Search Amazon.com:
Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us $3,400 per month for bandwidth bills alone, and since we don't believe in shoving popup ads to our registered users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
«27 »
  • Locked thread
nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

Iunnrais posted:

Question: in ythat video, you showed being able to modify lanes in a very awesome manner... but can you actually edit the intersection to suit? For example, if you create a right turning lane as in the example, can you then set the intersection so that right turns are prohibited (except in the dedicated lane)? From the video, it looked like all the turning logic might have been locked in place.

The engine can definitely support it, but for tech demo purposes the UI is extremely simplified here, so it's not actually possible to set up right now.

If I had a bunch of free time I would maybe try setting up a build environment myself, and adding a function to build one-way circles for roundabouts. Or maybe something to convert an intersection to a roundabout.

nielsm fucked around with this message at Dec 26, 2016 around 07:48

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

anselm_eickhoff
Mar 1, 2014


zxqv8 posted:

Great video, but you may want to take the time to tweak some audio levels if at all possible, it was very difficult to hear you speak in some of the early parts.

Yeah I'll either try less epically loud backgrounds or more epically expensive microphones next time.


nielsm posted:

One thing I'm wondering is, does "open source" extend to "free software" (in the FSF sense), and does it extend to assets like sound, textures, models?
Could the game support a "commercial asset packs" model?

You mean third-party asset packs? I was thinking about commercial mods (since there are potential mods which are possibly very work intensive)

nielsm posted:

As far as I can tell, what the demo does is place a number of cars randomly, and give each car a random destination. (I think a destination right now is a lane segment.) None of them should be just following another, they are already doing individual pathfinding here.

Correct.

nielsm posted:

If driveways up to buildings can also be integrated in a good way, things could end up looking really natural.

This is my plan. I will have to see if it scales well enough to just have each driveway as a tiny road - that would be the simplest to implement.

Baronjutter posted:

And of course the absolutely essential simulation of parking in some respect.

Of course.

Baronjutter posted:

A huge geographical grid of streets is one thing, but a dense network of old-town streets with a million weird intersections is another.

I agree - the first was just faster to "create procedurally" to quickly test the scale.

Baronjutter posted:

Also, Anselm, over the last year I've been doing some work and hobby related research into the development industry and the nitty gritty of housing markets and and construction, actually interviewed some developers I know and city planning and zoning officials! Also in my job I pour over building plans all day and I have access to all the financial and construction cost stuff so I've been collecting info on how much a building costs to build, it's square footage, and how many people end up living in it or working in it. Been working on a simple card/tile based city building board game but with a focus more on the economic and political side rather than a car-simulator. If you ever wanted to "talk shop" to fine tune how/when/why buildings grow I'd love to share my research with you.

That sounds super interesting and I would highly encourage you to give me your insights when I am implementing relevant parts of the game! Thank you for the offer!!

Iunnrais posted:

Question: in ythat video, you showed being able to modify lanes in a very awesome manner... but can you actually edit the intersection to suit? For example, if you create a right turning lane as in the example, can you then set the intersection so that right turns are prohibited (except in the dedicated lane)? From the video, it looked like all the turning logic might have been locked in place.

My idea there was to actually make that a property of the lane ("this is a left turning lane"), which the intersection algorithm would then expect. But I'm also not completely happy with the system yet. But: all the individual parts of the whole road creation shebang are implemented very independently from each other and it's very easy to change something at the beginning of the creation process while the rest still just works - so experimentation should be quite doable there!

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

anselm_eickhoff posted:

Yeah I'll either try less epically loud backgrounds or more epically expensive microphones next time.
Keep in mind, it's all about improving signal-noise ratio. The best you can do if you're a lone speaker in an outdoor environment is to have a clip-on microphone near your mouth, with a wind screen on the mic. Then you won't even need an amazingly high quality mic, just mounting and protecting it right.

anselm_eickhoff posted:

You mean third-party asset packs? I was thinking about commercial mods (since there are potential mods which are possibly very work intensive)
Actually I was thinking of having an official commercial release that includes a complete set of non-free assets. For instance the music you've had composed would be an obvious candidate.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


If there's a choice between good audio and petting a pony, go with the pony every time.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

I threw a bunch of wizards into a room and simulated a party environment


Grimey Drawer

i downloaded your .exe. after about 30 seconds it froze so i quit, restarted, and then after drawing one simple road segment it actually crashed my computer. i haven't seen that in a while, so congratulations?

JeremoudCorbynejad
Jul 6, 2007




Yeah I've been getting that. It freezes when I click a road that I've built, or the program just ends. Sometimes I can't get out of it so I just restart. A shame, but he did say it might be terribly buggy.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

I threw a bunch of wizards into a room and simulated a party environment


Grimey Drawer

does it have any sort of error logging that might be useful to give him? I'm not really eager to reopen it when it crashes my entire computer, but would do it if it logged relevent info

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

crabrock posted:

does it have any sort of error logging that might be useful to give him? I'm not really eager to reopen it when it crashes my entire computer, but would do it if it logged relevent info

There isn't any error logging getting written to a file, no. It writes to the console, and you can set an environment variable that causes the runtime to print more detailed stack traces for exceptions and "soft" crashes. A reboot crash like you get may get some logging written if you redirect the stdout/stderr to a file, but it may also be cut short, no way to know.

However a game causing your machine to reboot sounds very much like a graphics card or driver issue.

nimper
Jun 19, 2003

livin' in a hopium den

nielsm posted:

However a game causing your machine to reboot sounds very much like a graphics card or driver issue.

Yeah, I was getting constant crashes trying to implement roads until I updated my graphics card driver.

anselm_eickhoff
Mar 1, 2014


Freezing/crashing of the whole PC sounds really bad - sorry folks, I didn't know buggy gfx drivers + buggy my code could be so catastrophic.

It certainly influences my attitude towards crashes being kinda fine at this stage of development - but I still need to balance progress vs. stability now to a large degree.

What do you think, should I add more explicit disclaimers that running it might ruin your day?

nimper
Jun 19, 2003

livin' in a hopium den

To be fair, the graphics drivers on the computer I was using to test the game were several years out of date. Hilariously, the video card was misreporting its model number with the old drivers.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

I threw a bunch of wizards into a room and simulated a party environment


Grimey Drawer

I'm running windows 10 and have all my windows updates installed, and play games from steam all the time no problem, so I dunno if it's a graphics card driver issue or what.

anyway, it didn't ruin my day, I'm not mad or nothin. I knew it could have happened. It's just been so long since I've seen anything actually crash my computer that I was honestly just a bit stunned. If there's any way I can give more useful feedback, let me know

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

New build released

Mostly just bugfixes, and some improvements in controls/UI.
The most important things are probably the internal things related to code structure, and the project management model being developed.

Hollow Talk
Feb 2, 2014


I think the new development model is fantastic. Obviously, things will be constantly in flux and modules will be added one by one, but being able to just click around and see something happening is really quite brilliant.

Road placement feels very natural and organic, especially drawing "through" existing roads to create intersections just like that. I also really like the option to simply select the number of lanes just like that on the fly, which is already a huge advantage over street building in other sims that lock you into specific types of roads. Double-clicking remained a bit fiddly and didn't always disengage roadbuilding for me, sometimes creating a new road segment instead.

Things ran well and without crashes overall here on Linux.

ROFLburger
Jan 12, 2006



poo poo. wrong thread.

anselm_eickhoff
Mar 1, 2014


Thanks for posting the new build, nielsm, and thanks for your feedback, Hollow Talk!

New update!

January '17 Review & February Plans

Hadlock
Nov 9, 2004



Not going to lie, I wasn't going to contribute initially, but the quality of the latest video (not only content, but audio/location) makes it look like you have this setup correctly for success for a wide audience. Looking good, definitely considering the paetron thing now.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


Did you not see the pony from the previous video and reach for your wallet???

Iunnrais
Jul 25, 2007

It's gaelic.

Looking solid, looking foreword to it. Question... so far, absolutely everything, old engine and new engine, has been 100% 2D oriented. Is there room in the architecture for hills, or are you locking in to Kansas?

Iunnrais
Jul 25, 2007

It's gaelic.

There's a planning livestream going on on youtube right now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YUye9fnnWg

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

Iunnrais posted:

There's a planning livestream going on on youtube right now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YUye9fnnWg

I'd have preferred if it wasn't on a weekday though. This time makes it very difficult for anyone in Europe (outside maybe students) to participate.

Cheen
Apr 17, 2005



nielsm posted:

I'd have preferred if it wasn't on a weekday though. This time makes it very difficult for anyone in Europe (outside maybe students) to participate.

Tuff Sh*t

nimper
Jun 19, 2003

livin' in a hopium den

nielsm posted:

I'd have preferred if it wasn't on a weekday though. This time makes it very difficult for anyone in Europe (outside maybe students) to participate.

You can participate in the github discussions regarding the planning session:

https://github.com/citybound/citybound/milestone/3

JeremoudCorbynejad
Jul 6, 2007




New update exploring some potential concepts:

http://blog.cityboundsim.com/what-i...t-feb-13-14-17/

Seems like an really odd focus to have for a city-simulator, which is a thought I had before when we were presented with a build which saw workers going home for lunch between shifts (or something similar, I can't recall).

Now I'm no fan of abstraction but this seems even a little bit too fine-grained a simulation for my liking, and I worry that the complexity will bog down the project at the expense of other features or overall performance/balance.

I would certainly like to see a resource model at an industrial/commercial level, with some sort of commodities market, but right down to the level of cow-milking? Even Banished doesn't go that deep.

I'd also like to see a needs mechanic which feeds into shopping traffic, so that side of things seems promising, but anything more complex than "needs posh furniture, visits a posh furniture shop every 20 days" sounds ambitiously complex to me.

I remain sceptical but I'm looking forward to seeing how it pans out.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

This kind of finely detailed simulation is what brings the potential of emergent gameplay, as opposed to the almost entirely static models used in e.g. Sim City 4.

The specifics such as cow milking are probably just whatever came up first during discussion on the stream, as an example of an activity that can be resolved in two different ways depending on the presence of an additional catalyst (the milking machine).

What I think is the actual big challenge of fine-grained economic simulation like this, is that the traffic simulation has to be able to keep up, and be scaled to match. It's where Sim City 2013 and Cities: Skylines fail somewhat, neither of their traffic simulations can actually pass through the number of agents a real-world equivalent street layout would be able to, or at least it feels that way, and therefore they very easily jam up. That has then forced the developers to shortcut certain things in the economic simulation, like still doing static supply or employment calculations despite the agents being supposed to actually work those things out, or having some agents just give up and teleport to destination at some penalty.
If the traffic simulation can keep up at the appropriate scale, you can very well end up with much more dynamic and real-feeling cities, as well as get many more Dwarf Fortress situations.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


I like a more detailed economy, but simulating different types of cow milking?? I guess that's all going on in the background.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

Baronjutter posted:

I like a more detailed economy, but simulating different types of cow milking?? I guess that's all going on in the background.

Yeah my reading is simply that "this farm produces more milk because it has obtained milking machines". Which would be a rather bad example in the modern world because noone would ever open a dairy farm without those today.
Maybe a better example could be, a children's hospital is supplied with gaming consoles and has happier patients leaving as a result?

This kind of simulation can probably lead to ghettoized areas being emergent behavior, and in general other natural stratification of the city.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


Yeah I'm not quite understanding the depth of the economy unless the game is also simulating like... industrialization? A simple "efficiency" stat would do for various processing/extraction buildings though.

anselm_eickhoff
Mar 1, 2014


I kinda regret posting that cow-milking screenshot - it was really just a silly example for myself to see how I would model items that unlock higher-efficiency activities for families or businesses.

Make sure to read this post about my research and this post where I announce my plan and motivation for doing economy on such a detailed level.

Here is the latest post that shows how I'm progressing with making all of this work.

And you might also enjoy this aside about game design and that it won't be forgotten

Let it be known that I keep an eye on my beloved SA thread and that the above-average thoughtfulness that is often displayed here is an important source of inspiration!

Poil
Mar 17, 2007



Personally I'm worried about that overly detailed mechanics will end up tanking performance without giving enough of a gameplay benefit. Something that works great in a hamlet ends up making the game unplayble once you're reaching city size. But I'm sure that's been mentioned, thought about and discussed several times before.

anselm_eickhoff posted:

Let it be known that I keep an eye on my beloved SA thread and that the above-average thoughtfulness that is often displayed here is an important source of inspiration!
You're not the only game dev who gives this place such high praise.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

I threw a bunch of wizards into a room and simulated a party environment


Grimey Drawer

Having that in in depth stuff could be fun, but only if it's not a chore later in the game. Will stuff increase efficiency automatically, or will you have to go through and upgrade every building manually?

I think the problem a lot of City sims have is a feature that works on a small scale, and is even fun while you're seeing up a city, becomes a headache and detracts from your enjoyment as your city gets larger and you shift to a more overall plan/design/layout stage. Like in one recent city sim, there would be fires and you had to direct fire engines there. That was kinda fun the first few times, but as my city got bigger more stuff caught on fire, and i felt like i had to pause my actual game play to deal with all the god drat fires. I remember this being my main complaint about Spore too: you had to fly back to defend your planets from constant attack. It wasnt hard or fun anymore.

Just something to keep in mind. I would recommend ways to automate a lot of the features late game. They can be skills you unlock or whatever. Make new sets of challenges for late game, not just more of the early stuff.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

crabrock posted:

Having that in in depth stuff could be fun, but only if it's not a chore later in the game. Will stuff increase efficiency automatically, or will you have to go through and upgrade every building manually?

I think the problem a lot of City sims have is a feature that works on a small scale, and is even fun while you're seeing up a city, becomes a headache and detracts from your enjoyment as your city gets larger and you shift to a more overall plan/design/layout stage.

This makes me think if a Katamari Damacy like approach would work. In KD, when your ball reaches certain milestones, all objects "inside" the ball are de-instantiated and become part of the "abstract ball" object, and simultaneously the entire world re-scales with smaller objects disappearing and larger ones becoming not just decorative.

In KD it's a very direct re-scaling, but in a city sim it might not work quite so well since you may have to introduce and abstract away mechanics in steps, rather than just changing scales of otherwise homogeneous objects.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

I threw a bunch of wizards into a room and simulated a party environment


Grimey Drawer

i feel like power lines/water pipes always fall into this trap. at first, getting power to your city and providing it water are challenging. you have to spend your limited resources on this stuff, and decide whether or not to build a pollutey powerplant further off and attach it with expensive lines, etc. However, late game, when money doesn't matter as much anymore (in most sims) and you're just loving around, it gets kind of annoying to redesign a section but have half your city die because you accidentally destroyed a one-tile long pipe or something. it's like "jesus just do all that poo poo automatically. of course i want all my blocks to have water and power, just assume so and tell me if i need to build another power plant to accomdate that." even if it's part of the simulation and you have to build some sort of electric company to send out little trucks and what not, it'd be nice to just remove that "chore" from the gameplay, as it's not really fun or hard anymore, but a pain in the rear end. It'd be awesome as like ^ said, there was a way to abstract it a bit without losing what made it unique in the first place.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


I'd love to see a city builder/sim where money always matters. Cities big and small are always under budget pressures, but in most games you really only have an initial hobo phase where money is tight and then it's just post-scarcity god mode. I think the main problem is that the game doesn't charge nearly enough for upkeep on infrastructure. 100m of elevated highway costs like 10x or more to upkeep than the same highway on the ground. Tunnels and highways are not just extremely expensive to build, but also maintain. As your city gets bigger it should mechanically require more advanced things, more amenities and so on. That new subway expansion should cost a ton to build and maintain and be a financial disaster if it doesn't carry its optimal amount.

Another problem is that time is an infinite resource in these games. So long as you have a positive income you essentially have infinite money. I played an old roman city builder ages ago that had an interesting cost mechanic. Nothing cost money to build but everything cost something for upkeep. If a thing cost 5 to upkeep, you had to make sure you were at +5 before you built it. You could go into the negative for a while but would need to spend some sort of political resource, and when you ran out it was game over.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

Possibly introduce a requirement for bureaucratic infrastructure with increasingly large upkeep. In all SimCity games building a city hall has always been optional and even just a "reward" with no significant effect. Meanwhile a real large city actually employs hundreds or thousands in the bureaucracy, and you need bureaucracy to support the bureaucracy. It can probably be abstracted to some degree that it gets very difficult to expand the city beyond some size without sufficient bureaucratic support in place, and bureaucratic support can be supplied just with appropriate buildings. A potential meaningful choice would be whether to lease commercial office space for bureaucratic functions or to invest in city-owned buildings.
Either way, my point is that to address some of Baronjutter's (and my own) concern that there isn't enough to spend upkeep on past the early game, you introduce a cost that scales as a power function i.e. O(citysizea), where citysize could be maybe a sum of population and jobs, and a is just a constant. (Tweaking a could be a major part of a difficulty setting.)

As for power, water etc. infrastructure, I wouldn't mind just doing it the SimCity 2013 way and have all roads include them.
On the other hand, maybe have power be something you usually get from off-map, and an in-city power plant only be a late game major investment (that also takes up a significant space on the map). Instead have the player draw just high voltage lines from off-map to and between transformer substations, that then supply "consumer power" through the roads. And then you could have heavy industry with special power demands.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

Three other ways to theoretically handle the issue of getting infinite money by leaving the game running by itself:

1) Random disasters. I'm not sure anyone particularly enjoys these.

2) "Approval rating", with the twist that approval depends not only on needs satisfaction at the moment, but also on whether the population considers the city to be in active development or alternatively stagnating. Meaning if the player stops expanding and changing the city, approval will eventually tank, causing people and businesses to leave, causing taxes to stop flowing. To make it totally gamey you could artificially stop the negative effects when yearly profit gets to zero.

3) Scrap the whole concept of having a money bin and only have the city work with a budgetary balance. Handwave the lack of a bank account away as the state taking any profits made for the city. Anything you build costs not just upkeep, but also draws cost during construction. If combined with a planning mode, whenever you're about to begin implementing a plan you can choose the efficiency at which to implement it, modifying its effect on the budget, balanced against the time taken to complete the plan. Obviously this requires all construction in the game to be non-instant. To get the player started, there could be some state grant so the budget is in positive initially, avoiding a deadlock.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


I don't know about europe but in north america most cities have set budgets. Like they'll approve a budget of 280 million dollars for the year, and property taxes are then collected based on that. It's not like income tax. If a ton of high value buildings pop up in your city it doesn't make the city more money, it just shifts people's tax burdens around a bit but the actual budget remains the same. Each year the city passes a budget based on their ongoing costs as well as one-time project costs. Sometimes for large projects it's not a matter of the city saving up money in some city bank account, it's about a referendum to spend the money.

For instance your city "needs" a new stadium, there's no way your yearly new-facilities budget could ever cover that so you put it to the city to pay for it over 15 years via a special extra 1% property tax.

A simple in-game system could just be to have a yearly budget based on your tax rate, but not have it really save-up between years. When you build projects it just creates both an upkeep cost as well as a cost to service the debt you took on to build it. Most cities have access to extremely low interest government loans too.

So for instance in a simcity game we're used to saving up $5000 to plop down that new city art centre, which then costs $50 a month to maintain. Another way of doing this would be to simply plop down the art centre for "free" but with a higher yearly cost representing both the upkeep on the building and the upkeep on the loan. You could even have options when built to go for a 10/20/30 year term for the debt with the shorter term having better interest but obviously a much higher monthly/yearly cost. So basically you don't really have a "savings account" as a city, you just have a budget.

Well if that stadium is costing me $50 a month in upkeep and $100 a month to pay the loan over 20 years, why not just wait 20 years and enjoy +$100 a month? Because everything else in your city needs upkeep and replacing as well. Now your fire station needs total replacement, now you need a new power plant, now that huge highway bridge you had set to minimal funding needs to be fully replaced. This wouldn't be busy work you'd need to manually do of course, you'd just get a popup warning that the facility is getting old and will need a big chunk of change dropped on it for either replacement or major renovation. So really every building is always costing you money, and by the time you've paid it off it probably needs major work unless you took a very aggressive payment plan.

Of course you could just bake everything then into a monthly cost that represents operating costs, upkeep on the building, and a replacement/refurbishment fund. That would be simple, but part of what makes running a city interesting from a financial point of view is that all these costs are not nice even yearly things and sometimes it's a bit of a surprise.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

Baronjutter posted:

Of course you could just bake everything then into a monthly cost that represents operating costs, upkeep on the building, and a replacement/refurbishment fund. That would be simple, but part of what makes running a city interesting from a financial point of view is that all these costs are not nice even yearly things and sometimes it's a bit of a surprise.

Yeah I won't claim to know much about accounting at all, but the "money bin" model that works for personal finances is definitely not how actual cities, states, or businesses, run.

And the quoted part, having replacement/major renovation of facilities be something you have to do actively is definitely a good idea, since it gives you choice between possibly keeping things running at cheaper for now while possibly deteriorating slightly over time, versus the major renovation that could potentially (but not guaranteed? make it a gamble) revitalize part of the city.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


Yeah for instance in my city there's recently been a lot of talk about an old rec centre. The talk has been going on for like a decade because the facility is aging and as it ages its upkeep costs go up and up. Eventually you reach a point where the upkeep costs and needs for major renovations over time would be more expensive than just building a new one. So a few options were floated (lol it's a pool): demo the whole thing and build a new one of a similar size, or a smaller size, demo and build a bigger/better one, or shut the facility down for over a year and do a major renovation. Although it was the most expensive option, they decided to demo and build a bigger better facility. The city of course has no money "saved up" to build this, it's all being done through loans. Some people are upset since of course all these loans do cost money to service, and the city's recently done a bunch of very big ticket items like a new bridge that's costs have spiraled out of control to be about double what they estimated.

So in-game, you could have something like a rec centre. As it ages, depending on its budget (higher upkeep = less deterioration) the building deteriorates and slowly needs a bigger and bigger budget to run. Depending on your settings/policies you'd eventually get a pop up saying the building is in need of major expenditures to continue running. You can keep kicking the can down the road, in fact you might have to if your budget is poo poo, but it's only going to get worse. A well run city would fund everything at max and always be ready for replacement/renovation costs, but sometimes it's tempting to say "Oh i'll just lower my facilities budget a little for a few years to afford this new overpass" and next thing you know you're totally relying on that savings, except it's not really a "savings" because you'll pay for it all in the end. Deferred maintenance is how all sorts of cities/governments get by.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Nition
Feb 25, 2006

You really want to know?


As long as there's also an option to automate that stuff if you can afford it, so the whole game doesn't turn into micromanagement.

  • Locked thread
«27 »