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Ground-Level Texture Challenges







In this example park we’ve used the border template that produces missing inside corners and clear plaza centers. However, upon closer inspection we can see that many of the ground-level tile textures don’t meet up exactly at their edges. This creates unsightly artefacts that break up the visual sweep of open path areas in plazas and on ride baseplates. Fortunately this is only noticeable when one is zoomed in up close so should not present any problem when one is creating screenshots or videos of his park.







Image 34, HowTo's: Making The Most Of Path Creator, Page 5


Image 35, HowTo's: Making The Most Of Path Creator, Page 5


Image 36, HowTo's: Making The Most Of Path Creator, Page 5


Texture Sizes Revisited







If you choose to use the maximum size of 512 x 512 images as ground level textures, because there are 4 textures on this 512 x 512 map, the corresponding coordinated textures imported with the models need to be 256 x 256. With the computers that community members have these days most of us who create textures either for path & queue CSO’s or for Path Creator will use 512 x 512 textures without giving it much thought. If you import your models with 512 x 512 textures and also use four 256 x 256 textures on the ground-level map, in your game you’ll end up with path and queue models that are sharply detailed, while your ground-level path & queue textures will be blurry in comparison. The following image shows a good example of path models using 512 x 512 textures and how these textures compare with the 256 x 256 textures used on the ground-level paths.







To get an idea of the different texture sizes that fit inside texture maps take a look at our illustration here.







Image 37, HowTo's: Making The Most Of Path Creator, Page 5


I would hate to think what a 128 x 128 texture would look like at the bottom of those stairs.







So if you’d like to use ground-level paths and queues made by Path Creator, to get their resolutions to match you’d want to use 256 x 256 textures on your pieces for pre-import, and then use four 256 x 256 textures in a 512 x 512 texture map on each ground-level path and queue texture.







Unexplained Artefacts







One can also observe that for some reason Path Creator adds thin white borders to our ground-level textures. Except for the possibility that PNG might not be quite the format in which these images should be saved, there is no other reason that I know of why a seamless texture that is completely opaque which displays its native colors all the way through to its edges in Photoshop should develop these white edges after it’s processed through Path Creator.







Here are some of the ground-level textures saved from Photoshop to PNG as I would do when preparing the images for Path Creator. I’ve then opened these saved PNG’s in Photoshop and have placed them on a dark background where they don’t display any white border:







Image 38, HowTo's: Making The Most Of Path Creator, Page 5


Next, instead of 256 x 256 textures I’ve created 252 x 252 textures with transparency, have double checked that they don’t have any white borders, and have loaded them in Path Creator as ground-level Path Texture A and Path Texture B. Here’s what they look like in the park:







Image 39, HowTo's: Making The Most Of Path Creator, Page 5


Image 40, HowTo's: Making The Most Of Path Creator, Page 5


As you can see with the spaces I’ve made, the unexplained white border goes all the way around each 252 x 252 tile. Further, when 256 x 256 ground-level tiles are used they aren’t always butted exactly by the game engine so tiny amounts of these white borders can be seen where the ground-level tiles don’t exactly meet.







Let’s see what this distortion does in relation to any colorable textures we may paint onto our paths.







Firstly, colorability only really looks good on textures with solid colors. One of the chief difficulties with colorability on realistic textures is the end result which, when our texture is in the park and colored, tends to look harsh and monochrome. Following is an image displaying a path made in realistic textures and a duplicate path in which the realistic textures have been made colorable. For contrast the first image shows the colorable path in the default black color.







Image 41, HowTo's: Making The Most Of Path Creator, Page 5


We’ve selected a color for this path in this next image, which hardly improves the problem.







Image 42, HowTo's: Making The Most Of Path Creator, Page 5


Secondly, colorability will remove most of the shading gradations from our photo-realistic textures with the selected wash of color making the textures appear obviously colorized. Further, lack of coloration in the edge distortions created by Path Creator has magnified the white mystery border at the tile edges which detracts from the efforts we’ve put into making excellent paths.







Image 43, HowTo's: Making The Most Of Path Creator, Page 5


This inexplicable white space between each tile can also be observed on paths that are not colorable, as circled in this next image outlining the join between two path sections as created by Path Creator.







Image 44, HowTo's: Making The Most Of Path Creator, Page 5


Granted, on paths that aren’t colorable this is a minuscule distortion of the texture edges that is not worth the trouble of worrying about but the edge gaps were not created with the texture and were not painted on the models with such edges showing. Community members who create paths with this utility need to be aware that when they see such a distortion it not through any fault of theirs.







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In view of the information presented above, if you don’t want full-size ground-level paths with borders and also don’t want to abandon the use of Path Creator ground-level paths and queues we recommend that you use Path A, Path B, or Queue templates so the ground-level tiles are clipped and are not full-sized, 4 meter square tiles.







An alternative solution would be to use 512 x 512 textures on your models for pre-import, use invisible ground-level paths and queues in the park, and make up your own ground-level CSO pavers, also with 512 x 512 textures, to place over the invisible paths. Mock-up border shapes for these ground-level pavers are included in the FTA.net’s Example SKP.







As mentioned we’ve included two sets of border templates along with our Example SKP download. This is for those who would really like to have a go with full-tile, ground level paths that come with borders. One set of our border templates is provided that will give borders with the missing inside corners while the other set of templates will give the grouped corners in plaza centers. This will give the individual creating paths a choice.






Invisible Ground-Level Textures






If you don’t want to create your own ground level paths & queues with Path Creator because you prefer the look of CSO’s to cover invisible ground-level paths & queues it will be more convenient to include your own invisible paths & queues along with your path sets and queue sets. While building your paths and queues in your park this will save you switching back and forth from your own path & queue set to another downloaded set of invisible paths and queues.






If you do choose to make your own invisible ground-level path & queue textures it is optional whether you duplicate your set with random visible textures. You’d want to duplicate your set with visible textures should you forget where you’ve placed your invisible paths & queues, you’d like to edit your paths, and you need to see where they are.






To make our own invisible ground-level paths and invisible ground-level queues we need only perform a few simple modifications to our textures:







Ground-Level Paths


Create a new document at the required size in your image editor. Create this new document with a transparent background. Save the document as a PNG without putting any texture into it. Load this image into Path Creator. You can make two copies of the same image and load each copy as Path Texture A and as Path Texture B.







Ground-Level Queues


Create a new document at the required size in your image editor. The background can either be opaque or transparent. Next, either put in a solid color fill or put in a random texture. Change the image mode to indexed while enabling indexed transparency. Save the image as a PNG. Load this image into Path Creator.






Our handy table gives additional information about using textures with Path Creator.







Drag the above toggle to a

convenient place on your screen.




The Compleat Path Creator

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