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Jasoncw

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About Jasoncw

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  • Birthday 06/21/1987

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  1. Most of the industrial buildings I've ever seen are like that (a decent looking office in the front and the factory portion in the back (mullet style??)), but it doesn't seem like there are as many for the game. So far so good.
  2. SC4 Plugin Client What's been said so far has kind of confused me, but I'd just like to toss out there the possibility of the plugin client being a torrent system under the hood. For example, when you get a download from Blizzard's game launcher, you're not downloading it from Blizzard, you're downloading it from other players through their torrent system. This would dramatically reduce hosting costs for the community, because only one server would need to be maintained just to ensure availability of the lesser used files. I have no idea what the programming is like for this though. I know there are already a few plugins folder manager programs out there and tbh I haven't used them, so I don't know what functionalities they have that should be included. But I think the basic user experience should be that someone logs into and browses a website, sees things that they like and click on an "add to collection" button, and behind the scenes the client should download the files and dependencies without the user ever having to look at their plugins folder. And likewise on the website a user should be able to view their plugin collection with a similarly visual interface, and click on a "remove from collection" button and the client should remove the files and any unused dependencies automatically. Tilesets Standardization in this area is necessary for making both large packs, and user friendly content. An experienced user will know which tileset individual buildings are in but an inexperienced one won't. With only 4 tilesets available, the current arrangement is good, but imo people have been misusing it. The specific names and dates given to the tilesets are meant for people without architecture knowledge to understand the associated clusters of styles, but aren't a literal description. For example, Aqua should not be in the Chicago tileset. But Maxis themselves didn't seem to fully understand what the difference between the Houston 1990 and Euro tilesets. Many BATers have used the Euro tileset for historical European buildings. imo "Euro" was intended to be "contemporary". For anyone who doesn't know, in the world of tacky American home decor, "European" is synonymous with "modern" "contemporary" "designer" "luxury" (example). When I'm modding, I personally interpret Houston 1990 as being corporate postmodernism and late modernism, because that was the reigning architecture style of that time and place, and Euro as being mid century modern and current buildings which follow in the modernist rather than the postmodernist tradition. It's not perfect but it's what I do. I'd like to keep the Chicago 1890 and New York 1940 tilesets the same, and clarify the difference between Houston 1990 and Euro, and tidy up accordingly. My inclination would be to move the historical European stuff to the Chicago 1890 tileset, with some of the newer pre-WW2 european buildings going into the New York 1940 tileset. Someone making a European city is presumably not making an American city at the same time, so their plugins and Maxis blockers would be set up for one or the other, and that way all players could use the more universal modern styles of the later tilesets without conflicts. Plus European players would get two tilesets for differentiation between historical building styles instead of one. But tilesets is a big can of worms by itself. But if the goal is to really have a completely seamless user friendly experience we'll have to go through and work out as many of our standardization issues as possible. Stage Standardization With our new .DLL abilities, it may be possible to add more densities (for example, "Very High") to the existing ones. My ideal situation would be to do that, and then redistribute the stages across the densities in a more realistic way. Right now low density residential is anything from rural to dense inner city, and medium density is Manhattan. High density residential practically only exists in Hong Kong and a few other places. I'd like the stages to be redistributed so that you can zone medium density and get something like a neighborhood of rowhouses or short apartment buildings, without having to abuse "make historical". If someone was able to make this happen, I would BAT a *giant* pack of growables to fill the new distribution smoothly for each tileset and common lot size. This is kind of a pet idea of mine and a lifelong complaint about SC4, so I'm just tossing it out there. I also think that the CAM, or maybe just a CAM-Lite (maybe just the new stages unlocked and stage 8 maxis buildings remodded, but stage 1-7 left as is) should be the standard. I view the CAM as more of a bug fix than anything else, because without it, everything about the building growing/replacement/selection process is broken at stage 8 without the CAM. The CAM is also easy to adopt as a standard because of the PIMX.
  3. Just to be 100% clear on the terminology (because this is all that I can think of), "the scene" is basically the file itself. So if you start a new scene/file, put something in it, save it (or even "save as" or "increment on save" it), close gmax and reopen gmax and one of those files, it's still the same scene. To get existing models into new scenes you should do what Matt described. I can't think of anything else unfortunately.
  4. Do you remember which of the boxes went wrong? If you exported 16 times from one scene I still suspect it's that you're exporting too much from the same scene.
  5. The new Reader corrupts files. It corrupts queries, but it has the nice visual query editor, so what I do is I edit the query in the old reader, and then open it in the new reader side by side to kind of use it like a preview. And then I think it also corrupts lot files (I forget which exemplars/properties) which is why some of my lots have technical problems.
  6. Entire Plugins Folders I am also against wholesale catch all plugins folder sharing (except for small scale personal sharing, like sharing it with a friend from school or your brother or something). Plugin selection is very personal and specific to the goals that the player has, and plugins as they exist across different authors is inconsistent (menu icons and descriptions, what tilesets people put their buildings into, etc.). I feel like a new player would just be inheriting a giant confusing mess. imo any successful pack would have to be thematic and carefully curated. Multi-Author Thematic Packs I think thematic packs containing content from multiple authors is bad. Deciding which content gets included/excluded, and how/if the content should be standardized within the pack would be messy. And then longterm, in terms of building a plugin folder, it's awkward. So for me, you'd have most but not all of my old American BATs included in one pack (along with nofunk and NYBT etc). And then you'd probably have most but not all of my modern American buildings in another pack. My I-HT buildings would probably go in a separate pack. My Brazillain buildings might go into a separate pack. Some of my BATs might be in multiple packs depending on how they're categorized. So your plugins folder would be a bunch of ThematicPack.dat files, plus the stray individual versions of my BATs that weren't included in the packs. And then this problem gets exponentially more complicated because the same problem exists for all of the other authors included in the various packs. Plus they wouldn't even know what authors made which BATs (and I'm speaking in terms of BATs because that's what I make but it applies to all content types) in order to seek out anything else the author has created. Single-Author Thematic Packs I think authors uploading their plugins into thematic packs would make it easier for users. Madhatter already does this to the extent possible for ongoing purposes (rather than archival purposes), and imo it's very user friendly. He only uploads once or twice a year, but when he does, each upload has a large number of thematically similar buildings. If he only had one giant midrise office pack that he updated with new buildings (instead of uploading them as a new packs), it would make it hard to keep track of when he releases new buildings, and it would be hard to stay up to date, unless you delete the whole pack and redownload it. But I think this only works with authors of a certain quality, volume, and thematic consistency. Otherwise it just changes the problem from sifting through the STEX to pick out the buildings you want, to sifting through your plugins folder and readmes to delete the buildings that come in the pack that you don't want (assuming that the packs aren't datpacked). But even when there *is* thematic and quality consistency, it seems like not everyone wants everything. If someone was making an American city, to me it would make sense to download basically all of my old style buildings. But when I look at American CJs, it's not uncommon for me to only see one or two of my buildings. Recently I actually saw one that was a small American city that only had like one of my old American BATs, but had several of my very modern ones. To me multi-author thematic packs feels like trying to build a music collection using Now That's What I Call Music! albums as the foundation. Single-author thematic packs are more like releasing a singles compilation. Except the analogy breaks down because SC4 content is free, never out of print, and acts the same in-game regardless of format (SC4 is always on shuffle), so building a plugins folder out of individual uploads isn't the same as building a music collection out of singles.
  7. If you use Windows Defender and you don't go to shady parts of the internet you should be fine. My brother does IT and my computer only has windows defender. And whatever else you add you can just use the free version. A normal person basically never needs to pay for antivirus stuff.
  8. When you want to see how something looks in the game, just copy and paste a screenshot of a preview render into a screenshot from the game in photoshop. It's a lot faster to do it this way. But it's also important because every time you export something one of the ID numbers gets incremented by 1, and eventually it can increment up to a range where it conflicts with Maxis buildings. To "fix" your existing buildings you might be able to merge them into a new scene and reexport them from there. I'm not sure how exactly it decides when something is a new version, but I can only imagine it would consider the new scene a new BAT.
  9. This is absolutely not a burning objection, but when I worked on this type of building I had the same predicament with the tiles. I ended up copying the tiles as the glossiness map (adjusting with a color correction map), so that the tiles were still glossy, but so that the reflections were broken up by the tile pattern. I hope that helps. Anyway it looks lovely.
  10. All of the registration stuff is buggy. Sometimes, like you experienced, there's problems registering. Sometimes after you register it never sends you a code. I think it's only ever worked correctly for me once.
  11. The code system thing doesn't work very well so for anyone who it's not working for, try it again. It's known that the registration is problematic and in turbosquid's gmax support forum the first pinned thread is an activation crack. Unfortunately I can't find their forums right now so I can't share a link. Eventually that is what we'll be relying on, because gmax has been discontinued for well over a decade. We currently only have it because of turbosquid's kindness towards the modding communities that use it.
  12. I personally just model even the ground floor to real life dimensions. It might look weird next to some of the street props but those are already so inconsistently scaled that no matter what is done things at that level will be out of scale. At least my building will be consistent, and I think that changing the ground floor can affect the composition and impression of the building as a whole. It's also hard to know exactly how to change it while still having it "go" with the rest of the building. For stairs if it's a real building I stick to real life, and if it's not then I do 0.2 by 0.3 because it's a convenient number that's close enough to what stairs normally are. For 3ds max this shows up pretty well but in gmax you're right that the steps fuzz together. For things like railings I try to do real dimensions but I make them bigger if they're not legible. For things like fire escapes, that's greatly exaggerated because otherwise the fire escape will look like a translucent material instead of grate. And then for actual grates, like ornamental ones covering up vents, I try to do it realistically and then if it doesn't look good I try to fudge it a little to make it more legible but often times it doesn't work and you're just stuck with it being fuzzy. Sadly sometimes things just can't be seen at SC4 scale. For vents, like on roof junk or on mechanical floors, I also exaggerate, just enough that the vent pattern is clear (otherwise it all blends together and looks like a solid surface). Something which I think is important is to make sure that all of the exaggerations are localized. So for example even if the stairs themselves are made bigger the overall staircase should be the same size. Or if window frames are exaggerated the overall size of the window should stay the same, even if the bigger frames make the window look jumbled. The nice thing about max is that it renders fine details a million times better, so you don't have to worry much about adjusting the building from real life. Small details tend to be more legible and if they're not they tend to blend together more attractively than in gmax. You can even texture bricks at actual size and the brick texture can still be legible.
  13. If you can export the day you should be able to export the night as well. Try optimizing the lights. Also I'm jealous of all of the tall buildings Calgary is getting.
  14. I think what he means is that the model as it is is not suitable for importing into 3ds Max, and you need to fix it. You need to redo the texturing (even if it's still going to use one of the textures that came with it), and in order to fix that and anything else that might need fixing you'll have to learn how to use sketchup.
  15. You need to double check your import settings. The reason the preview render looks messed up is because it looks like the normals are backwards. In 3d, polygons only have one "front" and if you look at the polygon from behind you won't be able to see it. Some materials and other settings make it so that both sides of a polygon are visible, but you'll still want the normals facing the right direction. In other words, the faces of your building are inside out. For example in first person shooters, your character might be inside a room which is modeled as a box. The normals of the box's polygons will be flipped so that they face the interior of the box, which is what the player will look at, but if you clip out of bounds and look back at the room, those walls will be invisible to the player. The textures are more than likely not showing up because the file paths to the textures are no longer valid. You'll have to open the material editor and reload the texture files on each material. Or there might be an import option relating to file paths that would solve this problem automatically.