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Xl Nation Wants Your Modding Tutorials | Xl Nation Modding Acadamy

Discussion in 'Website Information and News' started by Alex24, Aug 30, 2014.

  1. Alex24

    Alex24 Moderator
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    There are many people interested into starting modding, but currently we lack of updated and full tutorials, so people get frustrated quickly.

    Because of that it would be great to have some new full tutorials. In order to make it even better it would be nice if the creators communicate and take care of other tutorials. We are especially looking for basic tutorials at the start.

    You are interested?

    Then please post the possible tutorials or fields of modding you could do


    e.g.
    Alex24
    • How to create a map with worldmachine and the cxl mapper
    • How to create a new full road texture
    • How to create a new bridge
    thx to PaulJChris for the idea
     
  2. The Funky Monk

    The Funky Monk Moderator
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    I'm going to redo my map tutorials as soon as I get over this flu.

    I guess I could always start with a written one.
     
  3. luis diogo

    luis diogo Elite

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    I am interested in retexturing buildings. I've been following some youtube tutorials on max 3ds but i'm lacking the "get into the game" step.
    I have learned some things about it making some plazas and also reading Ole's tutorial on making overwater and no collision buildings. I'm OK with that now.
    But a full step by step tutorial, including LOD's, would be very welcome.

    I also think it would be usefull to have another one about reducing polygons. Not only there's some mods that could use it (and maybe original authors might revisit them) as there are some free models that could be adapted to game.
     
  4. Monty

    Monty Governor

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    Well, as we discussed with PJC earlier in the chat, we really need some updated and full tutorials about modelling and exporting buildings to CXL, but absolutly from scratch. As PJC suggested, dividing the whole process in small modules would be better.

    I can think of some modules like:

    Creating buildings for CXL

    Module 1. Getting started:
    • Recommended softwares and pre-requisites.
    • Links to open source/free software alternatives.
    • How to download 3ds max for students.
    • Software installation and set up. Photoshop/Gimp plugins, installing 3ds Max, unit setup, installing Artist Tool Suite and Layout Creator.

    Module 2. Overview of modding buildings (just a brief introduction to different elements we are going to create)
    • Texture maps basics. Types of maps, name convention.
    • 3d building geometry basics (triangle count limits, default lot sizes, etc)

    Module 3. 3ds max modelling.
    • Introduction to 3ds Max. Viewport options. Command panel. Material editor.
    • Modelling a building from scratch. Modelling tools, modifiers.
    • Tips and shortcuts.
    • Troubleshooting (viewport bug, building not centered, out of scale, viewer errors, inverted normals, etc).

    Module 4. Creating basic maps.
    • Diffuse, reflection, specular and normal maps creation and tips.
    • Texture resources.

    Module 5. UV mapping.
    • UV mapping types.
    • UV mapping of a building and tips.
    • 2nd UV mapping channel.

    Module 6. Lightmap and Self-ill map.
    • Lightmap baking
    • Self illumination map baking.

    Module 7. Layout creator.
    • Placing furniture.
    • Exporting layout file.

    Module 8. Creating the patch file
    • Data folder structure.
    • Class file creation.
    • Thumbnail
    • Localization files.
    • Generating patch file with PakUnpak tool
    • Checking the patch file with CxlPackager
    Module 9. Testing and troubleshooting
    • Most common problems while testing mods (crashes, building not appearing, easymod bugs, etc)

    I'm not sure if that's all but pretty much.
     
    Alex24 and luis diogo like this.
  5. snick

    snick Moderator
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    o_O
     
  6. Ole

    Ole Executive

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    I'm gonna make some more tutorials, but I can also do some of those modules suggested by Monty, what if we all do some clusters, it would be easy
     
  7. Monty

    Monty Governor

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    I forgot the LODs in Module 3. Probably that Module needs to be divided into smaller units because it's too extensive.
     
  8. PaulJChris

    PaulJChris Mayor

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    Thats very close to what I was was going to post Monty - very good break down of the structure and process of modding a building.

    I reckon I could make 1st draft of Modules 1 and 2 - if we create a discussion group we can pass 1st draft around for comment and additions before publication. It is sometimes quite difficult to go back to the mindset of a complete begineer - too much knowledge is assumed if you are not careful
     
    Monty likes this.
  9. Alex24

    Alex24 Moderator
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    sounds good, just use this thread.. it should be no secret
     
  10. Monty

    Monty Governor

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    Indeed. Paul. I could work on module 3.
     
  11. bobqwerty

    bobqwerty Executive

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    As for the basics, I think the introduction to 3ds Max and 3D modelling should be restricted to insights and links to existing tutorials on youtube. There are plenty of good videos out there. Like this series:

    I would like to see some Advanced mapping tutorials, IL, LM map creation... 'What are the benefits of using said Shaders'... I would like to know 'if it's possible to use tiles (one texture mapped into a wall, for example) with just one unwrapped map'. 'If the game supports multiple modifiers applied to components'.
    Even some basics like 'How many materials can I apply into a model?'. These little things aren't specified in the guide.

    Sorry, I'm an IT guy... :notworthy:
     
  12. Monty

    Monty Governor

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    The problem with youtube tutorials is they are not focused on modelling low poly buildings for Cities XL. You would end up knowing how to use modelling tools but wihtout the basic knowledge on how apply those tools on buildings for CXL.

    We use a group of tools that are common to other types of moddelling, but the process and the way we use them are different. For example, you can watch a tutorial about cutting tools, but still you will not know how specifically use them to create details in a building façade, keeping a low triangle count and wihout adding unnecessary vertices. While you model a building for Cities XL you have to keep in mind many things that non specific tutorials will not consider.

    Nicko2u and I made tutorials about lightmaps and self illumination maps. Mine were not reuploaded here yet.

    The game doesn't support multi material shaders or multiple materials. The guide is clear about that you can only have one type of map per model. Tiling textures is technically possible, but with the one map per model limitation it's restricted to one direction (vertical or horizontal), also since tileable textures take more bitmap space -they need to reach the edges of the texture map- they usually take a lot of space, making them less convinient. Still it's possible to take advantage of tiling in some buildings. Many of my mods use tiling, the façade of One Bryant Park building or the WTC are mostly tiled, to name a few.

    You mean 3ds max modifiers?
    The exporter collapses the modifiers before exporting. You can keep the stack of modifiers in 3ds max if you want.

    The video tutorial about UV channels is good to have a notion about how they work, but the way they are used in CXL is completely different. Modelling for CXL requieres a very specific workflow.
     
  13. bobqwerty

    bobqwerty Executive

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    I got it. It's just that there's is a picture in the old artist tool guide with 4 slots used that got me confused. I presume they're for LODs. Tough someone might think you could have multiple objects. It would be great to have a tutorial about that basic workflow in the form of a Q&A. Guidelines to create a building in CitiesXL, the do's and don'ts, what you can and can not do, the tools/plug-ins you need, etc. ...Things to know before anything else.
     
  14. Monty

    Monty Governor

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    Yes, the 4 slots are one for each LOD. And yes, we wanto to make to create that kind of tutorials. :)
     
  15. PaulJChris

    PaulJChris Mayor

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    Well said Monty.

    I remember the learning curve quite well as I started modding 2 years ago with absolutely no proir knowledge of 3dsmax , photoshop or the file structure of this game. I hope to be able to contribute something that will help others not waste time or get stuck on stuff which is always easy with the benefit of hindsight. We have to start from the position of a complete newbie , because it is obvious to me that there is strong demand to learn but it is very difficult to piece together the diverse learning resources needed in a coherent way without a set of CXL specific tutorials which we are hoping to produce.

    The other harsh reality is that we are down to no more than half a dozen active modders as far as I can tell which means the community will die a slow death unless others can be encouraged to join the ranks. I do not have the same amount of time available to mod that I used to due to a change in RL circumstances but I am happy to spend time passing on what I have learnt while still contributing what I can because I enjoy the challenge.
     
  16. katalambda

    katalambda Executive

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    Good idea!
     
  17. nicko2u

    nicko2u Governor

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  18. oreoolep

    oreoolep Vagabond

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    Hello all,

    It would be nice if we could have more "case oriented" tutorials. For example, how some of the best "user modded buildings" we find in the forums were done, step by step if possible ? The -rare- tutorials seem use too simple buildings ; and a video tutorial could be of great value.

    A specific tutorial about the Artist Tool Suite is also really needed.

    Thanks in advance.

    Ore
     
  19. snick

    snick Moderator
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    I think the idea is to give people the building blocks by showing how to create a simpler building. Trying to show how one would create a more complicated structure might be too much for beginners - getting thrown into the deep end when you barely know how to swim.
     

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