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Author Topic: SC4 Landscape Designers Studio Development Thread  (Read 32094 times)

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Offline Ennedi

SC4 Landscape Designers Studio Development Thread
« on: May 26, 2009, 05:48:58 PM »


Some time ago Silvio (Rayden), Chrisadams and me (Ennedi) began working together on various terrain-related mods. Now we decided to start a larger project including:

- Rock, water and beach mods
- New terrain mods
- Other mods related with terrain (sky backgrounds, sea bottom textures etc.)
- Developing new techniques of making terrain textures and creating SC4 landscapes.

Here we will show our work, announce and describe new releases. We will also start a separate support thread where we will help to solve any problems related with our creations. We will also present tips and tricks to help you with creating good looking SC4 landscapes.

Our releases:

Sky Backgrounds Mod Day Set 1 (LEX)
Sky Backgrounds Mod Night Set 1 (LEX)
Sky Backgrounds Mod Day Set 1 non-HD (for testing only)
Sky Background - Starry Night 1 (with brightest stars) non-HD (for testing only)
ENN Rock Mod Set 1 SD (contains standard rock textures including those released in HD versions in Set 2 and Set 3; two textures exist only in SD version)
ENN Rock Mod Set 2 HD
ENN Rock MOd Set 3 HD

Adam
« Last Edit: June 13, 2009, 04:10:03 PM by Ennedi »
New Horizons Productions
Berethor - beskhu3epnm - blade2k5 - dmscopio - dedgren - Emilin - Ennedi
jplumbley - moganite - M4346 - nichter85 - papab2000 - Shadow Assassin - Tarkus - wouanagaine

Offline Ennedi

Re: SC4 Landscape Designers Studio Development Thread
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2009, 02:59:35 PM »
We just released our first two mods: Sky Backgrounds Mod Day Set 1 (7 daay textures) and Sky Backgrounds Mod Night Set 1 (3 night textures). Look at the first message, you will find LEX links to these mods. We will add links to our next mods in the same place.

Sky Background Mods contain HD textures (Day Set - 512x512, Night Set - 1024x1024). Textures for the Night Set are larger, because differences between brighter and darker stars weren't visible enough good at lower resolution. I didn't notice any changes in the loading time and running the game because of using larger textures. However, we don't know what will happen if we will install the new generation terrain mod (30 or 40 HD textures), so we will test it intensively before releasing. In every case we will look for a good compromise between the quality and the game playing comfort.

The sky background texture size is the same in every zoom, so clouds and stars will not become bigger when you will go to closer zooms  :)
Sky background files should be installed in the root "Maxis" Plugins folder (not in the subfolder, it doesn't work as in My Docs Plugins folder!). You must earlier remove Maxis sky backgrounds (Background3D0, ...., Background3D4) and save them somewhere else. Everything is described in the readme, please read it!  :)

If you will have any problems with our mods, please wrtite to us in the Support Thread in this section.

Adam
New Horizons Productions
Berethor - beskhu3epnm - blade2k5 - dmscopio - dedgren - Emilin - Ennedi
jplumbley - moganite - M4346 - nichter85 - papab2000 - Shadow Assassin - Tarkus - wouanagaine

Offline FrankU

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Re: SC4 Landscape Designers Studio Development Thread
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2009, 07:09:40 AM »
Ennedi,

The pictures above make me very happy. The beach and dune pictures show something I wanted to make some time ago. The only way I knew was plop the whole area full of beach texture tiles, but that was no good look. I could not get the roads right, nor trees etc. It was a mess!

But I'll start with installing the night skies!  &apls

Offline joelyboy911

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Re: SC4 Landscape Designers Studio Development Thread
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2009, 06:40:26 AM »
Are those just concept photoshops or real in-gamers, because either way they are amazing! I like the beach the most.
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Offline Ennedi

Re: SC4 Landscape Designers Studio Development Thread
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2009, 07:32:12 AM »
Are those just concept photoshops or real in-gamers, because either way they are amazing! I like the beach the most.

These are real in-game screenshots  :)
Now I'm preparing some rock and water mods to release, they will be uploaded this weekend. The next stage will contain beach mods together with sea bottom modifications, mods for making wide beaches and dunes. I will also give some advices how to make custom beaches according to your needs.

Adam
New Horizons Productions
Berethor - beskhu3epnm - blade2k5 - dmscopio - dedgren - Emilin - Ennedi
jplumbley - moganite - M4346 - nichter85 - papab2000 - Shadow Assassin - Tarkus - wouanagaine

Offline io_bg

Re: SC4 Landscape Designers Studio Development Thread
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2009, 08:25:58 AM »
I can't wait for rock and the beach mods! I think SC4 will change a lot with them..
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Offline Ennedi

Re: SC4 Landscape Designers Studio Development Thread
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2009, 04:40:10 PM »

First three sets of rock mods were just uploaded to the LEX, you can find links to them above.

Two textures exist only in SD (standard) version, but I decided to make also SD versions of all other rock textures. So now you have a choice - you can download Set 1 and play the game both in software and hardware mode, or download Set 2 or 3 and enjoy HD textures.
I had to make some modifications in SD version - I brightened shadows, decreased contrast and removed some repetitive details. The SD version looks generally less "dramatic" than HD one. But I had to make it to adjust these textures to various game limitations. On the other side HD textures open many new possibilities, but you can use them only in hardware mode.

This is only the first step of our work with terrain textures. Both HD and SD versions have their own strong and weak sides. Your comments will be highly appreciated. Even the most thorough testing made by creator or a few beta testers is not so valuable as players' opinions. You can test our mods on various maps, with flora and other custom stuff.

We are going to make more rock mods on future, so we would like to know which ones from the current collection do you like the most. Please also inform us what have we missed ie which kinds of rocks should we create in future?

Adam
New Horizons Productions
Berethor - beskhu3epnm - blade2k5 - dmscopio - dedgren - Emilin - Ennedi
jplumbley - moganite - M4346 - nichter85 - papab2000 - Shadow Assassin - Tarkus - wouanagaine

Offline sithlrd98

Re: SC4 Landscape Designers Studio Development Thread
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2009, 06:37:14 PM »
So, here are some pics showing what is one of my favorite since the development pics a while back...the Sandstone1_1024brown. First , I would love to know what else you've got in your plugins cause your pics always look better than mine ;D






But here is something that I'm not sure of...might be my setup?



The seams are not looking to great.
I've only tried this one so far , but overall I like it!

Jayson

Offline Ennedi

Re: SC4 Landscape Designers Studio Development Thread
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2009, 07:30:05 PM »
Thank you Jayson! I hope you will be interested in our attempts in future too, your comment is exactly what I need to improve my work  ;D

1. I haven't anything special in my Plugins now. I use Italia Terrain Mod (yes, it is a bit modified, I have less flashy green and more olive green textures, especially on higher elevations; I also moved the snow away from grass. But it is basically still the same Italia mod). I have a few textures with stones, they replace rocky-like Cycledogg's textures showed by you on your first two pictures. These stone textures are used for testing the new terrain mod, they are far from ideal and they will be changed many times I guess  ;) ; but these textures are not the main element of my screenshots.
I also have one new texture on lower elevations (sandy-like ground with grass patches), this is also a temporary test texture.

2. You showed the weakest point of the Sandstone 1 texture in the SD version on your third picture: repetitive details. Thank you for it, it gives me a great opportunity to explain a few important aspects of creating SC4 landscapes. But instead of many words it will be better if I will prepare some pictures for you  ;) I will try to make a detailed reply as soon as possible.

Now I can say in short words:
- At the current game graphic settings every texture with big and contrasting details will look repetitive at least in Zoom 4 and 5. There are two ways to avoid it:
  a) we can use a texture without clear details (such as Dogfight rock mods or Red Igneous Rock from my Set 1), or
  b) we should change game graphic settings to cover a larger area by the single texture tile. This is exactly what we want to do in our future terrain mods. All our rocks, water etc. mods will also look better with these new settings.
- Installing the rock (water, beach, terrain...) mod is only the first step of creating the SC4 landscape!. When you'll do it, you should look at your terrain and start to sculpt it. It is not very difficult and it can give a lot of pleasure, it is something between painting and sculpting. You can remove most repetitions showed by you on your third picture by only a few clicks. I will show you how to do it, but I need to prepare pictures  ;D

Thank you again, I hope you will not get bored of this discussion!  :thumbsup:

Adam
New Horizons Productions
Berethor - beskhu3epnm - blade2k5 - dmscopio - dedgren - Emilin - Ennedi
jplumbley - moganite - M4346 - nichter85 - papab2000 - Shadow Assassin - Tarkus - wouanagaine

Offline tooheys

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Re: SC4 Landscape Designers Studio Development Thread
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2009, 08:23:47 PM »
Hi team

I have just downloaded all 3 packs and I'm still trying to decide which is my favourite. But I can say, they all look great and the HD versions work a treat on my PC. I'll give some more detailed feedback once I've had a chance to experiment a bit more.

Well done guys  :thumbsup:

Dave

Offline sithlrd98

Re: SC4 Landscape Designers Studio Development Thread
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2009, 08:36:38 PM »

2. You showed the weakest point of the Sandstone 1 texture in the SD version on your third picture: repetitive details. Thank you for it, it gives me a great opportunity to explain a few important aspects of creating SC4 landscapes. But instead of many words it will be better if I will prepare some pictures for you  ;) I will try to make a detailed reply as soon as possible.

Now I can say in short words:
- At the current game graphic settings every texture with big and contrasting details will look repetitive at least in Zoom 4 and 5. There are two ways to avoid it:
  a) we can use a texture without clear details (such as Dogfight rock mods or Red Igneous Rock from my Set 1), or
  b) we should change game graphic settings to cover a larger area by the single texture tile. This is exactly what we want to do in our future terrain mods. All our rocks, water etc. mods will also look better with these new settings.
- Installing the rock (water, beach, terrain...) mod is only the first step of creating the SC4 landscape!. When you'll do it, you should look at your terrain and start to sculpt it. It is not very difficult and it can give a lot of pleasure, it is something between painting and sculpting. You can remove most repetitions showed by you on your third picture by only a few clicks. I will show you how to do it, but I need to prepare pictures  ;D

Thank you again, I hope you will not get bored of this discussion!  :thumbsup:

Adam

I don't think I could get bored with these! These are some beautiful additions! I only showed the 3rd pic to make sure that it is not my setup , as I don't seem to have much luck getting my new computer to display the game as well as my old , and still get some undesired effects from time to time , mainly with shadows.I did sculpt the cliffs slightly , but I also don't generally mess with mountains,etc. as I have not completely mastered the technique as well as you and others have! Speaking of shadows , I forgot to mention that the pics were from an empty plugins, besides the rock mod, and am also using a attachment from, I believe one of your posts somewhere:LightingScat0HillShadow0.dat
I am always checking stuff out to see how it works, even though I may not have the time to fully understand , or "tweak" them :)
As with all HD stuff, like your posts on the HD Sogo , the effect is stunning , but the procedure is still in very early form...it is still amazing that after all this time that there are still many breakthroughs continually being implemented!

I am looking forward to the other additional mods , as I think that once they are all together, they will definitely compliment each other better than what I am using now...Pegs Brig. water and MeadowshireTerrainMod.

Jayson

Offline Pat

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Re: SC4 Landscape Designers Studio Development Thread
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2009, 03:33:56 AM »
Stunning simply stunning!!!

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Offline Bobbi

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Re: SC4 Landscape Designers Studio Development Thread
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2009, 04:07:51 AM »
@Ennedi
Good job! The texture looks fantastic. &apls And I hope a HD water mod will come. :thumbsup:

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Offline girlfromverona

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Re: SC4 Landscape Designers Studio Development Thread
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2009, 11:25:26 PM »
That beach pic looks amazing! Can't wait to find out how you did it. This is a very cool project, guys!  ;D

Offline Chrisadams3997

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Re: SC4 Landscape Designers Studio Development Thread
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2009, 04:08:15 PM »
Well, I'd like to present two water mods I've been working on.  I've taken specific care to eliminate a lot of the repetition and patterns seen in many existing watermods by careful editing of the textures at each zoom level, from the closest to the farthest.  Along with this, following discussions with Adam and others in the BSC, I've experimented with variations from the usual approaches at farther zooms. 

Traditionally these are just scaled down and tiled versions of the closer zoom textures.  The idea espoused here is that this method doesn't necessarily do a good job of representing the way features appear to us at various distances.  Close up you notice individual waves, but how does that same body of water look from a bird's eye view?  The farther zooms use combinations of aspects the original images (scaled down of course) and separate representative bird's eye or satellite images of bodies of water under similar conditions.  Hopefully you'll find the results satisfactory :).
Z5

Z4

Z3

Z2

Z1


Z5

Z4

Z3

Z2

Z1


By the way, these have no official names as of yet, any suggestions are welcome :)

Chris
« Last Edit: June 20, 2009, 04:10:27 PM by Chrisadams3997 »

Offline sithlrd98

Re: SC4 Landscape Designers Studio Development Thread
« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2009, 04:25:36 PM »
Oooh...me likey! I really like the first mod...looks more realistic to me.

Jayson

Offline io_bg

Re: SC4 Landscape Designers Studio Development Thread
« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2009, 04:36:52 PM »
Looks great! However, I'd like to see a darker version of the second one :)
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Offline Orange_o_

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Re: SC4 Landscape Designers Studio Development Thread
« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2009, 06:03:31 PM »
I have the impression that we worked with the same texture chris  ;D







I like very much the result in zooms 1,2,3. Only I think that we can obtain a better texture for the zoom 5. I go at once, to rent a helicopter  :D

                                                                                


Offline blade2k5

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Re: SC4 Landscape Designers Studio Development Thread
« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2009, 06:39:59 PM »
Chris, I really like the second mod you showcased, it's one I would definitely use.  Very nice,  :thumbsup:

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Offline Chrisadams3997

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Re: SC4 Landscape Designers Studio Development Thread
« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2009, 11:02:42 PM »
I have the impression that we worked with the same texture chris  ;D

quite the possibility, as I know you use cgtextures, and the source image I used was this one from there.

Quote
Looks great! However, I'd like to see a darker version of the second one

These are in their 'native' colors right now, e.i. the color of the original source image it came from, but I want to release each of my water mods in four colors, light and dark blue, brown, and green.  The first water mod shown here will be typical of brown for each, the second of light blue.  With that common color scheme between all of them, I can eventually release TPW that matches closely to each color.

Chris
« Last Edit: June 20, 2009, 11:06:04 PM by Chrisadams3997 »