Saturday, August 21, 2010

City Updates for Both Tharsis and Sandbox Go Online

Both cities had updates within the past few days.  Since they share the "SAND_Common.pak" file, that will tend happen in the future.  Otherwise changes like the ones I did to the terrain materials will leave them out of step. Currently the common data is 40.6MB, and the city data are 13.9MB for Sandbox and 12.8MB for Tharsis.  We are allowed a total of 2048MB between the two cities, so we are only 3.3% full on data allowance overall.

Specific changes and my comments are as follows:

=== SANDBOX CITY v.2 (17 Aug 2010) ===

* Added 35 islands around the perimeter of the terrain map.  These are intended for future leased private island blocks. They have the terrain textures and trees done.  A teleport network to visit them will be added next.

* Made slight changes to the terrain textures so they blend better.  The main terrain layers will always have visible seams where they change from one to the next.  They are defined per point on the terrain grid, ie each point records the height at that point, and which terrain texture layer is assigned at that point.  Between points they are blended by the graphics engine, but the human eye is very good at picking out edges where something changes.

The way to smooth over the edges is to use "roads" and "decals" to cover them.  These lie flat to the terrain and can have custom materials.  So besides using the Road object for actual brick and asphalt roads, I have used a sand to grass blend material on the edge of the beaches in both cities to hide the blocky seams in the main terrain layers.

* Added a welcome sign and tutorial signs near the spawn point (the boat dock)

* Added the "Sandbox" area for which Sandbox City is named.  This is intended as a new developer tutorial area. Currently it only has a demo of Rigid object physics (if you touch the cylinders they will explode).

=== THARSIS ESTATES v.15 (19 Aug 2010) ===

* Since the terrain materials are shared between both cities, the changes I made are also applied to Tharsis.

* Updated the Modern House (the one with the blue car parked in front) walls with normal maps.  I plan to update the other houses now that I have more experience with 3d modeling and BM materials.

* Updated the basic Tiki Hut model & textures.  Added a deck and bar to the one on the water.  Created a prefab out of a second tiki hut using new wall, door, window, and stair components, and placed a copy near the other boat dock.  Like the shop buildings, I am using modular parts on the tiki huts, so they can be used in different in different layouts.  I plan to add more parts, and make it available for tenants to use on their lots.

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