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Old 10th May 2020, 11:29 PM DefaultCliff Neighbourhood Terrain Paint Enabled in Lot View? #1
kacpi33
Original Poster

Test Subject

Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 12


Hello everyone!

Recently I've been digging in the files of the game as I was wondering whether it would be possible to enable the cliff / rock texture of the distant terrain from nhood view in lot view.

I've found 3 files directly connected to the ground textures which are:
NeighbourhoodTerrain.ini
Terrain.ini
and terrainPaints.txt script

I also had a look into the texture files in SimPE and from what I've understood (and I might be wrong because I'm no programmer) is that it just maybe, maybe, maybe, could be possible, I just don't know how to do that yet. So the game uses separate textures for nhood and lot view, right? And both cliff textures are there (since it applies to the modified terrain that is on the lot). From the .ini files it would seem that the cliff textures should be there but then I stumbled upon the script .txt file which says:

Quote:
## Hardcoded paints - These paint names are currently being used in code.

terrainPaint "terrain-cliff"
notInCatalog

terrainPaint "terrain-seabed-shallow"
notInCatalog

terrainPaint "terrain-seabed-deep"
notInCatalog


terrainPaint "terrain-beach"
notInCatalog


So I started to think, maybe it wasn't possible to enable it because this texture is hardcoded. But then when you read further you can see that the BEACH texture is also listed there and the beaches show up properly even on regular lots. Maybe it's something completely different blocking the texture off? Could it be Shaders? Material Definition?

I want to open a discussion about this topic, because I think it would be a very nice way of making our neighbourhoods even prettier. As I said earlier I'm no programmer, I only casually mess with SimPE and custom content so if there is anyone more experienced or with any other findings I'd really appreciate if we could maybe try to crack this together! :D
Old 11th May 2020, 12:59 AM #2
Honeywell
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I think it's the terrain/map that's determining which texture is applied and it's not that anything is blocking the cliff texture from appearing it's that there are no parameters set for it to display--if that makes sense.

With the beach any terrain that touches water is sand. With the cliff texture my guess is that there wasn't an easy way to code what should be cliff and what should be grass so it was never coded at all. I don't think we can tweak scripts, shaders or material definitions to change that. Of course I could be wrong--I often am. But since the lottexture-test-01_txtr is the terrain that's actually applied to the map from lot view if anything could be tweaked that would make a difference that's where I'd look first. I don't know.

Funny to see this topic though because I just investigated this a little the other day and enabled those terrains to show in the catalog when I was looking to tweak my terrain default replacement.
Old 11th May 2020, 6:32 PM #3
kacpi33
Original Poster

Test Subject

Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 12


@Honeywell Hmm makes sense that there is no code for it in lot view. Seems like the most reasonable explanation. However there is some sort of algorithm for the neighbourhood view both for beach and cliff. And that's why custom SimCity 4 terrains also have cliffs and beaches. Also if you modify the terrain with the Freetime cheat, the textures will update after entering and exiting a lot. So in my opinion there must be something there. Maybe that could be recreated somehow for the lot view. I feel like it might be a lot of work though.

You're right about the beach textures, it's applied to the terrain near water and you can tweak the settings for that in the .ini files. But there are also settings for the cliffs and that is the Tile Angle. Based on how steep given tile is, the cliff texture will be applied. This can also be tweaked in .ini files. There is one setting in NeighbourhoodTerrain.ini and one in Terrain.ini (this one refers to the steep hill ON the lot).

After even more digging I've learned that the game refers to the terrain surrounding the lot as 'LotSkirt' (thus we have the lotskirtsizeincrease cheat and maybe why the cliff the texture doesn't apply to both on and outside of the lot). There is a separate material shader specifically for that in the Materials.package as well as a shader for 'Terrain'. I've found mentions of textures in both but nothing specific or pointing towards cliffs nor beaches, only settings for snow, so that might be a dead end.

I'm constantly comparing cliffs and beaches and trying to find any connections/differences between them because I think they're coded together or in a very similar way. Unfortunately no luck so far. Little 'fun facts' that may or may not matter:
1. There are also 'underwater' textures that seem to be of similar kind to cliff and beaches however I think they're only used in Twikki Island(?). It is also hidden/replaced in lot view unfortunately.
2. Neighbourhoods have more than one ground texture. That's why deserts are more reddish in some areas and temperate terrains have different shades or yellowish spots. However in lot view they're all always replaced by the same basic texture. Example:

Quote:
; for desert terrain
0x02=0.9,desert-medium,1, lottexture-canvas-desert, 0,1, 48.0,0
0x03=0.9,desert-rough,1, lottexture-canvas-desert, 0,1, 32.0,0
0x06=0.9,desert-rough-red,1, lottexture-canvas-desert, 0,1, 32.0,0
0x05=0.9,desert-smooth,1, lottexture-canvas-desert, 0,1, 48.0,0


the first texture names refer to the neighbourhood view (4 different textures) and the second ones to the lot view (always the same).

I have a question for those who own Castaway Stories: Can you see cliff textures in lots in that edition? Maybe looking more into that game could help. As we all know it has better water shaders so maybe the terrain paints were improved as well.
Last edited by kacpi33 : 11th May 2020 at 6:51 PM.
Old 11th May 2020, 7:49 PM #4
Honeywell
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That's pretty interesting. I was able to break the beach textures from displaying in lot view messing around with the terrain shaders so maybe the cliff textures can be enabled. I'm going to keep poking at it. ETA: Well I tried but with the exception of being able to break things I got nowhere.
Last edited by Honeywell : 11th May 2020 at 10:10 PM.
Old 11th May 2020, 10:47 PM #5
kacpi33
Original Poster

Test Subject

Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 12


Quote:
Originally Posted by Honeywell
That's pretty interesting. I was able to break the beach textures from displaying in lot view messing around with the terrain shaders so maybe the cliff textures can be enabled. I'm going to keep poking at it. ETA: Well I tried but with the exception of being able to break things I got nowhere.


Oh that's a shame. I really thought it could go somewhere

I tried to understand more how the terrain textures work exactly with the neighbourhood - lot switch. I've created a lot on a cliffside and the cliff texture immediately disappeared in the lot area. When I loaded it in, everything was covered in grass, BUT as soon as I tried to modify the terrain in any way, the new cliff texture applied immediately.
SCREENSHOT
Another thing - when I modify any settings related to the beach texture in the .ini files it only changes in the neighbourhood view. In lots it stays always the same.
I guess that only solidifies the fact that it's all in the shaders. You probably knew that already but I just wanted to check if there could be any simpler way.

Thank you so much for your help and insight <3
Old 12th May 2020, 6:16 PM #6
kacpi33
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 12


Hi there!!
Sorry for double posting, but I've got a small update and it's quite an important one!


I looked for my old Castaway disc and installed it to chech the terrain and guess what - THE CLIFF TEXTURES ARE THERE!!! And the underwater textures too as a bonus
I'm attaching my Materials file if anyone would like to have a look at it. Like we previously found the key could be in the neighborhood, terrain or lot skirt shaders.

Extra info: neighborhood and terrain shaders are modified by Voeille's famous water overhaul (one by the pond water and one by te sea water) so if we need one of these for cliffs we might have to think about incorporating two in one or they gonna clash.
Download - please read all instructions before downloading any files!
File Type: zip MaterialsCastaway.zip (209.1 KB, 6 downloads)
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