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Building the Monster Lobe World

[Note - this is a rough outline to flesh out later]

I first attempted to use the SRTM method that was used for Douglas Island, but the SRTM height plots are not available in polar regions.  This search led me to the Global Land Cover Facility, which provides  "Global Land Survey Digital Elevation Model" plots, which I'm hoping will fill in the gap. There's a couple KML files you can download depicting which plot you'd need by looking at it as a set of layers in Google Earth.  I suggest both the shape file version and the "scene center points" version.  Opening those files with Google Earth and punching in the latitude and longitude of the Monster Lobe, I zoom in on this scene (click to open bigger version):

Then worm your way down through their FTP server to this location.  I feel obliged to have you take a gander at their FTP operations page.  At this point from the hint given by the Google Earth popup I went down into the p072 folder and then the GLSDEM_p072r012 folder because of the obvious similarity to the name 72_12.  The file you want is the .tif.gz:

At this point you should be able to go back to the workflow as described here.  You'll need a Windows machine to run MicroDEM.

Once in MicroDEM open up your expanded .tif.gz file.  File - Open - Open DEM - navigate to your file.  You'll get a beautiful picture like this:

To use it later on in World Painter you need to export it as grayscale first.  "Modify", "Map Shading Options" takes you where you can set grayscale as well as the height options (I left the height options as default):

And then saving the image as something you can work with later on in a program like The Gimp, or Adobe Photoshop.

To make sure this was the right area I used a screen capture of the Monster Lobe in Google Earth laid over top of the large-scale grayscale bitmap above and scaled and rotated the layer until it fit, and then marked that spot on the grayscale bitmap layer for later use.  I then had a good idea of what portion of the elevation map would be interesting to zoom in on and capture from there, and a really good idea of where the Monster Lobe really was - I would use this as the spawn point later on.  Save that layered drawing away too - it's good for getting a feel for where the road, the pipeline, and various terrain features are.

Going back to the MicroDEM application, now that you know where the Monster Lobe actually *is* you can get a subset of that map to have a much more detailed area to work with.  

First you're going to have to make an adjustment - since MicroDEM puts in the sun for you this will create shadows, which distort the resulting landscape.  Select "Modify", then "Display Parameter", and then "Reflectance".  Set the "Sun Elevation" to 90 (high noon).  BTW - you may have to then go back into "Modify", then "Map Shading Options".

Now it's time to zoom in on the area of interest.  Click "Modify", then "Map Area".  You'll see this:

I zoomed into an area pretty tight in on the scene, then created another image via the "Save Image" steps.  Zooming in on the spot with Google Earth and comparing the spots I had a pretty good fix on the terminus of the Monster Lobe:

Again I saved the file, then I brought out WorldPainter and imported that resultant file as a height map.

From a previous project I started out with a scale of 900 (this was later proved to be off quite a bit), and set some initial values so that WorldPainter doesn't go and put water everywhere but still gives us a little space to dig into.  YMMV - play around with it:

At this point you can set your terrain if you like.  You'll likely have to go through some iterations to get it to a reasonable spot.

I again lined up my trusty zoomed-in Google Earth image layered over top of the elevation map to once again locate my spawn point at the terminus of the Monster Lobe.

Save the world, and then export with the following changes to defaults (also turned off "Resources everywhere" under the "Resources" tab:

It will take some time - for me about 3 minutes.  To test, open up the world in Minecraft (or move around to your MinecraftEdu server spot).  You're looking to mostly validate the scale of everything.  Are the mountains insanely tall,  is the landscape squashed, or does it seem OK?  The first time I ran through it the scale was off enough.

Scaling Factor Calculations

A quick calculation using values obtained by the distance tool within MicroDEM and what the Import Height Map tool told me within WorldPainter as the size of the world (in blocks):

Map Y (using distance tool): ~18.76km, and this corresponds to 640 blocks when importing into World Painter under the default 100% scaling factor, for a total of roughly 187600m/640 blocks =~ 29.3m/block.

From the elevation grayscale adjustment we did earlier, we know that the maximum Z value represented 2424m, and the minimum represented 89m.  Normalizing this and scaling to the Minecraft maximum height in blocks (255), we get:

Image z scaling factor =~ 9.12 m/block.

We want the two scaling factors to be the same, so dividing the z scaling factor into the X_Y scaling factor, we get

x_y sf / z sf =~ 3.21

If the number you come out with is > 9.99, then you'll have to get a smaller image to work with, since World Painter only allows you a factor of 999%.

Now, the test in Minecraft:

[TODO - Describe in greater detail process here as questions arise]