Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
shawnh

Can I create a European city square in SimCity 3000? (... from a current non-user)

13 posts in this topic Last Reply

Recommended Posts

Hello SimCity players, I do not actually own the simulation myself but I have an idea for a project and I am wondering if it would be do-able within the SimCity environment. I'd like to create a 3D simulation of the market square of the city of Bruges, Belgium... right down to each building (an ambitious project, I know). Just from googling around, I see that it is possible to create one's own custom buildings within SimCity 3000 Unlimited, so I'm thinking that it could be the best/easiest platform for me to accomplish this - since I'm not really experienced at all in 3D computer-aided design softwares or techniques. Could it be a simple as taking photos of each individual building in the square (from different angles), and importing these into SimCity 3000 Unlimited software to have it rendered in 3D?
   Thanks to all who reply and help to point me in the right direction!

Regards
   Shawn
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to Simtropolis.

 

I am going to disappoint you a little.  None of these games except SC2013 is 3D.  I don't recommend trying to do anything like what you propose in SC2013 since I don't believe it can be done.

 

However, I do think with considerable work you could get a 2.5D representation in SimCity 4 Deluxe.  The learning curve will be about twelve months.  You would have to construct several of the buildings for the site if they do not already exist on the custom content sites to a consistent scale.  This mean learning to do your own buildings using the Building Architect Tool (BAT).  This is an after market tool produced by Maxis Studio and dependent on gmax as a game pack.

 

Since this is a game, it has certain algorithmic imperatives that tend toward development of an American city.  You could run the game in pause the whole time to prevent this.  However, it is a lot of overhead for what you want to do.

 

The learning curve for a full 3D package is no less.  You might just as well use Blender (free).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The learning curve for a full 3D package is no less.  You might just as well use Blender (free).

The problem is that there is no BAT export plugin for Blender. That is why you have to use either 3D Studio Max or gMax...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Original Poster
  • Thanks for the responses guys. Please let me give you just a little more insight into what I'm trying to do: I'm not really interested in having my rendering be *exact*, so in that way I would actually be quite okay with "2.5D" as Nonny Moose said! It doesn't need to be perfect from all angles - I just want the user/viewer to be able to "walk through" my city square at street level and see the facades of the buildings all around him. What they look like from the rear, I don't care!
       Additionally, because there is literally zero space between individual buildings in the real-life square in Bruges, I really don't care about rendering the "depth" of them.... I just care about the front "facade" of the building that is visible when the viewer is placed in the middle of the square and "walking" through it. The other little twist to this, is that I'd like to "re-arrange" some of these individual buildings. For instance, I'd like to take a few buildings from the central square of Brussels or Ghent and fit those in too. Think of it as basically building a "composite" square of buildings from different Belgian cities.

    So I would need to "construct" each of my individual buildings in the BAT plug-in then? Considering what I said above - that I don't really care about rendering the true "depth" of the building - then it ought to be a bit easier/faster, shouldn't it? Would I be able to render each building from just a couple photos each, or would I need many many photos of each building?

    Again guys, I have *zero* 3D skills... I've never done this before. That is why I was looking for the easiest, most straightforward way to do it. I first looked at a couple of full-blown CAD programs, but that looked like it would be "overkill" for what I want to do (plus way too complex). Once I read about the BAT tool for SimCity, my thought/hope was I could obtain a few photos of each individual building I want (from a few different angles).. crop out everything from the photo except the desired building, and using BAT, render a 3D object from these photos, and then arrange these 3D objects in a SimCity layout to form a city square...

    Thanks!
      Shawn
     

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    If you want to be able to "walk through the city at street-level" then SC3k and SC4 both go right out the window for you. I'm not entirely certain because I've never played it, but I think SC2013, being true 3D should enable you to do that, but as Nonny said it's probably not ideal for the task either. No further clues available from my side though, sadly, since I've really never looked past SC4.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    You can't walk about in any of these games.  The best you can do is a U Drive It (UDI) adventure.  The modelling can be done.

     

    Let me make clear that the BAT is not a plugin to SC4.  It is a tool for creating plugins and requires the use of the specific 3D editing package.  BAT is an entire tool kit dependent on gmax (default) or 3DS Max (advanced), accompanied by two other programs, the PIM and the Lot Editor.  The PIM assigns properties to the model from the BAT, and the Lot Editor actually creates the plugins.

     

    I believe one should walk before trying to run.  Purchase a copy (download) of SimCity 4 Deluxe (build 1,1,641) and learn to play the game before you try anything like creating a building model and a lot.  And don't fall for any of the hype put out by EA and Maxis studio.  They promise all kinds of things but deliver vanilla.

     

    The reason I suggested Blender is two fold: It is free; and it is a 3D editor.  You can actually do your model in that package.  What you do with it afterwards is anyone's guess.  I suppose you could render it and then zoom in on the result and "walk" around in it.  The game is out, but you might be happier with a regular package.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites
  • Original Poster
  • Sorry guys, was away for a few days. Thank you for the responses. NonnyMoose - looking at the big picture, do you think it would be more complicated to tackle this via SimCity (and all the associated packages necessary)... or would Blender be more straightforward?

     

    Also please, for either approach, would you have any idea what sort of (and how many) photos I would require of each individual building in order to do the rendering?

     

    Thanks!

        Shawn

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    If all you want is a model of the square, I'd go for Blender or any other 3D package that suits your fancy.  After you become proficient in the package you will know what the span of the model can be and the number of images you will need to help you with the model.

     

    This is not a casual undertaking.  Using a 3D modelling system is a higher form of computer programming using a very, very high level language approach.  How is your understanding of computers in general?

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites
  • Original Poster
  • Thanks Nonny Moose, well although I'm completely new to the world of C.A.D., I am a Delphi programmer so I do have a little bit of computer acumen. It's good to hear that I can do this on Blender, but that raises another concern - namely, how many photos of each building will I need (approximately) to do a fairly good rendering. The reason being, I am not in Belgium to take as many photos as I need (I'm in Canada). If hundreds of photos are needed for each individual building, then it's not practical for me. My hope is to find the photos I need on the web (flickr, etc) and just crop them down to only the individual building. I don't know if this would suffice or not....

     

    Thanks!

       Shawn

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    Well, Shawn, I am not an expert with Blender, so I really can't give you any guidance.  Besides, it would depend on the scale of the photos.  Since you will be creating the scene manually (not copying in photo data), I think some accurate aerial shots may be all you need.  You should see what Google has.

     

    Delphi is Pascal-based, and I've always thought that users got their Nicklas Wirth.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    Thanks Nonny Moose, well although I'm completely new to the world of C.A.D., I am a Delphi programmer so I do have a little bit of computer acumen. It's good to hear that I can do this on Blender, but that raises another concern - namely, how many photos of each building will I need (approximately) to do a fairly good rendering. The reason being, I am not in Belgium to take as many photos as I need (I'm in Canada). If hundreds of photos are needed for each individual building, then it's not practical for me. My hope is to find the photos I need on the web (flickr, etc) and just crop them down to only the individual building. I don't know if this would suffice or not....

     

    Thanks!

       Shawn

    I would ask about this on one of the threads in the BAT section of this forum. Personally I don't know how many photos you'd need of the building, and I'm not an expert BATer. Hopefully the people over there can give you better guidance than I can.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites
  • Original Poster
  • "Delphi is Pascal-based, and I've always thought that users got their Nicklas Wirth."

     

    Good one  :-)

     

     

    Thank you for the feedback guys, you know, I've been doing some googling around and I came across stuff regarding Google Sketchup. From there I happened upon this site:

    http://sketchupdate.blogspot.ca/2010_05_01_archive.html

    About 1/2 way down that page is an article called "Announcing the Google Model Your Town Competition winner". Here it shows a 3D rendering of the town of Barranco, Peru by a fellow named Jorge De Albertis Bettocchi... with links to his blog. As soon as I saw this, I thought "My God, this is EXACTLY what I'm looking for!!!" and got all excited thinking I'd found the solution. I wouldn't even need SimCity in any way - it looked like I could do it all in SketchUp - including a virtual "Fly-through", models of people, some trees, everything. I did some more research about Sketchup and then because rather confused about some things:

    - how did Mr. Bettochi actually render all these buildings? Did he walk around the town and take a million photos of each and every one... or are all these buildings already within Google Earth, and he just scooped them from there? (I have never used Google Earth and really know nothing about it... could all my desired Belgian buildings be residing, already-made, in Google Earth??).
    - Is Sketchup currently a free program? It seems to cost about $600. And many of the links and videos I attempted to access were not available or dead links. Is the software still active?
    - About 1/5th of the way down that same site I mention above, is an article called "Use your own photos in Building Maker". Upon reading about this "Building maker" plugin, this really seemed to confirm that Sketchup should do the job for me regarding applying flat photos to facades of buildings - rather easily. Only to find out that this plugin seems to be discontinued :-(


    So although it seemed initially that Sketchup might be the way to go, I'm now pretty confused about it. I don't even know if there's a SketchUp forum where I could pose my question.

    Thanks!
       Shawn

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites
  • Original Poster
  • Update: I did find the SketchUp forum and have learned more about it and I think it might be the way to go for me for this project... anyway, we will find out!

     

    Thanks everybody for the input and guidance!

     

    Cheers

       Shawn

     

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an Account  

    Sign up to join our friendly community. It's easy!  

    Register a New Account

    Sign In  

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now

    Sign in to follow this  

    • Recently Browsing   0 members

      No registered users viewing this page.

    ×

    Season's Greetings!

    xmas popup.jpg

    Thank You for the Continued Support!

    Simtropolis relies mainly on member donations to continue operating. Without your support, we just would not be able to be entering our 15th year online!  You've really help make this a great community.

    But we still need your support to stay online. If you're able to, please consider a donation to help us stay up and running, so that we can help keep bringing SimCity players together to share our creations.

    Make a Donation, Get a Gift!

    Expand your city with the best from the Simtropolis Echange.
    Make a donation and get one or all three discs today!

    stexcollection-header.png

    By way of a "Thank You" gift, we'd like to send you our STEX Collector's DVD. It's some of the best buildings, lots, maps and mods collected for you over the years. Check out the STEX Collections for more info.

    Each donation helps keep Simtropolis online, open and free!

    Thank you for reading and enjoy the site!

    More About STEX Collections