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The Deep Ocean Project

In the July 17th community meeting, we discussed the Deep Oceans Project. The people at the meeting gave us enthusiatic support to move it forward. The project will raise the water level from 20m to 100m and raise the terrain by 80m to facilitate creation of deep waters/oceans for submarines and other underwater scenes. This change will open up new and exciting experiences to the grid.

Balpien will do most of the heavy lifting work to raise the water, terrain, and objects of all the regions +80m. The goal of this uplift is to make all the regions look the same as before the uplift but with the water level set at 100m. In this way the underwater depth increases from 20m to 100m. The ocean bottom terrain is also lifted so that existing underwater features in regions are not perturbed. We leave it up to region owners to deepen their oceans. The Discovery Grid sponsored oceans, however, will be deepened as part of this project.

The uplift will take place later this August. First will be the sponsored regions and adjacent oceans to them. Next will be groups of private regions and adjacent oceans.

Details

Clearly, raising the water level 80 meters to get it to 100m is not enough as everything would then be underwater. All objects will be moved up 80 meters, but only in the band from 0m to 900m. The reason the uplift excludes raising objects above 900m is to preserve the elevations of skybox platforms. People prefer them to remain at 1000, 2000, etc. elevations to simplify working on their builds. Once terrain is shifted upward, the region terrain blending values also are shifted upward by 80 meters. Telehubs, landmarks, classifieds, and and event locations will have height values that are between 0-900m shifted upward by 80 meters.

There is a small amount of manual work that region owners have to do, mainly updating any teleport scripts that have hard coded locations to raise the z-value of each location in their scripts by +80. Staff are happy to assist anyone who needs help modifing the teleport scripts.

Examples

Before the total uplift occurs, some of the oceans and sponsored regions will be raised to let people see how it all looks. The regions to be raised first are: The Blue Sea, Oceana, Nautica, The Annex, Welcome Sea, Discovery City, and Seattle. The first region "The Blue Sea" has been raised and you may visit it to see the results. The following photos show how it looks from above, from underwater, and also with deeper chasms created manually.

It gets dark in the deep, so the views looking up are dark. But because the absolute depth is 0m and higher, the viewer shaders still work correctly, and so lighting too works correctly to dispel the fog and darkness. It means underwater abodes are possible and they look decent.

FAQ

Here, I answer specific questions. If you do not see your question answered, send Balpien Hammerer an IM.

  • OMG! My entire region will be underwater?
    No, both the water and the terrain will be raised. So, it will all look the same, just at a higher elevation.
  • Why raise the terrain and instead just lower the ocean to negative depth?
    Although it is possible to create terrain files with negative depth or lower terrain to negative depth, it play havok with the viewers. The viewers do not understand negative depth and their shaders (fog, lighting, ambience) all go wonky. Futhermore the terrain tools also do not handle negative depth correctly. So, instead of creating a mess with negative depths, raisng the water/terrain levels is the only straightforward way to get deeper oceans.
  • Will my boats be underwater?
    Generally not, since properly written physics scripts use hover-over-water. Nonphysics boat scripts use the llWater() function, so they too will float at the new water level. That said, there might some poorly written scripts that hard code the water level at 20m. If such scripts exist, we will endeavor to fix them and notify the creator.
  • What if something goes terribly wrong to my region?
    The short answer: backups. The grid manager software takes nightly backups of all regions, and of all inventory and assets. Should the unforseen happen, we can restore an affected region and start anew.
  • I would like deeper oceans but I am terrible at terraforming
    There are several people who can do terraforming for you. Ask in the discovery community inworld group for assistence. I also have a scripted procedural deepener that accentuates depth. Send Balpien Hammerer an IM.