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      Please help us for June & July   06/20/2017

      This month we're hoping for a little bit of a boost this month or next, in addition to covering the regular bills, we'd love to be able to do some hardware upgrades. STEX Collector's Set gifts can now be sent to you via digital download as well as regular mail if you wish! Every donation dollar goes toward keeping Simtropolis online and humming along. Your contribution is so meaningful, every dollar counts! Hardware Upgrades We've received a recommendation to consider some hardware upgrades to our ageing server. As our website community software improves with more and more features, and as we bolt on additional features such as chat, the increased load to handle all these new toys is taking the server a bit to task. You may have noticed that we'd been forced to temporarily disable the chat as we worked out allocating resources for more optimal performance. Following this, we've applied a number of 'soft' changes such as caching options and experimented with server configurations (nginx as proxy, for example), so the hardware aspect is also an area we'd like to focus on. The last time we upgraded hardware was back in 2012, prior to the release of SC13. Your contribution means a lot! Your donation will go toward helping us to 1.) migrate to a newer server or 2.) at least get some ram/cpu/storage updates and any other infrastructure hardware or services. Donate and Get a Gift or Donate Any Amount Thanks so much! - Dirktator & The Admins
    • Dirktator

      Chat is back...   06/22/2017

      In order to conserve resources, we've disabled the global chatbar at the bottom of the site. Instead, the Chat can be accessed by clicking the top navigation tab. It will launch a new window. If you're not seeing this behavior, try clearing your browser's cache.
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  • Recent Modding / Content Posts

    • this is what's going on,  i downloaded this building from 3D warehouse, and i opened it up in sketchup2016, then i exported it as a 3Ds, then i tried importing it into BAT, BUT when it render it in BAT, it doesn't have a texture on it, it's just the shape of the building colored white. How do i get the texture of it to show up? please help, if you need more information just ask. please help    here's a visual of whats going on:     UPDATE: never mind, i figured it out. i just had to use a new model of the building from 3d warehouse, something was just wrong with the one i downloaded before. 
    • I used to make them; they are quite straight forward: I use the gimp (I call it photoshop out of habit). Having used both programs, the methods are pretty interchangeable. Certainly the underlying principles are the same in terms of layers. I can give a tutorial on the subject, but others have explained it better: here for instance. The differences I used when making bricks were: 1) adding an alpha channel to the clouds so that I could make them fade away more; 2) not using such strong contrasts in white/black to define the edges, and 3) often starting with a noisy plaster-texture background which again, I would allow to show through to get the subsequent colors right. Or I would photograph brick walls myself. It's quick, but that was back before the proliferation of high quality, free textures. Now I just grab one off the 'net. CG Textures is my go to place. So I'll walk you through what I do when I get a new texture.This is down and dirty, and I haven't tested it in game, but these methods will work with limited (if any) subsequent tweaking. I'm taking the texture from here, which is basically the first brick texture I saw. It's tileable (yay) and it's 1024x1024, and judging by the size of the bricks by my eye, in game it should have a use for buildings up to two - maybe three - stories. Next I open the images folder in the SC4Tool. This contains a little image of every building maxis made. On my PC it lives here: C:\Program Files (x86)\SC4Tool\Images. As I am going to do a brick texture, I visually pick a few similarly brick-textured buildings from the Maxis library. As it happens, there are two buildings right next to each other which to me fit the bill. So now I have my texture, and my in-game reference point, because after all, we are making an SC4 game asset, not a client presentation or a model for sale on turbosquid, etc. Gmax is quite old, and doesn't faithfully represent certain colours in game - it shifts them quite substantially, so the first thing you will need to do is adjust your curves to take this into consideration. Gascooker wrote a tutorial on it here, and it needs no further elaboration. 3ds has no such issues. As I said, the texture to me looks good for about 2 floors - maybe 3. So, here goes.... 1) Double the height of the texture so that the image is 1024 x 2048 and copy and paste to fill the image. I do this because I will want to use bricks for buildings up to 6 floors (possibly....it's always good to have an option). Save this larger, but as yet unedited image as you'll want to revisit it many times to make different variations later. Next I open the two Maxis references. - all as per screen shot #1. 2) Get the eye dropper tool and make a note (on notepad) of the values of the two maxis buildings. Now as Maxis uses fake ray-tracing (i.e gradients) it is important select a few spots in the center of the building - bricks have variations, hence the few spots along the center: if it were plain plaster you'd select only one spot. I'm really after the HSV values, and in particular the saturation value. Use the eyedropper tool to get the values of your texture - all as per screenshot #2. From my quick assessment, the building on the left occupies roughly these parameters: HSV between 20-23 | 41-44 | 65-58, RGB 148-167 | 108-122 | 83-99; the building on the right occupies these parameters: HSV 28-32 | 40-48 | 71-75, RGB 181-192 | 140-152 | 94-116 and my brick texture occupies these parameters: HSV 17-19 | 47-52 | 64-67, RGB 162-170 | 107-109 | 81-86. 3) Thankfully the brick texture I've picked occupies roughly the same sort of Saturation levels as the mid point of the maxis buildings, so I'll adjust the saturation so that it sits comfortably within the 40-45 range - or about 10% less. If you wanted to do a blue/black bricked building (like the old 1930's ones) - which there isn't a game equivalent for, you would need to tweak the RGB values as well to make it look like the warm sonoma county autumnal afternoon. 4) The texture is quite flat and lifeless at the moment and so, whether you are using gmax or old school texture techniques in 3ds, it needs to have some grunge. I use the dodge and burn. Dodge at the top of the texture to simulate and burn to simulate the grime at the base. I set the brush to a 20% for both. I then, quite literally, scribble, scratch and flail my hand around on the texture taking care only to roughly align the scribbles on the left and right sides so that they don't visibly tile on the model in game. I just used a round brush for this exercise as that is default; obviously you can experiment with different brush types and opacities to get something you want. Then, I use the gradient tool (FG to transparent) and a 10% opacity to apply the gradient. Then just re-check the saturation levels one last time and adjust if needed (dodge/burn and gradients tend to up the saturation slightly). We then get to something like screen shot 3. Which I would then do a 'save as', before going any further as this now becomes the texture image I will use on my walls for ingame.  5) Now if I wanted an advert, I simply pick an old image, paste it over the bricks, add an opacity layer and then use the eraser tool (on a 20% opacity) to fade it back to brick. Just like screen shot 4 - which Id probably spend more time on if I were going to use, as my eraser efforts made it look a bit like someone's  bum-print . But anyway, these various saves then become your base textures for your bat and from here you can add all sorts of other things; grunge from the parapet (again CG Textures has all sorts of stain decals), window sills etc. That's a bit more advanced in that you need to take a gmax screenshot and work from there, but it is still perfectly straight forward. This method also applies to your flat and pitched roofs. All of this takes me less than 5 minutes to source some textures from websites until they are game ready. The texture here looks pretty ordinary, I'll admit, but it will work - the reason being is that along any run of wall, there will be windows, sills, doors, maybe columns, and other details that will break the texture up. If it is a purely flat large expanse of wall, or a modern building, then obviously take more time with the 'scribbles'. But as I always maintain, we are making game assets for SC4; the scale is ridiculously small and really, details just disappear in this old game. The only other thing I'll add is to do a preview render and then do the eye dropper test again (or paste it into a vanilla screenshot of the game) to make sure that you are still happy with the textures prior to rendering.  
    • Yes I did download it, was able to move the override out of the plugins folder. Thanks for the information and your hard work on NAM! - bomb
    • There's nothing from the RHW that you would delete, as the RHW does not override the Maxis Highways.  It sounds like you may have installed the Maxis Highway Override option, which is completely separate from the RHW.  It does, however, cause the Maxis Highways to look more like the RHWs, and transitions them toward a more modular basis for interchange construction.  The Maxis Highway Override is normally installed to the Plugins\z___NAM\Maxis Highway Override folder. The RHW proper will actually be getting full plop interchanges in a future release, once the QuickChange Xpress (QCX) system is in place (NAM 36 is the next release--QCX will probably be in NAM 37 or 38).  Here's an early prototype of a QCX in action: -Tarkus