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Author Topic: Should this pakset's graphical building scale be revised?  (Read 513 times)

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Offline Matthew gb

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Should this pakset's graphical building scale be revised?
« on: September 01, 2019, 08:02:26 PM »
According to the top sticky in the pak.128-Britain forum,
Quote
"Length scales in pak128.Britain are fairly arbitrary, the best rule being that if it fits then it is good.  As a general rule though, 1 tile should represent 30m..."

I am in awe of talented artists like Leartin and wlindley who can draw buildings in 2D, making things fit by intuition and skill. As I lack such artistic talent, the best I can do is to draw floorplans in 2D and then pile Blender meshes on top of them like Lego bricks. Less like art, more like engineering. ;D For this workflow to succeed, and in the spirit of Simutrans-Extended, it's important that the scale is accurate. But my buildings still don't look right, and I think part of the problem is that the existing buildings don't really fit the official scale at all.

Now, buildings can naturally vary in size, so I have focused on doors, which are generally designed to fit a 'typical' human. You may not have been inside a 19th century British building, but you have surely been through a door.  :laugh: Take a look at the harbour-side door of the stone port building:


Using the MeasureIt add-on, we can see that its width is 3290mm at the 30m/tile scale. That's pretty wide for a door. But it's a public building that also handles mailbags, so perhaps a large door is not unreasonable.

However, the doors of residential buildings shouldn't be so wide, right? Today I have been able to consult with an expert: my brother-in-law is a British joiner who has installed thousands of doors and he tells me that the UK's standard sizes for house doors are 2'3" x 6'6" (686 x 1981 mm) and most commonly 2'6" x 6'6" (762 x 1981 mm).

But the 1870 townhouse's door is 2520mm wide (3.3x the size we might expect):


While one of the doors of the 1970s bungalows is ~2000mm x ~5000mm (2.6x and 2.5x the expected lengths):



And a quick dose of common sense should make us realize that bungalows aren't normally 5m tall, never mind their doors!  ;D

I have looked at several citybuilding .blends besides these, and residential, commercial & industrial buildings all have main doors in the vicinity of 2000mm x 5000mm. Even allowing for the fact that we would expect the main doors of industrial buildings to be larger, they are clearly out of proportion (unless I have forgotten about some other step in the workflow where the scale was adjusted?).

So the existing citybuilding graphics are largely on a scale of something like 12m/tile or 15m/tile (some back-of-an-envelope calculations suggest ~11.3x). The older artists did nothing wrong - the rule gives you/them artistic licence (pun intentional!) and you/they used it to make beautiful buildings. But wouldn't it be sensible if we recognized reality and adjusted the official graphical scale accordingly?

The advantages of 12m/tile are that it is closer to the existing graphics and 12 has many factors (2, 3, 4, and 6).
The advantages of 15m/tile are that it is the same as the principal vehicle scale and is exactly half of the current buildings scale.

While the pakset rule of "if it fits then it is good" means that any scale I use has a chance of being accepted into the community distribution, it seemed best to proceed by consensus.

So should this pakset's graphical building scale be revised?

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Should this pakset's graphical building scale be revised?
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2019, 11:23:21 PM »
This is an interesting thought - but what kind of revision do you suggest? There are many complexities to consider, including consistency with other objects and work that might be needed to re-model existing buildings, in some cases buildings which may no longer have their original .blend files available.

Offline Matthew gb

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Re: Should this pakset's graphical building scale be revised?
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2019, 03:25:15 PM »
This is an interesting thought - but what kind of revision do you suggest? There are many complexities to consider, including consistency with other objects and work that might be needed to re-model existing buildings, in some cases buildings which may no longer have their original .blend files available.

I couldn't agree more that re-doing all the great work that you and others have put in over many years isn't something to undertake lightly!

So what I am proposing is a revision to the scale rules to reflect the existing reality, not a revision to the existing graphics. Since the existing graphics are actually on a scale of ~12-15m/tile, then that standard should be edited into the stickied posts that are likely to be seen by future contributors. That means that no-one else will have the frustrating experience of drawing buildings to the published scale and then finding that they don't fit in with the great work that already exists.

BTW I've been collecting together scale data (PDF) as I stumble upon it, because I haven't yet found a pakset standards post (we have lots of tutorials instead, which are much more useful  :) ).

P.S. I wrote a great wall of text & images and obviously failed to communicate my main point. :facepalm: Apologies to everyone I unintentionally annoyed.  :-[
« Last Edit: September 02, 2019, 06:04:00 PM by Matthew »

Offline Vladki cz

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Re: Should this pakset's graphical building scale be revised?
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2019, 03:32:57 PM »
12-15m also matches with the road width (2 lanes for cars, dedicated middle lane for trams and sidewalks)

Online Phystam jp

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Re: Should this pakset's graphical building scale be revised?
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2019, 09:13:21 PM »
I don't agree with your suggestion that someone modify the scale for all objects. Modified pak would be completely different pak, so I suggest that you make another pak to make it consistent.

(Pak256-Ex has consistent image size --- 25m / tile. If you want completely consistent pak, you can try it.)

Offline Leartin at

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Re: Should this pakset's graphical building scale be revised?
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2019, 12:00:41 PM »
P.S. I wrote a great wall of text & images and obviously failed to communicate my main point. :facepalm: Apologies to everyone I unintentionally annoyed.  :-[
At least the most important part is in the first sentence <3

I'd like to tell you something a bit off-topic: Don't be too strict about the reality of measurements, and don't forget that isometric perspective is never seen.
If you look at the old greeks, their columns were not straight, they were thinner at the top, and the thickest part was about eye height. Therefore, to people looking at their temples, those columns looked longer than they really were, but also completely straight. If you use the same columns in isometric perspective, they look all wrong - it's better to have them straight and longer instead, so they look like they look in reallity. Google "Forced Perspective" if you want to know more about these type of things - sure, if it's an exact simulation of reality, you may want to depict the "ugly truth", but if you want to show something as it's perceived, you may have to distort it. It's like the thickness of a black line on white vs white line on black, being exact and precise is rarely the 'correct' choice for a designer.

Offline Matthew gb

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Re: Should this pakset's graphical building scale be revised?
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2019, 10:53:39 PM »
I don't agree with your suggestion that someone modify the scale for all objects. Modified pak would be completely different pak, so I suggest that you make another pak to make it consistent.

Thank you for your feedback.

Quote
(Pak256-Ex has consistent image size --- 25m / tile. If you want completely consistent pak, you can try it.)

I think Pak256-Ex has very beautiful graphics and really captures the Japanese landscape. Unfortunately, it is too beautiful for my PC: I don't have a graphics card, so every time I move the viewport I get lines across the screen.

At least the most important part is in the first sentence <3

You can pay me later!  :laugh:

Quote
I'd like to tell you something a bit off-topic: Don't be too strict about the reality of measurements, and don't forget that isometric perspective is never seen.
If you look at the old greeks, their columns were not straight, they were thinner at the top, and the thickest part was about eye height. Therefore, to people looking at their temples, those columns looked longer than they really were, but also completely straight. If you use the same columns in isometric perspective, they look all wrong - it's better to have them straight and longer instead, so they look like they look in reality. Google "Forced Perspective" if you want to know more about these type of things - sure, if it's an exact simulation of reality, you may want to depict the "ugly truth", but if you want to show something as it's perceived, you may have to distort it. It's like the thickness of a black line on white vs white line on black, being exact and precise is rarely the 'correct' choice for a designer.

Thank you for these comments. I will reflect on them and what this might mean in the context of Simutrans-Extended. The whole point of James' changes has been accuracy, but you are right that we need not be simplistic about what that means.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Should this pakset's graphical building scale be revised?
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2019, 11:07:09 AM »
The 30m/tile is the scale used for vehicles, I believe. It would have been better had buildings been built from this scale to begin with, but I do not believe that it is now feasible to re-work every building in the pakset, so it may be better to change the guidance as suggested.
Edit: I have now inserted a note in the original post referring to this thread.