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Author Topic: Ask ZT1 design questions here  (Read 25841 times)
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Jay
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« Reply #45 on: December 12, 2013, 05:48:40 PM »

so, instead of quibbling over 2 characters, i was wondering if i could save space by using a [AnimPath] section in a foliage file to redirect the graphics so i didn't have to recopy them when modifying a stock object.

I do not understand the comment because the "2 characters" had to do with where the ".ucs" file is located and not where the graphics are located. [AnimPath] is meant for animal configuration. I do not know if it can be used for foliage, but there would not be a point to do so. The "idle" setting can contain a full path when there is a benefit to do so. However, I do not know why there would be a need to do so in the typical case. You mention that you want to do so to save space. Generally, we do not go out of our way to make something a few bytes smaller. For example, APE often has a blank line at the top of the configuration file. We might not change the configuration file just for that. But if we change the configuration file for some other reason, then we would also delete that blank line. There are other blank lines that are not necessary, but we leave in. We feel it is easier to find different "[...]" sections when there are blank lines between them. Blue Fang must have felt the same way, since most of their "[...]" sections are separated by blank lines and APE keeps those blank lines in the configuration. But there are times when I will add a full path to the "idle" setting for efficiency. For example, sometimes I configure the same foliage images in 2 different ways: 1 that counts toward suitability and 1 that does not count toward suitability (which I call "Decorative"). Rather than create 2 different ".ztd" files with the same graphics, I create 1 ".ztd" file with 1 set of graphics, but 2 different ".ucs" files. In 1 of those ".ucs" files, I will set the "idle" setting to use the full path to the graphics that are for the other ".ucs" file. This reduces the size of the ".ztd" file, and sometimes by a large amount if the foliage is animated. But it also reduces the total number of files that are in the ".ztd" files. With lots of files in ".ztd" files, I have seen ZT take more than 15 minutes to load on a slower computer with thousands of user made objects in ZT's folders. So we try to balance efficiency with consistency and readability.


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i was also wondering if jay could confirm or deny that:
- user defined objects get sorted by UCN after other sort criteria like cHabitat, cLocation
- zt reads the .ztd files in the path order and doesn't overwrite anything it already has

Since we do not have the source code to ZT, we cannot give specifics on how it works. For example, it could go in path order and not overwrite, or it could go in reverse path order and overwrite. Either way, the outcome is the same. For the "path" setting in the zoo.ini file, files in the folders listed earlier in that setting have precedence over files in the folders listed later in that setting. It actually goes by the files inside the ".ztd" files rather than by the ".ztd" files itself. So for any particular object, some of its files might be in a ".ztd" in 1 folder and some other of its files might be in a ".ztd" in a different folder. Although we can control the load order of the folders, we cannot control which files are loaded first within a folder. That depends on how the particular disk is formatted and different disks use different formats. As for the sort order within a purchase menu, it depends on the purchase menu. For the foliage purchase menu, it is probably sorted by cHabitat, then sorted by cLocation within those habitats, then sorted by cPurchaseCost within those locations, then sorted by internal name (what you probably call UCN) within those costs. I do not worry about trying to control the sort. I set habitat, location, and cost by how I feel they should be set. And for the times I create my own internal name, the name is based on the ".ztd" name. If there is more than 1 object in the ".ztd", my own internal names are based on what ".ztd" names I would have used if I separated the objects into separate ".ztd" files.


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should i just make swims, tankable, exhibit neutral the default for everything? there might be exceptions but why shouldn't anyone just put anything whereever they want to? i was already doing swims for everything and all the plants are exhibit neutral and now tankable. but i'd made the flower pots so they couldn't be tanked or go in exhibits but why can't they if someone wants? right?

Different designers use different approaches. I like ZT because of its educational value. So I try to configure things the way they would be in real life. If I feel foliage can only be in one habitat, I will use that habitat setting. Usually, though, I feel it should be allowed either in all exhibits or no exhibits. As for water, I try to determine what it would be in real life: not in water, in shallow water, floating in water, at the bottom of water. That can be subjective in some cases, though. For example, I normally do not configure decorate flowers to be exhibit placeable because animals in real life would destroy them. But sometimes I might configure them to be exhibit placeable if they could be nice on an island or floating on water in an exhibit that contains non-swimmable animals. In the case of an island, though, it would have to be a type of object that fills the island, since some versions of ZT have put poo in places that staff cannot get to.


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also, i'm making some very tall trees and think that i should find out exactly how tall they are instead of just saying cHeight=2 . i notice they don't show quite right if they're in a tank and the edge is raised > 3.

For things that do not go in tanks, Blue Fang usually set heights to 1, 2, or 3, rather than take the effort to figure out the actual height. We tend to do the same. Guests can see over or through things that have a height of 1. It also looks like they can see through things that have a height of 2, even though technically they should not. So we use a height of 1 for things they should see over or through. I have not bothered to test, but it is possible the taller dinos can step over some things with a height of 2. So if an object looks like it is taller than 2, we will use 3. Each level of height is 16 pixels of object height. That is "object height" and not "image height". For example, the image for foliage might be taller than 16 pixels because of branches sticking out on the far side. As humans, our brains tell us from our experiences whether we are seeing branches sticking out or if we are seeing something going up. Computers cannot tell, though. So that is why the heights become important for things that can go at the bottom of tanks. If an object has something sticking out horizontally, that part might need to be under water instead of above water. The only way ZT would know is by the height setting. The height setting for such objects also says at what depth an animal can swim over the object. In some cases, we will set the height to 1 so that the animals can swim over it even if it is actually taller than a height of 1. Some objects can have different images when they are out of water than under water. In those cases, the height setting tells ZT when at least part of the object is out of water so it knows when to switch to the other set of images. For such objects, though, one usually has to experiment with the height setting to see what level looks best for the switching of images. When Blue Fang created the bald cypress for DD, they set its height to 3. When they created MM, they changed the height to 7 and probably attempted to make it tankable. But they probably did not like how the bald cypress looked in tanks, since the configuration was changed to be not tankable, even though they left the height at 7 and left remnants of tank configuration lines.
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dr rick
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« Reply #46 on: December 12, 2013, 07:14:23 PM »

ahah - so actually, it turns out Jay and I have much the same view of cHeight!!! Here are some representative examples from my own output:

Tallest blue gum (my first really tall tree)
225 pixels, cHeight = 3,

4 seasons chestnuts,
200 pixels, cHeight = 3,

large oaks
303 pixels, cHeight = 3

Araucaria (from dinosaur trees)
245 pixels high (near the 255 maximum that can be loaded through the main APE screen), cHeight = 3

Archeopteris (from dinosaur trees)
319 pixels high (319 is maximum that can be loaded with APE through the animation screens so a number of my trees are this height), cHeight = 3

largest Dinizia I can find
350 pixels high (loaded using zoot so indexed 256 colour images required), cHeight = 3, this is tankable and sticks out of the water like your coral tree over at ztuf.  It looks amazing with tapirs swimming round in the tank at the bottom of this tall tree!!

TualangE (I think this is the tallest of the rainforest trees)
480 pixels (zoot loaded), cHeight = 3

Australian Red Cedar
275 pixels, cHeight = 7, (obviously created just after i found out about the cHeight of the MM bald cypress)

large English Elms, (in among Tasmanian Tiger memorial stuff)
height 618 pixels (!) = 44 metres tall in real life and height 448 pixels = 32 metres tall (scaled from people in-game), both cHeight = 3

conclusion - nearly all my tall trees are cHeight = 3

I have made a few tall items for use in tanks which need more specific cHeight settings e.g.

Dragon Kelp (in among Tasmanian Tiger memorial stuff) as configured by Jay
height (when alive and in tank) up to 185 pixels, cHeight = 11 [needs to revert to dead image (cHeight = 1) if water is too shallow]. I suspect Jay chose cHeight = 11 because this, if multiplied by his 16 pixels per 1 unit of height = 16 * 11 = 176.  So, I probably would have chosen 12 not 11 (16 * 12 = 192) just to make sure it could not poke out of the water.  However, when this was configured I was absolutely   so Jay did it for me   and it works well!

« Last Edit: December 12, 2013, 07:31:35 PM by dr rick » Logged

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T'ni
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« Reply #47 on: December 12, 2013, 09:02:49 PM »

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The "idle" setting can contain a full path when there is a benefit to do so.

just like the icon path. good! no need to copy graphics that are already in the game.

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In the case of an island, though, it would have to be a type of object that fills the island, since some versions of ZT have put poo in places that staff cannot get to.

this is interesting too. i'd never thought of making an island because of the poo. *looks around for ground cover plants*

cHabitat + cLocation + cPurchaseCost = interesting sort order.

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dr rick
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« Reply #48 on: December 12, 2013, 09:16:42 PM »

lol! i have discovered the islands of poo issue but not envisaged complete coverage as a way of avoiding it... my unruly but realistic forests (dense but with gaps randomly) sometimes cause poo trappage too...

however, i think that the universe is broken because if:

cHabitat + cLocation + cPurchaseCost = interesting sort order
then
interesting sort order - cHabitat - cLocation (should) = cPurchaseCost   and it does not...
« Last Edit: December 12, 2013, 09:20:39 PM by dr rick » Logged

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Jay
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« Reply #49 on: December 12, 2013, 09:36:43 PM »

Quote from: dr rick
Dragon Kelp (in among Tasmanian Tiger memorial stuff) as configured by Jay
height (when alive and in tank) up to 185 pixels, cHeight = 11 [needs to revert to dead image (cHeight = 1) if water is too shallow]. I suspect Jay chose cHeight = 11 because this, if multiplied by his 16 pixels per 1 unit of height = 16 * 11 = 176.  So, I probably would have chosen 12 not 11 (16 * 12 = 192) just to make sure it could not poke out of the water.

Actually, its cHeight is 10. What makes configuring for tanks difficult is the tank water level is not a multiple of 16 pixels. So for the dragon kelp (and others), I had to try various cHeight settings and see how it looked in-game from all views at various tank depths. I saw that cHeight of 10 was the minimum needed to have it not poke out of the water whenever it was using the living graphics at various tank depths.


Quote from: T'ni
just like the icon path.

It is similar to the icon path, although the ".ani" is included: idle=objects/......../idle/idle.ani


Quote from: T'ni
no need to copy graphics that are already in the game.

Fern already made decorative versions of MM foliage:
http://www.ztcdd.org/DG/index.php?topic=5129.0
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T'ni
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« Reply #50 on: December 12, 2013, 11:13:46 PM »

i hadn't seen those yet, they look nice out of water. tyvm fern :)

this is the highlands pine shrub that i made exhibit neutral. the little evergreen bush with the red berries.
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fern
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« Reply #51 on: December 13, 2013, 01:40:31 AM »

Jane made all the ingame foliage exhibit neutral. That pack is at Tek.
All ZT1 Foliage Combined by Jane
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T'ni
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« Reply #52 on: December 13, 2013, 11:07:52 AM »

Jane made all the ingame foliage exhibit neutral. That pack is at Tek.
All ZT1 Foliage Combined by Jane

that's so obvious that i really should have known to go look for it.

i'm sorry, i've been all rushing around as if doing everything NOW was the right way to have a stress free winter.

fern, i should be mad at you for making the Kelp land placeable ;), i was going to show a little foliage restraint next time i made a zoo but it was impossible after i saw the kelp and sea lettuce gently swaying in the breeze. hehe, another zoo with waaaay too many plants. imo, all foliage should look like this.

ok. so slowing down and getting things closer to perfect...

a) that problem i was having with guests walking under plants that didn't have ground cover on the whole 1/4 square (ostrich fern is the best example) - what's the best way to fix it? certainly not the off center approach i took. maybe a few sprinkles of ground covering pixels? like about 30% coverage??

b) you mention in "UCS Editing guide (User Created Scenery)" that "cHelpID = 9309  No need to change or remove no matter the setting." i found out, /blush, that i did take my first plant from some lamp, and thought i'd change the values to some similar foliage type number. does cHelpID do anything ever? possibly in stock items??

lol! i have discovered the islands of poo issue but not envisaged complete coverage as a way of avoiding it... my unruly but realistic forests (dense but with gaps randomly) sometimes cause poo trappage too...

however, i think that the universe is broken because if:

cHabitat + cLocation + cPurchaseCost = interesting sort order
then
interesting sort order - cHabitat - cLocation (should) = cPurchaseCost  and it does not...

hehe, you're forgetting that "interesting sort order" is a variable. admittedly it should be cInterestingSortOrder or possibly interesting_sort_order (if i was a masochist who liked underscores.

i think i'm going to start putting some walkable foliage right inside my gates. i've had zookeepers not be able to get into an exhibit because of misplaced poo and i really didn't get what was happening because of the invisible fences i couldn't tell where the gate was.
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fern
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« Reply #53 on: December 13, 2013, 08:56:51 PM »

We do use the cHelpID = XXXX line in working buildings. And we discovered what weird things happen if you do it wrong in buildings. The number changes despending on what base is used in Ape.
Jay might know exactly what it does, but as long as cNameID = 19000 then it does not need to change.

Glad you like the foliage.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2013, 08:58:32 PM by fern » Logged
T'ni
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« Reply #54 on: December 13, 2013, 09:22:50 PM »

Glad you like the foliage.

lol, it's everywhere now and i want to make every foliage animated...

there's no hope for me, i'm afraid :( hehe
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Rupamontherocks
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« Reply #55 on: March 07, 2015, 07:24:14 AM »

  Whenever i try to create a new image work in Zoot it always giving an error message "Cannot create a file that already exists what should i do?? 
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Jay
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« Reply #56 on: March 07, 2015, 01:27:46 PM »

If you try to use the third icon in Zoot ("Create a new ZT image"), the file must not exist already. For example, if you are using that icon to try to create the file objects\1f5e912b\idle\se and that file exists already, you will get that error message. There are 2 ways to avoid that message. One way is to delete the file when you are not in Zoot, and then use Zoot's "Create a new ZT image" icon to create the file. But there is an easier way if that file already contains a ZT image that Zoot understands. Look at the image in Zoot. Then click Zoot's fourth icon ("Edit the currently selected image"). In the "Edit frames" window that opens, use "Add frame(s)" to add your new image or images. Then click on the image that is in there already and click "Delete frame". In both approaches, the "Edit frames" window is used. In the first case, the "Edit frames" window is empty when it opens and, in the second case, the "Edit frames" window shows the existing image when it opens.

Good luck with your creating.
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Rupamontherocks
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« Reply #57 on: March 08, 2015, 03:27:26 AM »

Oohhh yeah..that's what i was talking...really Jay, you saved the day...   
Thank you very very much... 

Well, i'm almost done with my very first Structure Building...only NE and NW image rotations and few things need to be fixed..
For now i've made my buiding which sells some king of meals...i will edit new icons for these items in ZOOT.., but before that i want to put new mesages or guest thoughts for these meals..like what guest guests thinks after eating the the meal..or what they think when they see the building...I've red somewhere that i need to create new .dll file to create new custom guest thoughts...

What really i need to do to put my own guest thoughts?? 
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Jay
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« Reply #58 on: March 08, 2015, 04:00:07 AM »

Yes, messages for restaurants and meals have to be in a ".dll" file. But sometimes we can use messages that exist already. For example, if there is nothing special about the building to teach others, then the messages for the Restaurant that come with ZT can be used:

8007, "Restaurant"
38007, "Purchase a restaurant.  Restaurants are larger and their food is more expensive than food stands, but they are the most hunger fulfilling and thirst quenching of all the vendors. Many people can sit down to eat in a restaurant at the same time."
63007, "the Restaurant"
10203, "There's the restaurant.  Let's eat!"

Similarly, if the meals are ones that come with ZT, then the ZT icons and messages can be used. Or if the meals are ones that other people have created for ZT already, then we can sometimes use their icons and messages, if they have given permission for others to use them. If the meals are not ones that come with ZT and are ones that no one else has created yet for ZT, then new messages would be needed. Those messages should be in a combined ".dll" for a web site. If you say what meals you are making and what web site you will release the building, then we can see what ".dll" file should be used and whether there are existing messages for those meals.
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dr rick
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« Reply #59 on: March 09, 2015, 04:16:06 AM »

I'm delighted to hear about your new building! well done! I look forward to seeing it.

I have been designing for years and I used to be reasonably clever      before I had a brain injury    (I have a PhD and worked for Cambridge University ) but I have never understood dll files , so...

I make the building, configure the ucs or ucb file, make all the necessary folders and files to make it work, insert the icons for goods sold through zoot, decide if I am going to use existing guest thoughts but if not, then I write the guest thoughts, then I post the whole lot here or over at zt designer guild and let the wise people who understand dlls do their magic...
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Dr Rick

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