Sim City 4 Devotion Forums

SimCity 4 Devotion Custom Content Showcase => Independent Development Projects => Independent BAT (Building Architect Tool) Projects => Topic started by: tomvsotis on November 25, 2017, 05:27:59 AM

Title: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on November 25, 2017, 05:27:59 AM
Hey, I made a BAT! This has been a fun project - it's involved teaching myself first Blender and then Gmax - and it's gotten to the point that I've rendered a model successfully and exported it for use in the game. The thing is, I'm not super happy w it - the roof, especially, is kinda bland - and I'm looking for advice/ideas from the more experienced types here as to how it might be improved.

Here's the model as it stands at the moment - it's based on a beautiful old art deco house (http://"https://www.google.com.au/maps/place/407+High+St,+Golden+Square+VIC+3555/@-36.7769885,144.2533673,177m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x6ad750a3fe544461:0x5248b8b0903de629!8m2!3d-36.7769579!4d144.2535511") in Bendigo, Australia:

(https://i.imgur.com/01d8H4g.jpg)

(I haven't implemented nightlighting yet.)

And here's the reference image I used:

(https://i.imgur.com/QQRrZc7.jpg)

Any and all thoughts, suggestions, feedback etc are welcome.
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: Alan_Waters on November 25, 2017, 09:03:19 AM
In the photo, the color of the roof of the building is almost the same as the color of the brick near the basement, and you have it pink, which in the game does not look very good. IMHO
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: mgb204 on November 25, 2017, 12:18:19 PM
I'd say the roof texture needs some work, but the concrete is probably about right.

There is a great tutorial by Gn_leugim here on ST (https://community.simtropolis.com/forums/topic/51698-photoshopgimp-textures-and-your-bat/) for making BAT textures, that's a good place to start. Generally speaking you probably want to make the roof darker. The thing that's important to remember is that whilst the reference picture is taken from one climate, that's not to say it will fit well with the SC4 colour palette. If you want your BATs to blend in with other buildings, you'll always need to compensate for that when texturing.

You also want to look at the UV mapping of both of the rounded roof parts, because it simply looks wrong here. Is the roof all one object or in separate pieces? If you model them as separate pieces, you can give different parts their own UV map with unique settings. Which is probably the best solution to avoid this issue. If need be you can remove those parts from the current roof and make them as separate objects to achieve this.

Lastly, I think you've fallen into the trap everyone does for their first bat, it looks squashed vertically. That's because using real world scaling doesn't translate well to an isometric game. To compensate, you should make everything about 33% taller than the real world. Bear in mind sims are like 4m high (ridiculous I know), but if you want it to look like they can walk through the front door, again you need to adjust your modelling to fit.
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: Krasner on November 25, 2017, 12:18:49 PM
A newcomer into BAT  :bnn: It's a very good first try imo  :thumbsup: Especially if you come with an art-deco style, which is not so common in SC4 (and which I absolutely love btw  $%Grinno$%)

But as you said yourself the roof is kinda problematic - the color is not so good, too pink and maybe a little bit too bright, also the round parts you placed above the bow-windows do not match the IRL image you provided and the texture display bad on it. You can also add some traces of dirt flowing from the roof top - small details like that always make the whole thing better. And don't forget the gutters - which some BATers forget to add many times  ;)

Also it looks quite crushed - don't forget that SC4 is not exactly 3D and that you need to multiply the height of the whole thing to 1.3 (approximately) so the proportions will, normally, look coherent  ;)

Btw the brick parts - which add the polychromia which make this kind of buildings so pretty - are maybe too saturated compared to the white walls imo, or maybe the walls are to bright. The polychromia may look better otherwise, I don't know but if I had the orders I would try that.

That's a thing I personnaly like to do but you do as you want - as your IRL picture show, assorted fences add coherence and prettyness  ::)

But as I said, it's already a good BAT imo  :thumbsup:

Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: Themistokles on November 25, 2017, 12:27:58 PM
A very good-looking BAT. I really like the art-deco style, so I could definitely see myself using this BAT if you decide to share the final product (which I hope you will). :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: vester on November 25, 2017, 04:11:34 PM
Maybe scale the height to 130-150 %.
The game view squashed the bats.

Also the texture is also good to scale up. Think I go to around 150-200 %
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on November 25, 2017, 08:07:05 PM
Awesome, thanks all. I'll have another crack at it this evening, hopefully!
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: noahclem on November 25, 2017, 09:36:00 PM
Great to see you starting batting  :bnn: Great project with some real potential!
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: reddonquixote on November 27, 2017, 12:02:17 AM
Great start  :thumbsup:

As others have said, once scaled up 133%, it will be much better. The other thing is the roof line, if you look at the chimney, it actually sits on the white part of the wall, you have it sitting on the roof tiles. That means the roof actually has quite a thick parapet running around it. I looked the building up on google earth (there's no such thing as privacy anymore!  $%Grinno$% ) and you can see the roof sits inside the confines of the wall, rather than coming right to the edge like on a normal house. Sorry for the ugly picture, but thought this might help...

(http://imageshack.com/a/img923/8953/BJImct.jpg)

Once its scaled up, you might think about making the window muntins(?) - the crossbars in the windows - a bit thicker, they are a pretty prominent feature of the architecture but disappear in the BAT if you don't make them thicker than RL.

Hope that helps, keep up the good work  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on November 27, 2017, 12:33:06 AM
lol thanks Reddonquixote - i did EXACTLY the same thing (i.e. stalking these people on google maps) and came to the same conclusion re the parapet :)

i think this looks better now, at least as far as the roof goes! (it added room for a gutter, too)

(https://i.imgur.com/rMhASUV.jpg)
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: gn_leugim on November 27, 2017, 09:52:08 AM
good start out there!

That roof will be a bi tricky to do as it has at least two round shape parts, the adjustment of the texture will no be easy. How good are you with image editing, and what software do you use?
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on November 27, 2017, 05:08:08 PM
good start out there!

That roof will be a bi tricky to do as it has at least two round shape parts, the adjustment of the texture will no be easy. How good are you with image editing, and what software do you use?

Thank you! And yeah, that roof is hard. Re image editing: I'm pretty good, actually! I have Photoshop CS5.
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on November 28, 2017, 07:11:08 AM
Making progress!

(https://i.imgur.com/Gyn8Qkj.jpg)
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: Krasner on November 28, 2017, 07:49:59 AM
Nice !  ;D
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: vester on November 28, 2017, 09:38:39 AM
Looks good.

The tiles looks a bit off.

Try to replace the texture for the roof with a test texture to figure out what is going on:
(http://scs.senecac.on.ca/~catherine.leung/subject/3d/unwrap_helper.jpg)

If I should do a roof like this in the begin, I would do the roof as 11 separate objects.
That would enable the use of UVW-Mapping.

The you might need to do UV-mapping for the two half cone shaped roof.


Do you use gmax or ?


EDIT: Just thinking about it, haven't tested it out, maybe you could use a cylinder UV-Mapping for the cone shaped roof.
You will have to place the center of the cylinder in the center of the cone.
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on November 28, 2017, 08:20:03 PM
Looks good.

The tiles looks a bit off.
Yeah, they do, and I'm not quite sure why.

I used Blender for the modeling, because I have a Mac — the only way to use Gmax is via virtualization, which makes it sluggish as hell, and in any case I like Blender's interface way better. The best way I could find to import a model to Gmax from Blender was to create one object for each material, and then apply the textures to those objects in Gmax. This means that the roof is one object, and for this attempt I made a texture specifically to fit to the UV:

(https://i.imgur.com/xLwaQwk.jpg)

It fits nicely to the map:

(https://i.imgur.com/WuCr4jE.jpg)

But for some reason in the rendering it looks like it's sitting at a slight angle? Idk, but I'll try your suggestion of adding a test texture and see how it looks. (Thanks for the advice!)
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: vester on November 29, 2017, 06:25:20 AM
Ahh, a top down, UVW-Map.

Maybe make each tile a bit wider.

The screens tend to make object textures to real world measuments looks a bit strange.
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on November 29, 2017, 07:15:53 AM
OK cool I'll try that!
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: reddonquixote on November 29, 2017, 02:18:27 PM
Great work, its looking really good now. The building style is instantly recognisable. Good luck with the texturing, good progress so far  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: mattb325 on November 30, 2017, 07:06:28 PM
Looking good! And it's great to see another (Australian) batter  &apls
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on December 01, 2017, 11:13:29 PM
Thank you both! I've very much admired both your work over the years, and your kind words are much appreciated :)

Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: gn_leugim on December 04, 2017, 11:27:20 AM
indeed you have some good texturing skills there ;) good roof :)
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: Unconstantean on December 04, 2017, 12:16:15 PM
Great start  &apls  and with an art deco building -> that's just perfect :D can't wait to this how the project evolves :D
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on December 05, 2017, 11:25:19 PM
Hey y'all, it's finished! Or, at least, the building is: now I need to make a lot for it, and it'll be ready to go. In the meantime, here's a shot of it on a test lot in the game - I'm pretty happy w how it's turned out!

(https://i.imgur.com/KPWOhRs.jpg)

Here's a question, though: how do you render buildings in a resolution that looks sharp at zoom level 6? the BAT only seems to deal w resolutions up to level 5: are you guys using other software, or what??
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: Unconstantean on December 06, 2017, 09:19:41 AM
Looks excellent  &apls &apls &apls &apls

suggestion - lotting it's very important for the general look of the building, so i recommend you should take a look at bipin or mattb325 homes and take some inspiration for the lot design, those 2 are the best :D
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: reddonquixote on December 06, 2017, 09:38:29 AM
That's pretty good for your first BAT, well done  :thumbsup: I wonder whether the roof colour might be a bit over-saturated though.

Regarding resolutions, I'm pretty sure there are only ever 5 renders for a single BAT. The 6th is 'artificially' produced out of the 5th within the game itself. For this reason I don't think its even theoretically possible to produce z5 and z6 renders that are both sharp. (If that's what you're asking about)

- The default render is resolution for z5 in-game. z6 is just z5 'zoomed' in game, which in turn causes the apparent loss in resolution.
- However, there is an option to render in HD, which renders z5 at a higher resolution so it appears sharper at z6 in-game, but instead loses it's resolution at z5 in-game. This option is usually used for really small things like props and rarely used for buildings - I imagine this was to conserve processing power back in the day  ::)
- Because of the conflicting resolution sharpness at different zooms, HD BATs can look out of place used in conjunction with the standard and more common non-HD BATs.
- Usually BATs are released non-HD as a default, and HD is included as an 'optional extra', which of course is more work and why you don't see them very often.

HD is produced by first selecting the HD option in GMAX BAT, then again in BAT4Max under the Preview roll-out (assuming you're using 3DS Max)

Hope that helps..
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: Krasner on December 07, 2017, 05:53:19 AM
Nice  ;) But to me it looks quite out of scale, way to small compared to the most common scale. In SC4 indeed, scale is basically not very coherent but however there are, more or less, like standards. The basic maxis-sim is 4 meters high, and so one floor should be a little bit higher imo, around 5 or 6 meters, or a little bit more. This is my own opinion towards scalling, but some prolific BATers worked with a smaller scale.

Personnaly I help myself with the smaller namspopof's people (a few are mighty, out-of-nowhere giants, be careful  :D) and the cars that can be found in SHK parking pack props, when I need to  ;)

As reddonquixote said HD-render has a few defaults, but however there are more than a few HD BATs available here and there, not enough to make an entire satisfying and coherent collection but still, there are more and more. I systematically use HD render, Simmer2 does so, like some other active or inactive BATers. So you see if you like it or not. If you use Gmax you need to get an alternate script available somewhere on this website, the option does not exist with vanilla GMAX BAT.
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: Unconstantean on December 07, 2017, 09:37:56 AM
^^ I second Krasner on that, indeed it need to be a bit bigger
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on December 07, 2017, 08:09:02 PM
Interesting. When you say "bigger", do you mean "higher"? Or just bigger in general?

And thanks for the info re HD rendering, reddonquixote!
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: mrbisonm on December 07, 2017, 10:34:50 PM
Nice.........Bigger in general I'd say. The scale is a little too small compared to others of the same category.

Fred
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on December 08, 2017, 12:31:57 AM
Nice.........Bigger in general I'd say. The scale is a little too small compared to others of the same category.

Fred

Cool. I actually scaled it down from the original model, which was as close to IRL dimensions as I could get it, because i thought it was too big. This is the original, true-to-life model (with a slightly desaturated roof texture, as per reddonquixote's suggestion... and another texture that's just gone missing, annoyingly), on a 3x3 lot — what do y'all think of this size? I still feel like it's too big - it's twice the size of the maxis mayor's mansion! - but at the same time I kinda like it.

(https://i.imgur.com/0Po4j6C.jpg)

Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: Simmer2 on December 08, 2017, 01:33:16 AM
Very good model and texture &apls

Perhaps you could scale it down 10%, it will look more inline.

Simmer2
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: mrbisonm on December 08, 2017, 09:03:24 AM
You almost tripled its size now......lol. I also would say to scale it down by 10 or 15 %, and it would be perfect ;)



Fred
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: Unconstantean on December 08, 2017, 01:58:15 PM
10% smaller it's ok
also 3x3 fits well with Mattb325 mansions

i would also add some roof junk or maybe some cracked concrete texture or smth on the terraced roofs, and maybe a wood/pannel texture on the garage door. Other than that the model itself it's gorgeous  &apls &apls &apls

Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: mattb325 on December 08, 2017, 03:31:29 PM
Scale in SC4 is a vexed issue. Almost everyone will have an opinion of what they feel 'looks right' or they'll alternatively use the 133% scaling rule (if making a recreation). Simply grouping and scaling everything by a random % won't help you.

A long time ago, when Maxis shipped the BAT plugin to the community they put one of their lead artists (i.e one of the guys who actually made all of the buildings we see in game) - MaxisBrian - into the community to help people start with their journey in Batting. There are still remnants of that old thread over on ST.
When the BAT was released, a little R$ (it says R$$, but that's wrong) house was shipped with the Bat...it resides here on your PC: C:\gmax\gamepacks\BAT\Sample Model. This house was made by the Maxis employees who made the game.

He also helped write the phillipbo tutorial. He gave the exact dimensions that 80% of Maxis buildings use and was unequivocal in his measurements for a standard wall - an 8' house ceiling (ie from the top of the carpet to the underside of the plasterboard) = 4m in game.

He also stressed that your model must be true to the X/Y dimensions.

He also gave the external measurement in the Phillipbo tutorial which is between 4.5-5m. All walls in these low rise buildings across all wealth categories you see in game are therefore between these values of 4-5m.

Therefore, make sure your walls are at least 4.5m tall (from the ground to the underside of the eaves) for a mid-wealth residential home and you will be fine with the Z axis.

Where you are in trouble with scaling is the X/Y dimensions. Measuring the real building in google maps, the longest dimensions on the ground plane are ~22.5m on the Calder highway side and ~13m on the Bay St side. This will mean it would actually squeeze onto on a 2x1/1x2 lot in game. Your model now is on a 3x3 lot and looks to be about 40m x 35m at its longest points which makes for a very large house indeed.

You'll need to pull it back to closer to the dimensions in your 2nd last picture - the one with that sc4 logo - on the ground plane and then scale the z axis only until your floors are about 4.5m high. You will then fit in with Maxis' stuff.
I'd also recommend lining it up with their mid/high wealth houses in the Lot Editor (use the bldgprops 1 & 2.dat in your plugins for this) to double check floor height and the HSV values of your texturing  ;)
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: mrbisonm on December 08, 2017, 10:05:04 PM

When the BAT was released, a little R$ (it says R$$, but that's wrong) house was shipped with the Bat...it resides here on your PC: C:\gmax\gamepacks\BAT\Sample Model. This house was made by the Maxis employees who made the game.


Oh Geeeez, now you tell us....after 12 years of trying to find someone who was willing to share a model for SC4 with me, so I could get started in BATting while learning from his/her model while inspecting the details carefully........All these years I had to learn this by trying and trying and trying on my own......lol


good grief!  :facepalm:

Fred
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on December 09, 2017, 01:58:34 AM
Hey Matt, just quickly, thanks for a SUPER helpful post. Still working on it, but the suggestions of setting the ground-to-eaves dimension to 5m, and of comparing to Maxis buildings in the lot editor via the buildings-as-props DATs, were both really helpful. I think I'm almost there! (And then onto the lot editing, eeeeep.)
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: reddonquixote on December 09, 2017, 03:05:35 AM
Sorry can't help with scale... I have my own tricks but as I come under the most criticism in my own BATs for scale, will leave it to the experts.

The roof colour is much, much better though  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on December 18, 2017, 03:27:10 AM
Hey all, after a painful lot-making learning curve - thank god for PIM-X, is all i'll say, because I spent ages trying to use the Maxis LE before discovering it, which was aaaaawful - I have a lot for my house! It's not especially true-to-life, but replicating the IRL lot would have required a fair bit of plugin/texture making, and I think this actually fits better with other in-game lots anyway. I'm just about ready to call this done, I think, but if anyone has any thoughts on the finished product, I'd love to hear them.

(https://i.imgur.com/sGjpqsK.jpg)
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on December 22, 2017, 05:03:32 AM
Hey y'all, here's a sneak preview of the next thing I'm working on. It's another art deco BAT, based on this lovely apartment block near where I'm staying in Melbourne at the moment:

(https://i.imgur.com/mFkXszD.jpg)

I grew up around here, and I've always admired this building, so I thought it'd be a fun thing to give it the BAT treatment while I'm in town!

So far the modeling is going well. I have to say this is the part of the process I most enjoy, perhaps just because it seems to be the part that comes most naturally to me!

(https://i.imgur.com/ERAlu9e.jpg)

Obv still got a fair way to go, but as ever, thoughts, comments, etc are most welcome. Happy holidays, y'all :)
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: mattb325 on December 22, 2017, 06:29:58 PM
Great to see some more art deco stuff!

I think the lot-work and the modelling on the little house are just brilliant. Time to share, I'd say  ;) :P
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: Unconstantean on December 23, 2017, 12:50:28 PM
yes more art deco please  &apls &apls &apls &apls :bnn: :bnn: :bnn:
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on December 26, 2017, 01:50:18 AM
I think the lot-work and the modelling on the little house are just brilliant. Time to share, I'd say  ;) :P

Aw thank you for saying so! I'm stuck on an awful internet connection at the moment, but I'll upload it as soon as upload speeds are less medieval!
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on December 30, 2017, 09:26:29 PM
Update on this: the modeling in Blender is coming along well. Also investigating how one might go about replicating the BAT functionality w Blender scripting: most likely i'll just end up importing this one into Gmax to render too, but y'never know

(https://i.imgur.com/RAiFehc.jpg)

(And another to show off the backsides of the buildings w pipes, fire escapes etc. Colors are obv only placeholders at this point.)

(https://i.imgur.com/UOpvyAc.jpg)
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: matias93 on December 31, 2017, 06:34:33 AM
Really fantastic buildings and definitely great news about Blender!

Just a thing: would you mind to make an alternate version of those buildings with flat roofs? Maybe is some madness from my part, but don't you think that those curved balconies and decó cornices would match better without a shingled roof?
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: reddonquixote on December 31, 2017, 06:04:59 PM
These are looking really good. I was wondering though, are the railings supposed to be that chunky? Unless that's intentional, is it possible to make them a bit thinner? They would look more realistic I think. Good work  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on January 02, 2018, 05:48:13 PM
@matias93: hmm, idk if it's an Australian thing, but all the IRL buildings I've looked at (including the one these are based off) have shingled roofs. Lemme finish this first and then I'll see how I can make it work w a flat one!

@reddonquixote: ah, yeah, good point, and well spotted! i made them in a hurry, and meant to revisit them later — then forgot about it. so yeah, they're def meant to be thinner!
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on January 22, 2019, 07:32:46 AM
Hello, I'm back! After a brief, unsatisfying flirtation (http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=18349.0) with the 2019 version of 3ds Max, I've finally managed to get my hands on the 2017 version, and as a result, I have managed to produce a successful render of a model I made with Blender a couple of months back. (Until I manage to write Bat4Max-esque scripts for Blender (http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=17650), or at least get the existing scripts working with Arnold, this will have to do.)

And so, anyway, I give you... the Fish Creek pub! It's another art deco building, based on a real-world pub (https://www.google.com.au/search?q=fish+creek+hotel&client=opera&hs=LXJ&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjG_qrXu4HgAhVSXCsKHRaEClUQ_AUIDygC&biw=1455&bih=829&dpr=1.13) in a town i visited last year. This is where it's at at the moment:

(https://i.imgur.com/TFl3RTh.jpg)

I'm pretty happy with it, although I still haven't decided on the roof texture (rusty below, clean above) and -- perhaps because of my inexperience with Bat4Max -- i'm kinda mystified by the purple tinge on the porch roof in the renders second from left, and on the rear roof in the renders immediately to their right.

Thoughts/comments/criticisms v much appreciated -- and I promise I'll actually release this one (and the two others I've worked on at various points, when I'm finally happy with them.)
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: noahclem on January 22, 2019, 10:29:11 AM
Looks great  &apls  Glad you were able to get set up with 2017, neat you were able to import the model from Blender, and exciting to hear of the potential Bat4Max-esque scripts for Blender again  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on January 24, 2019, 04:37:39 AM
Well, I actually released something!

https://sc4devotion.com/csxlex/lex_filedesc.php?lotGET=3755

And thanks noahclem! I think (and hope) the time I've been spending fiddling around w the BAT4Max scripts might pay off; i feel like i'm getting something of a feel for how they work, if nothing else. Obv we're still a long, long way from being able to use Blender without 3ds Max, but we'll get there!
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: mattb325 on January 25, 2019, 03:45:22 PM
Very cool! Glad to see a new release from you. Congrats!  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on February 02, 2019, 07:52:29 AM
Hey all, so this is a building i posted ages ago, which I've finally gotten around to texturing and rendering. It's one of three -- there's an image of all three a bit further up this thread -- and I'm planning on releasing various residential growable variations including combinations of the buildings.

(https://i.imgur.com/3x2dBwi.png)

I'm pretty happy w how this has rendered, although I'm not 100% sold on the roof texture, and i'm still trying out other options. BUT: the alpha bleeding, which was a bit of a problem in my previous building, is a REAL problem here bc of the greater level of fine detail.

(https://i.imgur.com/m55MztO.png)

It looks like the staircase is glowing! Does anyone have any knowledge of how to fix this?
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: mattb325 on February 02, 2019, 04:26:27 PM
It's looking good!

For the alpha edges, over on the BAT FAQ at Simtrop, look at the second post by Jasoncw on page 1 and unhide the spoiler.

https://community.simtropolis.com/forums/topic/74718-bat-getting-started-guide-faq-resources-help/ (https://community.simtropolis.com/forums/topic/74718-bat-getting-started-guide-faq-resources-help/)

Additionally you need to follow these instructions (credit to art128) within the materials space:
(https://i.imgur.com/l7rpjxF.png)

Goldman Sachs has also been doing some alternative testing on his thread with this second part, so it is worth checking that out, too.
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on February 02, 2019, 07:46:25 PM
Ahhhhhhh -- I had the Jasoncw part done already, but not the art128 part. That's def helped, but doesn't seem to have fixed the issue entirely. What's actually happening here? I'm guessing from the nature of art128's instructions that it's to do with the background colour being somehow swept up into the render?
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on February 02, 2019, 09:39:19 PM
Hmm, so, for anyone else who stumbles across this thread, the method that Goldman Sachs describes here (https://community.simtropolis.com/forums/topic/757891-solved-alpha-bleeding-white-edges-bat4max-3ds-max) works pretty well. It doesn't seem to eliminate the bleeding completely, but it does mean that the pixels that bleed are much darker than those generated if you use other methods. This means that they blend in well with most backdrops -- at zoom level 5, you can barely see them:

(https://i.imgur.com/19gXlld.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/lO4oqoF.jpg)

They're there if you look for them -- for instance, in the first view above, you can see a line of black pixels along the edge of the brick wall at the very left of the building -- but they don't stand out in the same way the grey pixels do.

Rendering in HD also helps, for the simple reason that the bleeding pixels are smaller:

(https://i.imgur.com/wWCFto5.jpg)
(https://i.imgur.com/jsKiibG.jpg)

It appears also from the thread linked above that there's a way to turn on anti-aliasing by editing the .SC4model file (in the Reader? it's kind of unclear exactly what program is being used -- i've asked!). That method, however, seems to risk causing graphical glitches if the anti-aliased model overlaps other models, so Goldman Sachs' almost-black background method seems like it's probably the best for everyday use.

Anyway, back to working on the actual building, rather than its borders. First up: making those flat grey windows look somewhat more interesting!
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: alejogc13 on February 03, 2019, 06:45:29 AM
If you want to keep a little more detail on the stairs I recommend a minimum of 4 or 16 samples per pixel.

(https://nsa40.casimages.com/img/2019/02/03/190203014327818614.png)


(https://nsa40.casimages.com/img/2019/02/03/190203014501101473.png)


(https://nsa40.casimages.com/img/2019/02/03/190203014500752652.png)

After making the changes do not forget to press "apply" and save.





Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on February 03, 2019, 07:11:55 AM
Ahhhhh ok awesome. Thank you!
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: alejogc13 on February 03, 2019, 11:53:00 AM
Can you upload an image to see the result?  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: noahclem on February 05, 2019, 08:21:35 AM
Love how these apartments are coming along and helpful to watch you sort these problems out as I'm hoping to give another go at modeling here at some point ;)
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on February 07, 2019, 06:06:53 AM
So these are basically done, i reckon. There's still a wee bit of bleeding around the building borders, but it's about as good as I can get it without tearing my hair out.

(https://i.imgur.com/FVtV9Cf.jpg)
(https://i.imgur.com/NsEVMSM.jpg)
(https://i.imgur.com/fEsAERW.jpg)
(https://i.imgur.com/dZEoip7.jpg)
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: alejogc13 on February 07, 2019, 06:50:44 AM
 &apls

Did you render against a black background?
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on February 07, 2019, 07:08:57 AM
Against your anti-bleed background!
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: alejogc13 on February 07, 2019, 08:39:16 AM
In the worst case the edges should be black and not gray...  ()what()

(https://nsa40.casimages.com/img/2019/02/07/190207034209210746.png)

Do your FSHs look like this in the reader?
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: art128 on February 07, 2019, 10:30:34 AM
Nice apartments building.

But please don't say art128's method. It isn't mine. I just made a picture to make things clearer from information gathered on Simtropolis. All credits should go to Jasoncw etc.
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on February 07, 2019, 05:49:09 PM
Nice apartments building.

But please don't say art128's method. It isn't mine. I just made a picture to make things clearer from information gathered on Simtropolis. All credits should go to Jasoncw etc.
Ah, yeah, I just meant "the method described by art128". I'll make that clearer in the post.
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on February 07, 2019, 06:01:13 PM

Do your FSHs look like this in the reader?

Oof, no. No, they do not. &mmm

(https://i.imgur.com/W2XVQpS.png)

I could have sworn that I rendered with the correct settings (Classic/Raytraced and Indirect Skylight Illumination) against your almost-black background, but maybe I messed something up. I'll try again to make sure that it's not the settings that are the problem. Failing that, at this point I'm kinda debating just exporting the FSHs as PNGs, cleaning them up in Photoshop, and re-inserting them.  ()what() :angrymore:
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on February 07, 2019, 06:14:48 PM
Oh, hmmmm, I think maybe I've found the problem. This might be just my 3ds Max ignorance showing through, but:

I used Alt-B to open Viewport Configuration and set the background to actually display in the viewport. (I only just worked out how to do this; 3ds Max is still ... kinda new to me.) Here's how it looks with just a black background selected:

(https://i.imgur.com/TD9huKb.png)

But here's how it looks with the anti-bleed background applied as a map:

(https://i.imgur.com/cq6B01U.png)

It's bright white! I followed the instructions from your other post, i.e. dragging the mr_physical_sky object to the Material Editor, and then applying the anti_bleeding2.png file as a bitmap. Any idea what might have gone wrong?? In the meantime, I guess I can just sample the colour from your file and use that as solid background colour -- because, from what I understand, using 100% black can cause problems? -- rather than using the file as a map. Is there any disadvantage to doing so?
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on February 07, 2019, 06:55:28 PM
Fwiw, rendering with a manually-set 1-1-1 RGB background seems to have fixed the problem! :bnn:

So I guess that was the issue -- that for whatever reason, the PNG wasn't working properly as a background map. Weird.

(https://i.imgur.com/bwIl0sj.png)
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: mattb325 on February 09, 2019, 02:42:24 AM
These flats look great! You've really captured the essence of these old art deco blocks :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on February 09, 2019, 04:07:31 AM
Thanks Matt!

These are on the LEX now:
https://sc4devotion.com/csxlex/lex_filedesc.php?lotGET=3761
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: AsimPika3172 on February 09, 2019, 05:06:08 AM
Best building ever!  :thumbsup: &apls &apls &apls :bnn:
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on February 09, 2019, 07:29:58 AM
Aw, thank you so much! That's made my night <3   
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: mrbisonm on February 09, 2019, 07:46:21 AM
These flats look great! You've really captured the essence of these old art deco blocks :thumbsup:


I entirely agree with this, beautiflly made and they will make a nice addition to my other flats. Great Work!

Fred
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on February 11, 2019, 08:54:52 PM
So this is what I'm working on next: a 7.5m sunken station, sort of based on this one (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windsor_railway_station,_Melbourne) near where i live.

(https://i.imgur.com/Uee2R0o.jpg)

It's obv still pretty rough, but I'm posting it because I'm wondering whether there's a way to make a lot "cut into" a slope, which some on-slope lots tend to do (this is one of Kergelen's on-slope parking lots) if you plop them backwards:

(https://i.imgur.com/4BCOqNs.png)

The reason is that it'd give more space behind the platform for stairs etc; instead of this:

(https://i.imgur.com/sxHF5Uz.jpg)

...I could do this:

(https://i.imgur.com/fjN27Pt.jpg)

Is this do-able, or am I being overly ambitious?
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: Simmer2 on February 12, 2019, 02:04:56 AM
Hi Tom.

I would make the retaining wall as part of the station itself like I did with my 15m versions. Having it "cut in" the embankment would not look kosher.

Simmer2
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on February 12, 2019, 03:02:08 AM
hmmm, you mean your Oakland ones? the way this is designed means that the trench will prob have to be a tile wider, but maybe that's not such a bad thing.

EDIT: ..........actually, no it doesn't. i am talking complete nonsense. it's been a long day lolsigh

anyway, thanks for the advice! :)
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on February 25, 2019, 07:08:43 AM
Here's a sneak peek of where the station is at: I'm about halfway through texturing it in 3ds Max. Still a fair bit to do, but I'm getting there.

(https://i.imgur.com/zTUqKZe.png)
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: Seaman on February 25, 2019, 08:19:58 AM
I really like the idea of an 7.5 m sunken station. The layout and the building look very nice. I'm not an expert on texturing, but the weathered effects are very cool. I like the little patches of moss on the roof. Go for it.
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: matias93 on February 25, 2019, 09:25:20 AM
Wow! Really nice, and very flexible for usage, that architecture was all over the place when most countries were building their rail networks.
By the way, this would be the first 7,5 metres sunken station for the game, so that's a thing too!
About the retaining walls, 11241036 did a little experiment with that and published it on the STEX (https://community.simtropolis.com/files/file/31346-various-lot-foundations-and-retaining-walls/). I guess you could either use a similar approach for the whole lot (orienting it to the railway direction, to force the lower height) or to make a 'floating' narrow over-rail lot, accompained by a handful of platform lots, for a more modular approach.



Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on February 25, 2019, 03:04:52 PM
Wow! Really nice, and very flexible for usage, that architecture was all over the place when most countries were building their rail networks.
By the way, this would be the first 7,5 metres sunken station for the game, so that's a thing too!
Haha yeah this was a classic case of "there isn't one of these, and I need one, so I'm gonna... I'm gonna MAKE one!" :)

I guess you could either use a similar approach for the whole lot (orienting it to the railway direction, to force the lower height) or to make a 'floating' narrow over-rail lot, accompained by a handful of platform lots, for a more modular approach.
Yeah, i think on reflection I'm gonna go w the floating approach; the v early version above in this thread is a one-tile lot, with all the platforms etc overhanging. That seems the most straightforward way to do this, I think.

Here's a render with the BAT lighting on (I usually keep it off until the end bc it increases render times greatly); I still need to texture the other building etc, but I'm liking how it looks so far:

(https://i.imgur.com/BFViTug.png)
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on February 25, 2019, 05:31:30 PM
About the retaining walls, 11241036 did a little experiment with that and published it on the STEX (https://community.simtropolis.com/files/file/31346-various-lot-foundations-and-retaining-walls/).
And: oh! Thanks heaps for this; I decided against the cut-in option for this lot, but this may well come in handy for the future. Much appreciated!
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: matias93 on February 25, 2019, 06:50:42 PM
Beautiful, nothing more to say  &apls
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: manga rivotra on March 02, 2019, 08:04:52 AM
I already love this little jewel !  :)
The pedbridge is a great touch with these 2 separate railings. By the complexity of the roofs, the set already has a certain cachet.  &apls &apls &apls
I guess this kind of station is quite common on old European type lines. If you could make several models (with variants in the color of bricks or roof material for example), you will make a lot of players happy! (if you have the time of course) ;).
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on March 03, 2019, 01:02:46 PM
Anyone got any idea why this might be happening?

(https://i.imgur.com/uxWCitU.png)

The model looks fine when I actually place it in PIM-X, but if I try to use it in-game, I get the red-green-blue-black checker pattern over the part of the LOD that's marked red above.

I've tried rendering the BAT again in case there was a glitch, then re-exporting the LODs in case that was the problem (and then rendering again)... still the same. I created a whole new Max file, merged in the data from the old one... nope. Same. Earlier versions of the model worked fine; sadly, I can't isolate exactly where this started happening, bc I don't render/export that often (it takes ages on this old computer.) Anyway, anyone come up against this?

And @manga rivotra: I like that idea! Just gotta get it working first :-/
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: c.p. on March 03, 2019, 04:04:00 PM
Did you install the "Texture Fix" update to the BAT found here?:
http://www.sc4devotion.com/maxis/ModelNames.zip (http://www.sc4devotion.com/maxis/ModelNames.zip)

(Install it with the gmax scripts)
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on March 10, 2019, 03:33:22 AM
Did you install the "Texture Fix" update to the BAT found here?:
http://www.sc4devotion.com/maxis/ModelNames.zip (http://www.sc4devotion.com/maxis/ModelNames.zip)

(Install it with the gmax scripts)
Thank you, and sorry for the delayed response -- been busy w RL for the last few days. It seems the issue was w the size of the auto-generated LODs -- I moved all the vertices outward by a tiny amount, which seems to have fixed the problem -- but I have also downloaded and installed this, so hopefully whatever problems I might have run into at some point due to lacking this fix will now be avoided!
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on May 23, 2019, 01:26:22 AM
Anyone got any advice on how to get rid of this moiré pattern on the roof of my model at Z5 level? It's on a corrugated roof, wherein the corrugations are actually modeled -- I've used similar constructions before, and never had this problem. I've tried rendering at a higher number of samples per pixel (middle model) and increasing the distance between corrugations (right model), but neither seem to help. Anyone ever run into a similar issue?

(https://i.imgur.com/mDb4ChZ.jpg)
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: mattb325 on May 23, 2019, 05:44:08 AM
It can take some fiddling to get the moire effect to disappear. I usually model corrugated metal quite simply, like so, which seldom gives much grief: _|_.

If however, you've modeled it more like this: ~~, then my suggestion is to use the model with the largest spacing and making the texture noisier, rougher or busier (or all three) which can help. Additionally, sometimes changing the hue of the material can also do wonders. If that doesn't work, then the only option is to space the corrugation even further apart.
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on May 23, 2019, 09:52:13 PM
Hmm, yeah, I have modeled it like ~~. Thanks for your advice -- lots of stuff to try! It's frustrating bc this model is basically ready, and I want to release it!
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on June 30, 2019, 06:21:55 AM
Well, this is finished! It's a landmark with C$$ jobs, based on a real old art deco building here in Melbourne. It comes in two lot sizes -- a tight 2x3 lot for dense/W2W areas, and a more spacious 3x4 version for the suburbs. There are also growable versions at both sizes. Unfortunately, half its dependencies are on the LEX, so I'm not gonna release it until the site is back up (although if anyone actually wants it, I'd be more than happy to send it over.) But still: I finished something! Hurrah!

(https://i.imgur.com/ksVUs6M.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/XLRyRAU.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/gHW9hei.jpg)


(Thanks again to Mattb325 for his advice on the moiré issue!)
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: PaPa-J on June 30, 2019, 09:59:59 AM
Congrats for finishing it.  I like the texture work.
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on June 30, 2019, 05:11:18 PM
Congrats for finishing it.  I like the texture work.
Thank you! :)
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on July 09, 2019, 11:21:41 PM
With the LEX back up and running, this BAT is now available for download:
https://sc4devotion.com/csxlex/lex_filedesc.php?lotGET=3837
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: Ramona Brie on July 11, 2019, 05:06:12 PM
Found an issue with the Nimmo St Apartments at one angle, zoom 3:

(https://i.imgur.com/CBN5001.png)

They look normal at zoom 4:

(https://i.imgur.com/kPFWqGo.png)
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on July 11, 2019, 11:01:09 PM
Found an issue with the Nimmo St Apartments at one angle, zoom 3:

(https://i.imgur.com/CBN5001.png)

They look normal at zoom 4:

(https://i.imgur.com/kPFWqGo.png)
Ugh. Thanks for letting me know. Lemme have a look and see if i can work out what's going on. It's just happening w that lot?

Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on July 12, 2019, 06:54:40 AM
Hmmm, OK, looks like something just got borked w the rendering of that model. Re-rendering it now (and giving it a couple of little tweaks in the process); I'll upload a fixed version ASAP.
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on July 21, 2019, 08:22:17 AM
OK, I've fixed the problem, and am currently trying to upload the fixed version to the LEX. The LEX ... doesn't seem to be enjoying this, I fear, but for Ramona Brie and anyone else who wants the fix, you can also download it from this Dropbox link (https://www.dropbox.com/s/ofbn2mou927nosd/Nimmo%20St%20apartments%20v2.zip?dl=0).

In other news, here's my latest project -- an industrial model based on an old flour mill here in Melbourne!

(https://i.imgur.com/9GjHMnY.jpg)
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: Krasner on July 21, 2019, 10:50:19 AM
Awesome silos  &apls &apls
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: alejogc13 on July 21, 2019, 04:20:02 PM
B E A U T I F U L!

maybe if you make good UVs I could texture it in substance painter but first I should create the materials in substance designer  ;D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwusznnkRxo&t=361s

or

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_N2rkMhk7Q
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: PaPa-J on July 21, 2019, 04:35:01 PM
Very nice indeed, great detail work. The fire escape is perfect.
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on July 22, 2019, 05:32:54 AM
B E A U T I F U L!

maybe if you make good UVs I could texture it in substance painter but first I should create the materials in substance designer  ;D

Oooh, that's a tempting offer! I've played w substance painter on the month trial and it's amazing. how does the process work for BATing? do you design the materials in Substance Designer, texture in Substance Painter and then export the UVs back to 3ds Max for rendering?
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: alejogc13 on July 22, 2019, 02:05:27 PM
I export the diffuse, Specular, normal and glossiness map

Click to enlarge:

(https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/393834822696697866/602938721117143060/paintertext.png)
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: tomvsotis on July 28, 2019, 06:06:21 AM
Progress report! I actually managed to sneak into the building on which this is based -- well, not into the actual building, but the site, which is all closed off bc i guess it's gonna be redeveloped into fancy apartments in due course -- to get some more reference images, so i've expanded the model to include some outbuildings that i couldn't really make out details of before, along with a second set of silos.

(https://i.imgur.com/Tdha76L.jpg)
Title: Re: Tom's BATs
Post by: mattb325 on July 29, 2019, 04:28:15 PM
Cool, nothing like a bit of batting urbex  :D