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By That Retro Guy
So I figured out exactly what I want to do with my first Region.
First, the Region:
City A will supply cities B, C, and D with Power, Water, and Garbage services.
Likewise, City E will supply cities F, G, and H with Power, Water, and Garbage services.
I'll do a 'You Don't Deserve It', and place a Hydrogen Power Plant in cities A and E.
I know that I'll want a Highway Loop that goes through all cities except A and E.
I have a question: Do schools only have to cover Residential, or the entire map?
More questions later.
Previews: (1) Clouds (2) Stars (3) Forest (4) Streets (5) Ocean (6) Snowfall (7) Cityscape
17 Folders of Background Sets for SC4 These are 17 sets of backgrounds for the City (Mayor) view that are easily installed, changed, or switched back to the default blueprint grid background that comes with the game. I've included a high contrast version of the default so the grid can be seen clearly. Each of the 5 background files in each folder corresponds to a zoom level from the widest overview to narrowest close-up view in the game.
The default backgrounds included with the game are found in the form of 5 .png graphics files named Background3D0.png through to Background3D4.png in the SC4 install directory under Plugins. Before using the replacement sets of backgrounds make a backup copy of the 5 default files that come with the game. I zip them up in a zip folder and leave them in the Plugins folder for easy access.
Further Instructions for Installing Region and City View Backgrounds
Initially, I found a set of solid color backgrounds which demonstrated how easy it is to create and switch backgrounds, so for the basic instructions and a solid color set refer to the file Custom Region View Backgrounds which includes solid colors for the region view as well as the city view. Custom Region View Backgrounds
Creating the Backgrounds The cloud and star pictures were adapted from seamless background textures found in the commons. All other pictures are adapted from SC4 graphics, and previews as created using the in-game terra-former.
The following details are not necessary for installation and use of these backgrounds but are provided for further interest in the topic. City View Backgrounds Technical Details There are 5 backgrounds in each folder for each of the 5 zoom levels from 0 to 4. In the game there are actually 6 zoom levels but the same background is used for zoom 5 (4) and 6.
For the cloud backgrounds and mostly for the star backgrounds I did not adjust magnification as the sky and stars normally appear fixed in the sky from ground perspective.
The cloud backgrounds are high brightness which may be further adapted using a paint program. The textures will maintain their form for a variety of changes to saturation and hue, brightness and contrast.
Each zoom level 'in' from the outermost zoom is 2x in magnitude, so each zoom 'in' is twice as close as the previous zoom. The backgrounds are 128x128 pixels .png formatted at 16m colors.
The magnifications are 2048 (16x), 1024(8x), 512(4x), 256(2x), 128(1x) for the canvas sizes. 512 pixels = 1 kilometer and 2048 pixels = 4 kilometers total for the large tile.
The picture you start with will be transformed into the isometric view in the game. Vertical and horizontal lines are shifted to an isometric flat plane background so some adjustments must be made to keep lines vertical and horizontal.
Vertical lines are achieved by subtracting 22° (90°-23°=67° ). So if you have a picture that has right angles, vertical shapes that you want to appear vertically in the city view, subtract 23°, or rotate 23° to the left to get the picture upright.
Horizontal lines change slightly with zoom level above zoom zero, they will appear parallel at zoom 0, but slightly obtuse from zoom 1 to 4. The horizon can be brought back parallel by subtracting 5° from zoom zero through to zoom 3. I did not bother adjusting the horizontal as my backgrounds conform to the isometric horizon of the game view, skewed only slightly by 5°.
Zoom 0: 30° (isometric)
Zoom 1: 35°
Zoom 2: 40°
Zoom 3 and 4: 45°
The city view rotation is around a square as similar to the axis of a compass. The vertical lines become horizontal when rotated east and west, but remain vertical north and south.
I noticed a slight stereoscopic effect at zoom 3 on the Heavy Starfield background.
If you focus your eyes beyond the screen you may see SC4 in 3D field perspective.
The effect is similar to autostereograms: "An autostereogram is a single-image stereogram (SIS), designed to create the visual illusion of a three-dimensional (3D) scene from a two-dimensional image."
Please use the comment section below or PM if any questions, critiques or problems installing and using the backgrounds.
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