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SimCity 4 General Discussion and Tutorials => SimCity 4 General Discussion => General Custom Content Discussion => Topic started by: thingfishs on February 12, 2020, 01:18:45 AM

Title: How to make farms/fields
Post by: thingfishs on February 12, 2020, 01:18:45 AM
Hi all,

Great to see this site still has legs - I was hoping someone might be able to point me towards a tutorial on making farms and their accompanying fields. I don't mean BATing or LOTing, mainly what needs to be done in reader and/or SC4PIM to have them grow normally in game I guess, plus any other farm specific advice. I've had a bit of a hunt but couldn't find anything, any help appreciated. Its been many years since I've been properly active with this stuff and it's hurting the brain trying to relearn everything.  ()what()

Ryan
Title: Re: How to make farms/fields
Post by: xxdita on February 12, 2020, 02:44:54 AM
The best way to make new fields may be to cheat, if I'm reading BarbyW's post (https://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=3427.msg125989#msg125989) right.
Title: Re: How to make farms/fields
Post by: thingfishs on February 12, 2020, 06:29:48 AM
Great, thanks xxdita!
Though I don't understand why it's so tricky compared to regular lots, I will happily follow Barby's advice if it will get them growing.

Question 2: Can you have timed props that take longer than 365 days to reach the start of the cycle again?
I'm thinking for crops that take longer than a year to reach maturity...
Title: Re: How to make farms/fields
Post by: xxdita on February 12, 2020, 09:25:24 AM
I've never seen any that are modded like that. While I won't rule out the possibility, I really don't think so.
Title: Re: How to make farms/fields
Post by: mrbisonm on February 12, 2020, 07:02:00 PM
If you want to change the "rules" or fonctioning of the crop lot, then you will have to open it with ilive reader and modify the settings/stats.
I haven't seen a tut though hgow to do this, but I did make a copy before all, saved it and then played with the file until I found the right line and changed it's behavior. ;) That's how I gather experience with files. ;)

Fred
Title: Re: How to make farms/fields
Post by: thingfishs on February 20, 2020, 06:21:38 AM
Thanks guys - I haven't had much time to play around with this stuff, and Reader has been hurting my brain a bit (I've always been a lot more comfortable with language compared to numbers).
Nonetheless, I've been able to get one growing but there's been unexpected issues as well (for example - the field lot that successfully grew would make the LE crash if I tried to open it...)
I will go through the process until I feel I properly understand it, and maybe post the file here in case someone is willing to test it out (sometimes I think I should find a modder, now that dobdriver/drunkapple has, at least temporarily, left the building - I would be able to release more stuff.)
Cheers,
Ryan.
Title: Re: How to make farms/fields
Post by: cogeo on February 20, 2020, 07:42:00 AM
Made some farms and farmfields and I can't remember having any problems making them or modding them. But it was a long time ago. The Field Lots property contains a list of the farm-fields that may grow around the farm's main lot.
Take a look at my Spirulina Farms (https://sc4devotion.com/csxlex/lex_filedesc.php?lotGET=1538) upload. It's a little more complicated (eg contains two kinds of the main building, even ploppable farm-fields - I'm not talking about these ones), but you may be able to figure it out. Ask me, if you have questions. They grow and work normally.
Title: Re: How to make farms/fields
Post by: thingfishs on February 27, 2020, 08:48:00 AM
Thanks Cogeo,
some more, at times painful, trial and error has ensued (with only one exemplar being created by save as in LE MOST, but not ALL of the time  ???, and the field lots section in reader rearranging the data etc. ()what()) - but we got there in the end.
So I now have a functioning farm/field lot combo.

https://i.imgur.com/xzDhK3o.png[/img]](https://i.imgur.com/xzDhK3o.png) (http://[img)

These are just early attempts at texturing, still much to be done. These are both the same farm lot, just drawing from two different fields within the "field lots" entry in the building exemplar.
I don't suppose there's a way to have the different fields both appear at random within the same zoned area? By using several slightly different models the tiling would become far less apparent... Are there any other ways to combat the tiling?

There is a Christmas Tree Farm LOT from years ago, maybe JMyers, whose fields aren't all exactly the same, I'll see if I can find it...

Yeah, this one: https://sc4devotion.com/csxlex/lex_filedesc.php?lotGET=54 (https://sc4devotion.com/csxlex/lex_filedesc.php?lotGET=54)

(https://sc4devotion.com/csxlex/images/beximg/JRJAlternate.jpg)

(From memory the paths/dirt roads are within the large farm lot, but how is a non-uniform effect created beyond the bounds of the farm lot?

As always, (I should probably put this in my signature), sorry if I'm missing something obvious and saying something stupid...  ;),

Thanks all (especially for still being motivated by this game after so long).
Title: Re: How to make farms/fields
Post by: cogeo on February 29, 2020, 01:24:21 PM
Yes, you are right that a farm will grow only one Fields Lot from the list. And the problem with the tiling effect is very expected, esp if the lot has distinct props or has them positioned in a non-uniform arrangement, resulting in an easily noticeable pattern. Therefore, there is needed some way to fight the tiling, as you have mentioned.

I have an idea, but I'm not sure how it will work:
- First, manually edit the farmfield lot, to move the tree props so they are uniformly spaced (there are six reps you need to change in the LotConfig lines, the center of the prop and the from and to X and Y values). You have 3 trees across, so the coordinates would likely be at 2.67, 8.00, and 13.33 meters. This way there should be no "pattern", as the rightmost tree will be again 5.33 meters away from the leftmost tree of the adjacent lot. Just trees uniformly spaced over the whole fields' area.
- Then edit the lot, so that the props point to a different direction, eg the 1st one North, the 2nd one East, etc etc. Maybe their four sides look different.
- Having some different and slightly offset models may also help. I would recommend making two additional tree props, displaying the same model as the original but slightly offset, eg make the 1st some 0.7 meters offset along the X axis, and the 2nd one say 0.4 meters along the Y axis. Use the Model Tweaker utility to offset the models. You may need to experiment with the values. Put the three props (the original and the two offsets ones) in a prop-family and change the lot so that it uses the prop-family instead of the original prop.

So you will have the props pointing to different directions and three models slightly offset. I think this can provide enough differentiation, resulting in a more realistic look. No two lots will be the same. Only don't overdo with the offset amounts, because you want this to look like a farm, not some random forest.


Title: Re: How to make farms/fields
Post by: thingfishs on February 29, 2020, 10:09:45 PM
Thanks cogeo,

1: I will try that (more precise arrangement to minimise patterns) however, could you explain the advantages of offset models having just uniformly spaced them...?

2: Ah, prop families, so I could achieve what I am after with those? (i.e. different models being part of the same zoned area, or is the first model chosen used for the whole field/farm?)

I'm increasingly curious to understand what jmyers did with his Fraser Wood/Christmas Tree farm...? (has he used prop families here?)


A: The LOT in LE
(https://i.imgur.com/es1xa7R.png)

B: No "Field Lots" entry?
(https://i.imgur.com/Yci641V.png)

C: The lot has four models, three different pine tree collections of different sizes, plus an invisible prop
(https://i.imgur.com/Cb07ulN.png)

D: The end result (clearly apparent are the four model options: 3 sizes of pines and a blank lot where the invisible prop is).
(https://i.imgur.com/RctebmA.png)

Can anyone explain this to me, so that I can also have non-uniform farm fields?

Cheers,
Ryan.
Title: Re: How to make farms/fields
Post by: xxdita on March 01, 2020, 03:08:08 AM
Yes, Jim used prop families for the Christmas tree fields. You can see them clearly in PIMX's Lot Editor, or by clicking Families in the main window.

In PIMX's Lot Editor:
(https://i.imgur.com/Q8nucPQ.jpg)

Note the use of the Invisible Tree included in the family. That will give you the spaces in between.
Title: Re: How to make farms/fields
Post by: thingfishs on March 01, 2020, 06:27:39 AM
Thanks xxdita,
I think I have my head around it all now - I will follow cogeo's advice and see what I end up with...

(EDIT: and ignore those earlier questions cogeo).
Title: Re: How to make farms/fields
Post by: thingfishs on March 02, 2020, 10:01:09 AM
Well it's good to feel comfortable with the process at last, with a clear(er) idea of how to achieve the variation (read: naturalness), that I long for in farms. Thanks cogeo and xxdita for help in getting me this far!

It was good to realise how the jmyers one was put together, but I was starting to get that multiple individual props in a family would have a far bigger, more natural effect (individual being key, as in, not being bound by using whole squares. Jmyer's one, and my previous test field, were multiple models rendered together. But by having individual trees, with multiple variations, then chosen at random by the simulation, the chance of too much repetition seems unlikely)..

I feel farms haven't been visually updated enough over the years, and now in contrast to the modern trees, many just look painful. Far too saturated, with terrible tiling, and my favourites  ;), the ones with a patchwork quilt type effect where one square will be bare earth and the next a crop and so on...  ()what()

I have followed your advice cogeo, and made four props, with texture variation (these are still not complete, and I encourage opinions...), that have been rotated. Two of these props have been offset, by the numbers you suggested. These have then been made into a prop family (using a number from my own range). I have taken care to place them evenly, but didn't understand quite what to do with the lotconfig in reader placement-wise. Still, I think there's been great improvement (though they're a bit undersized, and I plan on adding more models for greater variation, and playing more with the textures) - I am keen to hear what you, and others, think of the progress.

(https://i.imgur.com/seU3IAR.jpg)

Main questions:

1: I have done this render in HD. HD farms? Thoughts on pros and/or cons. With HD trees such a part of the game these days I thought it seemed worth a go (and I'm mostly happy with how it's coming along...)

2: Relating to the visual effect of the lot at different zooms (see photo). Zooms 6 and 5 are good, zoom 4: yikes (the trees have become 2D and washed out, plus there's weird anomalies in the layout)? Zooms 3 and 2: not great either but probably passable and lastly zoom 1, the trees have entirely vanished... Basically, does anyone have any advice on how to handle the images in the zooms?

3: This, you might have guessed, is also a christmas tree farm. I had intended/wanted to mod them so that the trees "grew" and were harvested, ideally over several game years. I know this isn't looking likely, but with all the at one time seemingly impossible things that have since been achieved around here, I am at least allowing myself to hope... Is this possible, somehow?? Would the growing/harvesting cycle be too quick if it had to be condensed into one game year?
Anyway, thanks again.
Title: Re: How to make farms/fields
Post by: thingfishs on March 10, 2020, 04:04:41 AM
Well the xmas tree farm is on hold while I had a play with a crop I don't think I've seen in game, Macadamia Nut Trees.
These are the only widespread foodstuff originating from Australia, that I can think of anyway, plus I've been employed as a macadamia nut picker in RL, so this one was a no-brainer.
Thanks again to cogeo for their thoughts on creating some variation, and all the help I received here on making farms/fields: personally I think these are looking pretty good...?

(https://i.imgur.com/qX0cx1v.jpg)

I'm still interested if anyone has any thoughts on the questions in my last post.

P.S: Extra props to cogeo for the SC4 Model Tweaker - I can't believe I've never used it before, it saves oodles of time in unnecessary renders!  :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
Title: Re: How to make farms/fields
Post by: xxdita on March 10, 2020, 11:17:36 AM
More HD stuff is always welcome. Sorry I can't help more with the other questions.
Title: Re: How to make farms/fields
Post by: mattb325 on March 11, 2020, 02:59:42 PM
Looking good!

About the zoom issues, there is a bug in BAT4Max where it messes up the render on smaller objects. The fix (manual, I'm afraid) is here: https://community.simtropolis.com/forums/topic/74718-bat-getting-started-guide-faq-resources-help/?tab=comments#comment-1687914 (https://community.simtropolis.com/forums/topic/74718-bat-getting-started-guide-faq-resources-help/?tab=comments#comment-1687914), under 'My BAT is distorted'.


Title: Re: How to make farms/fields
Post by: thingfishs on March 15, 2020, 12:29:04 AM
Thanks guys,

(https://i.imgur.com/etH0wJb.jpg)

there has been a little more tinkering (that may or may not be apparent), most importantly replacing the textured prop I was using on the ground initially with a proper base texture.
I'm pretty happy with it visually now, but am still open to suggestions. I just have to wait to get a texture range, and hopefully get someone more experienced with farms/fields can have a look and see if I've done everything right (please post here or PM me if you're willing to do this).
One question, sometimes I have farms growing without fields, and I'm pretty sure this happens with other farms as well. Is this normal? Should anything be done about it?

Cheers.

(Matt I haven't tested your fix there yet as this Macadamia farm looks right at all zooms. But I'll check it out when I return to the pine trees - thanks).
Title: Re: How to make farms/fields
Post by: Andreas on March 15, 2020, 02:37:56 AM
I'd say that looks pretty nice! The trees look as uniform as you'd expect from such a plantation, but there is enough variety, so it doesn't look too uniform. Needless to say, the models are really great (although I never saw a macadamia tree in person, hence I can't tell how accurate they are ;) )!
Title: Re: How to make farms/fields
Post by: fantozzi on March 20, 2020, 03:07:48 AM

One question, sometimes I have farms growing without fields, and I'm pretty sure this happens with other farms as well. Is this normal? Should anything be done about it?


I'm not shure what you mean. The farm lot grows but the area where the farm field should be stays empty? First I would check if I misspelled the field-ID when editing the "Field Lots" property in the desc-file of the lot. Best practice to work with copy and paste - so to copy the field-ID and paste it into the "Field Lot" property instead of typing. But even then forgetting to mark the first or last digit happens to me.
Title: Re: How to make farms/fields
Post by: thingfishs on April 24, 2020, 08:47:18 AM
The farm(s)/fields are basically finished, at least visually:

(https://i.imgur.com/ELBaTZ6.png)

So how do I best determine occupancy level for this? All the buildings are props...

Any other farm related thoughts stat-wise (i.e pollution numbers, level of slope tolerence, etc)?

Thanks.
Title: Re: How to make farms/fields
Post by: xxdita on April 24, 2020, 12:29:30 PM
Whenever you're using buildings as props, or multiple building models on the same lot, you need to make a building desc for each building, then basically add up all of the relevant stats, using these numbers for the actual building desc used for the lot.

But it is much easier to use a real model as a building, and then adjust the filling degree accordingly, to account for other buildings on the lot.
Title: Re: How to make farms/fields
Post by: thingfishs on April 26, 2020, 01:03:20 PM
Thanks for that  :thumbsup:.

But it is much easier to use a real model as a building, and then adjust the filling degree accordingly, to account for other buildings on the lot.

The main building is no longer a prop (now an agricultural industry building via SC4PIM). When you say "account for other buildings", how do I do that? Is there a method, or is it educated guesswork?


(https://i.imgur.com/XKZUnyS.png)
Secondly, I have an extra farm/field lot without a building (lotted with an invisible building). I put a sign next to it, as often happens in RL - but I can't figure out why that lot's orientation is random (sometimes the sign is on the road, other times in the middle of the fields), whereas the two lots with buildings always grow in the same direction relative to the road...?

Thirdly (I don't ask for much do I? ;)), something weird is going on with my lots. I am basically finished and was making sure all the names of buildings in game were right - and noticed when I change the name in the building exemplar of my stage 3 lot, the name change occurs on my stage 1 lot - while my stage 3 lot remains unchanged...??
There has been quite a bit of copy/paste-ing in this projects as exemplars mysteriously vanished from files and had to be replaced by earlier working/existent versions, so who knows what I've ended up doing exactly.

I will post a copy of the file here in case someone can be bothered working out what's going on here - it would be greatly appreciated. (This is just my 3 farm lots - a stage 1, 3 and a field only stage 1 plus the field itself and the main building).

Thank you.
Title: Re: How to make farms/fields
Post by: xxdita on April 27, 2020, 12:09:58 PM
Ok, so the desc you've called test b is used for 2 lots, the ones named no building and stage 1. The lot named stage 3 is using the only desc with a filling degree.

The desc TF Macadamia Farm - S1 is not used at all.

When you're creating a megalot, or any lot with multiple buildings, then you want to have each building adding more capacity (jobs/housing). You can do this by multiplying the filling degree by the number of buildings used, provided the models are roughly the same dimensions. You can fine tune this a bit up or down, to provide the stats you're comfortable with.
Title: Re: How to make farms/fields
Post by: thingfishs on April 28, 2020, 07:47:46 AM
Ok, so the desc you've called test b is used for 2 lots, the ones named no building and stage 1. The lot named stage 3 is using the only desc with a filling degree.

The desc TF Macadamia Farm - S1 is not used at all.

Thanks a lot for taking a look xxdita  :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
It sounds like a bit of a mess (and yet functions as expected - if it weren't for the naming issue I probably wouldn't have noticed). How do I get from where it is now to having a releasable product?




I'm not shure what you mean. The farm lot grows but the area where the farm field should be stays empty? First I would check if I misspelled the field-ID when editing the "Field Lots" property in the desc-file of the lot. Best practice to work with copy and paste - so to copy the field-ID and paste it into the "Field Lot" property instead of typing. But even then forgetting to mark the first or last digit happens to me.

Thanks fantozzi, sorry I forgot to respond to this. It turns out it wasn't a data entry error, but there were additional field lots in one of my exemplars (from memory, I think that was the situation), so your advice led me to the solution, cheers.

Title: Re: How to make farms/fields
Post by: thingfishs on May 23, 2020, 03:37:39 AM
Well I burnt out on this one for a bit, but with a fresh perspective have been able to rectify the issues in short order (sometimes you just become too close to a project - plus I have a newborn, my concentration isn't at it's sharpest...). I still have a couple of questions though:

1: I've noticed that the light for my sign only mostly works. In this test there are two identical lots across the road from each other, one working, one not. I have run the simulation at length, tried swapping in and out of night mode etc to no avail. I haven't had much experience with "night time SC4" and may be observing a well known glitch - I don't know...

(https://i.imgur.com/2qIaGqp.png)

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

2: What can I do slope tolerance-wise to minimise foundations showing on steep slopes like in the picture?

(https://i.imgur.com/x5whd68.png)

Thanks in advance  :thumbsup: