Flattening

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Main / Guides / Flattening

Flattening is the digging process of making a tile flat. A tile is considered flat when all four corners of the tile are of the same height, which can be seen by examining tile borders. If all 4 borders around a tile are reported as "level", the tile is flat.

How to flatten a tile

You can go about flattening a tile using 2 methods: manual and automatic. While "automatic" sounds nice, it's actually quite a bit more complicated to get right than doing it manually until you get the hang of it.

The automatic way

The automatic way is to use the Flatten command by right-clicking on a tile with your shovel activated. If the tile is too steep to stand on, you can still use flatten successfully from an adjacent tile.

Note: You cannot flatten a corner which is shared with a tree tile (or other immovable object). If it says "some corner can't be raised" then this is why.

In a nutshell, the flatten command takes dirt from high corners and and puts them on lower ones than the calculated average from the server zero-plane. The zero-plane is the lowest point possible in wurm, where digging further would result in you falling through the world. This plane is absolutely flat, and all dirt and rock heights are calculated from this plane by means of simple addition. This sounds a bit abstract, I know, but read on and all will be explained.

An example

Imagine that you are on the continent of flatland on flatten flats. This imaginary land has no slopes whatsoever, anywhere, and no water. You are standing in the middle of one tile in this land with a cart containing 40 dirts.You walk over to one of the 4 corners on that tile and drops 10 dirt on it from the cart. It now has a height of 10 dirt. Next, you repeat the procedure on the other 3 corners and suddenly you have a tile that is elevated 10 dirts above the rest of flatland. The height of each corner is 10.

  • Corner 1: 10
  • Corner 2: 10
  • Corner 3: 10
  • Corner 4: 10

Ok, now imagine that you decide to mess things up by digging up 5 dirt from one of the corners and put them on one of the 3 others. This could result in...

  • Corner 1: 5
  • Corner 2: 10
  • Corner 3: 15
  • Corner 4: 10

But you realize that doing this was a mistake, and want the tile flat again. You could just dig up the extra 5 dirt from corner 3 again and drop them on corner 1 and it would be taken care of, but instead of that you position yourself on the tile and select "flatten".

How it works

What the game now does is calculate the height of your tile's corners based off the absolute zero plane of the game, in the example above the zero plane is the continent of flatland, so... 5+10+15+10=40. Divide that by 4 corners and you get, surprise, 10! So, the game now knows that the target height for the 4 corners is 10 dirts each, and begins to gradually take dirt from those corners above the target height and put it on the corners below it. It will continue to do this until one of the following conditions are met upon which it will stop:

  • The tile is flat
  • The tile corners have run out of dirt to make it completely flat (this will happen if the calculated average corner height isn't divisable by 4). Add extra dirt or dig away the surplus, then try again.
  • It tries to alter a corner which is connected to a tile with an obstruction on it. The most common are tree, clay, marsh and moss.
  • It tries to alter a corner which is obstructed by a wall of any type.
  • It tries to alter a corner which would create a slope that is steeper than your digging skill * 3.
  • It hits rock in a corner


In the instance of case 2 above, there is dirt either missing or too much of it to make the tile completely flat. As stated, if the sum of the heights of the corners is a multiple of four, then the tile can be flattened. Otherwise, there are 1-3 dirt extra that prevent it from being completely even. The different results are listed below:

  • If there is 1 extra dirt, you attempt to assemble.
  • If there are 2 extra dirt:
    • If the dirts are on the same corner (0-0-0-2), you attempt to assemble once.
      • In this case, the tile is not flattened completely. You must flatten again to finish.
    • Otherwise, if you have at least one dirt in your inventory, you attempt to fill twice.
    • Otherwise, you attempt to assemble twice.
  • If there are 3 extra dirts, you attempt to fill.

Assemble means you attempt to dig one dirt on a high corner. If you can carry an additional dirt, the message "You assemble some dirt from a corner." is displayed and you gain one dirt. Otherwise, the message "If you could carry one more dirt pile, one more corner could be levelled" is displayed.

Fill means you attempt drop one dirt on a low corner. If you have a dirt to drop, the message "You use some of the dirt in one corner." is displayed and you lose one dirt. Otherwise, the message "If you carried some dirt, it would be used to fill the 1 corners that need it" is displayed.

If the flattening action successfully flattened the tile completely, the message "The ground is flat here." will be displayed. If this message is not displayed, you either failed to perform an assemble or fill, or it was a 0-0-0-2 spread.

Flattening time

The action time is based on the height difference in "dirts" between the highest and lowest corners of the tile. The time is 9 seconds plus an additional 10 seconds for every 4 dirts difference. Examples:

  • 0 = "The ground is flat now."
  • 1..3 = 9 secs
  • 4..7 = 19 secs
  • 8..11 = 29 secs
  • 12..15 = 39 secs
  • 16..19 = 49 secs
  • etc

Examples of tiles that would give 9 seconds flattening time (the number below is the height difference):

0---1 or 0---3 or 0---0 
|   |    |   |    |   |
1---2    3---3    0---3
 (2)      (3)      (3)

Flattening cave floors

The flatten option can also be used to flatten cave floors, but there are some differences:

  • When flattening cave floors, you have to stand on the tile you are flattening. You cannot flatten from adjacent tiles.
  • The flattening option will not raise corners in caves. It will mine down all corners to match the lowest one. (Needs confirmation) Confirmed: The corners are lowered.

Manual flattening

Manual flattening is the act of making an area flat through manually digging and dropping dirt. While the process requires more interaction by the digger, it is vastly superior when flattening large areas of land.

How to do it

  1. Pick a single corner as your reference (you could place a small barrel or another container on it so you know the reference corner if you wish).
  2. Stand on this corner and right-click on a tile border linking to another corner you wish to adjust.
  3. If the message reads "the slope is <number of dirts> steep towards you, the other corner is higher than your reference corner, and you'll need to walk over to it and dig it down by the specified amount.
  4. If the message reads "the slope is <number of dirts> steep away from you, the other corner is lower than your reference corner and needs to be filled up.
  5. Once the tile border reports "level", walk over to the corner you've adjusted and use it as your new reference corner. Since the level between it and your old reference corner is level, they're at the same height. Now look for a new slope to adjust and repeat the procedure as before.

Summary

Understand that the world is made up of pillars, and that the tiles are merely thin textures stretched out from the pillar's highest points. When you dig or drop dirt, all you do is adjust the height of the pillar (ie, a corner) you are standing nearest. When digging, all that matters are the corners. Tiles only matter when you use the "flatten" command, in which case the selected tile only decides which 4 corners (or pillars) should be compared to eachother and adjusted. Otherwise, forget about the tiles, only think about the corners. Also, never forget that when digging and dropping dirt, it doesn't matter where you click, only where your feet are located.

Using a combination of manual and automatic flattening is usually the best idea once you've gotten the hang of how the system works, but until you do you may find it easier to rely on manual flattening.

The limitations of manual flattening is, of course, that it may take more time and interaction to complete, and also is subject to dirt flow. Dirt flow is what happens when you try to drop dirt on a corner with a slope diagonally that exceeds 40 in steepness (For example: You're dropping dirt northeast, then slopes N+W or E+S shouldn't be higher then 40 together). When using the "flatten" command, dirt flow does not apply and you can use it to create extreme slopes by the use of a technique known as flatraising