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Palace of Westminster (lookalike)

Started by imoutofusernameideas, February 07, 2016, 02:53:31 AM

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imoutofusernameideas

Hello everyone (or: everyone who still plays this game),

I'm not only new to this website but also new to SimCity 4. Over the past week or so I have already downloaded quite a few mods (NAM, water, terrain, buildings to my liking) and have found a large variety of them that have improved my gaming experience greatly.

Right now I'm trying to recreate London - or at least a city strongly inspired by it. The one thing that keeps bothering me though is that I can't seem to find a structure that could act as a stand-in for Westminster Palace. (Why Maxis decides to have Elizabeth tower as a standalone structure in all their games is a mystery to me anyhow.)

I have searched quite a bit for this and while I have found structures that can represent Westminster Abbey and other famous landmarks of London, I have not found anything for the Houses of Parliament (which really is the most important thing to me).

I have checked CasperVg's 'List of British-Styled Plugins', 'List of Government Buildings' and 'List of Religious Buildings' - all to no avail. I have searched the LEX, STEX and German kurier for hours with keywords such as 'England', 'Britain', 'UK', 'Cathedral', 'Abbey' and the list goes on and on - also to no avail.

The only two buildings that come somewhat close to the architecture of Britain's political heart, are Meister-Z's 'Rathaus' and Molooo's 'King's College Chapel' (pictures of both found below).

Both of these share the same pros and cons.

PROS
- Architecturally similar to the Palace (especially the chapel)
- The outer walls of both are extremely close to their lot borders, making it very easy to place them next to Elizabeth tower and creating the illusion that they are attached to each other.

CONS (which outweigh the PROS)
- both are quite high structures, practically dwarfing the tower next to them (the palace only has two storeys, so while Elizabeth tower isn't very high itself, it does visibly tower above its adjoining structure). This could be worked around by building the tower on a slope and then lowering the terrain around it, creating a (high) foundation, but this is obviously not the most elegant solution.
- both do not light up at night

So does anybody know of a structure that could be what I'm looking for? I would even consider placing a larger remodel of Elizabeth tower - which I have of course already searched for (to no avail).

Any help would be much appreciated.

Pictures

Rathaus



King's College Chapel


mgb204

Honestly this one has been discussed before, the palaces of Westminster and what most of us refer to as Big Ben would be hugely complex models. Possibly a handful of members could do it justice and it's too much work to do as a request.

Having much the same problem as you (also have a London-themed region buried somewhere), I never really found a suitable building for the houses of parliament, although the second picture is ideal (runs off to download). If scale is a problem, you could make Big Ben (I know that's technically the bell), larger to compensate, using model tweaker. Sadly, increasing the size of a model, plays havoc with the quality. So the flipside is to reduce the other model to fit the existing tower. Neither solution is ideal. If you can keep the banks of the river looking level, you might be able to get away with your idea of having the two at different heights.

The next set of London problems concern Buckingham Palace, again I found nothing truly right for this. Even the main government area in Whitehall is quite difficult to reproduce. UK content is not in huge supply sadly :(.




imoutofusernameideas

Quote from: mgb204 on February 07, 2016, 04:55:24 AM
Honestly this one has been discussed before, the palaces of Westminster and what most of us refer to as Big Ben would be hugely complex models. Possibly a handful of members could do it justice and it's too much work to do as a request.

Having much the same problem as you (also have a London-themed region buried somewhere), I never really found a suitable building for the houses of parliament, although the second picture is ideal (runs off to download). If scale is a problem, you could make Big Ben (I know that's technically the bell), larger to compensate, using model tweaker. Sadly, increasing the size of a model, plays havoc with the quality. So the flipside is to reduce the other model to fit the existing tower. Neither solution is ideal. If you can keep the banks of the river looking level, you might be able to get away with your idea of having the two at different heights.

The next set of London problems concern Buckingham Palace, again I found nothing truly right for this. Even the main government area in Whitehall is quite difficult to reproduce. UK content is not in huge supply sadly :(.

Thank you for the quick reply!

Sadly, what you've said is absolutely true. With most games like this, the first cities that are recreated on a large scale are New York City, Paris and London but with this game, the latter seems to have been left out.

As for Buckingham Palace, you do know of frogface's BAT, don't you? I know it's only the front part, but one can go from there.

If you figure out what the problem is with the chapel's nightlights, could you please let me know?

Also, I'd love an explanation converning the 'model tweaker' you've mentioned. What exactly is it and how does it work?

mgb204

#3
I am indeed using Frogfaces BAT for Buckingham Palace, but it's not ideal. I might have a go at that building myself one day.

London was not totally ignored, but just in case, here's a rundown of the best UK content:

- Everything from Ill Tonkso on the STEX
- Gascooker's wonderful BATs.
- RP2004/05/06 + Zero 7 (same guy)
- Callagrafx - Some fantastic high wealth towers and neat dockside residentials amongst his work
- Reddonquixote's fabulous St Pauls Cathederal, he'd be one of the few who could make Westminster Palace properly.
- Xyloxadoria made the Shard / London Palace Quartier.
- Caliban made the Gherkin.
- Yoder7652 made excellent models of both the London Eye and Millennium Dome.
- MattB325 also made a number of UK models.

If you've not seen it, here is a pretty comprehensive list, perhaps not up to date though.

The only people I know actively creating UK content right now are:

- Bombardiere - Making new UK content, some great Georgian houses released recently
- Mintoes - I believe he might still be creating, he made a few releases in the last couple years, some really great houses.
- ME! - Under MGB, I've made a few items, but I plan many more. I'm still fighting with 3DS Max, but they will come eventually.

Right now I've some props like a modern phone box and Tfl bus signs which I haven't yet released:



But I could send a copy your way if you know what to do with props? Right now I have them setup as overrides to show on RTMT lots.

You can find Coego's model tweaker on the LEX. Basically it allows you to change things with respect of SC4 models. Bear in mind, SC4 models are not typically 3D, so there are limitations. It's really most useful for re-sizing or rotating models (90° increments only), unless you are seriously modding stuff.

I can look at the nitelights for the chapel, but it wouldn't surprise me if it simply didn't have any :Edit: - Yup, no nite lighting for this model, sorry :(. Sometimes you can add lightcones in LE to simulate nitelighting, but that only lights up the façade of the building, so it's not ideal.

imoutofusernameideas

#4
Quote from: mgb204 on February 07, 2016, 05:35:35 AM
I can look at the nitelights for the chapel, but it wouldn't surprise me if it simply didn't have any :Edit: - Yup, no nite lighting for this model, sorry :(. Sometimes you can add lightcones in LE to simulate nitelighting, but that only lights up the façade of the building, so it's not ideal.

Well, better something not ideal than nothing at all. How would I go about adding lights with LE?

BTW, I have used the MT to resize the Chapel to about half of its original size. The only problem is, that the lot size remains unchanged. Anyway to fix this?

EDIT: I've also tried only changing the chapel's height, but this really messes it up so I really need to know how to rescale the lot it stands on.

mgb204

You'll need to open it up in the lot editor and modify the lot. Model tweaker only affects the actual models themselves.

However, there is something called the occupant size to worry about here too. This property determines the size of the building on a lot, in this case the chapel. Making the chapel smaller means the bounding box in the LE will be unchanged, so if you reduce the lot size, this box will be outside the bounds of the lot. This is very bad and causes immortal lots.

To fix that, open the lot file in iLives Reader, in the left side you should see a number of files. One of these will be a buildings exemplar. Find the property occupant size, and calculate from your resizing what the new one should be. X and Z are the width and depth of the model (metres), Y is the height, displayed as X,Y,Z.



Actually, you could just make it very small, for example .5,.5,.5, but bear in mind SC4 uses this figure to calculate where things are and prevent them colliding. I'd only edit the lot, having changed this property first.

As for adding some lighting, make sure you've BSC MEGA Props Misc Vol02 installed. It has lightcones from Vester which are invisible, and only shine light on your model. It may take some trial and error, but with only a combination of streetlight props (Lot) and some additional light cones, Paeng could occasionally work wonders for non-lighted models.

seraf

To be honest Westmister Palace is somewhere on my to-do list but it has a very low priority. The building is complex and I was never really sure if it will be popular enough.

imoutofusernameideas

Alright wait up. I'm terrible with this (never done this before). Let me see if I have this right.

1. Open SC4Lot file in iLives reader and change the X, Y and Z values to those of the size I want my building to be. x and Z would then become 1 and 2.5 and Y is a mystery. I have no idea how high the original building is.

2. Open Lot Editor and change the lot size to 1x2.5. (or 3? I don't know if SC4 does fractional lots, probably not.)

3. Rescale the actual building with MT.

Have I got this right?

mgb204

#8
You can rescale the model first. The X, Y, Z values of the original model are provided for you. They are the current occupant size you need to modify.

So in this case, that's 28.834999 (X), 63.388401 (Y), 78.125191 (Z)

If you rescaled the model to 60% of the original size, just make each value above 60% of the original and you will be fine.

The only important order is to re-lot things after changing the occupant size. Since the lot needs to update itself to know the building is now smaller.

Quote from: seraf on February 07, 2016, 06:46:12 AM
To be honest Westmister Palace is somewhere on my to-do list but it has a very low priority. The building is complex and I was never really sure if it will be popular enough.

I won't outright lie and tell you it would be popular. But amongst those looking to recreate London, this has got to be the #1 request I see. I could never do it justice, I'm sure. But you'd make a lot of peoples day if you ever got round to it ;).

imoutofusernameideas

I have done everything you've said (spent the past hour experimenting) and the Lot editor always gives me the same error that says no lot can be saved that has objects extending beyond its limits. What's up with that?

Could this have anything to do with this "re-lotting" you've talked about? What does that include? Just starting the game once and placing the lot?

mgb204

Sorry, re-lotting or a re-lot, is simply what you do in the lot editor. Indeed most changes require lots to be re-plopped or re-grown though once in-game.

The error simply tells you that the building upon the lot, is larger than the lot itself. So make the lot a little larger and it should be fine. If you are still having problems, just tell me the exact changes you made with Model Tweaker. In return I'll send you a fixed lot file that will work with the adjusted model :).

imoutofusernameideas

Yes, that's what I figured. What bothers me is that I've also tried reducing the size of the original lot and building by half and the editor still tells me that the building is too large for a 1x3 lot. Preferably I would like to rescale the original file by 60 % and have it on a 1x3 lot. Is that doable? What have you done with yours?

art128

Quote from: imoutofusernameideas on February 07, 2016, 09:25:56 AM
the editor still tells me that the building is too large for a 1x3 lot.

You need to change it in both the desc and lot files.
I'll take a quiet life... A handshake of carbon monoxide.

Props & Texture Catalog

imoutofusernameideas

Okay, never mind me, I'm being stupid beyond belief. The problem was that there were still textures outside the smaller lot. After removing them, everything worked fine. Though I have one question. The original building is 2x5 in size. When I rescaled it by 0.6, the width is basically a little bit larger than one tile so I had to make the "invisible box" a bit smaller than the actual building is wide. Width-wise the building now extends just a little bit over the lot's borders. Is this somehow bad for the game or adjoining lots?

@seraf: mgb is right. Personally, I would absolutely be next in line for this, although I understand that it would be very complicated to create. Perhaps one could ask one of the creators of other Gothic structures for base models? The Cologne cathedral is out there, the chapel mentioned above and another church that is similar to Westminster Abbey and Palace in architecture. Of course I don't know the first thing about BAT-ing so I'm not sure whether I'm being helpful. At all.

mgb204

Okay, I should probably expand a little on the occupant size here...

So I mentioned before you could just set it really small and carry on. You see the game decides whether a building is on the lot or not, based on the occupant size value. This is the blue box seen in LE for buildings, or yellow for props. Using model tweaker and adjusting the occupant size, you can pretty much do whatever you like.

What you absolutely mustn't do is have so much as one pixel of a blue (Buildings) boundary box outside of the lot. I'm not sure why you need it on such a small lot? You can overhang the model itself out of the lot. But, you must adjust the occupant size so the bounding box is within the lot safely. So for a set and forget solution, simply use the size 0.5,0.5,0.5 and be done with it. I mentioned before the occupant size affects other props that might collide with this building. That's only an issue if you place such props there. Not to mention, it's also handled by something called a LOD, which you can't alter. Therefore the occupant size just provides some extra wiggle-room usually.

imoutofusernameideas

Thank you for that explanation. I'm starting to get a picture of what all those terms actually mean.

Quote from: mgb204 on February 07, 2016, 11:31:11 AM
I'm not sure why you need it on such a small lot?

Because I generally don't want any free space around the building. This way I can place them next to each other and create the illusion that they are one and the same building.

Like this:


belfastsocrates

#16
Quote from: mgb204 on February 07, 2016, 05:35:35 AM

Right now I've some props like a modern phone box and Tfl bus signs which I haven't yet released:

Would you mind sharing those with me? :D


Forgot to mention, there's also the fantastic Warwick Square by Jasoncw - http://community.simtropolis.com/files/file/30880-warwick-square/

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"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination" - Oscar Wilde

bombardiere

Quote from: seraf on February 07, 2016, 06:46:12 AM
To be honest Westmister Palace is somewhere on my to-do list but it has a very low priority. The building is complex and I was never really sure if it will be popular enough.

I would be happy about this too. But yes, NY buildings will be more popular, but there are few of us London fans out there  ;) One day I might give it a go, but before that I need to learn a lot more.

I had a 3DS MAX trial for a short time and being a curious person I looked arount to see what I can do with it. I have an older Colossial Order game Cities in Motion 1. Actually quite nice game, a transport simulation, and I prefer it rather than their full 3D follow up Cities in Motion 2. (Which insidentally evolved into Cities Skylines.)

So I was able to convert some of its buildings into SC4. Some of the townhouses and terraces are good in SC4, others don't work. Their London expansion has a few landmarks. Westminister Palace, Buckhingham Palace, Victorial Memorial, Big Ben, Waterloo Barracks and Tower of London. Tower and Big Ben are the best, better than Maxis version. Both Palaces are scaled down version. The height is about right, but both buildings are much larger in real. I guess tehy needed to save space, as CiM cities are compressed from real cities.

mgb204

Quote from: belfastsocrates on February 07, 2016, 11:59:15 AM
Would you mind sharing those with me? :D

Hmm... I guess since you asked so nicely, see attached :). Model is HD with nitelights. Regular prop exemplars along with RTMT overrides (optional) included.

I stuck some goodies in a folder GrfeSeasonalT21. Assuming you like HD Seasonal Flora, I don't think these will disappoint. It's at a very early stage though :).

Quote from: bombardiere on February 07, 2016, 12:55:07 PM
So I was able to convert some of its buildings into SC4. Some of the townhouses and terraces are good in SC4, others don't work. Their London expansion has a few landmarks. Westminister Palace, Buckhingham Palace, Victorial Memorial, Big Ben, Waterloo Barracks and Tower of London.

How are these modded into SC4? Do you have files I can open in Max? Rescaling might look a mess normally, but if you adapt it with new textures, you should get acceptable results. I'd be willing to give them a go if the bulk of the modelling was complete. Actually, there's a really nice model of Battersea Power Station that I have that just needs textures too, I should get to that some day! So much to do before we can recreate England :).

imoutofusernameideas

@bombardiere and mgb: Those models look great, it would be lovely to have those as a SC4 version. It's a pity I'm so useless with this stuff, I would have been glad to help. If there is anything you can think of that I can do, please let me know.