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Author Topic: Railroad crossings and other traffic props  (Read 146116 times)

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Offline jondor

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Railroad crossings and other traffic props
« on: May 31, 2011, 04:21:55 AM »
Download links catalog:

Modular RR Crossings - Phase 1 - LEX - Windows installer: http://sc4devotion.com/csxlex/lex_filedesc.php?lotGET=2693
Modular RR Crossings - Phase 1 - LEX - Mac/Manual Install versions: http://sc4devotion.com/csxlex/lex_filedesc.php?lotGET=2694

STEX links soon.

(Please note that you must be registered for the LEX (separate from forum registration) in order for the download link to appear.)

(We now return you to your regularly scheduled first post.)


If there's one thing that's always irked me about SC4, it's the lack of good quality traffic control props.  Probably due to the fact that the default ones are paltry at best and animated props (such as traffic lights and RR crossings) are time consuming to make and not well understood.

Thankfully, through some careful study of the props built into SimCity, I've gotten a better understanding of how they work.  And with some additional tricks, we can start to expand upon this untapped market.

I invite you to journey with me into an exploration of animated props and traffic control devices in SimCity 4! (These will be primarily North American in flavor, but the lessons can be easily applied to your own bats to create props for other parts of the world.)

And of course, we start with some teasers:

With the exception of smaller roads and older installations, most railroad crossings here require large gantries for mounting the warning lights, something that SC4 lacks.  I suspect it's because animated props have a frame size limit of 128x128 pixels. (Any bigger and the game engine distorts the image while drawing it.)  Therefore, a modular approach is in order.

First up, the gantry:


This is a modern design and a relatively standard size for a 4-5 lane roadway.  Depending on the standards in use at the time it was installed, there may be only one or two of these spanning the roadway.

For smaller roadways, a narrower gantry is used on newer installations:


And for much larger applications, this beast (which needs a little extra support):


And to add some variety, an older model previously used on roadways anywhere from 2-5 lanes (generally only carrying a single light set and with no access ladder):


But by themselves they look rather empty.  And while gates are not present on every RR crossing (especially in low traffic rural areas), warning lights are.  These will, of course, be animated just like the basic Maxis props:

Separate light props allow each crossing to be constructed uniquely. (All these props will be assembled via t21 exemplars assigned to various network crossings at various wealth levels.

But, let's not forget gates:

The gates are more complicated and time consuming, so they're still a work in progress, but this base model has very nearly the same 2-lane spanning dimensions as the Maxis RR gate.  By shortening or lengthening the gate and making a new set of frames there will be, like the gantries, a selection of gate lengths and they will also be animated just like the Maxis crossing.  The tall pole allows mounting of a crossbuck and flasher set to replicate the basic Maxis gate or to supplement a gantry.

As for the crossbucks, I haven't done them yet.  But I plan to include at least three styles.  An older wide style (ex), a modern 90 degree style, and for my neighbors to the north, the blank, red bordered style common in Canada where signs must be bilingual or be wordless.  Along with some additional posts and poles for various common rural signals, and eventually a few surprises as well.  ;)

Stay tuned!
« Last Edit: September 25, 2011, 01:21:28 AM by jondor »
All new animated railroad crossing props for networks of all sizes! (Phase 1 complete)--> http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=13209

Mostly writing pony stories on FimFiction.net, but Cities: Skylines is my new best friend.  Anything and everything I made for SimCity 4 is fair game for use and distribution.

Offline MandelSoft

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Re: Railroad crossings and other traffic props
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2011, 04:48:10 AM »
Nice stuff, Jondor! But can you also make an animated prop with just a single, red blinking light? In some European countries these are more common. Moreover, this means that we could use your props possibly in a euro-version  ;)
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Offline Buzzit

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Re: Railroad crossings and other traffic props
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2011, 08:52:02 AM »
looks good!
im pretty curious what kind of props you will model
i will follow this :)

Offline TJ1

Re: Railroad crossings and other traffic props
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2011, 09:55:28 AM »
Nice workv :thumbsup: looking forward to this.  :)

Offline j-dub

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Re: Railroad crossings and other traffic props
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2011, 11:55:43 AM »
Well since, I somehow missed rail road crossing signals on the  RHW, this may fit that criteria, sure a pair of gates could of been put on there already, but I think it deserves this type of heavy duty signals. The overhanging rail road crossing pole so far looks like the replacement rail road crossing I downloaded for avenues, except the gates on there don't work. I assume these gates will have the red/white diagonal pattern.

Offline Aaron Graham

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Re: Railroad crossings and other traffic props
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2011, 12:16:34 PM »
Those look so great. &apls
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Offline jondor

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Re: Railroad crossings and other traffic props
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2011, 12:58:02 PM »
Nice stuff, Jondor! But can you also make an animated prop with just a single, red blinking light? In some European countries these are more common. Moreover, this means that we could use your props possibly in a euro-version  ;)

That shouldn't be too hard, can you provide some visual reference?

looks good!
im pretty curious what kind of props you will model
i will follow this :)

In addition to the RR crossings, I also have some flashing beacon props (used where just a stop sign is not enough, but where usage does not yet warrant a full traffic signal.)

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/jO-9q_UTb_g" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/jO-9q_UTb_g</a> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/SmZQgBiida8" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/SmZQgBiida8</a>
These have actually made it in game already, but they still need a little work before they're finished (specifically, sometimes they overlap the wire they hang on).  There's also a 3-way version and singleton versions for building other intersections.

Well since, I somehow missed rail road crossing signals on the  RHW, this may fit that criteria, sure a pair of gates could of been put on there already, but I think it deserves this type of heavy duty signals. The overhanging rail road crossing pole so far looks like the replacement rail road crossing I downloaded for avenues, except the gates on there don't work. I assume these gates will have the red/white diagonal pattern.

Yes, getting the gate arm textured correctly, adding the warning lights to it and the tedious process of exporting the frames is up next.  Then crossbucks, mirrored gantries, and lots of fun assembling things in the reader.

Nice workv :thumbsup: looking forward to this.  :)
Those look so great. &apls

Thanks!
« Last Edit: May 31, 2011, 01:09:05 PM by jondor »
All new animated railroad crossing props for networks of all sizes! (Phase 1 complete)--> http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=13209

Mostly writing pony stories on FimFiction.net, but Cities: Skylines is my new best friend.  Anything and everything I made for SimCity 4 is fair game for use and distribution.

Offline j-dub

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Re: Railroad crossings and other traffic props
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2011, 03:17:03 PM »
Now thats great. Did you show David (Dedgren) yet? I know he wanted a flashing one of those.

Offline jondor

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Re: Railroad crossings and other traffic props
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2011, 03:39:09 PM »
Now thats great. Did you show David (Dedgren) yet? I know he wanted a flashing one of those.

This is the first time it's been shown in public, although the NAM team got to see it a while back.  It's actually almost done compared to the RR crossings, but editing ATC/AVP files in the reader is a pain (especially since the Maxis ones I originally copied are uncompressed and the reader tends to like to corrupt uncompressed files). The BAB doesn't suit my needs for these props unfortunately, so I get to do everything by hand.
All new animated railroad crossing props for networks of all sizes! (Phase 1 complete)--> http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=13209

Mostly writing pony stories on FimFiction.net, but Cities: Skylines is my new best friend.  Anything and everything I made for SimCity 4 is fair game for use and distribution.

Offline MandelSoft

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Re: Railroad crossings and other traffic props
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2011, 04:10:04 PM »
That shouldn't be too hard, can you provide some visual reference?

Something like this:


Or how about this?


(images found on SimForum.de. Models by Royal. Too bad they were never released  ()sad())

And in case you're wondering: this is how a common European rail crossing gate would look like:





(also found on SimForum.de. Models by Royal)
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Offline jondor

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Re: Railroad crossings and other traffic props
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2011, 04:50:23 PM »
Looks pretty easy, in fact if the models are available and with permission of course, I could animate them.  If not, I'll see what I can do once I finish these NA ones.

I should also mention on the subject of the flashing beacons, they were created before I discovered the discrepancy between S3D and ATC rotations.  As such, I need to rearrange the frames and redo the t21s.

All new animated railroad crossing props for networks of all sizes! (Phase 1 complete)--> http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=13209

Mostly writing pony stories on FimFiction.net, but Cities: Skylines is my new best friend.  Anything and everything I made for SimCity 4 is fair game for use and distribution.

Offline kassarc16

Re: Railroad crossings and other traffic props
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2011, 08:45:27 PM »
Looking great, jondor!

Offline jondor

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Re: Railroad crossings and other traffic props
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2011, 11:58:44 PM »
Between some other time consuming tasks, I made a little more progress on the gate:


The UVW map on the gate arm was a pain in the butt, but I figured it out.  The marker lights look big, but once it's rendered, they'll only be a couple pixels at zoom 5.

I moved the gate hinge up a little, so it won't match the Maxis gate anymore, but it seemed too low to the ground to me.

However, I just now noticed that I was trying to match the size based on a bad model.  Which means this gate arm will end up being a little too short for two lanes, back to the drawing board again.

Edit: The gate is going back down where it was, I need the vertical clearance.  The gate length I have pictured above spans about a lane and a half.  The longest I can do without breaking the limit on animated prop frame size is about 3.5 lanes, so I'll shoot for 3 as the limit.  Wider roads tend to have a set of gates in the median to avoid such long gates anyway, they're prone to bending and breaking in high winds.

Edit2: I'm starting to think the entire gate is undersized and the comparison I was making with the Maxis gate was completely off.  I'll have to try rendering a static version and putting it in game to be absolutely sure, but that will have to wait until later.  My time for modeling is up until probably next Monday, we'll see.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2011, 12:51:44 AM by jondor »
All new animated railroad crossing props for networks of all sizes! (Phase 1 complete)--> http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=13209

Mostly writing pony stories on FimFiction.net, but Cities: Skylines is my new best friend.  Anything and everything I made for SimCity 4 is fair game for use and distribution.

Offline Andreas

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Re: Railroad crossings and other traffic props
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2011, 07:02:34 AM »
royal made those German railway crossing props ages ago, the main reason why they never got released was our lack in advanced T21 modding. There's even an animated model for the straight road crossing, but due to lack of time and knowledge, I put the project aside, as so many others as well. I'm sure royal can provide the original models, so you could animate those, and make proper T21s for them. :)
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Offline jondor

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Re: Railroad crossings and other traffic props
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2011, 03:14:32 AM »
Fate decided to spare me an evening and good thing too.

I tweaked the gate and redid the proportions.  It's still a little smaller than the Maxis gate, but I think it'll be a little better proportioned in the game.

Here's the 1-lane version.  3 lanes is the max with a little wiggle room around the frame size limit.


And here's a composite in gmax of the middle sized gantry, single lane gate and the TLA-5 texture layed out on the ground for the proportions.


And for kicks, a preview render of that scene:


The gantry is a little tall compared to the real world, but I think it looks pretty good.

royal made those German railway crossing props ages ago, the main reason why they never got released was our lack in advanced T21 modding. There's even an animated model for the straight road crossing, but due to lack of time and knowledge, I put the project aside, as so many others as well. I'm sure royal can provide the original models, so you could animate those, and make proper T21s for them. :)

If possible a copy of the original gmax model would be best so I can get uncompressed frames.  The DXT compression that SimCity uses tends to make nasty artifacts appear on animated props.  t21s are pretty easy once you get the hang of them, and I have a good handle now.  I don't even bother with the lot editor anymore.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2011, 03:20:25 AM by jondor »
All new animated railroad crossing props for networks of all sizes! (Phase 1 complete)--> http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=13209

Mostly writing pony stories on FimFiction.net, but Cities: Skylines is my new best friend.  Anything and everything I made for SimCity 4 is fair game for use and distribution.

Offline supremec

Re: Railroad crossings and other traffic props
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2011, 11:09:12 AM »
Wow, so good  &apls, but too much american style to have this in my cities   &cry2
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Offline TJ1

Re: Railroad crossings and other traffic props
« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2011, 04:35:27 PM »
Excellent Jondor  &apls Looking Good!!!! :thumbsup:

Offline j-dub

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Re: Railroad crossings and other traffic props
« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2011, 05:50:31 PM »
You know what I just realized, the bears in my game do not cross like that, as soon as they hit that tile, they vanish.

Offline jondor

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Re: Railroad crossings and other traffic props
« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2011, 11:57:09 PM »
You know what I just realized, the bears in my game do not cross like that, as soon as they hit that tile, they vanish.

I ran that particular RHW-2 through a rather large stand of god mode trees, so there were quite a few bears, llamas and moose running around the area.  I see them crossing my roads all the time in rural areas with lots of trees.  Or in this case, moonwalking in the middle of the highway.  :D
All new animated railroad crossing props for networks of all sizes! (Phase 1 complete)--> http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=13209

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Offline Aaron Graham

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Re: Railroad crossings and other traffic props
« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2011, 05:43:01 AM »
The gate need to be longer, it need to cover both lanes that are going in the same direction. Keep it up, you doing great. :thumbsup:
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