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Three Rivers Region

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

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As someone pointed out earlier, the combination of the snow and the seasonal winter trees is simply amazing! It looks quite realistic. I wonder if the 3RR DOT was able to clear the roads, unlike PennDOT here in PA after this past week's storm. I-80, 1-81, and 1-78 were closed for three days! Anyway...great job!


 &apls &apls &apls &apls &apls

David ok you lured me out of the  lurking lol %BUd%  well a little reading and i read why you moved 3RR now and how you became the admin wow awsome David IM excited cause for the time you devote you deserve a nod and thats one awsome nod.  but im keeping it short tonight as i spent alot catching up reading and seen whats happend and IMO blown away so much more has happend since i was last seen in 3RR and now im looking forward to more as usal for me lol - Pat

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


Yowza!  That's insane, David.  The most convincing snow I've seen in the game by far.  Now if you could only have the creek freeze over . . .  Of course, if it looked like that around here (the western part of Oregon), they'd be freaking out and showing 24 hour weather forecasts on the TV since we rarely get any. 

Rather coincidentally, I've been doing some messing around with terrain mods too, to try to get something that looks like the eastern part of Oregon (which is mainly "high desert" or "shrub steppe") for a new region I'm planning.  cycledogg's Painted Desert Mod is very close, but it seems a little too green to me.  Looking forward to seeing how this comes out . . . I'm sure it will be great.  As far as I'm concerned, you're the Jimi Hendrix of SC4.



I never saw such high quality scenes! the result you obtain is simply perfect! I didn't know that you can reach that kind of scenery, with such detail and realism! At least I know now that I am not killing my eyes to detail my bats for nothing! Please, continue to inspire us!  &apls :thumbsup:


I go away for one weekend, and not only do I miss some amazing new additions to the LEX, but I miss this! SNOW in 3RR, and might I had some deliciously perfect (:P) snow!

You've outdone yourself, and have amazed me yet again David!  &apls &apls

I wish we had snow here now...  ()sad()
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Well M, I offered to send you snow the other day but you didn't want it.   LOL    Hope you haveing a good day.


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


 &apls Wow what a nice pics . And layout is very well done . I don't come enough often , but each time i don't regret . Sorry for the lack of comming.  &blush Take care.


Wonderful "snow-pictures"! Fantastic using of trees!

My 890th post!


Hey David,

Absolutely awesome eye-candy!  Even though I'm rather sick of the snow in my own front-yard (a.k.a. the little patch of ugly ground in front of my Apt. building) it was very nice to see a beautiful landscape covered in white stuff.  Sounds like you enjoyed playing with the snow parameters...thanks for the links you included.  Hope things are as pleasant in your world as they are in Three Rivers!



Hey David!

Now I finally found the way to your MD. ;)

Like the others said, these snow shots are plain awesome! &apls
Can't wait to see more pics.

I'm the Knight of Spamalot
And I like to push the pram a lot


i apologies i have caught lurker's disease but all your work up to date has been fantastic, as of now i intend to take a more active part in this MD...
NAM + CAM + RAM + SAM, that's how I roll....



So, here we go again, this time on the third section of Part Two of this tutorial...

...that's a mouthful...

...where we'll return to the Lot Editor to create, in addition to our 1x1 seasonal white oak lot, a 12x12 seasonal woods lot.  With the knowledge you gain from this section and from the one that follows, it is my belief that you'll be able to use the LE to create any size and type seasonal tree lot you would wish.

This post continues from section two of Part Two of the tutorial, which is found here [linkie].

Bear with me, though.  There are almost 60 pics in this section alone.  I probably could have done with a few less, but there are a number of fine points about using the LE that I thought needed careful explanation.  Feel free, if you think you have a technique down early on, to skim ahead- you do not need to exactly duplicate anything in particular that I do so long as you get the method behind it.

Also, if all the pics don't load, right-mouse click in the space where a pic should appear- you'll get a tooltip menu that will have as one of the choices "Show Picture."  Click on this and the pic should show up.  If not, and all else fails, reload the page- your browser will cache the pics that do DL, and sometimes this will bring slower ones in right away.  If all else fails, PM me- we'll figure it out.  I've tried to keep image size under 100 kb a pic, but have to balance considerations of image clarity with that.  My apologies in advance if you aren't on broadband.

* * *

Our first step, then, is to fire up the Lot Editor.  We're greeted with the "Choose Lot to Edit" selection window.  Pull (1) the scroll bar slider down until you are in the general area of what you named your 1x1 lot, then (2) choose the lot by left-mouse clicking on it.  Left-mouse click (3) the "OK" button to complete the selection...


...and here's our newly-created ploppable seasonal tree lot again.


Getting right to it, we'll change (1) the Lot tab "Size: Width" parameter in the Tool Tabs area to 12," the desired width in gridsquares (the LE calls them "tiles") of our new lot.  You will see (2) to lot outline expand off the side of the window in the 2D View Area, and (3) the "road" do the same thing in the 3D View Area.


Next, we'll change (1) the Lot tab "Size: Depth" parameter to "12" as well.  Now, (2) the lot outline expands past the bottom of the 2D View Area and (3) past the bottom of the 3D View Area as well.  We'll address this situation in a minute.


Let's click "Save As" to create our new lot file...


...and up comes the "Select Name" input window.  We'll enter (1) the unique name we want to call our new lot- I'm naming this one "DRE-CP_12x12_Mixed_Forest_V1."  Click "OK" to save the lot...


...but it doesn't work.  Lot Editor tells us we need a base texture on each gridsquare (tile) of the lot.  We only have the texture that was on our original 1x1 lot.  OK, well... we forgot one of the rules we noted in Part One of the tutorial- each gridsquare of a user-created lot must have a base texture (at least as far as the Lot Editor is concerned).  Click "OK" to close the nag window.


Just to confirm that no new lot was saved, let's look in the My Documents SimCity 4 "Plugins" folder.  I note here that any lot you create using "Save As" in the LE will save in the top level of your Plugins folder.


Nope.  No new lot.

So let's comply (as if we have a choice!).  Left-mouse click on the "Base Texture" tab of the Tool Tabs.


Now, move the cursor over to the 2D View Area and (1) left-mouse click anywhere in the lot.  You'll see a white rectangle outline around the lot and (2) around it as well and the 3D View Area.  Since you're on the "Base Texture" tab, you've selected the base texture on your lot.


Move the cursor back over to the Base Texture tab and left-mouse click on the "Duplicate Selected" button.


When you move the cursor back over into the 2D View Area, a floating texture tile will appear under it.  Move (1) the tile into the position just below the existing texture gridsquare.  You'll see it "snap" into alignment as you move it around.  You'll also see (2) a highlighted white rectangle around its counterpart in the 3D View Area.  When the new texture tile is properly positioned, left-mouse click it to fix it into place.   


Now, let's make the entire lot visible in the 2D View Area.  Move (1) the cursor over the "-" icon on the tab in the lower left corner of the area and left-mouse click a few times until the entire 12x12 area, bounded (2) by a black rectangle outline, comes into view.  You'll see our just-placed texture tile is still selected (3) in the 2D View Area and (4) in the 3D View Area.


Using the technique we just employed, create a 4x4 area of placed texture tiles in the upper right hand corner of the lot.  This is pretty tedious, considering that there are 144 gridsquares in our 12x12 lot.  But we're going to speed things up...


Position (1) the cursor above and to the left of the area of the lot where we have placed texture tiles.  Press and hold the left-mouse button and drag (2) the cursor diagonally across the textured area.  Once on the other side, release the button.  You'll see the gridsquares covered with textures outlined in white and a white-outline selection box around the whole thing.


After you release the mouse button, the selection box will go away, but the texture gridsquares will remain highlighted in both the 2D and 3D Area Views.  This means that they are all selected, which allows them to be manipulated in several ways.  This next pic shows what you should be seeing at this point- all 16 textured gridsquares selected.


Now, move the cursor onto the Base Texture Tool Tab and left-mouse click on the "Duplicate Selected" button.


Voila!  A 4x4 square of the texture we are using appears under your cursor when you move it back into the 2D View Area.  Position (1) this square of textures in the lot to the immediate right of the already textured area and (2) left-mouse click the floating textures into position.


You've probably figured out what to do next.  Just 7...


...more repetitions of this until you're done.  That moves things right along- as you get comfortable with this, you can move ever bigger blocks of texture and reduce the number of clicks even further.


So here's where you should be right now.  The entire lot, all 144 gridsquares, is textured.  We should be ready to do that save now.


Once again, left-mouse click on the "Save As" button.


With the (1) file name that you want in the "Select Name" entry field, (2) left-mouse click on the "OK" button.


Here's our Plugins folder again to confirm that...Yep!  It's here.


Getting back to the Lot Editor, we'll click the "Exit" button.


"Whoa, whoa...whoa!" you say.  Are we done?

...Some forest... Hah!  One miserable tree...

No, no.  You'll see here in just a 'mo.  Trust me on this- click "OK" to confirm closing the program.


Now, start LE again.

...no, no, no... this isn't obedience training.  There's a point, I promise...

Slide (1) the slider, choose (2) our new lot, and (3) click "OK."


See- I told you there'd be a point.  Our lot is now nicely centered in the 2D and 3D View Areas.  If I'd figured out any other way to do this, trust me, I would have told you.

...and then, it happened...

Just after I posted this, as I was uploading this tutorial a piece at a time because of its size, sharp-eyed 3RR Regular Matt (threestooges) responded

QuoteIn regard to step 25 of the third part of the second section of your tutorial (i.e. the most recently posted section), there is an easier way to center both views of the LE without exiting. In the tool area, at the top right of it, there is a little hand (just up and right of the "land" tab). Click it and it will allow you to adjust either view by clicking and dragging to the appropiate spot. This also allows you to zoom in for finer adjustments of props etc and move around without zooming out. You may have already been aware of this, but just in case I thought I might bring it up. Thanks for putting this together.

Well, I wasn't aware of that, and checked it out.  Here's what I found.

Here's the "Hand" tool Matt to which Matt refers.  We'll select it by left-mouse clicking on it.


We'll put the cursor over the lot in the 2D View Area, press the left-mouse button, then drag the lot...


...letting up on the button when the lot is moved to where we want it.  Notice that the image displayed in the 3D View Area has not changed.

Well, that's not actually where we want the 2D View Area image.  We'll drag it back towards the center of the area, and your Lot Editor screen should now look like this.


Let's check out resizing the lot image in the 2D View Area by clicking on the "+" icon assciated with the area.

Whoa!  The first click expanded the image out to the edges of the area.


There doesn't seem to be anything in between, as a click of the "-" icon takes us back to where we started.  Let's try the same left-mouse button drag to center the image in the 3D View Area.  The result confirms that the Hand tool manipulates the 2D and 3D images completely independent of the other.


At this point, having explored the use of the Hand tool, we'll return to where we were just after we restarted the Lot Editor.  Before we proceed, though, let me summarize what we've seen during our short, but helpful, detour.

The Hand tool is particularly useful for moving the image in the 2D View area so as to center any specific area we might be working on.  Its usefulness is limited, though, by the "all or nothing" nature of zooming after you've applied it.

Matt, thanks.  This serves to remind everyone that, just because I'm doing a tutorial, don't assume I know everything that there is to know.  If you see something I've missed, or a short-cut that could be used, let me know.  I'll be happy to incorporate it and thus pass it along to everyone.

The bottom line here- we needed to have saved our new lot anyway, and the "exit-restart" technique does leave the view area images nicely centered and resized, as follows.


Let's move on.  Left-mouse click on the "Props" Tool Tab.


We'll use the same technique we first saw a bit ago in selecting large area of textures.  Position (1) the cursor above and to the left of the prop outline and press and hold the left mouse button.  Then (2), drag the cursor diagonally across the prop outline.  You can see the white selection rectangle expanding along your path.


When you stop dragging and release the mouse button, the selection rectangle disappears, but the prop, as evidenced by its white outline, has been selected.


Now, this is important-

Press-dragging a selection box is the only way to properly select a seasonal tree made up from four props.

Think about this a minute.  To visualize what you have done, think of four plates in a stack sitting in a box.  If you reach out and grab (i.e. "select") the top one, that's what your hand will return with.  If, however, you grab the box, you have all four plates. So-

Do not ever click on a seasonal tree to select it in Lot Editor- you will only select the top prop.

So, with the prop selected, left-mouse click (1) on the "Duplicate Selected" button.  Then, move (2) the copy of the selected prop that appears under the cursor to where you would want it, then left-mouse click (3) to fix its position.  You'll see (4) a new highlighted prop image appear in the 3D View Area.


Just for grins, I've pulled (1) our duplicated prop apart into its four components just to show that the entire assembled prop was selected.  This shows up clearly (2) in the 3D View Area.


Through the miracle of computer image editing, we'll instantly re-assemble our new seasonal tree prop.  Note (1 and 2) that it is still selected.  This is something to keep in mind- when you create a duplicate seasonal prop as we have just done, the entire prop will remain selected after you position it.  Thus, there is no need to re-select it.  But, if you are ever in doubt as to whether all four individual props of a seasonal prop are selected, re-select just to be on the safe side.


Looking at the selected new prop in the 2D View Area, press the [ Page Up ] key once to rotate it one-quarter turn counterclockwise.  This is done as we go along to introduce a random element into the appearance of each seasonal tree prop.  Otherwise, if the prop is always seen from the same orientation, a repetitive pattern will quickly become apparent.  This rotation technique, as we will see, is a very powerful one.  If the seasonal tree prop is fully selected, all the four individual props will rotate one-quarter turn with a single press of the [ Page Up ] or [ Page Down ] key.  The [ Page Down ] key, by the way, will rotate the prop in a clockwise direction. 


Now, I'm going to begin to speed things up a bit, as the next actions are basically the same as ones you have already done.  If you get stuck, just stop- take a deep breath, and scroll back up to take a look at the same sort of thing described step-by-step.  I will be assuming, as well, that you've picked up on the mechanics of "press-dragging" and which mouse button to click when (in other words, I'll just say "press-drag" and "click").

With the seasonal tree prop we've just created (1) highlighted, click the "Duplicate Selected" button.


Position (1) the duplicated prop to the right of the new one.  Keep an eye (2) on the 3D View Area from time to time.  If something goes wrong, you may well spot the problem there first.


Click the [ Page Down ] key twice to rotate the newly duplicated prop 180 degrees.


Duplicate the new prop, but this time just (1) position it a little ways from the one previously created, overlapping the prop outlines.  Refer (2) to the 3D View Area to check out how the plop trees will look that close together.


Rotate the newly created prop one-quarter turn clockwise.


Now, we'll select the two overlapping props by press-dragging around them.


Duplicate the selected props and (1) position them in the lower right-hand corner of the lot, then fix their position with a click.  Check the 3D View Area and note that the (3) props that you duplicated from are (4) copied exactly, right down to their position with respect to eachother.  We'll put this technique to good use in a moment.


Take a quick breather- this is how the Lot Editor should look right now if you've been following my steps.


Press the [ Page Down] key twice.  Note that it rotates both new props 180 degrees.  We'll be seeing in a minute that you can rotate as many as you'd want to select.


Now deselect everything by either pressing the [ Esc ] key or left-mouse clicking anywhere outside the lot (i.e.: in the light blue area) in the 2D View Area.  Your little woods will now look like the following pic.


Next, we'll learn another important technique.  Press-drag a selection rectangle around the prop closest to the right side of the lot, but (1) make sure the rectangle doesn't completely surround the prop the one you've selected overlaps.  You'll know whether you've done this correctly if you see (2) one selected prop and one not selected in the 3D View Area.


Once the selection is made, your Lot Editor screen will look like this.


Press-drag the selected prop up a little, but leave it fairly close to its neighbor.  Remember, in RL, trees are not uniformly spaced apart- some are actually quite close together.  You are working toward a nature-random an effect as is possible here.


Heading back toward the center of the 2D View Area, press-drag a selction rectangle around the three fairly well separated props we placed here earlier.  Note that, when you select something new when another selection is already made, the old selection automatically cancels.


Duplicate the selected props and press-drag them toward the bottom of the lot.


Press-drag a selection rectangle around two of the three prop trees we just created to select them.


"Grabbing" the selected props by locating the cursor inside one and pressing the left-mouse button, pull them toward the bottom of the screen to break up the duplicated pattern.


Now, select and grab the leftmost one of those two and move it upwards a bit.


You've now created a swath of 3RR seasonal white oaks in what will become your 12x12 woods lot. 


Take a break- you've earned it.  We'll be back in a day or two with the next section of this tutorial, during which we'll introduce new varieties of trees and create a completely forested woods.

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, thanks for the PM. Just to let you know I am still lurking here on 3RR. I really enjoy your SC work which goes beyond making wonderful cities, you share your skills wit and wisdom with everyone. Anyone who has followed 3RR from the beginning not only appreciates your work but feels that they know you as a friend. Many of us just enjoy our daily visit to 3RR even if we don't always say Hi.



The snow pix are great! Too bad we can't have it actually falling in game. You do such a nice job with your region... and an even better one sharing your knowledge. I apreciate both aspects of what 3RR has to offer. Always a pleasure stopping by.

See the all-new National Capital Region!:http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=15118.0



Thanks for the PM. I'd guess I'd have to post sooner or later,
so I'd thought I'd let you know I really enjoy your work.
Reading through this MD is a pleasure, and you'll certainly hear
from me again. :)
                         See you soon!


Just finished reading through the next part of the tutorial and I'm awaiting it's completion. Great job!


Wonderful snow pictures! I cant wait for the tutorial to be completed!


In regard to step 25 of the third part of the second section of your tutorial (i.e. the most recently posted section), there is an easier way to center both views of the LE without exiting. In the tool area, at the top right of it, there is a little hand (just up and right of the "land" tab). Click it and it will allow you to adjust either view by clicking and dragging to the appropiate spot. This also allows you to zoom in for finer adjustments of props etc and move around without zooming out. You may have already been aware of this, but just in case I thought I might bring it up. Thanks for putting this together.


Well, it's a trip back to the optometrist for me...

QuoteIn regard to step 25 of the third part of the second section of your tutorial (i.e. the most recently posted section), there is an easier way to center both views of the LE without exiting. In the tool area, at the top right of it, there is a little hand (just up and right of the "land" tab). Click it and it will allow you to adjust either view by clicking and dragging to the appropiate spot. This also allows you to zoom in for finer adjustments of props etc and move around without zooming out. You may have already been aware of this, but just in case I thought I might bring it up. Thanks for putting this together.

Matt (threestooges), welcome to the 3RR Fact Checkers.  You are exactly right- I'm revising that part of the tutorial to reflect this information.  I can't believe I never checked out the little hand icon.  I guess you have to save at some point, but it really helps to know that you can slide around the lot in the 2D View Area.  Learn something every day.

If you all are wondering why the progress on the tutorial stopped abruptly after Matt's comment...

...yeah, blame him- that's it!

I had to go out and shoot a pic of this for our new Fact Checker inductee.

Congratulations my friend.  I knew you'd make it onto the map sooner or later.

Back to the tutorial tomorrow.  I have a bit of redrafting to do.

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