outerra will no doubt have procedural solutions too.