Looking Like Mars

If you have followed the steps so far, you probably have a patch of land - maybe a bit spiky and rough in places - that looks like a patch of tundra on Earth. In this article we'll put a bit more work into the simulation, and make it look a bit more Martian.

Creating Textures

OpenSim uses four image files that repeat across the surface of the terrain. Each image file is assigned a different elevation, so for example the highest elevations have a rock-like image applied to them (for mountains), and in the mid-level elevations a grass image is used. We're going to use some creative licence, and replace all four with red-tinted rock images.

Default terrain bands in OpenSim Default terrain bands in OpenSim

First you are going to need some "seamless tile-able textures" - which basically means that the image can be repeated side-by-side, and the join between them is not obvious. Different textures achieve this with different degrees of success, but any will do to begin with, and you can always update them later.

We will now use image editing software to give them a red tint. Lots of programs include the feature that we need, but instructions are only included for Photoshop (with some brief pointers for GIMP):

Photoshop

Setting foreground and background colour in Photoshop. Setting foreground and background colour in Photoshop.

Now to apply those colours to your selected image.

You should now see the Gradient Map panel, and your image will have changed (tick the Preview box in the Gradient Map panel if you image has not changed). You can just click on OK, and use that image, but we can refine it further.

Using Photoshop's gradient editor to get better results. Using Photoshop's gradient editor to get better results.

Using GIMP

The process for GIMP is much the same as for Photoshop.

Loading textures into OpenSim

Using the terrain textures is not as quick as loading in the height-map, but there is nothing difficult to do.

Pasting values into the OpenSim console Pasting values into the OpenSim console
Textures applied to OpenSim.  The sky has also been adjusted (see below). Textures applied to OpenSim. The sky has also been adjusted (see below).

Martian Sky

Except for the ending of the original Total Recall film, you are not likely to see blue skies on Mars. We can can easily change this in our simulation; but these changes are what we call "client-side", which means that each person that visits your simulation would need to make their own. Again, I'm going to assume that you are using Firestorm, but other viewers will be similar.

A new panel will have appeared with lots of settings on it.

Firestorm colour picker for atmosphere settings. Firestorm colour picker for atmosphere settings.
View of the sky, before and after making the changes. View of the sky, before and after making the changes.

This was just a quick and easy adjustment to the sky, but feel free to play around with the settings until you have something that you are happy with.

Martian Water

The process for changing the water is similar to changing the sky.

This isn't ideal, but so long as you stay above sea level in the simulation, you won't notice it.

Fine adjustments on the Surface

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