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"X" Tool: How to Create a Growable Lot

Started by RippleJet, September 06, 2007, 04:29:18 AM

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This is a step-by-step guide into creating a growable CS§§ lot with the "X" Tool.
The procedure shown below is based on beta version V0.32 with patch V0.34.
The program is at this stage still called SC4 PIM Extended (the LE part is not implemented).

The building used in this guide is Marcszar's Lever House, one of the first custom CAM buildings that was made with the "X" Tool.

The process of creating a growable lot is very simple.
However, for the sake of making it even simpler, I've decided to break it down into four basic steps:

     1. Creating the Building Exemplar from a BAT Model
     2. Setting the Filling Degree and Recomputing
     3. Creating the Lot Exemplar from the Building Exemplar
     4. Setting the CAM Occupant Groups (if it's a CAMeLot)

The pictures below are 1111 pixels wide.
However, in order to make it easer to read them, I haven't reduced their size.
Instead I've made sure to finish each line with a carriage return, so that the text lines are short.


1. Creating the Building Exemplar from a BAT Model

When you've started the "X" Tool, find your BAT model among the "Standard Models".
Drag the model down to the Descriptor type on your left, in a very similar fashion as in Maxis PIM,
in this case we'll drag it down to (CS$$) Medium Wealth:

You will be prompted for the name of the building. Be sure not to leave anything like "model" in it.
This name will be the Exemplar Name and is the name that the building will get in the game
It will also be used in naming the Descriptor (SC4Desc) file.

In this case I changed the name to Lever House and the Building Exemplar opens up (with that name).

At this stage the building exemplar is auomatically saved (the Save button is greyed out) in your Plugins folder.
If you click the descriptors for CS$$ on your left, you will find the Lever House among the files listed up on your right.

In accordance with Maxis standards, the file name will also contain the TGI address of the Building Exemplar.
In our example the descriptor file was named Lever House-0x6534284a-0x3224a93f-0x546572e0.SC4Desc


2. Setting the Filling Degree and Recomputing

The Filling Degree is a new Building Exemplar Property (0x27812811), and is introduced with the "X" Tool.

The purpose of the filling degree is to achieve correct values for a number of properties:

  • The Capacity (Occupancy)
  • The Water and Power Consumption
  • The Pollution Levels
  • The Building Value (used for taxation)

The only dimensions known from the BAT within the SC4Model file are the Width, Depth and Height of the LOD box.
These values are contained in the xml file included in the SC4Model file, and are copied to the property Occupant Size.

In Maxis PIM, these dimensions alone were used for setting the properties depending on the volume of the building.
In order to be able to distinguish between a full building that fills the LOD box completely and a narrow spire width a wide base,
the concept with the Filling Degree was introduced.

Consider the picture below:

The yellow box has the width, depth and height according to the LOD box dimensions (Occupant Size).
It is rather obvious that the buildling doesn't take up even half the volume of the yellow box.

In this case a rough estimate would say that the building fills about 30% of the box.
Thus, for the Lever House we would like to use a Filling Degree of 0.3.

When a new building exemplar is created in the "X" Tool, it will always get a Filling Degree of 0.5.
This corresponds to a good average and will lead to the same volume as Maxis PIM uses.

However, most often you will not be satisfied with a filling degree of 0.5.
To set the Filling Degree in the "X" Tool, right-click anywhere among the building exemplar properties.
Select "Recompute Properties as..." (the name of that menu item will change with the RCI type):

You will now be prompted to enter a new Filling Degree. In our case we would enter 0.3:

After changing the filling degree you will notice that several properties will change their values automatically.
The capacity will go down from 3194 CS§§ to 1918 CS§§ (see picture in the next section).

After changing the filling degree you will also have to save the descriptor file (the Save button will become enabled).


3. Creating the Lot Exemplar from the Building Exemplar

In order to create a basic lot in the "X" Tool, right-click anywhere among the Building Exemplar properties
and select "Create a growable lot using this building":

The "X" Tool will offer the smallest lot your building would fit upon.
In the case of the Lever House, this will be 6×4 tiles.
It will also calculate the Growth Stage according to this lot size.

You should now set the lot size according to what you're planning to do.
If you increase the lot size, you might also notice that the Growth Stage goes down.
This is all based on the Stage versus Density, which must be correct for the development simulator to function well.

You are also allowed to change the Growth Stage, but no more than ±1.
This should be used only for the purpose of setting the same Growth Stage to several buildings in a family.

The lot created will get its name according to Maxis standards, in this case CS$$9_6x4_Lever House_246575ad.SC4Lot.

The lot preview can be accessed by right-clicking among the LotConfig properties and selecting "Lot Editor (preview only)"
However, when creating the lot, the preview of the lot will open automatically:

This lot is a very basic lot, with only Maxis standard base textures and the building centered on the lot.
From here on you will have to use Maxis LotEditor to finish the lot.


4. Setting the CAM Occupant Groups (if it's a CAMeLot)

When the lot has been created, you will have to return to the building exemplar if you are making a CAMeLot.
Since the growth stage is dependent on the lot size, the growth stage will not be known until the lot has been created.

Go back to the building exemplar by clicking on its tag (Lever House):

Double-click on the OccupantGroups property and add those CAM Occupant Groups that are needed.
In this case we need to add 0xB5C00AB0 for CS§§ and 0xB5C00AB1 for CS§§ stage 9.

You may also want to check which tilesets you want to include.
In this case I removed the Chicago (0x2000), Houston (0x2002) and Euro (0x2003) tilesets, leaving only New York.

The Occupant Groups will show correctly once you've pressed OK:

Now, you must also remember to Save your building exemplar!


Just to make sure I'm not absolutely nuts, and since this is a sticky thats 3 yrs old, the CAM's OG are now set automatically when you make a lot over stage 8 right?


Quote from: travismking on August 28, 2010, 03:00:10 AM
CAM's OG are now set automatically when you make a lot over stage 8 right?

Unfortunately, the version which is currently available on the LEX, does not set those OGs automatically.
There is an updated version (RC7), which does set the OGs automatically though.
However, that version is still not available to the public...


hmm maybe I should learn to do this then =) Coulda sworn i read somewhere that the new versions did this for you, guess i didnt realize that the new version is not yet public :P


Thank you for the excellent training that you have shown. Already managed to make a few functional buildings but have a problem with the building of Bruj Dubai as it is composed of several parts and I do not know how to do them all. Moyen anyone looking at her. At least I have no idea how to make Grow.

- Ivaylo


There is a limit to how big a model can be (right?).  The solution is to break big buildings into smaller pieces and use them as props on the lot.  These props would have to be raised using the Ctrl-up/down function in LE.

The process for making the stats balanced for lots like these is a little more complicated, but if you can make something functional it shouldn't be a problem.

You basically will drag each model to the proper assignment (r$, IH, CO$$...) and calculate the proper filling degree for each one.  Keep track of each of the capacity values.  Once you have the capacity for all of the pieces of the building figured out you add them together (and delete the descs).  You will then make a new desc with the base of the building, and then adjust the Filling Degree until the capacity is the same as the total you found.  The filling degree can be bigger than one.


That 's it seems too complicated. I did not really like 2-3 buildings Grow WTC 3 and NASA but as I said before, they are only one part. In the Burj Dubai, things seem impossible. If anyone can make it  CS$$$ or CO$$$. I would be very pleased. I do not know whether it is possible to combine both types in one building but I could not unprecedented behind without good training with images

- Ivaylo


I think the bottom most piece should have a filling degree of 1.6.  This makes about CS$$$- 9,200and CO$$$ - 28,000
  You can't have the same lot be both, but you could have two identical lots and one will grow as CO and the other as CS.
You would then Copy/paste the props and textures from the original to the one you just make.  It looks like the creator of this use a blank building, but you will have the base as your building.  Therefore you will have to delete that prop, and move your building to the spot that it was in.


Quote from: Lowkee33 on October 17, 2010, 12:30:22 PM
I think the bottom most piece should have a filling degree of 1.6.  This makes about CS$$$- 9,200and CO$$$ - 28,000
  You can't have the same lot be both, but you could have two identical lots and one will grow as CO and the other as CS.
You would then Copy/paste the props and textures from the original to the one you just make.  It looks like the creator of this use a blank building, but you will have the base as your building.  Therefore you will have to delete that prop, and move your building to the spot that it was in.

Could you please create and send me that DESC file? Because I create 4 parts but can't make them so that the building is as it should be, not a few random parts. If you can make that file I'll be really greateful.

- Ivaylo


Seems like there have been a few requests for these to be made into growables.  I will check it out, but at this point I recommended working on it yourself.  You could try this advise, and then play around with the "re-compute properties as..." option until you get the stats you want.  My estimates were after a quick look and you might like something different.


^^^As far as I understood you can not help me with this problem
and I posted my application to that place from you. So my only remains to wait for someone who can deal with it. Thank you for direction and staying with hope.

- Ivaylo


When I do the Grow of a building, why can not I keep my textures, props and fauna of the original LOT. Obtained so that the building grew in the middle of the meadow which is very ugly. Gone are no trees or gardens or any fountains or any other
Please help me how to proceed

- Ivaylo


RippleJet's third picture, which can be found by hitting cntrl-f and copy/pasting "CS$$9_6x4_Lever House_246575ad.SC4Lot" into the search bar, explains where you need to go in PIMX

That is a picture of a Lot and in the bottom right there is a list of the textures/props found within it.  You need to open the original Lot, select all of the Textures and Props (not the building), right click and click on "Copy Properties".  Then you open your Lot, select all of the textures/props (not the building), right click, and click "delete properties".  Then you right click again and click "paste properties".  All of the textures/props will then be on your growable, and you would then click "save".


I try to do my description but my schedule does not give me those options
as safe properties and paste properties
and really do not understand where the mix

- Ivaylo


In that picture you have the "Type:Building" selected.  You can't copy/paste that in PIMX, so try it with only the textures and props selected.

That looks like it is the growable that you made.  If that is true then you want to delete all of those textures, and copy/paste from the original lot.

There is another way to do this though.  If you have the plopable lot opened, you can right click on it and get the option "create a similar growable from this plop".  It will then ask you what type of building you want (RCI).  The only thing you need to go then is recompute the Filling Degree.


I'm desperate now
I really do not know what to do. The buildings that I want to do is R and they not have plop so eliminated this possibility that I suggest.
And I want to replace textures and props from the original building and put them in Grow I want to create. Where I want to dabble I can do this is very important to me. I can disconnect from a few days I have not played the game trying to do that and failed.
(and I know that if you know for what purpose I need all this will laugh with me forever but for me it is important)

- Ivaylo

P.S. 3:27 AM Bulgarian Time: finally I managed, after so much time and nerves
Thanks to all the forums are so kind and patient to nonsense which you constantly ask