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Author Topic: Breaking Ground: Terrain and Waterworks  (Read 62940 times)

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Offline Rayden

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Re: Breaking Ground: Terrain and Waterworks
« Reply #140 on: August 02, 2013, 05:59:56 AM »
Looking forward to see that coming soon, it's a huge task :thumbsup:

Offline Girafe

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Re: Breaking Ground: Terrain and Waterworks
« Reply #141 on: August 02, 2013, 06:01:47 AM »
Good news, I am really interested in what you have done with the street mods as the ones from Jero / SFBT are outdated  ;)
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Offline vortext

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Re: Breaking Ground: Terrain and Waterworks
« Reply #142 on: August 03, 2013, 09:16:33 AM »
Ha yes, this all sounds very exciting but. . .you know. . show us pics or it doesn't exist!   ;D :D :thumbsup:
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Offline noahclem

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Re: Breaking Ground: Terrain and Waterworks
« Reply #143 on: August 03, 2013, 04:18:47 PM »
I'm really, really glad to see you're back  &dance

The street mod and tree controller stuff is exciting  :thumbsup:

Offline Gobias

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Re: Breaking Ground: Terrain and Waterworks
« Reply #144 on: August 04, 2013, 06:42:27 PM »
I'm really, really glad to see you're back  &dance
Thanks Noah - I never left but I've been lurking for a few months while I try and find time to get back to modding.

Good news, I am really interested in what you have done with the street mods as the ones from Jero / SFBT are outdated  ;)
Thanks - of course none of this would be possible without your amazing flora.  I've said it before but I'll say it again: I consider your flora collection the single greatest addition to SC4 by the modding community.  Many would say "NAM" but as I'm a landscaper I'm partial to the flora.  :thumbsup:

Looking forward to see that coming soon, it's a huge task :thumbsup:
"Huge" is right - the flora/prop replacement and the brush pattern took a day.  The street-side plugin could go for weeks if not a few months!  Only a couple hundred T21s to hand-lot.  The God-Mode brush isn't quite as massive a project but still a challenge to get right.  Simple tree controllers are easy to make.  Complex controllers require a lot planning though.

Thanks all for the interest and kind comments.

Ha yes, this all sounds very exciting but. . .you know. . show us pics or it doesn't exist!   ;D :D :thumbsup:
Ask and ye shall receive...

Now please bear in mind that this is absolutely a work-in-progress and many components are still "under construction"; especially the streetside mod for which I haven't even touched the actual streets yet, just roads/avenues so far, and some of the road T21s aren't finished.  I'm still evaluating the balance of props/trees and making changes to the roads as I test.

Let's start with the MM Flora replacement.  Below shows a before/after of the 5 MAXIS trees and my replacement selection.  Swiss Forestry shows that Maple/Ash are the most common softwood trees in the region while Spruce/Fir are the most common hardwoods.  Beech and Larch are also common.  So I chose Girafe's Maple/Ash/Serbian Spruce/Subalpine Fir and Larch as the five replacements.  Thought about using the Common Spruce but I think the Serbian has a darker color that contrasts well on the brighter grass textures.  I also chose the smallest of his models in order to fit as well as we can into the size of the MAXIS trees which tend to be on the small side.  This should help prevent overcrowding on existing lots:


As for the God-Mode controller there will be a wider variety of trees in use including CP seasonal flora, esp Beech and Maples as well as some of the shrubs.  I'll work Girafe and CP bushes into the mix as well as pasture flora including the latest flowering plants from VIP.  Can't screenshot this for you yet since it doesn't exist BUT I do have an older (very simple) controller that I created for my personal use that should give you an idea of what we're going for.  At low elevations we mix evergreen spruce/fir and conifers with Maples/Ash/Beech and other deciduous flora.  Quickly as elevation rises we move into a heavier blend of evergreens and at the higher elevations we change over to all spruce/fir mix.  Again, pic below is a reference and has none of the detail flora included; it is not the final mix but should give an idea of the High/Low elevation distribution:


Next up is the Tree/Shrub and Flower replacement plugin:  this replaces all the MAXIS flora props with ones I've selected.  Here's a before/after comparison.  What you see below is ALL MAXIS.  No other MMP'ing or lotting on my part.  Just basic roads, zones and I let the game do the rest.  Well, my sidewalk and terrain mods are there but you get the idea.  Note that every bush and flower have been replaced, even the topiary was replaced with VIP Cypress since I figured it's a similar match:




As far as I can tell it's not possible to replace a MAXIS prop/flora with a seasonal tree since seasonal props are actually a collection of several timed props.  A two-state replacement might be possible but I haven't pushed this... I'm just going to have to stick with evergreen for these replacements.  I paid particular attention to size when selecting the replacements, though that was tough for the MAXIS shrubs since they're so small.  The replacements are a little larger for the shrubs but I think the result is still decent.

On to the street-side...

I've been working on creating little "scenes" with the streetside mod on certain limited T21s just to try and inject a little life into the game.  As long as the T21 isn't too repetitive I think this works well.  Everything from a road-crew to a group of people congregating around a magazine rack to people paying at their parking meters.  Meanwhile I'm sticking to VIP seasonal maple/ash/lindens for the street trees.  Using Girafe's french roadsigns, Nams people props and other selected props, a few of the ol' trusty Porkie props for benches, PYC bollards and CP planters to name just a few.  Dependencies will be quite a few here but most of them are the kind of packs any SC4D player likely already has as they're very common (like SG vol 1, CP's etc).  Cars at roadside are Girafes.  First, let's just show a few details:











... I plan on putting more foliage on the streets and leaving the roads a little more open since it's a higher capacity network.  Again, everything you see here is road-side so far.  Now here's a few issues I have:

First, unfortunately models for the trees sometimes overtake buildings adjacent to them (example below).  Don't really know a way around this without simply choosing different flora but some of the thinner street-trees from CP aren't necessarily appropriate here or are a little too tall for my taste.  But I welcome opinions:


Second:  I'm not totally satisfied with the availability of avenue medians.  I filled some of mine with CP planters.  But there aren't really many alternatives that I can find.  I don't really want to use NAM medians as that would require the NAM as a dependency (I know, who DOESN'T have the NAM installed).  I just don't know it's a good idea to require a 200MB dependency for the mod:


Also, presently my streetside cars are simply parked on the sidewalk.  I could use a decent parking bay.  I'm not much of a batter (and only have GMAX... and I won't begin to tell you how much experience I have using it) so I'm not sure what direction I'm going to go with that.

On the offhand chance anyone wants to contribute a few prop 3DS prop models I certainly would entertain the idea of collaborating on the mod.

And lastly I guess I have a few questions for you guys:
- Do you want to see any changes to the Industrial/Agricultural T21s... if so what type of props?  Trees or no trees?
- What, if any, changes would you want to the NWM T21s... do you want MAVE trees?  I personally think the higher capacity networks like AVE-6 or TLA-7 shouldn't have trees at roadside but perhaps the RD-4, AVE-2 or OWR-1?

As always any suggestions are welcome.  Meanwhile I'll be working on more T21s and the God-Mode brush.

Oh and before I leave, one more Euro-friendly shot for good measure:


Cheers
« Last Edit: August 04, 2013, 06:45:10 PM by Gobias »

Offline whatevermind

Re: Breaking Ground: Terrain and Waterworks
« Reply #145 on: August 04, 2013, 08:10:46 PM »
No palm trees in Switzerland?  ;D

Really incredible work. The maxis mayor mode flora replacement looks like a solid set of choices. As for the god mode brush, well, it kinda makes me want to go find a forest to stand in to soak in the beauty.

The lot replacement flora looks really good, but I wonder if there aren't more colorful flowers out there to replace the Maxis flowers. I realize Maxis' flowers were probably overkill, but there are things like mums that really are just balls of color.

The street scenes are beautiful! I'm not crazy about the cars on the sidewalks, but it sounds like you aren't either.  $%Grinno$% Hopefully you can find a good parking bay to go with them. On the other hand, the flora, benches, newsstands, vendors, peds, road crew, etc. are great! It looks like you have a really good variety going on.

I'll have to take a look at the industrial/agricultural T21's and get back to you on those, but I'd bet there's improvements to be made. Much of what you already have would be appropriate in IHT zones. Things like the road crew, streetlights/signs, and parked cars could be adapted to any zone.

Offline Flatron

Re: Breaking Ground: Terrain and Waterworks
« Reply #146 on: August 05, 2013, 02:07:34 AM »
That looks great :thumbsup:, although it is disappointing that you can't replace maxis flora with seasonal trees....
I'd say you could stick with the cars on the sidewalks, but maybe move them a bit so they are placed half on the road/street and half on the sidewalk. Allowing this is a common thing in europe, as well as a possibility to calm traffic down.

Offline RepublicMaster

Re: Breaking Ground: Terrain and Waterworks
« Reply #147 on: August 05, 2013, 03:35:03 AM »
This looks really nice! Can't wait to use it. :D

About the cars on the street, my preference is wider streets to accommodate parking (like I see in my city) but that isn't possible in the scope of this mod. :) So I'm for parking bays. :D

Offline Swordmaster

Re: Breaking Ground: Terrain and Waterworks
« Reply #148 on: August 05, 2013, 04:46:38 AM »
Wow - great work. The maxis flora replacement is perfect as far as I'm concerned.

Absent new tree models, there's not much you can do about the streetside trees clipping into the BATs. It'll help that the streets are narrower, so you can move the trees further to the center of the tile. For the roads, you may want to make sure the user can click on a stretch of road with offending T21 and have a smaller tree pop up, while the bigger tree coincides with a smaller building or open space. This would require some micromanagement but would be useful for folks who want to take snapshots of certain scenes.


Cheers
Willy

Offline Rayden

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Re: Breaking Ground: Terrain and Waterworks
« Reply #149 on: August 05, 2013, 08:29:44 AM »
Beautiful, I love it. Specially that little touch on making the sidewalk seeming that it's standing higher than the road by adding that little shadow on the edge.  :thumbsup:

Offline bladeberkman

Re: Breaking Ground: Terrain and Waterworks
« Reply #150 on: August 05, 2013, 01:01:03 PM »
It's very exciting to see someone tackle such a huge and much-needed project! If I could make a suggestion, it looks as though many of your sidewalk props are HD with a few exceptions. If you wanted to maintain this level of consistency, you might check out Namspopof's Prop Pack Volume 2. There are a handful of HD benches and kiosks included in this pack that are scaled to the new HD Sims. Here is a link to some pictures:

http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=11655.msg391639#msg391639

Also, there is an HD planter created by ukiSim from Japan that might be used in place of CP's planters. I realize this option might be a little obscure, but the planter is very aesthetically pleasing. Here is another link:

http://uki-sim.seesaa.net/article/162986817.html

I'm looking forward to your updates! Can't wait to see where this goes!

-Blade

Offline vortext

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Re: Breaking Ground: Terrain and Waterworks
« Reply #151 on: August 05, 2013, 03:52:07 PM »
Excellent work!  &apls

The T21 mod is especially nice. Those little scenes are outstanding! I second bladeberkman's suggestion for a full HD replacement mod, if possible. Also, if you're interested to add a little more variety, I've got the timed prop exemplars for the Fagus & Aescelia and the VIP Rural trees still lying around.. Also, you might want to look into correcting Maxis' T21s.

The flora replacement mod is also very nicely done in terms of size. Too bad it seems impossible to make it seasonal as well.  &mmm

The tree controller sounds promising! Can't wait to see more details and frankly, I'm glad it's not me this time!  :D

No palm trees in Switzerland?  ;D

Heh, guess you're in for a surprise when you visit Geneva.  ;)
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Offline Stewey

Re: Breaking Ground: Terrain and Waterworks
« Reply #152 on: November 25, 2013, 07:26:10 PM »
Uzil:  you need the Reader tool to fix that problem. http://sc4devotion.com/csxlex/lex_filedesc.php?lotGET=656

In the Reader, you need to open the Terrain Parameters file of the terrain mod in your plugins folder.  In that file, there should only be a few entries.  Click on the one that says "Exemplar...Y..." and has the most text.  In that entry, you need to find the MaxNormalYForCliff value.  Change that to 0.85 and it will fix the diagonal problem.

However, a side effect of doing that is that more rock textures will show up throughout your terrain.

Hope that helps!

I have the same problem, but in the reader all of the Name Values show up as "Unknown" so finding the "MaxNormalYForCliff" value is difficult. The terrain mod is Gobias' Sudden Valley and I'm using SV Properties Low Alt.dat.

Any help would be appreciated.

Offline Indiana Joe

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Re: Breaking Ground: Terrain and Waterworks
« Reply #153 on: November 25, 2013, 07:40:59 PM »
Uzil:  you need the Reader tool to fix that problem. http://sc4devotion.com/csxlex/lex_filedesc.php?lotGET=656

In the Reader, you need to open the Terrain Parameters file of the terrain mod in your plugins folder.  In that file, there should only be a few entries.  Click on the one that says "Exemplar...Y..." and has the most text.  In that entry, you need to find the MaxNormalYForCliff value.  Change that to 0.85 and it will fix the diagonal problem.

However, a side effect of doing that is that more rock textures will show up throughout your terrain.

Hope that helps!

I have the same problem, but in the reader all of the Name Values show up as "Unknown" so finding the "MaxNormalYForCliff" value is difficult. The terrain mod is Gobias' Sudden Valley and I'm using SV Properties Low Alt.dat.

Any help would be appreciated.

I just tested it with the SV mod and it works fine for me.  What version of the Reader are you trying to use?

Offline xannepan

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Re: Breaking Ground: Terrain and Waterworks
« Reply #154 on: November 26, 2013, 12:50:50 AM »
I second (third :) the suggestions for a full HD replacement mod. Two weeks ago I created my own maxis tree replacement mod to HD. Didn't spend too much time on it and yours is definetely better thought through. I did create a HD palm tree model though, which I'd be happy to upload for you to include.

As for replacing the maxis tree props with seasonal versions I also haven't been able to find a solution. I actually was looking into the possibility of having a prop exemplar point to another exemplar instead of to a RKT. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be possible... Too bad... It'd open up so great new modding possibilities.

Just one warning: you are replacing maxis props originally included in simcity dat files. Just make sure the total memory size of the replacement exemplar is exactly the same size then the maxis exemplar. I suspect otherwise you will end up with the prop pox (not 100% sure here, but I remember reading somewhere ) So replacing the maxis flora with seasonal flora (where you add reps to the RKT4) is a concern.

-Alex





Offline vortext

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Re: Breaking Ground: Terrain and Waterworks
« Reply #155 on: November 26, 2013, 03:19:49 AM »
I have the same problem, but in the reader all of the Name Values show up as "Unknown"

Under 'option->options' you have to point the Reader towards the XML properties file. It's located in the installation folder, full name tropod_Properties.xml
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Offline Stewey

Re: Breaking Ground: Terrain and Waterworks
« Reply #156 on: November 26, 2013, 06:03:41 AM »
Indiana Joe, I am using version 0.9.3.

Vortext, thanks this has solved the problem.

It was pointing to that file, but I think it was corrupted somehow as I reinstalled in reader and set it up again and low and behold it has worked.

Cheers guys, and Gobias, your mods are fantastic thanks for the time and effort you have put into making them. :)