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Three Rivers Region

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

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0 Members and 4 Guests are viewing this topic.

meldolion

Thank you David! Very nce plaza, Turin is a beautifil city of the northern Italy... but... I don't live there :P I live in Milano, that's another big city not far from Turin :)

here is a pic of my hometown....





hope you like...
Luca

p.s.: Welcome to page 20!!! $%Grinno$%

dedgren

LOL, Luca (Meldolion)...

Your gentle correction reminds me of Earl Mott's (Bill Pullman [linkie]) great line from the movie "Ruthless People" [linkie]...

...I knew that...

Anyway, Edgreschetti was nothing if not prolific.  Here's a watercolor of beautiful Piazza Aspromonte, which was in Milano the last time I checked.



More 3RR, including a long-awaited tutorial, coming up...

Later.


David
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

M4346

Quote from: dedgren on February 05, 2007, 11:37:43 AM
More 3RR, including a long-awaited tutorial, coming up...

I can't wait and will be looking out for that! Have a great day!

Regards,

-M-
New Horizons Productions
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emilin

 %BUd%

Whatcanitbewhatcanitbewhatcanitbe??????????????????

BlackwaterEmil's inn
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Grneyes


hogs29

Wow! I just "discovered" this MD, and I'm loving it!
Your terraforming is extremely realistic, and the tutorials you've done along the way will definetly come in handy!
Looking forward to more :thumbsup:
T.J.

"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."
- Napoleon Bonaparte

Gaston

Meldolion,
    Thanks for posting the pics of Turin.   Heh,  Turin is where they filmed one of my all time favorite movies...  "The Italian Job" [ linkie ]    I loved that film when I was young and still love it now.  LOL   


---Gaston
白龍

They say that the memory is the second thing that goes....
...dang , I wish I could remember the first.
WooHoo made Councilman - 05 FEB 07 Yipee made Mayor - 13 MAR 07 Hip Hip Hooray made Governor - 04 AUG 07 Rock On made Senator - 15 MAR 09

thundercrack83

Another tutorial! I can't wait! Whatever topic is will be on, I'm sure my knowledge will grow by leaps and bounds by the time I'm finished reading it! I'll be waiting...

Take care,

Dustin

Low Light

#388
"Feed us thy knowledge master Edgren, we long to be quenched with the sweet elixir of thy tutorial..."

Sorry about that, got a little carried away. I love your Tutorials David, they always seems to inspire me to take SC4 to the next level; they also encourage me to experiment my self. Thanks for putting in the time to create one; and for sharing your knowledge and experiences with us.

"Oh how I yern for a life where a living could be made by just playing SC4 all day, everyday; but alas we might find we get fed up of too much SC4 (Blasphemy!)".

:thumbsup:

Looking forward to it,

Low Light  $%#Ninj2  (AKA Ruben)
"Don't take life too seriously, or you'll miss all the good bits"

M4346

Well, I have a few things to do this evening before I retire to bed later, and I thought I'd pop in over here quickly while I still have the time.  :)

I wanted to say that I thought of you today as I had class in the Law Building on campus which houses the Faculty of Law. I wished I had my camera with me (my camera phone's quality is awful) to show you the beautiful building, but unfortunately I did not. It is, in my opinion, a gorgeous building (completed in 2005 and opened by President Thabo Mbeki in May of that year) and I so wish you could see it.  ;D It also houses the Oliver R Tambo Law Library and it's an amazing work of art too as it almost blends in with the surrounds. It's an "open plan" building and has trees, patios and balconies everywhere which makes it "truly South African." So, I'll see what I can do and get you some pictures. :P

I also thought of you has I sat in Constitutional Law (I think maybe because you're a lawyer? :P), which is a very interesting subject in my opinion. I'm regretting not having studied law, but it is definitely something I will do later in life, or at least, after I've completed the current degree.  $%Grinno$% And speaking of Constitutional Law, I actually have reading to do. :P

But I was playing around in SC4 earlier and have to post a sort of teaser pic too.

Anyway, I'm glad I had the time to stop over here. I hope you're doing great and that work is treating you okay today.  ;D So, have a great day then and I'm still patiently awaiting that update!  :D

Regards,

Marius
New Horizons Productions
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dedgren

#390
Well, sheesh, folks...

You are all way too kind.  I hope the following meets expectations.

     

If you've been hanging around 3RR for more than about five minutes, you'll know that I am completely smitten...

...smited?  smote?  smoted???

...with seasonal trees.  Now, when I say a tree is "seasonal," I mean that it has distinct foliage changes with the seasons- not simply a "fall foliage" tree that stays the same color all the time.  While I know that they are not for everyone, I think the degree of realism and the variation over time they bring to a region is stunning.  A quad completely done in seasonal trees is, as you watch the seasons change, simply awe-inspiring.

Here's a flavor, using two examples, of what I'm talking about.

Example 1-

     Summer
     

     Fall
     

     Winter
     

     Spring
     

Here's Example 2.

    Summer
     

      Fall
     

     Winter
     

     Spring
     

So, if they look this great, why doesn't everyone use them?

...that's a rhetorical question- a lawyer's way of clearing his or her throat...

Well, the purpose of this three-part tutorial is to first explore the various considerations involved in using seasonal trees in your regions, so that you can determine whether or not they are for you.  The latter two parts will explain the use of the Lot Editor and ilive Reader to create various ploppable seasonal tree lots that will make your use of these trees efficient and tailored to your own unique needs.  I'll pitch the tutorial at the "what's a Lot Editor?" level, but those with LE skills already in hand who've just never worked with seasonal stuff should be able to separate out the gold nuggets fairly quickly.

On to the tutorial...

     

This tutorial is in three parts, the latter two hyperlinked here.

     Part Two - Creating the seasonal tree lot with the Lot Editor

     Part Three - Completing the seasonal tree lot with the ilive Reader.

n.b.:  Please note that the Part Three hyperlink won't work until it is posted, probably late in the week of 12-16 February.

You'll notice that you've never seen a seasonal "God Mode" tree.  That's because there aren't any, and there aren't any because there can't be any.  Why?

...another rhetorical question- bear with me here...

The reason lies in the way seasonal trees are created.  In any God Mode flora "brush" (that's what cycledogg calls them and, hey...he's the terrain and flora master!) each tree that results is an individual entity called a "prop."  Now, it's not the purpose of this tutorial to go too far into the various components that make up the SC4 world, but let's take a minute to do a basic glossary.


         
  • Lot:  The basic building-block of SC4 development.  A lot is a "container," if you will, for the objects that follow below, and has no existence apart from some combination with one or more of them.  A lot is always rectangular, with dimensions measured in "game" gridsquare units.  Thus, a 1x1 ("one by one") lot is the same size as a single gridsquare.  A 2x2 lot is two gridsquares wide by two deep, and a 4x6 lot is four gridsquares wide by six deep.  Lots can be "plopped," which means that the player selects a particular lot from a menu and places it using the cursor and mouse buttons somewhere within a quad (a "game" city in 3RR is called a quad).  Other lots "grow," which is an attribute not relevant to this tuitorial.  The game comes with many types and varieties of pre-developed lots provided, which you will recognize as the various buildings and parks in the Mayor Mode submenus.  A player can create new lots different than the ones that are included with the game with the Maxis Lot Editor ("LE") program.  Lots have a number of other characteristics, such as the maximum slope on which they can be placed, contained in a subfile called an "exemplar file" that are editable within the Lot Editor, or in other programs such as the ilive Reader and the SFBT SC4Tool.

         
  • Building:  The central component of a lot.  A building is usually a three-dimensional ("3D") object created in software like the Maxis Building Architect Tool ("BAT"), although there are two-dimensional ("2D") buildings used in particular circumstances, like in the "game" open grass field park lot.  Every lot must have a building on it, but no more than one is allowed.  Each building has, like its underlying lot, an exemplar file associated with it.  Unlike lot exemplar files, however, building exemplar files can not be edited in the LE.  For this, you must use the Reader or SC4Tool.  For the purposes of this tutorial, this is basically all you need to know about buildings.

         
  • Prop:  The "furniture" of a lot.  A prop, like a lot, is a 3D or 2D object created in software like the BAT.  Generally, props are static entities such as trees, rocks, parked vehicles, and the like, although there are certain animated props, called "effects," that are in motion in the game unless it is paused.  These include things such as fountains, smoke, sparkles and the like.  A discussion of effects is beyond the scope of this tutorial.  A substantial number of props may be placed on any lot, and this is one of the major functions the Lot Editor is used for.  The characteristics of props can be edited in the Reader, but it is not necessary to know how to do this for this tutorial, as we will be working with flora props that already suit our purposes.  As I have noted, the various flora brushes available in God Mode plop swaths of individual tree props independent of the need for any associated lot.  An interesting characteristic of flora props is that they, with some manipulation in the Reader, can also be made ploppable without the need of a lot in Mayor Mode.  Such modified props then appear in the "Plant Flora" submenu with the other Mayor Mode trees.  Unfortunately the same limitation, which we will further discuss in a moment, that prevents seasonal tree God Mode brushes keeps seasonal trees from being made ploppable in Mayor Mode.  Effects also cannot be made ploppable independent of a lot.

         
  • Texture:  If props are furniture, they stand on textures- the "floor" of a lot.  A texture is a 2D object, always one gridsquare in width and depth, that the player can create in any decent graphics editing program and then install in the game using the excellent features set up for this purpose in SC4Tool.  There is generally not any need to do this, however, as there are literally 1,000s of textures aleardy created and available for downloading on the various exchanges.  It is noted that textures are actually in two variants- base textures, which are opaque and thus completely obscure the underlying default game terrain, and overlay textures, which are partially transparent and must be used with a base texture, which then is partially visible through the transparent areas.  Textures are installed in a lot using the Lot Editor, which requires, before a player-created lot is saved, that every gridsquare of the lot be covered with a base texture.  Thus, a 4x5 lot would require 20 separate base texture squares.  These can be any combination of the textures that are available.  The use of overlay textures is completely optional.  For this tutorial, we will create lots in the LE with a base texture that we will then remove in the Reader, creating a lot that is, in effect, transparent in that the seasonal trees will appear to be standing on the underlying game terrain.

So, returning to the question we raised at the outset- why can't seasonal trees be plopped en masse in God Mode?- we take our newfound knowledge and add to it the fact that each seasonal tree is not one prop, but is actually four props superimposed one on the other.  Each of these props has, edited into its characteristics, a specific game date on which it appears and a subsequent game date on which it becomes invisible.  It does not take a rocket scientist to see that lining these dates up to coincide with the changing of the season will give the illusion that the same tree is changing appearance every three months or so.

Here's a table to illustrate what I'm talking about.


                                                                                                              
     
"spring" prop
"summer" prop
"fall" prop
"winter" prop
     spring
visible
not visible
not visible
not visible
     summer
not visible
visible
not visible
not visible
     fall
not visible
not visible
visible
not visible
     winter
not visible
not visible
not visible
visible

Here's an example of the same thing shown in the game using a seasonal tree prop itself- in this instance cycledogg's "valley oak," which I call "white oak" in 3RR.

     
     SpringSummerFallWinter
     

One true seasonal tree, then, is composed of four props like these.  Apparently, a limitation of the God Mode flora brush is that it will "paint" only one prop in a particular point in a gridsgare at any one time.  I suspect the reason is much the same for Mayor Mode ploppable flora as well.

Without the ability to quickly "plant" seasonal trees in our regions at our disposal, we have to turn to plopping them in lots.  There are several sets of ready made ploppable seasonal tree lots out there, and we'll look at each in turn.

   Jeroni's Seasonal Woods.  The first of these is by our host here at SC4D, jeronijJeronij Props Vol 03 Plopable Trees and Seasonal Woods is available for download here [linkie] if you are registered on the LEX.  His lots come in four sizes: 1x1, 2x2, 3x3, and 8x8.  Here is how they appear in the "Parks" Mayor Mode submenu, shown with an example of each size.

     

Here's how several of the lots plopped randomly to create of woods look in the game.  A woods using plop lots I have created for 3RR is across the road for comparison.

     Spring
     

     Summer
     

     Fall
     

     Winter
     

Now, it's not the purpose of this tutorial to critique other available ploppable seasonal tree lots, so I'll just leave this and the remaining comparisons, at that.  The one point I would make is that the largest of jeronij's lots is 8x8, so if you wanted to cover half of a large quad entirely with seasonal trees, that's 256 individual plops, and likely many more, as you would want to intersperse some of the smaller lots in order to have some additional variety.  You also need to rotate the lot between plops so that you don't get a regular 8x8 pattern forming across several adjacent lots.

   Peg's Seasonal Tree Lots.  BAT God Pegasus has also created some ploppable seasonal trees on lots.  His PEG Seasonal Woods are available at his site here [linkie] if you are registered on his exchange.  Here's how they look in the submenu, again with examples of each selection.

     

I note that the top two selections (the ones with the red circle) have base textures and the bottom two (the open-circled ones) do not.

Here's how Peg's "no-base texture" lots look by comparison.

     Spring
     

     Summer
     

     Fall
     

     Winter
     

As the largest of Peg's lots is only 2x2, if you wanted to cover half of a large quad entirely with seasonal trees you'd make over 1,000 individual plops, plus rotation between them.  That's a lot of plops.

   SFBT cycledogg Random Seasonal Woods.  The last variety of ploppable seasonal tree lots provides us with the springboard for the rest of this tutorial.  These lots, uploaded by Andreas Roth (thanks, Andreas!), incorporate cycledogg's great seasonal tree props and some (quite a few, actually, as we will see) rocks.  They are currently on the STEX here [linkie].  Here's a shot of how they appear on the submenu and in the game.

     

Here's, as before, a set of comparison pics.  Remeber, these are the same trees as across the road- they are just LOTted differently.

     Spring
     

     Summer
     

     Fall
     

     Winter
     

Sheesh...that seems like a lot of boulders on the ground- they really show up in that winter pic.  I've been in areas of the U.S. and overseas where that kind of thing is seen (southeastern Wisconsin, the northern reaches of the Adirondacks in New York), but acres and acres of uniformly dense large rocks- probably not.  In any event, there's no reason to incorporate such into the seasonal tree lots you will create, once again, as we will see.

I note that these lots would also require over 1,000 plops to cover half a large quad.

Assuming you would feel, as I did, that your need for seasonal trees in your region was not met by any of the above existing sets of lots, you will learn how to create your own in the remaining two parts of this tutorial.  The next part deals with creating the lots in the Maxis Lot Editor (LE, remember?).  The final part will deal with making the lots you create fully functional and easy to use using the ilive Reader.

If you don't have these two programs, you should download and install them now.  The LE is here [linkie] and the Reader is here [linkie].

See you in Part Two [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

M4346

Well, good to see you starting the tutorial!  :thumbsup: I'll be keeping my eye on it as it progresses as I do love Seasonal trees (in the right quantities of course. :P )

I'm posting here, again, (I know, sorry... :P) because I found photos of the Law Building online and I thought I'd share them with you. :)

-> Click!s


I hope you'll enjoy them!  ;D
New Horizons Productions
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Gaston

Yea !    A tutorial  !     My brain was beginning to shrivel up.    Now it is beginning to plump back up with educational goodness.


---Gaston
白龍

They say that the memory is the second thing that goes....
...dang , I wish I could remember the first.
WooHoo made Councilman - 05 FEB 07 Yipee made Mayor - 13 MAR 07 Hip Hip Hooray made Governor - 04 AUG 07 Rock On made Senator - 15 MAR 09

thundercrack83

This tutorial is starting out nicely. Your definitions are clear, concise, and informative.  Next thing you know, I'll be making ploppable seasonal trees. Your tutorials make doing thrdr type of projects more interesting, and almost addicting. After reading the "Square Region Map" Tutorial, I must have done it ten times just to play around with it! Anyway, I am eagerly anticipating the next two parts!

Cali

i really like your tutorial, it's starting out very easy to understand, and exceptionally detailed...thank you ;D
"It's not a design flaw, It's my signature"

threestooges

Well this appears to be off to a really good start. Its something I have tinkered with but have never put enough time into figuring out the nuances of taking it to the finish. Your format is very readable and I am looking forward to the continuation fo this. Great start so far.

emilin

That was quite alot of useful information, and I'll make sure to ceck the continuation out as you go along.

I'm not an awefully big fan of seasonal lots myself, but I do see the potential in customized tree lots. And it does look beautiful when you use it.

BlackwaterEmil's inn
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bat

Great tutorial and nice examples! :thumbsup:

CabraBuitre

I think I've lurked for long enough... I love the shots of the seasonal trees, especially the most recent ones with so many different colors.  It truly DOES look realistic!

...And, I realize you're still in the middle of the tutorial, but how do your seasonal lots work on slopes, either gradual (which, seemingly, should work well), intermediate (which could have mixed results) or severe (which probably wouldn't show up as intended...)

I've used the generic brushes from CP, by default not seasonal, and I've been so inspired, yes, by the fall, which, I would have thought, would have been my favorite (as the fall is my favorite time of year, or at least in the top 4, as seasons go!), due to the colorful beauty...

But the shots that have truly sold me on this are the shots of springtime, with the bright green of new growth, and definitely, the winter pics.  It's these shots I find to be the most realistic.

Keep up the great work, I'll certainly be watching!!!

Check out Abelfarei!

dedgren

Heh!  Nobody wants to be the 399th poster...

...looks at post number...

...OOPS!
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