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SPAs Urbanist BAT Thread

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your buildings fit perfectly in larger cities and smaller towns, they can be used in both. keep it up these new projects look great

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I must say that the attention to detail, especially putting in storefronts, is something lacking in BAT's. I can definetly use some of that in my works... Your approach seems to be to texture stuff as you go. Looks like there's a lot of merrit in that!

Perhaps I ought to get some pointers from you. I'll trade you the ability to make faded paint adverts!

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  • Original Poster
  • Pipes: Thanks for the compliment. King of Kensington was a little before my time, but I understand the reference 4.gif Kensington really is a very generic name. It seems that a lot of cities have a neighbourhood called Kensington. There is actually a town in PEI called Kensington (3rd biggest city/town on PEI).
    Lrfox: Thanks for the compliment. Small commercial buildings that can fit a main street in a smal town or a pedestrian shopping district in a larger centre is exactly what I'm trying to make. Nice to know you think I'm pulling it off.
    Sparky: Wow. That's the single biggest compliment I have ever got about my work. You do such awesome stuff with the Portland series that it humbles me to think I have anything to offer in the way of advice. Any questions you might have though I'm more than willing to address. Faded paint adverts sounds interesting. You're right I do like to texture as I go. I find that it's more rewarding because I feel like I'm actually making something as I go along. Spending hours to produce only a few details just isn't very fun for me if it doesn't look like something when I call it quits at the end of the day. Texturing as I go keeps me interested.

    Well it may be 4:00 in the morning, but I have wrapped up Kensington Plaza. It's all rendered and ready to go barring any last minute changes. Below are some pictures of it in game.
    finisheddaysouthside6lv.jpg
    finisheddayeastside4gx.jpg
    finisheddaywestside4fe.jpg
    finisheddaynorthside2qo.jpg
    Fits nicely against those row houses doesn't it? Unlike my other BATs, I went with heavy duty roof equipment because this is a larger building and because there is a pizzaria and a bakery on the ground floor. As a general rule, wherever food is made there is more and bigger stuff on the roof because kitchens require a lot of ventilation. 

    The last image of Kensington Plaza shows the wall that will be covered up if another w2w buildings grows or is plopped next to it. I included windows and a vent on that side, even though it could get covered up because I find that all too often, w2w buildings don't end up next to each other. Most w2w BAT artists don't bother to put any details on the sides so when this happens, the user is left with a blank wall to look at on an otherwise beautiful BAT. Its a real pet peeve of mine. Now putting details on the wall that would otherwise be blank isn't perfect either. If a neighbouring w2w building grows next to a w2w bat that has a detailed side, there is a slight risk that the neigbouring building won't match the dimensions and will cut a window, a door or some other detail in half. This can look quite funny. For me though, and this is just personal preference, I would rather have a window cut in two occassionally than have a blank wall at least 50% of the time. Plus, it's a lot easier to knock a w2w building down that doesn't fit then it is to try and get a w2w building to grow. This is why I favour putting some details on the sides of w2w BATs.

    Finally, Kensington Plaza also has some basic nightlighting, but it's nothing terribly special.
    finishednightsouthside7eq.jpg
    I don't know why it happened since the glass doesn't cover it, but on each section of stores, one post is hidden by the lighting. I really don't get why that happened. I probably won't do another 1 and 1/2 hour render to try and correct this minor issue since there is no guarantee that rerendering will fix the problem and because I only ever use nightmode on rare occassion. Sorry about that.

    Anyway, I plan on releasing this tonight. If anyone spots anything that they think doesn't look just right, today is the last day to point it out. For release I'm planning three lots, all CS$$, that should break down as follows: 3x4 left corner growable, 4x3 right corner growable and a functional plop. No dependencies! I'll update again tonight when Kensington Plaza hits the STEX. Comments and feedback, as always, are welcome.

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    I love this one, dude. Kind of reminds of a movie theater...but that's just me. Another great addition to the small commercials section on ST by you, speaking of which, I love your work. I stop in here all the time and at least 2 of your banks are in all my cities. 4.gif

    Jamie

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    The windows look a little bland. Do you think a little cornace around the edges would liven them up? Other than that, it is one gorgeous building my friend!

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  • Original Poster
  • RadioheadFan: Thanks for stopping in. I'm glad you've found a use for my work. I suspect that the movie theatre image comes from the fact that this BAT is a corner lot and because the decorative arches above the first floor resemble the kind of classical style that was often used in theatres.

    Mightygoose and Irfox: Thanks guys.

    Kilkenny: Love your CJ and good to see your still around. About the windows, when I decided to make this BAT more than one floor I thought about doing some decorative work around the windows. I decided against it because I found that it distracted from the decorative arches. In the end I decided simplicity was my friend. Thanks for the feedback though.

    Spike345: Thanks for the comment. Again I think that simplicity with the windows is the better way given that this is a more modern building. If this were an older style, there would be definitely be something around the windows but when I looked at it here, I found it to be just distracting so I stuck with a simple rectangular frame around the glass. Thanks for stopping by.

    Anyway, I have posted Kensington Plaza to the STEX. Included in the download is a plopable and two growable lots. The growables appear on 4X3 (left) and 3X4 (right) corner lots on the Houston and Euro tile sets. In my test, they grew quite easily. You can get Kensington Plaza at: http://www.simtropolis.com/stex/index.cfm?id=15970 Enjoy

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    Dude, downloaded this!! Looks so good in the rowhouse neighborhoods, its awesome! Ill get you some screens soon. Yes, now I can see your point with the windows. They have that 1970's blandness that not only makes them look very Canadian and realistic, but it definatly lets the 1st floor architecture really shine. Good curling!!

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  • Original Poster
  • Mackeast: Thanks for stopping in again and thanks again for the feedback regarding the windows. I'm always happy to hear constructive criticism as it helps me evaluate things. I don't always agree, like I did about the windows, but sometimes I do, like how I expanded the floor on the Royal Manor Building. When you spend hours and hours on a BAT you start to lose your objectivity about it so feedback can be quite useful in making me stop and think about what I'm doing. Oh and screenies in your CJ will be fine 2.gif

    Well with Kensington Plaza finished and the Royal Manor Building almost done it seemed like time to start something new. Here's my next project that's entering the queue.

    sreallife7wj.jpg

    This building is also in Calgary's Kensington neighbourhood. It is home to the Arthouse tattoo/jewelry store, Kensington Fitness Studio and Ridley's Cycles. The building is only a few doors down the street from me and my girlfriend actually has a membership at the Fitness Studio. There use to be a book store in the building called Author Author, but it went out of business two or three months ago and Ridley's expanded into the space. To make the building more diverse, I'm thinking of resurrecting Author Author for this BAT. Anyway, the building itself isn't too exciting, but it's a typical storefront with some neat colour combinations and I kind of like the front steps to the second floor. The back has some neat junk and details that will be fun. Below is what a few hours today produced:

    sgmaxstarted4ax.jpg

    spreview5ug.jpg

    Lots to do, but I like how things are coming along so far. It'll grow on a 2X3 lot, it'll fit w2w on both sides and it should fit in nicely in cities where people have used the various bike paths available on the STEX. After all, sims have to buy bikes, bike accessories and get repairs done somewhere. So I'll probably work on this for a bit this weekend. As for the Royal Manor Building, I'll try to wrap it up over the next few days if I have the motivation and time to go back to it. I might not get to it right away though as I'm feeling like I need a break from it. We'll have to see.

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    This is a pretty cool theme you've got going here, Spa.  I'm not used to seeing newer buildings like this in an urban w2w setting... always out in the burbs surrounded by parking lots around here.  Great work!

    JB

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  • Original Poster
  • Mightygoose: Thanks! The stairs and signs help don't they. Maxis didn't do much with signage when they made the small commercial buildings for the game. I'm trying to avoid the same 4.gif

    JBSimio: Thanks! You know I'm not use to seeing modern w2w buildings either. I'm from Halifax and that city has a lot of older buildings that are w2w, but very few modern ones. That seems to be the trend in most cities. Here in Calgary, w2w is a really rare sight since most of the city is one giant suburb. That said, Calgary's Kensington and the Beltline areas do have w2w buildings and, uniquely, most of them are modern since Calgary is a mostly very new city. I'm planning on doing some more of them from both neighbourhoods. It's funny, I was just thinking earlier today how your BATs and mine are fairly complimentary. The way things are going, with both of our BAT collections combined, people will be able to build main streets that have a mix of old and new! Should be fun.

    So I did a fair bit today on Ridley's. It's coming along quite nicely. Here's where things sit.

    frontandbackpreview8ve.jpg

    I'm quite pleased with how this is coming along. I'm particularly pleased with how the back turned out. I made that grey brick texture and it seems to work quite well. This BAT is the only one I have done so far where the back is a completely different texture than the front. It's more difficult to coordinate, but I like the results. In case you're wondering, the reason that the bollards stop at the left service door on the back is because I'm going to put a dumpster there in the lot editor since there is one behind the real building. It will probably be Bobo's which will give this BAT a single dependency, but just one isn't too big a deal. I still have lots to do:

     

    1. Windows need glass

    2. Sides need some basic modelling just incase this doesn't grow next to another w2w building.

    3. roof junk and a roof texture

    4. lighting

    5. some front details (bikes chained to a bike rack out in front of Ridley's would fit well I think).

    6. floors

    Now just incase anyone is wondering what actually is written on all those signs that aren't legible, I have a little tour below. Makes me feel better that someone might see them even if it's not in the game.

    ssigns7md.jpg

    frontleftsigns0la.jpg

    backbeigedoor7te.jpg

    backgreyishdoor8mc.jpg

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    Looks great, Spa...  I love all the signs, even though like you said, they won't really be readable in the game.  I tend to do the same thing.  I probably spend too much time on things that really won't show up anyway.  I'm told that's a good trait to have, and since my computer can handle it, I'm not going to change either!

    I really like the back, too.  The two tone brick looks very nice.

    JB

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  • Original Poster
  • Thanks for the feedback everyone. It's appreciated.

    Well it has been a full day, but I have finished up Ridley's Cycles. Below are the pictures. I'll likely upload it later tonight so this is it. If anyone spots anything now is the time to mention it.

    sdayfrontcollage1zw.jpg

    sdaybackcollage4qf.jpg

    snightfrontcollage1oi.jpg

    snightbackcollage3uk.jpg

    Finally, two pictures of it w2w with my other two w2w BATs and a Maxis building.

    swalltowallonstreet6xe.jpg

    swalltowallwithmaxis9xj.jpg

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    Whooooo, BAT machine. you keep impressing Spa. just what our sims need, a bike shop. Here's to hoping you get Inspired by an Harley Davidson dealership ;P

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  • Original Poster
  • Thanks everyone. Ridley's is now available on the STEX. You can download it here:

    http://www.simtropolis.com/stex/index.cfm?id=16034

    My next project will be to finish up the Royal Manor Building. I have a conference to attend on Thursday and Friday, I'm leaving for Toronto on Tuesday for a week and I have to have another chapter of my thesis written before I go so I'm unlikely to have the time to start anything new. Look for the Royal Manor Building, but honestly, I'll be lucky to get it done before I have to leave. I'll have a brand new project underway when I get back in early June.

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    ridley's is an awsome lot and very well needed for my cj also as im in the process of revampping it alittle to be more park friendly and lots with more bike racks so of course its gonna be that question where did everyone get them fancy high tech mountain/trail bikes?

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  • Original Poster
  • Kilkenny: As I said in your CJ, thanks again for featuring my BATs!

    Patfirefghtr: By all means revamp away. I deliberately don't merge my files into one dat so that people can modify them easily as they wish without creating duplication issues. I'll have to pop over to your CJ to take a look. Thanks for stopping by to post.

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  • Original Poster
  • Well everyone my first conference is all wrapped up. It went well and my advisor and I received a lot of useful feedback. The nice thing is, and I didn't know this until it was underway, the goal of the conference is an edited book. My paper will be one chapter alongside several others. The book will be published by UBC Press. So that's really neat. My name and work is going to end up in print. Kind of nice.

    So with the conference finished and two days until I'm off to Toronto, I have been spending my free time on trying to finish up the Royal Manor Building. Below is a picture of where things sit.

    royalmanornearlyfinal8sy.jpg

    Still some tidying up to do. I want to make lawn chairs to put on the balconies, exterior light fixtures for the front stores and a couple of flower boxes to sit below windows on a few of the balconies. After I'm done those details I'll be able to start the night lighting. It's entirely possible that this could be released on Monday night. If not, it'll have to wait until I get back in early June.

    One thing that I want to show off are my plants. Making plants intimidated me because they aren't square and have few or no straight lines. I managed to make a few variations though of small bushes. I'm going to eventually make some flowers too. You can see all five bushes on the back balconies and below I have them pictured close up in GMAX

    plantsgmax7lu.jpg 

    They turned out rather well I think. This is how I made them. First, I created the shape of a single leaf and I moved the leaf's pivot to what will be the centre of the plant. I then created instances of the leaf all around the centre point. I then used the scaling tool (non-uniform scale) to push some back and streatch some out and to generally make them different from each other. I then grouped all the leaves. I then made instances of the grouped leaves and rotated and scaled them to add even more variety. Finally, I made several more instances of the grouped leaves and using the scaling tool, I pushed them upwards in increments to make for the leafy centre of the plant. On the whole it seems to have worked. The downside to all of this is that my plants are rather polygon heavy. By the time I was done creating them, the polygon count had increased by approximately 162,000! This put the Royal Manor Building at over 300,000 polygons. I was able to cut this in half by converting everything to an editable poly, but still that's a big total for a 3 storey 2X3 building. Lots of detail on this one that's going to put my computer through its paces when it comes time to render. When I have a free moment, if there is interest I might make a tutorial demonstrating my plant creation method more fully so that everyone can benefit.

    Anyway, this is what I have been up to. I'll post an update either tomorror or on Monday. Things are basically set now so if anyone spots anything that's not quite right let me know asap as I'm entering the final stages with this one.

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    Looks really good, Spa!  The balconies make a really nice touch on this one.  Also, thanks for explaining the plants... I would definitely jump on a copy of the tutorial if you make one.

    JB

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