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Three Rivers Region

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

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Wow, there's always something great happening here @ 3RR! 

This time its a tighter 90 degree road curve, which just looks amazing!  :thumbsup: This will be of great use when there is not enough room to place the larger curve, which is great! 
Keep up the excellent work!  &apls



Again, ignore the textures...

I need to remind everyone that I'm just the idea guy here.  All credit for making these work to Alex (Tarkus) and to folks like Markus (memo) who helped us blaze the trail last year with the FAR.

I'm going to see if some texture adjustments I have in mind help- otherwise I might be putting out an SOS on that as well.



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


* JoeST dies of excitement

and I dont even play the game...

what you do here is ABSOLUTELY fantastic

Copperminds and Cuddleswarms


Ahhhhhhh.... *light shines down*

They work! All hail David and Alex and Marcus!

I can't wait to get my hands on these...
NAM Team Member | 3RR Collaborater | Virgin Shores


It's great to see these things functioning. Without saying much more about the textures, I think you've got the tie placement nailed. I see a few small things here and there, but then again I had to look to notice them. Thanks to you for the idea, and Alex, Markus and anyone else who has been working on this.


I don't know what to say, except for Awesome  ()stsfd()
Follow my SimCity 4 Let's play on YouTube


Is the FARR project avaliable for download??? Great Work BTW!! &apls
Check out my SoundCloud


Quote from: rusummer1 on July 26, 2008, 10:47:35 AM
Is the FARR project avaliable for download??? Great Work BTW!! &apls

Not yet.  It's just in its first Alpha Build. ;)  Eventually, though.

And thanks for all the kind words, everyone!  And of course, thanks to David--I wouldn't have been able to do these pieces without him.

-Alex (Tarkus)



Utility poles [linkie], which were generically called "telephone poles" when I was growing up, were iconic of the North American midwest.  No rural US or state highway was complete without its line of poles at the edge of the right-of-way converging at a single point way off in the distance.

They were often your only companion along a lonely country road.

From something that was so common 50 years ago...'s surprising how quickly they are disappearing.

They once lined America's great railways as well.

Old style telephone transmission techniques required more wire pairs along trunk lines, which tended to follow the expanding rail system, hence the multiple crossbars so often seen along the tracks.

Even on these more recent pics, you can see that a far smaller number of wires is being carried than the crossbars originally provided the capacity for.

* * *

Sadly, there has been up 'til now little in the way of BATted telephone poles available to the SC4 player.  The best one to date was done by Spocky of SFBT.  We have looked at these in a previous 3RR update.

...I would give just about anything to get rid of those crosswalks on rural road intersections...

These can be downloaded here [linkie].

When you check out the readme that goes with the download... do read the readmes, don't you?... won't have to find out the hard way (like I did)...

...'cos I didn't read the readme...

...probably the biggest limitation of these poles.

Because of the static nature of the "wires," the poles must be placed on terrain that is flat as the proverbial board, or they simply won't connect up visually.  The slope in the pic above is almost imperceptible- there are other issues that arise with Spocky's poles on steeper lots as they attempt to level the surrounding ground.  Take it from me- it's not worth trying.

The two other issues as far as I'm concerned are purely subjective.  This pic shows each.

First, the wires.  A look at any of the RL pics in the first part of this post will quickly disclose that telephone/power wires droop between the poles.  Spocky's, as highlighted by the straight green line, are stretched taut (and necessarily so- there'd be no way to BAT them otherwise, at least that I can think of).

The second is the "concrete" cladding around the bottom of the pole, as noted by the small circle.  That may be common in Europe (although during the time I lived in Germany and then Italy in the 70s and 80s, I don't recall ever seeing such an arrangement) but in 3RR-country, they just creosoted [linkie] the poles and stuck 'em in the ground.  Just my regional sensibilities- there's surely no "right" way to do these.

I note, as an aside, that Spocky's poles do not cast any shadows that I have ever seen in the game.

So, back to the wires.  I think foregoing them altogether would solve three problems, one not yet mentioned.  Making the poles completely independent of each other would free them up to be LOTted on transparent lots, either alone or with other roadside props, and used on any slope that might come along.  Eliminate the wires and you eliminate the need to figure out how to create a self-aligning droop.  So, there's two things accomplished.  What's the third problem, then?

At game scales on normal monitors, a notional telephone/power line wire a quarter inch/.625 centimeters in diameter is, bluntly put, invisible.  Look at it this way- at the highest zoom level (press the [ 6 ] key in the game), a 50x50 foot/16x16 meter grid square is about two inches/5 centimeters square on your monitor.  Most monitors in general use running Windows run at 96 dpi, so let's say at that view level each side of that gridsquare on your monitor, for discussion purposes, is 200 pixels long.  The smallest object, then, at the closest in view level that can be accurately displayed is three inches/15 centimeters across- more than 10 times larger than our wire.

And that is the largest scale- two zoom levels down (press the [ 4 ] key in the game), a gridsquare is about one-quarter inch/.625 centimeters square.  The smallest object that can be seen at that level is two feet/.6 meters across- almost 100 times the size of our poor wire.  I know we make compromises in our beloved simulation at all levels of viewing it- this one, IMHO, is not necessary.  The eye will immediately pick up a line of telephone poles- I think the mind will fill in the wires.

So, what does 3RRT&T (Three Rivers Region Telephone & Telegraph, of course) think would be good specs for some BATted poles?  Well, they are smart enough...

...unlike your humble author... refer to the readme, in this case the A B C of the Telephone: A Practical and Useful Treatise [linkie].  First published in 1901, and currently scanned on Google Book Search [linkie], this work, now in the public domain, is crammed full of more info than you'd ever need to know about state of the art telco operations, circa the end of the 19th century.

It looks like the average pole would be around 35-45 feet/13-15 meters tall (aboveground) and about a foot/30 centimeters in diameter at the bottom, tapering to about 8 inches/20 centimeters at the top.  The crossbar, according to ABC, would be about 4 inches/10 centimeters around and about six feet/1.8 meters long.

It would be great to see these in one and three crossbar variations.  They could be done with the crossbars on the ortho axes, and on 30, 45 and 60 degree orientations.  There are also opportunities for creative variations, such as "T" junction poles and poles with "helper" supports or guy wires.

Matt (threestooges) of the newly renowned ITC Team has offered to give these a go.  Let's see what he comes up with, but that should stop anyone else from trying their hand, either.  Matt's also been great about sharing his models with us, so these should have the benefit of lots of folks taking a look.

Anyway, longest 3RR post in a bit.  More soon.


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 looking poletastic here and so sadly true that the good ole poles are all but gone...  I know over here in my neck of the woods we still have a fair good number of old poles.... I cant wait to see what you have further in store here for powering...   

Ohh not to tut the horn here a bit have you looked into the telephone poles by LBT I believe its in LBT prop pack 1 or 2...  Either way where I was going with this I know its possible to get these as actual power lines as what Fukuda has done with his metalic poles, maybe a possiblity that he might be able to convert some of these?

EDIT: Pat, hey- great to see your comment here.  I checked out the three LBT prop packs from the LEX and, while there is some fine stuff in each, none appeared to include telephone poles along the lines of what we've been discussing.  The packs, btw, are available here [linkie to PP1], here [linkie to PP2] and here [linkie to PP3].  As far as Fukuda's high tension towers are concerned, I agree that they are great work- my understanding, though, is that his towers were just a rebat substituted for the Maxis original and that the way the wires work when a powerline is dragged is controlled by the game .exe. -DE

Don't forget the SC4D Podcast is back and live on Saturdays @ 12 noon CST!! -- The Podcast soon to Return Here Linkie


Happy to help on this and, in the spirit of sharing information I'd like to share some of my first findings. Some basic info about the BAT and things in game: 1 story is around 4-5m. I say around because the original Maxis structures tended to vary, with commercial being closer to 5, residential closer to 4. As far as modelling goes, .3m is about the minimum you want to use to have something be recognizable. If it is smaller, it may seem invisible or at most cast a small colored splotch on the surroundings.

With that said, I have tried two quick (and extremely basic versions to see how things would shape up. On the left is the pole design following the ABC dimensions mentioned by David. Note that the crossbar is listed as being 10cm around (which would give it a diameter of around 3.18cm, or .0318m). I actually misread that and the left-hand version's crossbar is a 10cm (.1m) diameter; which seems to reflect the design shown in the second pic of David's last post. The version on the right is a 14m pole with a 3m wide crossbar with a diameter of .2m, which might better reflect the 3-bar version in the train pic.

Scaling these things is easy enough to do, but as far as following prototypical dimensions, I wanted to double check and get thoughts on the matter and let everyone see the development process.

EDITJust looking in, Matt.  I note that sometimes you just have to go, as well, with what works visually,  The pole on the right looks almost perfectly scaled, whether used for a one or three crossbar variant.  I also note that, after reading your post this morning, I went back and fact checked my own original post- while on the roll of writing it I mistook by a factor of one-half the size on the screen of the closest in ([ 6 ]) zoom level.  As is plainly seen in a few of the pics in the post, each grid square shows up as about two inches/5 centimeters across, making the finest granularity (the smallest object that can be represented by a pixel) about three inches/7.6 centimeters.  That's still many times the size of our wires, and doesn't change my argument in that regard.  It might, though, allow you to at least semi-realistically (especially given the apparent visual shortening of dimensions inherent in the MODding process) add in details like

the (1) crossbar supports and (2) the glass insulators.  That said, even your basic pole looks very good- the taper is impressive; I thought it would be far less apparent.

The pole in the pic, by the way, is from the easement along the road in my yard.  Thanks for having a go at these, Matt
. -DE


Just checking in this morning, and finding out that our forum software upgrade has been put off for another week.  So, I left a few edits in recent posts and I'll leave you, while I work on a post I didn't think I would need 'til later, with a nice pic of the North Cascades and Mount Baker (the dormant volcano in the background) in Washington State taken out the window of my Horizon Air flight from Helena to Seattle on July 12th.

Have a great Sunday!


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


Quote from: dedgren on July 27, 2008, 07:53:15 AM
Have a great Sunday!

Oh I am. Haven't had the chance to pop in for a while, but when I do .....
My oh My what great progress on FAR/FARR. Those 90o turns and the addition to the railroad  &apls &apls &apls
Great idea too about the poles :thumbsup:

What wonderful surprise will you next treat us to?

Until the next time


Kettle's on. Milk? Sugars?    ps I don't like Earl Grey  $%Grinno$%
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - If you're not part of the solution , you're part of the problem!
"Never knock on Death's door: Ring the bell and run away! Death really hates that!"
Tales at TeaTime      Now A proper NUT      TTC plays GRV II


Quote from: dedgren on July 26, 2008, 01:53:43 PM

...I would give just about anything to get rid of those crosswalks on rural road intersections...

And the traffic lights! Even in the small town I live in there are no traffic lights.


Hey David, I'm willing to experiment with retexturing those intersections. I have a secret project (shhh...) that I'm working on right now that involves altering most of the regular old Maxis textures. I will try and change the road-road intersection. Any particular design you want? I was thinking just a thick white line across the right lane.

And very informative article about telephone poles. You really go into the details.

One question about the poles though: Since they're probably not going to have actual wires modeled, would it be possible to use t21 exemplars to have the poles automatically along the road, without using a lot?
NAM Team Member | 3RR Collaborater | Virgin Shores


Ah, Mount Baker, can see it from a long way off (Vancouver), beautiful picture  :thumbsup:


Baker.. one of the few mountains I leave Vancouver to ski.

Wonderful shot David

Henrik Sedin: 82gp 29g 83a 112p - 2009/2010 Art Ross/Hart Trophy winner!


Great picture there David. Surprisingly low altitude there though. Was that taken from a prop plane or a jet? At any rate, I've made three very basic types and, if these look good, I'll go ahead and make angled versions suitable for angled/FAR roads, etc. I know it doesn't show up too well in the preview, but the glass insulators are there too. The picture is at the closest zoom for the game. Next up, I'll try to make some T and 4-way junctions. Any thoughts from anyone are appreciated.

Dimensions: 13m tall, 3m wide.


EDITAltitude: 22,000 feet/6,700 meters.  Plane: Bombardier Q400 (propjob).  LOL!  These look absolutely great, Matt.  I will look up some pics of tees- I know I've seen one recently. -DE


I can't count the number of times I have received PMs from folks who tell me that they really like 3RR, but they feel they can't comment on the thread itself because

  • 1)  They haven't read the whole thing from the beginning and don't want to sound like they don't know what they are talking about.

  • 2)  They tried to keep up, but fell behind at page 142 and finally threw up their hands.

  • 3)  They aren't somehow officially involved in collaboration, so they don't know whether it's OK to comment or not.

  • 4)  They               [fill in the blank]                 , so they're not sure if a comment               [fill in the blank]                 .

Now, as we are all 3RR Regulars* here, and that's officially or otherwise, I'm going to let everyone in on a little secret...



...promise you won't tell?...


...really, really?...


I make all this up as I go along.

* * *

Now that the terrible secret is out, let's reflect on what is its significance.  Three Rivers Region, for starters, is not a Mayor's Diary anymore, to the extent that it ever was one.  jeroni, in his infinite wisdom, gave me the space and flexibility to move it to its own little home in the forums off by itself... hmmmm-

...makes it easier to keep an eye on that way- never thought of that..., unlike that genre's usual paradigm, there really is no start point and direction to this thing.  There's nothing, for instance, you need to read on page 12 that you need to know in order to take in page 212, which will shortly become is now the current page.  We do here whatever strikes our fancy- I go off on tears from time to time, that's true.  But you don't need to be up to speed here in order to leave a remark about something that catches your fancy or your attention.

Three Rivers Region is also not a literature club, poetry society or some other highbrow exercise that you need an invite to participate in.  It's like, hi- I'm David.  I'd like to know your first name, too- it's easier for me to address you as a friend by calling you Bob or Sue or Erik or Han than "EmergencyCode23-19."  I know that this seems to violate one of the basic rules of fansite participation...

...if I tell you my real name, bad things will happen to me, like receiving pizza I didn't order and getting personally addressed spam from folks who want to enlarge your, wha' the heck!  ...nevermind...

...but, hey- this is a SC4 fansite.  We're all special here- servants of the secret fire of Maxis, as it were.  You know you can trust me- hey, I'm a lawyer!  If you want to know, btw, more about me than is good for you, click here [linkie].  Don't say you weren't warned.

But, yes- 3RR imho first and foremost is a place for me to hang out on the Internet with friends.  And that's anyone who posts here- consider that your invitation if you need one.

"Yeah, but you're an Administrator and if I post anything foolish or not slavishly complimentary in 3RR you'll ban me and then say bad things behind my back."  Now, why would anyone ever get that idea?  Now, as a matter of fact, someone who knows me better than that just called my current entry over on the pic contest [linkie] "boring and lifeless."...

..., it doesn't matter to me where you put the body- the dumpster's fine...


See, I'm not fazed a bit.  Nobody's banned.  Nobody's on Double-Secret Probation.  Come on- give me 'yer best shot...

...where was I?...

I'll tell you something about being an Administrator here- I check my God-like power over your mortal existence at the door when I enter this thread.  Nobody can ever say they've been treated poorly here at SC4D over anything that was posted in 3RR.  The reverse is also true- you can post here every day, say all the wonderful things about me that you want, and if you break jeroni's rules, well... there you go.

At SC4D, we are really proud that every administrator not only actually plays SC4 (four of the five of us have had MDs or equivalent projects), but that each has, in his own way, worked hard to create custom content for the game.  Three Rivers Region is a way that I can be best accessible to you.  I read every comment here carefully, and try hard, if I can't do something myself, to at least keep those who might be able to act on them aware of all the ideas and suggestions that you give me.  The comment that isn't left might have been the next wide curve set, or ploppable water enhancement.  Again, trust me, I try to use my admin powers as a force for good...

...well, most of the time, anyway.

In Part Two of this post, we'll take a look at a quick and dirty guide I've been working on in the hope that it might make 3RR more accessible for the still nervous.



* A 3RR Regular, as you should already know, is anyone who has ever worked up the nerve, at least once, to post here or over at 3RR-ST.

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


Hey David

(thought I better post rather than be silent )

that last post was hilarious, I think I better go back and read some more of your non-sc4 posts just to get some laughs :D

as always, cant wait for more on the various projects you are currently undertaking ::)

I love being a developer, its great... (me goes randomly off topic ;D)


EDIT: WOW a Barby...
Copperminds and Cuddleswarms