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Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


Is the current building/lot system more or less a very rough placeholder? I thought we were going to get more flexible procedural buildings that conformed to the roads/lots better. Right now I see the exact same problem Cities XL and Simcity 2013 had: ugly wasted strips of land due to rectangles trying to fill non-rectangular spaces. How can we make a dense european city if we can't have street-walls of buildings gracefully following the curves and angles of roads?

Also the way you have houses generating is a bit odd. Houses generally have bigger back yards than front lawns. Generally there is a minimum front setback and then the rest is maximized back yard.

Obviously these are serious nit-picks at this stage, but I need to be comforted and soothed that you have plans or intentions to improve all this in the future.

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Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


Suspect Bucket posted:

Well, which is it that you want? Yards or eurotowns?

Both?? Density in the core, yards in the suburbs. Like in a city.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


Thank you for the answers. Any time I have any anxiety over the direction of the game you swoop in and sooth.

I'd love to deal with citizen groups and poo poo, they're a huge if not primary force for why cities are how they are. A city designed and run by a god-mayor would look nothing like the cities of the real world. But a lot of people don't find that fun and want to design their perfect dream city. I think some sort of balance could be done though. You're still a god mayor but not listening to your citizen's desires could reduce your "Happiness" or attractiveness of the city.

Maybe something almost like the awful "classes" in City Life, or at least the idea of different types of people that you can attract to your city. Have your classic suburbanite that doesn't give a poo poo about good libraries or museums or transit, they just want a big house with a big yard for cheap, infrastructure to drive everywhere, and cheap big-box retail, becomes unhappy if they can't find a cheap detached house to live in. Have your typical urban dweller who doesn't care so much about having a yard or detached house, but really wants amenities and diversity within walking/transit distance, becomes unhappy if they have to live in a "culture desert" without transit. And so on filling out all the demographic stereotypes. Cities would be rated by attractiveness to these demographics which would effect the types of people that move to your city.

Or just really any system that modeled that different people have different tastes and needs, and the design and "culture" of your city can over time influence the balance of those tastes. If I make a totally sprawling city with nothing but big-box stores and suburbs a lot of people are going to be fine with that and happy to have a big cheap house and a low cost of living, but creatives and a lot of young people are going to find the place repulsive. If I try to make some car-free smugtopia obviously a lot of people are going to love it, but there will always be a segment that doesn't give a poo poo about the 20 world class restaurants and fair-trade organic sock market and just want a quiet house with a garden and a garage for their minivan.

Also I assume resources/food and so on won't just be as easy as zoning more land for it, it will have to be the right land. Most cities don't get a majority of their food from local farms, and it's incredibly rare for industries in a city to have any raw materials in the same region let alone same city. I assume maps will have fertile terrain and resource deposits and such? And it will be entirely possible to just not farm or mine at all in a city and simply import?

Baronjutter fucked around with this message at Apr 25, 2014 around 20:50

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


Some of the tile based decoration systems developed for 4 were absolute works of art but I'm not sure a system like that could really translate over to a 3d environment like this. But I would love a variety of texture brushes and trees and such to really go nuts painting the landscape. Either for free at creation or for a cost later. But we're talking about a game that might not even get textures for its buildings, a detailed landscape decorating system might not be in the cards.

But speaking of buildings, Anselm have you ever played around wit "City Engine" ? It proves you can do fairly nice looking procedural buildings that really conform to the landscape and roads. And their system for the user to add new sets and rules is actually fairly accessible too. Something like this down the line would be rad, along with how easy it would be for modders to add their own buildings or building/texture rule sets.



Obviously this is an extremely expensive professional tool created by a large team, but it shows what is absolutely possible with procedural systems.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFRqSJFp-I0
The euro-blocks and building editing in this video make me pee a little.

Baronjutter fucked around with this message at Apr 25, 2014 around 21:38

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


woah is that like an a-train re-make? I never really got fully into the whole transport tycoon series but I loved a-train. Although man some really questionable building choices there. Yes, this neighbourhood needs 100 gray windowless towers with a giant P at the top.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


Shibawanko posted:

It's an open source a-train game, but it's unfinished and I think you can only kind of paint landscapes and do limited transport stuff.

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.

Baronjutter fucked around with this message at Apr 27, 2014 around 16:33

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


So what happens when you finally get to modern day or the end ? Just keep playing forever stuck in that time period? What if you want a map filled metropolis set in the 1920's ?
My main problem with any city game with time advancement is that it has an end.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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?

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

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


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

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


I think if we're going to bother having resources to balance it would be under player control, otherwise just get rid of them all and assume the private sphere was handling it all and had it all balanced. Part of the fun of these games is that you are the god-emperor of your city running a semi-command economy.

But then again it all depends on how things are presented. Is there much difference between placing a "coal mine" over a coal deposit or placing a "mining zone" on top of a coal deposit and having a building pop up?\

I do like the way cities XL tried to handle businesses. You made taxes off them depending on their PROFITS. A high-tech industry needs to buy certain resources and sell certain resources to make a profit. If the demand for their products is too low or the cost of their imputs too high they can go out of business, or just not do well and thus not pay as high taxes.

Of course for all this to work it almost assumes that your city is the only place in the world and has a self-contained economy. With a modern globalized economy a coal mine in canada effects the price of coal in germany. An electronics plant in Thailand effects the price of electronics in Brazil, it's all one big market. But in game terms is that interesting? You'd check a big graph of resource prices, see coal is in demand so you'd develop your coal patch. Great ok the coal mines are doing well but they complain transport prices are too high. You build them a direct rail link to export their coal and they now pay more taxes because they are making more profit. That's fun! Oh no but the price of coal went down because of the global market which might as well be randomzied since there's no way to predict. The coal mine had to lay off half its workers and it's paying way less taxes. Oh now it's doing well again. gently caress it I have no control over this it's basically random and annoying. That's not so fun.

This is how I'd do it if I was making a city builder that had resources:

Map Generation
When starting a new city there's a bunch of options for not just the terrain but also the resources and the sort of region you will be building in. You can pick terrain types, rivers, coast, rockyness, soil conditions, how flat/mountainous it is, all the good stuff you'd expect from a map generation system with tons of options. But you'd also select options for the REGION you are in. Think of Simcity 2000's neighbour view, but expanded. You could pick the overall population density in the area. Are you a new city being built in a region full of already developed large cities, or are your neighbours just tiny villages like you? The terrain you pick for your city would also influence what "off map plots" are available for development. Terrain would of course also heavily influence resources. A flat wet area with a lot of soil will be good for farming but probably not have a lot or any minerals to exploit for example. Once all your options are set you'd hit "accept" and the region would be generated.

Starting a new city
So you picked your terrain and the economic conditions of your region. Let's say you picked a rocky coastal area in a medium developed region. You've got a gorgeous rugged coast thanks to anselm's wonderful map system that a single 21 year old dude made that looks 100x better than the hand-made maps in simcity 2013. You survey your terrain an see what's there. Not a lot of flat land, almost nothing suitable for farming. In one corner of the map is a huge ore rich area, there's an oil deposit just off-shore, and there's coal scattered all over the map. There's also dense forests everywhere, potential logging industry but nothing sustainable but hey lets make some money while we clear the land. Next you survey the region. You've got a little heavily abstracted map of the area, no terrain or fancy graphics, just your city in the middle and 4 neighbours. The game has generated 4 randomized neighbours based on the settings you selected. Each town has a type of class that helps you know what type of city it is as well as what resources it will be putting into the regional economy. As those cities grow their supply of their resources will go up, but so will the demands for what they lack. You don't trade directly with individual cities, it's all pooled region-wide. If the region is short on a resource the price goes up, if it's over-supplying the price goes down. Anything the region doesn't produce enough of doesn't mean people will starve, it just means the resource is imported from abroad at a higher price.

You also check out your "off map nodes". Each edge of your map has 2 possible nodes and it's based off the terrain on that edge of the map. You've got 4 mountain nodes along 2 of your edges due to the mountain there, each with a random assortment of minerals and bonuses. Because the south edge of your map, the only small area of farmland you have, is technically grassland, you have 2 "field" nodes south of you. Good potential development locations for farming villages since you'll never produce much food locally. Finally off your coast are two sea nodes. One of the sea nodes fishing resource you can develop and it allows you to build a fishing port in your city which then sends fishing boats out to harvest. The other sea zone has a ton of gas in it, allowing you to develop off-shore gas industry.

The town currently has no demands and you can't really build anything because there's no connection to the outside world. So, you build a road connection to the edge of the map in the direction of the biggest city in the region, you're now hooked into the regional resource pool and have some demand based on the neighbour you connected with plus some bonus demand for simply starting a new city. You start building your city!!

First Years
You've been building for a few years now. You have a cute little mountain town set up near the farmland in the south. You've developed all the farmland and agriculture is selling well in the region so the farms are paying decent taxes. You've built an expensive winding mountain road to some coal and built/zoned a coal mine. It's far enough away from the town that no one minds it and coal is priced well enough that the mine is doing well and adding a lot of taxes and employment for your city. Ore is not priced well because another city in the region is producing a lot of it so you don't bother developing your ore mines, yet anyways. You save up and build a hydro dam, now you have tons of cheap clean electricity! It's wayyyy more than your town needs but you automatically sell the excess power within the region, but its driven the price of electricity down. You've made an impact in the regional economy! You then use that cheap electricity to attract industry to your city and zone a big area of industrial land. The industry grows rapidly and so does the demand for housing and services. The heavy industry though demands a few different resource types though, they want chemicals and they want steel, the demand drives the price up in the region. You decide to use the cheap regional supply of iron along with the available coal and cheap electricity and build a steel mill. This is a huge investment and a risk, but once again it adds demand for a ton of employment and starts to drive up the price of ore. poo poo, your steel mill isn't doing so well, it says transport prices are too high. Your road connection is clogged with trucks. Trucks from your coal mine, ore trucks feeding the steel mill, steel trucks shipping the steel out, and coal trucks from your mine to the smelter. Your industry area is doing poorly too for the same reason, and your citizens are pissed that they can't get around because the whole city is just clogged with bumper to bumper freight. Time for a railway. The terrain between your town and the coal mine is way too expensive to build a railway, but the coastal road to the region could work. You build tracks directly connecting your steel mill with the edge of the map, you also build a freight station near your industrial area, allowing the freight trucks to unload there and ship off the map via trains. The freight station is a big yard and comes in a few different sizes with different capacities. Your city is now doing better! Your coal mine still has to rely on trucks but your steel mill can import and export directly via rail, and your industries are also enjoying the railway link.

In the future you have many options. Do you continue to focus on heavy industry and mining, knowing it will destroy the natural environment and create a ton of pollution but provide stable income and jobs, or do you start to develop that pretty coastal area and attract some offices and white-collar jobs, maybe even tourism? Do you keep importing ore from the region or do you develop that far away ore deposit? And when do you think about developing your off-map nodes? It's far cheaper to develop on-map resources and you're not short on coal, but eventually it might be in your interests to develop some off-map farming to your south and a fishing industry on your coast. As you grow you impact on the region grows, but your neighbours are growing too and as they grow you can predict changes in the market. The cheap electricity you provided spurred the industrial city near you to grow its industry too. Your choice to not develop your own ore while raising the price for ore because of your steel mill saw the mining city grow and increase its own supply after a while. The game's cities react slowly, letting the player potentially have first "dibs" on opportunities, but it's entirely possible to create a demand for something then miss the boat. Your booming industrial economy created demand for office but your lovely industrial city has a hard time attracting the workers office needs, so instead the large city near you picked up that demand over time. Now of course if conditions in your town improve you may be able to "steal back" that demand in the future since part of that demand is coming from your city's industries and it's more effective for them to be there.

I don't know, just some general possible ideas, many other ways of doing it. Maybe have it even more game like and directly trade with cities or the region like in an anno game. Maybe don't even bother with fluctuating prices or a market and just have it be your own city's demand vs the world's static prices. If you produce something locally it's a cheaper bonus, but otherwise you just import. I do though really think the whole off-map nodes thing would be a great system.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


Yeah, after I posted that stream of consciousness I realized that would work well for a dedicated "regional economic game" but for a simcity I want more control and more of a static region.

I'd love some blend of "off map plots" and "regional competitors". Something almost like Simcity4's region map, where we as the player have full control, but instead of building whole other cities we just use points or money or some sort of influence to guide or directly purchase regional growth.

So maybe the game starts and you have your big empty nicely rendered terrain filled map, but there's a region-view that's just abstracted dots. Depending on your map setting you could be the first city in the region, or it's already developed to some extent with various sizes and types of cities and towns. All those cities pool their resources and demands together to get the regional prices for things like agriculture, ore, high tech goods, heavy industry, financial services and so on. Left on their own, they either don't grow at all or grow very very very slowly (map option?). You as a player though, you as the star of the show and god of the region, can grow these "supporting cities" your self via regional projects. There could be a whole array of city and region specific projects. Maybe your city doesn't have any good farm land so you invest in expanding farmland in a neighbouring farming village. Maybe you don't want to deal with heavy industry but your clean high-tech industries still need their good to function, so you invest and grow the region's industrial city. Maybe you don't even use money for this but some other points or currency. Maybe there's a regional tax and all cities including yours pay into it, and then you as the player spend from this regional treasury to grow neighbouring cities and buy region projects?

I think with "AI cities" it would just be frustrating. Maybe you don't produce enough food and it's a bottleneck for your city. Great, now I have to sit around with the game on fast waiting and hoping the AI grows their farming city. Oh poo poo while I was waiting another city stole a bunch of my manufacturing demand away by growing it them selves and now it's not as in-demand in the region. Yes it's more realistic but is it more fun? It also means if you just let the game run, everything will always reach equilibrium. Heavy industry in demand? Nope, a neighbouring city picked up the slack. Region short on electricity? A neighbouring city picked up the slack. Confusing for people who just want to build a city and frustrating for people who really want to dig in there and minmax.

Or go the SC4 or cities XL route and actually let the player build up the region city by city them selves. I think sc4's seemless cities were cool but present horrible pathing issues and require a lot to implement. Since Citybound will have BIG maps we won't need to spice a bunch of cities together to create a realistic city. The region view could just be dots with each city assumed to have many km between them. The terrain doesn't need to be seamless, nothing needs to match because there's assumed enough distance between each dot. The game doesn't need to know where the dots are or how close as it's just all pooled together in one big regional resource bucket. Region doesn't have enough food? Start up a new farming city. Your main city needs more heavy industry but you don't want to pollute it? Start a lovely industrial city. I find this idea fun because it means every city you start or "finish" has some impact. After a lot of play you could really build up a large region to be proud of.

I'd just like the greater region to be represented in some way and to have some choices/control over how it develops, not married to any specific ideas so long as it makes sense and presents fun choices to the player.

Alternatively I'd be fine with no region, just an abstracted outside world with static high prices to import things you lack plus the ability to develop some "off map plots" at greater expense for things you can't or don't want to produce in your city.

Baronjutter fucked around with this message at May 4, 2014 around 21:23

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


Yeah, in some ways I guess it would be rad if the game did sort of link the cities in the region or neighbours adjacent to you and know where they are geographically. So you could have a big industrial city to your east and a big mining city to your west and you'd get a lot of big freight trains going back and forth. Or there's an important regional highway going through your map already filled with cars and freight trucks. Of course though now we're getting into actually simulating the traffic on the region scale, which is a lot of work. I mean that's cool as hell but I don't know if it's in the programming budget or cpu power budget.

It could be abstracted though. The game would simply know the region has an overall population of X thus Y% of X cars and trucks are generated and randomly attempt to drive from one edge of your map to the other, weighted by the size and number of connections. Just a sort of abstracted regional traffic in the forms of cars, trucks, and trains. This would be through traffic of no benefit to you but simply the price for a growing region and growing economy. Yes you invested in expanding the regional highway system and it's improved the region's economy, but with the increased mobility comes more cars and trucks driving through your map. Want to avoid regional traffic by just having a a few small 2-lane road connections to the outside world? Sure, you have less traffic but you're also not as connected to the regional economy and you're going to stay a sleepy farming town until you upgrade those connections.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


That's fair enough. But if the region does start out semi-populated with neighbours and they grow and change, could the initial population/development of the region be a map creation option? As well perhaps how quickly the region grows or reacts to what you're doing?

Also parking is super important. Parking takes up tons of land is is pretty much the #1 difference between a city developing like say Dallas, or like Munich. You can build tons of highways and 50 lane roads, but if there's nowhere to park cars at or near housing for people to own cars, and no where to park cars at the destination, people can't really drive around.

I'd love to see both street parking and off-street parking modeled, I know it's tricky and never been done in a city builder but it's really that important. Parking takes up so much land if it's surface parking, which reduces density, which spreads things out, which then requires more roads (vicious cycle). Parking in an urban environment (multi-level, underground) is extremely expensive and adds hugely to the cost of the buildings.

Baronjutter fucked around with this message at May 4, 2014 around 23:25

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


It's really not hard to make a road from your perfect spot to the edge of the map. How else do people come to your city or is it some post-apocalypic last city on earth thing? I love an excuse to make a cool winding mountain road through the wilderness.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


I'd rather not have a pre-build road at the start because I don't trust the game to make it pretty enough or in the "right" spot, but I certainly hope we need some sort of connection to the outside world before people move in.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


ToastyPotato posted:

I guess no one here played Cities XL very much but in that game you have to draw a connecting road as the first step in your city.

Yeah that's exactly what I'm expecting. Hell of a lot easier than writing a whole "initial road AI" that reads the starting terrain and paths a road through potentially rough terrain.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


Thanks for the insane late-night ramblings! You're really making rapid progress, plus staying amazingly active responding to our stupid questions.

So what you're saying is that time is a 4-season cube?

Baronjutter fucked around with this message at May 7, 2014 around 06:07

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


The fact that you can read through my ridiculous mega-posts shows amazing patience.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


That's a good start for a tool to get really fiddly with roads, but that's something the average user is going to find a little too fiddly. If I want a 4 lane road with wide sidewalks and a treed boulevard I don't want to have to manually lay down those elements every time. I want to just click on a road tool, click on the "4 lane boulevard" tool and lay down some roads. At the same time I'm not a traffic engineer but I know there's a lot of "correct" styles of highway junctions. I just want to click a button, junctions, and plop down a cloverleaf.

Now it's rad to be able to then fiddle with these pre-set items. Maybe the terrain means one "lobe" of my cloverleaf needs to be a bit funny shaped, that's where the tool comes in. Or if I want to design something very custom my self of course. But for "day to day" road building I really hope you give us a good simcity style of presets. Fiddling with each and every road from scratch and having to eye-ball all the geometry would really turn me off.

Another cool idea would be to select an area of roads and save it as a pre-set. So maybe you designed a really weird interchange but want to exactly reproduce it 10 more times and don't want to spend 10 min trying to draw it exactly the same every time. Or you see a bunch of nerds online made a bunch of realistic intersections and saved them as presets to share.

And for the roads them selves I'd much rather have one of those sort of street cross-section view tools to design my pre-set roads. Obviously have a tool like yours to then tweak situations in-game, but give us some standard pre-sets.

Also how are you going to differentiate between different speeds? A 4 lane avenue is very different from a 4 lane highway. Heck a highway shouldn't even be able to have buildings along it. Once again I think we'll need some hard-coded presets for things like "freeways" and "city road" and "lane". What about things like dirt country roads? Or super low-speed shared roads where cars can't go faster than bikes?

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


So we're getting presets, intersection generation with options, and different types of lanes, perfect.

Also I really really hope we can do dutch style fully separated bike infra. I also hope pedestrians are not ignored and we can determine how wide sidewalks are, or at least have a few different types/widths. Sidewalks can get just as jammed as roads can, designing areas for good pedestrian flow can be very important. That busy shopping high street with a subway entrance is going to need a good 12m wide sidewalk.

I also hope pedestrians flow more freely than cars. Less constrained by paths and more free-roaming. I think the first Cities in Motion handled this nicely. Roads had sidewalks but pedestrians were like a gas, they'd simply flow through every crack. They'd cut through the field, they'd go through the building's parking lot. They didn't care about pre-set paths but would simply freely path anywhere they could walk, be it an official sidewalk or just a gap between two buildings. They'd also cross streets just about anywhere they could get away with it, only using crosswalks if there was one near enough. Basically they acted like real pedestrians rather than "tiny cars".

Bikes are an interesting half way point. They mostly follow official paths like cars do, specially if you have good cycle infra, but they can and do often take creative and unofficial shortcuts. And all they have to do is hop off their bike and walk it and they are instantly a pedestrian with all the flexibility that entails.

Check out this guy's youtube for some bike infra inspiration.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWHFLiPIMEo

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


Ohhh god the people in the video. Watch the video.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


I know I'm probably in a minority but I've never had any interest in disasters in any of these sort of games. Disabling them is always the first thing I do. They're rarely a challenge, just an interruption and then tedious re-building. To me a good disaster in a city builder is a traffic jam, an economic problem, a pollution problem, basically results of the systems of the game and your choices. Not just "there's an earthquake, now spend 10 min bulldozing and re-doing a bunch of your work" or "there's a fire, wait until the fire is out before you can keep playing"

Baronjutter fucked around with this message at May 16, 2014 around 22:13

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


Slow steady progress, good work. I'm glad you've got most of your other responsibilities in order so you can go at this full steam.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


I'd love to see a system where we can simply set the right-of-way of a street and then fill in what's inside it later, or change it later. So imagine just defining a 20m road, you could do a "streetmix" style choice of what to fill that 20m with and any space not used is automatically assigned as sidewalk or green space. Then in future maybe you need to add a new lane, now you can do it and you don't have to demolish any buildings.

You could have a simple right-of-way tool where you can lay out and plan all your routes without actually building any lanes. Buildings would grow/snap to the edge of this right of way. You'd then build your roads and networks inside of this allocated space. You could go in and demolish lanes and change them all you want, but the right of way would stay and all the buildings along the route would stay.

This is a huge problem in 3d/spline based city builders where if you want to go from a 20m road to a 21m road suddenly all the buildings along it have to explode. Give us the ability to define a right of way, then we can put what ever we want inside. Often sidewalks do not function as a set lane but more of a "fill" between the lanes and the edge of the right of way.

Take this for example. We use the "right of way" tool to define some spaces. We can draw them like roads, like polygons, or even use brushes like with zones.


Buildings snap to the edge of the right of way after zoning.


We place our networks within the right of way. We build some 2 lane and 3 lane roads and have a tram track. Any space in the right of way not used is treated as pedestrian space. It can be a sidewalk, it can be a square. But it's paved (or grassy) open space for pedestrian to circulate on, gather on. It could also be used for parking or a variety of uses.


Later on we want to change things around a bit. We want to close one road to cars and grow the tram system. So we just demolish the road and lay some new tram tracks as needed.


No buildings need to be demolished, the roads are adaptable within the right of way just like in real life.

We could decorate the right of way by plopping down items or even "zoning" parts of the right of way to allow things like public markets or street vendors. Metro station entrances are easily placed within the right of way. It's basically a big nice flexible space for things that aren't cars.

And of course if someone doesn't want to use right of ways they could just place roads and sidewalks and networks normally as the game would treat anything under a road as right of way. Can't grow those networks, but demolishing parts of them would not "disconnect" any buildings touching them since buildings snap to the right of way, not the network/lane its self.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


anselm_eickhoff posted:

Thanks for your detailed drawings, but my solution for the problem is even simpler than your system:
If you really want to force an area to be left empty, you can just not zone up to the street (the resolution of the zoning bitmap is high enough for this).
You could then zone the empty area with a park or plaza zone, that I already have in mind.

How will the system know where the "front(s)" of the lot is?

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


WirelessPillow posted:

Isn't the Op German himself?

Bavarian I believe, so might need a little translating.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


Volmarias posted:

I'm not sure if it's been mentioned, but are overpasses a thing that will be in the game? The worst part of the new Sim city was that everything, EVERYTHING, was an at grade intersection unless you did fuckery to force it not to be.

Yeah he mentioned in the first road tool video that he'll obviously be adding a height option so that his cloverleaf example would actually function. Also I saw so many simcity cities that had crazy loving roller-coaster roads. I thought it was just a basic function of the tools to allow that? You had to do fuckery for that?

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


I'd love to see some pictures or video of the building system working with the new roads.
Also that's quite the heat wave you guys have right now. Take a break from coding and go jump in a lake? Maybe your camera needs a swim too to cool down!

Baronjutter fucked around with this message at Jun 10, 2014 around 21:35

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


I'm not a big fan of reddit for the most part but their urbanplanning sub is actually pretty good, if you don't already read it. Should be tons of inspiration there.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


Post your 3d cities dude.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


I loved the system of coming up with the little "rule sets" or what ever to define the procedural buildings in City Engine. It's a bit complex but once you figure it out it's so easy to slap in some textures, define some rules, and off you go. I hope we end up with "mod tools" or something later.

I also really really hope you give us fairly robust in-game tools to help define our city's looks, and that the massing of our city actually has some effect.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


Also I'd be fine with the game looking like that, but with terrain/roads of course.

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Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


Yeah, google maps basically has everything you have plus textures.

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