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      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2014 edited
     
    After several weeks of work, I'm finally ready to reveal my first major project in NL2. I've not yet come up with a name for the ride itself, but my goal was to create a ride experience similar to Boulder Dash with a few unique touches of my own. Here is a list of some features of this ride:

    *utilizes the terrain and surrounding scenery
    *approx. 100 ft double-dip after the lift
    *Several moments of extreme airtime and lateral Gs
    *River Flyover
    *over 1 mile of track (tastefully so)
    *approx. elevation change of about 125ft (after lift)
    *two large helix elements
    *over-under element
    *unique pre-lift section underneath final brake/storage housing (to be created) and along river
    *A mix of shaping styles to create a unique, out-of-control ride experience

    Here is my current level of progress:
    *trackwork - 90% complete (still tweaking)
    *supports - only stand-ins
    *terrain - in initial phase
    *scenery/3Ds - none yet

    Here are a few screens of my progress so far:
    Station; pre-lift; final brake and storage

    riverside pre-lift and a few airtime hills

    lift and 100ft double dip first drop

    over-under element

    double-up and -down going up the hillside

    river fly-over

    large 270 degree helix

    finale helix (the shaping of this badly needs tweaked, but I'm having some issues with it)

    overview of the layout


    I would like to have two or three people take a look at and provide detailed, constructive feedback on my progress so far. I'm NOT looking for people who just want to preview the ride. I would prefer someone who has ridden Boulder Dash and/or other CCI and GCI coasters, someone who is willing to take several passes on the layout to pin-point strengths and weaknesses (particularly with trackwork), and someone who is willing to provide detailed, constructive feedback. If you're interested in helping out, please whisper me and tell me why you think you're up to the task. It may help to provide a link to a review that you've written on the site.

    Anyone else is more than welcome to comment on what they see here in the forum topic. All feedback is greatly appreciated. Enjoy!
    • CommentAuthorJAKool
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2014
     
    That looks like a great layout! I can't wait to see when the kinks get worked out!
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      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2014 edited
     
    I've spent a few hours today working on reshaping the final helix. I'm thinking it will have less rise to it, so there will be a small uphill section before the final brakes. It will give the whole helix more speed and will hopefully alleviate some of the major pumping that I'm getting. I'll post some pics of the reworked turn when it's completed.

    Edit: Also, the tunnel seen in the pic will probably become a short underground tunnel. I know that tunnels have been heavily used in NL2, but I feel this is a bit more tasteful, as it's not a long twisted section like many have been. It's also not very deep, so it would be realistic to create. Thoughts?
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      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeFeb 3rd 2014 edited
     
    I reworked the shaping on the final helix. There are still some rough spots where the track has been "strict"ed to create the circular shaping. It's tough to tell just by looking, but it's painfully obvious when riding. I may need to find a different technique to create such a dynamic element.





    Again, the portion nearest the mountain may eventually become a brief, underground tunnel.

    Edit: After messing around with the formulas a bit, I may create a formula for a spiraling helix. Shouldn't be too tough as there's a simple parametric equation for such a thing, but I don't know if that simple of a shape will create the effect that I'm going for.
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      CommentAuthorKingRCT3
    • CommentTimeFeb 3rd 2014 edited
     
    I like it way better now, the helix was worrying me in the first post.
    As for the underground tunnel, yes, I also found them overused. Maybe you could go creative and try a kind of half tunnel using the virtual tunnel setup and some scenery?
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      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeFeb 3rd 2014
     
    Posted By: KingRCT3I like it way better now, the helix was worrying me in the first post.
    As for the underground tunnel, yes, I also found them overused. Maybe you could go creative and try a kind ofhalf tunnelusing the virtual tunnel setup and some scenery?


    This ... is such an epic idea to me. I'm slightly concerned at the level of 3Ds work that it would require, but if I can pull it off, it just might find its way in there. Thanks for the idea!
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      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th 2014 edited
     
    I've spent literally hours reworking the final helix. The biggest problem I was having is that the modulation of the pitch was causing massive pumps at each strict node. I went so far as to create a perfect spiraling helix using a parametric function followed by hand-adjustment of the height of each node, but that was just a huge pain. And then it hit me ... this is one thing that the NL1 editor did superbly at. Because I really wanted to master the NL2 editor, I decided to fight the temptation of editing an element in the NL1 editor and then importing into NL2. I used Buster's example from the Circle/Straight Geometry discussion of the differences between the two editor geometries to emulate NL1's shaping method. This tweaked method gave me better control of the entry and exit of each strict node, just as you would have in NL1. With about a half hour of tweaking here and there, I got a much improved helix that is virtually free of pumps.

    This is the method Buster showed to emulate the NL1 geometry. It's perfect for long helixes (or really any turn I suppose) that have significant pitch modulation.


    My plan is to tackle this monster 270 helix next. The red circles show where I currently have serious pumping right now. Hopefully this method will improve the flow.
  1.  
    Looks like its the roll nodes causing the pumping, consider adding more and stopping them from being strict?
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      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th 2014 edited
     
    Posted By: The_ArchitectLooks like its the roll nodes causing the pumping, consider adding more and stopping them from being strict?


    In order to create a perfect circle with this method, the strict nodes are required. I tried fiddling with the roll nodes as well--adding more and fiddling with the settings of each. The problem is that a strict node must intersect the straight line drawn between the preceding and succeeding free nodes. When you begin to move each free node up and down to cause the turn to change height at certain points, the strict nodes become the points at which pitch starts to change. For me, that's happening to abruptly.

    The following picture better illustrates the problem.

    As you can see, it's not the lateral radius that's causing pumping, but rather the normal radius. I could slide the strict node to the left to smooth the transition, but this would in turn create pumping in the lateral direction. The alternative method that I used for the final helix created a much smoother transition at each strict node because there were two free nodes between each dictating the pitch of the turn.

    Theoretically, the more free nodes I have the better, but as I add more it will become more and more difficult to achieve a fluid motion as I will have to adjust the height of each rather than having the in-game engine calculate the change in the track path.
    • CommentAuthorbigjoe97
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th 2014
     
    Why not just use the method you used for the final helix?
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      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th 2014
     
    Posted By: bigjoe97Why not just use the method you used for the final helix?


    That's exactly what I've been working on today. It seems to have done the trick on this turn as well ;).
  2.  
    That 3ds tunnel shouldn't be too difficult to achieve depending on the level of detail/quality you are looking for. The biggest problem would be aligning but ita just a matter of trial and error and creating scale bars/rulers.

    As for the track, its looking great. Some nice pacing and plenty of nice terrain lovin air time. I think you should leave the tunnel out of the final helix though. Visually i think it looks better without it.
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      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th 2014 edited
     
    ^ Thanks! I'm still on the fence about the tunnel on that helix. I may try and find another portion of track to do a 1/2 tunnel effect, but it would be relatively brief.

    In other news, I'm working on a possible reshaping of the river fly-over. Currently, it has some rather abrupt direction changes because there are straight sections in between the hill crests/valleys. This is what the reshape would like like.


    It has significantly gentler transitions with some great floater air. Thoughts?
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      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th 2014 edited
     
    Sorry for all of the double posts--just trying to keep any project followers updated on the progress.

    I decided to radically reprofile the section of track between the dual river fly-over. Originally, it went up a long hill and passed through an MCBR, made a flat turn into a straight section before dropping back down into the second fly-over. I moved the MCBR to what used to be that long stretch of straight track before the large drop, decreased the height of the crest on the upward hill to create another great airtime moment and then add some elevation change into the turn. This broke up the pacing a little less and provided another moment of airtime (and who doesn't want that!?).


    I'm really ready for the trackwork on this coaster to be done so that I can move onto other phases of the ride, but I don't want something I'll be dissatisfied with later.
    • CommentAuthorTOGO Fan
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th 2014
     
    Can you make that up hill and downhill a bit steeper?
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      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2014
     
    ^ I'll consider it, but I don't want to stray too far from the overall style of the coaster. It's hard to tell the actual slope of the hills from the above angle, by they're close to 45*. I think the steepest hill on the coaster is about 50*. I wanted to make them a bit shallow so that they didn't "poke out" too far from the terrain.
  3.  
    That airtime bump before the turn around looks a little sharp tho it could just be the angle of the image. I think it might bebetter to have lesss of s pitch change to flatten out that peak and make it more like a double up (the second up being in the turn). But that's just me. I do like the new river flyover. Gives a sort of ravine flyer II feel.
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      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2014
     
    ^I agree andre. While the air in the middle and back is reasonable, the air in the front over that hill is a bit extreme. I will be polishing that section along with the first drop tonight probably. Thanks for the feedback! Also, the river flyover definitely has a Ravine Flyer II type of feel to it. I'm glad that I decided to reshape it a bit. Unfortunately it's made a lot of the circle-straight transitions look even more abrupt, so I'm considering restyling several other sections.
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      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeFeb 7th 2014 edited
     
    I considered the given feedback and reworked that top section a bit by rounding out the crest in the foreground and making the longer drop steeper (it's now right around 55*). Below is a pic of the section with an angle that should give you a better idea of the actual profile.



    I also gave the depumping treatment to the final few pops of air. The panoramic below shows this little rhythm section right before the final helix.

    I find that the circle straight geometry provides a great out of control sensation for larger elements, but make for an excessively rough ride in the very fast elements that come in quick succession.

    I may be nearing the end of the trackwork phase, but I would really like a handful of people to ride it before I move on. If interested, please whisper me. Just keep in mind that some transitions have a certain abruptness on purpose.
    •  
      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeFeb 10th 2014 edited
     
    While waiting for some feedback from two people who have asked to test the track, I've been getting familiar with SketchUp by beginning work on the station. I'm going for a mountain-lodge feel, without going overboard. Plenty of natural/finished wood and some stone to highlight the supports below the station. The pictures below show the station as a work in progress.

    Shot straight from SketchUp.


    Now, I know that there is a lighting issue, because here is what it looks like once imported and placed into NL2.


    Notice that the shadows are extremely dark (in fact even the faces that are in light seem dark). Also, some textures seem removed completely, showing as gray faces. Could some more experienced modelers give me some suggestions on how to fix these issues?

    Also, I'm still willing to send my track to someone if they'd like to test it and give some feedback. Whisper with an e-mail if interested!
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      CommentAuthorA.S.Coasters
    • CommentTimeFeb 10th 2014 edited
     
    In the editor you can use the NL2CSO editor and NL2MAT editor (scenery tab) to fix both problems right in NL2.
    •  
      CommentAuthorPhyter
    • CommentTimeFeb 10th 2014
     
    As A.S.C. stated, we have an override for the dark texture issue in the the NL2SCO editor itself. The latest updated added this. You now no longer need to create custom materials for your Sketchup textures. Create an NL2SCO file for the .3DS file and click the "Fix Ambient Materials" option on the Advanced tab. That's it. It effectively does the same thing as using the Ambient Color Override in the NL2MAT editor but it does so automatically for all texture assets associated with the file.
    • CommentAuthorsprog
    • CommentTimeFeb 10th 2014 edited
     
    Black faces is a flaw in the way sketchup handles ambient materials.

    Use the NL2SCO editor to make a .nl2sco version of your .3ds file, then under advanced ensure "fix ambient materials" is ticked. It'll clear up the lighting problems for you. Textures may be due to either file names - SketchUp is a right pain with textures and simply names each one Texture_1, Texture_2, etc, and won't differentiate these between 3DS files when exporting. Have you got another 3DS model in the same folder? If so, it may be that the grey texture is named the same as the wood and so has overwritten it (sketchup never checks this, it just overwrites them automatically without asking). Renaming the textures in sketchup will help.

    If it's not that, it might be the location of your texture - I find they often go squiffy if your referencing a texture that's not in the same location as the .3ds file (sketchup should dump them all in the same place though....).

    Probably the best fix is the new .nl2mat editor, where you can create and edit textures, and then when converting your .3ds file to .nl2sco, you can replace the .3ds textures with .nl2mat versions and ensure the right one is appearing. Being able to do it all in NL2 is so much easier than flicking back and forth between sketchup and NL playing with textures!

    Edit: Beaten to it by AS and Phyter!
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      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeFeb 10th 2014
     
    Thanks for the help folks! I'll play around with it tonight and post any updates to the station later. Any comments on the look of it? From the pictures shown, the SketchUp pic is probably a bit better because of the (for now) improved lighting and textures.
    •  
      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeFeb 11th 2014 edited
     
    I took the time to switch my photos over to imgur. Also, I continued work on the station. Progress is slow as this is really my first major custom 3Ds work.

    Details are going in on the roof line. Also beginning work on the railing. The opening in the middle will be the pathway onto the exit ramp. It's 4ft between poles, so it meets current handicap accessibility laws :).



    Edit: the railing will be cut to length when I begin work at the ends.
    • CommentAuthorMilBee
    • CommentTimeFeb 12th 2014
     
    I think you need to make your wood texture bigger, I can see where it repeats.
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      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2014
     
    ^Which wood texture? The one used for the supporting structure or for the roof/floor? The roof/floor texture should resemble wood planking, so it will have clear lines in it, but the texture on the supports should resemble single pieces of wood.

    As an update (possible texture issues aside), here are the finished railings. Next, I'll probably begin work on the roof and floor supports.
    •  
      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeFeb 15th 2014 edited
     
    The roof structure is complete! I think it turned out pretty well. I did my best to follow proper standards for the rafter measurements. Thoughts?

    One half of the roof structure completely finished. The contrast in texture shows the detail of the rafter construction.


    Textured, copied, turned and attached to make one complete roof!


    Flipped and attached to the station base. Also, I redid all circular support areas, roughly doubling the # of sides to make them look a bit more circular without driving up the poly count too much.


    Because I've now spent several hours on this station (and it's still not finished), I really want everything on this coaster to be perfect. Therefore, I'm still looking for a few people to take a ride and give some feedback on the trackwork. All feedback is greatly appreciated!

    Edit: Also, I'm starting to consider different mountain-themed names for the ride. The front-runner right now is "Splinter Pass". What do you folks think?
    • CommentAuthorMilBee
    • CommentTimeFeb 15th 2014
     
    You want to go back and fix those faces that were blueish purple. Those are the back of the faces and will not show up in the editor.

    To fix this is easy, right click on the face and press "reverse face".
    •  
      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeFeb 15th 2014 edited
     
    ^Thanks! That's kind of a pain, but now I know what the difference is. This also probably explains some texture issues I was having where some faces would show up textured and others with the same texture would be blank ... or perhaps this is exactly what you're referring to, haha.
    • CommentAuthorsprog
    • CommentTimeFeb 15th 2014 edited
     
    Purple faces now show up when you implement the "fix ambient materials" option (or they do for me, anyway). Saves you going round flipping them all! :)
    •  
      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeFeb 17th 2014 edited
     
    So the 3ds work on the station has taken a lot longer than anticipated, but I kind of expected this since this is really my first time creating custom 3d objects for my coaster. I decided to go a bit extravagant with the "captain's quarters" (aka the operator's booth). I created this raised platform for the operator that would provide a commanding view of the station and operations below as well as any approaching trains and the storage area. The platform itself sits 6 ft above the station platform. On the station-facing sides are 3 ft walls topped by 2 ft of glass. On the outward facing sides will be 4 ft fencing to match the fencing already in place around the station. It wouldn't fit a king-sized bed, but it's definitely as large or larger than some of the meager spaces I've seen used for operator booths before. Below are a few pics of the WIP. Also, I may be searching for a fairly detailed, accurate operations panel to place up there. Again, all feedback is appreciated, and I'm still looking for a few others to test the trackwork out. Thanks!

    View from station-side. The door-sized (rather small door btw) opening will eventually be closed with a door to create a secure area.


    View from other side. This is slightly "up-skirt" to show some of the detailing I'm doing. I'd say it's safe enough to stand on ...


    Commanding view from the booth. aka, where coaster geeks like myself can "sit" and see if we can nail that 3-train operation (or 4, if you feel so daring).
    • CommentAuthorMilBee
    • CommentTimeFeb 17th 2014
     
    This is really impressive for the first time you're doing 3D work. I applaud you for this station because I know how long it would take in Sketchup but it turned out fantastic! I love your railings, they look just like ones you would see in real life.
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      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2014
     
    ^Thanks for the compliments! I'm finding little tricks here and there along the way that will be helpful for future projects. Overall, I'm enjoying using SketchUp, which is much less intimidating than some of the other programs I've tried. It may not be as powerful, but the tools are straight forward and give me the amount of control I need.

    As a small update, here's what I've been working on today.

    New logo/sign for my coaster company. Kudos to the person that knows what inspired the piece to the left of the lettering.


    Signage for the ride.
    •  
      CommentAuthorKingRCT3
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2014
     
    #SteelCityCoasters :p

    I like the name and the logo of the ride, although I don't think it's a good idea to use 3D letters.
    •  
      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2014
     
    ^Why not? Poly count? I can flatten them if needed, but it kinda takes away from the effect.
    •  
      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2014
     
    The control booth is basically complete. I may try to scrounge around for a realistic control panel, but that would be an easy addition. I also need to add a door at some point. Thoughts?

    the aluminum railings were a nice added touch of realism and also helped to break up some of the wood texture. I have some ideas for what to do on the now big blank wall on the other side of the booth, but I'm not sharing that until I'm satisfied with it.
    •  
      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeFeb 28th 2014 edited
     
    Progress has been slow over the past few days. I was starting to get restless while working on the details of the station, so I turned my attention back to the coaster itself. As I start to define my own unique style with this coaster, I've been smoothing some of the transitions that were originally straight->constant radius transitions. The transitions are still brief, but they're not the super-abrupt (in some cases instantaneous) transitions that I had. A few of the slower portions will keep the abrupt transitions to maintain the out-of-control feeling even at lower speeds, but I found that easing the transitions just a bit in other spots seemed to provide a more comfortable ride. I would imagine it would also reduce the wear and tear on the trains themselves.

    Some progress has also been made on the terrain, but it's hardly finished. I'm still playing around with textures and whatnot.

    The most visually notable change I've made has been to the storage track. Originally it was a single track adjacent to the brake right before the station. This seemed unrealistic, as in the worst case scenario of only running 1 of the 4 trains, there would be nowhere to store all 3 unused trains. I therefore overhauled the whole storage area, keeping only the switch before the station. I chose to have a separate transfer table because I didn't want any transport wheels on the normal course. All turns have been tested for train clearance and collisions and pass according to the guidelines discussed in this thread.



    Anyone interested in taking a spin and providing some feedback, whisper me with an e-mail. Thanks!
    •  
      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeMar 2nd 2014
     
    After some very helpful feedback, I've focused my recent efforts on reprofiling the double-dip after the lift. This section has been particularly tricky as there are a lot of changing forces to take into account. Below are some pics of the new drop.

    It's hard to get a good profile shot, but here ya go.


    Also the view from the top ...
    •  
      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeMar 14th 2014 edited
     
    It's been a while since my last update. Things got real busy at my job, so I've had less time recently to work on my coasters. Also, I was starting to feel burnt out on this project, so I wanted to take a small break from it. Good news, though as progress has resumed. I've started designing the entrance and exit ramps to the station.

    Entrance ramp


    Exit ramp


    All ramps are roughly up to code with handicap-accessible standards if you're into those kinds of details.

    Edit: Also, how do you guys feel about the open look underneath the station platform? Should I add some fencing or walls around the bottom to close it off a bit?
  4.  
    Your storage tracks seem to have much too tight of a turn going from the storage tracks to the transfer table. The widest turn is probably okay, but I'm very skeptical that the other two turns don't cause the cars to clip into each other.
    •  
      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeMar 14th 2014
     
    ^Actually, the cars don't meet but they come very close. To be honest, I don't think this will be the final configuration, and I'm kind of hoping that the devs make an update to transfer/storage tracks to allow the typical storage solution that is used by many modern wooden coasters.
  5.  
    ^If by that you mean a transfer table with multiple tracks which are also the storage tracks, then I do believe they have confirmed that, although I don't know if it is confirmed to be soon.
    •  
      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeMar 15th 2014 edited
     
    ^ Yes that's precisely what I'm looking for. I'm pretty patient and I don't see this project being done in the very near future, so I'm willing to hold off for a bit and see what the devs whip up for us.

    In other news, here's a small update on the entrance path area. A lot of work still needs to be done, but the general path layout is coming along nicely. I have some landscaping plans for open areas around and between paths.



    View from in front of the main sign. You'll have to imagine the mountain behind the station for now :).


    Edit: Yes, I know the stone texture is screwy on the curved wall. Any suggestions on easy fixes are appreciated.
    • CommentAuthorElvenage
    • CommentTimeMar 15th 2014
     
    Find a different texture?

    I'm no 3d model expert, but that just looks like a very poor texture.
    •  
      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeMar 15th 2014
     
    ^Regardless of texture, I'm going to have the same issue. That texture tiles perfectly on a flat surface (as you might be able to see in the pillars under the station), but it doesn't repeat properly when the adjacent surfaces are in different planes.
    • CommentAuthorElvenage
    • CommentTimeMar 15th 2014
     
    There's a couple of tutorials on google about projecting a texture onto a round face, and they look pretty effective, but I can't get to sketchup anytime soon. Maybe try one of those? It can't hurt lol.
    • CommentAuthorsprog
    • CommentTimeMar 15th 2014
     
    Right click your surface in sketchup, and there's an option that involves repositioning the texture (I'm at work at the moment so can't look up the actual name, sorry - it's near/right at the bottom of the menu!). You can drag it around/rotate/scale until you get it lined up how you like :)
    •  
      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2014 edited
     
    ^Found it! The option wasn't available when the curved wall appeared as one single face, but once I split it into 48 individual faces, I was able to reposition the texture on each face to line up. Results to be posted later.

    Thanks sprog!

    P.S. - There is obviously some detail missing. I plan to add a concrete cap around the top of the wall as well as "fill" the inside with dirt and hopefully some flowers and/or shrubbery.
    •  
      CommentAuthorKWTbolt
    • CommentTimeMay 4th 2014
     
    It's been quite a while since my last update as I've taken a break from this project. Life has been quite busy lately, but things are winding down at work a bit and after a recent visit to Knoebel's, I'm hoping this project will gain a bit of momentum once again. Still holding out for an update to the transfer track settings, though.

    Anyways ... here's a small update showing off the fly-over bridge in its infancy. This is just to give you an idea of the shaping. Should be reminiscent of RFII. Enjoy!