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Thread: Yet Another Town Generator (3D)

  1. #1
      Crayons is offline
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    Default Yet Another Town Generator (3D)

    Okay, yes, I know, people are trying this sort of thing all over the place and doing it better I have no doubt! This one is targeted more at making pretty piccies of RPG towns and the like - for gaming - so it's a less "cerebral" about "reality" and more about saving time, I hope?

    Introduction
    YATG3D is predominantly written in POVRay at the moment. I appreciate that it might be better in something else but "something else" isn't something I can write, so that's my only excuse for that. What I am attempting to do is create a tool which can provide lots of the "vanilla" aspects of a town randomly and leave you to add in the cherries on the top. However, the project involves aspects I am not au fait with and I would really like to collaborate with somebody (or bodies) on this...
    It isn't going to "compete" with the art of cartography as evidenced here, but if you're a GM with a world to create and a need for lots of towns in it... well... it could be handy.

    What it really needs is a Graphical User Interface, and that's what I'm pestering all you fine people with. I can write stuff but not well and my background is Hardware, not Software, so POVRay is good for me, but Python isn't!

    The GUI wants to do a number of things and I'm not going to fill this thread up with a complete specification, so I've cobbled together a private website* which rambles on a bit more fully about the wretched idea.

    I'm very open to criticism and comments about any of this - I think!

    Just to present some idea of what I'm on about here, I attach some renders of "Bendford" which is my "testbench" town at the moment. I've done a range of streets from slums to posh, a castle, a couple of bridges and boats, and a "special" building. I've also "borrowed" a google sketchup building and imported that rather hurriedly (it needs working over a bit).

    Other aspects that need thought are "painting the height_field" and how to manage a potential "library" of "things" - because I'd love it if people added their own buildings to the thing, it is, after all, just a vanilla town generator. The "library" need only be povray INC files, but where to put them? I can run it myself from my own webspace but it isn't my first choice...

    I'm also interested in checking to see how well I can import other 3D models, I'm happy that Sketchup imports with its image_maps and so forth, and can be modified to work better than the example here, but how about 3ds max and so on? POVray can take in meshes and most things can export them so the possibilities are there... and there are quite a few conversion programs around...

    It's not my intent to make money out of this, I'm working on the assumption of a CC BY SA license or something like... so if you're interested in collaborating/assisting, please feel free to contact me here by private message or something?

    Anyway, if you have ideas, models, skills, opinions please let me know!

    These are some of my latest renders...
    Yet Another Town Generator (3D)-bendford-variable2.jpg
    An overview

    Yet Another Town Generator (3D)-bendford-docks.jpg
    A closer look at the docks

    Yet Another Town Generator (3D)-bendford-inna.jpg
    And a maket and some "specal" buildings... the round one is mine, a POVRay object, the rather washed out bleached thing is a Sketchup import of an Inn done by Joel Hoekstra (aka Mr. Hook, Son of Joxer, None the Wiser) from the Google 3D Warehouse - an object he has designed for RPG use so imagine he won't mind ? [That said, if this idea gets more mature I'll probably try to contact him (if he isn't here???)]

    OK - that's enough of me rambling on here. The website I cobbled together is here - and more piccies of older renders...

    http://www.vgap4-info.org.uk/3DTownGen/

    have a peek at the the "Help needed!" dropdown if you're interested?
    cheers!

    * I say "private website" only in so far as there is a robot.txt file supposedly hiding this area from bots and I haven't put my email address on it and I'd rather people talk to me about it here first?
    --
    "I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man"

    My Finished Stuff
    ............. Some of my 3D Stuff (POVRay)

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      Ramah is offline
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    Wow, this looks really great. Unfortunately I have no experience in any of this so the only aid I can offer is via words of encouragement....

    Go go Crayons!

    I hope you find the help you need for this as it does look really intriguing with the possibilities.
    Royal: I'm very sorry for your loss, your mother was a terribly attractive woman.


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    This looks great.

    Is it going to be browser-based, or a downloadable program?

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      Jaxilon is offline
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    That is pretty cool. I checked out your website to see what you were up to as well. I know absolutely nothing about POVray and now that I'm thinking about it, I'm not sure how I could help. All I got is my pencils and this mouse I'm starting to hate although I'm getting a lot better at drawing with it.

    If I come up with any good ideas or something I'll let you know of course.
    “When it’s over and you look in the mirror, did you do the best that you were capable of? If so, the score does not matter. But if you find that you did your best you were capable of, you will find it to your liking.” -John Wooden

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      Crayons is offline
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    Thanks for the encouragement guys!

    Quote Originally Posted by allegraissmart View Post
    This looks great.
    Is it going to be browser-based, or a downloadable program?
    It would be a downloadable program - or rather a suite of things depending on what can be written specifically for it.

    Basically - it works now, much as I describe on the website but it's really really onerous to manually edit 100 plus coordinates and re-render to see if you got it right.

    The process at the moment is...
    a) create a height_field - I used Paintshop Pro and the wonderful Wilbur
    b) generate a street layout - here I used "RPG Citymap Generator" and PSP and another bit of POVRay code I wrote (badly) to extract all the node coordinates and street links - aaaaand many hours correcting and deleting the results manually... ugh
    c) What you end up with is a main POVray file which just calls up macros which are contained in a bunch of library INC include files, which is where all the clever-ish stuff happens.

    With a GUI many of the really onerous bits become visual and quick. The program would operate a bit like Moray (another POVRay "front end" program).

    So - what would be ideal is a downloadable GUI program. You go get POVray yourself, its free ( runs on Mac, Windoze and Unix - you need to che3ck the website for details?). You can write your own Sketchup buildings and use the plugin to convert to POV (or write new stuff in POV) and make a "mystuff.inc" file which you can share or hide away for your own use.
    It wouldn't be just one program, as such.

    All this, of course, means that some mug like me will have to write some tutorials and the like too, I guess. Can do.
    --
    "I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man"

    My Finished Stuff
    ............. Some of my 3D Stuff (POVRay)

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      Crayons is offline
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    Additional:
    I've just been thinking about this and it occurs to me that I don't particularly need a completed "finished product" GUI - I need a "start" and an occasional query answered (I think). I can write software, of a sort, as I am (or was) an Electronics Design Engineer using VHDL, not to mention that I wrote my first program in Algol (which probably dates me). However, I would need the program to be in one of the more readable and intuitiive languages like VB or VC, not cost the earth for a workbench (unlike VB or VC I guess) and not totally wierd looking - like Python (as far as I got trying to read a tutorial)....
    If I had the basics of a tool bar, a cursor that could select and move things, a thingy that would let it save the setup in some form (CSV?) and another thingy to "export"/build a text output file that would be the POVray code - well - I could probably learn the rest and add all the embellishments....
    --
    "I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man"

    My Finished Stuff
    ............. Some of my 3D Stuff (POVRay)

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      ravells is offline
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    Wow, this looks fantastic, Caryons! But like the others, all I can offer is encouragement as I know nothing about POV ray, I'm afraid...

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      Crayons is offline
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    Knowledge of POVray isn't actually needed really, I already have that part of the jigsaw. What I lack is the expertise that can write something in Visual Basic or some othre language that moves a cursor on a screen and when you click somewhere can ultimately put a line of text (which I define) into a file that can be saved... That's a very simplistic "view" of the very basics of a sort of GUI.
    --
    "I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man"

    My Finished Stuff
    ............. Some of my 3D Stuff (POVRay)

  9. #9
      Crayons is offline
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    Ooookay, well, I've had a little look at Moray, Poseray, GIMP and Inkscape. Inkscape, curiously enough, can export vector shapes and paths into POVRay which had the beginnings of a possible "shortcut" but the in-between mucking about with the export file format would just be too unwholesome for one's health.
    That being the case, I have grasped at the snakes behind the head, as it were, and I am researching Python, wxPython and their more cuddly friend, Boa Constructor....
    Save me!!!!

    I don't suppose there's a snake charmer out there?
    --
    "I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man"

    My Finished Stuff
    ............. Some of my 3D Stuff (POVRay)

  10. #10
      Redrobes is offline
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    I have worked with people who done wxPython. I can write really basic python but I dont like the language myself. I prefer perl and theres a wxPerl as well but thats a pure personal choice. Also a wxWidgets in C/C++. So wx is a good road to take and I would certainly think that wxPython would be a good call. Theres also SDL which is a cross platform GUI library and it has Python, C and Perl bindings as well as a bunch of others. Another is TCL and TK GUI stuff too.

    One other option if you have the capability is to write the interface as a web page and get that to collect up some edit boxes, drop downs and radio buttons and then pass it on to a CGI program. We have that here with the members map which I wrote in Perl (link in sig if you havent been there). Web interfaces are pretty simple so if it gets too complicated then your probably better off with a proper app. If it gets any more complicated for a web page then people generally move to flash. Anyway, if you write it as a web page and run the app on a CGI server then you have to have a web server to host it on. If the action is quite quick then you can run it on the guild server but I guess that what your doing is dead slow. You were talking many hours on your challenge entry.

    Once you have the GUI done and you want to draw some lines on a bitmap ready for the app you can use many different interfaces to image processing tools. If what I need must be real fast then I sometimes use the open GL perl interface or else use the image magick binding for perl. Both of these have python and C interfaces as well. This site uses image magick for all its attachments as well as the challenge thumb scraper.

    Don't know Boa Constructor personally so I'm not capable of being charming

    Oh yes should have also added... You can get a free development suites for C/C++ from the Gnu folks or MS or Intel on Linux. Here is a good roundup...
    http://www.freebyte.com/programming/cpp/#cppcompilers

    of that list, I would look at MS Visual Studio Express which is very complete and the Visual MinGW one using the MinGW make and GCC compiler which is arguably better in some ways but perhaps a touch more tricky. Having a VHDL background tho, you would not find either difficult.
    Last edited by Redrobes; 08-08-2010 at 09:35 AM.

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