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Author Topic: New non replacement plane automata  (Read 32721 times)

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Offline Voltaire

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Re: New non replacement plane automata
« Reply #40 on: December 07, 2012, 02:35:46 AM »
Great work Alex -- for years this was the biggest unsolved issue for SC4 aircraft modding, and you've fixed it in a couple of weeks! Amazing work.

Sorry, I haven't logged in for awhile, due to being away from home. But I'd like to help in anyway possible, now that I'm back. Since I'm primarily an aircraft modelmaker now, that's how I can be the most help: I've got gmax scenes for every size of aircraft, from 1-seat glider to A380.

I'll give the mod a try and post later with feedback  :thumbsup:

 
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Offline Voltaire

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Re: New non replacement plane automata
« Reply #41 on: December 08, 2012, 10:01:28 AM »
A few observations on this promising mod --

 - Having open slots built into this is a great design choice, the aircraft lineup can be customized by simple s3d substitution :)

 - all 5 lots seem to function normally except if I bulldoze something nearby: then airplanes taxi abnormally or stop appearing altogether. Quitting to the region and reloading the city fixes it.

 - One 'ghost aircraft' appears regularly, in both the runway and region view (enroute) animations. Reader loads all the s3d's correctly, so I'm not sure what's causing it.

   

   (nav lights, contrails, and shadow are ok... but no aircraft)



The one thing I'd suggest changing, is the overall speed of both the runway and enroute automata. Maxis left this completely the opposite of what it should be - the runway speeds are too fast, and the enroute too slow. From post #37 I see that changing the speed is difficult to control; but is there an easy way to just increase the total duration, without needing to change the time between individual points?

Related question - is it possible to modify the overall distance covered by the runway animation? I'd like to experiment with having these planes use long custom runways.

 
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Offline xannepan

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Re: New non replacement plane automata
« Reply #42 on: December 09, 2012, 05:14:45 AM »
Thanks Voltaire, for testing. I can really use your help for further completion and this is a good start.

The ghost plane is probably a faulty reference to an ID in the effect dir itself. It shouldn't be to hard to solve that. The bulldozing issue is new to me... I don't think I can solve it. Have you tried if it also occurs with the maxis runways?

I am glad you figured out how to deal with the s3d substitution. There is one caveat. The effect dir "adds" nav lights and contrails to the model, and to make it look ok the effect dir needs the exact coordinates of the wingtips etc. where those lights should be placed. This cannot be overriden. So if you substitute a s3d by a model with completely different dimensions, it won't work. The best way to deal with is is to only substitute the FSH skins.

However, in this phase, if you have models you'd like to add; I am willing to do so. It will take some time, as it is a lot off boring work prone to errors and frustration. Personally I would like to see some additional larger propeller planes :)

About the paths and speed.This is another area of frustration. Maybe you have notices that the a380 uses a longer runway path. It's not free from errors though: during ascend for a moment it appears the plane movement freezes for a second or so. I have no idea how to solve if.. Another bug in the diagonal take-off path; planes make a strange movement which I cannot understand given the coordinates I have put in.


Offline Voltaire

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Re: New non replacement plane automata
« Reply #43 on: December 12, 2012, 02:37:57 PM »
The bulldozing issue is new to me... I don't think I can solve it. Have you tried if it also occurs with the maxis runways?

You're probably right, I'll test this with the regular Maxis airports to confirm. Having so many effect props stacked on the test lots might be affecting the behavior as well.

So if you substitute a s3d by a model with completely different dimensions, it won't work. The best way to deal with is is to only substitute the FSH skins.

This is what stopped me from modding more aircraft automata (5 years ago). I was trying to substitute a full-scale DC-8 in place of the maxis 707, but no matter what I'd do the shadows and nav lights stayed put.

Which leads me to another observation: This mod changes runway and enroute automata, but there's a third style to consider: aircraft sitting at the gate. Without them, players will probably consider this mod incomplete... because all the Maxis aircraft were done in all 3 styles. Could srainy's s3d models be packaged similar to the Maxis parked aircraft effects?


However, in this phase, if you have models you'd like to add; I am willing to do so. It will take some time, as it is a lot off boring work prone to errors and frustration. Personally I would like to see some additional larger propeller planes :)

That's perfect, I've been wanting to make some 1950's designs like the Boeing 377, Bristol Britannia, and Lockheed Constellation. The catch is, BAT/gmax does not save in s3d format; so I need to learn a new program (Blender), which apparently does save s3d files. There may be some useful models online, I'll check around and see.


Another bug in the diagonal take-off path; planes make a strange movement which I cannot understand given the coordinates I have put in.

I noticed none of the test lots has the standard runway tags (Tag_1x1x3_Runway---Gnome). All the Maxis runways are tagged (one tag at each end). Through experience I know that user-drivable aircraft definitely use those tags to find where the runway is -- they'll even use a diagonal runway flawlessly if its ends are tagged. I realize these are non-drivable automata here, but they move about in essentially the same manner during approach and landing; so perhaps the tags will help.

 
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Offline xannepan

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Re: New non replacement plane automata
« Reply #44 on: December 12, 2012, 03:33:10 PM »
Hi Voltaire... just a quick first response...

Which leads me to another observation: This mod changes runway and enroute automata, but there's a third style to consider: aircraft sitting at the gate. Without them, players will probably consider this mod incomplete... because all the Maxis aircraft were done in all 3 styles. Could srainy's s3d models be packaged similar to the Maxis parked aircraft effects?

Yes, it's just a lot off boring error prone work :(

That's perfect, I've been wanting to make some 1950's designs like the Boeing 377, Bristol Britannia, and Lockheed Constellation. The catch is, BAT/gmax does not save in s3d format; so I need to learn a new program (Blender), which apparently does save s3d files. There may be some useful models online, I'll check around and see.

There is a script that is used by the NAM team which allows export as '3ds file'... A bit complicated to explain how it works exactly... so I'll get back to this once I have more time. Let me try to dig up the script first...


Offline NCGAIO

Re: New non replacement plane automata
« Reply #45 on: December 12, 2012, 08:24:33 PM »
If refers to the script to export Gmax in full 3d model then this explained on this page


Making Models for Transit Networks: Some General Specifications



Script - BuildingMill.zip
« Last Edit: December 12, 2012, 08:39:11 PM by NCGAIO »

Offline xannepan

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Re: New non replacement plane automata
« Reply #46 on: December 15, 2012, 05:39:26 AM »
Yes, NCGAIO that is the one! Thank you.

Voltaire: I have another request. I have created a BAT building model from Dulles Airport. The model and lot are complete, but sofar I have created a landmark, just for testing. I have no idea how I can create a functional airport out of it. Can you help me do that? If so, I can post everyhting on the BSC lex.

Now Dulles is as good as done, I'll play a bit more with the airplane (and animal) effects. Let's see if I can fine tune the landing and take off paths and address the speed issue as you have mentioned.

-Alex

Offline xannepan

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Re: New non replacement plane automata
« Reply #47 on: December 17, 2012, 02:49:06 AM »
I got the sounds to work... well sort of. Currently landing planes make firework sounds lol. Anyway.. having sounds when planes take off really adds to the realistic city experience imo.

Seems that the sounds issue is only partly a problem of the effdir. But more annoying is that some sound files seem to play and some don't play at all... I'm still relying more on intuition then on a structured approach.

I also wonder if it has nothing to do with support of sound cards... I hope not, in that case all my efforts are of no value at all (except for my current laptop :P)

Offline noahclem

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Re: New non replacement plane automata
« Reply #48 on: December 17, 2012, 04:24:21 AM »
Glad to see that things are progressing here  :thumbsup:  I think the passengers may be a bit frightened by the landing sounds at the moment though  :D

Offline xannepan

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Re: New non replacement plane automata
« Reply #49 on: December 17, 2012, 10:12:24 AM »
Allright, version 7 posted on the BSC lex. Sounds are included, still some fine tuning to do. Details in readme :)

Offline xannepan

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Re: New non replacement plane automata
« Reply #50 on: December 18, 2012, 02:40:56 AM »
Another brief update. I spend some time again in trying to adjust the coordinates. I have learned that I have been completely thrown off balance by the maxis entries for the existing runways. They just don't make sense and are inconsistent with the structure the system seems to impose... The fact that they seem to work is a bit puzzling though. Anyway, once I decided to ignore the maxis entries and use common sense, the results are at least reproducible.

The only thing that is still difficult is tuning every parameter to get realistic results. I want to make longer take off and landing paths with reduced airplane speed....

I am learning a lot from playing with the effdir. Tons of new ideas... But so little time :(


Offline Voltaire

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Re: New non replacement plane automata
« Reply #51 on: December 18, 2012, 01:49:45 PM »
Thanks NGCAIO for the script, that will save some time!

Now I just need to make some low-poly-count planes. To begin with, my old DC-7C model can be reused but I want to scale it properly first (easily done with Excel). Wingspan of late-build DC-7's was about the same as today's Boeing 757.


Voltaire: I have another request. I have created a BAT building model from Dulles Airport. The model and lot are complete, but sofar I have created a landmark, just for testing. I have no idea how I can create a functional airport out of it. Can you help me do that? If so, I can post everyhting on the BSC lex.

Saarinen's main terminal? That's a real work of art, a very welcome addition to SC4!

I can try modding the lot, however, Tage is the real expert. He modded and released all the X-Ports, including my prefab airport set.

Due to the special nature of functional ports, all of them must be collected together into one package. So we're taking about an update to AC Functional Airports ;D  I was planning to ask Tage for an update release early next year, to add more stages in the prefab airports. Perhaps we can combine our projects into the same update?


Tons of new ideas... But so little time :(

^^This, a thousand times. I've got many ideas for Lots and BATs, notes on how to get them done, but no time to make them.


I'll try out version 7 soon; great to see the kinks in the plane movement can be worked out  :thumbsup:

 
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Offline NCGAIO

Re: New non replacement plane automata
« Reply #52 on: December 18, 2012, 02:36:32 PM »

Now I just need to make some low-poly-count planes. To begin with, my old DC-7C model can be reused but I want to scale it properly first (easily done with Excel). Wingspan of late-build DC-7's was about the same as today's Boeing 757.


You can save a lot of time working (EXCELL) using the Cogeo's tool for rescaling your model and see the result in the game before going to BAT.

SC4 Model Tweaker (V3.00)

A note on the effect does not appear as desired.

This is one of the problems for the use of animations in Effedir. This even included in game documentation that the use of effects must be parsimonious because its excess and any peculiar conditions of the Map of the game can lead to erratic effect. eg: Mods of Gizmo weather (clouds)
« Last Edit: December 18, 2012, 03:17:11 PM by NCGAIO »

Offline xannepan

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Re: New non replacement plane automata
« Reply #53 on: December 19, 2012, 12:17:29 AM »
Yep, model tweaker will help here :)

One more thing. I assume you know how to uvw unwrap textures in max? If not, let me now, i can make a short tutorial...

(Wth uvw unwrap, you can skin the planes in max, wothout having to use the limited functionality in illives reader.)

-alex

Offline xannepan

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Re: New non replacement plane automata
« Reply #54 on: December 19, 2012, 06:59:03 AM »
Version 10 is on the bsc lex. Still some glitches but getting there...

Voltaire, have a look at my posts over at the BSC Board, i have posted some pictures of Dulles.


Offline Voltaire

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Re: New non replacement plane automata
« Reply #55 on: December 22, 2012, 01:26:43 PM »
Thanks for the tip on model tweaker  :thumbsup:

The good thing about Reader + Excel is that the coordinates are searchable. Would this help in anyway when it comes to entering the nav light positions? For example, the wingtips always have the largest X values; the nose would have the highest Z value, etc.

Regarding UVW Unwrap, I'm familiar enough with making them (used it on 737 and 757 winglets). So, as long as the UV coordinates are preserved during export, and I import the correct textures into Reader, it should work as modeled?

I'm having trouble with the export itself though. Even with the special BuildingMill script installed, gmax still makes standard 2.5D props. Was there something else necessary for the export to work, not mentioned in the NAM tutorial? Remove LODs, remove lighting, etc.

Voltaire, have a look at my posts over at the BSC Board, i have posted some pictures of Dulles.

I couldn't track this down, was it a separate topic, or part of a larger thread?


 
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Offline xannepan

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Re: New non replacement plane automata
« Reply #56 on: December 22, 2012, 01:57:50 PM »
http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=2596.980

As for the export I am not sure anymore. What may also work is apply the uvw map and unwrap it (using the unwrap modifier). Next export the model as 3ds, and select preserve uvw coordinates. Then just import in the reader.

I can find back the coordinates by exporting from reader and importign again in 3ds max or gmax. I just use the cursor coordinates a the wingtips etc.


Offline Voltaire

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Re: New non replacement plane automata
« Reply #57 on: December 22, 2012, 02:31:24 PM »
http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=2596.980

Oops - my mistake. Thought you meant the BSC Board website  :-[  Very nice work!


Next export the model as 3ds, and select preserve uvw coordinates

This is what gmax can't do; this is why I may need to learn Blender.  With gmax, the only choice in the File -> Export... menu is .P3D (Plasma) format. The BAT's Export button makes standard props, even with the modified BuildingMill script. Perhaps the script only works in BAT4max, not gmax.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2012, 02:33:11 PM by Voltaire »

 
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Offline NCGAIO

Re: New non replacement plane automata
« Reply #58 on: December 22, 2012, 03:49:54 PM »


This is what gmax can't do; this is why I may need to learn Blender.  With gmax, the only choice in the File -> Export... menu is .P3D (Plasma) format.

You need an intermediate format for get .3 DS from Gmax - Reasons - Model import and export

One solution that works well for low Polys  would be to export as MD3 and convert to .3 ds using Lithunwrap (Free). How ...

Link -  export MD3 from Gmax

- Unzip and put it in /gmaxstdplugs
- When exporting the model, if it has no animation set  the fallowing frames to 0

Link  - Lithunwrap ( Free )

- Install this program and run it .
- With it you will be able convert .MD3 to 3DS, LWO, OBJ, DXF and others formats.  note: is also a UV mapper


 The BAT's Export button makes standard props, even with the modified BuildingMill script. Perhaps the script only works in BAT4max, not gmax.


Maybe this can help you ... - REDLOTUS INTERCHANGE TUTORIAL - note :This link is functional - search the title "Interchange Tutorial"

With doubts if the script actually works? Then check ....

  - How do I render Full3D gMax Models?

  - Interchange Tutorial Thread -

If you prefer to use Gmax then may also be interested in these tools ..

  - Simtropolis Tolls

Both ... 3Dfull script and other tools can also be found here ....

 - Bat script From interchange Tutorial

EDIT: Link to Folder 4shared  with many plane models - ttp://www.4shared.com/folder/U8_KWpc8/_online.html


Hope this helps to continue. :thumbsup:
« Last Edit: January 01, 2013, 11:26:58 AM by NCGAIO »

Offline Voltaire

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Re: New non replacement plane automata
« Reply #59 on: January 03, 2013, 01:00:20 PM »
Maybe this can help you ... - REDLOTUS INTERCHANGE TUTORIAL - note :This link is functional - search the title "Interchange Tutorial"

This tutorial is the only one that described customized (skintight) LODs necessary for the modified BuildingMill to function. This may well be the missing piece of my puzzle, thanks! I'll try it out this weekend.

Also, I've successfully exported .OBJ from gmax and it seems to retain the uv coordinates and materials ;D  I'll use Lithunwrap with both the OBJ and True3d render... and see which route is best.

 
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