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AmiPolizeiFunk

Ami's Berlin: Assets

123 posts in this topic

Hi Simtropolians,

 

I'm building my home town, Berlin, with the help of your many mods and assets (I am using 70+ mods and 600+ assets). I started playing Cities:Skylines about 2 months ago and I'm enthused by the activity happening here and in the Steam Workshop. Thank you guys! :thumb:

 

I'm endeavoring to add some of my own custom assets to the Workshop, but I'm new to the entire process. I'm good at photoshop, but I suck at Blender! I booted blender for the first time last week, so I'm at the rough end of a steep learning curve. You guys have been very helpful to get me over a few stumbling points. Now I'm getting ready to publish a couple of items and I'd like to run them by you first. I'm trying to start simple, but even simple objectives seem to morph into week-long efforts. Please let me know how my work can be improved.

 

I've got a Checkpoint Charlie cooking (check my screenshot stream on steam or on twitter, if you're interested), but let's start with the Rosinenbomber from the Deutsches Technikmuseum:

1024px-Deutsches_technikmuseum_berlin_20

 

I found a DC-3 model by Giovanni E and lifted it to the top of the stock library with some prop anarchy:

dc3-ingame-small.thumb.jpg.05c4427efcba2422d5994e7cd2dce42e.jpg

I was happy to find a DC-3, but the model has some texture problems (the illumination map is always fully on) because it's an old model and was probably made before After Dark. In wanting to fix the lighting problem, I wound up re-texturing the entire model to specifically be the famous Berlin C-47 "Rosinenbomber," as well as adding some propellers.

blender-view.thumb.jpg.fc299118ad3111438c1a7bf34e1b228c.jpg

It's starting to look decent in-game, but I still have some shadowing issues that I'm working on around the windows.

20170213172334_1.thumb.jpg.926c487fab1e88c953732ac8fdf98d5b.jpg

I'd like to improve the body texture so that it looks more silvery and less white in the sun (I'm using PhotoReal3 LUT and Daylight Classic mods).

20170213171707_1.thumb.jpg.14fe2f3b13cec263ca4f385a62c0ce89.jpg

Here are my current diffuse and spec maps:

rosinenbomber_d.png.4475e501239c634f9f16c764cc331a61.png

rosinenbomber_s.png.d0a526e6257ed89aca250e0cb32605b4.png 

How would I go about improving the look of the body surface? I'd like it to be more shiny and silvery.

 

My next question is, what is a good approach to make the LOD model?

 

Thx for looking & thx in advance for your suggestions.

-Ami

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Yeah, specular effect is handled weird in Cities Skylines, e.g. even if color is 5,5,5 (out of 255) it get's noticeable shine effect, while to be correct it should be hardly seen.

Also, if you want to have realistic reflection on your plane (I am talking about metal plates), avoid painting single color all over, just convert the plates in diffuse texture to grayscale and darken it, until brightest pixel has quite dark gray color (50,50,50 and less). 

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Thx @Ronyx69 and @pauliaxz for the suggestions. Baking is a very cool feature of blender which I look forward to using more extensively as I get into making some buildings.

 

I'm about ready to publish the prop. I darkened the textures some and lowered the spec map values. I spent most my time wrestling with those wonky shadow glitches, but I think I've gotten rid of all of the problems (one time by rebuilding the fuselage faces and another time by adding a bevel to the wing edge). In the end, the model is 5,310 triangles (with 1024x1024 diffuse and spec maps) and the LOD model is 430 triangles (with 64x64 diffuse and spec). 

 

20170214091908_1.thumb.jpg.f5bb8e00b19672ecce9f3afc1a811d5d.jpg

Any last tips for me before I publish my first asset?

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I'd highly recommend lowering the LOD tris further. Perhaps grab some of bsquiklehausen's planes and the LOD toggler mod and see how low detail his planes are. It should be possible to get it down around 200 tris or lower.

Otherwise great work! :thumb: Cool to see another asset creator join in :D

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I think you can do a much better job on the texture, especially the wings. Look at photos and study the 'panel lines'. I can help if you want. Challenge yourself!

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Oh man, I've been challenging myself. I know it's kinda crappy, but I've spent like 20 hours on this thing and all I wanted to do was fix the illumination texture. It's been a fun learning exercise, but I think for the sake of my mental health, I need to move on to other stuff (after I lower the LOD triangles). There are so many iconic pieces of Berlin architecture that I would love to add to the workshop. Here's a shortlist:

 

Checkpoint Charlie (this one I've almost finished)

The Pergamonmuseum

The Bodes museum

The Neues Muesum (these last 3 would make for a pretty complete and good-lookin' Museumsinsel)

The Berlin Hauptbahnhof (I don't think I could ever do this one... that would be a challenge for one of you seriously pro modders)

The actual Deutsches Technikmuseum building that the C-47 is sitting on :D

The black cube Neue Nationalgalerie

The Neptunbrunnen (Neptune Fountain)

The Marx-Engels Statue

The Internationales Handelszentrum near Freidrichstrasse Bahnhof

The Berliner Congress Center (BCC) and Haus des Lehrers

 

If anyone was interested in collaborating with me on any of those, I'd be up for it. I'd be happy to do the photoshop work.

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Ack! I've f'ed something up. Creating the asset seems to go fine, but then when I load into a game, I get this error:

Broken assets:

douglas-C47-rosinenbomber.Douglas C47 Rosinenbomber_Data: LOD xys null [BrokenAssetException]

Details:
No details

What have I done?

 

Also, what is the max triangle limit for a prop to avoid getting a little !-hazard yellow performance warning triangle in the asset list?

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Limit is 1000.

Can't say much about the error... I ain't logfiles and error geek, but xys usually stand for normal map and specular combination.

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Ok, thx. I had changed the lod diffuse map from 256 pixels square to 64 pixels square and had forgotten to use the updated map in the Import folder. Problem solved!

 

I'm gonna resign to have that warning on the plane. I don't feel good enough at blender to go from 5.3k triangles down to under 1000.

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Don't worry, it is OK to have 5k tris for such size  and shape plane (at least IMO).  

Just as @Avanya suggested before, to reduce LOD tri count is higher priority. As it is zoomed out you won't be able to preserve all the details. So anything in 50-200 tris would be OK.

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Looks great! And don't worry to much about its weight, I've seen tiny bench and shed props 3 times that file size ;) 

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Thanks! Feels great to share it.

 

I was thinking that I often wish people would post their sourcefiles,  so I could learn from them. For you lurkers out there that may be shy to take the initial plunge, here you go: all of my noobish source files (blender and photoshop) and outputs for the publication: https://www.coh2.org/file/13401/c47-sourcefiles.rar

 

Maybe they will be of use to somebody. And you pros can have a laugh at my first effort. :D

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Alrighty, so I'm trying to update the model (it was bugging me that the USAF symbol was on the wrong bottom wing), but I can't seem to get it to work. I fixed the model on my local drive, then I did the "Update" button on the Steam model in the Content Editor, and it went through the little "updating..." process. I unsubbed and re-subbed to the asset, but my steam workshop version still seems to be the old version. It also didn't update the "change note." What am I missing?

old-new.thumb.jpg.b48255ab5d03fd59ddd8bfe35a84c5fc.jpg

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It's unfortunate there is no longer a guide for updating assets, so it's not surprising you failed. Firstly I would make backups of all the CRP files.

 Make sure when your saving the new asset in the editor to keep the names exactly the same as the old asset, and overwrite the save. Then go to your local assets folder and both files should be there with the same name. You can tell which one the new one is by looking at the date. Take the new one and place it somewhere else like your desktop. Find your old asset in the content manager and click update. You will see a small folder in the corner of the picture, click on that. Open the folder to locate the old CRP file. I recommend dragging the file into your backup. Then drag the new CRP file on the desktop into the folder. Close the window and click update.

 I look forward to see what great assets you come up with. We have a great community here who are always willing to help each other out, even those who are just starting out.

Good luck!!

 

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My pleasure :D

 

Next up is the Checkpoint Charlie replica house at Friedrichstrasse.

berlin-7.jpg

Here's where I stand so far:

charlie-blender.jpg

and how it looks ingame:

20170211231054_1.thumb.jpg.2598d526b6b5409e7a43393350e2f4cb.jpg

With extra props (USA flag, sandbags, some plants, modded wall lamps on roof of hut, two floodlights)

20170211225626_1.thumb.jpg.7c07c609ee87605ca7af8ea438e36972.jpg

and how it looks at night:

20170211224819_1.thumb.jpg.1bc73f85338934074f538bef5e53ac10.jpg

On this one, I have two questions for you guys:

 

1. How many props should I add to the model in the asset editor stage (if any)? Right now, I've added only the two flashing red lights (simply cause I think they're cool), and the two floodlights (one on the ground, and one at the top of the front side of the lightbox). I was hesitant to add the rest of the props (sandbags, USA flag, security lamps) because they are mods themselves and would create extra dependencies.

 

2. Which leads me to my next more direct technical question: Is it possible to do a lightbox without shining external lights on the faces? In reality, the soldiers faces are lit from within on a simple lightbox configuration. I couldn't manage to get this effect in-game. Is it possible? I didn't really like adding the external floodlights (particularly the one on the front of the lightbox), but it was the only way I could get it to look close to right.

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Another question, if I would like to include a separate prop asset with the building, how do I bundle them together as one Steam Workshop item?

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After you click Share or Publish (shamelessly forgot...) there will be a small folder icon in the corner of the picture. Click on it and folders opens up. There in Content you can addd additional crp files. In addition, you can edit the thumbnail picture.

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I wouldn't recommend uploading a prop with the building. First off you'd have to subscribe to it, load the building again and place the prop (since the ID is new now it's on the workshop), then update the building (and remember to put the prop in there again). Plus it's kinda messy if the prop is used in other assets, since the whole pack will be required then. Ofc if it's something that wouldn't make sense at all to put on any other building or park, then packaging it together can make sense.

In the end it's up to you ofc, but it isn't really faster or easier to do it like that. :)

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Reading descriptions of these wacky round-about ways to do things doesn't even phase me now... it seems like so many things about modding for this game involves some kind of crazy non-intuitive process. The "additional prop" that I'm thinking about is the "YOU ARE LEAVING THE AMERICAN SECTOR" sign that is kinda on the sidewalk near the Checkpoint Charlie replica house and lightbox (which I plan to release as a building). Not quite sure what template to use. Considering "Monument to Shopping" to make a cheeky joke about how the Checkpoint Charlie location in Berlin has become a real tourist trap. 

 

The white sign is on the sidewalk on the left in the photo below. I figure it needs to be an additional prop so people can place it how they like. What do you think?

Checkpoint-Charlie-Why-you-shouldnt-visi

 

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1 hour ago, Avanya said:

Plus it's kinda messy if the prop is used in other assets, since the whole pack will be required then

You can prevent that by changing the Availability to None. This is extremely useful for unique props like you say, sometimes people are scared away by seeing a list of required items. I advise to mention in the description there are props included to explain the possibly large file size or something. I would only do it with props that make no sense to be placed elsewhere. 

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@Tim The Terrible Not only they get scared, but most of the times total number of subscribers is much more larger than total unique users. So that mean, people don't even open it, and click the "+" sign in the lower right corner. This way no dependencies are downloaded.

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I think this is a situation where this particular prop (the "you are leaving" sign) will only be used with the Checkpoint, so I would like to bundle them. IMO people need to be able to place the two elements separately.

 

It sounds like a tricky process but I'll try to follow your posts to the letter to make it happen. I've decided to go with minimal lighting and no extra workshop props, for increased flexibility. Right now I'm struggling to get the basic windows and lightbox lighting right. :idea:

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19 minutes ago, AmiPolizeiFunk said:

I think this is a situation where this particular prop (the "you are leaving" sign) will only be used with the Checkpoint, so I would like to bundle them. IMO people need to be able to place the two elements separately.

Why? That sign could also be used for other things.

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I am easily swayed to publishing them as completely separate entities (that sounds easier tbh).  Is that what you recommend?

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1 hour ago, AmiPolizeiFunk said:

Is that what you recommend?

Yes

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