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Pak64.UK Development Thread and Diary

Started by KneeOn, March 09, 2020, 02:16:59 PM

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KneeOn

This thread is for a new pak I am creating - I've painted for Pak64 in the very distant past and the fact it is 'early' work very much shows when compared to what this Pak will aspire to be.
EDIT 09/05/2020 I have renamed it from Pak64.UK to Pak64.UK Development Thread and Diary to accurately reflect what it actually is.
EDIT 25/05/2020 I have made a Twitter and a Facebook page to post smaller updates which will be duplicated here. This is to increase the range of platforms Simutrans is on and to regenerate interest in the game.
Both caccounts be reached via @Pak64GB

Intro

I followed Carls Great Britain simulation, and spent many hours playing with his train set on the required older version of Experimental. I then moved on from Simutrans, coming back in the last week or two. I installed Extended and the recent work to incorporate Standard features and the work between the version of Experimental on the GB sim and now is immense.
I want to bring those trains in to the Extended era, with a whole new built-from-scratch pakset which focuses on CRAP - Contrast, Repetition, Alignment and Proximity, taken from this guide on Cities: Skylines. https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=528318290 and also by pak128.britain - a fantastic example of CRAP.
Features
There will be a number of features on this pak set, yet to be formally named.
The first one is the size. The first release will hopefully have over 100 city buildings. This is because of the "R" and "C" not being mutually exclusive, as shown by these first example pictures. Although i've drawn 1 building and made 1 modification, I've got six buildings which allow different neighbourhoods which can fit together with different brick types without breaking the style of the street, or be used to create single-style streets. This will extend to COM and IND.
The second is also size - in terms of era and type. Tall flats and offices, sprawling suburbs and densely populated inner cities are all going to be catered for, allowing for (initially) pre-war, post-war and modern cities, eventually having a full 1750-2050+ timeline.
Thirdly is stations. There will be two types of station platform - classic and modern. From this there will be several building styles such as pre-war, post war, BR, NSW/IC/RR, privatisation and modern. Furniture on the platform will include bare, basic shelter, closed shelter, small building and so on. This will allow for widely varied station types which will be visually more engaging and help create unique stations which reflect the towns or areas they are serving. The wa-station pak inspires this design plan.
Infrastructure such as signals, depots and sidings will provide even greater visual depth - depot buidings will match the actual depots to help you create large T.M.Ds like Hornsey, Three Bridges, Northam, Crewe and Swindon. They too will be era-orientated to reflect the range of buildings on the railway.
Industries will be painted to match this style, to let you build large industrial estates and hubs or to meet the challenge of running a full and expansive freight network.
Buses, planes, boats, trucks and trams will be part of later releases, with focuses during future updates on each type of transport and adding to our city buildings. Tram-specific stations will be painted to give a more natural feel for any tram network.
Attractions will hopefully reflect modern and classic Britain. Buildings in London such as the Shard, Sushi Samba, The Gherkin, Cheesegrater, Scalpel all will be part of city skylines as the game progresses but smaller attractions like the Oxo tower, Piccadilly Circus, The Angel of the North and other, national landmarks will be painted either as Attractions or Monuments. A longer term monument update will be to have all 20 current Premier League football stadia, maybe working down the football league - certainly this will be much further down the line but hopefully gives you a hint of the size and scale of the plan for this Pak and the desire to have high quality content.
Roadmap and attachments
This is anticipated to take many months to get a first release sorted - I have reached out to two painters about the vision. I've opted to release the first images along with the test images I used when seeking help to let you see where this will go, for feedback and to offer out to anyone who wants to paint some more information about styling.
The buildings already painted for the Pak are a red, yellow and brown brick terraced house and a variant with a loft conversion. The windows are night-time lit.
I've also included are two signal boxes, modern and classic, the inspiration for the first houses and an office building.
Finally, i'm attaching prototypes for the platform styles and an example of modern and classic shelters.
Please provide feedback, suggestions and if you want to get involved and find out more about the design principles which will underpin this Pak to create the really consistent, easy to paint style please PM me.
Once i've built enough residential buildings (future updates will be posted on this thread with the progress of the build), commercial offices and industrial units will be painted.
Stations will be next with the assorted tracks and infrastructure alongside it.
Attractions then follow.
At some point i'll have a semi-playable set.

wlindley

Excellent! You might consider using the "composite building" approach for your buildings over 1x1 size. Which is to say, render each 1x1 building-block of a larger building, Lego-style, for assembly in your datfile rather than as sliced renders. For example,



is an early draft of what became the Stone-Building group in our pak128.  From those pieces, a variety of churches, universities, follies, and other Medieval and Gothic structures all are built with lines in the dat. 

At some point I would like to modify the makeobj program so that "player colo(u)rs" in industries will change to industry mapcolor ranges, which would permit a dozen different shops to use a single rendering...

KneeOn

#2
I thought you just reused graphics, this is most useful and interesting!
I'll read up on dat files tomorrow after I've painted my small block of flats, thank you!
EDIT
The aforementioned block of flats, started last night and finished tonight. As always, all four rotations and snow cover.
Partially inspired by the "council flats" in pak.128 - garages under the flats. This is also partially inspired by the Barbican - a brutalist and listed housing estate built in the north west of the City of London. This estate was built on the largest land leveled during the Blitz and is Europe's largest arts centre.
As per the first round of houses, the other colours attached aspire to reflect different materials - grey concrete and light brown/beige stone slabs.
I'll be sorting out a naming convention in due course!
EDIT 2:Another set of buildings, detached with a garage in yellow, red and brown again.
Total built in the last 2 days is now at 4 buildings with 3 variants.
Any feedback about the style is much appreciated!
EDIT 3: Another set of buildings.
This time 5 variants of a standard block of flats, housing across 6 floors with 4 flats per floor. Red, yellow, brown bricks and concrete and stone slab
16 City buildings down, another 84 to go!
EDIT 4: Yet another flat, this time its a bit more modern. Red cladding straddles an entry door and staircase windows. The lower penthouses share a wrap around balcony while the top penthouse has its own wrap around balcony. The middle and upper front 'main' flats have their own balcony.
This might get a further colour change tomorrow, looking at possibly having lighter material for cladding - I'm keen to not recycle models in styles which don't suit the building to artificially bump the city building count up.


KneeOn

Another day, another building. I was hoping to do this and another bigger residential property but finished work 2 hours late so wasn't able to.
It's the semi-detached red/brown/yellow, with a drive. 4 rotations, winter version included as per normal.
While I churn out these graphics, it has hit me that I should do a few tests - i'll get these pak'd and then run them in game just to make sure they line up correctly and fix any graphics faults I discover - I imagine the buildings are probably out by a pixel here and graphics made before I discovered colour map on GIMP (which allows direct swaps, and the low colour count lends its self to this function to be able to churn out graphics much faster!) may have odd pixels of the wrong shade.
I need to remove the tile template lines and i'm aware of this - these posts are to show the progress, style and feel of the houses so I can hopefully get feedback and make changes to improve the pakset prior to the very far off first launch.
As we reach the limits of 64x64 sized tiles, with a few upper market detached and semi detached properties, short flats and apartments etc we will soon move on to low commercial!
In other development tests, i've done a scale test using the class 800 as a marker for the size of Carls trains - i'll post that one tomorrow or over the weekend so hopefully you'll get a feel for how everything will work with the trains i'm hoping to use by default.
I've you've read the above posts once, please do go back - I follow the 24 hour between double post rules so often edit in more pictures. There may be buildings you've not seen yet.
Thanks for reading and taking an interest in this project - I know a lot gets promised and unfortunately life gets in the way and stops many excellent projects from being finished. Any painters who want to get involved and like the style, please do drop me a PM - I can send templates and test beds to show how i've put these together along with colour palettes and we can work on a list of buildings you want to contribute :)

KneeOn

Hello,
Another building is done. There would be at least two or three more if my Facebook wasn't hacked and I wasn't stuck in a cycle of being unable to log in to any device because Facebook no longer recognises any of my devices!
It's a simple building, "Stacked Houses" - these could be described a low flats, tenements or something similar. Three floors of houses, with access via ground floor front doors or up an internal staircase.
This building is designed to look cheap, a bit ugly, a bit blocky with very little to say for its self - just outside the rich inner city, just outside the rich suburbs and normally council run. I have decided to make it harder for my self however by making it require four rotations for the boxes, roof acccess door and by making it so doors only showed on two sides. This is partially inspired by the flats at Motspur Park, directly next to the railway line a short distance down from Raynes Park station in South West London, or the flats a short distance down from London Bridge on the Neckinger Estate.
Currently being worked on (as in when I get on the train to work tonight) is a small brown brick, red tiled, detached house with front patio and rear garden with grass on the side of the house not part of the property. This is a detached version in the style of houses in West Hove, south of Portland Road where there is a fair amount of money. This is a large, 6 bedroom sized house. A semi version of this may be developed as well, to allow more densely populated but upmarket family homes to break up the cheap and council run or new build style houses and flats without losing the density that organically built, victorian onwards towns in the UK have. The red terracotta tiles give a really nice, older, more expensive feel that will start to break up the monotony of the roofing so far (I hope!).
As mentioned we are starting to reach the end of the first batch of 64x64 properties. I thought i'd disclose whats next:

       
  • The last residential properties - the more up market houses and the low rise modern flats of which one has already been painted and posted. Houses are getting fairly slick and so I might draw a new house every now and again while going through the rest of the pre-release list if time allows to bump up that contrast but allow for greater repetition and alignment.
  • MAKEOBJ TESTING AND SCREENSHOTS!
  • Commercial properties - rows of terraced shops much like new-town style high streets first started, small fast food outlets built post-2000, smaller offices (both older and glass fronted, metal encased inner city types.) Another type of office which is growing in popularity is the new-build residential building style. Many new builds include a community centre, offices and a small shop where there are enough houses. The offices for this will match the style of a new build house but have a building shape more like the demo office I painted. Older, Victorian offices will be attempted too - their building work tends to be detailed and i'll have to consider how to impart the height and grandeur of these buildings in to 64 pixels. Currently a 5px floor to ceiling scale is used. I know some high rises use a much, much smaller one and that'll be a consideration
  • MAKEOBJ TESTING AND SCREENSHOTS!
  • The first low industrial buildings will follow. Industrial plots in the UK are both very contrasting between individual estates and between individual buildings within a single estated. They're also very repetitive in that they generally conform to only a few types of buildings where the insides are re-purposed and outside receives a level of customisation. There will be at least 4 if not more colours of basic workshop/warehouse in that corrugated metal style. This will be a 'filler' painting to give your industrial units a run down and expansive feel while contributing a little to the passenger flow. Small factories, yards, storage and other ancillary buildings will be painted. This will, I hope, give the industry factories that generate goods a proper home with a real 'Industrial Park' feel
  • MAKEOBJ TESTING AND SCREENSHOTS!
Note, this will not be the end of the residential development, a lot more highrise flats are planned. These will include the high rise council type both post-war, 70's/80's and modern style and the more trendy and prettier flats of glass, cladding, balconies which aren't built in to the brick work etc. Lastly, luxury flats will be painted - all glass, all very expensive and the type of new builds in the style of One Blackfriars. These will be 64x128 but very few will be as big as that. The 128 tall buildings will be to give the cities you connect a real skyline that can be as unique as the city you live in. This will be in a future update however - 64x64 is the order of the day for the next few months of painting but it should mean a really big Skyline Update as well as more incremental updates with each big release.
Also note the block/underlining of testing is more of a reminder for me to actually get around to writing .dat files... nothing to be too excited about!
Lastly, and really good news for the pakset, Carl is happy for his trains to be distributed. I've asked about sources so when the time comes I can update all .dat files for extended before looking at balancing.

Boring stuff you probably won't care about unless you want to paint for this paksetWhat follows now is just a diary of sorts to help me keep track of what is going on, what is done, what is to do so people who do wish to paint for this set know where the project is at internally, rather than just where/how development to a release is going -
There are 23 painted buildings which require a touch up such as getting rid of the tile guide lines. Another at least 2, the currently worked on detached in brick and possibly painted white stone, is to follow bringing up to at least 25 residential low-rise houses and flats today or tomorrow. I reckon there's another 10 that could be painted.
A naming convention has been settled on. [BuildingType][BuildingNumber]_[TextureType]_[BuildingName][BuildingStyle][TypeNumber] for example: RES1_RedBrick_TerraceModern and RES1_RedBrick_TerraceModern_2 are the terrace new builds. Type 2 has the loft conversion. I envisage this being portable to COM and RES.
Five styles have been textured - Red, Brown, Yellow brick, Concrete, Stone Slab. There are a few more - painted white, painted colours as per requirements, modern cladding, lattice, metal, glass. These will be developed as the building type gets created
Balancing is currently not an issue, getting buildings painted is. Balancing will come with lots of studying the documentation, internal testing and a beta release.
I have at least 6 big updates in mind and these are not in order:The Rail update - if the initial release doesn't incorporate everything I have in mind for railways, this will be the update which fills in the missing stations, signal boxes, depot equipment, signals and so onThe Bus Update - I do not plan on releasing much bus related content at first - only enough to play a balanced game at the most. A full bus update with suitable bus and truck related buildings such as bus station buildings (Peterborough, Barnsley, Victoria for example), yards, depots etc. The Sea Update - ferry travel is underestimated in the UK - several locations run riverboats or ferries to other parts of the UK and I think this should be included in a specific update to allow fully functional and realistic travel hubs. No major work will be done pre-version 1 on ferries.The Airport Update - very little if any airport work will be released at first but again, regional air travel and international air travel will be an important element once this update is done. The Building Update - the aforementioned 64x128 buildings as well as much expanding and diversifying the skyline of everyone's map. There will be some buildings released on their own as updates and with the other major planned updates to break up the monotony of painting one type of building for a long stretch and to keep the pak developing and looking better for everyone who plays, not just those who use boats, planes or trams.The Tram Update - giving dedicated tram way, signalling, stop and stations for complete tram networks to run
Although this is a very fluid roadmap - cities, trains and some buses are the priority - any painter who wants to paint something listed is welcome to do so.
As always, if you read this post do check back after the next post is put up - you will miss any edited updates such as new buildings

jamespetts

How splendid! Very best wishes with developing this - it is always good to see new paksets.
Download Simutrans-Extended.

Want to help with development? See here for things to do for coding, and here for information on how to make graphics/objects.

Follow Simutrans-Extended on Facebook.

Carl

Will be following this with interest. Great work so far!

KneeOn

COVID-19 has put a downer on these days off - I should have been away in Amsterdam!
No matter, I've managed to find a free bit of time this evening to finish off and attach some more new buildings which are painted.
The previously mentioned red-tiled, brown/painted building and an ultra modern wooden bungalow with lots of wood slats and a swimming pool!
As always 4x winter/summer.
I really like the cream painted one - I think it moves the set away from being naked brick work and brings some variation which I hadn't been able to really bring in.
The wood bungalow is another building I think adds another bit of really needed variation which gives us something to add contrast to the cities.
That's 27 buildings across 10 types comprising a mix of houses, flats and a bungalow! If you're just getting in to this for the first time or you are reading this message having not re-read entries there plenty of edited posts with more buildings to check out.
Feedback and criticisms are very welcome.

KneeOn

The first batch of completed residential buildings have had half their images beta-tested! Big news during these tough times. I'm a keyworker and the new timetable removed tables from my trains so work has been a bit slower lately - limited to writing out dat files and learning how to compile them rather than painting. There are three more blocks of flats - one attempted glass front which is now just a concrete block, a coloured cladding flat currently in red and lastly the cladded flat with an angled loft block which provides a bit more variation. Below is the beta paks. There are some points:   

       
  • The brick stacked houses has a problem that it rendered the wrong image - poor dat writing which I will change in due course   

  •    
  • The roofs look a bit bland - the tiles are too close together in colour   

  •    
  • The yellow bricks look better with dark windows so this will be changed

  •    
  • Lawns and vegetation need re-visiting. The lawns are boring and the vegetation is too bright. I might even make the lawn transparent to match the ground tile.   

  •    
  • The colour scheme in general is too bright possibly - this will need checking against Carls trains because this pak is all to give them a true-to-style UK environment to be used and the work is to match them   

  •    
  • Some roofs appear too low with the roof tiles orientated  like - rather than | as seen on others. I may re-draw - roofs as | which will change shape and by having both, we add variation and uniformity at once.   

  •    
  • The terraced properties have a small gap. This is in a British style but not the one I was aiming for - continuous building. I will add another building in the various styles to close that gap.   

  •    
  • Scale - I have opted to have 5px per floor which is a little smaller than the original pak64 and looks silly until we have new city-people and vehicles drawn
  • In general i'm very pleased although as I paint more, I imagine i'll re-visit these buildings in time to make them more refined. The lack of tables on the trains mean less painting. There will be a revised first post to reflect recent developments and lessons and other admin-y bits before I spend the upcoming rest days getting the three in-progress buildings painted and move on to commercial buildings.Feedback on the below is always appreciated.



KneeOn

#9
Phase 1 residential buildings are now completed - notice the new clad, glass and angled flats.
I'm now going to focus on the first batch of shops and offices using much of the same styles as so far - especially with terraced shops which make up some of the older high streets and the wooden bungalow texturing for more modern shopping parades made with wood and glass as a style.
I'm not sure about the angled flat - the views from the back and side look too big but I cannot make the sizes all match up - if these can't be fixed then they might be removed.
Feedback is always appreciated!
Com buildings are now in full flow - two types of offices, a cinema and a fast food joint.

The green-roofed building is inspired by the Royal Exchange near Bank Junction in London, the cinema is inspired by the old style cinemas that made up old high streets in cities around the country. The fast food joint is like many motorway services (without a drive thru!)
There is a newer build small shop, similar to Tesco Express or Sainsburys Local, small forecort, lit ATM and a lit up sign.
COM7 has two forms. It is the grey shop with a large lit-up screen. Initially built to sit on the corner, when I placed it I wasn't happy with how it looked so have changed it to be part of a high street instead, but this would suit being in the middle of a larger town rather than your classic small town/local district high street. I'll likely get rid of the corner one.




KneeOn

Good afternoon,
Hit a small block where I couldn't get a couple of buildings quite right so I moved on to carry on painting.
So far are a set of terraced down town offices of varying sizes on one block and two variations of shops below offices. One has an arcade with night-lit sign and wide glass doors. The other is conventional shops, two of them below the offices. The material remains the same, this might change but making material changes on GIMP is relatively easy so today i've tried to just paint new building and not re-do all the planned variations.
The terraced offices proved to be the hardest building so far with getting the directional variations correct however I think it was worth the effort and i'm pleased with how the pak has progressed the last few days.
I think i'll move on to more high-street outlets, with various building styles and decorations. This will be a lot of repetition - probably glass, wood, brick, stone, concrete variants of between two and five buildings - possibly trying to vary the height so they can link together but not look quite so one dimensional - this is a note mostly for me to remember the idea.
Enjoy the latest screenshot.

fam621

Quote from: Carl on March 18, 2020, 02:03:38 PM
Will be following this with interest. Great work so far!

I will to (like Carl ;)) be following this project and this may be the project which brings me back to Simutrans after what has rather been more of a break than me quitting Simutrans altogether  I have (before now) considered returning but this may be the pakset which helps me to make that return and maybe to make a map myself. @jamespetts @carl

P.S. Just a brief enquiry, in terms of signalling how is it going to work. Will it work like on the pak128 version of this pakset (pak128.britain) where you have the multiple aspect (track circuit block) signalling, cab signalling (TVM, ETCS) and the pre-track circuit block signalling (i.e. absolute block (semaphore signalling)) or will it be more simpler and where there is little or no variation in the signalling. Apart from that, keep up with the hard work.

KneeOn

Quote from: thegamer7893 on April 01, 2020, 11:15:22 PMI will to (like Carl ;)) be following this project and this may be the project which brings me back to Simutrans after what has rather been more of a break than me quitting Simutrans altogether  I have (before now) considered returning but this may be the pakset which helps me to make that return and maybe to make a map myself. @jamespetts @carl
P.S. Just a brief enquiry, in terms of signalling how is it going to work. Will it work like on the pak128 version of this pakset (pak128.britain) where you have the multiple aspect (track circuit block) signalling, cab signalling (TVM, ETCS) and the pre-track circuit block signalling (i.e. absolute block (semaphore signalling)) or will it be more simpler and where there is little or no variation in the signalling. Apart from that, keep up with the hard work.
Firstly, thank you for the kind words. If you do fancy getting involved feel free to PM me, otherwise keep an eye on this thread while I post my updates - a full release is still some way away but i'm glad its getting you thinking about Simutrans!
Secondly, I've not yet thought about signalling apart from testing how I could make a modern aspect signal look before I started painting buildings properly. Part of me doesn't want to over complicate the menu more than I've already got in mind. I will be looking at the menu.conf files to see what options are open to me. I may look to release the full pak with a simple signalling solution (i.e. TCB signalling, similar to what is currently shipped with standard)  and then having an addon with TVM/ETCS/token block/etc signals for those who want more advanced signalling, possibly in its own menu. I'm very open to ideas, so far i'm cracking through buildings only.
Thirdly, as a result of yesterday and todays work I have had a thought. I will, when I move on to factories, use the new shops below as templates for colour coded industrial buildings - I know one day there is a plan to possibly use a special tile colour to allow one building be used across multiple industries. This will be literally that end result - one building (or multiple building styles) with special colouring for each industry. The only difference is that I will paint a building and then have multiple colour options of that building for each industry.
Lastly (for now) I have completed 12(!) buildings, 6 of each brick and stone. There are 3 types of shop front and 2 building heights - 2 and 3 story variants. These are very subtle changes but hopefully give a little bit of variation in the high streets.
The updated building preview is here:

fam621

#13
I would happily like to be involved with this pakset and its development as it is a project which has been disgusted since Carl started his GB map but wasn't looked into so for this to be made after so long is amazing. I will be DMing you at some point to discuss this further.

KneeOn

#14
Quote from: thegamer7893 on April 02, 2020, 03:23:18 PMI would happily like to be involved with this pakset and its development as it is a project which has been disgusted since Carl started his GB map but wasn't looked into so for this to be made after so long is amazing. I will be DMing you at some point to discuss this further.
I've sent you a DM - as I said thank you for your kind words. It's a very big undertaking - I thought it would be but it's still surprising how much work it is! To give you an idea, i've spent 3 hours fixing a building - the corner offices were mis-sized by a pixel. This meant if they were built next to each other as per the preview they looked mismatched. Luckily with a bunch of brute force editing they fit nicely together! This comes in three varieties
I've also paked up the white walled version of the taller black topped office building. This is next to the modern, glass walled and metal framed building with an angled middle floor.
Getting these little bits right early doors is certainly better than having to go back. Currently any building where the black guide lines were removed after the building was finished causes a glitch on the latest standard version where pixels get stuck so all these buildings will have to be fixed in due course!
Below are the recent additions from this afternoon:

As an added extra, I built a very quick mock up of a town to show how this pakset looks in the 'wild' although it is planned.


Vladki

Beware! There's a flock of welsh sheep invading the city ;)

KneeOn

Quote from: Vladki on April 03, 2020, 07:08:29 AM
Beware! There's a flock of welsh sheep invading the city ;)

I'm going to be brutally honest - I thought those were clouds for as long as I can remember them!!!! I'll build a high voltage train line, that'll cook 'em!

KneeOn

Hello, it's been a stint of four night shifts so I've been working on things on the train to work and haven't had internet access.
That means today is a bumper pack of six new buildings.
They are as follows:
A residential set of flags in Georgian sort of style - this was intended to be an office but I felt it was more suited to be a residential buildingA stone bowed roof row of shops, similar to the six stone ones but with a different roofA community centre inspired by a building in Coventry or Keyleigh town centre (I forget which)Two buildings, one stone and one brick council style building inspired by a building in Keyleigh town centreA small glass corporation building, no specific inspiration however this was what the Georgian style
The work will continue this week, hopefully with more modern buildings. The rows of shops are largely finished for now - there are some plans afoot to have run down/vandalised versions of shops to simulate the worn out, pre-regeneration/gentrification parts of a town.
Enjoy the full building list and the mock city with new buildings included.


KneeOn

Hey all you cool cats and kittens, it's KneeOn from Pak64.GB.

Today I have been making efforts on fixing some of the early residential work, having noticed it causes a graphical glitch. This is because I used tile guidelines which I then converted to being transparent, and that causes a weird, trippy effect when moving the map and causes pixels from pedestrians to get 'stuck', making a trail that stays behind them as they walk past the building.

I also took the chance to make the roof better and fix the colour scheme. Below is a comparison.

I think this looks a lot better, it has a more muted, mature tone and the roofs are much better looking. I also much prefer the gardens, I think they look more dense on the terraced houses and this should make the inner-suburbs/outer city parts (think East End London, Birmingham, Peterborough, Newcastle) feel more alive, dense and compacted and therefore drive up the requirements for a heavier public transport solution such as metro bus, suburban rail and tube/underground services.

I'm still not convinced on the lawn, I'm looking in to licences for the Pak64 tileset and whether it is worth making my own. The concern is that it looks poor quality because it repeats and therefore has to fit together without looking like a jigsaw. Later problems for later KneeOn.

The re-works continue with all initial flats to be done. I also need to make the loft conversion variants with this new style, a relatively small job and one which will apply to all brown/red/yellow brick terraced, semis and detached rather than just the original terraced.

Please let me know thoughts - gamer, i'm about to email you the pak/source files for your feedback.

Stay safe, stay home, protect the NHS, save lives!

wlindley


fam621

Quote from: KneeOn on April 10, 2020, 07:05:13 PM
Hey all you cool cats and kittens, it's KneeOn from Pak64.GB.

Today I have been making efforts on fixing some of the early residential work, having noticed it causes a graphical glitch. This is because I used tile guidelines which I then converted to being transparent, and that causes a weird, trippy effect when moving the map and causes pixels from pedestrians to get 'stuck', making a trail that stays behind them as they walk past the building.

I also took the chance to make the roof better and fix the colour scheme. Below is a comparison.

I think this looks a lot better, it has a more muted, mature tone and the roofs are much better looking. I also much prefer the gardens, I think they look more dense on the terraced houses and this should make the inner-suburbs/outer city parts (think East End London, Birmingham, Peterborough, Newcastle) feel more alive, dense and compacted and therefore drive up the requirements for a heavier public transport solution such as metro bus, suburban rail and tube/underground services.

I'm still not convinced on the lawn, I'm looking in to licences for the Pak64 tileset and whether it is worth making my own. The concern is that it looks poor quality because it repeats and therefore has to fit together without looking like a jigsaw. Later problems for later KneeOn.

The re-works continue with all initial flats to be done. I also need to make the loft conversion variants with this new style, a relatively small job and one which will apply to all brown/red/yellow brick terraced, semis and detached rather than just the original terraced.

Please let me know thoughts - gamer, i'm about to email you the pak/source files for your feedback.

Stay safe, stay home, protect the NHS, save lives!


Buildings looking nice I must say, when will work start in terms of signalling and stuff?

KneeOn

#21
Hello all,

I had a minor account issue which is now fixed. Also speaking of issues - the ground tile appears to have worked but i'll get the residential paks re-done with this and do a full test at the end of the city building painting. Thank you for your suggestion with that wlindley!

To answer the unanswered questions on here - signals/stations/depots will start soon. I am going to go and paint all 136+ parts of the initial rail release (that excludes underground stuff or any signalling aside from TCB - that'll bump it up another 10-20!).

Menu config is a big, confusing file which I need to read around so I can achieve my goal of splitting track/depots and their decorative parts/signals/boxes from stations/station buildings on the menu - I'm not entirely sure that is possible which means the menu will be huge if you play without a timeline.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Before stations comes industrial city buildings and then bugfixing all the city buildings and making extended and standard paks which can be dropped in to any game however. The first 17 buildings are painted - these broadly fit across 2 base templates: the factory and the warehouse. The box warehouse has made three buildings in two variants for a total of 6 while the factory has 3 types of roof in two styles, plus the sloped roof comes in metal and has also been edited to make a single story storage facility in stone, red, blue and green - there are a few more planned which I'm working on today and hopefully will have finished up by the end of my night shifts that start tomorrow.

Anyone who wants to help with painting or writing dat files please do DM me - the more hands on this the better it'll be!

EDIT: I couldn't work out why I jumped from IND6 to IND8 in my exported PNG - I missed off the warehouse complex with a longer building in there. I also will take the chance to show the 10th building, a walled work yard with two big boxes of goods and a skip with space to park vehicles and the work office.



KneeOn

I've had a few days off from doing this.


I'm pretty city-building-ed out now, especially as I reach the limits of my ability to make more interesting buildings. I will be returning to city buildings with a skyline update but also to fill in and expand as time goes on with properties. I've also elected not to bother balancing them yet - I will be looking at how to balance things out so a well run company can make a realistic 3-5% profit but that'll all be based on reading how the numbers fit together.

So what have I done instead? Well I've played football manager and i've started painting the first train station platform, paking it using dims=1,1,16 and getting templates in place. You will be able to see some of this below, but it is subject to change at this early stage.

Full disclosure: I have been in love with the japanese wa-platform set for years and years and years. I have studied these extensively for dimensions and how it looks as good as it does. I have not edited their graphics, but they've formed the base in how many pixels high, how to slope, platform depth etc. As far as I can tell, that is still very much in the spirit of simutrans. Inspiration, indeed many people including my self have edited graphics with permission. I haven't sought that permission this time around, because I do not want to simply edit their graphics. It doesn't match the style of painting I'm doing, nor do they suit the paksets GB theme. There will be a read-me and (hopefully) a splash on this pak which will have a full an extensive list of credits for painters, dat file creators and helpers and inspiration where it has struck.


So below is an example of the platform - the pixels do not match up at all and will be re-done shortly. The reason why I am putting this in is because I need your help! Which winter style works best? There are two types:
Plain colour
Ice/marble GIMP effect


There are three styles
Fully covered
To the yellow line
Cleared along the platform edge


Does anyone have any suggestions or feedback?



Carl

Just to say that it's great to see a new set of platforms being put together for pak64. I've used the wa-platform set for as long as I can remember because it was head and shoulders above anything else and wasn't too incongruous with the overall theme. But it would be great to have an alternative!

I suspect the normal versions of the above are a bit too white - the colour isn't that different from the snowy versions. It can sometimes be worth calibrating with Google Satellite colours - these are rarely exactly what you want but can help to see approximate hues and how things stand out from the surroundings.

(edit: on rereading I think maybe these are all winter styles? In that case I think I'd have to see them "in situ" i.e. on a map to know which looked best)

KneeOn

Hello, yes those are all winter styles. I've rather left winter styles for the time being as just painting anything on the 'top' white and I haven't put their images in the dat files because i'm trying to get the images sorted before making those modifications and testing them.


I can't give you winter tiles just yet but I can give you another dilemma.


A simple two track station with brick side buildings on the modern platform base. Two images, one of the stations in situ and a demo of the 16 image orientation for you to see. I can't tell if the red or brown brick looks better. I know I could do both but that could clutter the menu so for now, which looks better? If it turns out I can include both then I will but I'm doubtful.


I'd be grateful for any feedback on the platforms themselves - are they too bland/single colour blockiness/do they look British? I don't want to simplify the colours until they become boring or unrefined, just less noise!


I absolutely agree, what has always struck me as odd however is that the platforms are DIMS=16 but the japanese pak creators always do a single orientation for their wonderful attractions that are square - the shopping street/centres for example! The attention to detail on wa-platform is magnificent but, in my humble opinion, the noise is perhaps excessive for the cleaner look i'm trying to achieve.


NOTE: I know the guidelines are still there, this is deliberate while the platforms are WIP.

--

fam621

Quote from: KneeOn on April 19, 2020, 12:36:33 PM
I've had a few days off from doing this.


I'm pretty city-building-ed out now, especially as I reach the limits of my ability to make more interesting buildings. I will be returning to city buildings with a skyline update but also to fill in and expand as time goes on with properties. I've also elected not to bother balancing them yet - I will be looking at how to balance things out so a well run company can make a realistic 3-5% profit but that'll all be based on reading how the numbers fit together.

So what have I done instead? Well I've played football manager and i've started painting the first train station platform, paking it using dims=1,1,16 and getting templates in place. You will be able to see some of this below, but it is subject to change at this early stage.

Full disclosure: I have been in love with the japanese wa-platform set for years and years and years. I have studied these extensively for dimensions and how it looks as good as it does. I have not edited their graphics, but they've formed the base in how many pixels high, how to slope, platform depth etc. As far as I can tell, that is still very much in the spirit of simutrans. Inspiration, indeed many people including my self have edited graphics with permission. I haven't sought that permission this time around, because I do not want to simply edit their graphics. It doesn't match the style of painting I'm doing, nor do they suit the paksets GB theme. There will be a read-me and (hopefully) a splash on this pak which will have a full an extensive list of credits for painters, dat file creators and helpers and inspiration where it has struck.


So below is an example of the platform - the pixels do not match up at all and will be re-done shortly. The reason why I am putting this in is because I need your help! Which winter style works best? There are two types:
Plain colour
Ice/marble GIMP effect


There are three styles
Fully covered
To the yellow line
Cleared along the platform edge


Does anyone have any suggestions or feedback?




Quote from: KneeOn on April 20, 2020, 10:59:05 AM
Hello, yes those are all winter styles. I've rather left winter styles for the time being as just painting anything on the 'top' white and I haven't put their images in the dat files because i'm trying to get the images sorted before making those modifications and testing them.


I can't give you winter tiles just yet but I can give you another dilemma.


A simple two track station with brick side buildings on the modern platform base. Two images, one of the stations in situ and a demo of the 16 image orientation for you to see. I can't tell if the red or brown brick looks better. I know I could do both but that could clutter the menu so for now, which looks better? If it turns out I can include both then I will but I'm doubtful.


I'd be grateful for any feedback on the platforms themselves - are they too bland/single colour blockiness/do they look British? I don't want to simplify the colours until they become boring or unrefined, just less noise!


I absolutely agree, what has always struck me as odd however is that the platforms are DIMS=16 but the japanese pak creators always do a single orientation for their wonderful attractions that are square - the shopping street/centres for example! The attention to detail on wa-platform is magnificent but, in my humble opinion, the noise is perhaps excessive for the cleaner look i'm trying to achieve.


NOTE: I know the guidelines are still there, this is deliberate while the platforms are WIP.

--


Nice work buddy, I would also recommend creating some older style platforms (platform styles used before 2010 (i.e. concrete, brick) however apart from that, there looking good (so far).

KneeOn

#26
Yeah, there is a stone platform template already made up - for now its getting the buildings right and the colour schemes sorted before the relatively easy conversion from Modern to Classic schemes.

With that in mind, the island platforms of the previous are done in brown brick and put in a pak for testing.

Let me know what you think - i've mocked up a 6 platform station, passenger foot tunnels are implied for now but that may well be another station type.

Feedback appreciated for this first complete platform set.




EDIT

Another station: the classic BR canopy which can be seen up and down the country on many, many lines.

I was trying to do a modern glass topped shelter that ran along the platform but I got the positioning and alignment of the shelter horrendously wrong. I decided to go for another 'classic come modern' design instead, one which would have been very new when it opened and yet still adorns routes up and down the country. It's a canopied roof with player colour trim and station buildings along the platform. I'm very, very proud of this one and would go as far to say it's my best one.





I still can't decide between brown and red brick for stations with a brick building so i'll paint it in both and see which I like more. Input on this specifically is sought.




fam621

Quote from: KneeOn on April 20, 2020, 03:55:01 PM
Yeah, there is a stone platform template already made up - for now its getting the buildings right and the colour schemes sorted before the relatively easy conversion from Modern to Classic schemes.

With that in mind, the island platforms of the previous are done in brown brick and put in a pak for testing.

Let me know what you think - i've mocked up a 6 platform station, passenger foot tunnels are implied for now but that may well be another station type.

Feedback appreciated for this first complete platform set.




EDIT

Another station: the classic BR canopy which can be seen up and down the country on many, many lines.

I was trying to do a modern glass topped shelter that ran along the platform but I got the positioning and alignment of the shelter horrendously wrong. I decided to go for another 'classic come modern' design instead, one which would have been very new when it opened and yet still adorns routes up and down the country. It's a canopied roof with player colour trim and station buildings along the platform. I'm very, very proud of this one and would go as far to say it's my best one.





I still can't decide between brown and red brick for stations with a brick building so i'll paint it in both and see which I like more. Input on this specifically is sought.

Nice, also have you checked your emails recently because I have sent you some information regarding trains

Sirius

thegamer7893, why do you always full quote posts?
It's very hard to read a topic like this.

Anyways, I just came here to thank KneeOn for this pakset.
I likely won't try it in the near future as i don't like 64er paks pretty much but it looks quite good and I am impressed how fast you progress.

KneeOn

Gamer: yes I have thank you for that - luckily i'm ex-railway anyway so lots of the train things are easier for me to do - its mostly painting and datfile creation I need help with!

Freahk: Thank you for your compliments, it's been a massive learning curve. It's weird how people favour different sizes! I've been very complimentary about 128.Britain because, technically speaking, it's probably the best pakset. I just don't like the 'feel' of anything bigger than 64! I did dabble with 96.comic, even painting a train for them but I couldn't get on with it the way I've always loved using pak64. I tried after the most recent few year break from playing Simutrans properly and consistently with 128.Britain first but it still didn't 'feel' like the right size.

Talking of learning curves, I've been working on combining front and back images to make span roofing. I've also created the station demo ground and finally sorted the metal canopy. I now need to go back on that BR old style canopy station, split it in to front/back image and then we have a station we can kit-bash together. with the span roof.

This is, again, inspired by the pak128.Britain and the modular stations with a critical difference being you can combine any of the styles so far on to one platform. Getting this to work together well was in no small part down to being able to see the sources for stations in 128.Britain but also pak64. I have a much better understanding of how to use these images now - thank you!

See below the test ground and a demo of the span roof station.


I'll be updating these during the day hopefully with another station of a yet undecided style.







fam621

#30
Quote from: Freahk on April 21, 2020, 11:00:20 PM
thegamer7893, why do you always full quote posts?
It's very hard to read a topic like this.

Freahk: Idk to be quite honest but yeah, I'll try and stop. xD

KneeOn: Those platforms so look really nice and very classic and the colour variations are also a nice touch.

KneeOn

#31
Thank you, I do really like that wood effect on the roof of the canopy and canopy span stations (working names for now). That scheme will make a feature again in some of the signal boxes.

I had hoped to get the stone span started and finished today, probably a single point between two platforms rather than 4 between 2 platforms as per the wood one (reminder for me) however while creating the canopied roofs I realised the extent in which I needed to modify how the graphics were put together with front/back images. Naturally, as these appear to form three distinct styles of roofing - metal frame, slate(?) roof, wood and slate(?) roof it would be logical that they all get some sort of extension. I also realised what a mess my GIMP and png files were in the rail folder, and i've used makeobj.exe pak rather than specifying the files, so the stations now have a different name format for the pak files which will need addressing. I'll likely keep them, but the file names will have to change to reflect what each building actually is. Future problems for neatening and pre-release rather than now.

Tonight I will likely be mostly editing those graphics and dat files which need editing - the two brick and the metal framed shelter that'll let me work on getting the fully roofed buildings sorted over the next few days as I go back in to work. 

I also want to consider what other styles are possible. So far the bare platforms are going to be compatible with all their counterparts i.e. if a station is a 'modern' canopy span then the modern bare platform will work. Indeed, any will work so you can have naturally growing stations which still fit together in a somewhat coherent way until the station floor becomes obsolete. I picture the stone platform and brick station buildings coming first, then the canopy, then the metal and then the modern platform brick, canopy and metal ones replacing the oldest station tile. This will let there be some overlap in style but i'm not sure. Again, future dat file problems which will be addressed likely after first beta.

I've removed from the demo the bare station tiles. I want to still decorate them and think consolidating the bench and plain station and possibly the open shelter station might be more economical on space in the menu bar without reducing the amount of variety too much. There isn't much difference in passenger numbers between a station with nothing, a bench or bench in a shelter and they don't add so much value in graphical terms that makes their inclusion worth making the menu too busy. What is worth while is a variety of styles, which even if it adds a few extra icons (we've saved 4-6 so far already), those icons would add so much more graphical value to the game that it is a worth while sacrifice.

Some people like to forget balancing and create maps based on fantasy companies, with station and route grouping/livery/station design and variation in buildings, if not numbers, massively helps. In timeline games the variety just based on the styles and the eras (classic/modern) might let there be some clear indication of when a station or route (for their depots and signal boxes) was built adding a rich level of graphical history to those games.

I'm not entirely sure on this trade off between between depth vs variety - I know i'm on the right line with the graphics so far based on the feedback. What do people think about depth of variations against number of styles?

Anyway, enjoy the refreshed and coherent demo stations below!


EDIT: I've mocked up a station which could be a regional terminus with fast intercity services using BR class 375, 395 and 180 - all matching the stations colours! This shows off how the buildings link together. This is nothing new if you've used wa-platform or played pak128.Britain. I will now work on the front/back image conversion is done on existing buildings. What I will then show is how the station tile types can be used interchangeably and together that mimic real life development. For example an airport pays to have a new pair of platforms for their express services to the capital. These sit along side the station shed but as part of the deal the airport pay for platform extensions across all intercity platforms. You'd see a shared plain platform (the extensions) become two clear, yet linkable station types - the old station canopy shed and the newer, metal and glass airport platforms. This lets timeline games see natural progression and free-players without timeline create a map which feels like however they want.


Also see the 'pixel perfect' ambition - the matching alternating wood pattern between the canopy and the span doesn't have any 'double colouring' where the darker or lighter tones of the wood go next to each other on joints - they alternate even between two tile types. This level of detail means buildings will now be slower but I think this is worthwhile. In city-buildings, a pixel can be skipped or something not quite proportioned accurately according to the pixel count if it 'feels' acceptable - this margin is very small. For stations it will be non-existent because Simutrans is about transport and transport tiles should be the feature and therefore pixel perfect.


Of course appropriately sized, coloured and designed station buildings will replace the original pak64 tiles. This will come after the stations and be the final piece in having a very well defined station environment where your entrances to the grand, new intercity platforms look and feel connected to the older, suburban platforms and their slightly less attractive entrances.


Please, let me know what you think!





fam621

Will station buildings be next? 🤷🏾‍♂️

I'll also email you about some signalling stuff and some things you need to be aware off in that field

KneeOn

Hi Gamer,


next will be making span-roofs of the brick platform buildings and the metal shelter buildings - after that will be looking at expanding the station tile options then the station buildings - see the above post I edited while you typed out your reply! Theres a teaser of how the station can look there.


With signalling, luckily I have used simsig and being ex-rail staff I have a basic grasp of TCB aspect signalling - ERTMS was never used on my routes in normal working so i'm not well versed in that though, although I do understand the basic concept. I'm not looking to balance signalling beyond painting and getting a working update for Carls trains out just yet though.


If you've got anything to help creation of dat files relating to signalling that would be much, much appreciated!

fam621

#34
ETCS comes in 3 different levels and how it works (in the pak128-britain pakset) is that Level 2 which uses stop boards and works like 2 aspect signals and level 3 allows trains to operate close together using beacons which allows trains to run closely without the need to stop at signals. So in a way, it feels like ATO operation as the trains are independently operating (whilst colliding with eachover). Also, that station picture does look nice and does look like a very fictional representation of Reading. %uD83D%uDC4D

However just as a quick side note, level 3 operation is more suited to double track railways and its also best to use the level 2 choose boards at junctions and if made, there should be a minimum of 1 tile (125m) in spacing so that it doesn't look like trains are just crashing into eachover