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boldlybuilding

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boldlybuilding last won the day on
July 10 2016

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About boldlybuilding

  • Rank
    Resident
  • Birthday 07/13/1989

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Indiana, USA
  • Interests
    Titanic, Star Trek, science, 3D modeling, city-building, and things.

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  1. Well it seems a lot has happened since I last posted here! New developments in the modding community, new expansions, a whole season, the Cubs winning the World Series, the United States' first satirical president... the list goes on and on. Even after I stopped posting here, I went on to build my biggest city yet, and made a whole set of office buildings. I won't bother showing those here, since it's been months and you all must know of them by now. I suppose it was just easier and quicker to post updates on the Skylines Guild Facebook group. Over the last 3 months, I've also been working on Titanic: Honor and Glory. Specifically the new demo that's due out soon (hopefully sooner rather than later ). It's taken up all my time, so I've had no chance to do C:S stuff. But once that's done, I'm going to see about taking a little bit of time to put into C:S, if only because I need a break from Titanic for a bit. Which brings me to an idea I have... I was thinking of revisiting my biggest asset: The World Trade Center. I want to revamp it, to use a little of what I've learned about modeling and texturing to improve it visually, and implement the latest stuff from the game's continuing development. A sort of "HD" version. It would have a higher polygon count, but I think it'd be worth it. These are some of the things I'd like to do: 1: Redo the UV maps and textures. The current models have huge chunks of the texture devoted to large parts of the model. An entire portion of a roof or plaza taking up much of the UV map. I want to change this to a more tiled approach, so details on roofs and plazas look sharper. The same goes for other building elements. I would probably redo the entire facade of 7 WTC. Affected objects would be subdivided more, but it'll look better, sharper, cleaner. The downside is less or almost no Ambient Occlusion. AO's difficult for me to make sense of on things that have tiled and repeating parts. I'd also switch up the column maps a bit. Right now there's a variable lightness/darkness to the aluminium panels on the towers, but it's the same shade across columns on each floor. This was always supposed to be varied. The main reason for redoing these maps and tiling, though, is to make things much sharper... 2: Do away with Sub-Buildings Enabler. It will still have sub-buildings, but will instead use the game's own system, so no mods will be necessary. On a related note, I may also break the complex down into more sub-buildings. It currently has 11 parts, but since it'll come in "one" asset, and because it was honestly difficult to fit everything into even 11 parts, I need to see what can be either divided up or combined into more or fewer lots. 3: Add metro station. The WTC's PATH Station was a major feature of the complex, and it should be added. 4: Add a fire station and police station as sub-buildings. The WTC had its own FDNY fire station. In fact you can see the garage doors for it on my model. This functionality should be added. 5: Correct errors and add or smooth detail. I want to go back over my references and see if there's anything I missed or that could be added, or which needs fixing. This includes a funky piece of texturing on 7 WTC, which I'll be redoing anyway. 6: Redo LODs. The current LODs for the towers look weird. 7: Redo night lights. I've learned a lot since rushing night light edits for the WTC set in the days after AD. They could be much better. Better variation, detailed. More like my Chicago Aon Center. 8: Possibly make the overall shape of the complex more accurate to real life. I don't know if I'll do this, but I had to trim off some areas to make it fit a square footprint. It'd be nice to make it more accurate. Which would necessitate... 9: Adding roads to the base ploppable asset. No more building them yourself. You'll have to use the Touch This mod (or whatever it's called) to change them, of course. 10: Implement the transparent glass shader. This would be most useful for the covered entrance to the North Tower. It would also be useful for my final idea... 11: Adding interior lobbies to the towers. Yes, you read that right. Why? Because I HATE how the bases of the towers look now. There's nothing but a picture of the lobbies used as a flat plane. It makes the bases look strange, unimpressive, and it doesn't do these towers justice. I want to take advantage of the glass shader to make the large gothic windows of the tower bases transparent and add the lobbies inside them. The lobbies would be sub-buildings, and fairly low detail. How low detail, I'm not sure. I'm debating whether to make them ultra low detail (practically LOD level poly counts), or make them finer detailed so they'd look okay even entering them. That would be, to me, an interesting possibility. If it was any other building, I wouldn't bother. But it's the World Trade Center, how can I not? The only question is how they'd be lit, either with point lights, or the entire models having a subtle glow applied with an illumination texture. Here are some pictures of the lobbies: They were relatively simple, bare, wide-open spaces, allowing views straight through the towers. I think it would look impressive, but maybe that's just me. Those are my main ideas for revamping the set. Let me know if you think I'm crazy, or if you have your own ideas for something you'd like to see with the WTC complex. (Keep in mind I have no plans to touch the new WTC complex.) (TL:DR - I want to rework my WTC asset/s to be way more amazing with better lights, better textures, better sub-buildings, glass shaders, and more. Read on for specifics.)
  2. That's certainly one thing I absolutely love about CS. While not a perfect process or tool, it's SO easy to get stuff into the game. I'm a self-taught modeler, with still a good bit to learn here and there, but I'm not that bad. (Maybe a bit high in the tris.) But the process of getting things into SC4 has always daunted me. I've never even remotely thought of trying it, I could just tell it wasn't particularly easy. Even for me now it would be a massive struggle. But with CS you export the damn FBX then import the damn FBX. As long as you vaguely know what you're doing, which isn't much to know, you're fine. Of course, much like how "anybody can become president" is probably a bad idea, the fact that anybody can so easily put anything into the game does lead to, quite frankly, a lot of terrible stuff being put on the workshop. But it's worth it to make modding of the game more accessible to those who just don't want to go through the hell of whatever process SC4 puts you through. I don't know, maybe SC4 isn't that horrible, but CS is surely a whole lot simpler.
  3. I know we all have our little nitpicks, and I had my own issues with the game on the last page, but of all the issues I think the bigger zones one is one of the most important problems we need to solve. At 4x4 it's just too darn small to be realistic. And from what little I've seen done already, and your assurances, Boformer, I'm sure it can be fixed. We can get the bigger zones, fix or do away with the ridiculous leveling, and the asset creators like myself and the rest can make the buildings, and much more. There's no reason it can't be done.
  4. I don't have much to add, except two points: 1. I'm probably one of the rare few who really wants disasters. It's more a personal preference, as I have a fascination with disasters. I watch disaster films, disaster documentaries, read about disasters, and I'm working on a game about a disaster (Titanic). There's just some sort of strange fascination there, and I like the idea of being able to have a bit of fun destroying my cities. It gets boring plopping stuff after a while, and the challenge might be nice, plus the added services and dynamics to consider. Besides, while it's not everyone's cup of tea, "DISASTERS PLZ!" was probably one of the loudest chants in the earlier days of the game. 2. I agree with Boformer that the graphics are awful. The default graphics you get with the base game anyway. I've been meaning to post something about this somewhere, some sort of comparison for fun between modded and un-modded graphics. Point is, every time I look at unmodded screenshots or even the new DLC footage directly from CO, it just looks... bad. The buildings aren't very realistic, more stylized, the coloring is terrible, just so very... yellow. Harsh shadows, and the default LUTs aren't that great. Not to mention the lack of AA. And it actually got worse after AD. If it weren't for daylight classic, custom LUTs, softer shadows, dynamic resolution, ambient occlusion, and ultimate eye candy, we wouldn't get any realistic graphics out of this game. I don't even use the game's default buildings anymore mostly because they look weird with the better quality and more realistic custom buildings surrounding them. One could build a city that doesn't use a single default building and show it with graphics beefed up by mods and it would look like an entirely different game. Much nicer. That's not to say all of it CO's fault. The default buildings aren't overly awesome and are all over the place in styles, but that's why they gave us the ability to make our own, and that's all right. But the graphics could really use improvement.
  5. Thanks! I think roof details are important. One can argue against putting lots of details at a lower level of the building if they'd like, but even with the default camera you'll always be able to see the roof up close, and you spend a lot of time looking down on roofs. Because of that it always annoys me when people don't bother to put any detail in their roofs. Even if it's fairly plain and flat, a mere decent texture would help. Solid colors are the worst, too. Just the absolute minimal effort. A detailed roof makes all the difference. This one was annoying because of the window washer machine. Many buildings have them stored inside penthouses. That's what was nice about Willis Tower. But this one they just leave it right on the roof, because there's nowhere to store it. Others have a system where the machine is lowered below roof level, like on the former World Trade Center, or those other twin towers in L.A., the City National and Paul Hastings towers. Also I just had a though: Perhaps I'm confused as to what Boformer means. While the 3072 may have an actual smaller file size after being processed by the editor, what if it still takes up 4096 worth on the video card when being rendered in-game? So 3072 in file size, but 4096 worth of memory to handle? But then even if that's the case, wouldn't it still be worth it for the smaller file size, maybe that would reduce load times and use less RAM still?
  6. Actually I think it might make a difference. I imported two more versions to test this. My original 3072 tall CRP file is about 10mb. The 2048 tall version is about 8mb. The 4096 version is about 12mb. So the 3072 version does seem to be right between the 2048 and 4096 ones in terms of file size and does make a difference.
  7. I wondered about that. I saw an asset on the workshop that had a texture size like that, I figured it must have worked. If it gets counted as 4096 though, maybe I should try reducing it to 2048 and see what happens.
  8. My Aon Center L.A. building is finished! Get it here: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=783473728 It weighs in at 9,999 tris. I did something new here by using a non-square texture 1024x3072 in size. Saves a couple MB anyway. I'll have to use that method for more future assets. Now for the pictures:
  9. A quick update: The building is nearly done, I just have to randomize the windows/lights, do the other texture maps. but of course first finish the roof details, namely some antennas and the window washer machine. Also the LOD.
  10. Just FYI, I decided to make the OTHER Aon Center as well. The one in Los Angeles. This one is much simpler and should be done pretty quickly now. It should also be light on polys, maybe around or even under 10k if I can manage. The model also takes into account the very slight angle/slant of the curtain walls, which I never noticed before because it's so subtle. And here's the real building:
  11. That's not quite a natural disaster, though. What would be cool is if this could give modders the chance and tools to make their own disasters. Don't know how possible that would be, but I figure if there's a disaster mechanic added, maybe it could be done.
  12. The Aon Center is finished! Get it here: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=778876495 *RICO compatible. Found under offices. *Found in Unique Buildings, Level 3. *9x14 lot. *Costs $120,000 to build. *Main Model: 29,957 tris with 2048x2048 textures. *LOD model: 568 tris with 1024x512 textures. The main model came in at just under 30k after using simpler tiled window rows with light backing for each floor instead, which saved probably a good 6-7k tris, otherwise this would have been closer to my Empire State Building. It may seem like a lot, but that's just because most buildings aren't as detailed as much and this has a big plaza on it, which is almost as detailed as a whole building. Plus I had to break up a lot of surfaces to texture them a decent resolution. In any case, you can call it standard BoldlyBuilding fare. There's also an issue with the shader, where it deforms on curvy ground along roads, so the ground has to be flat or flattened. Boformer suggested there was a version of the underground shader that doesn't deform, does anybody know about this? Another issue is that placing roads is problematic, since they turn into elevated roads while dragging road segments adjacent to the tower. No idea how to fix it right now. I also had to make the LOD texture bigger in one direction because it looked terrible from far away in my big city, even though it looks fine in the editor and in new maps. In fact it still didn't fix the issue that well. It must be because of the shader or something. Either way, if anybody knows how to fix any of those things, please let me know. Now for pictures:
  13. After a bit of a break, here's a little update... The plaza is nearly done, as well as basic texture for those parts. I still have to do the roof of course. I had to add some extra space around the sides, otherwise bits of the roads cut into the sunken plaza.
  14. How big is it? I had a problem like that when I tried making my eclectic construction lots. All my other props were fine, but when I tried importing the trailer as a prop, which was a bit bigger, it would get ruined. In fact I think it may have imported properly, but the LOD showed up super soon. So what you're seeing there is the auto-generated LOD, and for some reason the main model either isn't showing or will only show when you zoom in really far.
  15. Problem is I'm not sure how I could do that, making them one face per floor. How would it be mapped on the texture? I have a lot of detail to put in there, I need to use as little space as possible on them. Plus the detailing for each window frame is there in the texture, it's not just a general set of colors. Here's my diffuse so far... In fact I need to look into further reducing the size of the windows on the texture. But I also want to get the mac resolution into details while tiling things as much as I can in other respects, which is why the plaza has or will have quite a few divisions in its surfaces, so things can be tiled, because I can't just use entire vertical strips of the texture, not enough space for that. As it is, my plan to use the vertical window strips will make the windows, counting the lower levels and details and other divisions, amount to 1200 tris. It's not 672, but it's low enough.