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  1. #1
    Lazy Idle Couch Potato Heptagon_ru's Avatar
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    Aug 2014
    Russia, near Moscow

    Post Road longread and talk

    I enjoyed making roads a year ago for b79 TFC server, learned a lot and love to do them again on the new servers. I had found my personal way how I prefer doing them. Ofc it is mostly a compilation of other’s ideas.

    Want to put it all into one post, summarize, share it with you, maybe you would find something interesting.
    I would like to hear your criticism, ideas, preferences, advices. If there will be many, will update/rewrite this originating post, to serve more a common guide than a my opinion.

    Hopefully it could help us understand each other better. Or just would help you to have a good laugh

    Main things in road for me are safety, believability and flow.

    Safety - from mobs or fall damage.
    So - no trees too close to road, because mobs camp under them during day.
    No open ravines close to road, better fill them with dirt or make a fence.
    Crossing a narrow ravine - at least a primitive bridge with fences. Or a wide bridge.
    Good lighting to keep mobs away from road at night. Especially on fenced bridges, since you can’t go aroung a creeper on it. NEI’s F7 feature is helpful.

    Well, it is a road, not a bridge and road simultaneously. It "consists" of rocks broken by thousands feet, and of some better preserved larger stones/bricks on the sides.
    So it is embedded into the ground as much as possible, no standing brick blocks on the ground.

    If the passage is too narrow for a road - better to widen it a bit. I like having 2 grass blocks outside each side at least, or 1 if too narrow.

    The road width should be visually constant, even at turns.

    When road crosses a ravine or river - better to encase it into additional “bridge” blocks, different from road core. And make them a believable bridge, with some supports.

    Following natural terrain is good, but sometimes it’s easier to terraform a bit instead, to make road more comfortable. No worries, still much more natural land around, better to perfect the road. Because like irl people would first bring some dirt to improve terrain for the road.

    A natural road usually appears from accumulation of zillions of paths. Paths are made by people and people tend to have some inertia. So the roads should be a bit lazy too, like rivers. No sharp turns.
    I will demonstrate a picture below.
    Commiellama even likes to make straight sections wobble a bit each 10-ish blocks. So cool, but I havent tried much

    Now about the building order. The one I gonna describe can be a bit slow. But it allows people to plan and collaborate well, so the next people coming online will clearly see what to do.
    Each next step is a bit more precise then the one before, like a progressive jpeg. And can redefine earlier step decisions.

    First - strategic planning.
    Where roads should go, where to reach max?
    A screenshot of the global map with roads drawn in MSPaint is great. Usually made by staff.

    Second - tactical planning.
    Making waypoints on minimap. Teleport over the map and select key passages, cool places or just general directions where to go. Distribute to others via forum or in-game, to make sure they don’t need to repeat your work.

    Third - tracing.
    Laying a path of glowstone blocks on the ground about 10-20 blocks apart. Requires WE’s lrbuild tool:
    //lrbuild air glowstone
    You fly at medium height and place the glowstones from above. You can both see the terrain structure and the possible obstacles ahead, so choosing the path is easier.

    Very useful is JourneyMap “night” mode (“]”) - you can easily see and find the placed lightsources and e.g. remove them if decided to remake a section.

    Fourth, trees removal. Gives better view of terrain.

    Fifth, laying one border, e.g. the one on the right side of the road.
    Defines the road. Here you can already see where road fits, where you need terraforming, how to make turns.
    All main terraforming is done here.
    Also here the flow is applied. The picture shows the most basic soft turn, 3-2-1 one:

    Note the yellow blocks - they are extra ones needed for keeping road width.
    Note the green wool - width of straight road is 4, and when 45 angle is reached the axis width is 6, so diagonal visual width is close to 4.
    All these shifts on turns make my brain explode, but the ideal result is refreshing.
    No need to remove dirt between borders, it can be easily converted to slabs later by brushes.
    Here usually bridges and outposts can be made or planned.
    Some valuable resources, like pumpkins or flowers, can be moved.

    Here the brushes and masks can be useful (wiki:
    Brush and mask attaches to a tool you have selected in hotbar, so can have various types.
    Mask controls which block types can be affected by brush.

    For small terraforming:
    //brush cyl 196:5 1 1
    //mask !98,44:3

    Makes 3x3 tablets of grass (id 196:5, rocksalt one), not replacing road blocks. Grass used should ideally fit the region, but …
    Helps to fill ravine quickly. Can use bigber brush for it: //brush cyl 196:5 2 3
    Can tune radius quickly to fill bigger areas: //size n

    For bigger terraforming (thanks Marius!): first fill area with vanilla sand and let it fall naturally:
    //brush cyl sand 1 3
    then turn sand into grass
    //brush sphere 196:5 3 5
    //mask sand

    Replacer tool, to turn grass to bricks in one click. Less useful because of tall grass and rocks on the way:
    /repl 98

    A brush to remove grass/goldenrods/rocks/sticks from the surface:
    //brush cyl air 6 3
    //mask 204,205,459

    Also people without WE access can leave glowstone markers with signs, asking to complete the specific task at the place.

    Sixth, second border.
    Easy, but those turns … Also some final terraforming occures, e.g. laying those 2 grass blocks outside, making gentle slopes, etc.

    Seventh, the roadbed.
    On flat areas best to leave for WE people. Use 3x3 slab brush and mask to protect borders.
    //br cyl 44:3 1 1
    //mask !98

    A more sophisticated mask can be used to allow partially working the slopes (note the single quotes!):
    //mask '<air,204,205,459,glowstone !air,44:3'
    Then slopes need manual finishing.

    Last, polishing.
    Final fly over along, better after some break. Fixing missed holes, ravines, uglinesses, stairs. Replant indigenous trees, kill close bears, finalize builds.

    There is another way to lay roads of any shape, a bit complicated, but promising. I finally switch to it each time I take part in road building. On prepared surface it allows to lay road very quickly. It is also a good prototype of how the road laying can be automated by WE JavaScript script.

    First, after preparing the road by making it more even, you lay a continuous trace of glowstone, like on the picture below (green wool is not in the pattern).

    Next, you need a cross brush pattern:

    Cross because then you can move with it in any direction, it is symmetrical.

    You add 2 blocks on opposite corners, select them by //hpos1 and //hpos2, delete the corner blocks, copy to clipboard by //copy and then create a brush: //br copy -a
    Make sure you have no tall grass or rocks/sticks in the pattern.

    Next set such a mask so the roadbed blocks (slabs) can owerwrite borders. Borders are always wider then roadbed, so can overwrite redundant ones.
    The final mask is
    //mask '<air,204,205,459 !air,44:3,glowstone'.
    So this mask allows laying blocks only under air (or tallgrass,rocks,sticks,goldenrods), and doesnt replace air, cobbleslabs and the template glowstone.

    ( Glowstone is protected to see the path better, you can then easily replace it with big brush
    //br cyl 44:3 6 1 and mask //mask glowstone. Or when you will transform the cobble slabs into the exact road pattern: //br cyl 30%44:4,70%44:3 4 1 //mask 44:3,glowstone

    Now you just go and apply the cross brush to each glowstone block along the road, and to the blocks on corners (represented by lime wool). This makes the road with needed shift between sides and half-makes slopes.

    Yours dearly,

    Last edited by Heptagon_ru; 25th February 2016 at 15:12.

  2. #2
    Cake! InsaneJ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Blog Entries
    Thanks for your insights and the tutorial. It's an interesting read

  3. #3
    Lazy Idle Couch Potato Heptagon_ru's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Russia, near Moscow
    Finally found the way to combine different masks on one brush. The whole masks set (with different masks separated by spaces) must be enclosed in single quotes. This allows interesting things, e.g. for stairs:
    //mask '<air,204,glowstone !air,44:3'
    This creates slabs only under the air blocks (and tall grass (204) and glowstone), and only in non-air blocks, and does not overwrite cobble slabs (44:3). I.e. on slopes it replaces only the outermost blocks, not replacing blocks which are under grass blocks.
    So the slopes get partially worked, but since you need 2 steps to raise one block, some manual additional is required, but is easier.
    Last edited by Heptagon_ru; 21st February 2016 at 17:43.

  4. #4
    Lazy Idle Couch Potato Heptagon_ru's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Russia, near Moscow
    Rewrote the final section about the superbrush, since I now use it with pretty good results.
    [+] Found block id of rocks/sticks, updated the masks.
    [++] Added a handy brush for removing grass/rocks/goldenrods/sticks out from ground.
    Last edited by Heptagon_ru; 25th February 2016 at 15:13.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    In the Forests near Seattle WA, US.
    This... is pretty amazing. I feel rather crude in comparison. I've never worked with masks before. I just made north-south road brushes and east-west road brushes and splunked it down as I went over the terrain.
    I suspect your method produces a far more elegant end result.

  6. #6
    Lazy Idle Couch Potato Heptagon_ru's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Russia, near Moscow
    Quote Originally Posted by TheForestHermit View Post
    I feel rather crude in comparison.
    I had long debates with my inner road style nazi about all this and our conclusion is that my way has no obvious/significant superiority over any other way. This is just a preference, a style. I just found that I like to make roads in this style and currently have problems doing them in other styles.

    "My" style has some advantages and some disadvantages. It may look smoother and cleaner, but not too much, and requires more passes, more preparation work (all slopes should be improved when laying the glowstone template, all tall grass should be removed), complicated brushes/masks ...
    All this complexity and "sophistication" obscures the outcome.

    And the results talk for themselves - the north road is ready while the east road is done only 1/4.

    Btw, I still have a tiny hope to automate this method some day by writing a WE JavaScript script. At least it should work great following the glowstone trail with the cross brush. Unfortunately when we make roads I have no time for it and when we finish them I loose the interest So despite I have all I needed from kind J to develop and test the script since B79 server start, I blew that chance.

    Thanks for liking my description, I hope you will share your techniques and argue with my approach someday

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