For my first alien world in SineSpace, I have created the Erial Wastelands Region. This massive empty space serves as a large canvas for users to create their own adventures.
When Size Matters
Let me dive into some of the nuts and bolts of the region. First and foremost is the size. It comes in at 3000 meters x 3000 meters – 9 square kilometers of space. For users coming from Second Life, that is the equivalent of 144 SL regions in one continuous chunk. No sim crossings, and none of the headaches those users have come to expect when traveling such great distances. Some of the craters are nearly a kilometer across! You could spend years driving virtual rovers around the surface of Erial.
I spent weeks working with MapMagic to create the kind of terrain size and shape I was looking for. Eventually I got just the right amount of weathering and erosion. From there, I spent time creating each of the terrain’s material textures. Then I started working with MicroSplat (which I’ve talked about here) to get exactly the kind of look and feel I wanted with the landscape. This is a desolate landscape now, but millions of years ago Erial could have had vast oceans and been teeming with life.
It wouldn’t be a very alien world if it had the same sun and sky you found back on Earth. To make something special, I used a custom skybox and heavily modified the SineSpace day/night cycle component. The result is something other-worldly for the Erial Wastelands region.
When I first started building SineSpace region templates, I experimented with how to give users more options. Check out this video to see how adjusting daytime lighting. Having a fixed time of day seemed like it would be limiting or get boring after a while. And locking a region to a day/night cycle seemed restrictive too. To compromise, I set a few key fixed times of day. It defaults to mid-day, then you can use Enable/Disable buttons to set it to sunrise, sunset, or night time. I also included options for 3, 6, 12 and 24 hour day/night cycles. You can set it and forget it and have the sun rise and set automatically. Everything was fine-tuned to look great with this region.
I also made heavy use of SineSpace post processing effects (you can read more about post processing here). I wanted to go beyond simply fine-tuning the visual look, and I added a few specialized post processing effects (like sun shafts and lens flare) to create something really special for the Erial Wastelands Region. Looking deeper under the hood, I made careful use of both reflection probes and light probes in Unity, so that the region lighting, metallic objects and other materials should look amazing at any time of day or night. As I said, all that stuff is under the hood. For SineSpace users who buy the Erial Wastelands region template, it just works and looks great.
Erial Wastelands Region is Available Now
You can find it now in the SineSpace shop. Click here to check it on the web shop, or at the in-world shop look in Regions –> Sci-Fi. I have a tutorial on how you can create a region and apply a region template – click here to check that out.
This region was designed with SineSpace premium subscription users in mind. Since it is over 128MB in size, it’s too big for a user on a free account to use. Premium users, on the other hand, will be able to place over 300MB of stuff in the Erial Wastelands region. The region template also offers the ability to sub-lease. Users can add their friends and allocate some of that space to them to build and decorate.
The ExoGenesis Project
Back in September, SineSpace announced the Out Of This World Creator Challenge. I knew immediately that I wanted to participate. With a 20 December deadline that gave me nearly 2 months to plan and build. The challenge motivated me to start working on my ExoGenesis Project – you can read more about that here. This planet is part of that series. Note: SineSpace has recently extended the deadline to 15 January 2020.
The name Erial is derived from the Sumerian word for wasteland, and this planet is certainly that. I drew inspiration from stories and images of the martian surface. That same level of desolation, but with a much hotter feel to it.