Menu

LEX File Exchange
EA Support Files
SC4 Wikipedia
Network Addon Mod
Dependencies
Chat
Welcome to SimCity 4 Devotion. Please login or sign up.

May 17, 2022, 06:15:12 PM

Login with username, password and session length

Downloads

Three Rivers Region

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

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

RickD

Quote from: ldvger on April 28, 2009, 09:37:13 PM
I had made a slightly sloped channel for the stream to run in.  I used all 1/2 PW tiles to keep the stream within the bed prepared for it.  But, when I rotated the view, the channel changed and now I had water running horizontally on the slope above the channel instead of in the channel itself. 

Things just got worse from there.  I had some steeper areas I tried to put rapids and waterfalls into.  They would be fine from one view and totally bizarre from a rotated view. 

This is exactly why I don't use ploppable water much.
My name is Raphael.
Visit my MD: Empire Bay (My old MD: Santa Barbara County)

ldvger

RickD, yeah it's frustrating, but I know it'll all get figured out sooner or later.  With every new iteration, we get closer and closer.  Why Maxis left water out of the game is beyond my comprehension, especially given as how they included it in previous versions of the game.  Granted, it wasn't very GOOD water, but it did flow downhill, sorta (it actually flowed across flat ground until an elevation change, then it created a waterfall). 

I've said before what we really need is a above sea level water "brush".  I've seen other "brush" tools created...someone made a trail/path brush that allows us to "paint" a dirt path that appears to be about 1/2 a tile in width across our landscapes.  I know absolutely zero about how folks make custom content, but it seems to me that if a dirt path brush can be created, it shouldn't be that difficult to modify the texture the brush leaves behind from dirt to water. 

Another thing I've though about is this: has anyone been able to open up the coding that Maxis used to create the God Tools we use for terraforming?  Maybe there is a way to create a new God Tool (or Mayor Mode terraforming tool, for that matter) that made water.  And just like being able to control the strength and area of influence of the tools we currently have, so too would we be able to control the witdh and depth of our water.  We could use settings of "1" and "1" for little streamlets and "10" and say "5" for deep, wide rivers.  I wish I knew more about coding and programming, I'd give a try myself. 

I mean, some folks have already figured out how to make terrain mods, right?  And when installed, our landscapes change when we use terraforming tools.  The game has some kind of "intelligence" built into it that tells it to create rock faces at certain elevations and degrees of steepness, and grassy hills when using exactly the same tool but with different areas of influence/force.  And the terrain itself changes, depending on how the tool is used.  I have installed the Columbus Terrain mod in my game and when I dig steep holes, I get rocky sides with dark green grass and tree jetsam at the bottom of the hole.  If I dig a shallow hole, the flora on the sides of the hole are different from that on the flat ground around the hole and often different from the flora and the bottom of the hole.  So, instead of flora at the bottom of the hole, why not water?  Wouldn't it just be a matter of switching out the textures?  And if we dragged the tool across a steep slope, again wouldn't it just be a matter of switching out textures from making a rock face to making a waterfall or some rapids? 

Maybe we should talk to the folks who have made terrain mods and see what they think.  Or, for all I know, that's already been done.  I am late come to this discussion, so I don't know what has gone before.  Maybe this has already been tried and found not to work. 

I know we'll figure it out sooner or later.  Great progress has already been made and I have high hopes for the sloping water David is currently working on.  I'm sure that once I figure out (or learn/am tought) a technique for using it, I will be a lot happier and less frustrated.  I've been fretting a bit about how to make mud flats in my region but figured out yesterday I could use jeronij's brown PW and then plant sedges on top...tada!  Mud flats!

Lora/LD

just_a_guy

I'm not sure what words to use this time. That's just how great TPW really is David! Can't wait for the next breathtaking development here.
Come and check out my BATting works at:
   
Just_a_Guy's attempts at BATing

Ennedi

#7763
There are a lot of new interesting things in 3RR and most of them deserve a comment including the fine terraforming tutorial and the new ploppable water. But I must prepare some pictures  ;D - btw most of problems with placing ploppable water described here can be solved.
I also studied carefully Lora's comments, I will try to help at least in some cases.

In the meantime a little but nice and (hopefully) helpful finding.
Here is a problem described by Lora a few days ago:

QuoteThe major worry I have now is the tremendous relief my region presents, even in the game data maps.  I have very tall and very steep mountains, which in the Data Map view in game, casts shadows over the nearby landforms.  I know that no matter what graphics programs I am using, it will not realize these are shadows, they will just see the shadows as areas of color (or lack of same).  I worry that if I follow the steps in the tutorial you directed me to, that my landscape may become horribly distorted due to these shadows. 

So my question is, is there a way to turn the shadows off?  So that they don't show up in the game Data Map views?  I looked around in my preferences and didn't find anything that jumped out and bit me.  Am I worrying unnecessarily?  In creating the terrain map I have over the past few days, I have gone in to very close zooms and see that the shadows have color values that appear to be contour driven.

Yes, shadows can be turned off. Please download the file attached by me to this message. Unzip and place in the terrain mod folder. I would strongly suggest you to rename your terrain mod folder by adding "zz" at it's beginning (for example "zzCPT Terrain Mod"). Open every city, save and exit to the region view. You will not see hill shadows yet.

Here is a normal city view with a high mountain at the left.


You can see a large mountain shadow. If the mountain would be too close to the East city border, the shadow could be longer than the distance to the city edge. But it wouldn't be visible in the next city to the East and it would look bad in the region view.
So I removed this shadow:



I was afraid about an effect in the city view. Shadows give a 3d illusion. But fortunately shadows don't disappear at all! Looking at the picture below you can see that right sides of slopes are darker and the terrain still looks good:



This is caused by another game graphic feature called Environment Map.
So I think this plugin can be installed in the city not only for the regional view purpose, in fact large mountain shadows are unnecessary in many cases. But it is a player decision of course.
Does it really work in the rgion view? Yes!

Before


After


PS. My plugin modifies the Lighting exemplar file. It also removes an atmospheric scattering effect which makes North part of the city tile slightly briighter. It is visible in the region view too.

Adam :thumbsup:

EDITAdam, many thanks, old friend, for this info.  I've attached a 256x256 JRJ TPW FSH to the bottom of this post.  Let me know if you need anything else.

And, after looking, I realize that I've bumped Adam's attachment by attaching in turn the PNG file.  No worries- I've PMd our friend and asked him to repost the attachment.  Sorry! -DE
New Horizons Productions
Berethor - beskhu3epnm - blade2k5 - dmscopio - dedgren - Emilin - Ennedi
jplumbley - moganite - M4346 - nichter85 - papab2000 - Shadow Assassin - Tarkus - wouanagaine

ldvger

Adam-

I appreciate your attempt to help with my shadows issue, but it is not the shadows showing up in either region or city view that have me concerned, it's the shadows that show up in my city view Data Map.  Per David's tutorial about how to make a contour map, I took photos of these Data Maps for each of my cities (all 256 of them), then married them all together in Photoshop to create a large region view bird's eye view map.  This is where my concern about shadows comes into play. 

Looking at the pics you posted here, you still have shadows...you've just changed the angle of the sun to closer to noon than say, 3 o'clock.  Do you know if this reduction of shadows carries over into the Data Maps in Mayor Mode? 

Really appreciate everyone who chimes in with help...I feel like such a dummy sometimes.

Lora/LD

JBSimio

David, you continue to amaze me!  Although I rarely use ploppable water myself, the things you are doing here are going to bring some major changes to the game.  Of course, that could be said for nearly everything you seem to come up with here.  I don't say hello as often as I should, but 3RR is definitely a daily stop for me and a constant source of inspiration.

JB


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

Ennedi

Quote from: ldvger on April 29, 2009, 08:53:25 PM
Adam-

I appreciate your attempt to help with my shadows issue, but it is not the shadows showing up in either region or city view that have me concerned, it's the shadows that show up in my city view Data Map.  Per David's tutorial about how to make a contour map, I took photos of these Data Maps for each of my cities (all 256 of them), then married them all together in Photoshop to create a large region view bird's eye view map.  This is where my concern about shadows comes into play. 

Looking at the pics you posted here, you still have shadows...you've just changed the angle of the sun to closer to noon than say, 3 o'clock.  Do you know if this reduction of shadows carries over into the Data Maps in Mayor Mode? 

Really appreciate everyone who chimes in with help...I feel like such a dummy sometimes.

Lora/LD

1. The city view Data Map is not based on the "real" city terrain - as you see it doesn't recreate the terrain mod you use. These shadows you see in the Data Map are an integral part of it.
What I described is a common problem of people making region views of mountainous terrains, so I think this plugin can be useful for some other players. Unfortunately it can't help you to change your Data Maps.
But looking both at data maps of my citites and at your birds-eye view in ST (impressive work!  :thumbsup:) I don't see any distortions of your terrain. Honestly saying I don't understand your problem at this moment. Are these shadows too dark for you? You can always edit them in the graphic program. The Data Map view is simplified and you can't expect too much details on it.
If you would explain your problem more clearly, maybe it would be easier to help  :)

BTW looking at your CJ in ST I read that you didn't want to use SC4 Terraformer because of it's psychedelic colors. But you can change colors in SC4TF according to your needs. All you need is to edit the "Basic Colors" file in the "datas" folder.

2. I didn't change the sun direction. I did exactly what I said ie. I removed hills shadows. But various parts of the terrain are brighter or darker according to their gradient direction (fortunately!) because of another game feature. These remaining shadows don't affect the region view in an unwanted way.

Adam
New Horizons Productions
Berethor - beskhu3epnm - blade2k5 - dmscopio - dedgren - Emilin - Ennedi
jplumbley - moganite - M4346 - nichter85 - papab2000 - Shadow Assassin - Tarkus - wouanagaine

ldvger

#7767
Adam-

Well, I have not run into distortion problems yet, and who knows, maybe I never will.  Maybe I am creating problems and issues for myself that will never happen, I don't know. 

David's tutorial for creating contour terrain maps includes a step of translating the png maps created with screenshots of the Data Maps into grey scales.  I have not yet tried this step of the process and one reason is because I have a lot of shadows from my very high, steep mountains in the composite map I made (glad you liked it..took a while to create!). 

While the data maps seem to create a color-based contour map, that only is true of those areas not in shadow.  Photoshop is going to see the shadowed areas as dark, period, and so will not translate the contours underlying the shadows into contours. 

Truth is, this may all be moot.  I have highly accurate USGS maps of the entire region of my region and right now my thought is to try figure out a way to create an overlay of contours from the USGS maps and then scale them to my region maps.  The fact that I am dealing with RL terrain versus creatively generated terrain may have a LOT to do with my situation. 

Again, I areally appreciate the tips and time you have taken to help me with my self-percieved problem, but I begin to think I am at the bottom of a hole I dug myself into.  It wouldn't be the first time...

Lora/LD

EDIT: Lora,

QuoteDavid's tutorial for creating contour terrain maps includes a step of translating the png maps created with screenshots of the Data Maps into grey scales.

Actually, the contour lines are created by doing an "Export Region" save from the SC4Terraformer as an RGB file, then through processing the "green" channel of the file.  The map view is then overlayed on the processed lines as a percentage transparency.  Shadows should not be an issue anywhere in this process.  I'll PM you a summary of the steps involved, but it won't be until later on Saturday.  Take another look at the first couple of pics in Part One [linkie] of the tutorial in the meantime- pics #5-7 describe the use of the Terraformer. -DE

ldvger

#7768
Sorry to bump my own post, but I forgot to respond to one thing:

Adam said:

" I didn't change the sun direction. I did exactly what I said ie. I removed hills shadows. But various parts of the terrain are brighter or darker according to their gradient direction (fortunately!) because of another game feature. These remaining shadows don't affect the region view in an unwanted way."

Well, you no doubt know a lot more about the way the game casts shadows than I do, I have no problem with that.  But in RL, the only way to change a shadow is to change the angle of the light.  Maybe the game doesn't follow this rule, I have no way of knowing.  You say you removed the hill shadows, but shadows from the features in the landscape remain, if at a much lessor degree than with the hills shadows in place.  That's why I said you moved the sun, or source of light, rather than removing the shadows. 

But like I said in my previous post, this is all probably moot...

Lora/LD

EDITHeh!  "Cue the sun!" [linkie].  You two... -DE

Ennedi

Quote from: ldvger on April 30, 2009, 01:03:27 AM
(...) David's tutorial for creating contour terrain maps includes a step of translating the png maps created with screenshots of the Data Maps into grey scales.  I have not yet tried this step of the process and one reason is because I have a lot of shadows from my very high, steep mountains in the composite map I made (glad you liked it..took a while to create!). 

While the data maps seem to create a color-based contour map, that only is true of those areas not in shadow.  Photoshop is going to see the shadowed areas as dark, period, and so will not translate the contours underlying the shadows into contours. 
(...)

OK, now I understand. Shadows can be a problem in this case.
Could you give me a link to David's tutorial? I must study it a bit to know more. I didn't make such map for my own, and now I can't find the proper link in the 3RR forest  :)

Quote from: ldvger on April 30, 2009, 01:22:49 AM
(...) Well, you no doubt know a lot more about the way the game casts shadows than I do, I have no problem with that.  But in RL, the only way to change a shadow is to change the angle of the light.  Maybe the game doesn't follow this rule, I have no way of knowing.  You say you removed the hill shadows, but shadows from the features in the landscape remain, if at a much lessor degree than with the hills shadows in place.  That's why I said you moved the sun, or source of light, rather than removing the shadows. 
(...)

I understand you very good. But if we want to make something new in the game effectively, we must remember that we are just in the game  :)
The game imitates many real processes, both in the simulation aspect (traffic, RCI demend etc.) and in the environment aspect (terrain maps and textures, water behaviour, lighting, weather etc.), but it don't recreate real processes. The game imitate them according to programming possibilities and game creators possibility. The knowledge about real processes is obviously always important  :), but it doesn't help us to solve the game problem in many cases.
This is more general, very interesting and mostly underappreciated problem. It is especially true when we speak about terraforming. Using realistic terrain data can lead us to unrealistically looking SC4 map and vice versa. This is because the game has a specific perspective. I will explain this problem in future in another place.

All your questions are logical and deserve explaining (or researching if some problems aren't researched yet). But many answers are different than we expect, and this is one of the most attractive aspects of our favourite game  :)

Adam
New Horizons Productions
Berethor - beskhu3epnm - blade2k5 - dmscopio - dedgren - Emilin - Ennedi
jplumbley - moganite - M4346 - nichter85 - papab2000 - Shadow Assassin - Tarkus - wouanagaine

dedgren

#7770
It's the long-awaited



continuation of our ongoing tutorial.  Part Four can be found here [linkie]- it's recommended that if you haven't read all the previous parts in sequence that you would do so.  In that case, Part One is here [linkie].

Today, we'll go over the basic concepts of an techniques involved in creating a small transparent ploppable water lake using using the 9x12 TPW "panes" available on the 3RREX here [linkie].

We'll start once again with a large, smooth and flat undeveloped quad area.  Make sure, as always when you will be doing terraforming, that north is up (at the top of the monitor).

#1


When creating a multi-pane lake, it is very important for reasons that will become apparent over the course of the tutorial that you know pretty much exactly what area will be covered by the panes.  We will use six in a rectangular shape two panes by three.  As the panes are nine gridsquares wide in their horizontal (east-west/side to side) axis, there will be two rows of three panes side by side for a total horizontal width of 27 gridsquares.  From north to south (top to bottom), the vertical axis of a pane is 12 qridsquares, so the total vertical width of our lake area will be 24 gridsquares.

We've outlined this area in yellow.

#2


In the game, of course, there is no such ability.  But, there are other ways of marking corners.  Here, we've placed a plop rock at each one to help us keep in mind the limits of our lake rectangle.

#3


A corner marker closer in.

#4


We'll start preparing the lakebed by selecting the eight meter (25 foot) hole digging tool.  Why eight meters?  For now, lets just say that this is an optimum depth for the average lake based on the characteristics of the 9x12 pane, where the transparent surface creates a two meter/about six foot depth.

#5


Eyeball (yes, that's a verb) the approximate center of your lake area and place with a left-button mouse click the hole digging tooltip a bit off-center to the left.  This bit is not precision work- anywhere within a couple of gridsquares of the rough center will be fine.

#6


Repeat placing the hole digging tooltip lots three more times one qridsquare apart in a square, as shown below.

#7


Backing out the view, you should have this.

#8


Starting six or seven gridsquares north (up) from one of the hole digging lots, select the rail tool by pressing the [ R ] key and left-button mouse drag a segment of track through the lots as shown below.

#9


Release the mouse button to create the segment of track.

#10


Repeat for the other two lots by mouse dragging a parallel segment of track.

#11


What we accomplish by doing this is to create a 3x3 gridsquare flat and level area (shown below outlined in yellow) that is eight meters/25 feet below the surrounding grade.  As you become more comfortable with the use of the various terraforming tools covered in the various parts of the tutorial, you might find yourself skipping this step, but it is a useful technique for creating areas of perfectly flat gridsquares for many other purposes as well.

#12


Don't forget, of course, to demolish the tracks and lots by selecting the demolish tool by pressing the [ B ] key and then applying it.

#13


Here's our flat-bottom area eight meters/25 feet below grade.

#14


Next, select the God Mode "Quick Level Brush" from the menu.

#15


On placing the tooltip cursor in the center of our eight meter/25 foot deep flat area, we can see that the default coverage of our Quick Level Brush tool (the grey circle) extends outside the area that we've laid out for the lake.  This won't do.

#16


Reduce the size of the tooltip coverage by pressing the [ shift ] key and an [ f# ] key at the same time until the coverage area fits.  Here, we've pressed [ shift ] and the [ f8 ] key to obtain coverage that fits entirely within our bounding rectangle.

#17


Once you have the proper coverage, press and hold the left mouse button.  You will see the tool "dig" down eight meters/25 feet with a cool "Time Tunnel" [linkie] sort of effect.

#18


Releasing the tool gives you this.  Take it from me- the flat area at the bottom of the entire hole is eight meters/25 feet below the surrounding grade.

#19


Next, select the God Mode Quick Level Brush once again and set the size equal to 2 by pressing the [ shift ] and [ f2 ] keys.

#20


Taking care not to go beyond the bounding rectangle you set up, apply the tool by pressing the left mouse button and dragging the tooltip cursor into the areas into which you want to extend your lakebed.  Make sure before you move on from any particular area that the tool has dug down the entire eight meters/25 feet.

#21


We've wound up with a lakebed that looks like this, and I've noted its edges with a blue outline.

#22


Here's the lakebed without the outline.  We won't worry for now about places, like in the northwest corner, where we've gone outside our bounding rectangle- those are pretty easy to clean up when we get on to the fine terraforming part of the tutorial.

#23


And we've arrived at the moment everyone's been waiting for.  We'll select the 9x12 TPW pane from the Mayor Mode Utilities submenu.

#24


The 9x12 TPW pane actually sits on a single gridsquare lot that (when the placement arrow is oriented north/up) is on the fifth gridsquare in from its west/left edge and on the sixth gridsquare up from its south/bottom edge.  This seems very difficult at first to work with, but as you place these lots, you'll quickly gain a sense of exactly where they go.  I am also working to create a "preview" image of the pane that moves with the cursor to assist with placement.

#25


Left-clicking the mouse at the location desired gives us this.

#26


Five additional left mouse clicks and we now have a roughed-in lake that pretty much fits in the area we had planned for it.

#27


A view without the grid on (toggled by the [ G ] key) and without the yellow bounding rectangle.

#28


A couple of points-

1.  The gridsquares where you plop the pane's 1x1 lot must be flat and level with all the others.  This will allow the panes to match up seamlessly.

2.  If you have not removed terrain from where you need to plop the pane's lot, or if it is on the sloped bank of the lakebed, make appropriate adjustments to your lakebed shape with the Quick Level Brush.

We'll be fine terraforming the banks of the lake and creating a small island in the next part of this tutorial, which is here [linkie].  See you there!


David

295389
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

ldvger

#7771
Adam-

David edited my post a few posts up and included a link to the tutorial I have been talking about if you want to check it out.  But, he also explains that shadows from game shots won't be an issue because the contours are actually created using the Terraformer tool then exporting the city-as-a-region into Photoshop (or whatever graphics program we use), so I have been dithering and worrying needlessly...which is actually rather typical for me. 

And David, you don't need to explain the process in any more detail than what the tutorial explains...I just read through the tutorial quickly the first time around and so became a little confused about the various steps and completely forgot that the contours were derived using Terraformer.  It's an excellent tutorial, very clearly illustrated and written, so when I actually do get around to making individual road map type maps of my cities, I'm sure I won't have any problems.  If I do, I know where to come for help. 

Sorry for all the histronics.  I'm such a dweeb sometimes.

Lora/LD

EDITHey!  None of that here, Lora.  Anyone who visits Apocrypha [linkie] after reading the above post would not believe they were made by the same person.  I think the powerful, competent and insightful Lora of Apocrypha is the real deal.  It's easy to get down about stuff, but I know I often take for granted my competence in something I've been working at for years now.  A little patience, along with your evident willingness to return to the drawing board when necessary, and you can accomplish anything I have, and probably more. Chin up, my friend! -DE

girlfromverona

You've really been busy, David! The SCPW looks awesome. And those ploppable ponds are to die for!  ;D

Pat

David wow!!! OMG simply amazing tut there and Lora dont worry your doing great so need to fear!!!!

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

dedgren

#7774
I've had a really busy day.  I did want to show you, though, the outcome of an idea I had [linkie] discussing PW over at John's (Pegasus) fansite SimPeg.



You really have to see this in the game to catch the full effect.  It really livens up the surface.

Back to work on some stuff I know you are waiting for.

Later.


David

296373
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

Ryan B.

Wow.  That is simply the most realistic pond I have ever seen in SimCity.

I may need some help picking my jaw up off the floor.

Korot

#7776
David, your link doesn't work. I think however, that you mean this topic?[linkie]

Greetings,
Korot

EDITThanks, my friend.  And yet another 3RR Fact Checker is born! -DE

threestooges

Thanks for the link Korot. David, what can I say except brilliant? Is this currently applied to the piece itself or is it following the same method where it is just a plop underneath the water piece (like was shown at Peg's)? Either way, it looks great. Thanks for continuing to push the envelope on these things.
-Matt

Rayden

Great job David on the tuto, but in the pond, you're missing a row boat with a guy and his fishing rig. ;)

:thumbsup:

TheTeaCat

#7779
That's lovely  David &apls &apls



Quote from: Rayden on May 02, 2009, 04:37:46 AM
Great job David on the tuto, but in the pond, you're missing a row boat with a guy and his fishing rig. ;)

:thumbsup:

Surely you could fish from the banks on such a small pond ::)

:satisfied:
TTC

EDITEspecially with some dynamite, Derry. -DE
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