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`:smilies-10997:            Welcome to Zoo Tek Phoenix!           :smilies-10997:


Welcome Fall!


Vondell's Current Projects

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Hey all! I've been browsing silently for long enough now, it's about time I show you folks some of the stuff I'm working on.

I've actually been a member here since 2007 and had been at Zoo Admin and a few of the older sites before that. And, well, you know how it happens, I caught the ZT design bug again and now I'm getting back in the game. It's great to see familiar folks still around even if it's only a one-way familiarity. :-)


Anyway, sure enough, ever since I logged back in last week I've been excited to dig into some .ztds again. ZT1 modding is very calming to me, meditative almost. I've missed it.


I wanted to jump right in and do something I've never done before, so I thought I'd use my (amateur) knowledge of Blender to actually go make some 3D object models and render them out as isometric sprites, like the game devs did it.



(the Gorilla itself is from a free creative-commons 3D model database which are great resources for this kind of thing.)





Did a matching Orang-Utan statue as well, to keep it company. :-) Here they are in action:




These guys are pretty much ready to roll, as far as I can tell, but I wanted to introduce myself first before just handing my downloads over, being a total stranger. :-)




Now that I've confirmed to myself that I do have that skill if I need it, I've moved on to tackling my other project ideas. Most of them are just things that I personally want for my own design use.

One of the big ones there is I wanted to expand the functionality of Catfish's Aviary Cage set, which is already one of the most useful item sets I can think of.


I've just configured several additional pieces of scenery that use the same grid and sit flush with the aviary cages; one- and two-high pieces along with their respective corners, as well as a two-high version of the cage ceiling piece and a special 5H piece with a 2H gap at the bottom so both heights can be used for one seamless cage. The latter can also be combined with the one-high piece to create a "window" at guest eye level.




The glass ceilings are something else I'm working on, but they fit the new 2H cage walls nicely as well.


I mostly just knocked these out for my own utility. The little ones look nice as decorative "fences" too, which can add a nice bit of visual consistency to cage exhibit areas.


Once I got used to placing and aligning wall sections, I wound up wanting to do more of that. I tried to decide what the most versatile single wall type would be and wound up with this set of concrete walls, five heights plus corner pieces for each.


The concrete walls are definitely the nicest scenery I've made so far and I'm proud to say all its graphics were done from scratch. :) It's amazing what kinds of uses I keep finding as I play with these. They go up to 5H, so they're fully compatible and flush with the cage ceiling and walls too.




These are almost ready to go as well, just a little housekeeping to do on my end first.



At some point I'd love to turn these into fences. Fences are still a mystery to me. I'm pretty sure every fence guide that's ever been online is long gone by now. Nobody would happen to have the text of one sitting around on a hard drive, would they?



hello to everyone and it's good to be back! :) I haven't even scratched the surface of all the things I want to do yet.

Edited by Vondell

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Hi Vondell! Welcome to Tek!! You've got some nice designs there. :yahoo: I'm anxious to test them out :) I have Blender but haven't tackled it yet. I use Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo for my graphics. As far as I know, it does not do the rendering that Blender does. May just have to play around with it one of these days :)

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A very interesting thread! I am trying to acquire the skills to do something similar, but it's great to see those new statues! It's exactly the kind of thing which I miss in ZT1.


As for fences... Not sure if there's still a tutorial around. It's also been a while since I created a fence, but it's actually pretty similar to a path (I think there's still a tutorial, although one other thing you can do, is use ZOOT, to check out the required graphics by looking at an existing fence).

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Actually fences cannot be done like a path as it causes a conflict if you do. That is something that was discovered since you did your ones jbl. There are ids you can use depending on the fence type. Do you want them as exhibit or decorative?

I use zoot for many things including fences and paths.


Is there a link that gives info on the site the gorrila came from? I wouldn't want to join something where I can't see any info about the site first.

Edited by Fern

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I might take a shot at configuring them as fences tomorrow. I've also been trying to configure this Compact Tank Filter I modeled and animated yesterday, but I'm probably going to end up shelving that for the time being until I'm a little bit more confident digging into some of the more complex files, and since tank specifically filters are notoriously hard to get right (I hear). (I've got all the necessary animation frames and rotation information though so if anyone else ambitious wants to take a shot at it, just PM me for the files.)


speaking of which, jbl, it's really interesting that you popped in here! Did you ever figure out those conflicts with your old filters? Over the past couple of days I've been going through whatever old threads on the subject of filters I could find and as far as I know you're the only other person who's released tank filters, but I know you ran into some sort of conflict issues with them. Were those ever cleared up?









And hey Fern! I'd probably want to try to tackle them as decorative fences first, and once I'm confident enough with the process I could see them as exhibit fences as well. I was thinking about putting a rung ladder like this on the gate tile, since these walls would mostly be used for below-ground exhibits. That could be a nice little bit of extra detail.





Thanks for the feedback everybody! :)


Fern: The site is designed mostly for people with 3D printers, it's a 3D model database used to share models that have been prepped for 3D printing. You don't have to join the site to access the models, though, and many of them are Creative Commons-licensed so they're cleared for creative use and adaptation.

Edited by Vondell

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There are no conflicts. At least not when using a .DLL-file. Not sure if they work with a simple .ucs file though. Years ago, I created a few tank filters. One being a bush with a light indicator, one being a beluga where the tail showed the state of the filter. I was actually planning to add a new, probably more expensive but also more efficient tank filter. One which works better for bigger tanks :)


As for the fences... I'm assuming you'd only want the ladder as a decorative thing? Zookeepers don't climb. Marine specialists do, but only on the outside of the tank wall. I don't think we can chance that or create an illusion for it.


It's only trash cans which are a bit of a pain. I did some experimenting lately. Either you use the ID of the original trash can, and then it works like the original trash can, but with one minor bug: if you have the purchase menu open, and rotate (or maybe buy, not sure about that one), the selection in the purchase menu might revert to the original trash can being selected. If you add a new ID, the trash can isn't emptied. I also think that "hybrids" are possible... further investigation is needed, but it seems that ZT1 kind of stores certain characteristics in a savefile, rather than just relying on the .AI/.ucs file.

Edited by jbl89

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Here's what I'm thinking:




Of course the zookeepers won't play a climbing animation, but they just sort of teleport up anyway, even if it's a regular gate. I just figure it'd look better and make slightly more sense than a gate that opens right into a wall, which is what you get normally.


(the gate would probably end up on the inside island part, now that I'm thinking about it, since you wouldn't want the moat as part of the exhibit. maybe i'll throw that tile in as a decoration too, so you could run it up both sides?)

Edited by Vondell

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The ladder would definitely made more sense than just teleporting.


One alternative for the ladder could indeed be a seperate piece too, so you can actually have it on both sides (although you could also have it in the fence animation like that, I think). Making it available as an exhibit-neutral object allows for multiple ladders in one exhibit.

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