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Stanďák

"Sim Prague" Under Construction

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Dear Simtropians!

 

I would like to share with you some first sketches of my project: Sim Prague. Although I like the gothic and baroque Old Town, I start now by recreating some of Prague's great modernist architecture. The city grew and flourished in the period of 1918-1938 because it became a capital of newly established Czechoslovakia. It also quickly accepted the modernist (purist and funcionalist) styles and the architects profited from cultural contacts - they were close to Austria (many of them were pupils of Otto Wagner and other great modernists), Germany (large amount of Czech population was German and Jewish), France (Le Corbu) and Great Britain (garden cities).

 

Now, to the SC4 business: My intention is to make a set of cca 20 w2w residential and commercial houses, that would fit together with other european BATs, especially those from Polish authors (Ferox, Motokloss etc.) and the buildings of Paris. And of course, I'll be BATting some landmarks and a few villas (like Villa Müller by Adolf Loos).

 

In the pictures I will show you my first BATs, they are not yet entirely completed nor textured, but I'm working on it :-)

These two large buildings are the Fair Trade Palace by O. Tyl and J. Fuchs, built in (1924-28), which is nowadays in use by the National Gallery in Prague, and a housing block called the "Little Berlin" (1936-40), built by a German-speaking architect Adolf Foehr, who took his inspiration from German expressionists like Erich Mendelsohn. I also modeled a couple of the w2w houses, which will mostly be combined in larger lots. You can see them in comparison with the Polish and Parisian.

 

Photos of the two buildings:

http://media.novinky.cz/249/422490-original1-mfk46.jpg

http://static.asb-portal.cz/buxus/images/ilustracne/maly_berlin.jpg

 

I decided that my scale will be 4/3 to the real size of the building and 4/3 extra to the height. I think it blends nice, and counts easily, but let me know what you think of it.

 

Soo, will this be useful for your cities? Do you have any special wish? Texturing is hard labour for me, so tips and help are welcome.

 

Stanďák

post-581579-0-76705400-1431221403_thumb.

post-581579-0-09353000-1431221459_thumb.

post-581579-0-06232700-1431221512_thumb.

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This is welcomed althought I am not a fan of "modernist" style. And to me Prague is better know of its classical buildings. :)

 

You should be careful with the scale. Your buildings look big when compared to Maxis buildings. Ok, Maxis buildings tend to be smallish. However the Paris buildings are offen big. Little bit too big for my taste. I think that when most Paris / European buildings were made, there was a trend to match building to overheight sims.

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I agree! 

It looks like you're using 3ds Max? Why are you bringing the buildings into gmax?

Ideally you do the whole thing in 3ds Max. You can tell already how bad gmax's lighting is for things like courtyards. Your models are very nice.

Also you mentioned in your older post that you're making the buildings bigger than they really are (4/3 scale)? Are you still doing this?

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  • Original Poster
  • Hi!

    In fact, I am modeling and UV unwrapping in Blender. I couldn't model anything in gmax and I'm really happy I found a safe way to export from Blender to Gmax B.A.T.. But of course, I might try the 3ds Max, at least for the final render. What tools do you use to export into .sc4model files? Is there any tutorial on how to do it painlessly?

    I've tested the scale with my most probable neighbors.. and some are a bit smaller, some are a bit bigger, but mostly it seems all right (See pictures). Going 1:1 was impossible, trying to fit a building that is 16m wide to one single square in the game was a frustrating experience. Other fractions like 1,25:1 led to extensive counting and deforming the real size just to fit the lots.

    Thank you for your support!

    scale_comparison.jpg

    scale_comparison_2.jpg

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    9 hours ago, Stanďák said:

    What tools do you use to export into .sc4model files? Is there any tutorial on how to do it painlessly?

    You just need BAT4MAX to render the object into SC4 textures. The process of exporting the LODs is still done with SC4BAT.

     

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    Maybe you should look on your scaling. I think they may be a bit off,  a bit too big.  but maybe it is more clear with textures on.  good start anyway!!!

    an extra advice, when comparing scales, I believe it would be better use maxis as standards, not others peoples, to reduce possible "error propagation"

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    When I'm recreating a building, first I make sure that it roughly fits the SC4 grid. Or maybe if the building and the building next door would roughly fit the SC4 grid if they were combined on the same lot. So if something really just doesn't fit then I don't BAT it in the first place. 

    But if I measure it in google earth and it is close enough, then I model it accurately. Then when I'm done with the BAT I scale it horizontally to fit the lot. For the Penobscot Building I had to scale it horizontally about 110%. I did not scale it vertically by 110% because I want its height to be consistent with other buildings. This does change the proportions a little bit, but only a little.

    And then I scale it vertically by 133% to compensate for the visual squish effect that the isometric view causes. 

    But the ideal situation is doing things to accurate dimensions and then scaling vertically by 133%. 

    For your buildings since you're making so many I wouldn't worry about the scale of existing buildings. You're making so many, and they're looking very good, so yours will become the new standard that people will try to adhere to. And it would be best if that standard was the same standard that other BATs use, which is accurate dimensions scaled vertically 133%.

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  • Original Poster
  • So, guys, the scale problem got into a bigger scale. You made me conduct two more tests (see below) and think about it hard.

    1) Tested with custom content american w2w buildings. My scale really tends to be larger than most, but some, particularly the ones of lower density, fit all right.

    2) Tested with some wild Maxis Group Development (developer is a curse word among architects in Prague :-D ). Hey, those guys are so scale-incoherent, obviously industry is totally undersized, also it appears that the larger buildings have tinier scaling. Anyway, the ones in the pictures (Euro tileset) are approximately the same.

    3) Tested with trees, benches, cars, totally oversized Sims, streetlights and streetlamps - looks best the way it is. Sims are still too huge (says a 2 m tall guy).

    4) Floor height of those 1920s buildings is 3,2-3,5 m, sometimes even 4 m in case of office buildings, while in newer development like Maxis' Comfort Arms it is usually between 2,8-3 meters. Communist era prefabs are even as low as 2,6 m per floor. So take that in mind - the buildings are bigger in reality too :-)

    Conclusion: Yes, they are big. But I will leave it as it is for several reasons. Sorry if they won't fit, but don't worry. I promise that if I ever finish this project and get to BATting architecture of Mies, Wright and Kahn in the U.S., I will find a compromise scale. And I'm absolutely ok with sharing my original models for any rescaling and relotting purposes of your own if you wish :-)

    Scale_Comparison_3.jpg

    Scale_Comparison_4.jpg

    Scale_Comparison_Maxis.jpg

    Scale_Comparison_Maxis_2.jpg

    Scale_Comparison_Maxis_3.jpg

    And now, let's get to texturing this cubist madness. See you.

    Ucitelske_domy_foto - Kopie.jpg

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    Unwrapping it will definitely give you much more control, but in general for BATing you can get away with just the basic uvw maps (box, plane, etc.), just because of the nature of buildings, the small scale of the game, and the stylized nature of the game. But you're more than welcome to. :D 

    Looking forward to more progress. :) 

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  • Original Poster
  • Here's some little more progress ;-) Tests of basic texture for the roofs. And probably enough for today, it's 3 A.M. here.

    You know, I take this for practice to learn various things, so I don't regret time and "too much" work for this purpose. Next models will probably get more manufactured - simpler models, more 2D faking etc. But first I need to know that I'm able to handle a complex model with lots of crazy shapes :-)

    Btw., I downloaded BAT4MAX, but that will take me a while to set it running.

    Test_textur_srovnani.jpg

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    It's hard to decide on any one roof texture - I guess that's mainly because they vary in colour/hue, but IMO that's not the problem here. I guess all roof colours could be found somewhere, so you could justify any choice. The problem is more that the textures tile visibly, and that they all appear to be somewhat oversaturated (the bottom centre one may be best in that respect). A slight gradient would also help to make the roof look more plastic and three-dimensional.

    However, hats off to you for modeling all those complicated shapes! I agree that most of what you are learning in the process will come in handy sooner or later, too.

    Although I've been lurking until now, I've been following your thread for a while, and it's really fun to see all the progress you keep posting. :)

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  • Original Poster
  • Yes, for this old building I want something worn-out, but for the next, I would like to have variety, a true red-roof Prague palette. So I don't give up on some of the brighter ones yet, they might come handy for recently repaired roof sections. See the photoaerial photos, they shouldn't get too much towards brown. But yeah, I'll have to make in-game tests.

    There will be more work done in Photoshop - first of all, I remove the strongly effecting spots from basic tileable texture to make it less repetitive - I haven't done that in case of the St. Wenceslas church and it was visible, I had to make too many correction afterwards. But then I give the dirt, damages and other irregularities back, this time only on unique places. I have done that too, instead of gradient I mostly just paint darker areas with soft transition. All this proces will darken the texture, too, so it won't be as shiny as in these tests.

    Does anyone know of another source of high-quality free textures? I usually download from cgtextures.com, but even if they are marked as "seamless", there are obviously not perfectly seamless. I could learn to do that thing myself, too :-D But in that case, you wouldn't see my BATs anytime before 2046, I'm afraid.

    MAX4BAT produced a first render, at level 3, but crashed twice due to memory demand (or something like that)when trying to make a preview at level 5. Also 3ds Max is having a lot of troubles importing my models, so usualy only the simplest go through and I have to repair the geometry to avoid any anomalies (what is ok in gmax is usually not in 3ds Max, weird).

    Anyway, the MAX4BAT rendering seems to take much much more time than gmax, so I hope the results are be worth it (have you got any comparison between the two final renders?)

    prague_roofs_top.jpg

    Prague_roofs_top_2.jpg

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    17 hours ago, Stanďák said:

    I love them...

    prague_roofs - Kopie.JPG

    For a moment I though I was looking at a portuguese city roof :P

    Regarding roofs, from the samples you got me, I like the most the 3rd, although it tiles visibly. you could maybe try to use these to get rid of it maybe: http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=14150.msg492956#msg492956

    Other possibility is to make a texture from the scratch as I used to do,  can be more chalenging, but, if you have the right PS/Gimp skills, is more rewarding.

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  • Original Poster
  • Thank you, Gn_leugim, I like your tutorials, they're funny. I hope your eyes don't hurt from bad textures too much :-)

    Hmm, Portugal. You're right , colours are similar, but as there is more snow in Central Europe, the roofs are built with steeper slope. The effect by the way is, that they apply much stronger in the silhouette of the city, so it looks more kitschy, like Disney's fairy tale :-D

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    well thank you :)

    the chimneys are also different, but the color is almost the same. but on the subject, how good are your skills with image editing?? I may share some tips on the roofs texturing, if you are willing.

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    On ‎25‎/‎08‎/‎2016 at 4:51 PM, Stanďák said:

    I hope the results are be worth it (have you got any comparison between the two final renders?)

    Check the first two images of this post. The first is in gMax, the second is with 3DS max and no other changes. So yeah, the quality difference is pretty noticeable

    On ‎25‎/‎08‎/‎2016 at 4:51 PM, Stanďák said:

    but for the next, I would like to have variety, a true red-roof Prague palette. So I don't give up on some of the brighter ones yet, they might come handy for recently repaired roof sections

    Possibly, but to my eye when placed in game they won't work so well with the limited colour palate the game displays. The game also tends to lighten textures, requiring them to be darker than you might think.

    On ‎25‎/‎08‎/‎2016 at 4:51 PM, Stanďák said:

    but even if they are marked as "seamless", there are obviously not perfectly seamless. I could learn to do that thing myself, too

    Actually it's surprisingly easy to do this in Photoshop. Might be worth a Google search to check out a tutorial.

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  • Original Poster
  • Good Sunday morning, everyone!

    I've been working on the next BAT too long, so I decided to have a break and do something nice just by the way. Thanks to GoFSH tool, mgbrsc204's Automated sidewalk texturing script and Matias93, managed to create a little sidewalk mod of my own. Prague has got very beautiful paving, made of little black, white and pink paving stones, called "Prague mosaic". From many mosaic patterns you could see in the streets I chose three which are most commonly used... But I will probably make more as plaza lots before uploading.

    12 hours ago, rsc204 said:

    Check the first two images of this post. The first is in gMax, the second is with 3DS max and no other changes. So yeah, the quality difference is pretty noticeable

    Yes, the difference is big. But I am unable to render with 3ds Max. Version 2012 + hotfix1 + MAX4BAT 5 still results in crashing due to bad memory allocation. The memory is not the problem, 3GB is enough to make renders in mental ray, Cycles and gmax. It must be the script. Is there a way to make it work better?

    To Gn_leugim: textures.com were previously cgtextures.com, that's where I usually get the stuff, those posted last time were my own photos from the real building I am texturing :-) I hadn't known imageafter.com, thanks for that.

    citycowboy: Thanks, man.

    To Michael: Yes, I plan to release them and I'm working on it. Not sure if I can keep my Sunday deadline this time but you can expect the cubist houses soon.

    Prague_mosaic.jpg

    Prague_Mosaic_First_version.jpg

    Prague_Mosaic_First_version_4.jpg

    Prague_Mosaic_First_version_5.jpg

    Prague_Mosaic_First_version_6.jpg

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  • Original Poster
  • @_Michael Those are part of NAM Pedmall Facelift Mod and should be avaiable from here (listed as dependency).

    And I can only recommend them - in combination with empty tiles that's a great use of public space :-) Certainly better than endless parking lots :-D

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