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whatevermind's BATtery

Started by whatevermind, August 30, 2012, 10:05:23 PM

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Yup, I'm starting a BAT thread  ;D

Long story short, the BAT bug bit again this past week, and this time actually resulted in something that (I think) is half decent, so I figured that's as good a time as any to start getting some feedback on these things.

Presenting, MatriX Energies:

That it happens to resemble a somewhat spiky battery as well isn't entirely accidental.  I'm still fussing with the scale a bit, but the image above is 21 floors, including penthouse, and just ever so slightly too big for a 5x5 lot - in meters it's roughly 80 wide by 180 high.  Any thoughts on the proportions?  I'll probably put it on a 6x6 lot and fluff it out with some corporate patio filler, but maybe this weekend I'll get a chance to test it in game and make sure the scale is alright before getting to much further along.  Obviously there's no textures yet, or doors for that matter - it's far from a finished product.  Let me know what you think.

On to some questions that have been floating around my head, and perhaps you all have some answers to:

  • Is it possible to save preview render images?  What you see above is a screen capture of the render, but I feel like I've seen much larger render pictures of buildings that aren't necessarily bigger than this one on here.  Any other tips on presenting BATs-in-progress?
  • How do you all do roof junk? (Apologies to the MEP industry for that term by the way, we really do appreciate all you do.)  Do you each model your own roof junk?  Is there a library out there somewhere you can snag these models from?  I've never really given it much thought before, everybody seems to just magically have some to put on their buildings.  I know you can get pretty detailed info from manufacturers, and I guess model a bunch of pieces using that, but it'd be easier if there's just a collection of it somewhere to pick from.

Please, let me know what you think, any tips or suggestions would be appreciated.  :)


Quote from: whatevermind on August 30, 2012, 10:05:23 PM
  • How do you all do roof junk?
I make my own.

Do you have a graphics or paint program? The most important part of a roof is the texture. Adding grunge where water collects, light and dark areas that simulate a passing cloud, tarpaper seams, etc.

I'd make the middle glassed into a maintenance penthouse instead. Where the pulley's, contactors, and cables are housed that run the elevators. Put some branding on the side of that maintenance room ... XXXXX Bank. All the other junk can then be small. A couple of security cameras, a couple of two way radio antennas, some vents, and drains to carry rain water away.

Jim Myers  (5th member of SC4 Devotion)


Thanks for the advice!

Ok, let's dust this thing off  ::)

Here's my latest, moving onto some residentials these days:

And a night shot:

I know it's not much to look at, it was just a quick model to get used to working around the program again and try out some tips I've picked up lately. Also the first time I've really done anything with night lights, which turned out better than I was expecting. Also my first real attempt at lot editing, which is still baffling, but getting less so.  :P

Anyway, the main reason for making that building and showing it here was to get some feedback about the vertical scale of the building. I set the floor to floor heights at 4.3m, and I think that it looks close, but not quite tall enough. It's hard to tell, but I'm trying to compare it a little to other 3 floor R$ buildings, and it looks like I just need to kick all the floors up by maybe 0.5m to get a good versatile height to work with. Thoughts?

I have a few other questions that hopefully some of you more experienced BATters can help me out with too:

  • Does anyone know any tips/tutorials for making hip and gable roofs? They're complicated to make even in AutoCAD, and I can't even really figure out how to start in gmax.
  • I've noticed that grouping seems to cause the transform gizmo/pivot point to randomly locate - I would think it would be at the geometric center of the group, but it doesn't always do that. I know I can go back and move it to the center after the fact, but is there anyway to control where it ends up during grouping?

Thanks for reading!  :)


As far as floor heights, I generally go with 4m~4.5m.  You'll note in your screenshot that the 1x2 Chicago apartments have a shorter floor height than yours, while the 2x2 Euro block has higher floor heights.  It's inconsistent (both in-game and out).  Your best bet is to make sure the building scale is *internally* consistent, and then scale up/down as needed once you're done.

For gabled roofs, if you're modeling the walls and roof separately you'll need a little bit of trigonometry:

tan(pitch_angle) = height / width
pitch_angle = tan-1(height / width)

If you need the run length of your roof:
length = sec(pitch_angle) * width
       = width / cos(pitch_angle)

length = csc(pitch_angle) * height
       = height / sin(pitch_angle)

Converting back and forth for radians / degrees (may be necessary depending on the calculator you use):
radians = degrees * (π / 180)
degrees = radians * (180 / π)
Python Enthusiast


That's roughly where I am on heights at this point. I think my latest models at least look "internally" correct, as you put it. The interesting thing about trying to work with traditional roof pitches is getting around the influence of vertical scaling. For example, in the pictures below, I think I used a 8:12 pitch for the gable, figuring that was a 6:12 amplified for SC4. Overall, I think it worked out, but also that the vertical effect is less noticeable on sloped surfaces than it is with the walls.

Anyway, I did manage to play around with roofs a bit and develop a method that pretty systematically tackles the basic roof types with relative ease and not too many bugs:

That's the same base building with seven different roofs on it.


Anyone in the mood for a stockade?

Very much a work in progress, and I realize there's some alignment and repetition oddities that I'll sort out. What you see there is all 1x1 lots, with a straight piece, and inside and outside corner pieces. It is tall, it's meant to be a defensive wall, so no country fencing here.

Thoughts? Comments?


Great idea and a good start! Just the other day I was wondering how to go about constructing defense walls for small towns so this would come in handy for sure! I presume a gate of some sort is in the works? And dare I ask for diagonals?! (yes, yes I do)

The houses remind me of the Stockholm set by OddfromSweden, which I happen to like quite a bit. Keep up the good work!  :thumbsup:
time flies like a bird
fruit flies like a banana


Thanks! Not much new to show picture-wise, I still have only the same three pieces in game. But, they're now slope friendly, and I've been battling the twin demons of negative shadow and custom LODs. I also spent a day playing around with textures and scale and ended up almost back where I started. Here's a newer picture with some buildings thrown in for scale.

Ignore the lot textures, those will be gone for the final set.

Diagonals are included, as are various corners and intersections. I am planning at least a simple pedestrian gate as part of the wall set. Maybe more.

Now a question. Currently I'm setting these up as lots. Is there any interest in an MMP?


Quote from: whatevermind on December 20, 2013, 08:23:02 PM
Anyone in the mood for a stockade?

In New Zealand it would part of a hill fort called a pā, the simplest would be single wood palisade around the village stronghold, up to something set on a hill ... this is what's left of one

it would consist of a series of terraces, ramparts and multiple wall palisades with underground communication passages and escape passages.

great idea, happy with lots, MMP's would be great   &apls

I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?" DEATH thought about it. "CATS," he said eventually, "CATS ARE NICE.


Happy New Year everyone!

First, an update. At the moment I have 20 wall pieces made, and in various stages of being lotted/completed. I also have a small gate that is partially done, but needs some more fine-tuning. I'll get a picture of the full set up here once the models are all done.

Now, I could use some help. See the image below:

One of the pieces has a corrupted Zoom 5/East render. I know I've seen people with similar problems before, but I have no idea how to fix this one. The other zooms/rotations for this piece are fine. I've tried re-rendering, resetting the LODs, lights, cameras, etc., without any luck. Any ideas? Any help would be appreciated!


Ta da! The first 20 wall pieces are done. I call this the basic set, though I may toss in a few more before release.

I am still having the rendering issue I posted about last time, in case anyone knows how to solve that.

I also have one gate. A diagonal version is planned, too.

And yes, that's a tank.  :P

Regarding the gate, while it shows a road in that particular lotting, it's not TE, but if I learn how to TE lots, I might make TE gates. Of course that raises the question of what street texture to use on them. I'd like something generic that can be overridden by SAM, if that's even possible. But for now, the actual release is just planned to be a blank gate on a blank lot, like the wall pieces.


You could make the lot an overhanging gate. That gives you the opportunity to offer us a gate that lets traffic through without having the hasslle of TE-ing, finding a good texture, getting requests for other textures etc...
Nice project! The tank is more or less an anachronism, or did I screw up my history lessons?  ;D


@Frank: I did think about using an overhanging prop for the gates, and I might end up doing that if I make larger gates down the road. However, this gate is only 1x1 anyway, so it's TE or nothing. Which means all that fuss over textures, etc. So for now, nothing.  :P

On that note, go get your Stockades on the LEX! &dance


Quote from: whatevermind on January 11, 2014, 09:52:10 PM
On that note, go get your Stockades on the LEX! &dance

&dance indeed!  ;D

On a gate-related-note: maybe make some 'end' pieces as well, similar to the end pieces in Jeronij's walls?
time flies like a bird
fruit flies like a banana


Quote from: whatevermind on January 11, 2014, 09:52:10 PM
@Frank: I did think about using an overhanging prop for the gates, and I might end up doing that if I make larger gates down the road. However, this gate is only 1x1 anyway, so it's TE or nothing. Which means all that fuss over textures, etc. So for now, nothing.  :P

You could decide to combine the entrance with a one tile wide straight piece. The straight piece is on the lot, the gate is the overhanging prop. This means you always have one straight tile next to the gate, but in most cases I think it's no problem.... And if you can make the overhanging piece as a separate prop, every lotter can combine the gate with a tower, diagonal or any other kind of lot. No TE-ing.... no discussion about textures, avenues, streets, trams in street through gate...



@vortext: I'm not actually familiar with those walls, I'll have to download them and take a look.

@FrankU: I think I understand better what you mean now. Consider it added to the to-do list.   ;)


So, I looked into jeronij's walls, as suggested by vortext to see what those end pieces were about, and I don't think they would be useful for my stockades. Jeronij's pieces overhang the edges of their lots, so an end piece that doesn't is necessary for a clean break. Mine don't, so you can end your wall just using a regular piece.

One thing I did see in there that interested me though is an under-bridge piece. Which might not be the most realistic thing for this set of walls, but I can see its uses, so it's on the to-do list.


Hey all! I haven't been around much lately, but I did get a few more stockade pieces done. I realized while playing with v1 that there were a few T-intersections that couldn't be made, so I made those for v2. I also put in this set a straight underbridge lot, an offset gate, and a curved corner.

You can find all this on the LEX!



Great additions!  :thumbsup:

Now, what about curved dia-ortho pieces?! ::)  ;D 
time flies like a bird
fruit flies like a banana


I haven't had a chance to use the stockades yet, but they're a great idea, and look to be very nicely done.  And I especially like that there are diagonal pieces :thumbsup: