Author Topic: Futuristic buildings and vehicles for distant years  (Read 686 times)

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Offline MirceaKitsune

Futuristic buildings and vehicles for distant years
« on: September 26, 2017, 03:34:12 PM »
This is a suggestion I really had to make. I don't know if an addon in this regard exists for pak128, but personally I think it would be a wonderful thing to have by default.

In Simutrans / pak128, the player can start from as early as year 1900. They can let the world evolve until it reaches our day, all the while unlocking buildings and vehicles and roads at different years. This accurately represents history and how certain products and technologies were researched and became available; The items you have in the 30's look like what existed in the 30's (eg: coal trains, cars with spoke wheels), the products available in the 60's resemble our world in the 60's (eg: jet planes, modern looking cars, commercial glass buildings), the 90's look and feel like the 90's (eg: early electric trains), and so on until we reach our time period.

Unfortunately once we play past roughly the year 2020, there is no new content to unlock. This makes sense as we're currently in year 2017, thus we don't know what's going to exist years from now. Yet why not use what we can estimate to build up to a more distant point in history, perhaps even a century from now? After all we do know how technology in the future should be like, based on scientific news articles and even existing prototypes that were built and tested! It feels really off and demotivating to continue a game down into year 2100, only to keep seeing the same houses and cars that we have today... it makes no sense, we know it's not gonna look like that then! For this reason I'd like to suggest considering buildings and vehicles covering the future time period, and letting them be unlocked when reaching year >= 2030 / 2060 / 2090.

Some examples: Hover cars were already tested, and we know a few models of floating car are likely to be commonplace a few decades from now. Likewise we're likely to see towers with grass / farms / trees planted on top of them, not to mention dome buildings. There will also be hologram advertisements on buildings.

I know an argument against this will likely be "the default pak64 / pak128 is meant to be historically accurate, we can't add something we don't for sure will exist as that would count as scifi". In my opinion though, this only makes it less historically accurate, since we know the world won't look like in 2010 once we'll be into 2050! It seems fair to use all knowledge we have of upcoming buildings and cars to estimate what will become available over the next century... then as time goes by (in real life), assuming Simutrans will still be in development decades from now, we can correct graphics and specifications based on what we were wrong about. Besides... if anyone wants maximum historical accuracy, there would be an option to cap the timeline year to our real life year using the system clock :) What are your thoughts on this?

Offline Leartin

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Re: Futuristic buildings and vehicles for distant years
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2017, 04:29:07 PM »
This is a suggestion I really had to make. [...] I know an argument against this will likely be "the default pak64 / pak128 is meant to be historically accurate, we can't add something we don't for sure will exist as that would count as scifi"

I can't exactly speak for pak128, being involved with p192c instead, but I don't think your expected argument is true at all. At least in p192c, we would gladly accept any contributions for any timeline, we even had a talk about which future scenarios we would implement (I think it was agreed to become gray-black dystopian first, before turning into a nature-loving white-green utopian environment).

The issue really is what to do first. Most people prefer existing vehicles over fictional ones, and of course you'd rather have a continous timeline from 1900 to 2000 rather than being able to start in 1830 and get new stuff even in 2100, but not more content overall. And of course, if someone really is interested in a futuristic pakset, they could just go with pak64.scifi or create a new scifi-pak without the restrictions posed by an existing timeline.

Offline gauthier

Re: Futuristic buildings and vehicles for distant years
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2017, 05:00:59 PM »
The only thing necessary to extend the decent timeline coverage of a pak is a whole set of objects for these new times. That needs time and effort from graphics makers. Pak128 used to have some futuristic stuff, but it was about ten years ago and by now the futuristic stuff has just become fictionnal stuff of the recent past.

If you have some drawing skills and want to contribute, you can make addons by yourself. There are various sources about how to make addons, I would recommend you a tutorial I wrote some time ago.

Anyway there's a restriction with pak128, vehicles are balanced with a tool coded by Zeno (made from a spreadshit which is almost as old as pak128, as far as I know), and other objects are balanced I-don't-even-know-how. My experience says that these balancing is fine only between 1930 and ~2030 (only my opinion here, feel free to argue about this). I'm thinking about a way to rebalance all the objects in a better way, though I have only ideas, no serious work on that yet.

Offline MirceaKitsune

Re: Futuristic buildings and vehicles for distant years
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2017, 07:46:08 PM »
On people preferring real vehicles over fictional ones: First of all the vehicles I'm suggesting would only appear after the game year surpasses the real life year, a point at which you're technically playing Simutrans in a time period that doesn't exist yet and lies in a quantum superimposition of potential futures ;) Also those vehicles can be based on existing prototypes or sketches created by car companies which were made available to the public, as this would make them semi-realistic considering there's more likelihood of some becoming real one day... for instance, we could check if Mercedes published any plans for a car they're considering producing in 30 years, then use a similar name and design and the specifications the vehicle would have if it was actually real (with attention to any copyright shenanigans).

I didn't know you could extend packs in Simutrans, though I noticed the forum has an addons section for each one so I figured there would be a system like that. If that's the case I'm a little surprised that no one has made such an extension in all those years, as I expect I'm not the only one who would like to see an accurately looking city when my timeline goes beyond year 2020 :)

As for artists to make the new graphics, I have actually considered that while posting this thread! I'm not all that good with creating things from scratch, but can do a decent job at editing stuff... especially low-res sprites which I've already done before. Unfortunately I spend most of my time working on other projects for Patreon, many of which are also FOSS games but would definitely not be of interest here... in any case I'd have to find time to work on this in between, though playing around with sprites is usually pretty easy for me so it's not impossible!

Offline jameskuyper

Re: Futuristic buildings and vehicles for distant years
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2017, 07:48:18 PM »
... made from a spreadshit which is almost as old as pak128. ...
Was that a typo or an aesthetic judgement? ;-)

Offline Isaac.Eiland-Hall

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Re: Futuristic buildings and vehicles for distant years
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2017, 12:52:54 AM »
I think the general idea is that for anything a particular pak "lacks", it means nobody has had the interest, skill, and/or time to paint the things and make them into pak files (always lovely that we call several things "paks" - addons are individually "pak" files, and the entire sub-games like pak64 and pak128 are also "paks" or "paksets").

There's nothing I'm aware of that would prevent anyone from making a set of vehicles, roads, etc to "extend" any particular pak, and releasing that to the public. It could be compiled to a set of add-on pak files that would extend a particular pak. I don't think any permission (Assuming nothing was improperly used) would be needed.

So, as always, while we have a wonderful group of volunteers who put a lot of work into Simutrans, the reason we don't have something that some people want is because nobody has made it. :)

Was that a typo or an aesthetic judgement? ;-)

¿Por qué no los dos? xD

Offline MirceaKitsune

Re: Futuristic buildings and vehicles for distant years
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2017, 12:18:26 PM »
I think the general idea is that for anything a particular pak "lacks", it means nobody has had the interest, skill, and/or time to paint the things and make them into pak files (always lovely that we call several things "paks" - addons are individually "pak" files, and the entire sub-games like pak64 and pak128 are also "paks" or "paksets").

There's nothing I'm aware of that would prevent anyone from making a set of vehicles, roads, etc to "extend" any particular pak, and releasing that to the public. It could be compiled to a set of add-on pak files that would extend a particular pak. I don't think any permission (Assuming nothing was improperly used) would be needed.

So, as always, while we have a wonderful group of volunteers who put a lot of work into Simutrans, the reason we don't have something that some people want is because nobody has made it. :)

¿Por qué no los dos? xD

I must admit I'm a little surprised that, considering Simutrans has been around for nearly two decades, no one's picked up on this idea yet; There are a lot of vehicles and buildings that got done, ranging from around 1930 to 2010... yet no one's ever considered continuing from that point on? I'm not complaining obviously... just saying I'm surprised that the idea hasn't occurred in 20 years, since it's a pretty obvious suggestion plus an awesome thing to have :)

I'm also wondering: If such an addon was made, and it did match quality standards and realism as accurately as possible... could it be accepted as part of pak128 by default, or would it only stay a mod? I could ask the same question for other paks too, however I don't use others as I'm either not fond of anything under 128px or don't find some as visually appealing.

Offline MirceaKitsune

Re: Futuristic buildings and vehicles for distant years
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2017, 12:35:01 PM »
By the way: I was pondering whether graphics could be used from other packs that were created, granted they're both style and license compatible. I was namely thinking of Pak48.Excentrique and Pak64.SciFi. However they are 48px and 64px respectively, so I imagine they wouldn't easily work in an 128px package :( If only there were higher-res versions of those available, or alternatives at 128px... if anyone knows of any do mention them here please.

Offline Leartin

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Re: Futuristic buildings and vehicles for distant years
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2017, 01:35:38 PM »
Why would you think you are the first with the idea? :o tons of people might have had the idea, and it just never came to fruition to a noticable degree. And there are some simple reasons for that.

It's borderline impossible to create one futuristic skyscraper. If that one building was "sane", it would just be a 'modern' skyscraper. And as such, you could just alter introduction dates of existing skyscrapers and be done with it. If it was "insane", it might work as being futuristic, but at the same time, it would just be one weird thing weirdly popping out from a "normal" landscape, not very appealing. You'd need several of them. Though the future is unknown, and depiction in fiction diffuse. If you go with one weird style and someone else with another weird style, it would not mix well. This is different from actual buildings from the past and present day, where everyone can just take a photo and recreate what they see, and as long as it's recognizable, creations from various authors go together. So you would need to create not just one or two assets and hope they work with what already exists, you'd instead need to start a large scale project with a destinct style that shows your version of the future. Is it organic shapes? Is it cyberpunk-neon? Will you f%$§ gravity with floating elements? Is everything round? has everything hard edges? Which means of transportation will persist, which will perish?

Again, you can easily create some random modern assets and plant them in the near future. That's what was done many years ago, but we already caught up with them. It's not very interesting and does not lead anywhere, it's just as good as any random asset at any other time. To really get some futuristic/future flair, you require a large scale project and a lot, lot of work done - not just an idea.


As to your last question - if anything has a license, that very license will tell you what you are allowed to do, and what you are not allowed to do. Though the chances anything makes it in the main pak would be much higher with original content I assume.

Offline gauthier

Re: Futuristic buildings and vehicles for distant years
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2017, 03:54:30 PM »
Quote
I didn't know you could extend packs in Simutrans, though I noticed the forum has an addons section for each one so I figured there would be a system like that. If that's the case I'm a little surprised that no one has made such an extension in all those years, as I expect I'm not the only one who would like to see an accurately looking city when my timeline goes beyond year 2020 :)
Many people want addons, very few have time, motivation and skill to make them.

I made some addons, even a complete pack of maglevs for pak128, but that was long ago. At that time I had much more free time (I was about 14, now I have a job, etc...), and took less time to make graphics as I was less skilled and made things of a lower quality than my recent addons.

Quote
Was that a typo or an aesthetic judgement? ;-)
Definitely a typo though it's definitely a good one :p

Quote
I'm also wondering: If such an addon was made, and it did match quality standards and realism as accurately as possible... could it be accepted as part of pak128 by default, or would it only stay a mod? I could ask the same question for other paks too, however I don't use others as I'm either not fond of anything under 128px or don't find some as visually appealing.
Pak128 is already quite heavy, I would rather add a "recommanded addons" section with links to these addons along with the link to download pak128 itself.

I'm not comfortable with including contents from other paksets. If several paksets exist, it's because they have very different styles. Things from pak128 Britain would be awful in pak128 and vice-versa.

Offline Vladki

Re: Futuristic buildings and vehicles for distant years
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2017, 06:14:14 PM »
Technically you can mix addons and paksets of the same size, but the results might look bad. Especially railway alignment may be different.




Offline Isaac.Eiland-Hall

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Re: Futuristic buildings and vehicles for distant years
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2017, 06:51:05 PM »
I concur regarding offering add-on paks for paksets. Of course, the main problem isn't a lack of organization, but a lack of people interested and able in making content.

Offline IgorEliezer

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Re: Futuristic buildings and vehicles for distant years
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2017, 07:08:36 PM »
Of course, the main problem isn't a lack of organization, but a lack of people interested and able in making content.
I would say instead "lack of enough people interested and able in making content to meet expectations".

We have a number of people making content that would be considered a dream for most communities and projects maintained by only one person on the Internet, even for larger audiences.

If we had a large audience probably we'd have more people contributing in but also proportionally more people expecting new content. We in fact have a good makers/enjoyers ratio, IMHO. :)

Offline MirceaKitsune

Re: Futuristic buildings and vehicles for distant years
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2017, 07:58:37 PM »
Is there a quick explanation on how to create addons for a given pak? I'm seeing it's not as simple as putting a bunch of png images and an xml definition in a directory; Apparently everything's archived in pak files, and I remember seeing that you need a special tool to compress / decompress those... where and how do you place them exactly however, and what's even their structure? I'm new to Simutrans, but I've modded so many FOSS games that I don't predict running into any trouble. Note however that I only use Linux, so no Windows only tools please.

If I'm going to attempt doing something like this, it will likely be edits of existing assets. Not mere recolors but remastering based on the existing sprites, something I did frequently in Gimp. Especially if that's the case, style similarity should not be a problem. Of course I won't be able to do too many things on my own, so maybe just a few additions to see how the idea feels like.

Offline Leartin

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Re: Futuristic buildings and vehicles for distant years
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2017, 09:12:09 AM »
Simutrans was not always open source, and some pak files are not open or free even today. That's probably the main reason why you need the pak file format, rather than just reading from source.

If you find simutrans on sourceforge, you'll find several sources from various paksets in the code section. You'll see that dat files have a very simple schematic where each line contains a parameter and that parameters value.  A complete documentation does not exist, but the basics/older parameters can be found in the simutrans tikiwiki.

The tool for paking is called 'makeobj' and should be on sourceforge as well. Note that it can only pak sources to make them game-ready, you cannot unpak files.

Offline MirceaKitsune

Re: Futuristic buildings and vehicles for distant years
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2017, 12:22:17 PM »
Simutrans was not always open source, and some pak files are not open or free even today. That's probably the main reason why you need the pak file format, rather than just reading from source.

If you find simutrans on sourceforge, you'll find several sources from various paksets in the code section. You'll see that dat files have a very simple schematic where each line contains a parameter and that parameters value.  A complete documentation does not exist, but the basics/older parameters can be found in the simutrans tikiwiki.

The tool for paking is called 'makeobj' and should be on sourceforge as well. Note that it can only pak sources to make them game-ready, you cannot unpak files.

I see. Very glad it became open-source eventually in that case, I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't :) I assume at least the default paks (pak64 and pak128) are FOSS and licensed under a CC-* license, as they couldn't be distributed by my Linux distribution anyway if not.

I installed an additional package in Simutrans called "obj". I assume I just run it from bash to pack and unpack pak files, like "objtools ./mypak.pak"? Where do I place those pak files then?

Offline Leartin

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Re: Futuristic buildings and vehicles for distant years
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2017, 02:33:15 PM »
It's non of the CC-Licenses, it's Artistic License (and AL2 for pak128). Which, in my perspective, is slightly inconvenient, since AL is not quite intended for something like graphic paks, but that's not something easily changed retroactively. Interestingly, p192c was published under CC-license, but without sources - weird how that works.

I don't know how you pak on Linux, actually. I know that makeobj should exist for Linux, but it's probably one of those things you need to compile yourself, since it might be different from one Linux to another. Since I only use Windows (sadly, I'm a bit dependent on Photoshop) I can't give you any Linux versions. For short tests, perhaps you could use an online-pak-service: http://online-dat.simutrans-germany.com (I don't really want to recommend it, since it's not complete and requires registration, but it might be the easiest way to start out.)

Though, quite honestly - paking isn't the issue, really. I think this community contains more "coders" than "artists", and you just need to get the general idea to write the code and pak some objects, wheras graphics can always improve with your talent. So if you think you can do graphics, do them, and worry about paking later ;)

Offline MirceaKitsune

Re: Futuristic buildings and vehicles for distant years
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2017, 09:16:34 PM »
It's non of the CC-Licenses, it's Artistic License (and AL2 for pak128). Which, in my perspective, is slightly inconvenient, since AL is not quite intended for something like graphic paks, but that's not something easily changed retroactively. Interestingly, p192c was published under CC-license, but without sources - weird how that works.

I don't know how you pak on Linux, actually. I know that makeobj should exist for Linux, but it's probably one of those things you need to compile yourself, since it might be different from one Linux to another. Since I only use Windows (sadly, I'm a bit dependent on Photoshop) I can't give you any Linux versions. For short tests, perhaps you could use an online-pak-service: http://online-dat.simutrans-germany.com (I don't really want to recommend it, since it's not complete and requires registration, but it might be the easiest way to start out.)

Though, quite honestly - paking isn't the issue, really. I think this community contains more "coders" than "artists", and you just need to get the general idea to write the code and pak some objects, wheras graphics can always improve with your talent. So if you think you can do graphics, do them, and worry about paking later ;)

I never experimented with Artistic License before. Hope it's not one of the more restrictive licenses, though it's an open license at least so hey!

Yes, that other package was called "makeobj" I believe... I installed it too so it should exist. Being able to pack is important as it offers me a means to preview what I'm making... though I can be smart and just overlay my edited sprites on top of a Simutrans screenshot instead ;) I would however need the originals in png / gif / other format, if anyone knows where we can download them for pak128.

As for being dependent on Windows due to Photoshop, I recommend using Gimp: You can adjust its interface to look and work almost exactly like Photoshop, and I've ultimately transitioned to it very nicely (I draw in it using a tablet with pressure sensitive pen). I also use it to edit sprites, which I've gained experience doing thanks to working on other sprite-based engines such as the OHRRPGCE RPG toolkit.

Offline Leartin

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Re: Futuristic buildings and vehicles for distant years
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2017, 04:23:39 AM »
Sources to pak128 are on sourceforge - https://sourceforge.net/p/simutrans/code/HEAD/tree/pak128/


GIMP is fine for work on Simutrans, but I have a background in media and using GIMP professionally is silly at best. After 15 years of photoshop use, trust me when I say that GIMP only scratches the surface. It's like using a phone to take a picture - it works fine for a snapshot, but not for serious photography, and once you go reflex you never go bax. ;) (Though I don't do professional work anymore and pay my photoshop fee just for Pixelart. It's worth it.)