Valinor scene in Opensim

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Lúthien
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Valinor scene in Opensim

Post by Lúthien »

Suilad,

the Blender Valinor scene project has stalled sometime ago. I could not get past "getting the mountains right" and after I had let it sink in for some time I realised that I was trying to do something that might prove to be very hard.

Blender is not really designed to create such large scenes. Therefore, the mountains that I'd need to get a realistic effect would have to be so "large" (in sense of the number of triangles that make them up) that the file would become so large that it'd become cumbersome to render.
This is because Blender renders everything it sees, no matter how far away. This is accurate, but becomes exponentially time consuming if your scene grows larger and more complex.

Some weeks ago I discovered an open source branch of Second Life named OpenSim. It's a server and  client, both free. This means that you can set up your own "universe".
That's interesting, because I've tried Second life out like two years ago but found it tedious and boring. After the initial wow-effect wore off it came down to a game with the same disadvantages and tedium as people generate in real life. Plus, everything costs money, and there are others wherever you go. Anyhow, I don't game at all so exit 2nd life.

But OpenSim is interesting enough: it could allow for the creation of a very lifelike imaginal landscape  / environment.
So I started out trying to set that up. I got a server running, and used the existing map of Aman (not sure where it came from, I think from the Atlas of Middle Earth?)
http://img.skitch.com/20090322-e6yb7tk3 ... 3c3h5j.jpg

of which I took the central part
http://img.skitch.com/20090322-paku5y4m ... siprps.jpg

to create a basic height map and generate some terrain relief in a landscaping program to have something to start off with.
Now, one "region" in Opensim is an area that typically contains something the size of a village and some lands about it. While it is at present impossible yet to assign the real size of a continent like Aman (say, thousands of miles) to an Opensim landscape, I think it is still pretty big because I divided that partial map of Aman in 64 regions ... to give an impression, if you want to walk your avatar across all that, it will take you a couple of hours. Anyhow, your field of view in Opensim is, just as in the real world, limited to about 2, 3 regions.

Anyhow, there is ample space to build places like Tirion etc in there (if I ever get around to that) and the trees and other assets look quite good. Of course, the most important thing is to create an image of the two Trees. I think it is doable .. even though I don't think I can make trees themselves emit light, I can put invisible light in them (invisible as you do not see the light source, but you so see the light). I'm curious how that will turn out.

I am now trying to get the landscape right, and still working on the Pelori, especially Taniquetil. It is possible to shape the landscape from within the simulator too, but it is a lot of work since the effected terrain is quite small. But I am getting there.

Here's a couple of images from the flanks of the mountain at sunrise .. the person you can see is the default Test User that comes with OpenSim, but as many as needed can be made eventually.
http://img.skitch.com/20090322-pt8mnpxj ... 18yd9h.jpg
http://img.skitch.com/20090322-8j8gae6q ... 3kxfq1.jpg
http://img.skitch.com/20090322-d3q7d9x5 ... xu1xib.jpg
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Re: Valinor scene in Opensim

Post by Arodring* »

I think that project like this have great potential to add another dimension to these imagined realms.  By offering the viewer another medium to see Valinor in another medium is to give them a new perspective on this world.  Blender is a very powerful program but as you well know it can be tricky too.  The few times I have tried to tinker with it have never ended satisfactorily.  However, this seems promising and I look forward to future developments so that this project might come closer to the realization of these places I could only have vaguely imagined.
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Re: Valinor scene in Opensim

Post by Lúthien »

thanks Arodring!

I am currently rebuilding the overall landscape because it turned out that that map that you can see above is not doing justice to what's in the books. Aikanar attended me to that fact, and reminded me of the map of Valinor that's in the Atlas of Middle Earth which *is* true to the descriptions in the Lore.

So I have no idea where my first map originated from .. but I must say that I have all this time had a hunch that the distance between where the Trees are drawn into the map and Eldamar is way to large compared to the overall size of the continent.
The mound of the Trees is almost over at the coast with Ekkaia - which makes either the continent of Valinor very small - or the distance between the Trees and the bay of Eldamar, Tirion, etc very, very large.

The map in the Atlas of Middle Earth does not have that.
I took a square patch out of it containing Taniquetil, Eldamar, that part of Tol Eressëa that's visible on the map, Tirion and some of the lands around. Here it is:

http://img.skitch.com/20090325-m3afstje ... rddemr.png

and this is a - very preliminary - height map that I made from that:

http://img.skitch.com/20090325-k2b5bxje ... 2i8ug2.jpg

where white is highest. The two round dots are indicators of where Tirion and Valmar (and Ezollahar) will be.
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Re: Valinor scene in Opensim

Post by Lúthien »

Hi - I have the basic server running now. It is only a small island for now, even though I have the landscape also set based on that map from the Atlas. But if you are interested in trying out, pm or mail me and I'll give you the login details ... I first thought to put them here, but I think this board is publicly viewable.
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Re: Valinor scene in Opensim

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A! Elin velui, dîn dolog, aduial lúthad!
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Re: Valinor scene in Opensim

Post by Lúthien »

http://img.skitch.com/20090419-qh5c7jii ... 7ujp8j.jpg


... Many jewels the Noldor gave them, opals and diamonds and pale crystals, which they strewed upon the shores and scattered in the pools; marvellous were the beaches of Elende in those days.

At the foot of Túna, looking East
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Re: Valinor scene in Opensim

Post by Meneldur Olvarion »

Wow...quite good.  :)

///Dave
[...] “That yet for a while in Beleriand rivers may run clean, leaves spring, and birds build their nests, ere Night comes...”
 -- Finrod Felagund, "Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth"
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Re: Valinor scene in Opensim

Post by Lúthien »

thanks .. :)

and that's even without trees (or Trees) or any other thing added. I would so much like to really be able to start on those things instead of dealing with the technicalities: I understood that it is still impossible to log on to the server from outside the network. I am working on that - it is a thorny issue named "NAT loopback problem" ...
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Re: Valinor scene in Opensim

Post by Lúthien »

update -

I've really had a major obstacle with the networking. It comes down to that I cannot log in here locally AND allow others from outside to login the same server. It's a bit of a bummer, and I still have no idea how to solve that.

I have made good progress nonetheless. I put the whole thing on a virtualbox - which is an open source sort of VMWare by Sun. What that does is create a virtual computer in which you can install anything. The advantage - I can have the whole thing - landscape, software, database, etc. - ready in one single file  and give it to anyone who can then host that themselves, to run locally or for others.

The landscape is almost done as far as overall shape goes. It is still way to small of course, but when you stand on Túna, Taniquetil looks awfully impressive and high. This grid - about 7 by 7 regions - is the most that I my home computer can pull off - every region needs extra memory.
It is more than large enough for the purpose now I think. I would love to create some scenes, like Tirion, and that lake in Lórien, and, of course, the Trees. Those will be hard enough, because I don't know if I can figure out a way to make trees give light. And the choice of trees is not that large.

It could be a fun place to meet btw. I was talking about that with Eruannlass the other day; I would really like to give that a try.

If one of you wants to have a look - let me know so I can create a user for you.

What you can do in preparation is to download the Hippo Opensim client software at
http://forge.opensimulator.org/gf/proje ... iewer/frs/
for either Windows or Linux. The mac build is a bit harder but I think I am the only one here :)

Basically, all you need to do, when I have created a login, is to start up that Hippo software, click on "grids" and enter http://luthien.thruhere.net:9000 as the server URI

- click LOGIN and you're in.

Maybe I'll host it somewhere else for the time being, because of my network problem.

Here's some more screenshots from today and yesterday. This is at a small lake just west of Túna:

http://img.skitch.com/20090505-rcw5r4pj ... jbtwiw.jpg

http://img.skitch.com/20090505-u1abftj8 ... b9iqh1.jpg

http://img.skitch.com/20090505-cttx2tfr ... ph6uxw.jpg

http://img.skitch.com/20090505-kddjcg6y ... 71dh5n.jpg

and this is on the other side of the hill

http://img.skitch.com/20090505-g4nrwe5y ... weyy3e.jpg
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Re: Valinor scene in Opensim

Post by Lúthien »

started on Tirion. Very basic still, but getting the hang of this...

http://img.skitch.com/20090509-cf4359qf ... djx2k5.jpg
after sunset

http://img.skitch.com/20090509-kw6i35y7 ... cruk22.jpg
at night, the light of Mindon does illuminate the place before it. It looks rather striking when you walk across it.
Also, those foggy night clouds really drift by on the wind, and obscure the stars as they do so very realistically.

http://img.skitch.com/20090509-da4pn35k ... kmr6sy.jpg
Sunrise, looking East through the Calacirya

http://img.skitch.com/20090509-kw83yg2f ... 2g9yit.jpg
looking the other way - everything still in morning fog

http://img.skitch.com/20090509-qhiyns1j ... 8hw81w.jpg
From  POV suspened in mid air

http://img.skitch.com/20090509-r73unpyf ... qce37i.jpg
From ground level, looking up to Túna

I rather like it so far. I can't wait to see how it looks when the buildings will be in place ..

I was thinking about Valmar. There are some descriptions of individual houses and general layout, but afaik, there is no drawing or painting of it. Or does anyone know of one? That would really help.
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Re: Valinor scene in Opensim

Post by Lúthien »

on this Nost-na-Lothion I made some progress. I found how to create good wall textures, and how to make the buildings look like being illuminated from within. Also, I figured out how to create rocks and boulders in Blender and how to import them as "sculpted map" objects into opensim. This is cool because the opensim build tools only allow for a limited variety of geometrical shapes. Natural looking elements add to the liveliness of the scene.

Here's two shots from the eastern side of Túna

http://img.skitch.com/20090521-pr6rebae ... 59n2wj.jpg
Just before Sunrise

http://img.skitch.com/20090521-gpggjdsu ... yn4in9.jpg
Same place, showing some growths, and boulders at the end of the sea inlet of Calacirya
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Re: Valinor scene in Opensim

Post by Meneldur Olvarion »

Wow, great progress!  :)

///Dave
[...] “That yet for a while in Beleriand rivers may run clean, leaves spring, and birds build their nests, ere Night comes...”
 -- Finrod Felagund, "Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth"
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Re: Valinor scene in Opensim

Post by Lúthien »

thanks!

I think that things like those boulders, rocks and plants do a lot to add to the sense of realism. The ground itself is rather an undefined, fuzzy surface when seen from close be and those detais fill in that lack.  
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Re: Valinor scene in Opensim

Post by Lúthien »

Too bad that Skitch has been gobbled up by Evernote, which I refuse to use.
I took some screenshots from the Opensimulator scene at the time, and attach them here.
While I can still restore that version if I want (I still have the height map) it's not really worth the effort because Opensimulator has barely evolved since '09 and it's quality is now definitely disappointing compared to, say, Unity or Unreal Engine.
I'm waiting for the Terrcaincomposer 2 module to work on the Mac and then I'll pick it upon Unity again.

But here are the old images from '09:
Tirion
Tirion
Looking back through the Calacirya
Looking back through the Calacirya
Tirion
Tirion
Calacirya
Calacirya
Calacirya
Calacirya
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