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pclark06 Retail BAT stuff

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A thread for BAT stuff I am working on. 

Finished

Rally's/Checkers - textures are placeholders right now (I have new textures that are darker that go better with game palette), a tiny BAT that should go on a 3x2 lot (possibly corner only). Modding not close to finished yet, going to extrude everything tonight. Also want a rounded square roof on the top, and all the roof elements pushed forward so working on that as well. It is based mostly off the one on Portsmouth, Ohio, with a few modifications. Checker's/Rally's

American convenience store expansion for MGB convenience stores - finished, may be released soon maybe as an update to rsc's file. Convenience Store Signs

Cable Vans - 4 Cable Company Vans Cable Vans

Commercial Vans - 15 Commercial Vans that deliver various products and services - PC Commercial Vans

WIP

Automata -18-wheelers with trucking brands not in game yet, along with moving trucks. Another set with four food trucks as well, possibly using FedEx Trucks as a base.

18 Wheel Set 1
JB Hunt
Schneider
Swift
Hub Group
Estes
YRC
Landstar
Mayflower (old livery)
United Van Lines
ABF Upack
Atlas
Allied


Modular Strip Mall - not started. A modular Strip Mall with 72 different brands that would go wall-to-wall on 1x3 and 2x3 lots as either a standalone, or one can plop and put together as a strip mall. It would be somewhat similar to KingLeno's modular plaza for C:S as well as the SG Plop-A-Shop, but it would be for low-wealth Sims. List is below. Signage textures are finished, modeling on 3dsMax is getting started. Planned release: Spring 2017.

A 4x3 grocery store expansion is planned as well sometime next year.

Billboard Set - A set of billboards with 78 different brands like Snapchat, Uber, Tide, and a Powerball billboard. There would also be political billboards of the three major parties in a folder if you want to extract them or not. Political billboards are not endorsements and are meant for imitation of realism. A few texture samples are below.Golden Corral - modeling on 3dsMax

Menards - modeling on 3dsMax. Krystal, Rooms 2 Go, Meijer hypermarket -- not started

ATM Props - A set of ATM props for people's lots. 18 different banks including PNC, Comerica, Washington Federal, and a generic ATM. Should be done fairly quickly.
 

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Y7P3GMq.png
 

 

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It's shaping up nicely so far! Guess we can use some new retail stuff, too - SimGoober, kevdan25 and bobbo662 (to name a few who have made enormous contributions to this BAT category) are long gone, and some of their stuff shows its age... this makes it all the more refreshing to see you on the job. :)

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  • Original Poster
  • @T Wrecks Some of the stuff on Simtrop has dated pretty well, but others change their logos or in other cases get bought out, and need changed, lol. I could however make a 2005 City Journal with a plaza with the old Petco on here along with a Circuit City and a Blockbuster though :D

    Update on the Rally's. HVAC/inside/nightlights/sign will be done tonight before I go to a Stranger Things Halloween party. Plan is to render, lot, and adjust next week before a planned release. There will also be a Checker's version.

    Anyways, another project I plan on doing is a Rooms to Go, a furniture chain in the southern US. I would base it off the Orlando, FL "superstore" location. The walls have a fancy LED side, but I am not modding those LED lights, however cool that may sound, and will rather make it more of a mural type.

    Also I have started buildings for the modular strip mall stuff, and want to release by next spring.

    (How do you have a lot of time for this right now?) Well, the boss is gone and there isn't much to do in real life right now, so

    rally's update.jpg

    RTGKatySuperCenter970x240.png

    rooms to go mural.png

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    Hello and welcome to the BATing forum! :-)
    And thanks for showing us your creations.

    Are you using gmax or 3dsMax? If you are using Max you can create a truly reflective chrome panel, that would look great. The roof part should maybe get a dirty roof texture? I assume aluminium wouldn't be used for the top of the structure since it can't be seen. Also maybe a lowered inset to create a bit of a ledge maybe? Not sure how your modeling skills are, but if you convert the object into an editable poly (rightclick in viewport for the option) then you find in polygon sub-mode an option called inset with which you can easily make a ledge.

    Also, just to know more about the scale, what size render is that? Zoom6/HD or Zoom5?

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  • Original Poster
  • 20 minutes ago, andisart said:

    Hello and welcome to the BATing forum! :-)
    And thanks for showing us your creations.

    Are you using gmax or 3dsMax? If you are using Max you can create a truly reflective chrome panel, that would look great. The roof part should maybe get a dirty roof texture? I assume aluminium wouldn't be used for the top of the structure since it can't be seen. Also maybe a lowered inset to create a bit of a ledge maybe? Not sure how your modeling skills are, but if you convert the object into an editable poly (rightclick in viewport for the option) then you find in polygon sub-mode an option called inset with which you can easily make a ledge.

    Also, just to know more about the scale, what size render is that? Zoom6/HD or Zoom5?

    I am using gmax for now as I cannot get the camera to work properly in 3dsMax. I really do want a reflective chrome panel. My modding skills are novice so I am always up for learning. A lowered inset for the stores are pretty common so that is a plan. Also the roof texture is waaay too clean, so I am going to do lots of work dirtying up things, lol.

    Zoom 5  so I am not sure about the scale just yet. It might be a slight too tall and/or large though.

    EDIT: my background is in 2D graphic design, so 3D is something I am looking at expanding to. I design catalogs, print and web materials, as well as do social media, marketing and PR strategy sometimes too. So I guess I could say that making buildings for SimCity is a great way to expand my skillset in 3D.

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    56 minutes ago, pclark06 said:

    I am using gmax for now as I cannot get the camera to work properly in 3dsMax. I really do want a reflective chrome panel. My modding skills are novice so I am always up for learning. A lowered inset for the stores are pretty common so that is a plan. Also the roof texture is waaay too clean, so I am going to do lots of work dirtying up things, lol.

    Zoom 5  so I am not sure about the scale just yet. It might be a slight too tall and/or large though.

    EDIT: my background is in 2D graphic design, so 3D is something I am looking at expanding to. I design catalogs, print and web materials, as well as do social media, marketing and PR strategy sometimes too. So I guess I could say that making buildings for SimCity is a great way to expand my skillset in 3D.

    What's the issue with the camera in Max? I assume you are using the BAT4Max plugin from this website? For roof texture what you can do is take a screenshot of the roof in Top view in gmax and then edit it in Photoshop, like add darker areas around the edges, add rust, cracks etc. When you are back in gmax you adjust the texture to fit using the UVMap planar mode. gmax generally creates more the "game" look that the original SC4 buildings have. With Max you quickly get into more realistic appearance and it's actually a bit harder to achieve the game look there. But then, Max has so much better stuff to work with :-)

    Ok yea for zoom5 that looks a bit out of proportion. Orient yourself always in real life size. This is crucial in architectural modeling, as the eye will easily feel if the scale is off. What you can do for instance is use something with a standard size, like a door, and have this as an indicator for your scale. Over time you will figure out what is realistic and what is less. Also what you can do is imagine scale of an object in real life, or meassure it in real and see if that feels right. That's more subjective of course but sometimes the only way and avoid rough mistakes. When you get to small things though, in BATing you need to exagerate since due to the nature of the game and the distant view it has (rather than street level view closeup). Like if you look at small objects and also humans in the game you will notice that when compared to the buildings they are much larger. This was designed like this on purpose because with realistic scale, things would be too small to see for players. When you BAT you also have to do this. Also things like chairs and stuff.

    On the subject of scale one thing to note: due to the nature of the orthographic view there will be a height distortion, meaning that in the previews/orthographic view used in SC4 everything will look more squashed than it actually is in 3D. I think it's roughly I quarter or so, I'm not sure right now. So a door with a standard height of 2.20meters for instance will look noticable lower in the preview. So better to use perspective view for judging scale while modeling and at the very end before you render you scale everything up 133% if I'm not wrong (someone please correct me).

    Interesting to hear about your background and that BATing helps you to expand your skills for this. Cool thing, it's fun to BAT :D For me it's a bit the other way round, I started 3D modeling in 2004 because I wanted to make buildings for SC4, over time this has lead me to my current profession. I now do 3D visualisation, mainly for architecture, but also some 3D jobs. Link to my work in my signature if you're interested.

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  • Original Poster
  • @andisart I took your advice, especially on scaling, which, yeah.. it would only fit on a 64x64 tile. Things are working. Gotta move the windows down, and move the right wall a bit. Going to make the textures better, adding window panes, HVAC (still), nightlights and then lotting is up next. Thanks for the advice. I'm really getting this now!

    (I'll get the issues with 3DSMax figured out, think it is an authorization issue. I'll post that issue in the next few days. It's a must learn for me.)

     

     

    bandicam 2016-10-28 20-43-18-720.png

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    Good! looks much better in scale now :-) btw, you dont have to export the model to compare the scale, you can take a zoom5 screenshot ingame and then paste a preview from gmax in it in Photoshop. If you save as .png with alpha channel then only the building should be saved without background and you will easily be able to compare it directly with the ingame world. This is also very useful when crosschecking colors, often BATs have elements that are too saturated compared to the game. The game has toned down colors and a slight purple/blue tint.

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  • Original Poster
  • Wall textures are still too white, but we are slowly getting there. Need to still dirty up the chrome roof (or make it less... flat you know). Although to be fair most of their locations have this clean futuristic look.

     

    New Pearl-Sep. 27, 031477810369.png

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    To be honest I think that working with gmax right now would have a negative impact on your learning curve later. 

    It would be better to spend a week getting 3ds max and bat4max working and then restart. 

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  • Original Poster
  • 4 hours ago, Jasoncw said:

    To be honest I think that working with gmax right now would have a negative impact on your learning curve later. 

    It would be better to spend a week getting 3ds max and bat4max working and then restart. 

    I agree and think I am going to switch to 3ds right after this. It seems to be a fairly easy transition. Right now I have having copy error issues, and I think it is an authorization issue (granting admin access probably). 

    This is what I am seeing. Everything shows up like BAT in gmax but I get that error message now. Maybe it is user error? This would be for 3DS 2014.

    9Bqr70B.png
    Also, this is what the Rally's/Checker's looks like. Maybe it is model fatigue but I don't know if I want to redo it on 3DS and release it as is (as dumb as that sounds), even with the high standards of the community, which is great. But I do want to learn 3DS before moving to other projects. Just not a Rally's lol. The model looks good if it was 2005, though (sarcasm emoji). I hope my tone is not sounding droll here and coming off as completely dismissing, because I think there is a lot of retail missing and I want to complete it.

    S9DI1ii.png
    (flora not included)

    7iriJMy.png

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    Yes, that error message that you see is probably due to lack of admin rights. It should be easy to solve.

    I can understand very well that you don't want to keep fiddling around with the building in 3dsmax yet again, too. While I don't BAT, I also create some content, and I know that you just want to move on at some point when you think the result is finally good enough. Yes, it would be possible to redo it. Yes, it could be further improved. No, it's not perfect. But it's often still pretty good, works fine, and you've simply had enough of it and look forward to something new. You'll also probably find that users download it eagerly and don't share your critical view at all.

    In any case, at the end of the day your motivation is more important because it is what keeps you BATting. In fact, it is what made you start in the first place. Lose it, and you lose it all. So it's better to make a "hey, it's not too shabby" release than burn out over one model. Of course, too low quality standards aren't beneficial, either, but I don't see this here. Far from it!

    SimCity was released in 2003, so if your building looks up to 2005 standard (and if anything, it's top 2005 standard, not just average!), then it certainly looks good enough. I know I keep using some retro retailers that balance on the line between "still good" and "below my plugin folder's standards" simply because they are needed and there's not much choice. Your Rally's is a BAT that I'd use without any hesitation and without ever thinking "I'd ditch this if only I had better alternatives". Maybe in 2022 if we are really spoiled by then. :lol:

    IMO, it has the potential to become one of those little "fire and forget" BATs - you drop them into your plugins folder, and from that point on, they are there and become something natural. They don't leave you struck with awe, they don't make you jump in excitement when you see one of them is being built - but let's face it, it's precisely buildings like those that are the bread and butter of your cities and that we can't have enough of. :) The ones that make you excited are just the cherries on top, but in order to work, they need something they can be top of.

    If this is the quality level of your BATs shortly after starting your BAT endeavour, then we (and you!) don't have to worry about a thing. You are doing great, and you will only get better. Keep 'em coming! :thumb:

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    Yeah you need to give full permission to everything in the my programs 3ds max folder. The fact that the BAT4Max stuff goes into program files is bad practice and telling you that you need to give full permission to a part of my programs is not the way it should be but it's how it is.

    If you give full permissions and it doesn't work, keep on trying or look up some youtube tutorials or something. Whenever I've had to do it it seemed like I always had to try a lot of things to get the permissions to stick, but I don't really know much about that side of things. 

    The Rally's looks pretty good. It looks like you've done a good job of making it and there's not really anything else you can do for it in gmax. If you remake it in 3ds Max it would look better.

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  • Original Poster
  • @Jasoncw It looks like all the stuff shows up, at least, so I can do some modeling, but I just need to fix all the admin stuff. I'll do the rest of my projects on 3ds, since it already feels so much better to use. It's like I advanced ten years (in which I guess that is true).

    Thanks for the compliments everyone!

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    This stuff is looking great. I've been wanting some sort of modular plaza with smaller stores and I'm glad to see someone is doing it! On another note, I don't suppose you could add a Dollar General into the plaza list? It'd be great to have a 2x3 Dollar General to match with MarcoMX's 2x3 Family Dollar. I've seen Dollar General stores in plazas like below:   

    9359012124_f211bef5b7.jpg

    And for the record, feel free to use any of my pictures (Random Retail on Flickr) as well for inspiration if you'd like.

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    I seem to remember it once being recommended that 3ds Max and BAT4Max not be installed in the Program Files directories, as Windows now ruthlessly protects Program Files with UAC, which may be what is causing your authorization problems.  BAT4Max does a lot of writing both during setup and production into folders in 3ds Max's gamepacks directory, and if these are being write-protected in default Program Files by UAC, you may get all sorts of authorization issues.  If push comes to shove and reinstallation become a last resort option, you might consider reinstalling 3ds Max and BAT4MAx outside Programs Files, such as C:\Autodesk\3ds Max 2014\

     

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    On ‎31‎/‎10‎/‎2016 at 8:48 PM, Jasoncw said:

    Yeah you need to give full permission to everything in the my programs 3ds max folder. The fact that the BAT4Max stuff goes into program files is bad practice and telling you that you need to give full permission to a part of my programs is not the way it should be but it's how it is.

    That's not really fair to say placing them there is bad practise. Frankly, MS moved the goal posts with Windows 8 and then again in Windows 10. At the time these applications/plugins were made, there was no reason to think there would be a problem. In Windows 7, with Admin rights and UAC disabled, you won't encounter a single issue.

    If anything, the real problem is the implementation MS made of these security checks. You see people get annoyed with UAC prompts, or simply don't understand them. So MS in an attempt to simplify, simply gave you no rights at all by default. Much better is a system where you simply are asked, is this OK or not, i.e. what UAC was supposed to be. Of course, UAC can't speak to you in layman's terms, it only knows what apps/files are trying to access something else. If perhaps it could have had messages like "BAT4Max is trying to access files from 3DS Max, please confirm this behaviour is intended", maybe we'd not be where we are now. Windows permissions have a lot wrong with them, because even when you know how to change them at a deep level, the OS will fight you every step of the way.

    12 hours ago, Odainsaker said:

    If push comes to shove and reinstallation become a last resort option, you might consider reinstalling 3ds Max and BAT4MAx outside Programs Files, such as C:\Autodesk\3ds Max 2014\

    Not a bad idea. Just brings my points above home really. MS have made security so inflexible, the only way to access your bank account is to rob the bank!

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  • Original Poster
  • @Odainsaker @rsc204 this is all good advice. I did change Program Files/Autodesk to Admin control rather than TrustedInstaller, and it installs/gives me the prompt and everything, so install seems to work now. Now when I export a model (to test out things), I still get a "flush" error which means I still have to fix something in my Desktop or Documents in terms of UAC, I think.

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    5 hours ago, rsc204 said:

    That's not really fair to say placing them there is bad practise. Frankly, MS moved the goal posts with Windows 8 and then again in Windows 10. At the time these applications/plugins were made, there was no reason to think there would be a problem. In Windows 7, with Admin rights and UAC disabled, you won't encounter a single issue.

    If anything, the real problem is the implementation MS made of these security checks. You see people get annoyed with UAC prompts, or simply don't understand them. So MS in an attempt to simplify, simply gave you no rights at all by default. Much better is a system where you simply are asked, is this OK or not, i.e. what UAC was supposed to be. Of course, UAC can't speak to you in layman's terms, it only knows what apps/files are trying to access something else. If perhaps it could have had messages like "BAT4Max is trying to access files from 3DS Max, please confirm this behaviour is intended", maybe we'd not be where we are now. Windows permissions have a lot wrong with them, because even when you know how to change them at a deep level, the OS will fight you every step of the way.

    These types of things should really go into the documents folder though. It's like for SC4 telling people that they HAVE to put their plugin into the my computer plugins folder and that they have to disable all UAC for SC4 in order to do so, when it could have just gone into documents from the beginning. By that logic everyone should have to disable UAC for all adobe programs, autodesk programs, many games, and any other program that has plugins or user content. For SC4 either one is fine but for 3ds Max it's not, it's just there because that's where it was 15 years ago. 

    It's not a big deal once it gets set up but for the next version of BAT4Max it should be looked into. But I'm guessing it's stuck there or else it would have been moved already but who knows.

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    6 hours ago, Jasoncw said:

    These types of things should really go into the documents folder though

    I disagree, I hate My Documents getting stuffed full of stuff. It's supposed to be for organising my documents, not a bunch of stuff for a load of videogames. In fact I detest every piece of software that revokes my right to choose where to install things. I'm from the days of DOS, without a GUI, you not only had to be organised but to remember all the folder names to work efficiently.

    But why should Program Files be protected? Windows system folders, sure I get that. But adding switches to software, modifying files in programs install directories and the like, these are mainstays of a power-user. It's just another way for Windows to take control from end users. Why not just ask me if it's OK when something looks suspicious? If my anti-virus gave me constant false positives, I'd uninstall it. Just like a car alarm that won't stop going off, it not only becomes useless, but annoying too. Now imagine one that keeps going off, but won't let you override it and get into your car/shut of the siren! That's pretty much the Windows 10 way, there is no way to regain full control.

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  • Original Poster
  • Almost done. I need to input the rest of them into the game, add custom icons, and hopefully they will be released Thursday night or Friday. There will be 15 vans in all (not all are pictured):

    CDW Truck - IT Services/Computer Delivery
    Grainger Van - Tools & Fastener Delivery
    Sherwin Williams Van - Paint Delivery
    GFS Van - Food Service
    W.B. Mason Van - Office Supplies Delivery
    Orkin Van - Bug & Pest Control
    Rooms 2 Go Van - Home Furniture
    Tide Dry Cleaners Van - Dry Cleaning Pickup
    Cintas Van - Uniforms & Office Services
    FTD Van - Florist
    Raising Canes Van - Catering
    Tyco Security Van - Security Delivery & Installation
    Design Within Reach Van - Office Furniture Delivery
    Jersey Mike's Van - Catering
    Schwans Van - Home Food Delivery for families


    nC09wKq.png

    The Rooms to Go and FTD Vans are a direct influence from @mikeseith's work in the early 2000s with Simcity 3000 Unlimited, when he made those vans for his super old lots. I remember as a middle schooler using them.

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