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City-building game(s)

Found 23 results

  1. Creating realistic rural settings

    Replies: _Michael: Thanks! I spend a lot of my time expanding the city based on density transitions: high to medium, medium to low, low to medium, etc. kschmidt: Diagonals zones coming off FA roads was done to a limited extent by someone else- they however zones diagonal houses on an FA road but I took a perpendicular approach. FrankU's Dutch Parks are highly versatile and can provide posh fencing, low density tree fillers and cool looking paths. The horse race is a bit small and the diagonal downtown section has a little too much repetition but... It passes muster! I do love slotting in railyards into my industry. kelistmac: Cheers! I always go for large and gridbusting where possible- it's even possible to gridbust using strictly orthogonal streets and roads. Simmer2: Thank you! Your LOTs and BATs go some way to filling in my railways, industrial zones and rural areas. Entry 6- Creating Realistic Rural Settings Building urban areas is one speciality of mine and I do love industrial areas, but where I flourish in is with rural areas. Using MMPs I can create an organic look to a grid system of fields, or do some immense grid-busting. Listen up as I reveal some methods for creating highly realistic rural areas. 1. The 101 of Realistic Rural Scenes is rural/urban transitions and vice versa. 2. You will need fences bordering the fields, woodland filler tiles (or MMP trees), low density areas and of course the grunge roads found in Bipin's Industrial Essentials help too! 3. The city border can be all sorts: housing, light industry, a school, a large facility, a utility complex, etc. What matters though is there being a clear division between where the urban ends and the rural begins. 4. One method is mixing in fields with RCI zones. So when you move to the city outskirts there are fields either penetrating into the city area or there are fields surrounded by city blocks, etc. 5. The other crucial thing to consider is SPACE. 6. The smallest field needs to be at a minimum approximately 200 metres wide. Like the field above its width is 12 tiles across- or 192m. 7. In the North of Pololomia I mixed in fields with industrial blocks. This can make building to the grid very interesting and thus rather Americanized. Remember: SPACE, fillers and clear rural/urban divisions. 8. It's perfectly normal to have an industrial estate or business park to suddenly emerge from the countryside and farmland. But these kind of areas often have a lot of green space, trees and again SPACE. 9. Rural/urban transitions come in all shapes and sizes. For instance the railway marks the separation between an outer city suburb and the countryside. 10. In the future I will show the full area and you will appreciate the layout, size and detail involved. In these teaser pics though and in this one we have a bit of MMP gridbusting. Gravel/tarmac MMPs can go in any direction, as can walls and flora- EXPLOIT THIS to the max! 11. The next big challenge of rural/countryside scenes are the fields themselves. DO NOT use plopped field/crop lots. These have little to no variation and so make the grid stand out like a sore thumb. Because of the fields variation/(organic irregularity) your eyes are drawn to the fields, thus rendering the orthogonal roads less obvious and intrusive. 12. But MMP fields -- and I have taken great inspiration and artistic license from Ln X here -- make fields realistic. Why? Fields are organic and plants are sprouting in a chaotic fashion. Laying down MMPs emulates this chaotic distribution and so the entire field becomes this large painting- subtle variation of one theme. 13. I will explain more about MMPing fields in a future entry- but the basic process is usually mixing two flora MMPs together to create a thick, detailed look. 14. MMPs can also extend lots which seem very confined. The industrial buildings in the centre have more presence because of the dirt truck stop. This is just one small example of how texture MMPs and vehicle MMPs can produce incredibly realistic scenes with only three or four MMPs being used. 15. Using Ilive's Reader and the Lot Editor, 1x1 residential buildings can be changed into parks with no base texture. 16. I'm only just beginning to explore this technique but the results produce astonishing off-the-grid images. The buildings are surrounded by MMPs which create the illusion of a large lot, but the reality is this- these are 1x1 park tiles which have a house in the centre and a transparent texture. For the longest time I have always wanted to do something like the above and finally my dreams are coming true! Well... That wraps up this entry. And next week another entry. Stay tuned.
  2. 1.The youngest Zabnis, groomed to become mayor after her father, is Cora, the Elder Zabnis' grand-daughter, who's been the town's mascot since a very early age. But she's not one for nepotism. She studied successfully as an engineer and landscape designer. She's begun to work for the city in the Park & Recreation Department and is making her way up from the trenches, so to speak -- at some point she worked on the dredging of a few swamps. One she replaced by a small but welcome rustic amusement park in the middle of town, Cora's Play Pond : 2. The other she tried to keep as much as possible in a natural state and it is now Cora's Park (both names were put up to a city-wide vote and those are the names which won). 3. 4. But there is are still plenty of places left where Cora Zabnis will be able to exercise her knack for taming waters, as the city grows : 5. Some she will left as is, I guess 6. 7. 8. And some of Smalville's waters will stay proudly untamed, like the Coyla... 11. ...or some of the original swamps... 12. ... or St Narcissin's Waterfall : 13. 14.
  3. Among the first settlers, very early on -- we're talking beginning of the Nineteenth Century, here -- there were priests and clerics, as usual. A contemplative order, the Narcissinists (following the rule of Saint Narcissin, an ascetic) built their community in the woods. It lasted about thirty years, then a fire destroyed the Abbey and the pious brothers moved closer to town. But the place is still a touristic attraction and also a magnet for painters and photographs, especially in winter, when the rock formations become sheathed with ice, and shine with fantastic, prismatic colours. P. R. of course and alas, was there in the summer... 1. 2. 3. 5. 6. Another remnant of the religious past is St-Vincent -- another ill-fated church ; but that one fell because of a design flaw -- and I mean the roof literally fell -- just during its inauguration, killing more than forty faithfuls (they were buried there). Superstitions flew around it for a while and it was a forbidden place (where the city's youth love to dwell !) The good thing is, it protected it from urbanization although the building stood right in the middle of what was becoming a very busy part of Smallville. After some struggle with avid realtors, the whole place was turned into a park. As what is left of the building has been certified solid, the interior of the church, with its carefully tended lawn, is now the setting for summer concerts -- classical music, of course. The accoustics are quite good. 7. 8. 9. As the terrain was a bit on the marshy side (perhaps a cause of the catastrophe : insufficiently compacted soil ?), it was drained thoroughly -- the pipes are hidden underneath of course, but the architect who oversaw the works (guess who ? Yes, Viktor Teynman) had a romantic well built along the paths. It's now called the Lovers' Well -- the kind where you get your wedding photographs taken and throw some change in. Once a year, the well is dredged and the sometimes surprising amount of small change is used for the park's maintenance.
  4. Smallville : River and Canal

    1. The Coyla, north-west of the city, was the first to be (relatively) tamed by bridges, and then the settlers began settling in earnest. It meant dealing with water -- a lot of water, beginning with the Mathis River and its many swamps (in the whole Eden Bay region, swamps were the bane of the first settlers.) The Mathis was especially prone to flooding, and very early on the first mayor, Zabnis Senior, decided it would be completely canalized. 2. 3. To convince the citizen to fork out their hard-earned money for the long-lasting, costly project, he had a sample built --his detractors derided it as “Zabnis' Folly”, but were overridden by the people. The Mathis would be vanquished ! 4. The work proceeded at a reasonable pace during the elder Zabnis' life. 5. Nice promenades were built along the canalized waters : 6. 7. 8. Zabnis Senior was reelected five times, but he would not see the end of his pet project. His son, Zabnis Junior, took the mayor's mantle after him and thought he would finish the job. But times had changed, something had been blowing in the wind and as the flooding had been reduced almost to nothing -- the engineers had begun, of course, with the sectors most prone to flooding -- the younger, greener generations wanted the river to keep on flowing free. A serious political struggle begun about a part of the Mathis which was now in the middle of the city, but still was a birds' refuge. A compromise of sort was reached : 9. After that and the changing of the guard, the Taming of the Mathis was no more first and foremost on the City Council's agenda : younger councillors were busier with commerce and industry projects. 10. And the river stayed otherwise free : 11. 12.
  5. Smallville : Logging

    1. For a long time the main industry in Smallville was logging, on Mount Harrelson. Once almost clearcut to death, it is now taken care of, replanted, and listed as "Renewable resource". Of course, the alluvial plain was also deforested in order to build the new Smallville (once bridges had been built on the Coyla). But three generations of tree-loving Mayors (the Zabnises, of which more later on) saw to that, and as you could see in the previous entry, the city is green enough. Now on with the logging. (Mostly a picture dump from P. R.'s memory album, if you don't mind, guys and gals. Xmas is looming ever near...) Here's the source of the small stream that helps bring the logs down to Lake Harrelson : 2. 3. 4.... where it all happens 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.Logging roads... 10. 11. 12. 13. Logs, logs everywhere... 14. 15. And finally, the people without whom none of this could occur : loggers hard at work.. 16. 17.
  6. 2016: Year in Review

    So give or take a couple of days, it's now been exactly one year since I decided to seriously get involved with SC4. To celebrate the occasion, I've decided to do a retrospective entry on some of mine and the community's favorite pictures from this CJ in 2016, with some commentary as well. Additionally, I'll be expanding upon various tips and techniques I discussed in 2016 along with adding some more as well. I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone once again for your supportive comments and likes in 2016 - they really kept me going, even when motivation was running low at times. Additionally, I apologize for the lack of updates recently. As you might expect, the last two updates of 2016 (Sydney and South America) were extraordinarily time consuming and draining - so some time off was in order. I'm still slightly burnt out.. but I am finally starting to finish up a couple of updates, so I will be unveiling those shortly. Lake Bogoria For my first entry in True Earth, I wanted to make a big entrance - so what better way to do that than a 10,000 pixel tall mosaic? Key pieces in Lake Bogoria included SE Asian slummy houses from nihonkaranws + Heblem tiki huts in the villages, various trees by SimFox, Heblem, girafe, and CP, Flamingo generators from SC4Devotion, and geysers from Craig-Abcvs. Journey Through The Sahara I've always loved the idea of an ultra crowded market, so Djenne, Mali was one of the first urban scenes that I created for this CJ. Generally, my rule is simple when it comes to these scenes - keep on adding more and more props in LE until I hit the prop limit (1,200 or so). nbvc's bazaar and Asian street market was vital here - but perhaps most important was Uki's stalls. It's amazing what you can find after doing a little digging around on various Japanese SC4 sites. For anyone interested in this lot, it's available on the STEX here (slightly trimmed to cut down on a massive dependency list). The sweltering small oasis town of Bardai, Chad. Given the small amount of desert-looking buildings readily available on the STEX and other sites, I had to get creative, utilizing a a little bit of everything that I could find. This included a mixture of kevinman houses, frogface slums, Wallibuk slums, Heblem tiki huts, and others. But perhaps the most interesting was the SimMars buildings that I used that fit surprisingly well. To finish off the scene, careful usage of the Poseidon terrain brushes was instrumental. Conquering Mount Fitz Roy Patagonia's mountains are impressive, but just as impressive is its fall colors. The Rio Fitz Roy dramatically cuts through the landscape - a mixture of brown Murimk MMP rocks and the brown boulders included in nbvc's Rock 'n' Stones (just don't drag them - click over and over until you get the big ones) did a great job of achieving that mountainous feel. Now we come face to face with the majestic Cerro Fitz Roy. Mountainous terrain mods are difficult to perfect in SC4, but I felt the one I made for this update did a pretty nice job of bringing out the imposing nature of this mountain. Myrtos Beach One of my favorite updates I made during 2016, Myrtos Beach was originally planned as the final piece to a massive Greece update. However, it quickly became apparent that it deserved an update of it's own. I got things started off with this simple yet beautiful sunset picture - it's amazing how small details such as photoshopped lights on the boat, house, and cars can make a big difference, making the picture feel much more alive. We move on to the overview of the beach. For this scene, it was vital having the right portion of various MMPs working together - which included Girafe Parasols + Cypresses and Heblem plop rocks + Chihuahuan flora. Greece - Part II I've always liked ruin scenes - there's always seems to be something magical about them. Bringing the Tholos of Delphi to life in the SC4 world meant lots of Aubrac walls, nbvc stone paths, and an assortment of random rocks and plop sands. After getting the hang of this technique quickly, I further explored the idea of SC4 MMP ruins with my Great Zimbabwe pic in my "Scenes From Africa" update. Athens - my first true city scene. Once I saw some of swi21's great Athenian buildings I knew I wanted to make an Athens recreation - but the lack of Greek urban buildings was an issue. I ended up finding some pretty close replacements on SimCity Polska - check the "After 1920" section. Meteora, Greece. The trickiest part to this picture was definitely the mountains and how to make sure they didn't look stretched. Vortext gave me a great tip - make sure you check the 'TerrainTexTilingFactor" property in your Terrain controller (If you're using a terrain mod - just search "controller" and you *should* find it in your plugins. Some are named differently though - so you might need to do a little looking around.) The terrain tiling factor is set at 0.2 by default - which generally produces stretched rock faces. Increasing this number to say, 0.25, 0.3, or higher will give a more realistic look on steep surfaces, but it will look a bit more tiled as a slight trade off. It's still a big improvement though over the default. South Pacific Anakena Beach, Easter Island. Here, I experimented heavily with MMPed grass - my technique was to work in layers. I got started off placing a base of PEG grass/moss for a lush, tropical look. After that, a random assortment of girafe seasonal flowers were plopped down, acting as areas of tall grass. Finally, I sprinkled in some of ChrisAdams' green rye grass to make certain areas thicker than others. One last thing I did was also sprinkle in some brown rye grass, light straw, and regular straw from ChrisAdams - these acted as areas of dead grass, and provided some much needed color variation. Small girafe bushes, berries, and feather grass were added too, to break up the landscape a bit. Also, an important note for anyone ever planning on using Moai in SC4 - make sure they have their backs facing the ocean. The locals believed that this signified the Moai were watching over them from intruders. I had to re-do the pic because of that Adamstown, Pitcairn Islands. For scenes like these, I wanted to place MMPs right around the buildings - which meant shrinking the occupant size down to 1x1x1. Additionally, I wanted them to blend in perfectly with the landscape - which meant deleting any existing base/overlay textures. (note: before making any edits, please note that plopping lots stripped of textures on steep surfaces may result in a visual glitch where the texture turns black instead. If you are considering placing these lots onto steep surfaces, one workaround is to place the already shrunken to 1x1x1 prop/building (if it's the latter, you'll need to convert it into a prop via Plugin Manager/PIMX) onto the the default Pz1x1 Grass lot in Lot Editor and delete the textures on that lot instead - small filler lots like these do not seem to suffer from the same issue.) Your lot will of course now function as a park, but it will allow you to plop it where you want without base texture issues. (One additional note - sometimes the .sc4lot and .sc4desc files will be bundled into a .dat file. In that case (and if you're able to track down the .dat file), you'll need to do some searching around for the right files - clicking the "entry" tab at the top will sort them, so that should make your job easier). The first thing you need to do is shrink the occupant size so you can place MMPs around the perimeter - open a lot's associated .sc4desc file in Reader, choose exemplar file on the left, click the Occupant size category, and shrink it down to 1,1,1 (pic). Click "set", "apply", save the file and you're done. As deleting all base textures is not possible in the Lot Editor, you'll need to instead find the .sc4lot file associated with a lot and open it up with Ilive's reader (make sure this is set up with the correct options/property files first) From there, navigate to the "Exemplar file" category on the left (there might be multiple "exemplar files" - the one you need for will say "LotConfigurations" at the top") and scroll down the list of "LotConfigPropertyLotObjectData" entries. Any entry beginning with 0x00000002 will be a base/overlay texture - deleting all of these (pic) will clear the lot of any and all textures (make sure you right click again after doing any deleting and choose "Reindex LotConfig" too) Scenes From Africa The chaotic African capital of Lagos. Continuing on with the trend of crowded cities, I don't think I'll ever make another one as packed as this. A mixture of Motokloss cars and cars from the massive LBT prop pack 1 fit the mood nicely - especially the yellow vans from the Motokloss pack which matched the infamous yellow Danfos buses that crowd the streets. As for building selection, you can't go wrong with Walibuk's South American buildings + his African slums too. Some of Glenni's buildings + the Hong Kong themed buildings in the Dong He Night market pack fit surprisingly well too. Majestic Victoria Falls. I once saw a pic a long time ago in @_marsh_'s legendary CJ "Royal Gansbaai Kingdoms" featuring an awesome photoshopped waterfall and it blew my mind. I knew it was something that I just had to try out. The Amazon Deep in the heart of the jungle lies Manaus. I really wanted to portray a city that truly felt like it was in the jungle - so I went a little heavier than usual with the editing. Mist/cloud brushes, a levels adjustment to really bring out some of the yellows/oranges, and a soft white diffuse glow all gave the the feeling of a hot Amazonian city. Now we move into the jungle itself with one of the Amazon's many stunning tributaries. My favorite part to this picture has to be the sand bars. To get them perfectly razor sharp, a technique that I employed (both in this picture and others) was to combine a water mod with an MMP such as JRJ dirty ploppable water or PEG grass/clover on the edges. Make sure the two are of matching colors - and you will be able to use the MMP to sculpt razor sharp lines along the borders. It generally should blend together perfectly (but you might need to tweak your water opacity, look here for a guide on how to do that). Scenes From Europe Pisa was the first time that I experimented with creating a completely customized texture for a city scene. It was tricky though, because the footprint of the buildings I used in this picture didn't match real life, so a perfect 1:1 scale recreation would look off. So I had to do a different technique for this picture. What I did was plop the important buildings in the game first, closely aligned to real life. I then turned the grid on in game and created a checkerboard pattern in Photoshop like this, outlining the placement of the buildings in the game. I'd then overlay the checkerboard from time to time while constructing the texture, with the final result turning out like this. From there, it was a matter of simply creating a flat plane in 3dsmax (I believe it was 10x13), placing the texture on it, and rendering it for use in game. The simple scene that I initially made in the game was then reconstructed in the Lot Editor, placing the main buildings on top of the big flat texture prop I made, along with lots and lots of detail work. Ronda was one of my absolute favorite pics I made. The lotting was especially tricky for this picture however, with the jagged cliffs causing issues. Because you can only make square lots in Lot Editor, this meant that some of the base textures would be overhanging over the edge of the cliffs. To remedy this, something you can do is place the base textures (I recommend choosing different textures - and also noting their texture ID) you want deleted as the very last thing you do before saving. You can then open up the .sc4lot file in Ilive's reader, and the textures/props placed last will be the very last "LotConfigPropertyLotObjectData" entries. To confirm you're deleting the right ones - any textures start off with 0x00000002 and their texture ID will be visible as the last value in the 13 rep entry. Delete the textures you want gone and you can now have a lot in pretty much shape you want (although, it will still "technically" be a square. This is more of a visual trick.) Heblem's dam set is one of the more underlooked BATs out there. The first time I saw it I knew I had to put it to good use - so I recreated one of the most impressive dams in the world, Switzerland's Contra Dam. Sydney The day overview of the Harbour city. Laying out the roads wasn't too horribly difficult - just remember that each SC4 tile is 52.5 x 52.5 feet when measuring in Google Earth while doing a recreation. The diagonal sections were tricky if only for the fact that there's not a lot of buildings to choose from. Glenni's buildings are usually my go-to here. The most challenging aspect to this picture was the highway system. As there's no elevated FARHW, it would been impossible to construct it using NAM components. I ended up getting creative, cutting off pieces of this Habour Bridge model and rendering them for use in game as modular pieces, as highlighted in this picture. It ended up working surprisingly well, though the long rendering times were a pain. My first venture into MMPing an entire urban park, Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens. ChrisAdams' paths were crucial here - I discovered that simply creating paths using the asphalt or concrete ones and surrounding it with a line of the dirt ones (or light dirt) creates a very nice layered effect. You can even use some of the smaller nbvc Rocks n' Stones to create the illusion of slightly terraced grass along the edges of the paths. The grass selection was pretty much a bunch of girafe seasonal flowers, but with some spots left barren to expose the terrain mod underneath. This had the effect of not only making the scene look less "busy" - a positive in my book, but also gave a little extra color variation. My usual strategy of using ChrisAdams brown rye/straw/light straw in various places was employed as well, for more color variation and to make it look like there was the occasional patch of dead grass. We now move on to Sydney at night. One of my favorite pictures of the year, I love how it turned out - full of energy, just like the city itself. South America Buenos Aires and it's world famous 9 de Julio Avenue + Obelisco. The textures made for the streets turned out really nice and it ended up being a gorgeous scene. Simple, small details such as illumination added to the street lights in Photoshop (inspired by the style of @MilitantRadical) can add a lot to a scene. Santos, Brazil. Whenever it's December, I always seem to visit @Bastet69008's and @elavery's great CJs to take my mind off the fact that it's 5 degrees outside and snowing. So I think it's pretty clear where the inspiration for this picture came from One last photoshopped waterfall. For a waterfall as truly epic as Iguazu Falls, I felt it certainly deserved it. Itaipu Dam was one of my bigger projects, and demonstrates the possibilities of importing sketchup models into the game - bringing to scenes to life that you thought would never be possible. I already did an extensive tutorial on the process of getting this behemoth into the game - you can check it out in the tutorials section of my last entry here. I'd also recommend getting acquainted with some of the basics of 3dsmax - a good guide on that can be found here. I normally don't like using Sketchup models to entirely create a scene (generally low quality) - but the Paramaribo house set I stumbled upon had some really excellent modeling. The building textures though weren't the best in-game, so some rain and a touch of extra grime added in after the fact really helped out. Bonus Pictures The cradle of life - Ngorongoro crater. As a whole, the spawnable flora from Xannepan's animal generators found on SC4Devotion are greatly underused. Outside of obvious choices like the African safari type scenes shown below - there's plenty of uses. Even just a couple plops of the buzzard generator over a natural habitat can help bring a scene to life. Even after making a number of wildlife related pictures in 2016, there's still many possibilities left over - something I intend to explore more this year. While I was pleased with how the Lagos scene turned out, I really wanted to make a nice grid buster scene. For Yaounde, a variety of techniques were used. For starters, I did the entire scene backwards then flipped it horizontally once I was done to give it a fresh perspective while remaining true to real life. As for the actual scene itself, the FA 22.5 and 67.5 cars included in Orange's prop pack were vital. Additional techniques were used such as slightly offsetting orthogonal buildings along the edges of FA roads and hiding the rough corners with flora. Custom content creation was extensive for this scene - not only did it require custom textures for the roads but it also marked my first serious venture into BAT, as I created the Yaounde Cathedral from scratch (although it's still very much a WIP). My first snowy city scene, Prague, required me getting creative. Essentially, my strategy was the following: since a number of the buildings in this picture were custom imported BATs, I had control in 3dsmax to give them snow textures on the roofs. Since all the other buildings didn't have snow - I pretty much copied and pasted the snow from the models that had the snow on them to the ones that didn't have any. The base textures didn't need any photoshop work as I designed the texture to be snowy from the very beginning. At the time, that strategy worked decently, but it was incredibly tedious. Since then, I've done a little experimenting and I think the best way forward would be a method such as the one used by pingpong. I would only suggest playing around with the "Selective colors" adjustment to make the whites a little more whiter. NOTE: All images on True Earth are hosted from dropbox, which seems to have more issues than other image hosts unfortunately. If you are unable to view any of the pictures in this journal thus far, I have dumped everything from 2016 into an imgur album here. Don't forget to comment, like, and follow True Earth if you haven't already! -korver --- Replies for "South America + Bonus Pictures":
  7. Scenes From Africa

    Our trip to Africa starts off in Lagos, Africa's largest city. Getting anywhere around town seems to be an impossible task with the never ending flow of traffic. Street vendors and hawkers are on every street corner, and the massive crowds of people everywhere adds to the congestion. In order to go anywhere, using the bright yellow danfos (buses) are almost a necessity - they're virtually everywhere in the city. But just when we thought the traffic was bad enough around our hotel - one of the local markets spills out onto the streets. This in turn forces one of the main roads to shut down and everything comes to a complete standstill for a couple of days. We're limited to touring the city by foot at this point, but at least we get to check out many of the beautiful goods that the local markets have to offer. After our stay in Lagos, we start traveling East - right into the heart of Congo. All the roads from this point forward are dirt covered - which potentially makes rainy season a real headache. Fortunately for us, we don't run into any problems for the time being. Along our way, we get to meet numerous tribes, observing their rituals and getting a chance to see how the locals live. The mud and thatched roof huts they call home have been a mainstay for thousands of years - and we can see why, noting their sturdiness and ease of build. Our next stop in our African journey is northern Tanzania where we take our Jeep through Serengeti National Park. The views from the ground are amazing, almost immediately spotting large herds of elephants, giraffes, and zebras. However, to get an even better view, we decide to board a hot air balloon instead. It's wildebeest migration season, and we get an excellent birds-eye view from our balloon - also finally spotting a couple of lions on the prowl as well. Once we get back on the ground, we finally start to make our way out of the park - but not before stopping a few times to let a herd of Giraffes make their way across the road. We board our plane and arrive next in Madagascar, being sure to see it's famous Avenue of the Baobabs. Not only are they perhaps the world's fattest tree, but they also can live for 2,000 years or more - they're truly marvelous as they tower high above us. However, just as we make our way out of the area, we're met with an unexpected surprise. We thought we left the traffic back in Lagos - but evidently we were quite wrong, getting stuck in a cattle traffic jam on numerous occasions. Once we make it back to the mainland, we travel a couple hundred miles West and make our way across the Zimbabwean border. After getting lost more than a couple times and finally getting some much needed help from the locals, we're able to locate Great Zimbabwe, nestled in the middle of the Zimbabwean foothills. Once the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe, all that's left is a collection of ruins scattered around central and western Africa. Despite their current state, you can still get a sense of the power and greatness that these walls once held. Our final destination is perhaps Africa's most famous - Victoria Falls. One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, these awe-inspiring falls truly live up to the title. Once we get there, we're sure to try out a little whitewater river rafting - it's the middle of the high season and the river is in full force. However, there's still something that's a little more dangerous that we have to try out. Our tour guide takes us back up to the top of the falls, and we board a small boat to Livingstone Island near the middle of the Zambezi river. We slowly move our way across the lip of the falls, careful not to take one wrong step on any slippery rocks along our way. Finally, we reach our destination - the infamous Devil's pool. We take the plunge, and the only thing protecting us from a 300+ foot drop is a small submerged rock barrier on the edge. We take a deep breath, carefully leaning over the edge to catch the view of a lifetime. Don't forget to comment, like, and follow True Earth if you haven't already! Thanks -korver
  8. Myrtos Beach

    Located on the island of Cephalonia in the Ionian Sea, few beaches across the globe can compare to Greece's breathtaking Myrtos Beach. Due to it's remote and rugged location, the beach is completely inaccessible by foot - the only way to reach it is to traverse your way down a series of steep hairpin curves. Once you make it there however, you'll be rewarded greatly with pristine, warm Mediterranean waters, perfectly soft white sand, and of course, incredible views. Our journey gets started off with us making accommodations at a timeless Greek villa - our room overlooks the edge of the beach, giving us a fantastic view of the sunset. We'll be staying here tonight, and tomorrow we're off to the beach. We set off for the beach early in the morning, driving through endless fields of daisies and poppies along our way. However, just as we roll down our windows to take in the smell, the clouds darken and it starts pouring. It looks like our day at the beach could very well be in jeopardy. Fortunately for us however, it was nothing more than a quick rain shower. The sky eventually begins to clear up and the beach starts to come alive with tourists. We stake out a prime spot on the beachfront and soak up the sun - no better way to spend an afternoon! Myrtos Beach is more than just a beach - it's an experience. Activities such as hang gliding are extremely popular throughout the area, so we throw caution to the wind and decide to give it a shot. We make our way back to the beach just as the day begins to wind down. Once nightfall approaches, we get a little peace and quiet once the beach starts emptying out - being sure to take it all in one last time. A perfect end to our day. I hope you enjoyed your visit to Myrtos Beach! Don't forget to comment, like, and follow True Earth if you haven't already! -korver
  9. South Pacific

    After a brief absence, our journey picks back up on the small nation of Palau, an archipelago of over 200 small islands in the far Western Pacific Ocean. Numerous volcanic explosions many eons ago pushed coral larvae up and out of the Earth's core, forming a massive limestone reef - and the erosion since then has given Palau's islands their distinctive mushroom shape. As most of the 200 islands are quite rocky with palms and mangroves draping over the waters' edge, it takes us a bit to find a nice beach, but we're sure to enjoy it once we get there. Later on in the day, we get out our snorkels and explore the vast coral reefs that surround the island - making sure to avoid the many sharks that call the waters home. We get back on our cruise ship and spend the next couple of weeks making stops at various South Pacific islands, none of which however are as beautiful as Tahiti's Bora Bora. The small atoll was formed by a massive volcanic explosion some three million years ago, and has been slowly sinking back into the ocean ever since. The waters that surround much of the islands are extremely shallow, giving the the locals the opportunity to build structures directly on the water - which is where we'll be staying tonight. Our thatched hut on stilts provides us an up close view of the many bent palm trees and pristine coral reefs that surround the island, and we take a moment to enjoy the island as the sun begins to set. We board the cruise ship once again and 1,500 miles later, we reach Pitcairn Island. Pitcairn's history goes back to 1789, where Fletcher Christian staged a mutiny against the William Bligh, captain of the British navy ship HMS Bounty. Christian and a small number of other mutineers settled on Pitcairn - making Adamstown their main settlement. To this day, nearly all of the 56 inhabitants of Adamstown are descendants of the original mutineers, and a number of them will be greeting us when our cruise ship reaches the island, which is traditional when a ship reaches the small port. After a small dinner in the square, we take a look around the island - not much seems to have changed since 1789. Not a single car or vehicle can be found on the entire island, making Adamstown seem very much stuck in time. Despite fighting flying cockroaches and spiders for the majority of our stay in our one bedroom shack, we take a liking to Adamstown's charm, with it's unique assortment of pines and palms along with the pounding waves that never cease to stop. Our final stop in our journey across the Pacific is Chile's Easter Island. After getting off our cruise ship, we check out some of the Moai that dot the island as we make our way to Anakena Beach. Rano Raraku is one of the best locations to do so, and it gives us the opportunity to get up and close with some of the Moai - but not too close, as touching the Moai is strictly prohibited. Special thanks to Simmer2 for sending me the Moai models used in this picture! We finally reach Anakena Beach. Anakena is one of two beaches that Easter Island has to offer - the rest of the island is quite rocky and barren, making it a popular tourist destination. We're surrounded by wild horses, endless palm trees, and the sound of crashing waves once we get to the beach, and Moai statues face inwards towards the island to greet us once we get there. The Rapa Nui people purposely placed the Moai facing inland while they were being constructed some 600-800 years ago - to show that they were protecting and honoring the people of Easter Island. The mysterious Moai statues offer more questions than answers: how were they built, how were they set up, and how did the Rapa Nui people move the statues across the island? No one really knows for certain, so we just sit back and admire their greatness. After checking out the Moai, we spend the rest of our day lounging around in our inner tubes, taking in the natural beauty of the island. Easter Island is truly a one of a kind destination, and it makes for a fitting end to our South Pacific journey. Don't forget to comment, like, and follow True Earth if you haven't already! Thanks -korver
  10. My SC4 CJ Scrapbook | News

    Entry 1: So I've been playing SC4 for about ten years now and most of that time was spent with the vanilla version of the game. Then a year ago I saw videos of various mods and whilst aware of their existence I was rather discouraged about using them for fear of their complexity. Well after some disasters I finally learnt the art of building up a portofolio of plugins as well as managing them correctly. Over the last three months (after I had to remove all the plugins because I did a bad job with the management) I've downloaded about 3.6 GB of plugins: thousands of buildings, thousands more of props, NAM, SAM, X-ports, slope mods, maps, tree controllers, terrains, more utilities plus civic facilities, parks and all sorts. It's almost overwhelming the choices you have and I've only explored at most a third of all the content I have downloaded. So as such I am still experimenting with my new toys and this is why this CJ is going to be more like a scrapbook. There is no coherent narrative just various pictures of my cities, furthermore there will be all kinds of quirks, oddities, blips and bloopers as I mess around with this huge palette. I had various requests from my Simcity 2013 CJ about starting a SC4 CJ so here it goes. May I introduce the city of Tamboria (in bits and pieces!). This is part of Eastern Tamboria. Here is Tamboria's primary power plant, this is also an important regional power plant as well. And of course no city can function without an oil terminal... ... or function without substations either. It took me a while but I finally found a substation prop configuration which I found aesthetically pleasing. While NAM is pretty darn cool, I think the rail catenaries are totally awesome! Tamboria's main hospital, centre right.. Of course no city is complete without its recreational facilities. Behold Eastern Tamboria's sport's arena which serves both for American football and for track athletics as well. Complimenting the mayor's generous provision of recreational areas are the mini-parks. Whilst designated green areas are yet another means for overworked Sims to stretch their feet. Last, but not least, is the downtown WTC area. Well that is it for this first entry. The next couple of entries will explore Tamboria more deeply, so stay tuned! Apologies if the interface appears in some pictures or the grid is present, this is because in my enthusiasm to take snapshots I sometimes forget to minimize the interface. Please note that I will only be posting ONE entry per week for this CJ as I have very little spare time. Special thanks to all those batters, lotters and modders who have given hardcore SC4 players a mind-blowing plethora of new features. Finally God bless grunge concrete and the grunge roads of paeng's!
  11. Scenes From Europe

    The Leaning Tower of Pisa Pisa, Italy Originally built in 1173, this world famous bell tower began to tilt as soon as it was being constructed. Soft soil coupled with an inadequate foundation meant that the tower had to be built slightly curved just so it wouldn't fall over during construction. The tower slowly began to tilt more and more as the years went by, and by 1990 the tower was on the verge of collapse and had to be closed to the public. Numerous attempts at straightening the tower were made throughout the 1990s, and was deemed safe enough to reopen in 2001. Today, the tower stands at a 4 degree tilt. National Library of Greece Athens, Greece The heart of Athens comes alive at night. The National Library of Greece, built in 1829, holds one of the world's largest collections of Greek manuscripts behind it's impressive stone columns. Landwasser Viaduct Swiss Alps One of the most noteworthy locations on the legendary Glacier Express passenger train is the breathtaking Landwasser Viaduct, especially during wintertime. Standing 213 feet at it's highest point, it's one of the most picturesque locations in the entire Swiss Alps. The Pantheon Rome, Italy Perhaps the most well preserved building of Ancient Rome, the Pantheon remains to this day as a temple to the Roman Gods. The circular oculus at the top allows light to enter, as well as the rain and any other natural elements. While there's numerous ways to get to the Pantheon, you can't go wrong with the time-tested solution: a horse drawn carriage through the streets of Rome. Puente Nuevo Ronda, Spain Located in the Andalusia region of Spain, the mountaintop city of Ronda is split in two by the 390 foot deep El Tajo canyon. Connecting the two sides of the old town is the breathtaking Puente Nuevo (New Bridge) - completed in 1793, to this day it remains one of the world's most iconic bridges. Contra Dam Swiss Alps Opened in 1965, Switzerland's Contra Dam is one of the most impressive locations in the entire Alps. Most notably, in 1995 it was featured in the bungee jumping opening sequence of GoldenEye (one of my favorite movies of all time, which is why I chose to make it in the first place). Periodically, the two spillways on each side of the dam will open, releasing 1,300 m/s of water, truly an amazing sight. Special models used in this update: Heblem Dam Set Landwasser Viaduct Puente Nuevo Pantheon Fountain Don't forget to comment, like, and follow True Earth if you haven't already! Thanks -korver
  12. Conquering Mount Fitz Roy

    Jutting 11,020 feet out of the southern Patagonian landscape, the imposing sheer granite walls of Mount Fitz Roy makes it the one of the crown jewels of the southern Andes. Technically challenging climbing routes coupled with notoriously bad weather makes it one of the toughest climbs in the world, but the view from the top makes it all worth it. Day 1 Our journey starts off in the sleepy little town of El Chaltén, Argentina, right at the footstep of Mount Fitz Roy. Our group meets up to discuss our routes in the upcoming days - the weather looks like it'll be manageable, but in this part of the world, that could change in the blink of an eye. We set off for Fitz Roy, and we're immediately in for a treat. The fall foliage is in full swing surrounding the misty Rio Fitz Roy, making for an absolutely gorgeous view. We won't be here long however, as the terrain quickly starts to get much more challenging. After several more miles of walking, we start to approach the base of the mountain and get our first up close view of the surrounding peaks, Techado Negro and Aguja de la 'S'. They're beautiful, no doubt - but they pale in comparison to the peak we're headed to next. Nightfall begins to set in, so we set up our tents and call it a day. Day 2 The day started off fairly easily - a straight forward climb up the mountain. However, our plans quickly got derailed when a storm approaches us, making any technical climbing an impossibility. We decide to instead take cover in a rocky outcrop and wait it out. Conditions finally improved just enough for us to continue on - and we begin to make our ascent up near-vertical granite cliffs. We had originally planned on setting up our tents on a small, flat plateau a couple hundred feet away - but due to previous setbacks, we fall behind and the darkness combined with driving rain makes any more climbing far too dangerous. We're forced to precariously hang our tents off the side of the mighty Aguja Poincenot instead. Day 3 Conditions still aren't great, but we continue to push on. The granite cliffs are coated with a thin layer of ice and storm clouds begin to roll in, making things far more dangerous than we had originally thought. However, despite the conditions, we persevere and finally reach the peak of Mount Fitz Roy. We proudly set up our Argentinian flag and take in the beautiful view - it's just as good as you would imagine. Don't forget to comment, like, and follow True Earth if you haven't already! -korver
  13. Greece - Part II

    In our first Greek update, we got to take a look at one of Greece's most recognizable natural wonders. Now, we turn our attention to some of Greece's most awe-inspiring, mysterious, and magical landmarks of the past and present. --- "There is nothing permanent, except change." -Heraclitus The center of the universe - the Tholos of Delphi "Bear up, my child, bear up; Zeus who oversees and directs all things is still mighty in heaven." -Sophocles Athena's temple - The Parthenon "Experience, travel - these are as education in themselves." -Euripides Born from ashes - Santorini "I never learned how to tune a harp, or play upon a lute; but I know how to raise a small and inconsiderable city to glory and greatness." -Themistocles The capitol - Athens "In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous." -Aristotle In the heavens above - Meteora Don't forget to comment, like, and follow True Earth if you haven't already! -korver
  14. The Amazon

    Our journey through the Amazon starts off in Manaus, located on the Rio Negro in the heart of the rain forest. It's one of the largest cities in the Amazon - despite it's remote location, it's well worth the visit. We take a stroll down many of it's historic roads, enjoying some of the architecture - the best example being it's beautiful ornate opera house. The Amazon Theatre was constructed back in 1896, back when the surrounding region was flourishing from the rubber trade. Lots has changed since then, and unfortunately we'll meet some of the harsh realities quickly.. After our visit in Manaus, we board our boat and begin traveling north through the rain forest. Unfortunately, it'll take quite some time before we actually get to see the untamed forest, as deforestation has cleared out much of the land. Once pristine sections of rain forest have been replaced by the signature "fishbone" pattern for as far as the eye can see. The need for cattle ranching and crops means that many will do just about anything for more land, including slashing and burning whole sections in one go. Although the rate of deforestation has dropped in recent years, it can't change the fact that nearly 20 percent of the forest has been destroyed over the last 40 years alone. Our journey continues northwards, and we move from the Rio Negro to one of it's smaller tributaries, the Rio Demini. As the river undulates and curves it's way gently through the rain forest, we finally get our first true taste of the Amazon. We get a chance to observe some of the surrounding wildlife - a pair of jaguars being the clear highlight of the day. Once we reach the small fishing village of Lisbão, we get a chance to meet the locals and stock up on supplies as we continue on deeper into the rain forest. The river gets narrower and narrower the further we go along - and it leaves us less room for error as we continue our travels. Once we finally reach some rapids, the only way to continue onward is by foot. We were told that the local Yanomami people inhabit these lands - but after many days hiking through the deep forest, we thought we would never see them. Finally, right at the Venezuela/Brazil border, we catch a smoke cloud far off in the corner of our eyes. As we move closer, sure enough we see the roof of a shabono (their circular huts) peeking over the canopy of the forest - we've finally found found them. As we move closer to greet them, the situation quickly turns murky as they take out their bow and arrow. They've never seen outsiders before, and not knowing if we're friend or foe - they threaten to shoot. To dispel the situation, we offer a pair of matches and they cautiously accept the gift. After learning how they work, they put down their weapons - we've finally gained their respect. After hiking for weeks from small village to small village, we finally reach one with a small airport. They're offering plane rides over Angel Falls - an offer we can't refuse. The ride takes us over a number of tepuis in the Guiana Highlands - stunning for sure, but they won't compare to what we see next. We finally reach the falls a couple hours later - getting about as close as you can possibly get by plane. At over 3,200 feet tall, the world's tallest waterfall doesn't disappoint - it's truly an extraordinary view. Don't forget to comment, like, and follow True Earth if you haven't already! Thanks -korver --- Replies for "Scenes From Africa":
  15. 2016-08-27-12-07-12.jpg

    From the album Duke's picture dump

    those two little things are creeks. I don't see the point of them either, but I'm quite pleased with how they turned out.

    © Thin White Duke

  16. Outer Bronzo

    Outer Bronzo- A place to live Outer Marrow is a very slowed down quiet town compared to its bigger brother and is why its the most heavily rich part of the suburbs. The very controversial White Rock Hill condo development was heavily protested for visual pollution and building over nature zones but I hear the penthouses have nice views of the city. Near the development is a Californian feat of engineering, The ADPA Building code still applies to the suburbs but is a little more lax and allowed a Bauhaus styled housing tract with a Streamline Deco shopping row back in 94' One of the more interesting parts of the suburbs is the Muerto Woods. For some unproven reason the entire is unable to grow trees or any kind of flora besides grass only during the summer leaving it a very creepy area to walk around at night or without someone with you. Back the good old days when Spanish settlers lived here adjacent to the now Downtown area owned by the Italians at the time it was a local myth that the Devil lived there and would snatch kids up if they went snooping around the woods thus Muerto Woods; But since we don't live in villages anymore edgy teenagers take group pictures in it for cover art for their bad punk album.
  17. Martin Falls : Islands

    When the tourist boom began in earnest, a lot of money-grabbing realtors began looking for places to build -- but the people who lived around Lake Martin were adamantly polysyllabic : NO rampant urbanification. Still, one entrepreneurial tycoon, named Don Rump, looked at the map and thought : But There Be Islands ! He immediately connived and schemed and bought under tables and he managed to get the main island all to himself. There would have been a murder of skyscrapers, and (good gracious !) a bridge to the lake's shore there if the People hadn't united and fought his dastardly plans. A compromise was reached. There would be no bridge, no skyscrapers, no building higher than two storeys. But, it would all be high-paying property and strictly controlled -- in fact like a gated community, except the gates are the waters of the lake, as you need either to own a boat (but no big boat allowed, remember : rowing or sailing only) or to take the daily ferry. And so was born L'Île aux Angles. Of course, there are no cars either. Then the UCF (the United Citizen Front) rallied the rest of the population and a bill was passed by the City Council declaring all Lake Martin's islands natural preserves. But it was after one of the islands was bought by Normand Bates, a misanthropic billionaire who'd made his fortune in computer stuff but wanted to return to a simpler way of life. What he was offering the city was just too god to pass, so they waited for him to be installed to vote on the bill. He just had a tent, at first. But, little by llittle, he built a nice little place for himself. In thirty years he hasn't left the island now named L'Île à Normand or l'Île-au-Fou. He has a cow, some sheep, bees, and an old rickety pick-up truck that hasn't moved in decades. Sometimes, for no fathomable reason, he paints it -- all red, or yellow, or blue. So, the other islands were safe. There is, unavoidably, L'île-à-Jacques and L'Île-à-Martin, named after the city's founding fathers ; they're small, and generally left alone for the birds, and swimming racoons. The islands that form the Sainte-Eulalie river's delta are affectionately called “The Paw". It is clear why : you have three fingers and the palm, right ? That's the only part of the river that has been canalized, mostly because of the railway bridge and mostly farther west. The three fingers have respectively been called Einie, Minnie and Moe ; the palm is, more seriously, the Île Morisset. But none have been built upon. Einie Island, closer : Now you may wonder why Martin Falls is called... well, Martin Falls. You'll see next time.
  18. Martin Falls : Falls and Rivers

    So, why is Martin Galls called "Martin Falls" ? Well... because there are falls on the Sainte-Eulalie river after it gets out of Martin Lake Downstream, L'île Bizard Seen from the other side : The Bizard Bridge During her stay in Martin Falls, P. R. didn't live near the falls, though ; she stayed in a very small B&B on Pointe-à-Lacalle, which divides the Ru-à-Jacques : ... the first red-tile-roofed building on the left, after the Sainte Rita church . There were quiet walks along the Ru, during lazy Sunday afternoons : [here, feel free to add bird songs and cicadas...]
  19. After her adventurous stint in Zinfandel, P. R. was extremely happy to reacquaint herself with the peace and quiet of green Eden Bay. Especially the rivers, streams, lakes and boggy pools of Kathy Vale (and even more so because that summer was very hot). It's cooler. Like, when you're shopping : ... or walking around ... ... or jogging .. ... water, water everywhere ! Thank the Mayor, the MEP (Mosquito Eradication Program) is working well.
  20. Hello everybody, don't know if I opened the topic in the wrong section, if so, please move it, thanks ^^ The thing is that I started using the Mayor Mode forest tool after a pretty long time without using it and surprisingly, mixed with the trees and vegetation, appeared some Maxis props (concretely construction props, rubbish, dumpsters... nothing custom made). It seems that they were added when I installed lots of mods and plugins some time ago and that are an addition for the brush or maybe are causing conflicts. I looked for a cause in the mods folder, but I don't find it, so I'm asking for your help. Does anybody know what I've installed for uninstalling it? Thanks a lot! Pics:
  21. What is needed, seeing that CS:S is such a strong game, to push SC4 to the next level? In my part, i really think that turning standard buildings in to MMP's (which can be turn in angles, diagonal, vertical, etc.) would give the game a new power. I also tend to think that, like the dragable paths, it would be possible to create some sort of dragable road (to allow building on curves). Do you agree Simtropolis?
  22. BSC - VIP girafe birches



    This is a set of 5 birches flora for the mayor menu. It contains 2 different versions: - summer - seasonal You could find these creations in mayor mode at the beginning of the list. For LOTters, these trees are available in Lot Editor Props Section's, under the name: Grfe_birch_... It contains 2 versions of props: -timed props -non-timed props Cooperation between lot of members for this set - special thanks to Lowkee33 and Dedgren for the seasonal modding.
  23. Version


    This is a set of 5 parasol pines flora for the mayor menu. It contains 1 evergreen version: - summer You could find these creations in mayor mode at the beginning of the list. For LOTters, these trees are available in Lot Editor Props Section's, under the name: Grfe_parasol_pine_... Cooperation between lot of members for this set - special thanks to Lowkee33 for the seasonal modding, Quesh for the icons © Pictures by Yan077 - Corsica

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