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Planting the Seeds (Flora Works)

Started by Lowkee33, February 12, 2011, 02:34:22 PM

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Lowkee33

Girafe's seasonal pines and spruces are now on the LEX  ;D, and we look for new models coming from TSC.

I have some seasonal flora projects of my own, but since I can't BAT, I have to take other models.  There is an issue with these being compatible with terrain mods, so I made a patch that will soon be on the LEX (if I did it right).

First we have CP 2009a as seasonal flora:

(They cast shadows if you turn shadows on  :) )

I made most every thing in CP Vol_01 Seasonal, but this was before I learned about the fact that RKT4 can be used.  I will have to re make all of them:

(I spelled deciduous wrong... Thanks internet!)

CP Vol_01 also has a host of small flowers, which I also did wrong.

Any requests for Seasonal Flora?

I also work on fixing (hiding) the shadow problem.  Seasonal flora only display the shadow from the first model, so a tree that loses it's leaves in winter looks rather strange.  One idea I have is for a seasonal snow flora: 




Not sure why the shadow appears in the second image, the model is the same.  Anyway, I put the second picture to show my idea of what a snow model would be.  The area on the right is one plop.   You all must know, I am not a batter.  I made this model for brainstorming.  Any ideas for a model or a shadow fix?

dedgren

Carl, food for thought...  Do the shadows change for the original single-season "vanilla" growable trees?

I'm not in a position to fire up SC4 right now or I'd look.


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

Lowkee33

Hi David,

Do you mean these?


This happens with the trees in the flora menu, and also the trees that come with the growables.  I always thought trees grew in Sim City because the air was clean, but I guess it is mostly random with their settings.  Cogeo once mentioned timed props with the shadow issue, but I think this was turning automata into props, not too sure.  I will have to look to see what the difference between a prop with persistent shadows and a prop whos shadows change.   

marsh

Great. Now I have to re-plant all those trees.  ::)
I found a pack (somewhere) with all those trees as mmplops. 1 click for summer, 2 for spring, 3 for winter... ect.  %wrd

Although there are some others in there I don't have.

The shadows I think I know. I notice all shadows go away, (atop plopped flora, heblems sand for example) but only after you do something, like save the game. After a while or after you do something (I forget what? Maybe turn the zones on & off. I'll have to check when I get to SC4 later) they will come back.

Anyways, can't wait for these.  ;D

,marsh

Lowkee33

#4
The Seasonal Flora Patch is now on the LEX -http://sc4devotion.com/csxlex/lex_filedesc.php?lotGET=2612. :)

Special thanks to those who helped me get it together, as well as to the TSC team who waited for it to be uploaded.

For those of you who have downloaded Girafe's seasonal flora:  I ask that you remove the file "z_LK_FloraTuningParameters_Seasonal_Maxis" from your "zzz_terrainmod" folder before installing.

The purpose of the Patch is to match the Maximum Altitude that trees get planted in god-mode to the values in each terrain mod.

Progress can now be made getting CP2009a scrutineered.  However, certain things have happened with the way I make the exemplars.   Namely, the way pollution is treated by flora.  Right now, most flora (even rocks) provide a certain amount of air cleaning.  Also, none (that I know of) provide water cleaning.

Do you all want to see flora clean the air and water in a balanced way depending on the size of the model?  Generally, I am thinking of trees balancing the water pollution that farms cause.  Maybe place trees over pipes? In RL, flora does clean water.

ScottFTL

Quote from: Lowkee33 on March 17, 2011, 05:23:37 PM
Do you all want to see flora clean the air and water in a balanced way depending on the size of the model?  Generally, I am thinking of trees balancing the water pollution that farms cause.  Maybe place trees over pipes? In RL, flora does clean water.

That does make sense.  It would be helpful to combat the water pollution problem in farming areas.

Kergelen

Carl, thanks for the Seasonal Flora Patch. I just try Girafe's seasonals maples and it's fantastic to see how it change throughout the year!!  &apls

I admire the work you are doing on seasonal terrains and seasonal flora, and I think it's a hard work and a great SC4 improvement.
It's one of the most important projects I've seen the last months.  :)


                                    Links to SC4 websites

Kergelen

#7
Hi Lowkee,
Firt of all excuse me because my english isn't the best in the world.

I'm using the seasonal flora by Girafe in my cities and I would like to know some things about them. I made ​​several growables lots where I put seasonal trees by CP and trees takes several days to change when change the season. In contrast, I'm impressed because your mayor mod seasonal trees change very fast, only in one day, and it seem that it's not dificult for the game to do so.

Well, my question is: Do you know if I can massivly use seasonal flora in a big city tile without problem? Without problem with game's performance?

And another question: I do not want to seem impertinent, but what about your work on the mayor mod seasonal flora by CP trees?

Quote from: Lowkee33 on March 17, 2011, 05:23:37 PM
Do you all want to see flora clean the air and water in a balanced way depending on the size of the model?  Generally, I am thinking of trees balancing the water pollution that farms cause.  Maybe place trees over pipes? In RL, flora does clean water.

It could be very useful and, as you said, very real.


                                    Links to SC4 websites

Lowkee33

Hi Kergelen,

Prepare to be bombarded :)

The difference between Girafe's seasonal trees and Cycledogg's is that Girafe's are flora and CP's are props.

Props can have any timing that you want.  To add diversity, CP modded each season set to be a little different in timing.  When you lot for these, you really have four props that either display the proper season, or nothing at all.

The timing for flora is more strict.  It starts the instant the flora is plopped (making using them for LE on growables not advisable).  A seasonal flora can have at most three state changes, but it is different than props in that you only need one flora exemplar to do this.  Flora can only change models (states) on the 1st of the month.  The first two states last the same amount of time, and the third takes up the rest of the cycle.  For Girafe's trees, we used Fall/Winter to be the first two states, lasting 3 months each, and summer to last the other months (the cycle being 12 months).  This timing wasn't exactly what either of us wanted, but what can you do?  We wanted winter to be four months, but that means fall is four months, making it start in August (the heart of summer for both of us).  I tried some things out and was able to make fall and winter appear for different lengths, but after 50 or so game years the timing was off.

CP Vol_01 has some two season flowers that I will include.  For this I have made the first season last for 8 months and the second only last 4.  The reason this works is because the entire cycle is 12 months, so it restarts itself.  These flowers also get planted on September 1st.  This is another issue, it will be complicated if I say "this flora is planted on Sept 1st, this one on Dec 1st, these three on March 1st...."

The 12 month cycle is not all encompassing either.  You can have some flora who's cycle is 12 months, and others that are 12 years.  There are a few models in his tree packs that could take advantage of this, but I haven't got that far yet.

I am trying something a little different with the 2009a, so that is why it is taking so long.  I want trees to never place on top of each other, but this is at a cost of plopping ease.  A second draft is in the works, but I feel I may make a third that is closer to what is expected from flora plops.

Feel free to use as many seasonal floras as you wish.  There is certainly an effect on performance, and the more flora the more of an effect, but this only happens on the 3 days that all of the models change.  I have had a very large amount of seasonal flora at a time, and changing zooms with shadows on took way more time for my computer. 

Kergelen

Thank you very much, Lowkee.  :thumbsup:

The explanation has cleared all my doubts and I like to read about the depths of the game.
I'm glad to read that you are working on CP flora seasonals project.
I'll be hear to read about the progress of your work. For the people who like rural and natural scenes SC4 future is here.

Quote from: Lowkee33 on April 17, 2011, 07:51:01 AM
The timing for flora is more strict.  It starts the instant the flora is plopped (making using them for LE on growables not advisable). 

Do it means that I can make parks or another ploppables lots with seasonal flora and plop them on 1rt of september?


                                    Links to SC4 websites

Lowkee33

Indeed.  The 1st of September is also a member of the "Keep It Simple Stupid" (KISS) group.  These flora can be planted via mayor mode or plopped via lot from the 4th or August to the 3rd of September.

The timing for growables starts the day that the building has finished growing.  In my experience, zoning increases desirability for that type of zone (R, C, or I).  Since desirability is updated on the 1st of the month, most new zones start to develop on the first of the month after zoning.  I ran a test, zoning late July, and the building started growing on the 1st of August.  The building took more than 4 days to grow, and thus the timing for the flora on it was correct.  So you can put seasonal flora on growables, but it will just take some work in getting them to grow at just the right time.  If desirability and demand is high enough, a zone may initially develop within the month that you zone.

I think that would be asking too much from someone who is potentially downloading such growables, especially when props will solve this issue.

Also to consider when a building upgrades stages.  This has more to do with correcting the percentage of certain stages than desirability, so it is not as connected to the first of the month.  For this, it would probably be best controlled by making things historical for all but the times that the new buildings will finish growing within the proper flora range.  :-\  More work than just planting flora where you want at a cost of not knowing what rotation they will be?  Not too sure.

Kergelen

Ok. I'll better use props on growables ()stsfd()


                                    Links to SC4 websites

Lowkee33

#12
CP2009a as seasonal mayor mode flora is now on the LEX - http://sc4devotion.com/csxlex/lex_filedesc.php?lotGET=2631

(does it work?)    :D

Enjoy   :)

The forced spreading of trees to avoid LOD issues has too many downsides for me to try to push you all to use it like that, so these will place much like Girafe's. 

Now to move on to CP Vol_01

Also, Girafe is about done making trees, so a little teaser:





Cycledogg's diverse controllers (meadowshire/italia) don't place trees on flat land.  Still debating this.  Flora everywhere does make sense for RL, but it's pretty rough on the computer.  With some tweaking I can get flora to appear randomly on flat land, and I like this.  Some people start their cities where the trees don't plant, so that would still be possible.

I have also used the non-seasonal evergreens.  ?

I don't know... any thoughts?

Edit: Oh right, it's a tree controller :)

supremec

A tree controller?  &apls  &apls
Could you make a tree controller with all of seasonal trees of Cycledogg and Girafe?
Click on the banner to see my BATs

marsh

Wow. That looks, amazing. Don't really have much else to say aside from that.  &apls

,marsh

TiFlo

This is wicked maaaaaan, wiiiiiiicked.

Seriously, this is fantastic! I'm looking forward to your tree controller with Girafe's seasonal gems. *Holds off planting any tree in game*

Lowkee33

Thanks for the compliments Marsh, especially coming from a mayor flora master.

@TiFlo:  I know what you mean.  Having so many trees together has certainly helped me focus the terrain textures too.   

Quote from: supremec on May 22, 2011, 12:57:21 AM
Could you make a tree controller with all of seasonal trees of Cycledogg and Girafe?

Perhaps one day.

I like Girafe's trees because I feel that they are a complete set of the most common trees (in North East USA at least).  A tree controller of only his trees is a good foundation for what to flora/build next.

The trees/shrubs/flowers in CP vol_01 are going to take a fair amount of work to make into mayor plops.  Once I get all of that organized I may attempt a tree controller.  The process is much different for the two.   

In a way, the more things that I add to a controller the more limitations I add as well.  For example, I could place Heblem's rocks into the controller, but that forces you to have them (perhaps you want the grassy ones and I have used the white ones... or perhaps you want c.p.'s rocks).

I am trying to think of ways to solve this issue.  Perhaps to make tree controller templates, or some sort of "use this file if you want Type A tree here" type things. 

Kergelen

wow, fantastic!! More seasonals trees!! Thanks for this great work  &apls &apls

Quote from: Lowkee33 on May 23, 2011, 03:12:17 PM
Perhaps to make tree controller templates, or some sort of "use this file if you want Type A tree here" type things. 

It's a good idea  :thumbsup:

Quote from: Lowkee33 on May 23, 2011, 03:12:17 PM
In a way, the more things that I add to a controller the more limitations I add as well.  For example, I could place Heblem's rocks into the controller, but that forces you to have them (perhaps you want the grassy ones and I have used the white ones... or perhaps you want c.p.'s rocks).

I think it's not necessary to have rocks in a tree controler because the rocks are usually placed in localized sites (rivers, sea, cliffs,...)



                                    Links to SC4 websites

Lowkee33

Quote from: Kergelen on May 24, 2011, 06:02:13 AM
It's a good idea

:).  Figuring out how to make it work is another story.  I have 4096 exemplars ready for changing their RTK... Hardly a template though.  I could certainly trim it down.  My all encompassing vision is that I set the preferences, change the Exemplar names to match the location of the flora in the preferences, and then offer up the exemplars for a community controller.  When some one makes a tree, that person sets the RKT of the exemplar that he/she designed the tree to belong.  It would require very little control on my part, perhaps "official" tree controller releases.  (of course, you all would have to play nice with the Instances).

Quote
I think it's not necessary to have rocks in a tree controller because the rocks are usually placed in localized sites (rivers, sea, cliffs,...)

I hear what you say, and I agree.  However, rocks can be placed in localized sites (sea level, slopes) with the controller.  They would be the localized sites that I want, and the models of my choice, and these are my objections.  Rocks are just an example, the point being it's probably best for me to keep the controllers as simple as possible.

Or have one controller that I update constantly, but this goes back to my first idea.

(I haven't given a "how does the controller work" speech here yet)

Basically, the position a tree gets placed is dependent upon the reps of the FloraPreferences.  The 256 reps here define the moisture and altitude levels the flora gets placed.  It can be viewed as a grid.  The first rep is the lowest and driest area, the 16th is the lowest and wettest.  17th is the 2nd lowest and driest area, and so on.  Desipher this picture, and you will see the tree controller in the pictures I showed.



From there, the 0's are changed to values less than 1.  For example, Cluster #1 has 5 trees in it.  The first tree has rep 7 and 8 set to .9.  The 2nd tree gets .8, the 3rd .6, 4th .4, and 5th .2 (all in rep 7 and 8 only.  The rest are zeros).  Nothing goes in the top row.

For all intents and purposes, moisture can be seen as slope.  Therefore, in order to make a model only appear on very steep slopes, it would need a rep that was a very moist (or very dry) setting.

TiFlo

Soooooooo... I lied when I told you I'd hold off planting trees.

I've been planting your MMP sets, mixing Girafe's seasonal oaks, birches and maples. They're beautiful, except for one little issue: they're all alternating seasons as they should, except that they don't do it together. Each batch of tree (group of the three different types of trees) I plant at once will follow its own four seasons cycle, resulting in, as I've been planting trees randomly, the four seasons being displayed at once on a given tile (one batch displays its summer variation, another that of winter, another one that of winter, etc.). I've tried running the game for some time, hoping for the cycles to adjust and eventually get in line, to no avail. I am using your file "z_LK_FloraTuningParameters_Seasonal_CP_MeadowShire", so I don't really know what's wrong.

Am I missing something, or is it a limitation?