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Three Rivers Region

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

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Looking forward to read the rest of it, it will be insteresting and instructive. :thumbsup:

EDITSilvio, hey!  Back for return Double-0 honors, my friend. -DE

EDIT backYepp, looks like I hit the lottery, let's see if it happens too in RL. -Rayden ;)


Yay a tutorial ! And from the best !
Although... I won't have any excuse for my crappy terraforming skills now. :-[

Sincerely, thanks for helping us getting to the next level of enjoyment everyday.



That's a nice start on this great tutorial. Looking forward to the second section of your new tutorial, David.


David love the pics cant wait for the rest of the tut!!!

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


I'm still absolutely flabbergasted by that new ploppable water...with such an awesome tool in my arsenal, I will finally be able to get rid of the pasky plague that is the bulky and unwieldly Maxis water. ;D ;D The tutorial is also very interesting so far, it's fascinating to see into the methodical mind of David...because I know I could certainly never be so precise! $%Grinno$%

Keep up the fabulous work, David. :satisfied:
...this space to be filled soon...


Wouanagaine's pic gives me the idea that if a brown water texture could be made, and more opaque, then one could bring about the appearance of a flood, perhaps, for a sort of disaster effect. This could be used with the terrain brushes available on the STEX that could be used to show mud after the waters have receded...

Great work with the ploppable water, though!
My days here are numbered. It's been great and I've had a lot of fun, but I've moved on to bigger and better things.
Glory be unto the modder and unto the fun and unto the city game!


sweetness. That was an incredible tutorial, david :). im not sure i need it though, but ill consider dl it for future purposes.
300... 200... 100... 50... 40... 30... 20... 10

Yep, I still got it.


David you wanted something like soo right???

click on the pic   ;)

Enjoy sir!!!!

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


Well, here goes...

This is Part Two of a planned multi-part tutorial on the use of fine terraforming techniques in 3RR.  Part One is here [linkie] and Part Three is here [linkie].  In this part, we'll explore the various tools and methods used to rough-in the bed of a small stream and prepare a roadbed for the installation of a culvert.  The tutorial presumes only basic knowledge of the game, but does build on things covered in Part One.

Before beginning, I'll reprint in its entirety a PM I received from our great friend Adam (Ennedi), whose MD "Ennedi Plays Shosaloza" [linkie] was one of the three original selectees to the SC4D Mayors' Diary Hall of Fame.  Adam is a master of both SC4 terraforming theory and application, and on reading the first part of this tutorial wrote as follows:

QuoteHello David,

Two comments about your "Fine Terraforming Tutorial" (Great idea and beautifully ilustrated!  :thumbsup:)

1. Terrain Query: You don't need to install Buggi's cheat plugin to use it. You always can click Ctrl X and type terrainquery, exactly as you described. But if you have Buggi's plugin installed, you can right click inside the command window instead of typing. A list of cheats will appear, you can choose Terrainquery and then click Enter.

2. Your explanation is very good, but I can add one tip: one click by lowering/raising tool changes the elevation of the Northwest vertex of the tile by 0,2 - 0,3 m as you said. If you want to change the elevation very little, you can lower/raise only two vertices instead of four. Then if you will place a road tile, it's final elevation will be an average of four vertices elevations. Try it.

I'm rather sure that you noticed it, but I made two tutorials about fine terraforming. I absolutely don't want to present them together with your tutorial, but I inform you - maybe you will find something useful for you there? One nice thing in my second tutorial is an instruction how to use mayor/God mode levelling tool (decreased size but full strength) to level the terrain very quickly. It is very useful if you want to make and irregular but flat area (such as stream bed or lake bottom) instead of placing road tiles, if you just made this one tile flat (as you showed).

I have to admit that I've gotten so used to having buggi's plugin installed that I'd forgotten that it actually doesn't provide any actual new functionality, game parameter adjustment (i.e. "cheat") -wise.  It simply disclosed to us what GPAs were available, and Adam is thus exactly correct.  There is no need to have the plugin installed to use terrainquery.  Simply type it in the [ ctrl ]-[ X ] input box, and you are ready to roll.

The second of Adam's tips I did not know.  We'll explore the very useful method he describes in some detail in a later part of this tutorial.

As to his final point, Adam is far too modest.  He covered, long ago, much of the same ground we are going over here, and each of his tutorials is well-worth a read in conjunction with what you see here.  They can be found at

Precise terraforming part1: Mayor Mode tools - raising and lowering the terrain [linkie]

Precise terraforming Part 2: Levelling the terrain [linkie]

So, thank you, Adam for your input.  It's great to know that we're headed down the same road, and we'll look forward to hearing from you further as we move forward.

* * *

We ended Part One with a road tile at the bottom of a hole.  You'll remember that we are in the process of terraforming a ploppable water lake and stream into the quad we are developing.


In preparation for creating the streambed south (toward the bottom of the screen) of our hole, we'll first select the demolition tool by pessing [ B ] on the keyboard and left-mouse button dragging the tooltip over the part of the road to be removed.


With the roadway gone, we have a clear path


to work on the streambed.


Selecting the road tool by pressing the [ R ] key, we'll position the tooltip in the gridsquare immediately to the south (screen bottom) of our existing road tile on the sloped side of the hole...


...and left-mouse click to place a new road tile.

Now, if you've used this technique before, you are likely painfully aware that on many steep slopes you will get an "unsuitable terrain" message and no amount of clicking will allow the road tile to be placed.  I've noted that for future reference, and will cover what you need to do when confronted with that situation in a later part of this tutorial.

So, now we have two adjacent road tiles.  You can take on faith that they are each completely level and are both at the precise same elevation or you can check this by using terrainquery.


We'll extend the level bottom of our excavation by placing three additional road tiles in the manner just used.

Now, you know we aren't planning to build a road down there.  What we have created using this terraforming technique is an excavation with a level and otherwise uniform bottom and sides.  It may look simple, but this method is very powerful when used in conjunction with the other tools that are available.  The concept to take away from this is that by plopping a road (or as will be seen in a moment, rail) tile next to one that is already plopped. the gridsquare under the newly plopped tile will be leveled and made the same elevation as the gridsquare under the originally plopped tile.


Let's start angling the streambed excavation to the east (east).


This is an important extension of the concept I summarized just a moment ago.  "Next to" includes along any of the diagonals, so the flattening and leveling effect can be more or less directed along any path you would want to establish for it.


We'll fast forward to all the road tiles being plopped along the future bed of our stream.  Remember, this is the "rough" pass at this- I think you'll be suitably amazed at what you will wind up with from here after we apply the remaining techniques I'll be describing in parts of this tutorial to come.


Let's prepare the road grade across the place we plan to put the culvert.  We'll start by bulldozing the road tiles under and one tile either side of where the roadbed will be.



...a guilty pleasure.  I don't enjoy blowing stuff up in SC4, but demoing terraforming tiles is an exception...


Let's plop a road tile next to the west (left) end of the gap in the roadway.


Hmmmm... that was unintended.  Looks level and flat though...


...let's plop the next one.


Oops!  That didn't work.  While a dip in the roadway might be desirable under other circumstances, we don't want one here.  How do we get a flat and level extension of the grade when we have no control over the first road tile we plop merging with the end of the existing roadway?


The answer is easy.  We'll plop a rail tile.  They can't, by definition, merge.  The same thing works in reverse, too, at the end of a rail line.  Use a road tile to flatten and level the extension of the grade.

So, select the rail tool by pressing the [ R ] key, then...


...plop a rail tile.

  We use the same technique as before to extend the grade one gridsquare at a time...


...until the entire grade is in place.


This grade is dead flat- let's add a little detail common in real life.  We'll superdetail in a little "hump" in the road as it crosses the culvert.


Set up a size=1 force=f1 :Raise Terrain tool and position the tooltip over the northwest (top left) corner of the gridsquare that the culvert will be "under."


Click three or four times- enough to raise the corner a little less than a meter/three feet.  You can see what this looks like in the pic below.  The culvert will pass under the gridsquare marked with the "X."  Note how the south (bottom) edge of the gridsquare remains at the original level of the new grade.


Now, set up a size=1 "Level Terrain" tool.  As we have done before in leveling the first gridsquare in the bottom of the excavation, start with the tooltip in the northwest (top left) corner of the gridsquare that you just raised in the previous step.  Then, press and hold the left mouse button and drag the tooltip south (toward the bottom of the screen) along the west (left) edge of the gridsquare until you are in the northwest (top left) corner of the adjacent gridsquare.


The west (left) edge of our target gridsquare will raise and become level, creating a two gridsquare "hump."


We want, though, to raise and level the entire gridsquare, though.  So, when you reach the northwest (top left) corner of the adjacent gridsquare, begin dragging the size=1 Level Terrain tooltip east (right) to the next adjacent gridsquare to the east, as shown in the pic below.  You will get to the point where this, along with the final step following, can be done all in one quick motion.


As described, continue dragging the tooltip to the northwest (top right) corner of the gridsquare to the east (right) of our target gridsquare.  You'll see that the target gridsquare is now flat and level, but elevated just a bit over the other gridsquares that form the top of the grade.


Dragging the street tool to extend the roadway across the grade...


...confirms our success in creating a small hump in the roadway.


Another oops, though, shows up when we look at our streambed.  We see that its path does not extend beyond the near (bottom) side of the road grade, thus keeping us from plopping the culvert properly.  Let's repair that.  We'll plop a road tile in the gridsquare where we want the south (bottom) culvert end to be exposed.


I did this to illustrate the precision that these techniques allow.  As you can see, making this last alteration in the terrain did not disturb in the slightest the things we terraformed around it.


Here's a pull-away view of the streambed and roadway as it stands at the end of this part of the tutorial.


We take things back up at this point in Part Three, which starts here [linkie].


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


Hi folks-

I'm not totally sure if this is appropriate or not...

So don't post it, Lora

Who said that???

All I wanted to say was that 3RR has a new admin member, which I'm sure David will someday tell us about, when he gets done writing his current tutorial.  This new admin person will be, I think, not sure, helping David create his own little "book" of tutorials apart from the MD, so that folks don't have to wade through 370 pages looking for the tutorial they want.  Also, any errors in the tutorials will be corrected, and hopefully, any broken links will be repaired. 

Rest assured the original tutorials will remain in thier correct places in the MD.  Context is important.  We're just thinking about copying the "meat" of the tutorials into a seperate place and so making them easier for players to find and follow along with.  This new admin person will be acting kinda like a secretary...copying and pasting tutorials from the MD to another new thread that is yet to be determined. 

And, if this new admin person has time, I (oops) might even help David finally copy his remaining ST files over here to SC4D. 

Lora/LD, sipping her wine and settling in

EDITLong hours, low pay, dismal working conditions... no, no, that's my day job.  A bad day here beats a great day at the office, hands down.  Welcome aboard, Lora! -DE


Fantastic Lora, cant wait to see what you get upto :)

Copperminds and Cuddleswarms


Hey Lora Congrats Ma'am!!!

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


Congratulations Lora. It seems Dedgren, Inc. has grown to need a part time employee huh? The end result of this great experiment is becoming clearer.

Global 5 Top Companies

1. Three Rivers Region
2. Exxon Mobil    
3. Royal Dutch Shell
4. General Electric    
5. BP    

World domination is not far off now.  :thumbsup:

EDITGeoff- and a non-profit to boot!  3RR is the classic example of the "if I had a nickel..." fantasy. -DE
Where City and Country Flow Together


Hmmm... Monkey Around Productions still hasn't made that list?!?   I guess I'd better stop browsing and get back to work...  $%Grinno$%

David, the picture in your place holder for part two is more than enough for me!  Even if I'm never able to detail an area that well (which would probably be due to my lack of attention span more than anything else), I know I can always stop by here and drool over your fine examples!   :thumbsup:


EDITMAP is on my list, Jon!  Thanks for the kind words. -DE

Never trust a god who grins all the time and wears a top hat, that's my motto.  -Terry Pratchett

It's from JBSimio.  Need we say more?  -BadgerBoy of SC4 Devotion


Yes..  I know it has been a while since I poked my mouse in here...

I have just had a quick speed read from page 350...   goodness knows what page I posted on last...   I think it was around the 170k view mark...  ouch.

I will try to do better Sir!

  Well it has taken a serious amount of cyberslacking to catch up but I have now sped read from where I left off to date.  That was actually right back to page 270...  and I am ashamed to say that my last post I could find was on page 313...

Anyway back on page 271 [linkie] I introduced you all to my Raurimu Spiral tile with double track...  well that tile is actually buried in my desk top so with a little digging when I get home, I should be able to bring it over to my lap top and give the STR a whirl...  afterall in RL that section of track is indeed STR.

Anyway there has been some great stuff as usual happening over the last 70 pages or so and it has been a very pleasant afternoon!

Evening Edit:   This is my Raurimu Spiral tile...  that I showed you all way back on page 271.   In RL it is a single track railway.  Well this evening I have done a little retro fitting.

Raurimu as FARR Double track.

I am having a little trouble with the 3x6 S curve..  it is causing a 'ghost spur' and the trains on UDI are getting stuck at that point.

Taking out the S curve solved the problem.

It is a pretty impressive piece of railway engineering both in RL and in SC!

A closer look at the main spiral.

I am a left hand drive user...  I wonder if the paths got missed for that particular piece?  Any idea why my S curves are not cooperating?  I don't have the draw paths mod so I can't check the paths.

Heh...  on UDI if a track checker is coming the other way they do crash with the train...  the train survives, but if you hit too many then your green diamond goes orange...  I guess if you hit more you get... derailed or something.

EDITCraig, those pics are absolutely incredible!  Thanks for sharing them with us here at 3RR.  They are additional incentive for the RAM Team to sort out STR tunnel entrances. -DE


This S-piece bug is known, but to my knowledge David (Dedgren) has fixed the problem. Apparently, he didn't do that for the LHD piece.

EDITYup.  Fixed it for RHD, but not for the lefties.  I'll correct that by the weekend and post a patch by the weekend. -DE


Quote from: Korot on April 14, 2009, 08:34:51 AM
This S-piece bug is known, but to my knowledge David (Dedgren) has fixed the problem. Apparently, he didn't do that for the LHD piece.

Thanks...  yup I am sure that there will be a patch or something around... on the whole it is a pretty sweet set of pieces.


The ghost spur is kinda funny, but in a way, very disturbing. :o

EDITI think that was the comment under my high school yearbook pic.  In any event, it won't be that way for much longer. -DE



Gonna stick a culvert under that?   

EDIT, Well, Craig- plop, actually. -DE


abcvs i assume thats what he is going to be talking about...
NAM + CAM + RAM + SAM, that's how I roll....