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Author Topic: Making Models for Transit Networks: Some General Specifications  (Read 110564 times)

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Offline Tarkus

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Making Models for Transit Networks: Some General Specifications
« on: February 22, 2008, 07:33:12 PM »
Making Models for Transit Networks: Some General Specifications
Last updated 2/22/2008
(Note that this guide may still be a work in progress.)

Intro

Modeling pieces for the transit networks in SC4 is, in many regards, a completely different process than modeling buildings, and has more in common with automata modeling.  The models have to be designed and exported following very specific guidelines, which need to be followed carefully, or else the model will be completely unusable for transit purposes.  So, in order to help those out who are interested in making models for transit networks, I have listed the four most basic requirements below.  They apply to all transit models except bridge pieces.  See jeronij's "How to model a bridge for SC4" for the correct specifications for bridges.

The Basic Guidelines

1.  The model must consist of a series of segments, fitting within a 16 meter by 16 meter square frame (equivalent to 1 SC4 Tile). 
For models covering more than one tile (puzzle pieces/interchanges), the game will reassemble these segments into the full model through the use of a specific IID scheme and appropriate entries in the IntersectionOrdering RUL (RUL 0x10000000).  Each segment will need to be rendered/exported on its own (without the other pieces present), centered at the "zero point" (x=0, y=0, otherwise the piece will be offset and cannot be pathed properly).  This is perhaps the most important initial guideline to follow, as if it is not adhered to, the model will be unusable and in order to make it usable, you will have to split the model up after the fact, which can be an extremely time-consuming process.

2.  The overall model (with all segments combined) can be no larger than 16 SC4 tiles by 16 SC4 Tiles.
This is a limitation of RUL 0x10000000.  Anything larger will need to be split into multiple pieces.

3.  The model must be rendered/exported in True 3D. 
As you may know, the standard BAT export procedure reduces the model to a series of isometric faces, which are assembled in composite by the game to form the building/prop/etc.  However, the game does not handle transit models in the same manner, and when exported as per the normal BAT process, they will look correct from one angle, but will look incorrect from any others.  There are two methods to get around this:

a) Temporarily replace the BuildingMill.ms script (for gmax, this will be found in your gmax\gamepacks\BAT\scripts folder) with the one attached to this post, which will force the BAT to export in True 3D instead of isometric composites. 
b) Export the model as a .3ds mesh file, which can be directly imported into the Reader, skipping the rendering process altogether.  This is more difficult to do with Gmax (since it cannot export this format), but it is possible from 3DS Max, Milkshape3D or from the free, open-source program Blender.

4.  The model must have fewer than 500-600 polygons. 
True 3D models are actually higher in poly count upon arriving in game than standard BAT models, as they haven't been reduced to isometric faces, and thus, are more taxing on the game and system resources.  If this limit is exceeded, pieces of the model will disappear when it is placed in game, or, in some cases, the game can crash outright.  Thus, the model needs to be as simple as possible--Planes are the preferred basic objects to use when creating transit models, as they will hide unnecessary faces. 

If there's something extra that you really just have to have on the model, it can be rendered separately through the standard BAT process (remember to switch back to your old BuildingMill.ms file beforehand), turned into a Prop and added to the piece via Type21 (T21) Exemplar. 

Appendix--A Note About Ground-Level Models
Models for ground-level puzzle pieces are actually produced directly in the Reader (with the Vert tab) and not in the BAT, and consist of nothing but a 4-polygon flat plane with textures applied to them.  All 3-dimensional detail for ground-level puzzle pieces is best added through T21 Exemplar.

Offline jplumbley

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Re: Making Models for Transit Networks: Some General Specifications
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2008, 09:27:29 PM »
Awesome!... This is very valuable information for the Community.  Hopefully, this is just the first in a chain of Tutorials from you buddy!
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Offline RebaLynnTS

Re: Making Models for Transit Networks: Some General Specifications
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2008, 08:47:38 AM »
I will have to test this, but if I am right, it should be posible to install a second copy of GMax, in a different folder, and place the modified BuildingMill file in it. Then you can just have seperate icons for each version.
Becca

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Offline jeronij

Re: Making Models for Transit Networks: Some General Specifications
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2008, 10:20:09 AM »
I was wondering... surely a dumb question  ::) ... the transit pieces usually point to a Resource Key Type 0 exemplar ( which is a real 3D model as you very correctly pointed  ;) ), and this is the reason why you get wrong views when you rotate a standard GMAX/MAX model. I have made many tests with other game exemplars types, and many times (but not always) you can change the RKT type without problems. In fact bridge transit pieces point to RKT1 (MAX/GMAX models) and are quite basic transit exemplars.

So, the question is, does it not work with RKT1 ? If it does, you can avoid all the discouraging re-skinning, and directly render complex models with optimized LODs...

And the answer is YES  ;D . I decided to make a test, and I changed the RKT0 from the NAM Puzzle Piece PedMall tile Grass, and I placed an RKT1 model, group BADB57F1 of course, which I released some time ago with my Street side mod. I could have used a bridge piece instead, but the result would have been the same  ;)

You can still see the original model when you want to place the piece ( I guess this is the EffectsDir file  :-\ ) ....



But when you place it, the wanted model shows  ()stsfd()



And no problem when rotating  $%Grinno$%



Oh, since they are standard BAT  models, they could be done slighltly slope conforming as well  ;D



So, this could be an easy and working way to avoid the more tedious (imo) part of the modding process., and could accelerate the making of any transit network piece. This technique would totally remove the need for step 3. And for most part of point 4 as well, and would give much more flexibility to the modellers.

However, to be able to make the models using the BAT/MAX, we should reconsider the ID ranges available. BAT/MAX accepts only changes in the first four ID digits (NNNN0000) and this reduces the amount of available IDs (*)... so there are pros and cons... your turn please  ;D


(*) I know we could automatically change most of the IDs, but we'd have to manually change every material ID in every 3DS model, and this is a quite discouraging task as well  :D :D
« Last Edit: February 23, 2008, 10:25:19 AM by jeronij »
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Offline Jonathan

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Re: Making Models for Transit Networks: Some General Specifications
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2008, 12:11:43 PM »
Great Tutorial, I hope to see many more ;)
I'm a teenager who doesn't have enough money to buy one of those complex 3d modelling programs, so how can you export 3ds files from gmax, or is that someone elses department?

Offline RebaLynnTS

Re: Making Models for Transit Networks: Some General Specifications
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2008, 12:47:40 PM »
Great Tutorial, I hope to see many more ;)
I'm a teenager who doesn't have enough money to buy one of those complex 3d modelling programs, so how can you export 3ds files from gmax, or is that someone elses department?

Not meaning to sound mean, but you might want to reread the tutorial again, because the answer to your question is there.
Becca

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Offline Jonathan

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Re: Making Models for Transit Networks: Some General Specifications
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2008, 12:55:02 PM »
I know there is option a but in the past I have tried this and I can't get it to come out correctly, which is probably just me.

Offline RebaLynnTS

Re: Making Models for Transit Networks: Some General Specifications
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2008, 12:57:56 PM »
I haven't tried to do this yet, but when I do, I'll be able to help more. Maybe Tarkus can offer more info than what he already has.
Becca

Look for me at ... Becca At Bat

Offline jeronij

Re: Making Models for Transit Networks: Some General Specifications
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2008, 01:08:11 PM »
Warrior,
Following the way I mention you can make your models using the GMAX. You need to pay attention to one or two extra steps when it comes to ID assignement, but that is all. Who said you couldnt use GMAX  $%Grinno$% ?¿



I mean, you can export your working models directly from the BAT for GMAX
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Offline buddybud

Re: Making Models for Transit Networks: Some General Specifications
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2009, 10:28:36 PM »
Moved because of inappropriate content , unorthodox implementation and confusion of others!!!
find my tutorial on how i'm building 3ds props and 3ds network models in the link below

http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=6956.msg220671#msg220671 :thumbsup:




« Last Edit: February 08, 2009, 03:14:20 PM by buddybud »

Offline calvinLedaH2432

Re: Making Models for Transit Networks: Some General Specifications
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2009, 12:53:58 AM »
Somebody can give me some Tutorial about modding a transit network

Offline daeley

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Re: Making Models for Transit Networks: Some General Specifications
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2009, 09:46:55 AM »
Somebody can give me some Tutorial about modding a transit network

could you specify what exactly you want to do (and specifically what isn't described yet on these forums)
1. Install SC4+RH
2. Install LEX (CD&DVD helps) and latest NAM + updates
3. Play the game
4. ? ? ? ?
5. Profit!

Offline mtg

Re: Making Models for Transit Networks: Some General Specifications
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2010, 09:01:39 AM »
first question in modelling a puzzle piece
one segment should fit in a 16x16 square, does the hight matter?
i'm trying to model a double elevated pp for RHW it will extend to 25m, do i have to make two pieces or can i model a 16x16x25 piece? thanks for answering  my first of many questions in building this piece

Offline MandelSoft

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Re: Making Models for Transit Networks: Some General Specifications
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2010, 09:10:50 AM »
The height doesn't matter, but if you're making a Double-Height ElRHW piece, it should be 30m high, and not 25m.
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Offline mtg

Re: Making Models for Transit Networks: Some General Specifications
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2010, 09:49:26 AM »
Thanx maarten &apls

Offline mtg

Re: Making Models for Transit Networks: Some General Specifications
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2010, 03:49:18 AM »
I started modelling my first on/off ramp to a double elevated RHW, please some feedback! am I on the right track?
The pic below is of the complete Puzzle piece. please some advise on how I should (or Shouldn't) continue.


Offline Korot

Re: Making Models for Transit Networks: Some General Specifications
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2010, 03:15:03 PM »
I started modelling my first on/off ramp to a double elevated RHW, please some feedback! am I on the right track?
The pic below is of the complete Puzzle piece. please some advise on how I should (or Shouldn't) continue.



Well, posting bigger pictures would help. Also try to have a reasonable gradient. The current El-RHW piece climes 15m in 5 grid squares, so try having at least 8 squares for your double hight piece.

Regards,
Korot

Offline mtg

Re: Making Models for Transit Networks: Some General Specifications
« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2010, 03:52:33 PM »
Thank you Korot,
the pic is indeed a bit small.
But i did use eight squares to get to 30m  ()what()
But here's a bigger pic

Offline Korot

Re: Making Models for Transit Networks: Some General Specifications
« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2010, 02:02:24 PM »
Well, from that small picture, it was impossible to count the tiles used. Now adding some railing would be nice, plus smoothing out the 'curves': there were the ramp beings/ends.

Regards,
Korot

Offline mtg

Re: Making Models for Transit Networks: Some General Specifications
« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2010, 07:32:04 AM »
I rebatted one segment now with railings, but wouldn't this become to high one polygons?