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October 06, 2022, 04:51:58 PM

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Three Rivers Region

Started by dedgren, December 20, 2006, 07:57:49 PM

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Quote from: j-dub on September 23, 2010, 09:20:38 AMWhat do you mean by Maxis trees?

Just straight vanilla maxis (plus a modified Weather Exemplar)

It's a little complicated.  I will try not to dumb it down too much (don't mean to offend).

Seasonal things are props that appear at different times.  The seasonal lots have four props in the same place that are timed to change with the seasons.  This is different than my exploring.

Ennedi's post ( enlightened me to moisture.  Moisture and Temp levels determine terrain texture choice.  It appears the temperature simulation has been nullified (so that it is basically just altitude), but the moisture simulation is totally functional.  Maxis just has it turned down real low.  I have been playing with the Weather Exemplar and can make terrain textures change in a game year.  I am working on a new terrain mod

But god-mode trees work the same way.  A tree gets placed based on it's preferred temp/moisture level.  You can test this in-game pretty easily.  god-mode some trees at about in mid-July (7/20) and then in mid-Jan (1/20).  The moisture simulation makes Jan much more moist, and you will plant more trees.  Also the reason that the north side of a hill often gets skipped by a tree controller (dry due to wind).

So I believe everything is working as it should when the trees disappear (I saw them do this with an empty plugins folder + my modded weather).  I guess I should test it with some custom tree controllers and see if they disappear too.

I ran a vanilla maxis region and noticed that trees grow by themselves (getting taller, turning into clumps, getting smaller).  I believe this has to do with moisture because when I added my mod most trees disappeared and none grew at all.

I am hoping to one day understand this, because flora will be a big problem with my terrain mod.  Seasonal lots look pretty good, and as I refine the terrain I will be getting closer to matching them (and perhaps making more).  My big hope is for (dare I say) next-gen tree controllers that plant trees automatically.

As I progress I will be looking at this, but for now I am working on making the terrain work.


Fall arrives in 3RR!

A big update is in the works on that topic.  Stay tuned.

* * *

Thanks, all, for the birthday wishes.  Heather and I celebrated with the last camping trip of the year.

I'll try to go back through recent posts in a bit and make some comments- interesting stuff being discussed.  Lowkee33, welcome aboard- two great first 3RR posts.  I'll have some specific comments on the issues you raised, probably over the weekend.

Anyway- have a great day!


D. Edgren

Please call me David...

Three Rivers Region- A collaborative development of the SC4 community
The 3RR Quick Finder [linkie]

I aten't dead.  —  R.I.P. Granny Weatherwax

Skype: davidredgren


3RR in fall sounds good to me. :)  Snow probably can't be too far behind.  It'll be time for the good old termination dust pretty soon, right?
Find my power line BAT thread here.
Check out the Noro Cooperative.  What are you waiting for?  It even has electricity.
Want more? Try here.  For even more electrical goodies, look here.
Here are some rural power lines.


How did Chicken, Alaska [linkie], get its name?

'Cos the folks who settled it couldn't spell Ptarmigan.

* * *

Took Tristen fossil hunting today up near Sutton.

I'm back now, though, and working on 3RR and finishing up a project for our great friend Girafe.  Hopefully, we won't have another 5.4 earthquake like the one that woke us up just after 4 this morning.

It was 90 miles/145 kilometers due north, but it was a shaker.  That's two this week (plus a couple of days of 80 mile/130 kilometer per hour winds).  Sheesh!




D. Edgren

Please call me David...

Three Rivers Region- A collaborative development of the SC4 community
The 3RR Quick Finder [linkie]

I aten't dead.  —  R.I.P. Granny Weatherwax

Skype: davidredgren


Ohh, a guinea fowl of Alaska  ::)   surely a cousine of my friend Orange   :D

I have never heard that there are heartquakes in Alaska, so amazing

Thanks for the news and wait for you coming back to 3RR and others projects   ;)
The Floraler

This is the end, hold your breath and count to ten, feel the earth move, and then...

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *    *   *   *   *   *    * 


Quote from: j-dub on September 23, 2010, 09:20:38 AM
What do you mean by Maxis trees? Do you mean replacements, or more advanced modding? I never heard of moisture levels, just seasons. I don't have links, but I thought I had previously used stuff by Simgoober, SFBT, Cycledogg, and even from this here 3RR. At least, any trees in my game, the ones along roads and streets have their leaves change through out the seasons, and then die where the leaves are off the trees, and their all sharp, but don't vanish as far as I know, then through the vernal equinox I have spring green trees again through out the summer until autumn repeats again.

I think David may have better explanation for the tree and moisture thing, I better get his attention:
(filmed in the USA)

BTW, since I missed the train, happy late b-day David.

Hey, the Illinois Railway Museum!  Nice vid!!

Check out Abelfarei!


for some reason david, that pic reminded me of this:


Wonderful foliage.  I was lucky enough to have a friend get married mid September in Vermont and got to see some for myself.  I am in Boston now, and the air is getting crisp.

I just found the seasonal mayor mode flora  :o.  My screen melted.  Simply amazing.  Not too sure how it works, but it gives me confidence that a seasonal terrain mod could work well, and perhaps hints to an answer to my question. 

I didn't see any change (other than perhaps the elevation range) to the Flora Tuning Exemplar.  Did I miss something?

If I could throw an idea out there...  I played with the lily pads in-game ("Yay" for in-game), and made myself a little pond that had some in spring, a lot in summer, and some in fall (not to sure if that is how it works, maybe they all go away at once).  I think the time frame should be one or two months (four in those mods?).  This way there could be plops with lily pads that appear for 6, 4, and 2 months, and a more realistic pond could be made.

My guess right now is that you have various models on incremental instances.  The plop plants the first instance and then every time increment an amount is added to the instance choice.  If this is true then my idea gets complicated very fast, and becomes a burden on file size.

Excellent stuff.  Going to get back to to some terrain now.   

EDIT Nov 16:  I wont strike through my post because that effect just makes me try even harder to read them...  I have learned a few things about the way these flora work the past few weeks.  Tonight was pretty slow and I got through the first 40 pages of this thread.  The terraforming and stream work are just amazing.



I hear there's an update somewhere around here...

Ryan B.

Happy Thanksgiving, David & all you 3RR fans!  Hope y'all have a great day!


NAM + CAM + RAM + SAM, that's how I roll....


Happy Thanksgiving, David.  I hope you're having a good meal today.  :)
Find my power line BAT thread here.
Check out the Noro Cooperative.  What are you waiting for?  It even has electricity.
Want more? Try here.  For even more electrical goodies, look here.
Here are some rural power lines.


Rumors of my demise, and all that...

The really big thing going on in my life these days has been bringing my older adoptive son, Tristen, back to Alaska and getting him back into the real world after being institutionalized over most of the last five years.  It's been a pretty big task for Heather and me, and pretty much takes up all the spare time that I used to have to devote to 3RR.  Things are getting better though, and Tristen has made huge strides- he's adjusted well to a special needs classroom in a local school, he is having successful relationships with his peers and family, and he is starting to catch up on all the other socialization he has more or less missed out on since age 8.  There's lots of hope for him, but every day is a new 24/7 challenge.  In a year or so, too, we would like to think we'll be going through the same process with his brother Joshua, who still remains in Texas.  I feel terrible about the state of 3RR and my participation in the community, but Tristen and Joshua are job one- they have to be. 

I'm really sorry, folks.  I've been around a couple of times a month lately, but never long enough to do a worthwhile update here.  Thanks very much to all of the 3RR Regulars* who've stopped by or sent PMs and emails- you are forever the best!

* * *

So, I do have a bit of an update here.  It involves one of my first SC4 loves- mapmaking based on 3RR's 256 quads.  It was set in motion, oddly enough, by my every other year's purchase of a new laptop.  The 4 gig of RAM HP Pavilion 64-bit Vista machine (upgraded along the way to run Windows 7) I bought two years ago was getting pretty creaky from being used pretty much every day as a traveling office.  The screen had probably lost about 33% of its original brightness, which is a big issue given my vision problems.  Probably worse than anything, though, was that the silver paint was coming off the most highly used keyboard keys (A 3RR tip- never buy a computer with painted keys): E, I, O, A, S, D, H, L, and N.  That in and of itself would not have been a problem (other than being pretty unsightly for something a supposed professional carries around)- the huge issue was that the identifying key letter on top of the paint was coming off with it.  As I am a two-finger mostly hunt and peck typist (I know where the keys are by now but still can't stop looking at the keyboard as I type), this was creating all sorts of issues, and slowing down what I have been working on even further.  The day before (US) Thanksgiving, I'd finally had enough.

So I stopped at Costco [linkie] on the way home and after parting with (US) $999 came out with a brand new HP dv7-4183cl [linkie].  Six gig of RAM, a 500 GB hard drive, Windows 7, a nifty fingerprint scanner thingie that replaces having to type in passwords, Blu-Ray disk player, an aluminum shell (my last laptop was the first flimsy feeling HP I'd had- this one definitely is not) and, best of all, molded black plastic keyboard keys with white letters.  I'm sure the letters will wear off sooner or later, but the painted keys on the old one started to go after a year- way too soon.

Sim City 4, as always, had the honor of being the first item of software (other than Firefox) I installed.  I was able to readily find disk 1 of the last copy I bought (my fifth or sixth, I don't know- disk 2 lives in my drive in any event) when I purchased the old laptop, so that went really well.  I spent the rest of Wednesday evening installing other software and moving stuff.  One of the largest items to transfer is my SC4/3RR working file- all the pics from 3RR, collaboration stuff, development stuff- it weighs in at just under 50 GB.  The largest folder in that file is the 3RR Map Lab folder.  Some of the biggest maps in that folder approach half a gigabyte in size saved in Corel PaintShop Photo X3's proprietary .PSP format.  And this is where this update really starts.

Way back when I started 3RR in 2006, I was using a graphics program called Paint Shop Pro 8, made by a company called JASC Software.  I got pretty good at using it, and it did everything (then) that I wanted to.  I puzzled my way through vector graphics, layers, masks and alpha channels, and by the end of 2007 had quite a lot of work done using PSP8, to include all the 3RR maps.  By October, 2007, the master 4,096x4,096 pixel map (each quad is 512x512 pixels, so each pixel on the master map represented 1/4 of a SC4 gridsquare- a resolution, in other words, down to 25 feet/eight meters per pixel) was made up of over 20 raster and vector layers, with some of the vector layers having 200 or so individual objects (text, lines, shapes) in them.

This is the master map at 1/4 size- 1,024x1,024 pixels.

You can click here [linkie] to see the master map in its full-size (4,096x4,096) glory. 

It was on the 22nd of October, 2007 (I datestamp 3RR files when I save them: the filename: "Road_Map-071022-4" is forever burned into my brain), when I went to went to save my fifth set of changes and additions that day.  Fail.  Out of Memory error.  Try again.  Fail again.  Try once more.  Same result.  In fact, I was dead in the water completely.  Not only could I not save the master map, but the program would not allow me to remove anything from it (like an less important layer or layer items) so that I could reduce the amount of memory consumed.  I. Was. Stuck.

JASC had been purchased by Corel, which was selling PSP 10 about that time.  I bought it.  No luck.  I contacted customer support- worse than no luck.  Corel's customer service department is like a particularly bad neighborhood in the eighth or ninth ring of Dante's Inferno [linkie].  I wouldn't wish the "help" I got on my worst enemy.  They, in effect, lied to me about PSP's memory issues, which I later found about on my own by reading everything I could find on the topic (not a lot) on the Internet.  So, thinking the problem was my hardware, I added RAM up to the 4 GB 32 bit limit of my machines (and found out in the process that RAM in 32 bit architecture really is limited to around 3 gig by other factors even though you might have 4 GB installed).  Another dead end.  I bought PSP 11 and 12 from Corel hoping that the problem would be addressed.  Nope.  I bought a 64 bit Vista laptop that actually could address all 4 installed gigs of RAM.  That didn't work either.  A year passed.  Then two.  And now here we are, with mapping files I haven't been able to work on for three years.

Now why, you might ask, did I not simply migrate on to PhotoShop or, probably even better, The Gimp?  Take a slightly less finished but still modifiable master map file before Road_Map-071022-4 and just convert it over to a new program's format?  Well, because you can't.  There is no other program out there that imports graphics files saved with the .PSP extension.  So, guess where I'm at?  Yep- I now am using PSP X3 (that's how Corel spells "13," I guess) and I have three additional years worth of 3RR and SC4 graphics, many unavoidably saved in .PSP format (if you want layers retained in a PaintShop Pro/Photo graphics file, you have to save them as .PSP files).  Hence this rant, as I have since found out that Corel has done absolutely nothing over the years to address an absolute 2 GB memory (that's approximate, and probably overstated) ceiling on internal program workspace that limits you to files only a fraction of that size.  I'll note here again that there is absolutely nothing Corel publishes about the product that lets you know this and apparently, based on my experience, nothing you can do to Corel's tech support people to get them to admit it.  PaintShop Photo X3 is the end of the line for me, Corel-wise, and that's a sad thing, as I have a lot of time invested in becoming competent with this particular software.  But that's a rant for another day.

So, even though the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, I thought, as I looked at the brand new computer in front of me yesterday, what the heck...

And I'll tell you what happened (with lots more pictures) next in part two of this post, coming your way in a bit.

It's good to be posting today in 3RR at SC4D!


*  A 3RR Regular, as you all know, is anyone who has ever posted in 3RR, whether here or over at Simtropolis, at least once.  We've kept that same high standard for four years, and are not about to change it now.


D. Edgren

Please call me David...

Three Rivers Region- A collaborative development of the SC4 community
The 3RR Quick Finder [linkie]

I aten't dead.  —  R.I.P. Granny Weatherwax

Skype: davidredgren


David, what a wonderful surprise to see a post from you in 3RR! I'm interested in map making too, but I haven't tried doing it yet. If I ever get another region started and lay down some asphalt, I will try and see what I can come up with though.

It's sad to know you lost so much work, and I understand how you feel. Been there, done that and it isn't a pleasant experience. About the only thing you can do, though, is curse the very day you bought a computer and started using it! :angrymore:  :D

On the good side, I'm so pleased to know Tristen is adjusting to RL. You and Heather are brave and wonderful people to undertake such a task, but obviously you're doing an excellent  job of dealing with it.

Welcome back to the wonderful world we know as 3RR. The regulars are here for you no matter what, but you already know that, don't you?



Hey, David! Good to hear from you. That's awesome about Tristen! :thumbsup:

I'm hoping your next post is going to have some good news about that map...


Hi, DAVID ...
Welcome back and best regards ...


So, today I fired up PSP X3 and opened the dread "Road_Map-071022-4."

Sure enough, when I tried to save it...

Same message I've been getting for three darn years!

To be a completist (or maybe just a complete... well, you know) I then tried to remove one little tiny layer.  And the program let me.

I kid you not, folks.  I didn't believe it.  I've been doing this without success for three years.  Old habits are hard to break- I just didn't believe it.  So I tried to save it.  Fail.  And again.  And again.  Then I tried to remove another layer.  Fail.  And again.  And so on.

To relieve the suspense- I finally figured out that if I removed certain raster layers in a particular order, at about five gone I could save.  The rest, as you have probably figured out, was just a matter of moving things around.

* * *

So now I have rebuilt my master map much more efficiently.  I can work with it again and probably have bought myself some time to make a number of planned corrections and improvements while doing stuff in the future that will make it easier to migrate to a new graphics program.  Any suggestions as to which one and why would certainly be appreciated.

* * *

The first fix I made was to add Murphy Creek, a small stream that flows north from the US border across Dutchman Township to its mouth at the South Fork of the Wind River.  The master map did not show it, as it was added as a physical feature when I did the collaboration topo Dutchman SE.  Here's the area of the master map I'm talking about.

And here's the topo.

Now, this is the great thing about having a master map with everything I then create mapwise scaled to it.  Here's the topo reduced 4x and superimposed on the master map.

Note how the roads, freeways and rail line match right up.

Arrow #1 points out the creek.  Arrow #2 notes Metcalfe Spring, the output of which transitions Murphy Creek from a small northwesterly-flowing brook into a proper stream.

After I open the Streams and Creeks vector layer, starting at the creek's mouth at the South Fork I draw a two pixel wide anti-aliased polyline that takes the creek along the DW&W Highland Spur tracks.

I then extend the polyline to the point where the spring is located.

Too straight, eh?  The plan is to superimpose our polyline right on the topo course of the stream.

So we start by adding nodes and "pulling" bends in the line.

Pretty quickly (about 20 seconds in realtime) we reach the edge of the topo.

Another part of a minute later we've made it to the spring.

We'll then reduce the width of a new polyline starting at the spring to one pixel.

And in no time we have reached the US border with our new creek.

After we close the edit tool, here's what it looks like.  Although you can't see me do it, I'll group our two polylines in the Streams and Creeks layer under the name "Murphy Creek" to make them easy to find later on if need be- 3RR has over 50 small waterways.

We'll now delete the temporary layer that held the reduced topo and open the vector layer that contains the physical feature names, adding our creek's name.  The master map now looks like this.

Whoops, almost forgot.  Need to open the vector "Springs" layer and add the symbol and name for Metcalfe Spring.

Let's hide the transportation layers a minute and look at what we've added.

Yep, looks good.  So here's Murphy Creek on our master map- just like it was always there.

Makes updating the 3RR Atlas [linkie] page for Dutchman a snap.

So I've got a bunch of that sort of thing to do, along with some new stuff that you will be seeing over the next little bit.  I still have some other partially completed updates to work on, so there's hope yet that we'll end 2010 moving things forward.

Thanks for hanging in there!


D. Edgren

Please call me David...

Three Rivers Region- A collaborative development of the SC4 community
The 3RR Quick Finder [linkie]

I aten't dead.  —  R.I.P. Granny Weatherwax

Skype: davidredgren


Great to hear from you David, and glad to hear you have your priorities in the right place (we'd worry if you didn't). Glad to hear Tristen is adjusting well to being back home, and I hope the same can be said for Josh soon too.

As for the technological trials of map making, you certainly are a patient person. I probably would have gone through the ordeal of saving each layer separately then incorporating them into a new program as layers. As for what that new program would be, I haven't a clue, I'm still using the basic thing that came with my digital camera over 10 years ago. However, looking at what you've done with the map, particularly that vector line, both the precision with which you can control its path and the ability to adjust thickness on the fly, makes me want to consider updating to something new as well.

Great to see you back around here again.


Great to see you back here and working on maps and ideas. I am not an expert on paint/drawing programs or conversion between formats, but I would recommend you consider Inkscape, a vector drawing package, which can also trace bitmaps (available for free from Apart from being free, it is open source, so there is little danger of it being dependent on obfuscation by a single commercial owner. It is available for Windows, but it is multi-platform. It uses the SVG format, which I believe at least some versions of Paint Shop can work with. Since it is free (complete with free manual when you download it) the worst that you can do is waste a small amount of time trying it out to see if it might be suitable.


Hi David, it's nice to hear that the things will keep going on here at 3RR.

When it comes to mapping I'm usually working with QuantumGIS, a free Geographic Information System. Why? Well, it's made for mapping.  ;)

Although it will be a bit complicated in the beginning I think you should give it a try. The best starting point would be to read the user guide, which gives a short introduction to the basic concepts of GIS. It will be a little bit tricky to get your map layers in such a way into QGIS, so that you can measure distances and so on, because you will need a so called world file. But I can guide you through the process if you want.

Here's a little teaser:

I've exported the Timbuktu-Region with SC4Mapper as 16bit-PNG. Afterward I've loaded it into QGIS, applied a color ramp and some transperency and finally produced a shaded relief out of the elevation data - and the best thing: it took me only ten minutes. Now think about what's possible in ten hours...