Creating City Levels Fast!

Discussion in 'Help and Advice' started by kinggath, Oct 16, 2018.

  1. kinggath

    kinggath Well-Known Member Staff Member Administrator Moderator Verified Builder

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    Creating a City Plan can be intimidating, but over the last year of developing for Rise of the Commonwealth we've learned some tricks that can make the actual level creation go incredibly fast!

    We call the process Regression, and that's because it's easiest to do if you finish your level 3 design first. Which means to start, you just build a great looking settlement!

    The Two Rules

    There are only two rule when doing Regression:
    1. Never move a plot.
    2. Don't add new plots to earlier levels.


    Since plots need to level up over time, the City Plan code assumes they will be in the exact same spot each level, if you start moving them, you'll end up with duplicates. So when you're building your earlier levels, you can basically do anything you like - so long as you don't move your plots (you can scrap them! Just don't move them.)

    Adding new plots at earlier levels can also be a problem as they will still be there in the later levels where you weren't prepared for them.


    Regressing the Fast Way

    The trick to regressing quickly, is to create some rules for yourself and then go to town scrapping away! (and occasionally replacing)

    To start, do the following:

    1. Create a copy of your final save, make sure it has Level2 in the name so you don't lose track. You can copy and rename save files in your Documents/My Games/Fallout4/Saves folder - the files have an extension of .fos.

    2. Scrap a bunch of stuff! In the next section I included the guidelines we tended to follow when designing the Rise of the Commonwealth levels.

    3. Once you feel like you've got a good level 2, make a copy of your level 2 save, and change the name to have Level1, then repeat step 2.

    4. Finally, make a copy of your level1 save and name the last one Foundation (or level0) and repeat the process.

    That's it, it's almost entirely about scrapping things. The software tools we've created do the rest of the magic for you!


    Rise of the Commonwealth Regression Style Guide

    Below are the guidelines we worked from when creating Rise of the Commonwealth, you can follow as many of these as you like - or none of them! They are meant to be a guide to help you get started.

    If something mentioned is unfamiliar to you, feel free to ask about it in the Help and Advicesection!

    Level 2
    • Remove Colorful Items: Paintings, Posters, Carpets, Awnings, etc.
    • Reduce Clutter Piles: Any large sections of clutter such as store rooms or hand-built shops should be reduced by a good amount.
    • Remove Luxury Items: TV’s, Radios, Plants, Sitting Areas for relaxing
    • Remove Stand-out Set Pieces: These should be removed or reduced in size/complexity, possibly even broken down into parts and arranged as if the settlers are working on building them.
    • Reduce the Size of Large Structures: Look for opportunities to remove large sections or rooms so it becomes a smaller/simplified version.
    • Simplify Defenses: Reduce the level of turrets, make the walls less imposing.
    • Reduce Utilities: Remove or downgrade some of the power and water generators.
    • Reduce Lighting: Cut down the lighting by about 30% if you used a lot of lights.
    • Change Clutter: Rearrange or change out clutter you find hand-placed on counters and shelves.

    Level 1
    • Remove Most Lights: Lighting should be very minimal, maybe a third of what it is at level 3. Leave lower tech lighting such as oil lamps and candles, and only a small amount of electric lights.
    • Further Reduce Clutter Piles: Large clutter sections should be dropped down to a smaller amount, maybe 20-30% of what they were at L3.
    • Further Reduce Large Structures: Simplify hand-built structures further, eliminating wings or sections.
    • Minimize Defenses: Walls should look very ram-shackle and may even have some unblocked areas. Just a few low level turrets should remain.
    • Add Construction Materials: Add piles of building materials throughout the settlement, especially near the structures you reduced or removed.
    • Change Clutter: Rearrange or change out clutter you find hand-placed on counters and shelves.
    • Replace Lazy Blue Men: Stick with working blue men markers as opposed to lazy. Those reading newspapers should especially be removed as it’s much too advanced an activity for a fledgling settlement.
    • Remove Some Crafting Stations: If there’s an area with multiple, remove some of them.
    • Remove or Replace Doors: Simplify or remove doors, colorful and strong doors should be reserved for level 2 and 3.
    • Downgrade Furniture: Any fancy looking furniture (couches, chairs, ornate tables, etc) should be replaced with dirty or broken versions.
    • Remove Whole Glass: Replace with broken glass equivalent or another material entirely.


    Level 0 (Take it to the Studs)

    The goal of Level 0 is to only leave the bare minimum amount of pathing objects and structural supports for the plots and other assignable objects to be reachable.

    • Remove Furniture: Any furniture such as random chairs, tables, and desks should be removed (excluding the City Planner’s Desk).
    • Remove Lights: All lighting should be removed.
    • Remove Power: All conduits, connectors, wires, generators, and anything else power related should be removed. The exception would be a Recruitment Beacon and small power source.
    • Handle Interior Plot Buildings: Buildings with Interior Plots should be reduced to frames, only the floor and the wall the fusebox side is against should remain. You can also add in basic supports where the walls once where on the first story if the structure looks unsafe.
    • For Residential Interiors, also leave the roof.
    • Reduce Flooring: Any excess flooring that makes paths to places should be removed unless it is necessary for NPCs to reach a plot or assignable object.
    • Remove most structures that aren’t supporting plots you want to exist early.
    • Minimize Water: Only the simplest hand-water pumps should remain, and only a few of them. Remember to use the Check My Settlement tool to get an idea of how much water you need to keep!
    • Remove all Clutter: Anything that isn’t part of a structure should be gone at this point.
    • Remove Non Load-Bearing Walls: If you can remove a wall and replace it with a post and it still looks stable, do so.
    • Remove Railings: Handrails on stairs and walkways can all go.
     
  2. altasilvapuer

    altasilvapuer Well-Known Member

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    When you say "Don't add plots to earlier levels" and mention the code looking for a plot in the exact same space - does it check by location or FormID? Earlier today I accidentally deleted a plot in City Level 2 that was supposed to stay. I placed the same kind of plot back in its place (Commercial -> Commercial; snapped to a foundation), but it was technically a different instance and a different FormID as the City Level 3 plot.

    Luckily, right after that I realized there was a save I'd made only a few minutes before, so I could just roll back and avoid the question, but it did make me wonder for future reference.

    -asp
     
  3. kinggath

    kinggath Well-Known Member Staff Member Administrator Moderator Verified Builder

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    Location and plot type have to be identical. Form ID and instance reference ID are two different things. It needs to have the same Form ID, which is the actual record in the creation kit, the reference ID is what's given to an instance, and that doesn't matter.
     
  4. altasilvapuer

    altasilvapuer Well-Known Member

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    Whoops; I meant RefID. I mistakenly mix the terms, frequently. Good to know that it's location-based and not RefID-based. Thanks for the clarification.

    -asp
     

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