Jul 06 2009

OpenSim Terrain notes, and Darb has Process Credit history!

I’d read about this, but never before experienced the agony first-hand.  Extracting funds from SL, the wait for funds to arrive at PayPal was a bit slow.  In fact, in the time it took funds to go from Linden to PayPal, a bamboo shoot in my back yard could have grown taller than me (that’s my RL not SL height!), and would have been over 2 meters tall.  Anyway, Process Credits are quite lacking in symmetry with how quickly credit charges can flow into the Linden realm.

During this week of waiting my random prims have been cleared out from Amida and nary a trace of Berkurodam BART Station remains besides a video in Gualala.  The video screen was actually entombed by a neighbor, who may not like it but did not send any message.

Anyway–for me this week is all about generating maps and graphics while keeping up with work.  I’ve generated a 50cm terrain grid for parts of my county where perhaps 150,000 people live.  With computational process improvements I should be able to make production stable enough to generate a 25cm grid.  The point is to model terrain slope and aspect within urban parcels.  OpenSim can pack 64 terrain megaprim sculpties over each region to refine terrain more than the built-in 1-meter postings, and display 10cm orthoimagery at full resolution.

Last year, I used first-return LiDAR data of the UC Berkeley campus to generate a 25cm grid for 10cm imagery.  Now, I’m working with bare-earth LiDAR data from FEMA, topographic contours (densified to 1.5m vertex spacing), and most importantly, photogrammetric terrain and water break lines.

Throwing all those data into the mix, the data are built into an ESRI Terrain Dataset, from which I generate TIN and GRID models at various reolution and extent.  The ESRI ArcGIS 3D Analyst Terrain-to-TIN generator breaks down after about 10 mega-faces (so would I…)  And the ArcGIS Terrain-to-GRID generator seems to drift into Windows-unconsciousness after about 1.0 giga-cells.  So for the grid, I break it down and do the pieces, then merge the tiles using ERDAS Imagine, because the ESRI ArcGIS raster mosaic function does not produce output grids much over 10 GB.  As annoying as learning these ArcGIS limits can be, it is very satisfying (and instructive) to see huge swaths of seamless terrain with great detail once it all comes together.  Thanks to the break lines, many driveways and most home building site cuts and fills are resolved.  And it will be a lot of terrain by OpenSim standards–enough to calibrate terrain for over 20,000 contiguous regions–not that I ever expect to build it all at 1:1 scale!

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May 01 2008

Testing Upper UC Campus with Machinima to Share

Published by under SL In General

I’ve gotten into a groove with planting the terrain megaprims, and covered the eastern part of the UC Campus. I’ve also grabbed a video with FRAPS but it’s taking a while to upload to YouTube.

Things I learned tonight: it’s possible to crash OpenSim by dragging megaprims across region boundaries. The warning sign is that the prim appears to lose its name, then all prims in the region lose their names, then a check of the console will show no more OpenSim running!

After a couple of technical issues, I am pleased to offer some machinima views

This is a shot starting at the Greek Theater on the UC Berkeley campus (20080430)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86IVMafq3ik

This is simply how the Open Berkurodam sim looks in its overview map with 40 Regions.
I haven’t refreshed the appearence of the map since loading in the real-world terrain (20080430)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvGLmtTY0uI

This is a flight eastward over some bare ground, but real-life terrain regions. Flight is in the vicinity of BANCROFT AVE between SHATTUCK AVE and TELEGRAPH AVE (20080430)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56PfQp9viqE

This is a flight into the land of Terrain Megaprim Sculpties.  Of the three scales, this shows the medium and large steepness areas in easterly campus.  At the time this was shot, there were fifteen regions with 60 megaprim sculpties in a contiguous area (20080430)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9cElvejrxo

This is a flight from the high point of the sim starting at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, over the Greek Theater, and ending near Wurster Hall at UC Berkeley (20080501)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBlbB72cpUQ

This is a flight starting near the old Pacific Film Archive building, through an excavation at Underhill Field that was open on 1 July 2006, then up PIEDMONT AVE to GAYLEY AVE past California Memorial Stadium and up to the far NEly corner of the sim in LBNL (20080501)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cealA1QL59s

Enough Videos already!  While you’re at YouTube, check out “OpenSim” as a search term, if you haven’t already!

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Apr 23 2008

Terrain megaprim refinements

Published by under OpenSim,Scale Issues,SL In General

After spending plenty of time getting all the terrain megaprims stamped out, and starting some refinements of how to squeeze the imageable part of the ortho into a portion of the 1024 square texture, I found myself rather unhappy with how lumpy the megaprims were in the flat part of the model. Berkeley has this sort of dual terrain personality (no comment on the residents) that has certain types of details in the distal fan and floodplain parts of town to the westerly, and very different types of details in the hilly and steep areas.

When one loads the natural terrain into OpenSim, the values are 64K of single-precision floating points per region. When loading terrain into a megaprim, there are a mere 900 usable values that must be mashed into an 8-bit integer of Z values. So when the whole sim ranges from 45–267 meters (and it could go up to 581 meters if a sim ran all the way up to Vollmer Peak) , one gets dynamic range issues if all the terrain megaprims are scaled to fit over the entire sim. So to mitigate this, I divided the sim into distal (the “flats”), proximal (the “foots”) , and hills proper (easterly of the Hayward Fault).

The upside of this extra work is better fidelity in the different parts of the model when the floating point values are approximated by 8-bit integers. When I used the entire elevation range for the whole UC Berkeley sim, each integer Z value was 87 cm, or close to three feet. With the sim broken into three regions of megaprim Z-scaling, I have each integer worth 11 cm in the distal, 31 cm in the proximal, and 63 cm in the hills, so everything is a little better everywhere. I’ll fess up to not having the prim placement fully automated, otherwise it would be practical, and perhaps desirable, to use the full dynamic range over just those elevation values in the region (or even in the quadrant of the region that the terrain megaprim covers). But by that point, I’d consider even denser grids of terrain megaprims, and it would then be a different process for representing the terrain.

After all, the whole point of this exercise is to devise a work-around for not being able to load the ortho imagery directly into the region as a draped terrain texture!

Enough blabbing – please enjoy the graphics.

Three zone design for terrain Here is how the terrain maps out versus the buildings

Terrain that has three zones Not intended as digital Cubism, this odd-looking approach makes better terrain megaprims. Really, it does!

Overlay of ortho with 3-zone terrain In case one knows particular buildings on the UC Berkeley campus or environs, this is how the zoning worked out. There is a certain logic to it, geomorphically.

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