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Natural Wonders


Our world is full of incredible natural wonders that keep us in awe. Today we're going to take a tour around the globe (except Antarctica - that's probably going to be a separate update down the road *;)) - visiting a few of the most unique and stunning natural wonders our planet has to offer.

Note: this update contains a few gifs (4MB and 6MB) - it was difficult to get them any smaller.

Danakil Depression - Ethiopia

Our first destination can be found in the hot, humid climate of northern Ethiopia. The alien like world of the Danakil Depression is known for its incredibly colorful sulfur pits - and also being the home of the hottest temperatures on earth. With temperatures reaching as high as 125 degrees, you won't be able to stay here long - just long enough to load up your camel with salt and continue on with the journey.


Sigiriya - Sri Lanka

On the small island nation of Sri Lanka in South Asia is where you'll find our next location - the ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya. This stronghold was selected by King Kasyapa of the Ceylon civilization back in the mid 400s CE as a new capital - and it was truly ahead of its time. The original structure featured a massive city perched on top of the rock, with expansive gardens and trails leading around the entire structure. Little of it remains - but it continues to keep tourists in awe to this day.


Uluru (Ayers Rock) - Northern Territory

When you think of Australia - one of the first things that comes to mind is its stunning Uluru (Ayers Rock), dramatically rising some 1,142 feet out of the outback. Uluru is the original aboriginal name for the area - and it has no specific meaning behind it. They believed that the rock has a great spiritual meaning - and was created at the dawn of time. To this day, those visiting it are urged not to climb the rock out of respect to these beliefs - and taking photographs of certain areas is also strongly urged against.


Holuhraun Lava Field - Iceland

We're traveling to the Arctic for our next destination - the volatile and unpredictable Holuhraun Lava Field. This lava field is the size of Manhattan and its been growing at an unprecedented rate - and its also been spewing out a record-breaking amount of lava and sulfur dioxide in recent years. Hiking is surprisingly allowed here - but make sure you watch your step, especially with lava that can reach temperatures as high as 1,470 degrees Fahrenheit.


North America
Nares Strait - Canada/Greenland Border

We're staying in the Arctic for our next sight - and you'll find the stunning Nares Strait located on Greenland's wild west coast. This pathway to the North Pole is lined with dramatic fjords and mountains - and with some of the most inhospitable temperatures on earth, every trip is an adventure.


South America
Devil's Throat (Iguazu Falls) - Brazil/Argentina Border

Our tour wraps up with one of the most awe-inspiring destinations in all of South America - the majestic Devils's Throat of Iguazu Falls, located on the Brazil/Argentina border. This is a sight unlike any other on earth - water cascades from 3 different angles down nearly 300 feet of sheer rock, creating a thundering splash that can be heard for miles around. This is nature at its best - and its a destination that you won't want to miss out on.



Note: a lot of these pictures required extensive custom content creation, and although it may look like it - there actually wasn't that much photoshop being used at all. The Iguazu Falls & Danakil Depression gifs are completely unedited - the in game animations were recorded using ScreenToGif.

For those wondering where I got Sigiriya, it was downloaded here and imported into the game as a big BAT - some small editing was done though at the top to add things like better looking trees. Ayers Rock was made using the in game terraforming tools, but had a couple edits to the terrain mod and the clouds.

As for the pics from the Arctic - the main use of photoshop was adding reflections to the water (in the Greenland pic), giving the lava a little life/making it glow a bit (the lava itself is real), and adding some mist/clouds in general as well. I created an entire set of textures for those pics - consisting of two parts. First one being just a simple terrain mod - consisting of fairly basic cliff/ground texture mods. Here's a demonstration of some of the base textures/cliff textures at work. Secondly, I also finally figured out a while back how to create overrides for the JENX terrain paints: 1, 2.

And again, these aren't some sort of photoshop effect or whatever, they're just overrides of the in game terrain paints. For those interested, here's the pics completely unedited: here and here (the lava is usually supposed to be used at day, so I had to make some enhancements for the night time image.)

So yeah, there's finally legit lava + glaciers in the game *:DThere's still plenty of work to be done and they don't have proper icons yet so they're sorta hard to use, so it could be a while for a release on anything. But as always, if anyone is interested in something then please PM me and I can send you what I've completed thus far.


Don't forget to comment, like, and follow True Earth if you haven't already!



Replies for "Scenes From South America"



@TekindusT Thank you! I really went all out on that Buenos Aires pic - took forever but it was worth it!

@Bojci Thanks for stopping by! Appreciate the kind words *:thumb:

@Dgmc2013 Thank you, appreciate the nice comment *:)

@tariely Thanks for the kind words! I'll try to incorporate more little tutorials and whatnot into my entries from time to time  - and to show how I make them come to life.

@mrsmartman Thank you! I'll hopefully try to do a few more of those in the future to show a bit of what goes into my scenes *:) 

@IL. Thank you! Although I've done some very heavy photoshop pics for fun in the past, it's important to keep things in moderation. Photoshop had a minor role in the update - mainly for things like mist/clouds/rain effects, adding filters to give some of the pics to give them a unique character, and to also do a number of small cosmetic edits like adding power lines to the MMP'd poles in the Tocanao pic. All the buildings, MMPs, lots etc are real in the pics - containing a bunch of custom content I created along with creative uses of existing content.

@GoKingsGo Thanks for the wonderful comment! *:)

@raynev1 Thanks for the kind words *:)I've been thinking about it recently and I might try to fit them into some sort of prop pack along with some of the other models I've been working on. If you want them in the meantime though, feel free to PM me *:)

@Fantozzi Thanks for the nice comment *:)As for the buildings I used in those pics, I believe I used the following: a rusty shack from Simmer2's prop pack vol3, some shacks from the fordoniak prop pack vol2, and the main buildings were from RDQ's prop pack and from Wallibuk's collection on the STEX. I used some of Maloskero's stuff too -  he graciously sent me a decent amount of BATs that haven't been released yet though, so I think a few of the buildings in the pic might not be available yet. But I believe he is working currently on getting the other blds on the STEX here soon. Also, one last note - a few of the buildings I used had their roofs recolored to orange/red to give them a bit more of a South American flavor - hopefully that shouldn't be an issue though *:P

@Namiko Thanks! Yeah, that scene is hard to beat *:) I'm gonna keep the updates coming too, I have a loooot of stuff I need to publish into updates.. *:P

@Mymyjp Thank you for the kind words! It would be great to see some more updates - I really enjoyed your work *:)

@Akallan Thanks for the comment! I've actually thought about Nordic countries, but the lack of BATs is a big issue. Especially the stave churches - I could texture one pretty good but unfortunately my modeling capabilities are lagging behind. I've found enough stuff though for Ancient Egypt so that's definitely going to happen *;)

@JP Schriefer Thanks for the nice comment as always *:)

@f3cs Thanks, glad you enjoyed it!

@_Michael Thank you! I usually do big, massive scenes - so I wanted to change things up a little and do a few zoom 6 scenes like the Amazon river one, glad you liked it *:)  

@dabadon5 Thank you! With each update, I really want to convey that feeling of being on a great adventure across the globe - so it's nice to hear that *:)

@RandyE Thanks for the comment Randy! It's quite amazing what we can create using the canvas of SC4 *:)

Finally, big thanks to @Jolteon, @CorinaMarie, @Manuel-ito, @Fantozzi, @MushyMushy, @Dgmc2013, @tariely, @matias93, @Marushine, @mike_oxlong, @mrsmartman, @bobolee, @kingofsimcity, @Krasner, @_Michael, @bladeberkman, @Francis90b, @GoKingsGo, @raynev1, @Namiko, @mattb325, @scotttbarry, @Akallan, @JP Schriefer, @RandyE, & @APSMS for all the likes!


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Good Lord  you're at it again *:party:WoW  - Super stuff.  I wonder if the ancients came up with the idea of "hell" when they saw the sulfur pits in Ethiopia.  I've never heard of them myself.  Awesome -  (a bit overused but appropriate here for sure)

I meant to leave a comment about the earlier CJ - The Amazon River picture was the one I especially liked.  You can just feel the heat and humidity.  Jungle extremely well done.

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As impressive as ever. And thanks for the tech' explanations. And the idea that we might get our hands on those goodies is just.... mindblowing. I hope you will upload all those at some point on the STEX for us to play with too The game keeps evolving beyond expectations because of adventurers like you ! :-)

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You can only bow to this man's talent. Excellent job yet again. The one picture depicting an area in Canada really hit home, and you rendered it to perfection.

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Damn, that first image is still tricking my mind that it's not a game. Anyway thumbs up to you. You're still showing the game can still do more than just a game.

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I seriously had problems believing the first picture is a SC4 gif pic until I read your comment at the end of the update.

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Simply incredible, the lake is probably one of the most beautiful images with PS. The reflection is really well done, it is incredible, congratulations for this work!

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These would be great as the title pages for chapters of a digital textbook on Natural Wonders.   Hope to see an Antarctica update especially as its own entry, it would be a great subject to explore and present in more detail.

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@JP Schriefer Thanks! I've been doing lots of experimenting with in game effects so you might see more pics like that here soon *;)

@Akallan  Thank you! Took a while to get those effects just right, glad you liked it *:)

@RandyE Thanks Randy *:) Antarctica is definitely going to happen one day (but probably not soon, unfortunately) - gotta cover all seven continents, right? *;)

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