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Colorable Textures








Path Creator does provide the option to create colorable textures for our queue projects. While it was probably not envisaged by DarkHorizon it is also possible to make colorable paths with Path Creator. Whether you are making queue or path textures colorable, which part of your texture will be painted what color in the game will require initial set-up through the Importer when you pre-import your queue models. In order to do this successfully a familiarity with setting up colorable textures for importing is necessary. Colorable texture specifications for Path Creator projects are the same as those required when importing standard CSO’s.







In a new sandbox colorable paths and colorable queues start out with all default colors set at black. Later on they may take on as default colors the colors of any previously painted path or queue.







Textures For Queues








RCT3 comes with five queues installed. The only in-game queue that’s colorable is the generic queue.







If you’ve created colorable queues you should expect, as with in-game queues, that your own queue textures are only colorable through the adjoining ride or coaster interface.







Although some of the in-game queues come with transparency, with Path Creator it is only possible to create completely opaque queue textures, or completely invisible queue textures.







Textures For Paths








Ten paths come installed with RCT3 but none of them are colorable. If you pre-import your own path models with colorability, after you’ve installed those paths with Path Creator you’ll find they are colorable with the in-game paintbrush which is located in the Scenery>Custom Structures tab over in the menus at the right of the GUI. As with regular CSO’s you may use up to three color buckets with your path models.







Ground-level paths are not colorable because they don’t require pre-importing and their textures can’t be given colorability with Path Creator. Should you create and load texture maps into Path Creator in color bucket colors they’ll display the exact same red, green, and blue color bucket shades when placed in your park. You won’t be able to paint them any other color.







Following that there isn’t much point in having colorable textures that look O.K. on suspended paths and queues along with unacceptable textures on these same paths that are placed directly on our terrain. If you don’t want to discount colorable path textures altogether you might consider making colorable paths and queues through Path Creator for suspended park access and making colorable CSO’s to place over invisible paths for any ground level paths and queues. Path CSO templates are included in our Example SKP.







Image Modes








With Path Creator there are four different ways to get path textures and five different ways to get queue textures to display on our paths and queues. It’s difficult to commit to memory the different requirements that will ensure success in getting our textures through this utility so we’ve provided this helpful table.







  Image Modes And File Types







Further details showing how to make invisible ground level path and queue textures can be found here later in this article.







Shared Textures








The theory behind creating shared textures becomes somewhat clearer when we discuss paths and queues. If we have a total of five hundred path and queue pieces in our park and we are using shared textures the game engine will use the same texture to draw all five hundred pieces.







Without shared textures the game engine will draw the same texture five hundred times. What we see on our screen will appear to be the same but without shared textures the game engine is expending that many more resources to needlessly duplicate the exact same texture. Our game can display the same results with much less trouble from a shared texture OVL.







Therefore, large CSO sets, and paths & queues in particular, run very economically on game resources when shared textures are imported and included in a Shared folder within that set. The textures you paint on your path and queue models in SketchUp will likely be the same textures from piece to piece so it is recommended you include shared textures with your project. The Importer is designed to acknowledge a maximum of thirty-one textures. Those thirty-one textures can be made up in either of the following ways:








thirty-one individual textures,



thirty-one texture maps each containing several individual textures, or



any combination of individual textures and texture maps as long as there are no more than thirty-one in total.








Technically, the importer could import more than thirty-one texture maps without displaying any error message but any texture maps from texture map thirty-two onwards will not be acknowledged as a texture in your game and will be displayed with the splatman texture. This thirty-one texture map limit remains the same regardless the number of shared texture folders we include with our set.







The shared OVL contains the textures that are painted on our path/queue models when we pre-import them with the Importer. When we set up the importer for shared textures it will put all the maps we import into a single shared texture OVL. Whether we import one texture or thirty-one texture maps they’re all converted into a single shared texture OVL through the importing process. It is that shared texture OVL that will need to be included with your Path Creator paths and queues. As a matter of interest, although the in-game Crazy path and Steel path use shared texture OVL’s there are no Shared texture folders in either the in-game Path or the in-game Queue folders.







There is one difference between creating Shared textures for the Importer and creating Shared textures for Path Creator. We need to make the following adjustment in the Importer when we add our shared texture reference at the time we are pre-importing our project as a CSO set, during the initial import our path/queue pieces.







When setting up our shared texture reference in the Importer it will automatically read









"..\shared\TutorialPath-texture"








While pre-importing path and queue models, while we are setting up the Importer to share our textures we need to change the reference:









"..\shared\TutorialPath-texture"








into:










"TutorialPath-texture"








Having done this, after they’ve been run through the Path Creator our project files and the way they link to each other will be just as this utility requires when it creates our paths and queues, and just the way RCT3 requires when we use our paths and queues in-game.







Preparation And Organization








The preparation and collation of a huge number of files is necessary to create a path or a queue set. In a short space of time one will have so many files to deal with that it will become very easy to lose one’s way while working with this utility. In view of that, before starting with this utility one should create a dedicated folder for Path Creator projects. Here are some suggestions for what sort of folders you’d have inside your Path Creator directory:








Your Path Creator Folder



Suggested

Sub-Folder Name

Likely Contents



Path Creator EXE

This folder will have in it your copy of Path Creator utility including the files that accompanied it in the download.



Projects

All your Path Creator CPATH files will be placed here.



Icons

Store the icons for all your projects here.



PSD’s

Photoshop files are saved in the PSD format. All images edited through Photoshop relating to Path Creator should go inside this folder. If you use another image editor you may wish to use another name for this folder.



Textures 01 for My Concrete Path & Queue Set

Put the ground-level path & queue textures for your first path & queue sets here.



Textures 02 for My Brick Path & Queue Set

Put the ground-level path & queue textures for your second path & queue sets here.



Textures 03 for My Glass Path & Queue Set

Put the ground-level path & queue textures for your third path & queue sets here.



Add another numbered folder for each additional set you make, e.g., Textures 04, Textures 05, etc.




Pre-Imported Paths & Queues

This folder is for your path and queue sets after they’ve been pre-imported so they’re somewhere to hand ready for Path Creator. These pre-imports should be stored separately from content you have imported for use directly in RCT3.








You might like to include in this folder a shortcut to the Path Creator EXE. You will also find it handy to create another shortcut to the folder in which this Path Creator’s EXE is located which will permit you easy access to DarkHorizon’s resources, and to any of Path Creator’s log files should you be interested in reviewing them.







You’ll have a much easier time of creating paths if you get your files sorted, any hierarchies set up, and your shortcuts organized prior to using this utility for the first time. It will also be more convenient if you pre-import your path and queue pieces before starting your Path Creator project.







Resources








Included in his download of Park Creator, DarkHorizon has included images of each path and queue part in several sub-folders inside a directory called Resources. The names of two of the standard models have been erroneously transposed by DarkHorizon. Additionally, the path and queue pieces illustrated in about half the images in these folders are not orientated in the same direction in which they need to be created in SketchUp in order to be correctly exported to ASE. The resulting pieces showing up in-game in the wrong orientation is the single most common reason for the community’s disappointment in their efforts with Path Creator.







Our Example SKP








Because of that, rather than our listing each piece and separately indicating which one needs to be re-orientated in what direction and by how many degrees I’ve roughly duplicated DarkHorizon’s standard example models in SketchUp and have aligned them to the same orientation in which they should be exported as ASE’s, and therefore, to the same orientation that they need to show up in our game. This SketchUp 2013 Example file available for download and you’ll find the link for it at the end of this article. To use this SKP simply open it in SketchUp, create & orientate each of your own path and stair models next to the corresponding example piece, and export to ASE in the same orientation (facing in the same direction) as that displayed by the Example SKP pieces.







When reviewing our SKP you will find that in addition to being orientated correctly all the models are drawn on the Z=0 plane. Your own path and queue pieces should be drawn on this plane. Experienced Custom Content Artists know that path cover CSO’s and any bottom stair that’s exactly at Z=0 should be raised ever so slightly. Sandbox park terrain is on the Z=0 plane so when we zoom out a little from the park any CSO faces also placed exactly on Z=0 will display video fallout.







Image 09, HowTo's: Making The Most Of Path Creator, Page 2

Video fallout occurs when your graphics card attempts to display two textures that are in the same exact place. At this distance from the terrain your graphics card has identified both the tile CSO's and the terrain as being at Z=0. When this happens your card can only display one texture there at Z=0 or the other texture there at Z=0 so parts of the tile CSO texture will fall out at those places where your card displays the terrain texture that it perceives to be in the same exact place. Raising our tile CSO's slightly above Z=0 will help the graphics card to tell that it should display the tile CSO in that place rather than the terrain.







For your convenience, inside our Example SKP each of the path and queue pieces is accompanied by a copy of the RCT3 Full Tile Grid guide. Each piece has also been named with the first of DarkHorizon’s naming conventions. If you wish to rename these pieces in your Path Creator project and you also wish to auto-load your path and your queue models you should use either the second or the third naming methods if. Again, here are the conventions you should use:







Image 10, HowTo's: Making The Most Of Path Creator, Page 2

DarkHorizon’s original pieces were for illustrative and orientative purposes only, as are the reference pieces found in FTA.net’s Example SKP. You’ll want to make your own models a little more graceful and complex.







Along with the SKP models I’ve included mock-ups representing path border placement for those who want a border on their paths. These mock-ups are also helpful for those who don’t want flat bottoms on all their paths and want a variety of shapes in their piece bottoms either to coordinate with particular CSO supports for their paths or because they think shaped bottoms present a more polished appearance.







Image 11, HowTo's: Making The Most Of Path Creator, Page 2

File Compilation








While it’s compiling the Path or Queue folder we are to install, in addition to creating other essential files Path Creator will copy the path and queue OVL’s from our pre-import folder and place them into our Path or Queue folder.







When creating queues Path Creator will always omit packing both of the QueueSlopeUp OVL’s into the Queue folder. If you overlook this and install the Queue folder like this you’ll get the No :SVD for :SID error when attempting to place the QueueSlopeUp piece in your game. After Path Creator has completed compiling the Queue folder you can simply copy the QueueSlopeUp OVL’s over from your queue pre-import folder into the Queue folder compiled by Path Creator. You’ll need to do this before launching your game.







Path Creator usually won’t pack your shared texture OVL if you haven’t set it up correctly in the importer. A missing texture OVL is a sure sign you haven’t properly created it in the Importer. After creating your Path or Queue installation folder you should review the contents to ensure all the required files are in place.







When you’re ready to load your shared texture OVL into Path Creator, while creating paths it will always display the common.ovl file by default. When creating queues it will display both the common.ovl and the unique.ovl files. When faced with such a choice simply choose the common.ovl file.







Path Pieces







There are nineteen pieces required to make up the standard paths that we place throughout our parks. This will seem an unnecessary number of pieces until you look at the different positions of the railing posts or decide you’d like a border on your path tiles at which time it will become evident why such a variety of pieces is required.







Queue Pieces







Six different pieces are needed to make a functional park queue. The SlopeUp and SlopeDown pieces are duplicates of the same model given different names. You can simply export from SketchUp to ASE the SlopeUp/SlopeDown model twice, without changing the orientation, but using a different name each time you export it to ASE.







Extended Path Pieces







Whether making paths, queues, or CSO’s for invisible paths/queues I prefer the use of a 1h stair rather than a 1h slope. Notwithstanding that I don’t understand why someone who prefers the use of a 1h slope would want to place an extended elevated path that for its entire length slopes to the guest’s left or to his right so I have no use for most of the extended slope models.







I had always wanted end pieces for 1h slopes and 2h stairs so I tried adding these extended pieces:








SlopeStraightTC


SlopeStraightBC


SlopeTC


SlopeBC







I found that these extended pieces didn’t show up at all in the game, or they replaced the standard pieces and added repeated end arrangements of fences that visually blocked the paths.







Based on my preferences and experience my recommendation is to not bother with extended path models.







Drag the above toggle to a

convenient place on your screen.




The Compleat Path Creator

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