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JeremoudCorbynejad
Jul 6, 2007



What the hell.

I step out of the Simcity 2013 thread for a mere six months and when I come back there's all this??

I am vomiting excitement.

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JeremoudCorbynejad
Jul 6, 2007



One would be forgiven for thinking that Simcity 2013 might just have kicked off a golden age of city simulators. God forbid.

JeremoudCorbynejad
Jul 6, 2007



I haddock when this happens.

(did I do it right?)

JeremoudCorbynejad
Jul 6, 2007



That is classic Angry About Cities.

I like the bit near the end where he bemoans unrealistic simulations as teaching people wrong things about how the real world works and therefore leads them to interact with the world incorrectly. Maybe I've been parking wrong my whole life!

JeremoudCorbynejad
Jul 6, 2007



Hmmm I'm not persuaded.

I've two big concerns about modelling parking: opportunity cost (in terms of processing power and developing time) and gameplay (or should I say, my gameplay )

First, this:

Baronjutter posted:

When a building is built it looks at the area, sending out feelers to its potential customers...

...it does a quick count on nearby potential employees, reaching out looking for residents until it's found the employees it needs....

...The building could then report this concern as "Commute problems due to lack of parking". The same for retail, if a retail centre needs X customers a day to make a profit it looks at its neighbourhood for those potential customers, assumes modes of travel, and provides more or less the right amount of parking....

...An employee would first attempt to path to their workplace and if no parking was available there it would check if any parking was available at nearby parking lots and if there is it would path to work using the parking lot as its destination then walk to work from there....

Sounds like an awful lot of calculations for the game to be doing and an awful lot of code to write for the game. That of course isn't a problem in itself because it might give the player interesting choices and lead to interesting outcomes, but in my mind the choices and outcomes just aren't interesting enough to justify the time invested. Baronjutter claims parking has the biggest effect on the form of your city and I've no doubt that's true, but it seems from his post that there isn't much variety in the forms - it's just "amount of surface parking" ranging from none to let's say 50%.

The player choices are interesting of course - there is so much that can be done (not just implementing mass transit and building roads, but implementing and building them well) - but the outcome is pretty dull for the amount of processing involved. Obviously it's not the only outcome - congestion is another - but congestion won't take much more code because it's fully emergent and in fact we've already seen it in Anselm's lane-merging demo. But implementing the above will take a hell of a lot more calculations on top of just telling cars to drive directly from house to office to shop, where each building has a mysterious yet convenient infinite parking garage.

My concern is that the processing involved will either limit the size potential of the cities, or make it less viable to better simulate other more interesting parts of the game, like the economy, job market, housing market etc. Also, the time taken to implement it will take development time away from those parts, though I can't speak for Anselm as to whether that's actually an issue.

If I were going to implement a parking mechanic, then I'd abstract it heavily. I normally don't like abstractions because I'm one of those agent-obsessed emergent gameplay spergs, but to entertain the idea here's what I would do:

I'd have a desirability heatmap and treat a parking lot as a zone in itself (or sub-zone of the commercial lot). The heatmap would be aimed at getting parking lots to spring up in appropriate places - there would be hotspots in places with lots of (occupied) homes, (visited) shops and (filled) jobs, leading to demand for parking. Anything that relieves pressure on parking - such as bus stops, rail stations, and parking lots themselves (including street parking), would have a negative effect on the heatmap. In an ideal steady-state city, the heatmap would flatten to zero as parking lots appear where they're needed and take the pressure off (assuming there's available zoning). In places where land value is high, the parking lot developer AI would build up instead of out, giving multi-storeys in built-up districts. The availability of parking would then feed back into the desirability heatmaps for other zones - offices will happily build downtown so long as the parking heatmap isn't shouting "oh my god no don't bring a car here".

The financial success of any car park can be determined from the heat map. If demand for parking plummets (after say, building a state-owned car park next door or running a light railway downtown), the carpark either goes out of business and gets abandoned or gets bought out by a developer wanting to do something more useful with the land.

Pathing need not even be touched. Commuters could just move from house to office to shop as before, like the car parks didn't even exist. This would not be an appropriate abstraction if there was a park-and-ride mechanic, but in absence of that it seems suitable to me. Well, it would be suitable if I didn't dislike abstraction so much. I'm with Dicky B - I'd enjoy watching a citizen all the way to parking his car.



My other concern is gameplay/aesthetic but that's entirely subjective. I simply wouldn't want to be punished with sprawling asphalt for failing to implement mass transit. It looks ugly. I'd rather have horrible congestion, because then at least my city continues to look pretty even if it has underlying issues. I guess it depends where you fall of the "simulator or game" spectrum.

JeremoudCorbynejad
Jul 6, 2007



Baronjutter posted:

The system really isn't complex...

OK I'm persuaded Your previous post made it sound like a lot of calculations but this sounds much more doable. If buildings have dedicated parking lots then it ought to be straight forward, but it's when parking lots get shared that I think it can start to get ugly in the processing department (hence my idea of using a heatmap).

JeremoudCorbynejad
Jul 6, 2007



Exciting times. I hope you're working on getting legal issues sorted

JeremoudCorbynejad
Jul 6, 2007



MikeJF posted:

Speaking of which - and speaking of parking - does Citybound simulate travel to retail for non-job reasons? Shopping and such? Will it accurate have my suburb's local shop street as Traffic Hell?

It does, yeah - they visit shops to buy goods and they can even do so on the way home from work: http://blog.cityboundsim.com/the-ro...going-shopping/

JeremoudCorbynejad
Jul 6, 2007



I'm all for an agent-driven modern city simulator and am fully aware it'll probably mean compromising on a lot of other things, but dammit I want to see it attempted and I'm not counting Simcity 5 among the attempts because that game's problems go far beyond the mere use of agents

For me, I like to stop building or managing my city and instead just peruse it. I would love to be able to follow a citizen around as he commutes, shops, moves house and switches jobs, good to school, starts a family, falls ill, retires, etc etc. But I would be dissatisfied if the engine just made it up on the fly as soon as I looked up close, with everyone around him still abstracted (I think Simcity 4 did this with imported Sims). I want an engine where agents persist and really drive the patterns in the simulation.

JeremoudCorbynejad
Jul 6, 2007



Poil posted:

I would have to be impossible to remove lanes/roads that were undergoing construction or players would just bulldoze and rebuild to avoid dealing with them.

Not if building roads in the first place required construction crews (e: didn't read above post).

I quite like Prison Architect's idea of everything having to be built by workers who take the raw materials to the construction point and then spend time putting it in place. Such a breath of fresh air compared to games of endless ploppables.

Poil posted:

Also if road maintenance ends up on a slider, you can't cut back on funding to avoid having construction work messing up traffic without regretting it.

JeremoudCorbynejad
Jul 6, 2007



anselm_eickhoff posted:

Wow! So much discussion, nice! I hope to respond to all of it soon!

Here is the new dev diary:

Developer Diary #4: Traffic Anarchy


I'm surprised you're putting so much effort into collision detection that would be mostly irrelevant if you just put traffic lights on every intersection. That's some dedication to realism right there

At first I was like "holy poo poo, surely no need!" but on reflection I think it would really highlight the choice a player has to make between leaving an intersection to take care of itself and installing traffic lights. If cars just flowed through each other there wouldn't be a choice to make. I can't wait for you to implement traffic lights and see how it compares to naked intersections when traffic reaches a certain density


e: I hope you intend to release a traffic management mini-game to tide us over until you polish off this magnum opus.

JeremoudCorbynejad
Jul 6, 2007



Dicky B posted:

In Hemel Hempstead we have a sextuple magic roundabout





and nothing else of interest

Hemel Hempstead blew up once, that was pretty interesting

JeremoudCorbynejad
Jul 6, 2007



Baronjutter posted:

Oh yeah, I get what you mean. But it's a bit like saying which major organ in the body is most important. If any of them don't work, you're dead.

The body is just a gene replicator. Everything else is just tied into that. Next!

JeremoudCorbynejad
Jul 6, 2007



I reckon that once you're finished with your road system, you could easily release it as a traffic management mini game and rake in a fair bit of cash to fund the rest of the project (i say this as someone with no business acumen and who just wants to play with your pretty roads as soon as possible)

nielsm posted:

One thing I also sort of want, but I'm sure is much more controversial, is having non-instant construction. Rather than the planned stuff appearing instantly, just modifying existing roads etc and working right away, instead it has a construction period. During the construction period the cost is gradually drawn, so it's not just one large one-time expense. Additionally, changes to old infrastructure and buildings need to be carried out so it might actually disrupt old roads.

Oh me too. But not just for the realism - I like the idea of the challenge of keeping everything running while redesigning your road network. Imagine city skylines if you couldn't pause the game I actually like to do this for fun, and build in bypasses to stop everything collapsing

JeremoudCorbynejad
Jul 6, 2007



I think my favorite thing about Prison Architect is that nothing is built instantly. Everything requires a worker to travel to the site of installation, and then time to install it. That kind of realism is something I'd like to see in a city simulator. Ploppables are a bizarre concept really, just a hold over from the simcities of the past.

JeremoudCorbynejad
Jul 6, 2007



I don't disagree with your rant either. I think everyone wants a certain level of realism in their simulation games and people are going to draw the line at different places. For instance I wouldn't want to do away with the god-mayor role and force the player to contend with competing elements of leadership, like a city council blocking your crap, or a state governor banning your poo poo. That would go too far for me. But I do draw the line pretty far in, provably more so than most players.


E: Lol "provably". I meant probably!

JeremoudCorbynejad
Jul 6, 2007





Poizen Jam posted:

I'll admit, I thought my enthusiasm for this project would die down as I scratched my city sim itch with Cities: Skylines, but these development videos continue to impress me.

I thought the same, but this latest video has me more excited about Citybound than any of the previous ones. I think it's because Skylines does traffic and roads relatively well (certainly in a very pretty way), so the roads in Citybound don't hold as much excitement for me as they used to. But when citybound touches on anything else, it looks amazing. That zone control is absolutely superb. I look forward to videos about the economy.


Anselm: maybe it's just me, but the bright pastel green background makes it really difficult to see anything in your videos, especially planned roads. Any chance of darkening it?

crabrock posted:

It'd be really loving cool if you could alter the setback space after buildings were already in without loving up the buildings. One that that always SUPER annoyed me in city sims was that changing anything meant losing all your old buildings. There was no sense of permanence/history.

Like it'd be sweet if you could add a lane to the road, add parking, add a park, sidewalks, etc. Move the road in and put a park in the middle of the lanes, or a railway in the middle, all that kind of stuff. As long as it wasn't so wide that it hit the building, the buildings would stay and "adjust" to the new setback space. I would love you forever.

I imagine that's largely the point of the setback, for widening roads, but odd that Anselm didn't mention it.

JeremoudCorbynejad
Jul 6, 2007



Baronjutter posted:

I hope in citybound we can make hellscapes like this



Hellscape? Please report to your local Ministry of Internal Affairs office, citizen.

JeremoudCorbynejad
Jul 6, 2007



KillHour posted:

The literal definition of a single issue voter.

Quick Anselm, poo poo out a game that models parking and nothing else. You've got a guaranteed sale!

JeremoudCorbynejad
Jul 6, 2007



Anselm, any chance you can wrap up what you have at the moment into a little plaything so we can paint roads and zones (and spawn cars)? Or would that itself be a ton of work and not worth it?

JeremoudCorbynejad
Jul 6, 2007



Baronjutter posted:

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.

Finally! There needs to be one of these.

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.

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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.

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