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Nofunk's BAT Thread

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Project list:

01_ Borders Books & Music* (On the STEX)

02_ Ypsilanti Water Tower* (On the STEX)

03_ Burton Memorial Tower* (On the STEX)

04_ John K. King Used & Rare Books* (On the STEX)

05_ Park Apts. & Park Ave Building* (On the STEX)

06_ McNamara Federal Building* (On the STEX)

07_ Allmendinger Organ Company* (On the STEX)

08_ Third Ward Lofts (On the STEX)

09_ Spencer & Co. (On the STEX)

10_ Ellsworth Lofts (On the STEX)

11_ Main Street Shops (On the STEX)

12_ Gratiot Motors (On the STEX)

13_ Gramercy Tower (On the STEX)

14_ Knopf Tower (On the STEX)

15_ Steerforth Tower (On the STEX)

16_ Happy's Pizza* (On the STEX)

17_ Griffin Building (On the STEX)

18_ Eile Building (On the STEX)

19_ Hotel Wolverine* (On the STEX)

20_ Hofmann Building* (On the STEX)

21_ Maccabees Building* (On the STEX)

22_ Park Shelton Condominiums (The Wardell)* (On the STEX)

23_ J. G. Haddock & Co. (On the STEX)

24_ Chalmers Auto Supply (On the STEX)

25_ Kingsley Arms* (On the STEX)

26_ Tobin Building (On the STEX)

27_ Bronx County Courthouse (On the STEX)

28_ Hamilton Avenue Shops 1* (On the STEX)*

29_ Logan Square Apartments (DarkNite | MaxisNite)

30_ Milwaukee Apartments (DarkNite | MaxisNite)

31_ Film Exchange Building* (On the STEX)

32_ Reese Building (On the STEX)

33_ Ford Building* (DarkNite | MaxisNite)

34_ Hamilton Avenue Shops 2* (DarkNite | MaxisNite)

35_ Boutique Shops (DarkNite | MaxisNite) [collab. with JasonCW]

36_ Davidson Building* (On the STEX)

37_ 333 E. Chicago (On the STEX)

38_ Finch & Co. (On the STEX)

37_ Cadillac Tower* (On the STEX!)

38_ Row Houses (On the STEX)

39_ Carew Tower, Cincinnati, Ohio (In Progress)

* Uploaded for the Barry Sanders Project (BSP)


  Edited by nofunk  

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  • Original Poster
  • Oh... so an update!

    I thought I had finished Borders, but after seeing it in the game I was not very happy with some of the textures. It looks like I'll have to spend a little more time tweaking them -- particularly the roof and back wall textures. They're too crisp and vibrant. Also, you will notice that the pedestrians in the photos are just about as tall as the first floor of the building. I think that's not normal... so I intend to scale it up a little bit.

    BordersIG1.jpg

    Oh, and the canopies. I'm not feeling those textures either.

    For the time being, however, I have decided to take a little break from my favorite bookstore, and focus instead on a monument of sorts: the water tower in Ypsilanti, Mich....

    ypsi_water_compare.jpg

    I will tell you that the Ypsi water tower was voted by Esquire magazine the World's Most Phallic Building, but, all dubious honors aside, it really is a beautiful piece of historic architecture. This shouldn't take me too long to BAT, but it may take a while to get the textures just right.

    Any and all comments or constructive criticism is welcome!

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    Well, I agree with you that the wall and roof textures on the first building need to be fixed... the ducting on the roof also looks a bit too big... and weird because it doesn't really seem to do anything, ie: connect anything together.

    As far as the water tower goes, it is looking good so far. You have the right basic shape, but besides that, I can't give anymore feedback because not enough is done yet! 3.gif Keep up the good work!

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    The water tower is looking good so far.  Hopefully texturing won't be too tedius.  Texturing cylinders is harder than flat surfaces.  The, ehhh, "head" will be the toughest to texture.

    I'll be going to Eastern (for non-michiganders, this tower is across the street from a university) soon and I'm sure I'll see it pretty often.

    You mentioned the circular windows in the BSP thread.  After you're content with the shape of the tower itself, you'll boolean out the windows.  I can write a mini tutorial if there isn't already one about booleans.

    edit: oh yeah, the blue text is distracting, lol.

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    Awesome, you're doing the tower! You know what's sad, it's EMU's most distinguishable building, even though it's not on the campus itself. I thought of doing this a while back just for laughs. Cok a doodle doo!!!

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  • Original Poster
  • Skyfire2275: Thanks for your comments! Believe it or not, the HVACs really are that big! Now, I took some creative license in constructing them -- they're not exact re-creations of what's up there. But they are that big. (Maybe they're not as wide, but they're taller.) Here's a photo:

    bordersref1.jpg

    Jason: Boolean subtraction! That's what I was thinking of. Yeah, let me play around with it and see if I can remember... or find a tutorial. About the textures: I might need your help with those. I assume for the hemisphere on the very top I need to design a circular texture... but you know how good my photoshop skillz are. And I assume design a long strip for the cylinders.

    edit: oh yeah, the blue text is distracting, lol.quote>

    Picky, picky! You know what? I will change the font color JUST FOR YOU. 3.gif

    Budweiserdude: Cok a doodle doo indeed! Too bad I won't be able to upload it to the STEX under its local name!

    UPDATE

    All right, I've spent all my BAT time tonight working out the textures on Borders. The canopies, roofs, mural wall, side walls, and weird black box on the roof all got new textures. Let me know what you think of them. But I'm *really* pleased with them!

    Also, in an attempt to address Skyfire2275's concerns, I reworked the HVACs, making their placement appear a little more sensible, and adding some ductwork from three of them to the back wall. I assume these things need to drain?

    Oh! I also scaled it up -- vertically only. Here are some shots:

    borders01a.jpg

    ^ Before starting my improvements tonight ^

    borders01b.jpg

    borders01c.jpg

    bordres01d.jpg

    You guys... are we getting close to release???

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    Okay, I'm not so much critiquing but pointing out some things, especially when it come to HVAC rooftop units seeing as it's my line of work.

    First off, yes the units do need to drain water but they accomplish this by using a 1 inch piece of PVC called a P-Trap which looks like the trap for a sink. In terms for SC4, it would be so tiny, you'd never see it. You're talking about something that is one inch in diameter and about 8 inches long. That's the only thing that "drains". Thus the drain ductwork is not necessary. Now occasionally you will see this type of duct on the side of building but it serves another purpose, to bring fresh air into a building.

    Second, let's get to ductwork. All right, to be honest with you in real life the less of it exposed on the roof the better. Duct exposed to the elements is an invitation for future problems. In addition, most ducting on roofs is covered in tar/roofing cement to prevent exposure to the elements. No duct system is ever truly sealed so you can see why this is done. Now this is not to say that ductwork isn't present on roofs, in some instances there is a ton of it but on this roof it simply isn't. This leads me into point 3...

    You have two large heating /cooling units up there that are identical setting perpendicular to each other. There is absolutely no duct on those, they are self contained units and the duct comes up from underneath, i.e. you can't see it but it's there.. The unit in between them ever so slightly to the right is called a make up air unit. It has a little tiny duct on the end of it for fresh air to come into the unit and the rest of the duct is underneath the unit. The unit to the far right is a self contained heating/cooling unit fairly smaller than the first 2 but with the same set up on ductwork. The unit in the far back is hard to tell but sort of looks like a cooling tower and if that's the case it's a water cooling system which mean no ductwork in that system whatsoever.. So the point is what you are seeing up there are HVAC units, not ductwork.

    Now that being said, I'm not critcizing but I thought you'd like to know what you were looking at. All that stuff you are seeing on those units are integral parts of the units themselves, things called economizers, fresh air intakes, coils, etc.

    You are the creator, model it to your liking. Roof junk is just that...make yourself happy with it. You can add duct to your hearts content but I felt like you should know what really is there.

    So as for your improvements, I still really like the system that has split ductwork. It strikes me as something different. Honestly I'd clone that system and replace the other 2 units sitting next to each other with the clone of the aforementioned unit. I'd leave the little unit as is and I'd say that should do the trick for the rooftop units.The duct on the side of the building it's different but that's cool. What you might want to do is terminate it below the roof line and make it looks like it penetrates the building by adding a piece of duct that curves into it. That would be simple enough. Scale a cylander to the proper size and cut it down to the proper 90 angle. Add to the top of the duct but make sure this newly added curved duct is still below the roofline and it should make the duct look like its's going into the building. Eliminate that small duct remaining on the roof and voila.

    As for your textures, I've discovered something interesting with them. If by chance you have applied a UVW modifier to any object within your model yet not applied a texture to said object it causes some if not all the textures on the model not to show when rendered. Don't ask me why. That might be the case. Another thing it might be, the untextured object may not have the edit mesh/spline modifier added to it. The latter case would be much easier to fix, the former case might be a little trickier because you may not know what object on the model has the UVW modifier with no texture.

    Sorry this post is so long, hope some of it helps. Keep up the good work, we'll see you on the stex soon.

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  • Original Poster
  • OK, how about this:

    Borders15.jpg

    I took the duct off the back of the annex, and sent the two that I had connected to the HVACs into the back wall. How do the cloned units look?

    And I figured out the texture problem on the one HVAC. I had somehow duplicated two segments of it without realizing it -- the untextured segments were what showed through in the picture above. I think my problem before of no textures showing in render probably had to do with UVW modifier quirk you discovered.

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    "Picky, picky! You know what? I will change the font color JUST FOR YOU. 3.gif"

    lol, thanks 18.gif

    It's looking much better.  For the canopies, try making the lines even more blurry.  It should make the canopies look pillowy.  I'd also make the roof  "shading" even less opaque.  I'd see about making the bricks bigger too.  Right now I think the bricks make the walls look grainy, but I think making the bricks bigger would fix that.

    When I was working on Wagner & Diehl, somehow I accidentally cloned a certain detail of the top of the roof, so there was like, 20 duplicates of the same thing, right ontop of eachother.  On top of that, the entire scene was completely black in the non-wireframe views from some kind of lighting glitch.  It took a while to get everything properly deleted and textured, lol.

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    I like the changes. I'm going to agree with Jason on your brick detail, perhaps a slight modification and it'll likely do wonders.

    I'm glad you discovered what was causing your texture quirk. I'll tell you something I do although it can be a little time consuming, after I texture so many given objects I save the file, close the bat, reopen the bat, and preview render. That way of there is a problem I can usually localize it fairly quick.

    I'll tell you something I recently did that stunk, on the stadium model I of course modeled the entrances in individual pieces, one entrance is made up of about 15 boxes and 20 cylanders. The I grouped it and somehow cloned the new grouping on to itself. So in essence there were 2 entrances stacked on each other. Well after cloning the so called double clone entrance numerous times,  I ungrouped all the entrances and saved without knowing what I had done. Now that was a mess that took some time to clean up.

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    i wish i could BAT at any slight tiny hint of what you do..... man i dont really understand how to start on i though. ill just look around until i find a good thread that teaches me

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    Good!!! I have to say I like your version of Borders better than Simgoober's (srry Goober) and it was a good idea to scale it up vertically. I also really like the Hvacs...looking forward for more!

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  • Original Poster
  • Jason: See below. Blurring the canopy lines and making the bricks bigger make a huge difference! Thanks!!

    Budweiser:  Holy crap! Sorting out the two clones of the entrance must have been a nightmare! Seriously dude, thank you for your help with the HVACs. I think they look really good.

    blueblue48: Thank you for the compliment! Honestly, if I could make this, then you can BAT too! The real trick, I think, is to stay away from complex geometry whenever possible. This entire building, with the exception of ONE THING was designed entirely using rectangles and lines, and then extruding them. No cubes/boxes, spheres, nothing like that. What you should do is talk to Jasoncw who commented above. He runs a BAT School on here and his lessons were a HUGE help in getting me started!

    bixel: Better than Simgoober's?! That might be the greatest compliment I've received on this yet! Thank you!! I can only aspire to his greatness, but I'm glad you like this building! It should be on the STEX very soon!

    UPDATE

    All right, here's the newest version of Borders in-game. Notice the people aren't as tall as the first floor anymore. I think that's a good thing. Below that is a preview render so you can see the improvements I've made on the canopies and wall textures. I increased the size on all the bricks and the stone facade on the front, and the details really pop now. The canopies still aren't perfect, but they look much more like canopies now. In general, I'm really pleased.

    BordersIG2.jpg

    Borders16.jpg

    Honestly guys, I think this is done. I just need to tweak the lot details, figure out how to make a CS$$ ploppable in addition to the growable, and get this puppy on the STEX. I could keep tweaking textures and adding details, but I might never finish it! For this being my first BAT, I'm *really* happy with it.

    Next up: Burton Tower!

    232138403_a77cbf16c4.jpg?v=0

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    Looks really good!  The texture and height adjustments definitely did the trick.  I'm interested to see how you do on your reworked version of the Burton Tower!

    JB

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  • Original Poster
  • JBSimio: Thank you! I can't wait to get this on the STEX, but I'm having problems with iLive Reader... grrr... (I.e., I can't actually get it to load... and at the moment I don't feel like poring over the 18 pages of the thread for it... so it'll just have to wait for now!)

    Oh, and you wanted to see how I do on Burton??

    UPDATE

    Ahh, the beautiful Burton Memorial Tower on the even more beautiful campus of the University of Michigan. At 65 m (~195 ft) tall, not only does it rank as the 2nd tallest building in Ann Arbor, but it also holds the world's 4th largest instrument -- a 100 ton, 67-bell carillon. I actually finished this building in BAT last year, but did it no justice. This time I am resolving to fix that!

    Here is my original stab at the beautiful structure, and next to it the progress on my new attempt:

    OrigBurton.jpgBurtonTower3.jpg180px-Annarbor_burton_tower_cropped.JPG

    I guess the changes are subtle, but there are many! Here's what I've done:

    1. Reworked the base to put the door in the correct spot. (Concept!)

    2. Improved the door -- it's no longer just a flat rectangle inside an arch.

    3. The windows have window panes like they're supposed to.

    4. The corners of the building have the correct detailing: in real life, they're not sharp like my first BAT.

    5. TONS of added detail to the level that contains the carillon. See:

    BurtonTower2.jpg

    I know a lot of this detail will be lost in the game, but it's important to me that it be there.

    So that's that. I still have a ways to go, but I'd say I'm close to half-way done on this! Not too bad for one night.

    As always, I'd love to know what you think!  48.gif

    Also, what site do you guys use to host your images? I don't want to keep putting these up on my Flickr lol.

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    Those texture changes on Borders did the trick and you have a nice start on Burton Tower. Your improvements are easily noticable, and the addition of details is what separates good from great.

    As for image hosting, I use flickr to host photographs. As for image captures related to the BAT or SC4 I use photobucket.

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    Yes... I can absolutely see the difference too!  Looks good.  For the loss of detail bit, I'm learning that subtle shades of texture can make a huge impact on what gets lost.  For example... I have three shades of "green paint" which is nothing but a color texture I use for window frames or wood working details like Emmas Coffee Shop.  Having three shades made all the difference in which details showed up.... one shade and I would have lost most of them.

    I use ImageShack for hosting.

    JB

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    That's looking fantastic!  How long have you been working on the new version?  Although I had a few projects going on at once, the Free Press Building took almost a year from start to finish. You and JB are fast! lol

    JBSimio, yeah, if you can't get the proper contrast through shadows, textures will do the job great.  I'll make sure to include that point in the texture tutorial I'll be making.

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    Originally posted by: Jasoncw That's looking fantastic!  How long have you been working on the new version?  Although I had a few projects going on at once, the Free Press Building took almost a year from start to finish. You and JB are fast! lol

    JBSimio, yeah, if you can't get the proper contrast through shadows, textures will do the job great.  I'll make sure to include that point in the texture tutorial I'll be making.quote>

    Yeah, you guys are quick. What are you guys on and where can I get some?

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  • Original Poster
  • jacqulina: Thank you!!

    Budweiserdude: Thanks for the compliments on the BATs! Yeah, I'm pretty pleased with the finished results with the Borders, although I still need to figure out ploppables. And thanks for photobucket... that's what I'm going with for now.

    JB: Thanks bud! I'll definitely see what I can do with textures to accentuate the detailing. By the way, I drove by Yost today and took a real good look at it (haven't really before) and I have to say, you're doing a phenomenal job on it!!

    Jason & Budweiser: Hahaha!! It's the crack. Nah... I had some serious free-time with the holiday. Of course, everything changed this week and I've been super busy. I think I spent about 2-3 hours on Burton before I posted the previous entry.

    UPDATE

    Well, this week has been an organizational mess! I decided to take a class this fall to prepare for graduate school, so that's thrown my schedule out of whack, I went to a concert last night, and I've had about a million other things to take care of this week, so I haven't had any time to BAT. Until tonight.

    I more or less finished the BAT process on Burton Tower, although I'm not really happy with the top tiers. I'm just not sure they're right proportionally. Also I'm having problems with the roof, just like last time. So those areas will need more tweaking. Here's a preview:

    BurtonTower4.jpg

    What do you guys think? Especially those of you who know the building well, what do you think of the top two levels and roof? I feel like it sorta looks a bit wonky, but I could be wrong.

    NoFunk's BAT Tip #1: ALWAYS group your building before recentering the entire thing.

    Otherwise...

    BurtonTowerOops.jpg

    Oops!! 17.gif

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    It looks like the top parts should be taller.  It looks like you missed some of the details too.  What problems are you having with the roof?

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  • Original Poster
  • That's funny. I had them taller, and then scaled them down b/c I thought they looked too tall. But I think you're probably right. Also, I think they should be closer to the same width as the base... I may have them recessed too much. Definitely will take a 2nd look at details -- if you mean on the roof, then I know I missed those... but will look at the other levels as well.

    I guess I'm just finding the roof very tedious. I used a modified cone for what you see there, but still have to put the vertical ridges on it... with rotating and doing it all off the top of my head, I find it a little frustrating. But I'll keep working on it. Just wanted to post some progress. 2.gif

    Oh, and the clock. Will be putting on the clock, and designing some sort of carillon to go inside. OK so I spoke too soon when I said "more or less finished" hahaha...

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    I never thought about using a cone to make a roof like that, lol.  I had always made a bunch of panes, and converted the to editable polygons, and then moved the appropriate vertexes to make the shape of the roof.  This was also the only way I could get the texture on it right.

    When you model the ribbing on the roof, make sure not to make it too thick, otherwise it will be too bold and it will distract from the rest of the tower.

    Anyway, I think you might be right about them being set back too much.

    I think I was wrong about the details, I think I misinterpreted the picture of it you posted.

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    Ace, I know your method works but man do I hate taper. For some reason I'd rather model triangles, yeah call me crazy, but I've never had much luck with deformers using boxes.

    Here's a little trick I use when modeling a triangle...and it works pretty flawlessly although it's a little tedious at first. After a little practice, you can model a triangle in a minute or two to any specification you'd like.

    1. Make a rectangle of appropriate length and height as you are going to inscribe a line. Using existing objects to help create the rectangle will be to your advantage. After its creation moving it to an arbitrary x,y,z value will help even more as you can see what the heck you're doing.

    2. Inscribe a line using the '+' in gmax as your guide on the vertices.

    3. Edit the spline created by the line upon its closing and extrude accordingly.

    4. Delete the rectangle used as a template.

    5. Clone and rotate accordingly having moved it to its appropriate x,y,z values.

    This is meant as only constructive critcism, but the upper most tier is a little too short. The peak of the roof might need to be a little higher as well. That's it...You're only slightly off.

    The only other thing I'll mention model wise is I hope you're going to model the clock which seems to be the case given your tone. I'd make it a bit thicker in depth only than your previous model.

    All of what I said aside, these are tweaks. Your modeling skills are shining through to say the least. Nice work!!!

    Oh and crack is whack!!!! 

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    Looking good, Nofunk.  I don't have much to offer that hasn't already been said.  I have a completely different way of doing roofs, though myself.

    I used to do the cone quite often, but found that the corners weren't as crisp as I would like.  So basically, I do the cone for reference and then trace each side with a line snapping to the vertices.  Do this in top view so that when you're done it extrudes up (I usually only extrude by 0.1 or 0.2)  You end up with four polygons (one for each roof face) that you can then group together and move around as necessary.  That's just my version of things.

    JB

    Oh... and there's nothing wrong with crack as long as you still pay your other bills!  9.gif

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  • Original Poster
  • Jason: Since all I need for the roof is a copper texture, I'm hoping I won't have to worry about fitting it too much. Also, the ribbing will naturally break up any texture I do put on the cylinder. We'll see when I start texturing.

    ACEfanatic: Thanks for the suggestion! Since there is ribbing on the roof, I'm hoping that will break up any texture I put on th cylinder. If it doesn't look right, I'll definitely try your suggest. And whenever I make pyramid-shaped roofs in the future, I'll definitely try the UVW idea -- a cube is much simpler!

    Budweiser: Thanks for the advice! You and Jason were both right: the top tiers were too short. I think changing that has helped. Let me know what you think of the clock, OK?

    (And crack *IS* whack!) 22.gif

    JB: Thanks! You know, I discovered if you uncheck the "smooth" box in the modify rollout for the cylinder, it sharpens those edges. In this case I've covered the edges with ribbing anyway, so it doesn't matter. But I really like your idea of snapping lines... I'll definitely try that.

    jacqulina: Thank you! I really appreciate your feedback. 1.gif

    UPDATE

    Thank goodness for the weekend, huh?! What a crazy week.

    Here's what I've done:

    1. Scaled the top two tiers up about 115% and scaled them out b/c as Jason and I agreed, they were recessed too much.

    2. Spent considerable time on the roof detail. I think it looks good! Vertical ribbing, edges, antenna and small corner details added.

    3. Designed the clock... MUCH more realistic than it was last time. (Note: The dimensions are exaggerated a little so the clock would show better in render.)

    BurtonClock2.jpgBurtonClock1.jpg

    And finally, the last preview you'll see before textures:

    BurtonTower5.jpg

    What do you all think? The plan is to texture next, unless you find things that really need to be changed. Oh, and I'll need to BAT a base... but that won't take long at all.

    Hey, to all of you who follow this modest little thread, thank you for your support!!

    Oh, and a special thanks to Jasoncw and his AWESOME BAT lessons! (Jason, I'll get lesson 10 to you one of these days!) 9.gif

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    The tower's coming along pretty good. Reading through this thread I noticed there are a few of us in Michigan.... which reminds me ... I still owe JB some pics of Yost Arena. I live in Ann Arbor so the tower is pretty familiar to me. When you see it in real life, it's just awesome. The thing is huge. Certainly will make a great landmark addition to the game.

    BTW, for a beginner, your work is actually very good. The things you seem to need improvement on are the finer points in BATting. Thankfully there's experienced people who drop in to help us newbies. Keep on trucking.

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