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Thingfishs' BATs

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  • Original Poster
  • Thanks simcoug*:thumb:, the SHK pack for both the cars and textures is far preferable I think:

    5919c4de0e396_TestCity2-12Jun.031494526406.png.c59e1aacce3fc9d046fc68e418efaee5.png

    It's still not quite right though. I only ever end up with a full parking lot (some half empty lots would look more realistic - I've noticed the Maxis ones do this). Also, as this is a low wealth pack, some of the cars are a little too flash, and maybe a tad over saturated, (the red sports car in the centre of the next shot as an example). Someone who drives a car like that doesn't shop at Cheap As Chips...(An Australian 99c/$2 chain):

    5919c5391bb64_TestCity2-12Jun.031494526318.png.b0b836b667f67d1accbe9d0154079e92.png

    I am assuming that it order to achieve what I want that I will need to create a new prop family from these?

    (It's not something I've done but I know there are guides around - I can't imagine it's too tricky...)

    Something else that has occurred to me is the distance the buildings are set back from the road - I'll have to check with these in game against other custom content, but I wonder if there's a standard in this sort of a situation?

    On a darker note, today has been a rough one. I found a bunch of presumed lost files (old bat models & lots etc), and was 50mb through transferring them over when my friend's dog hit the cord connected to the HD, pulling it off a high cupboard and onto a hard surface. The case cracked open and the computer no longer recognises it. Plus there  are some strange noises... I couldn't get too mad at Kit. 1: he's a puppy, 2: I'm the idiot that put the HD in such a precarious position in the first place. There was a lot more on that drive than SC4 stuff, it hurts to think about it right now. :-(

     

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    If you look more at SHK's families you'll notice that there are "CarClusters." These are groups of 4, 3, or 2 cars rendered together as one prop that will appear randomly in families and are also timed. If you're looking for some empty spaces, place one of the 2x or 3x clusters and the empty spots on each lot will be randomized as a different prop is displayed. They're fantastically useful because of that and you only need to place one prop (instead of 2-4 individual ones) and can achieve a better random appearance too. Considering the distance from the road, they look alright to me. If anything, they might need to be a tad closer to the road, but not much. There's no real standard. Go with what you like; Simtropolis does not enforce zoning ordinances. *;)

    Shame about the HD. Is any of it recoverable?

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  • Original Poster
  • Thanks for your thoughts nos.17. What you can see in the previous photos are SHK CarClusters (the 4X one). What I was hoping for was more variation. With the Maxis prop family cluster used above in the comparison photo (which has 5 slightly smaller cars), you can end up with anything from 0 to 5 cars in the lot whereas with the SHK cluster you always end up with a full lot. I guess I could use the smaller carclusters but it would be nice to have one prop that could cover all bases (plus I would still have BMW's etc where they don't belong. I'll admit I may be looking too closely at this, but that's part of the attraction to this game and the community: the level of attention to detail that is taken by some people). And as a permanent disclaimer, I might just have misunderstood what you were saying and talked a load of BS... *;)

     

     

     

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    You could always make 2 or three lots, each exactly the same, but use a different variation of the car cluster on each (one with the 2 cluster, one with 3 cluster and one with 4, for example).  Since the lots are small, they should be quick to make.  When they grow in game you will get a lot of parked car diversity.  *:)

    Also, rather than making a lot for each store, you could mod your stores with a building/prop family and that will allow a random store to pop up each time the lot grows.  (cuts down on the number of lots)
    I'd be happy to whip up the lots and mod the buildings if you would rather not spend the time learning that stuff.  

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  • Original Poster
  • Thanks SimCoug for your lateral thoughts and generous offer... :thumb:

     

    4 hours ago, SimCoug said:

    Also, rather than making a lot for each store, you could mod your stores with a building/prop family and that will allow a random store to pop up each time the lot grows.

    I'm aware of this sort of setup (SimGoober & Deadwoods' retail series come to mind), but as this project has progressed, I've used the opportunity to BAT again for the first time in many years and have created some store specific props to go with some of these. For example, some table setups for my CIBO Cafe (not sure whether to go with both styles of table or just one):

    cibo.JPG.18040c898a7cb2e81e2f4a7c097e3f8b.JPG

    So I'm thinking some of the lots themselves will be too specific too allow for the prop family idea...? Plus they're well on their way to completion. After a few setbacks, gnashing of teeth and the like, I think I better understand where I'm at with this. I finally have all buildings in 1X1 & 2X2 lots actually ALL showing up in game. The textures are done and at least half the props - and that was just tonight (as my third time doing them I've picked up some speed). So I think we're heading towards the end.

    I think the only thing still bugging me are the cars:

    4 hours ago, SimCoug said:

    You could always make 2 or three lots, each exactly the same, but use a different variation of the car cluster on each

    I'm guessing this idea ties in with the second in that you would be proposing 3 lots total, (plus building prop families)? (as opposed to 3 lots of each building with differing clusters??

    Either way none of these ideas will stop BMW's and Aston Martins etc from parking their cars there. So, unless I discover that it's just too hard, I'm still leaning towards creating a new prop family from the SHK pack (minus the luxury cars) in a fashion that performs as the Maxis one does (not all or nothing). I assume in Reader there would be someway if necessary to copy & paste the attributes from it to a new family. Or load the Maxis one, point it towards different car models and give it new TGI's or whatever...? I also think it would be a handy thing for other lot makers.

    So... how hard will that be to achieve?

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    Prop families are defined solely by the presence of the Prop Family ID entry in the prop exemplar.

    Once you get a range of family IDs assigned to you from the BSC folks, you can tag whatever props you like with them, and the Prop Family will then appear on next launch of Pim-X.

    For the SHK props, probably best to copy their exemplars to a new .dat file and change/randomize the Instance IDs for each prop exemplar, before adding prop family ID entries. That way your mod won't affect the original SHK mod's function.

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    Looking at what you want to do, I think you want to make a custom prop family for use with SHK's props, which is reasonably easy to achieve. Start by working out exactly which props you want to appear on your lots and collecting the prop exemplars for them in a new DAT. Then in reader highlight them all, right click and select "Generate new group and instance", which will give them all new unique IDs. You might want to edit the prop names at this point, to differentiate them in the lot editor. Now just replace the current Building/Prop family with one of the unique id's assigned to you. You might want to use multiple families that do different things. Also you should note that the ones used by SHK are in timed groups, so the cars change throughout a day. Although if the plan is simply to remake the SHK groupings so that the flash cars aren't part of them, you don't need to concern yourself with this overly.

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    Yeah, creating new prop families is pretty easy once you get the hang of it, and @rsc204 gave a good run down.  But before you go through all the work, why wouldn't a fancy sports car pop into a convenience store or any other small commercial establishment?  I see it all the time.  Rich or poor, everybody loves a slushy once in a while.   

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  • Original Poster
  • Thank you greatly, CT14, rsc204 & Simcoug. *:)

    (You've all given me something to think about and I will be back to finish those shops up shortly).

    I've been a bit tied up, brace yourselves, with actually playing the game! It's remarkable (to me), that I can still be reminded how brilliant a setup this game is/has evolved into. Post plugin overhaul, I've created a new region (using my old mate dobs' Oahu map + modifications) and wanted some sand hills like we have around here:

    discovery-bay.jpg.c6c4bc779c7c2ae5d24fe317fa7655e8.jpg

    I figured I had two choices: either an array of modeled sand hills, or terraforming in-game combined with MMP/Textures. (please inform me if there's a third way...).

    So, deciding on the latter option for flexibility reasons, I went hunting for appropriate sand texture props and came up against two issues:

    1: the available options (as far as I could see) were quite small (requiring a length of time to apply that might make even the devoted question things...) and

    2: not quite the right colour for me.

    So I had a play (actually some pain was involved as well) and came up with these:

    sand4.JPG.c044a1d2dda48061919f63e5d1ce779c.JPG

    so there's three different shades of sand, which can be combined, for eg.:

    sand6.JPG.8dd8a3ef8f3d9d5df26467dae8396fe3.JPG

    and for a size POV:

    sand7.JPG.7936372e0728a94f3fe75055cb503500.JPG

     

    the first and second are an example of @Simmer2's small and large sands: http://community.simtropolis.com/files/file/31466-sm2-sands/, followed by one of mine. It's obviously much larger (and stretched my dodgy old laptop to it's limit polygon wise, or I would've potentially made it bigger still...).

    I will also make a small version of each to be able to fill in the gaps.

    I don't know if this will appeal to anyone else, but for me, in game, these have already proven useful.

    EDIT: I had bit more of a play:

    sand8.JPG.48e0315ed383abf339bd68e6a08c7b04.JPG

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    Neat!  we can never have too many 'brushes' to paint our SC4 landscapes.  My only suggestion would be to make your 'brush' in more of a circular shape, rather than square.  It will be easier to 'paint' landscapes in SC4, and more organic/natural looking too.  But, that is just my opinion.  Great work!

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    Speaking of which (and muddying the waters), check our Xannepanns Poseidon mod. As part of that he used effects for terrain brushes, which I think will fit much better with your goal here, sand being one of them (or maybe two).

    You can easily swap out the textures being used to customise them. I believe @vortext even managed to make new unique extra brushes, either way it should be possible.

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    Maybe the problem would be to use them to paint uneven surfaces? I understand that mmps aren't slope tolerant, so they would appear as horizontal scales growing from the hills. I don't know if there's a way to go around this problem, but I remember that @Edvarz found some houses on an LBT pack that adjusts to slopes (for some comic effect indeed). 

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    39 minutes ago, matias93 said:

    Maybe the problem would be to use them to paint uneven surfaces? I understand that mmps aren't slope tolerant, so they would appear as horizontal scales growing from the hills. I don't know if there's a way to go around this problem, but I remember that @Edvarz found some houses on an LBT pack that adjusts to slopes (for some comic effect indeed). 

    Actually, anything can be made to orient to the slope - you just need to adjust the correct value in reader:
    cmF9Fdb.jpg

    If 'orient to slope' is 'true' then you will get just that.  Ground cover, or paths are things that should be modded this way.  Houses... probably not.  *:lol:
    The problem with such a large 'sand' mmp would be that any type of sloping terrain might have weird effects, whether it orients to the slope or not.

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  • Original Poster
  • Thanks everyone for their thoughts. Matias & simcoug, you're both essentially right from what I experienced. In that, although you can get the MMP to orient to slope sort of (I adjusted that property in reader), they still at time stick out at weird angles and, just as bad, leave no trace of there having been a hill underneath it (the visual effect is of completely painting away any elevation). However, particularly with some of the colour combinations of the ones I created, I was happy with their look and speed of coverage on a flat surface.

    Which brings me to mgb's suggestion: now we're talking! *:thumb:

    As I've mentioned, I've been away from the game for years and have missed a lot (it would be great if there was a guide so I could peruse the best of the last 6 years) - I'd never come across that one so thank you. But let's give some credit to xannepan for their insane tool!

    holy-moly-smiley.png

     

    I only played with the terrain painting part of the package, and then basically only with the white sand one but yes, that's exactly the kind of thing I was looking for:

     

    592f1b02e7cc3_GreetsLanding-2Jul.191496255048.png.2c9ba537a600a8b6b40429954ecba410.png

    I look forward to seeing what vortext did, and maybe even having a play myself.

    As for my shops, I've had an error with my setup that will realistically result in me having to re-export about 40 props that I'd made - which sucks. But at least the problem is solved, and they're mostly little props so it won't take TOO long. It's more just disheartening. The number of issues that have come up, just when I see the finish line again I'm yanked back into (admittedly mostly enjoyable) frustration. But it was nice just spending a moment at the beach...

     

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    Yeah Xannepan's terrain paints are pretty amazing alright. To clarify I did not make new instances (which would require editing the effects dir) but rather simply replaced the textures to suit my own needs. From memory it was a pretty straightforward, i.e. get some textures (preferably 1024x1024, or 512x512) apply a noisy circular mask to them and turn them into fsh files with whatever tool you prefer - and of course make sure the fsh have the correct TGI to actually replace the originals. *:lol: 

    The sand mmps is pretty neat, I've always liked ionionion's Filling Gravel because of their large surface area while not covering everything completely. Yours look like a welcome addition to that concept. *:thumb:

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