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  • Locked thread
Zigmidge
May 12, 2002

Exsqueeze me, why the sour face? I'm here to lemon aid you. Let's juice it.

It works well for the Tropico Games where over time it gets easier the more assets you build up. Gotta have a reason to start over and play the challenging part of the game.

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ExtraNoise
Apr 11, 2007



It was already posted before, but SC4's system of allowing you to choose which "time periods" to play is probably the best.

Edit: And in no way should the base Citybound game incorporate a mechanic like this. Leave it for the modders to add time periods.

Fintilgin
Sep 29, 2004

Fintilgin sweeps!

If I were making a city builder where you could advance through eras (which I think would be fun), I'd make it 'optional', in that you would unlock different techs with some sort of in-game currency (education points?), but you could simply never buy them and stay in a given era forever.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


As long as there's some time based hooks for buildings and items shouldn't be too hard for someone to mod or add in later. As a one man operation I'll be impressed if we just get a solid little city sim.

Bistromatic
Oct 3, 2004

And turn the inner eye
To see its path...


From when this game was still discussed in the Don't Buy SimCity thread:

Bistromatic posted:

While we're on Citybound suggestions:
Depending on how detailed you plan the building generation to be, i'd love to see shifting architectural styles.
From what i can tell you're going to have probability values for features and variables already, if you had those slowly and randomly shift over the course of the game you could get recognizable architectural styles that visualize the history of the city.

Probability of balconies, oriels, roof styles, window dimensions, preferred story height, number of stories and lot size, ideally i'd like to see all these (and more) change independently and just let the game go hogwild but i could also see affinities and exclusions so you are more likely to get oriels on low buildings with double pitched roofs and never see skyscrapers with monopitch roofs.

All this would serve to make areas visually distinct based on when the buildings were generated and you could tell that a certain part of the town became a residential are at a different time than the rest.
And depending on the visual style you're shooting for you could even have some sort of patina or weathering shader/overlay slowly appear on buildings as they grow older.

Edit: Oh, and i'd love to see trees, even if they're just camera-aligned circles on a stick.

anselm_eickhoff posted:


I planned on different architectural styles and decorations. I don't only want them to change with time, but also as a reaction to player action.
You encourage culture? Bam, beautiful buildings appear. You just build a boring, industrial city? Well, mundane buildings for you.

Edit: Beautiful vegetation and terrain is something close to my heart. But it is not important right now.


Should I just make a dedicated thread in the Games forum?

HermsgervÝrden
Apr 23, 2004
Møøse Trainer

First of all Anselm, I'm been quite excitedly following your devblog since the first post, it's exciting because it's super ambitious. But ambition can lead to fiasco so I am trying to temper my optimism.

I may have easily missed the discussion of your plans for traditional city sim mechanics because I never go on reddit never go on reddit but I haven't seen anything about water, power and garbage infrastructure. I personally see these as growth-rate limiters on the budgetary side of gameplay, and it's never seemed to be implemented in a way that also added fun. It always seems to come down to having insufficient capacity, then paying to upgrade, while dedicating more real-estate. I was fortunate enough not to play Maxis most recent title, but I understand that they made it even worse: insufficient capacity, pay to upgrade, simulated power water and garbage agents get stuck in traffic and fail to work properly! If anything, I'd say that the better solution would be abstracting those elements out of the game and giving the players micro-management time to other, more fun tasks (road lane configurations, zoned height and bulk tools, mixed use designation, mass transit route planning). I doubt most people would be happy with straight removing those mechanics entirely, but if they could be boiled down to a minimum, I sure wouldn't miss it.

I'd also like to make an off the wall aesthetic suggestion: wood grain textures for everything. Little peg shaped people, silhouette extrusion cars, few but brightly-painted surfaces to add color. Different wood grain types could denote uses. Here is an example by way of lazy google image search:

I don't know if I'm all alone on this, but I think it would be a really neat visual approach to a fully 3D city sim, that would reward interesting yet simple building form, and de-emphasize visual realism. I personally think that realistic building designs in city sims get trapped with unrealistic scale problems, for example road lane widths compared to windows. Wood grain style also provides an opportunity for amazing fire disaster visualization.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


I'd be fine with the whole wooden massing model look but he's said he actually does want to go all out and have City-Engine style realistic graphics and landscaping, at least one day. And the way to solve scale issues is to actually just model all your poo poo in scale. Bad scale is a symptom of technical limitations generally. City engine won't have a lot of those geographic limitations so there's no reason for things not to be all in proper scale relative to each other.

Baronjutter fucked around with this message at Apr 29, 2014 around 22:02

HermsgervÝrden
Apr 23, 2004
Møøse Trainer

Totally agreed about scale issues being solved by consistent application and modeling, but then the dev has to commit way more time to artwork to get it right, and also be a pretty good artist (not saying Anselm isn't, but the stereotype attributed to developer art is not generally flattering!) Perhaps wood-town is better done as a mod anyway, because people would undoubtably decide the game is a simple toy instead of a deep and serious simulation if the style isn't realism.

I contend that there could be an amazing result with the right art-direction.

Another topic I'd like to hear the dev discuss is how he plans to deal with the way buildings and roads engage with sloping terrain. This is another thing I haven't seen a city sim handle cleanly, especially with regard to driveways.

anselm_eickhoff
Mar 1, 2014


First, new update!

The Road to Alpha, Week 8 - Intermezzo & Big Announcement

I will answer all you comments and questions in just a sec, when I'm done spamming all the social networks with the update

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


gently caress yes your parents are sponsoring the game! This is rad, good work.

What are you taking at uni by the way and how old are you if you don't mind me asking? I always thought you were older than university age but then again I have a ton of friends in their 30's just finishing up their degrees and things.

Mayor Defacto
Apr 21, 2010



Digging the music in the video, SC3000 had an excellent jazzy track and I can't wait to see what else your composers come up with. Threw in a few bucks your way as well. Good luck dude!

anselm_eickhoff
Mar 1, 2014


Alright, time for mega-answer-post

Deputy Dangerous posted:

Anselm, I was wondering if you could saturate and contrast the colors of everything a little more. My eyes just do not like the bleached look of the game. If it was a visual setting that'd be great too

Yes, colors will get more saturated again.
I'm experimenting with colors and lighting all the time, so it looks different in the different update videos.

Baronjutter posted:

drat, sucks that it never got finished. Checking out the websites about it leads to a lot of dead links. I never liked most of the post a-train 1 games. I could never get my region to grow or develop. I tired the new 3d ones and holy poo poo could you possibly design a worse interface and feedback system? I just want to shuffle around building materials and passengers and watch little houses pop up and then invest in some buildings.

A-train was a cool game and actually a really good business sim for japanese railways. In japan, to keep ticket prices down or something, railways can only earn so much profit from ticket sales, but there aren't restrictions on other sources of income. So, they channel a ton of their railway income into realestate development as the capital expense of that is a write off rather than their railway income being taxed to poo poo. So just like in a-train, you'll have the railway owning a mall or apartment complex or office building near the station.

I loved a-train because you could directly build most of the buildings in the game. Want to jump start a new suburb? Plop a bunch of apartments near your station and now you've got riders for your new train line, and the area has been stimulated for more development. Know you plan on making a certain area into a downtown? Buy up that land now for cheap and make sure you have first dibs on developing the areas first major retail and office projects.

It's not just private railways that do this though, some cities actually get involved in construction as well. I've always wanted a city builder where as god-mayor you could invest in buildings directly your self. Plop down some city-owned apartments to stimulate an area or create some affordable housing. That sort of thing. Of course then you'd need a whole a-train style profit/loss system for individual buildings.

Did not know that about japanese railways.
Now A-Train and this mechanic make much more sense, but I always enjoyed using or even exploiting it anyways.

Shibawanko posted:

Yeah, in most stations in Tokyo they have a big JR skyscraper sitting on top of the actual tracks. I never knew why until know though, I did hear once that because revenue in Tokyo and other big cities is potentially so high, the government forces JR to also develop rural lines and take the loss for less profitable ones in exchange for allowing it to run the Yamanote line and such.

Will Citybound have trains? Maybe it would be cool if there was sort of an a-trainlike system to it as well.

It will have trains, I don't know yet how detailed it will be, if it will includes schedules etc.

drunkill posted:

Or Open TTD but for metro/suburban networks instead of intercity.

Will citybound be set in a particular time period or just be a generic modern setting? I suppose modders could make alternate building styles and modes of transportation for earlier (or future) eras.

Generic modern setting.
Time will not pass in a historical way.
But mods can add that.

HermsgervÝrden posted:

First of all Anselm, I'm been quite excitedly following your devblog since the first post, it's exciting because it's super ambitious. But ambition can lead to fiasco so I am trying to temper my optimism.

I may have easily missed the discussion of your plans for traditional city sim mechanics because I never go on reddit never go on reddit but I haven't seen anything about water, power and garbage infrastructure. I personally see these as growth-rate limiters on the budgetary side of gameplay, and it's never seemed to be implemented in a way that also added fun. It always seems to come down to having insufficient capacity, then paying to upgrade, while dedicating more real-estate. I was fortunate enough not to play Maxis most recent title, but I understand that they made it even worse: insufficient capacity, pay to upgrade, simulated power water and garbage agents get stuck in traffic and fail to work properly! If anything, I'd say that the better solution would be abstracting those elements out of the game and giving the players micro-management time to other, more fun tasks (road lane configurations, zoned height and bulk tools, mixed use designation, mass transit route planning). I doubt most people would be happy with straight removing those mechanics entirely, but if they could be boiled down to a minimum, I sure wouldn't miss it.

I'd also like to make an off the wall aesthetic suggestion: wood grain textures for everything. Little peg shaped people, silhouette extrusion cars, few but brightly-painted surfaces to add color. Different wood grain types could denote uses. Here is an example by way of lazy google image search:

I don't know if I'm all alone on this, but I think it would be a really neat visual approach to a fully 3D city sim, that would reward interesting yet simple building form, and de-emphasize visual realism. I personally think that realistic building designs in city sims get trapped with unrealistic scale problems, for example road lane widths compared to windows. Wood grain style also provides an opportunity for amazing fire disaster visualization.

I agree that those mechanics are not really fun.
I will probably heavily simplify them (similar to SC13, roads will be used for water, sewage and electrictiy) and I will try to make them more fun.

I won't go for a straight wooden look, but that inspired me for the look I have in mind.
It will be model-like, but very detailed.

HermsgervÝrden posted:

Totally agreed about scale issues being solved by consistent application and modeling, but then the dev has to commit way more time to artwork to get it right, and also be a pretty good artist (not saying Anselm isn't, but the stereotype attributed to developer art is not generally flattering!) Perhaps wood-town is better done as a mod anyway, because people would undoubtably decide the game is a simple toy instead of a deep and serious simulation if the style isn't realism.

I contend that there could be an amazing result with the right art-direction.

Another topic I'd like to hear the dev discuss is how he plans to deal with the way buildings and roads engage with sloping terrain. This is another thing I haven't seen a city sim handle cleanly, especially with regard to driveways.

I will try to keep scales as consistent as possible.
I use meters as the ingame unit for everything and compare all objects to their real life measures.
The proportions will certainly be more realistic than toy-like.

Regarding slopes, it's hard to say before I implement it, but I will give it my best and I'm ready to try out new approaches that might not have these problems.

Baronjutter posted:

gently caress yes your parents are sponsoring the game! This is rad, good work.

What are you taking at uni by the way and how old are you if you don't mind me asking? I always thought you were older than university age but then again I have a ton of friends in their 30's just finishing up their degrees and things.


I'm studying Computer Science, this is my 6th bachelor semester (it will probably take me 2 more). I'm 21.


Mayor Defacto posted:

Digging the music in the video, SC3000 had an excellent jazzy track and I can't wait to see what else your composers come up with. Threw in a few bucks your way as well. Good luck dude!

Much appreciated! I'm also so excited for the music!

LonsomeSon
Nov 22, 2009

A fishperson in an intimidating hat!


Anselm, I have a very great desire to see this succeed, and I have since it showed up in the SimCity thread.

I actually don't care--at all--about the specifics of which features are in, how they work, model scaling or aesthetic approach. All I want is a functional city-building game with a consistent aesthetic theme and a coherent feature set.

I don't care how long it takes you, or how much it costs when I buy it. I would have already given you money, but my wife finished medical school last Thursday and she doesn't start work until June. After she starts getting paid, I'm pretty sure I'll be able to find some dollars with your name on them though!

Vahakyla
May 3, 2013

My battleboo just said "yeah, us. Ma'am. We'll be going to war. Not you."


Iunnrais posted:

I think it'd be cool to start in the 1800s with horses and carts and pedestrians only, and evolve technological advances at your own pace. SC2k's method of tying advance to actual years doesn't work, because you go through FAR too much time in a city sim to get stuff done. But if you could hit a button to advance the simulated era (and bring with it cars [or flying cars!], power plants, etc) I think it'd be perfect.


http://www.train-fever.com

This might be the game for you. I have been following train fever and it seems to be bringing a more realistic approach to Transpor Tycoon, where you start with horse carriages and horse trams, transporting goods and people all the way to electric trains.

I does not have a strong city building factor, but being more like intercity/rural Cities in Motion, with wider eras.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


Vahakyla posted:

http://www.train-fever.com

This might be the game for you. I have been following train fever and it seems to be bringing a more realistic approach to Transpor Tycoon, where you start with horse carriages and horse trams, transporting goods and people all the way to electric trains.

I does not have a strong city building factor, but being more like intercity/rural Cities in Motion, with wider eras.

This is pretty cool. It's like a blend between a-train and CiM2. Procedural buildings too! But they're all square, boo.

buglord
Jul 31, 2010



Buglord



In human years? Jesus Christ dude. You're pretty awesome, as are your parents for supporting you.

Tatrakrad
May 14, 2007

I cited my sources and all he said was, "owned owned owned owned owned"

Anselm pulls off mask, revealed to be Ocean Quigley, smothering our hopes and dreams in the crib

chairface
Oct 28, 2007
No matter what you believe, I don't believe in you.

Backing up briefly to Japanese rail companies investing in real estate, that was always one of my favorite aspects of Aerobiz Supersonic; yeah sure my airline owns all the 5-star hotels in every city, and every golf course.

Shibawanko
Feb 13, 2013



Personally I wouldn't care for the idea of time periods and stuff, it would make it a bit too much like Age of Empires or something and less like a landscaper. I'd generally avoid the Simcity Societies/Impressions route where puzzle and strategy game mechanics are wedged into a city builder, since it tends to take away from the core. The gameplay should probably just focus on infrastructure and aesthetics.

Here's a screenshot from Edushi for inspiration:

Poil
Mar 17, 2007



Best of luck with quitting the job anselm. Just be careful not go down the path of Dwarf Fortress.

I had no idea Japanase railway laws were so much more competent than ours. If only the idiots in charge of ours could learn from them.

Vahakyla posted:

http://www.train-fever.com

This might be the game for you. I have been following train fever and it seems to be bringing a more realistic approach to Transpor Tycoon, where you start with horse carriages and horse trams, transporting goods and people all the way to electric trains.

I does not have a strong city building factor, but being more like intercity/rural Cities in Motion, with wider eras.
It reminds me a bit of Transport Giant, but more promising. Which isn't hard to be honest. Man was that game disappointing. Need to run 5 trains from one place to another? Why yes, 5 separate parallel tracks in a L shape is by far the most realistic and/or fun way to build a train network. Who needs diagonal roads or tracks anyway? And the lousy way they set up truck depots and airfields making more than about 4 parking spaces a complete waste of space and money as they wouldn't and couldn't be used. I'll stop now but I could rage for a long time. Also, gently caress you and your lack of support for games Jowood, I spit on your grave.

Poil fucked around with this message at Apr 30, 2014 around 16:06

Iunnrais
Jul 25, 2007

It's gaelic.

Shibawanko posted:

Personally I wouldn't care for the idea of time periods and stuff, it would make it a bit too much like Age of Empires or something and less like a landscaper. I'd generally avoid the Simcity Societies/Impressions route where puzzle and strategy game mechanics are wedged into a city builder, since it tends to take away from the core. The gameplay should probably just focus on infrastructure and aesthetics.

Here's a screenshot from Edushi for inspiration:


No, it'd still be a landscaper, it'd just allow for what KIND of landscaping you're doing. And allow to shift the appearance of the landscaping over time.

Communist Zombie
Nov 1, 2011


anselm_eickhoff posted:

I will probably heavily simplify them (similar to SC13, roads will be used for water, sewage and electrictiy) and I will try to make them more fun.

This is more for later once you get mechanics and everything down, but could you also make a 'utility connector' type road? To represent areas that share utilities but are much more loosely connected transportation wise. It always seemed kinda ugly and sometimes nonsensical when I had to do things like that. E.g. In a mountainous rural area its easy to string up power lines through the heights, actual useable roads not so much.

And on the gameplay side, are there any examples of utilities being implemented in a fun way? Because I think they're fine as unobtrusive growth limiters, since until you reach higher level public services power and water should be one of the main expenses for a city. So long as the player can clearly and easily see the demand and plan for it or around it like other background concerns such as taxes, it should be fine.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


Well there won't be time periods on release so not something we need to worry about.

My main concerns are that we have enough control or influence over the massing of our buildings to really create our dream cities, that the "economics" of the cities makes sense even if it's heavily abstracted, and that all the little things we do in the game have some sort of effect, even if incredibly minor. In tropico for instance I'd always go nuts with decorations and trees because I knew they made people a tiny bit more happy. While in Anno 2070 I never bothered because the decorations did nothing and took up valuable land so the felt pointless. I want to spoil my citizens, I want to make them so very happy. But I also want this to be a challenge, I want to always feel my resources are limited. Too often in city builders you very quickly go from "oh god I don't have enough money for anything" to "oh god I can't spend my money fast enough I have billions in the bank"

I want the little things to matter. Two similar buildings but one has a big back yard due to the shape of the city block? That's not wasted land, that land should make the building a tiny bit more valuable or the residents a tiny bit more happy. I'd love some sort of system that actually rated areas, similar to Simcity 3000's "aura" system. Things like wide fast roads would detract, pleasant pedestrian areas add. A big open "plaza" or "open space" no one uses could feel like a void and detract, but the same plaza surrounded by shops and filled with people would be a big plus. Places could be rated on a few basic categories rather than a single generic "land value". A lively area that sees tons of pedestrians and traffic might be desirable for retail, but residential may want somewhere a bit more quiet. Meanwhile a factory just wants cheap land and good transport.

This is where different tastes could also come in. Some people want to live away from the hustle and bustle and will get upset if private quiet housing isn't available or is too expensive. While other people tolerate or are attracted to vibrant busy areas and will get upset if the only housing options are far from the core, of if there isn't even a pleasant busy walkable core to speak of (like in many north american towns). The feedback could be quite simple, no need to examine every individual. You'd just see there was an "issue" like "12% complain quiet housing is scarce" or "26% Industrial development slow due to poor freight transport infastructure" or "5% want more urban housing".

So you may have an idea to build a pedestrian focused city based on density and transit, but some people are going to complain that their neighbourhood feels too noisy or busy, or driving is unpleasant, or they want a house not an apartment. Your city is a work of art with high land values but industry isn't willing to pay for the pleasure and your anti-car infastructure plan has made freight movement very difficult due to all the traffic-calming and narrow roads.

See, now as the player you have an interesting choices. Do you sacrifice your urban planning 'ethics' and build a big nasty highway and open up some cheap land on the fringes of your city to create cheap land with good road access to attract industry, or do you try to offset industry's complaints by lowering industry taxes or building an expensive freight rail system to maintain your city's small footprint? Do you just ignore people's cries for personal homes and quiet private neighbourhoods because you think everyone should live in dense urban harmony, or do you build at least a few neighbourhoods of low-density housing? And even then, do you make the suburb a car-centric with a maze of "private and quiet" dead end roads, or do you base your new suburb around transit that feeds into your nearly car-free downtown? Does the density of your new suburb even support transit, or are you essentially subsiding the suburbs with the taxes of the core in the name of reducing car use?

There's so many choices, potentially hard choices, a mayor could make in a good city building game.

Iunnrais
Jul 25, 2007

It's gaelic.

The main entertainment... okay, lets be frank, the ONLY real entertainment I got from water systems in SC4 was isolating industrial area networks either with water treatment plants or simply having dedicated pumps that don't spread the industrial sludge throughout the city. I do think that this isolation planning is enjoyable. I wonder if there's a way to keep that but not have to drag out plumbing for everywhere else?

Having it be a growth limiter along with Power is also fine, and could be added to the landscaping. Simcity has never offered a reservoir, for instance, and reservoirs can also double as Parks if you take care of them properly.

As for garbage... I don't think there's really ANY enjoyment to be found here. Having to increasingly add landfills over time just... ugh. And waste burning plants aren't much better. I could do without garbage management quite frankly.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


These are my thoughts on utilities:
Power
It's never been done right or in an interesting let alone realistic way. It's rare for cities them selves to have their own power plants, it usually comes off a huge regional grid. Oddly enough cities XL modeled this fairly well, you never had to build your own power plants but by doing so you lowered the cost of electricity. When you start a new city I think it would be fine for your power to just automatically come from "the region", at a cost. You'd build your own power plant once that became a good investment due to the cost or availability of power from off the map became an issue. Power plants are huge investments, not some minor little building you plop down then plop down a few more as you need them. Generally the bigger the plant the more efficient it is, but obviously the more expensive upfront it is. Some power plants are a lot more scalable than others as well. I'd love a realistic selection of power generating options as well as realistic sizes/costs for the buildings them selves. Also a big thing with coal power is you NEED infrastructure to ship the coal. Coal plants generally have their own dedicated rail lines that constantly work to feed the plants as they eat ridiculous amounts of coal, you can't have a coal plant without a railway, the building should simply not function until there are tracks leading from a certain point on the building to the edge of the map for the coal trains to come, or be built on the water with a special coal dock. Oil and gas need pipelines and or huge storage and shipping facilities. Hydro needs the right terrain and river conditions, rare but extremely good when available. Nuclear needs an absence of german politicians and "environmentalists" near it. Wind and solar need certain weather conditions and fluctuate widely, wasting most of their output at certain times and not producing any or enough at others (so good for an energy "top up" but useless for base load)

Energy infrastructure is also closely related to industry. Maybe your "green" city is pleasant to live in and the citizens deal with the expensive electricity prices by using less due to all your great energy-efficiency programs, but industry needs cheap power and a lot of it. Maybe that massive coal plant you built is providing dirt cheap power for your massive industrial area, but now everyone's dying young from respiratory problems and your town is seen as a dirty nasty industrial hellhole no one chooses to live in. So once again, choices.

Water
Water is also interesting and has never been handled well. Cities don't just build fields of magic pumps and continue to add more as demand increases. Much like power, water projects are generally huge projects. It can really vary depending on the terrain, but most cities have huge reservoirs somewhere clean and safe. Sometimes these are very very far away from the city and would be well off the map. Early on a city could get away without public water. People just have to pay the expense of building their own pumps and wells and dealing with the upkeep and nasty taste of well water, but ground water runs out and too many people living like this can be very unsustainable and a health risk. So you want to add proper public water to your city? Don't make it "place a pump". We could create a small reservoir in a "watershed" area that would naturally refill at a certain rate each season. We could pump from a river into a reservoir, or just use a lake as a natural reservoir? But that water needs to be cleaned and treated, so we'd need a plant next to it as well. Any pollution anywhere near a watershed or source of water would drastically reduce the quality of that water. Now we actually have choices to make, not just "build a new pump every time the game says so". Do we set aside a huge area of land in those hills around that lake to act as a clean protected watershed or do we pump and treat water from the river? Do we plan far ahead and build massive capacity now more efficiently, or do we slowly expand our system at less cost now but greater in the future?

Trash
Garbage is once again a potentially interesting problem and I found it at least presented some choices, unlike water and power in previous simcitys. Unlike water it isn't just a matter of "build more pumps as needed". A garbage dump was a nasty thing no one wanted to live near, and it was something that once created would take a very long time to go away so you had to plan ahead. So here at least there was choice as the player, something to think about. Garbage is a nasty problem every city struggles to deal with, just give us realistic options of dealing with the trash, reducing generated trash, and the ability to ship it all off, at a price.


Off-map Projects
Simcity 2013 sort of had a good idea with "regional projects" or projects that exist outside of the main city map. One such project could be a huge aqueduct to tap into far away water resources, not unlike New York's massive new water system they've beeen building for the last 50 years or what ever. There could be all sorts of "off map projects" that could include all sorts of things that a city needs but are too large, too far away, or just too uninteresting to include in the main map (like a mega garbage dump).

This is a system a lot of resources and industries could also be handled with. Maybe you've developed a massive logging operation "just off the map" and need to build a road to it and now it's full of logging trucks feeding the mill in your town. Maybe there's a big coal mine. Maybe there's a ski resort. Each map could have on-map resources, but also a selection of "nodes" or "slots" for off-map developments. Each node could have a few potential projects on it. Maybe there's a "field" node that you could build either farming on or a regional mega-airport or a super-dump. Maybe there's a mountain node where you could build a ski resort or a logging operation or some sort of mine. Maybe there's a "lake" node where you could build a vacation cottage village for your people, or convert it into a massive new reservoir. Each developed node would require a transport connection and would generate traffic as people drove out to their weekend cottages, or tourists went from your train station to the ski resort. Nodes could be upgradable too. Maybe your city has a very large coal mine in a node and it wants a direct railway link to your city and its coal plants. Maybe the new gas-fields need a pipeline. Maybe the expanded ski resort wants a tourist train. Could allow for a lot of cool stuff and allow the player some control over its "neighbours". Once again, we have choices, we have pros and cons. Do you use that huge lake as a reservoir or a resort? Do you log that forest or turn it into a campground and nature reserve? Do you build a dump on the map or pay more to build one in one of your off-map nodes? You have a potential coal node off the map, do you develop it to bring the region employment and then use the local coal supply for cheap coal power, or do you simply export the coal and use a cleaner more expensive source?

tl;dr I am mad about cities

Baronjutter fucked around with this message at Apr 30, 2014 around 18:44

Mayor Defacto
Apr 21, 2010



Baronjutter posted:

These are my thoughts...

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib


One thing you didn't touch on is the electric infrastructure related to connecting the grid itself to the consumers, i.e. the transformer substations etc. Those are definitely located inside city bounds and reasonably sized. Although I'm not sure if it would actually be fun to have to manage this.

Perhaps it can be simplified to some extent:
You connect high-voltage lines to the national grid (edge of map) and route those to local substations. Local substations provide consumer-level power distribution, one substation can manage a particular maximum local load, but their efficiency also diminishes over distance. The result is that you will need an appropriate distribution of electrical substations across the city; of course these also provide jobs. Larger buildings/skyscrapers and heavy industry may provide their own power services and not actually need substation coverage. Buildings with insufficient substation coverage or very distant to one would receive lower power quality, risk brownouts, and have higher risk of electrical fires.

City-scale power production could still be in (mainly wind power) and would be required to connect directly to the national grid and effectively just lower your cost of electricity and placate environmentally-conscious citizens.

anselm_eickhoff
Mar 1, 2014


Tatrakrad posted:

Anselm pulls off mask, revealed to be Ocean Quigley, smothering our hopes and dreams in the crib

I keep hearing these conspirancy theories oO


Shibawanko posted:

Personally I wouldn't care for the idea of time periods and stuff, it would make it a bit too much like Age of Empires or something and less like a landscaper. I'd generally avoid the Simcity Societies/Impressions route where puzzle and strategy game mechanics are wedged into a city builder, since it tends to take away from the core. The gameplay should probably just focus on infrastructure and aesthetics.

Here's a screenshot from Edushi for inspiration:


That is a nice style!

Communist Zombie posted:

This is more for later once you get mechanics and everything down, but could you also make a 'utility connector' type road? To represent areas that share utilities but are much more loosely connected transportation wise. It always seemed kinda ugly and sometimes nonsensical when I had to do things like that. E.g. In a mountainous rural area its easy to string up power lines through the heights, actual useable roads not so much.

And on the gameplay side, are there any examples of utilities being implemented in a fun way? Because I think they're fine as unobtrusive growth limiters, since until you reach higher level public services power and water should be one of the main expenses for a city. So long as the player can clearly and easily see the demand and plan for it or around it like other background concerns such as taxes, it should be fine.

Yes, there will be non-road connectors.
I will think some more on how to make it fun, I think if it captures that "I took care of everything, the whole city is neat and covered"-feeling, it's good.


Baronjutter posted:

These are my thoughts on utilities:
Power
It's never been done right or in an interesting let alone realistic way. It's rare for cities them selves to have their own power plants, it usually comes off a huge regional grid. Oddly enough cities XL modeled this fairly well, you never had to build your own power plants but by doing so you lowered the cost of electricity. When you start a new city I think it would be fine for your power to just automatically come from "the region", at a cost. You'd build your own power plant once that became a good investment due to the cost or availability of power from off the map became an issue. Power plants are huge investments, not some minor little building you plop down then plop down a few more as you need them. Generally the bigger the plant the more efficient it is, but obviously the more expensive upfront it is.

That is a nice way to model powerplants, I will steal it.

Baronjutter posted:

Some power plants are a lot more scalable than others as well. I'd love a realistic selection of power generating options as well as realistic sizes/costs for the buildings them selves. Also a big thing with coal power is you NEED infrastructure to ship the coal. Coal plants generally have their own dedicated rail lines that constantly work to feed the plants as they eat ridiculous amounts of coal, you can't have a coal plant without a railway, the building should simply not function until there are tracks leading from a certain point on the building to the edge of the map for the coal trains to come, or be built on the water with a special coal dock. Oil and gas need pipelines and or huge storage and shipping facilities. Hydro needs the right terrain and river conditions, rare but extremely good when available. Wind and solar need certain weather conditions and fluctuate widely, wasting most of their output at certain times and not producing any or enough at others (so good for an energy "top up" but useless for base load)

Yes, this also makes the choice much more interesting than "balance price and pollution"

Baronjutter posted:

Nuclear needs an absence of german politicians and "environmentalists" near it.



Baronjutter posted:

Energy infrastructure is also closely related to industry. Maybe your "green" city is pleasant to live in and the citizens deal with the expensive electricity prices by using less due to all your great energy-efficiency programs, but industry needs cheap power and a lot of it. Maybe that massive coal plant you built is providing dirt cheap power for your massive industrial area, but now everyone's dying young from respiratory problems and your town is seen as a dirty nasty industrial hellhole no one chooses to live in. So once again, choices.

Speaks for itself.

Baronjutter posted:

Water
Water is also interesting and has never been handled well. Cities don't just build fields of magic pumps and continue to add more as demand increases. Much like power, water projects are generally huge projects. It can really vary depending on the terrain, but most cities have huge reservoirs somewhere clean and safe. Sometimes these are very very far away from the city and would be well off the map. Early on a city could get away without public water. People just have to pay the expense of building their own pumps and wells and dealing with the upkeep and nasty taste of well water, but ground water runs out and too many people living like this can be very unsustainable and a health risk. So you want to add proper public water to your city? Don't make it "place a pump". We could create a small reservoir in a "watershed" area that would naturally refill at a certain rate each season. We could pump from a river into a reservoir, or just use a lake as a natural reservoir? But that water needs to be cleaned and treated, so we'd need a plant next to it as well. Any pollution anywhere near a watershed or source of water would drastically reduce the quality of that water. Now we actually have choices to make, not just "build a new pump every time the game says so". Do we set aside a huge area of land in those hills around that lake to act as a clean protected watershed or do we pump and treat water from the river? Do we plan far ahead and build massive capacity now more efficiently, or do we slowly expand our system at less cost now but greater in the future?

I have an actual watertable/surface water simulation in mind that should support your ideas.

Baronjutter posted:

Trash
Garbage is once again a potentially interesting problem and I found it at least presented some choices, unlike water and power in previous simcitys. Unlike water it isn't just a matter of "build more pumps as needed". A garbage dump was a nasty thing no one wanted to live near, and it was something that once created would take a very long time to go away so you had to plan ahead. So here at least there was choice as the player, something to think about. Garbage is a nasty problem every city struggles to deal with, just give us realistic options of dealing with the trash, reducing generated trash, and the ability to ship it all off, at a price.

Aye.

Baronjutter posted:

Off-map Projects
Simcity 2013 sort of had a good idea with "regional projects" or projects that exist outside of the main city map. One such project could be a huge aqueduct to tap into far away water resources, not unlike New York's massive new water system they've beeen building for the last 50 years or what ever. There could be all sorts of "off map projects" that could include all sorts of things that a city needs but are too large, too far away, or just too uninteresting to include in the main map (like a mega garbage dump).

This is a system a lot of resources and industries could also be handled with. Maybe you've developed a massive logging operation "just off the map" and need to build a road to it and now it's full of logging trucks feeding the mill in your town. Maybe there's a big coal mine. Maybe there's a ski resort. Each map could have on-map resources, but also a selection of "nodes" or "slots" for off-map developments. Each node could have a few potential projects on it. Maybe there's a "field" node that you could build either farming on or a regional mega-airport or a super-dump. Maybe there's a mountain node where you could build a ski resort or a logging operation or some sort of mine. Maybe there's a "lake" node where you could build a vacation cottage village for your people, or convert it into a massive new reservoir. Each developed node would require a transport connection and would generate traffic as people drove out to their weekend cottages, or tourists went from your train station to the ski resort. Nodes could be upgradable too. Maybe your city has a very large coal mine in a node and it wants a direct railway link to your city and its coal plants. Maybe the new gas-fields need a pipeline. Maybe the expanded ski resort wants a tourist train. Could allow for a lot of cool stuff and allow the player some control over its "neighbours". Once again, we have choices, we have pros and cons. Do you use that huge lake as a reservoir or a resort? Do you log that forest or turn it into a campground and nature reserve? Do you build a dump on the map or pay more to build one in one of your off-map nodes? You have a potential coal node off the map, do you develop it to bring the region employment and then use the local coal supply for cheap coal power, or do you simply export the coal and use a cleaner more expensive source?

Good idea, and the good thing is that these off-map projects could initially just be abstract (i.e. not represented visually) to see how they influence gameplay.
This is actually just an extension of the progression of neighbor-resources and demands that allows for more player interaction, which is of course always good.

Baronjutter posted:

tl;dr I am mad about cities

Thanks for your input! I really enjoy thinking about it!


nielsm posted:

One thing you didn't touch on is the electric infrastructure related to connecting the grid itself to the consumers, i.e. the transformer substations etc. Those are definitely located inside city bounds and reasonably sized. Although I'm not sure if it would actually be fun to have to manage this.

Perhaps it can be simplified to some extent:
You connect high-voltage lines to the national grid (edge of map) and route those to local substations. Local substations provide consumer-level power distribution, one substation can manage a particular maximum local load, but their efficiency also diminishes over distance. The result is that you will need an appropriate distribution of electrical substations across the city; of course these also provide jobs. Larger buildings/skyscrapers and heavy industry may provide their own power services and not actually need substation coverage. Buildings with insufficient substation coverage or very distant to one would receive lower power quality, risk brownouts, and have higher risk of electrical fires.

City-scale power production could still be in (mainly wind power) and would be required to connect directly to the national grid and effectively just lower your cost of electricity and placate environmentally-conscious citizens.

I don't think it's fun to actually have to manage voltage conversion and the like.
As everything, though, a mod could be made for it.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


Yeah we could have a detailed and realistic power system with high voltage lines coming into the city and connecting transformer stations that then distribute power to neighbourhoods but it's getting into "sim power company" territory and the question is: does it provide a choice. If there's just 1 option, "build needed sub stations" and no choices or trade offs it is of questionable value to the game. We could also have realistic water systems. Water is interesting, pumps and pressure have to be carefully managed. Could have a whole system where you have mains, have to manage pressure, deal with hills. Could even deal with storm drain systems, flooding, and all the cool green options that go along with it. But once again it's one of those situations where there isn't much choice. The water engineer will handle it and do it the best way. It can be abstracted because it's assumed you have a engineering team that went to school and knows how to build a electrical or water infrastructure. The only choices could be handled more like ordinances and once again abstracted. Pay for a program of using storm water and other "gray water" to water city parks and gardens. Pay to bury electrical utilities for a single large upgrade cost but lower ongoing costs and a tiny boost to the beauty of your streets and a slightly higher cost for future streets (to represent the new buried lines). Boil the whole system down to what choices the player could have and then keep it as simple and abstracted as possible.

Now one might say "well why model anything, why not just say the traffic engineer makes all the right roads?". Well because when it comes to traffic we are dealing with humans and there's no perfect answer. There are so many schools of thought, so many choices when it comes to transport that it makes for interesting gameplay. Do you solve the traffic jam by trying to reduce car use and get more people walking or cycling, or do you solve the problem with more roads? Do you expand the highway to keep pace with your city's freight truck needs, or do you invest in a less flexible but more efficient freight rail system?

Mecca-Benghazi
Mar 31, 2012



Hey Baronjutter, I just want to say your posts in this thread are really cool and interesting. Are you an urban planner or something like that?

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


Nah, just have an embarrassing long winded passion for urban planning and simcity. I always wanted to be an urban planner, but I'm content to just read books and blogs every day. I know some planners and gently caress it's a stressful and thankless job. There are no god mayors/planners, it's an extremely political job. Also very very hard to break into.

I'm not a big fan of reddit but their /urbanplanning section is almost ok and can be a fairly good source of news and info on the subject. Also did you know that letting developers build skyscrapers everywhere, low taxes, and self-driving cars will solve everything?

Baronjutter fucked around with this message at Apr 30, 2014 around 22:38

Iunnrais
Jul 25, 2007

It's gaelic.

Speaking of that... I wonder if it might be possible to still have a game and yet not be quite so libertarian. Make people actually willing to put up with high taxes in order to have a nice place to live, for example. Or make it so that unless there's upwards mobility, rich people won't just magically appear.

Not sure liberal ideas would necessarily make a better game. Just musing outloud.

ToastyPotato
Jun 23, 2005

CONVICTED OF DISPLAYING HIS PEANUTS IN PUBLIC

Iunnrais posted:

Speaking of that... I wonder if it might be possible to still have a game and yet not be quite so libertarian. Make people actually willing to put up with high taxes in order to have a nice place to live, for example. Or make it so that unless there's upwards mobility, rich people won't just magically appear.

Not sure liberal ideas would necessarily make a better game. Just musing outloud.

I agree with you. I never liked how ridged the tax system in SimCity games has always felt. I think tax tolerance should be based on the quality of the city as a whole. People aren't going to tolerate high taxes if the city doesn't offer much for it. Wealthy people will complain, but if your city is awesome and safe, they will stick around despite their grumblings.

My wishlist feature is a good crime simulation, complete with crime maps. Different kinds of crimes would be symptoms of different kinds of problems, and how you choose to combat crime would ultimately shape how people feel about your city.

ToastyPotato fucked around with this message at May 1, 2014 around 03:26

zxqv8
Oct 21, 2010

Did somebody call about a Ravager problem?


I remember posting it in the SC13 thread after my childhood had been successfully despoiled by the awfulness of that game, but I had a nice vision of what their myriad (broken) promises about the game being resource based would entail. Essentially, I was hoping that the maps would have randomly generated features and resource distributions (visible via toggled data view layers), which would 1. Provide said resource once extraction mechanics are introduced, and 2. Determine the ability to terraform an area, as well as the cost of said terraforming.

I would think this would cause a player to make decisions about their regions in a way similar to how decisions regarding development are made in real life; that is, based on what the geomorphology of an area demands and what your technology allows you to get away with. There's obviously a danger of how deep the rabbit hole can go on this, but I always felt this would lend a large amount of depth to the game, and provide a much more dynamic sandbox to play in.

As to whether it is a thing you can do, well, I have no idea what blood magicks you code-wizards utilize to construct your time-stealing mechanisms.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

anselm_eickhoff posted:

I don't think it's fun to actually have to manage voltage conversion and the like.
As everything, though, a mod could be made for it.

The model I'm proposing isn't really any different from the way SimCity handles e.g. police coverage: You need to place police stations (power transformers) to cover the city well enough without incurring too many costs, otherwise you risk excessive crime (abandonment and fires) which you don't want. It gets rid of the masses of (oddly small) power plants from the city while still giving some necessary infrastructure to build to maintain electric power.

BrassRoots
Jan 9, 2012

You can play a shoestring if you're sincere - John Coltrane

I'm not sure you guys are getting the use of utilities in SC4. Yes there can be a game aspect to it if you want but they are mostly used to generate different looks in a city. For example, if you want ghetto style areas you give them no utilities. This can lead to trailer parks etc at lower densities but then projects at higher densities. To move through middle class to upper class tiers and different styles of building you need to provide service so and parks etc.

This also works with the industrial zoning as proving parklands and other niceties promotes high tech industrial instead of dirty industrial.

Anyway, just my 2cents on how I play simcity.

HermsgervÝrden
Apr 23, 2004
Møøse Trainer

BrassRoots posted:

I'm not sure you guys are getting the use of utilities in SC4. Yes there can be a game aspect to it if you want but they are mostly used to generate different looks in a city. For example, if you want ghetto style areas you give them no utilities. This can lead to trailer parks etc at lower densities but then projects at higher densities. To move through middle class to upper class tiers and different styles of building you need to provide service so and parks etc.

This also works with the industrial zoning as proving parklands and other niceties promotes high tech industrial instead of dirty industrial.

Anyway, just my 2cents on how I play simcity.

I think there are better ways to achieve a 'wrong side of the tracks' experience than no plumbing and no power. Like inducing high unemployment, for example. Poor policing, Perhaps if you were able to target individual roads for different levels of maintenance.
Anselm, have you considered simulating different levels of upkeep on roads? A global slider that is used to control cost is fine, but the opportunity for innovation is there. Allocate more funding to problem intersections and they magically provide higher level of service, for example.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


In a huge city do we really want to be micro-managing funding to individual roads or intersections?

Poil
Mar 17, 2007



Baronjutter posted:

In a huge city do we really want to be micro-managing funding to individual roads or intersections?
Possibly about as much as we want to micro-manage funding to individual clinics and schools. Some people would enjoy it. Maybe it'd be easier to just have heavily trafficked roads require a bit more maintenance instead.

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Gamerofthegame
Oct 27, 2010

Could at least flip one or two, maybe.


Baronjutter posted:

In a huge city do we really want to be micro-managing funding to individual roads or intersections?

Let's be fair here, though - what else are you going to do? After you paint the map in your zoning colors things start to fall into place.

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