View Full Version : How to do Post-SC4 Neighbourhood-Terrain-Levelling (NTL)

15th Nov 2005, 6:35 AM
This note is to show how to do Post-SC4 Neighbourhood-Terrain-Levelling (NTL)

Copyright Issues:
1. Any part of this short tutorial note is banned for any direct or indirect commercial usage.
2. No permission is necessary for redistribution, reformating, media-transformation of this note unless stated.

Why making this?
Have you ever experienced those annoying moments when you just can't place a lot right beside one you want?
The reason seems that the neighbourhood terrain is just like a lot which is basically a pre-defined graphical sheet-layer. The ups and downs of a surface is done by deformaing/twisting/bending this surface, so the border points of different lots cannot be placed together when their relative height positions are different.
For people like me desiring a plain terrain for the lots with plain borders, this is a way to go.

A. How a lot interacts with the neighbourhood terrain

http://img464.imageshack.us/img464/945/ntl000avantpremises016re.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
The terrain will try to match the border shape of the lot, so a lot can be used to shape the neighbourhood terrain shape as a fine-tuner/adjustment. Once a lot is placed there the terrain heights at the borderline of the lot will be locked and recorded in game, so you can also use a lot to fixate the terrain height of the region.
http://img464.imageshack.us/img464/9239/ntl000avantpremises020nr.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
In this approach, I used LOTS built on PLAIN neighbouhood terrain as tools for the whole flattening process.

B. A trick to go around it.

B001. First of all, you've to decide what height is your desired standard. Of course, it has to be makable/archivable/reachable.

B002. Then, start to flatten the that region with a plain biggest-sized lot.

B003. From that region, spread to other areas where you can place a lot.

B004. After making the standard region, place some plain lot(s) within the region to fixate/fasten/lock/maintain/reserve that terrain height of the region.

B005. Now, let's watch some graphical actions... The 2 smaller lots on the left hand side (LHS) have fixated the standard. The big lot is used to flatten the terrain around the fixated lots coz the other areas have to try to match with the fixatd region.
http://img464.imageshack.us/img464/7930/ntl001techniq1eg1011ag.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
B006. After flattening the new regions around the standard, move or add some plain lots to flatten the new surrounding areas of the newly flattenned region. Certainly remember to keep some lots on their originally fixated regions to avoid backward-levelling. The golden rule here is flattening the rest from the standard plain, and you need plain lots to safeguard/protect the plains.
http://img360.imageshack.us/img360/9801/ntl001techniq1eg1024ap.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
B007. See how to migrate and spread the plain...
http://img360.imageshack.us/img360/7621/ntl001techniq1eg1039jg.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
B008. Well, yes, it sucks that it has to be step-by-step. It just takes some patience. Regard that as a patience exercise lol... Ready to dare yourself?
http://img360.imageshack.us/img360/7618/ntl001techniq1eg1047wr.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

B009. Now, go back and flatten the other side of the road further with the big plain lots...
http://img360.imageshack.us/img360/3736/ntl001techniq1eg2013cz.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img360.imageshack.us/img360/318/ntl001techniq1eg2021fz.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

B010. Just carry on from one end to an another end, from one side to an another side, from one block to an another block until you're done with the areas you want it to be plain.

http://img360.imageshack.us/img360/1777/ntl001techniq1process013wc.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img360.imageshack.us/img360/8869/ntl001techniq1process027xk.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img360.imageshack.us/img360/7141/ntl001techniq2015nf.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

C. Results: Now, grab the fruit of the hard-work! For all those plain lots, they can neighbour one another/each other so close as if they're attached...

http://img360.imageshack.us/img360/2267/ntl003apresfruitseg011vt.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img360.imageshack.us/img360/1627/ntl003apresfruitseg029mk.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img360.imageshack.us/img360/5828/ntl003apresfruitseg030rg.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img360.imageshack.us/img360/4401/ntl003apresfruitseg044rd.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img360.imageshack.us/img360/953/ntl003apresfruitseg056na.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

Exceptions/limitations: Due to the terrain elevation and road limits preset in SC4 and neighbourhood objects, certain areas may not be flattened.
http://img360.imageshack.us/img360/4146/ntl005xepsions017rd.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

Yet, you may still increase the susceptibiliy of how elevated your lots can be placed.
If you even want to alter more on the neighbourhood terrains for lots, read this thread to control the slope of the terrain.
Change max slope value
With the appropriate setting, you can make stiffer cliff or bulldoze certain highly inclined regions of your neighbourhood terrain. The Max slope must be <90.

Fin//End/Ende (for the tutorial)

If you've got something to share, welcome to post on this thread.
Also, welcome to error reports, suggestions, helpful critism, and/or comments...

15th Nov 2005, 3:28 PM
Thank you for having taken the time to provide this tutorial, Niol. I find it such a frustrating pain and a terrible waste of valuable neighborhood real estate when a lot wonít place Ė even when it looks as if it should. I found that by utilizing your method, terrain that hadnít been accessible for lots previously, became modified to accommodate most lot sizes. Now that ideal neighborhood niche is attainable for me to build upon. Again, my thanks.

20th Nov 2005, 12:01 AM
I have flattened the terrains where I bulldozed a plain lot before and hadn't thought of this application, it's brilliant Niol. Keep up the good work.

27th Oct 2006, 9:15 PM
What tool are you using to level the ground? Is this something that should be inside the game?

28th Oct 2006, 2:10 AM
What tool are you using to level the ground? Is this something that should be inside the game?

The tool is a plain levelled lot, so it can be inside the game and outside the game (when you have to make it in the first place...)
Either get it in-game from the default lots,
or make new lots on a levelled region,
or mod a new lot out.

lol, just ask more when you've got more...


surely, you can + more as U like. :D

28th Oct 2006, 9:12 AM
If i can add something;),

To increase the flatten capacity, in the C:\Program Files\EA GAMES\The Sims 2\TSData\Sys/Neighborhood.ini file opened with note or wordpad after a backup !, you can change the default value of the MaxLotSlope to an higher one to place your lot easily (ex: MaxLotSlope=89.0) useful with niol's method.

Otherwise for the empty lots, and if you like flat lots :
to flatten more your ground lot : SmoothingTalusAngle=5.0 (the maximum of talus angle) then , as the program use the smoothing tool (the inverse in reality), you can increase the number of passes of this tool : NumberOfSmoothingPasses=16 (default is 8)