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Zoraster Lunardi

Terraforming Tools

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Hello Everyone,

 I was hoping to join a discussion on pros, cons and reviews of SL’s various Terraforming Tools. I could not find one, so I thought I would start here. Any info, recommendations and / or cautions about SL terraforming tools will be appreciated.

 Because I am going to keep the overall terrain intact, I am more interested in fine / delicate adjustments. I will be using it to dig drenches for streams, hollows for ponds, sharp rectangular depressions for basements and dungeons.

 I also need to fix a few areas on my land, so a tool that can shape a small area without effecting adjacent landforms would be nice.

 I own most of a region but now all of it, so I do not have full regional control if that makes any difference relative to any of the terraforming tools.

 If there is a better place for this most, please let me know with a reply.

 Thanks

 Zor

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I've always terraformed land manually. I've seen Residents use Tools that appeared to be shaping the land. I was not impressed.

Shaping the land requires a lot of sub-dividing and rejoining of land, some artistic talent, and patience. Land that can be raise + or - 40 meters is also helpful.

Some of the best land features I've made evolved out of happenstance. I didn't plan that niche or cove, it just appeared as I was working, I only gave it definition.

The best way to learn is to start clicking the buttons.

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I agree with Knowl.  All it takes is a little practice and patience. I haven't seen a commercial tool that does anything more than what's already in your toolbox.  The big mistakes come when you

1. use a tool that is either too large or too small for the area you are trying to terraform,

2. work too fast (i.e., have the strength set too high), or

3. don't move your camera around frequently to examine the work from different angles.

I find that it's easiest to work with the sun low in the sky (early morning or late afternoon light), so that irregularities in the surface show up well.  Finally, remember that you can always fill in any hole or flatten any mountain to start over again.

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When I first started terraforming a long time ago  I bought a landscaping tool to use.  I soon found out that it really didn't offer me any advantages over the regular tools other than to give me confidence, and discarded it.  I could actually terraform faster with the standard tools with a more natural result. 

The landscaping tools do not give you any more features than the standard tools because all of them are scripted objects and only act as an interface.

Once in my very early days of terraforming, I was using a tool for a small job that just involved digging and flattening space for a basement and didn't finish before having to log out for RL.  I left it sitting where it was so that I could pick up there when I returned and logged off.  When I  returned later that night I found the land on the entire sim had been raised over 60m burying all the buildings and landscaping.  It took a LOT more work to correct the problem.   This would never have happened if I had been using the standard edit box.

If this is your first try at terraforming or the first time making these land features, my suggestion is to use the standard edit box and take a small area of our land and practice using the tools and your technique before tackling the entire land.

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What I usually do is use an array of scripted land leveler objects, to very quickly carve out the general shape of the land. Once that's done, I delete the levelers, and do any needed fine tuning with the terraforming brushes in the editor window.  In this way, I can acheive in minutes what would otherwise take hours or days with the brushes alone.

Here's the land leveler script, if you want it:

 

default{    state_entry()    {        llSetTimerEvent(0.1);    }    timer()    {        llModifyLand(LAND_LEVEL, LAND_MEDIUM_BRUSH);    }}

 

Place that in any prim, and the land will raise or lower itself to align vertically with the prim's center point.  The brush size is an 8x8 meter square, so I find an  8x8x0.5M cube works best.  Use a bunch of them at various heights, and you can very quickly create the basic shape of any piece of land, no matter how large or small.

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Just a suggestion ......

If you put that script in a prim, it will start to work instantly.  If you rez a prim with the script in it, but you rez it in the wrong spot, it will flatten someplace that you didn't intend.  It might be wise to at least include an ON/OFF switch.

integer gON;default{    on_rez(integer startup)    {        gON = FALSE;    }    touch_start(integer num)    {        if (llDetectedKey(0) == llGetOwner()) //Only the owner can make this work        {            llSetTimerEvent(0.1*(gON = !gON));  //Toggle timer ON or OFF        }    }    timer()    {        llModifyLand(LAND_LEVEL, LAND_MEDIUM_BRUSH);    }}

With that switch in place, you can also turn the thing off when it has done its job, slide it to a new spot, and switch it on  again. :smileywink:

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I have been Tarraforming for a while mostly with success. Every now and then I have come upon a vacated parcel and have found almost perfect rectangular depressions that must have been used for basements and such.

How do you get such nice right angles with the standard tool box. I was hoping that there was a tool for making exact shape depressions in the Terrain.

 

Zor

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The important word is "almost."  You can terraform a hole with perfectly vertical sides.  You can come close, though.  Position your cursor exactly where you want it, set the tool to "Lower" and set it at high strength so that it digs very fast. Then give it a short burst, being very careful not to move your mouse at all.  You should get a square hole with nearly vertical sides.  With practice, you can get the depth calibrated by how long you hold the mouse button down.

ETA:  Of course, if you really want to use a scripted tool, try the method that Chosen recommended.  Drop my modified script in it, change the parameter LAND_LEVEL to LAND_LOWER, and it becomes a hole digger that you can calibrate by how long you let the timer run.

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From the Edit tool box,  check Select Land.  Then use your cursor to outline the area that you want to dig out.  Note that the minimum size is 16sqm.  Once you have outlined the area, click Lower in the Edit Tool Box and put the size slider all the way to the left.  Adjust the Strength slider to the lower end too for more control.  You can always raise it a bit if its too slow for you.  Then when these adjustments are made hit the apply button.  Continue to hit Apply until the hole is as deep as you need.  If you accidentally go deeper than intended, just change the setting to Raise and click again to 'undo' the last click of Lower.  If you need to be precise, then rez a prim and stretch it the length, width and/or depth you need and use it as a guide and measuring device.

Just a note about the Size slider, The higher the setting the more the land outside the highlighted area will be effected.  by terraforming.  So by putting it at the minimum setting, only the land in the highlight box will be effected, thus giving you a nice sharp edges  

If the difference in height between high and low ground is large, you will get rough terrain on the surfaces near the edge.  There is not anything you can do to prevent this.  It is one of the 'quirks' of the tools.  The work around I use, is to use the smooth tool to smooth the bumps and put more of a slope in the sides of the whole, then use prims, to fill any gaps between the ground and building. 

Flat regular prims sunk just a tad lower than the ground surface work for for flat land.  Sculpted prims for other situations.  The prims can be textured like the ground or in a rock or dirt texture depending on the effect you want to achieve.  Prims can also be textured with a mulch texture too if you plan on putting a garden next to the foundation.

Squares are the only shape available for terraforming, to achieve other shapes, you use the square tool and rough in the area and shape with it, then use the Smooth tool to refine it.

 

 

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As I placed these around, I somehow always lost track of whether or not they where on or off, so I added a little extra code. I'm fairly new to scripting so it might not be the most efficient way. When the prim is green...the leveler is off. When the prim is red...the leveler is on. 

 

integer gON;default{    on_rez(integer startup)    {        gON = FALSE;        llSetColor(<0.0, 1.0, 0.0>,ALL_SIDES);    }    touch_start(integer num)    {          if (gON == FALSE)          {              llSetColor(<1.0, 0.0, 0.0>,ALL_SIDES);          }          else          {             llSetColor(<0.0, 1.0, 0.0>,ALL_SIDES);          }                  if (llDetectedKey(0) == llGetOwner()) //Only the owner can make this work        {            llSetTimerEvent(0.1*(gON = !gON));  //Toggle timer ON or OFF        }    }    timer()    {        llModifyLand(LAND_LEVEL, LAND_MEDIUM_BRUSH);    }}

 

 

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I have tried using script to terraform land, starting from 0 height everywhere. The results are rubbish. It's ok if you want to raise one hill, but to raise a sim landscape from, say, notecard information, the terraforming is simply too slow to keep up with the script, which misreads the height as it is being modified. However I have deduced some information about brush size, if it's useful to anyone.

BRUSHSIZE 0     area affected is  2m x 2m
BRUSHSIZE 1     area affected is  6m x 6m
BRUSHSIZE 2     area affected is 10m x 10m

Repeated use of the smallest brush results in an area with very steep sides, but results vary with exactly where the terraformer is located. For example using brushsize 1 and varying the x-position slightly

x.00 metre location, east slope was steeper than west slope
x.25 metre location, east slope was steeper than west slope
x.50 metre location, hill raised was slighty to west with even slopes
x.75 metre location, hill raised was slighty to west with even slopes

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Hi !

The script is very clever and usefull.
 And functionnaly !

Since I never wrote a script, I'd like to know :

1/ if it's possible to enlarge its working diomensions

2/ if we can use it to raise down a part of a parcel to a certain level that is different from the midle level.

 

I guess we must replace the field "LAND_MEDIUM_BRUSH" with an elevation...

Is it a web site where we can find the different terms or function ?

 

Thanks !

 

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As the note immediately above yours in this old thread says, you have three choices for brush size.  Just choose the one you want. If you look in the LSL wiki, you'll see that the three constants for brush size (LAND_SMALL_BRUSH, LAND_MEDIUM_BRUSH and LAND_LARGE_BRUSH) are no longer identified that way, so you simply identify them as 0,1, or 2.  Those all refer to the size of the brush, obviously.  The strength cannot be changed by LSL script, so you'll have to do that simply by controlling how long you use the tool.

Although this is a nice function to know about, I personally see little need for it.  It does exactly the same things that you can do with the terraforming tools in your editor and isn't as easily adjusted.  As that note above yours says, it may be OK for digging a single hole or raising a single peak, but otherwise it's a clumsy method. If you are planning to do much terraforming, it's probably smarter to spend time practicing with the basic editing tool.

 ETA:  Incidentally, if you are tempted to modify that script to do something other than LAND_LEVEL, resist the temptation.  Unless you know what you are doing, you can be creating a monster that will be way out of your control before you know what happened.  It is much safer to use your own terraforming tools in the editor.

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