Virtual Creations


Grid Chart Map Application for Second Life

SpinMass Grid Chart is a .NET application I developed as an offline interactive map of the Second Life grid. It displays the sims and their terrain in several styles which can be configured by the user. It includes a search mechanism. The sims can be rendered from topographical data or displayed in a schematic mode. The version pictured here was for demonstration purposes, and Grid Chart is no longer under development.

At the time Grid Chart was developed, the world map in the Second Life application did not show rendered terrain (a satellite's view) as it does now. It showed terrain height only as a few different levels with simple colors. The map style in the image above was an attempt to improve on this style by adding more gradations and displaying three different ranges of water depth. In addition there are two styles which map color to elevation, like the one in the picture to the left.

The maps are generated at run-time from sim terrain data stored in a custom format. A low resolution image of the grid is cached for quick display while up-to-date sim maps are generated in the background.

This picture shows the sim details window. It displays all of the data about a sim including its minimum and maximum elevations. The sim can also be displayed in any of the map styles and the color mapping range can be adjusted to investigate the sim's terrain in detail. The mapping range is initially set to the minimum and maximum values in the sim which creates the highest contrast. But if the user wanted, for example, to see which areas of a sim were above a certain height, he could simply set the lower limit to this value and the map would be instantly updated.

The sim explorer window displays the data in a table and includes a simple search tool. The table can be sorted by any of the sim properties. The sims in this screenshot have been sorted by their Y (North-South) coordinate. They are the results of a search for PG, non-Linden sims in the Offshore region. If the user hits the Select button, the sims currently selected in the list will also be selected in the map display after the window closes.

This is a map exported from Grid Chart showing all of the mainland continent of Second Life at the time. I gave different areas names to help with navigation. When I joined Second Life, it consisted of the region named Lindenor and some of Spectrum.

This image combines Grid Chart and the Cartifex project. The "faux terrain" style of Grid Chart was used to texture a model rendered in 3DS Max.

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