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How should special tiles be named?
Tall/Short/Other, subtype (current) 33%  33%  [ 7 ]
By number of tiles covered 62%  62%  [ 13 ]
An alphanumeric code 5%  5%  [ 1 ]
Other (please suggest) 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes: 21
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PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 5:29 pm 
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Edit: I've finished a new version, check the last post


Two days ago, I got an idea for a way to implement something that I have wanted in my games for awhile. I threw together some graphics for it yesterday afternoon, and have decided to go ahead and present what I have so far here so as to gauge what if any interest their might be out there.

Attachment:
File comment: Modular Locomotive Shed Mock up
7.PNG
7.PNG [ 11.21 KiB | Viewed 12508 times ]


First: What is this, how is it different from train sheds already present in station sets, and why bother?
This project is the first (to be released, not conceptually) component of a much larger set I am working on, that will hopefully eventually see the light of day, and provide an interesting twist on game visuals and track planning. With regard to similar items in, say, ISR, this idea is similar in that it serves primarily an "eyecandy" function. It will not introduce anything that isnt already present within the game. It will just make certain constructions more visually interesting. It differs from ISR train sheds in that it uses graphical illusions to simulate structures not yet feasible in OTTD. Why does this matter? Well, if you like to timetable trains to lay-up or stable in a depot or yard between runs, this project can add more interest to that aspect. If you are patiently awaiting depots with bi-directionality or multiple entrances, this can let you approximate that in a way that doesnt compromise the visual appearance of your depot complexes.

We can already create a depot that looks like the above image by using GRFs like Modern Depots or Bigger Depot, and simply place lots of depots behind the one you plan on using. The effect is visually appealing, and simple, but the extra depots serve no useful function, and can be a liability if purchase an expensive train and give it a complicated new set of orders only to find out you clicked the wrong building, and you will now have to sell it for a loss. At its most basic, this project improves on that by adding station tiles that match the depot. Trains drive through the station to the singular depot. While only one depot graphic is available per railtype, the station tiles can be used to add variety to the "depot".

Attachment:
File comment: Sample variations of depots and train shed tiles. The lower views are depot rears and buffer tiles respectively
New shed depots.PNG
New shed depots.PNG [ 9.2 KiB | Viewed 12505 times ]


This project aims to go beyond simply matching a stations style to a depot, and allow more complex constructions while still appearing to be one large maintanance shop. I will give more indepth examples of this in my following post. This project allows this complexity by introducing station tiles which can occlude other tiles by using their "height" to simulate distant roof surfaces. This allows junction and signal tiles to apear enclosed, meaning that small yards can be built to look like monolitioc buildings. With shunting or tight corners, trains can access one depot from various tracks, all of which appear to be part of the depot themselves.

Attachment:
File comment: These tiles use their "height" to occlude those behind them, causing those tiles to appear enclosed
special shed tiles.PNG
special shed tiles.PNG [ 6.63 KiB | Viewed 12507 times ]


Please read the following post(s) for a demonstration of how this will work.

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Last edited by supermop on Fri Oct 07, 2011 2:33 pm, edited 11 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 5:33 pm 
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looks interesting

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PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 5:49 pm 
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What follows is a step by step explanation of how modular Locomotive sheds will be used in game.

Attachment:
2.PNG
2.PNG [ 11.14 KiB | Viewed 12499 times ]


Lets say you have chosen this area on a line to add a depot for servicing, and that you want trains to be able to wait while entering and leaving the depot without blocking the line. To that end you build the depot, and some sidings and signals. The purpose of the lower siding will be shown later.

Attachment:
3.PNG
3.PNG [ 11.98 KiB | Viewed 12499 times ]


Now let's say you would rather have a larger, more realistically sized shop. You start by placing normal shed station tiles on the sidings. This has the added benefit of allowing you to timetable a train to wait on the siding if you want.

Attachment:
4.PNG
4.PNG [ 12.29 KiB | Viewed 12499 times ]


Now we cannot place stations on tiles containing junctions or signals, so you leave those, and the tiles immediately infront of them clear for now.

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PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 6:02 pm 
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Now the exciting conclusion of the Modular Locomotive Shed demonstration!

Attachment:
5.PNG
5.PNG [ 11.58 KiB | Viewed 12493 times ]


Here is where things get interesting. To cover the switch and signal from the middle siding into the depot, you select and place a special station shed tile with the matching flat roof style. This shed has the shape of a taller building, but the upper area is painted to match shed roofs in the background, creating the illusion that the signal also has a roof over it.

Attachment:
6.PNG
6.PNG [ 11.8 KiB | Viewed 12493 times ]


You place another special station shed tile to cover the tile containg the switch. Note that because shed can only cover tiles directly behind (above in the iso grid) them, the lower most track of any locomotive shed you build will not be able to contain any switchs or signals without spoiling the effect, and therefore cannot share the same depot as the upper tracks. You may, of course, use it as a through track, give it its own depot, or use it as eyecandy if you want.

Attachment:
7.PNG
7.PNG [ 11.21 KiB | Viewed 12495 times ]


Add a few more standard shed tiles to suit your taste, and you have yourself a fine piece of infrastructure!

Looking forward to feedback!

Best,

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PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 6:16 pm 
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A very nice idea. One I am sure that many will put to good use.

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PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 6:45 pm 
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That's pretty cool. What else you got in your bag of tricks?

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PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 8:44 pm 
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Very well thought out, good work. I'll look forward to a release.

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PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 10:52 pm 
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These totally need to be station tiles... and they need to have a (new, someone code it :))) property set that means they work as a depot/maintenance as well.

They really would work as factories as well!

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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 3:05 am 
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These special tiles are indeed station tiles, only the building with the saw-tooth skylight in that mock up picture is meant to be a depot. As for giving station tiles depot properties.. well that's a problem that has been without a solution for a couple years now. This is meant to work around that problem by letting users create complex yards that appear to be one depot. While it is imperfect, it does address the requests of many people wanting advanced depots/servicing stations: bi-directional access, multiple entrances, realistic size, and graphic vareity. Of course I would love to see my workaround rendered redundant by an improvement in the depot code, but this is meant to be pragmatic and expedient. Altering depot behavior is beyond my capabilities, but drawing is not.

That said, there is A LOT of work that needs to be done here still:

Coding! As it stands there is nothing coded for these sprites yet. Nothing about the grf coding process makes sense to me, so it will be awhile before I can code these for a release. Any help from interested parties is greatly appreciated, but not expected. I am trying to not be totally helpless here.

More sprites. So far I have three roof styles. I would like to add more, and create a depot that is subtly, yet readily distinguished from the station sheds, so you don't open the station window 20 times while trying to build trains. I feel the plain corugated walls lets the pieces blend easily, but I would like to add some pieces with more detail. A CC stripe along the side, lights next to the doors etc. Doors that open on the station pieces, like on the ISR train sheds, would also be nice. I also want to eventually add other shed styles for different railtypes with corresponding depots, potentially one for every slot in NuTracks.

Create a 32bpp version. This part is actually relatively easy for me.

Determine how to distribute. I am not yet sure if this thing will generate the interest, or reach a high enough quality to go up on bananas.


As for things down the line, most of my ttd time goes into modelling stuff for the larger umbrella project I mentioned earlier. For future proofing and broader appeal, my workflow is to model and render assuming for 32bpp EZ, then paint over the sprites to create good looking images for 8bpp, and perhaps later adapt models to Locomotion ( I am already planning for different proportioned versions of each object). This project was just drawn by hand in paint to get the concept out quickly and see if there was any interest.

Thanks for the comments so far!

Best,

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Last edited by supermop on Thu May 27, 2010 11:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 6:44 am 
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supermop wrote:
Determine how to distribute. I am not yet sure if this thing will generate the interest, or reach a high enough quality to go up on bananas.


Great idea + usable graphics (maybe great graphics) =
Attachment:
Bananavarieties.jpg
Bananavarieties.jpg [ 58.75 KiB | Viewed 12336 times ]

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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 11:10 am 
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I like...

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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 4:28 pm 
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Ok,

So I am going to try to code what I have now as a pre-alpha release (I have no idea what revisions terms like alpha and x.y.z are suppose to refer to, so this could be 1.0, 0.1, 0.0.1, alpha, or beta as far as I know. Suffice to say that it will be the first version that is more than a .png file). I want to hold off on the graphical improvements until after I know that I will be able to code something. It seems that coding a depot should be simpler than, say, a train, but I am still in over my head. I have downloaded Grfcode and Grfwizard, but cannot seem to get them to work (grfcodec pops up and closes in about half a second). Is this perhaps due to my using OTTD instead of TTDP? I was linked to the grfcodec download through ottdcoop dz. Anyway, would really appreciate any tips, in the meantime I will be slogging through the forum topics for each of those tools looking for answers.

Is it currently possible to create a grf without grfcodec?

Generic workflow advice appreciated as well.

Anyway, hopefully I can get something for people to try out soon! I would love to see people making creative use of this idea!

Best,

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Last edited by supermop on Thu May 27, 2010 11:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 6:16 pm 
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Forum seems to be buzzing with some excellent creativity these days. Keep it up. :)

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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 6:26 pm 
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Quote:
I have downloaded Grfcode and Grfwizard, but cant seem to get them to work (grfcodec pops up and closesin about half a second)


This is due to stupid Windows, which will only allow you to run command-line programs when actually in a command-line window.
Do this: In the Start menu, go to "Run...", type "cmd", then, in this window, type "cd", then a space and drag the folder with GRFCodec in it onto the window you are in, THEN type "grfcodec -e <your_nfo_file>". That will encode your GRF.

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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 6:30 pm 
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Thanks! Now I just need an nfo file to encode. I take it I can use a similar action to decode a file first, then start altering that in notepad? I installed Grfmaker as well a couple minutes ago, so I will try reading up on that to see if it helps me out.


EDIT: Ok, I think I was able to write some nfo for a depot, not sure if it will work yet. I ran into a problem which has preventd me moving forward; I drew these sprites in paint, but then laid them out and saved as a .pcx in photoshop. When trying to encode, I noticed the message "Cannot read truecolour PCX files!" All of the colors in my sprites were eyedroppered from the windows TTD pallette in paint, so I assume there is some sort color setting that I neglected to do within Photoshop. I also noticed that when opening sprites decoded from other GRFs, the colors did not appear correct in photoshop. Can anyone give me some help with getting the colors assigned correctly in photoshop? If I can get over this hurdle, I should be able to put out a test release of the depot tonight to those who want to start playing around with it

Best,

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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 12:50 am 
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use "grfcodec -d -p2 existingw.grf" to decode a windows grf into a valid .nfo and .pcx, then in photoshop, open the palette from the .pcx and use it to convert your file to a paletted pcx

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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 1:45 am 
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Thanks Eddi!

So I got my pcx convesion down, and everything seems to align properly in game. As promised, I am attaching the fruits of my labour so far. The included GRF is just the depot with skylight. EDIT: I have removed the outdated depot grf from this post. Please see the release thread for the current version.The special station tiles will follow once I learn how to code a station set with various tiles to choose from. I will start reading up on this tonight, but I apologize in advance, as I will probably run into A LOT of stumbling blocks with that, and will be asking for help.

So this grf is pretty barebones, I'm not even sure the grf id was done right, so let me know if it conflicts with anything.

Best,

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Last edited by supermop on Thu Jun 03, 2010 8:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 2:56 am 
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Maybe try to make the name something related to the unusual-ness (real word, honest) of the GRF.

I've had far too much alcohol to suggest anything useful - something along the lines of "MagicDepot" (but not as s***)

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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 3:07 am 
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Quote:
Maybe try to make the name something related to the unusual-ness (real word, honest) of the GRF.


Yeah, I would like to have a more appropriate name, but I'm not yet sure what that will be. As this version will not be going up on bananas, I just kept the name I used for the .txt file i started out with.

Thanks for commenting though!

Best,

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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 6:29 am 
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supermop wrote:
Thanks Eddi!
I will start reading up on this tonight, but I apologize in advance, as I will probably run into A LOT of stumbling blocks with that, and will be asking for help.

So this grf is pretty barebones, I'm not even sure the grf id was done right, so let me know if it conflicts with anything.

Best,


Now im not sure how much you know beforehand, but we all gotta start somewhere, and we are prone to step on some problems.

this is the Action8 for the NuTracks, hope it helps:
Code:
-1 * 0  08 07                   //Action8, nfo version 7  
        "DJT" 01                //GRF-ID
        "NuTracks" 00           //Name in the newgrf-window
        "Coded by DJ Nekkid" 00 //Comment


Tip on choise of grf-id:
If you plan to code multiple things, id suggest you do something similar on the ID. Two letters that describe you, then one for what it is, plus a number for the version of the grf. In this case: DJ ... thats me, T = tracks, version 01.

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