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Published: January 23, 2016

Project Slaanhatten, Part 2 Building within the hub

Following my last blog and the first public release of the northern half of the map, I decided the next step would be to introduce people to building within the hub area.  This is probably the best way for beginners to get involved as the process is fairly simple and there is no need to touch the rwgmixer as everything we will cover is all part of a prefab which is already set within the custom hub layout code.

The first step in this process is deciding what you actually want to do and where you want to do it.  Utilizing the concept map and the prefab grid map are very important at this stage, as the concept map will detail areas I'm personally working on and the last thing I want is someone making changes (or several people) to an area has already had extra work done to it.  So check and double check the area is first and foremost not within a section of the city that is highlighted for work within the concept map.  If you are unsure, ask, post on the forums or send me a mail, grab me on steam or any other method of communication you can think of (no messenger pigeons).

Once decided and your sure the area is good to be worked on, drop a post on the forums or within the facebook group or wherever you can, I will be tracking works-in-progress by additional people myself so I 'should' be able to give clear indication between versions what is being worked on by whom.  All I really need to know is the coordinates of the area within the prefab grid and a brief description (touching up a building, adding a prefab, adding stuffs...) of what you intend.

Now this is often my preferred method of editing the project, it's the closest thing you can get to the minecraft style building that many are used to and you can see and interact with the build as your doing it.  This is the stage where all the muscle work will be done and also when I would start inserting prefabs with the editor if required.  I'll cover this more within the video but building is a fairly straight forward process and I will assume you know how to click and place blocks...

When the building is finished and the dust has settled it's time to extract. Currently all the markers I use are still a part of the hub but they will be removed from future versions.  The markers start at 0,0 on the map and represent the corner block of the city section referenced in the mixer that the prefab will spawn from,  they will increase in increments of  117 (0, 117, 234, 351, 468... etc) in all directions (negative as you head south or west).  If in doubt, check the prefab lots at the bottom of the rwgmixer.

I like to go into the editors backup manager and set my claim zone to 131,  it means instead of having to calculate the center block to extract the 117 x 117 area perfectly, I have some leeway and can guesstimate the center by looking at the map and simply flying/teleporting there.  Ideally you want to be able to extract the marker columns from the adjoining city sections too, this will make trimming the prefab within the editor much easier (that will become much clearer within the video).

Assuming you stood in the right spot, you will be loading a giant area within the editor and before we start to trim the columns/rows down to the correct size I would recommend removing excess top layers first, then removing the excess ground layers.  Because of the stone base added to all the city sections you can usually tell where this starts because there will be no minerals or metal within the layers.  If in doubt, find the 'ground' level by locating the layer that the sidewalk/curb is on and count down 35 from there.  With the excess top/bottom layers removed, the editor will stop lagging so much when you use the F keys to trim the rows/columns (I've spammed them before and overshot due to 'lag' and had to start again).

I find the easiest way to trim the tile down to a 117 x 117 size is to simply locate the marker (more often than not red smokestack blocks) and hit F5  & F8 until it sits neatly in the bottom left hand corner of the editor window, by mousing over the top right hand block you will see the coords in the editors title bar (where the prefab name will be) and you can use this to work out how many times to press F6 & F7 to hit the correct size. Remember we want 116 x 116 in the editor as the first layer is always '0'.  A good tip to avoid counting at all is to get a layer up that shows the adjoining markers and simply trim with F6 & F7 up till the row/columns they are on are snipped off, this should leave you with an area the correct size, again you can always mouse over the top right block to check.

Unless you add additional layers below the stone base, the Y offset will never change and is set to -35 by default, you can of course check this within the editor by going to the ground layer (mentioned above) and checking that it is layer 35.  When your happy that all is done ok, save the prefab and it's time to reload the hub and check out you edits.

This stage can involve re-loading the hub several times so keep the prefab open in the editor until you are satisfied everything is exactly how you want it.  I find it much easier to identify and fix all kinds of issues when I can use 'DM' to buzz around the prefab and make all the corrections in the editor to avoid having to re-extract the area.  Each time you make an edit, exit the game and reload, over time this becomes second nature and It becomes possible to make a huge amount of changes without having to actually extract anything at all.  It is entirley possible to skip the whole extraction process and work exclusively within in the editor (although this requires you to be able to imagine what you see in the editor as a 3D object, not my preferred method, but possible).

That's it, all that's left to do now is open the project folder, go into the editor build, then prefabs sorted by grid location.  Find the folder for the section you have worked on, take a copy and add the modified tts file to it, overwriting the one already there, there's no need for the xml unless you have changed the Y offset too.  Add in a text file outlining as much of the edits you have made as possible, I don't need block specifics, but I should be able to load up and know exactly where to go to check your work before I can commit the changes to the master project folder and add your stuff to the credits file to be remembered and appreciated forever.

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