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nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

How are you planning on handling player construction in the long run?
In SimCity, things have traditionally just poofed into existence as soon as you release the mouse, which is obviously a "game" thing, but also means you can't experiment with different layouts of a neighborhood before putting out the money and potentially having to bulldoze everything and start over.
Would it be feasible, and do you expect to, have a planning mode, and once a city expansion/improvement has been approved it starts gradually building and draining cash? Or just stick to the old insta-build model?

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nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

Popular Thug Drink posted:

Do you mean actual special days, or just that some proportion of agents will have variant schedules on any given day to reflect non-work trips?

I don't think I've ever seen a city sim that does actual holidays/weekends.

Cities in Motion 2 sort-of has weekends, only they barely register with the default game rules. (It also lacks good generation of distinct city districts and mass-attractor buildings, making times of day and week even less distinct.)

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

ToastyPotato posted:

One thing I would like to see in a city builder is the ability to commission certain developments. Letting markets fill in zones is cool, but sometimes governments make specific deals to build specific things, like the biggest skyscrapers, and other mega projects. See also: Public housing. It would be cool to see local markets react to a bunch of public housing, or a massive tower being plopped nearby. Actually, I don't know how it is elsewhere, but in NYC most really tall buildings and big developments need a ton of local government approval before they can even break ground. More so than smaller construction.

True. While SimCity 4 (and 3000) do have big, ploppable, monumental buildings, all they do is sit there and suck money while providing a bit of YIMBY effect. They don't actually provide anything to the city, be it homes or jobs.
It'd be cool to have that kind of "projects" that required cooperation from public (i.e. player) and private investors to get off the ground. It could perhaps be initiated from either side, the player could indicate they wanted a monumental building and get bids from investors, or an investor could approach the player with a business plan. Ideally, these projects could also fail for reasons, maybe general recession, competition from other sides, private investor failing, or whatever.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

Iunnrais posted:

I'm still very wary of agent based traffic. It seems that some of the problems with SC2013 were entirely inherent to agents.

For instance: How will an agent reroute to avoid heavy traffic? If the road segment doesn't know how much traffic it's getting, you can't really recalculate an A* or Dijkstra array with higher weights to avoid it.

I think using traffic data from the previous simulation iterations would work fine. So the agents would sort-of base their route on how bad traffic was the day before. Perhaps give each agent a preference for shorter versus faster, perhaps also versus more scenic or other factors, so everybody wouldn't just cycle between two different routes every other trip.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

Baronjutter posted:

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?

Yeah I hope there will be non-rectangular lots sooner rather than later. In the perfect world also have special rules to generate corner buildings at corners. Maybe even wedge-shaped buildings at sharp corners.
And whenever a lot is generated, consider how much free road frontage is left, and if there would be too little then the lot is forced to grow to fill the remaining frontage.

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.

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.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

I'd love if maps start with a road and perhaps railroad through it. Not just a dead end lie in SC2013, but an actual thoroughfare road with existing traffic on it. Disrupting the through traffic could incur some penalty from the state or regional government, but most importantly it's a real problem to deal with from the start.
You could start out building your city off the main road to initially avoid dealing with the traffic, or you could try to attract more customers to stores etc. by building around the main road right away.

This will probably work best in an abstracted regional model like Baronjutter is talking about.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

Brainbread posted:

Maybe have the player place a marker for where their city will "be" in some vague sense, then generate a road to that point from the edge of the map?

You might not necessarily want your city to be around the road, but maybe rather a bit out from it.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

Just for a note, one game that has the "initial road that must be kept working" is Caesar III, perhaps also other games in the series. It's the only of the Impressions city-builders I've played but I rather liked the idea of "building your city along the Road to Rome". Of course, the maps in Caesar III were all pre-made rather than generated.

(It also served as a great example of the dangers of a purely agent-based city system! Except for the water, that didn't use agents.)

nielsm fucked around with this message at May 6, 2014 around 17:53

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

Just make sure you can build an SPUI. Supposedly traffic engineers love those.
Meanwhile, please don't build any more cloverleafs, they have giant weaving problems!

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

zxqv8 posted:

Any chance that the road tool will have a way to start with 2/4/6/etc lanes when initially laid down? I like that you can add or subtract lanes at a whim, but I just know the ability to start at 4 or 6 or whatever is going to be a quality of life thing that I'll continually be hoping for.

That, and probably also having some fixed spacing between lanes in different direction (maybe as "dead" lanes that contain nothing but grass). And let players make lanes that run in the "wrong" direction if they really want. Hopefully there will be a way for mods to have intersection templates or generators, for making quick standardized roundabouts, highway interchanges, road/highway onramp systems etc.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

Baggins posted:

You better watch your back Anselm, a new challenger appears!

https://www.kickstarter.com/project...-more-realistic

Wow, this is one killer feature to shoot for! I'm impressed they dare list something as advanced as this under key game aspects.

quote:

- Ability to turn off background game music / plug-in folder to place the music you'd like to have play in the background while playing.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

Ah yes, speaking of road building tools for making raised constructions: Make sure there are two modes for managing height of a control point: Terrain-relative and world-absolute. Terrain relative for cases of e.g. creating a rise for a bridge you want to be 5m above the ground, and then you switch to world-absolute mode to keep the bridge level instead of making it follow the terrain.
Also, again, a planning mode and adjusting the planned construction without starting over.

This is thinking back to the road construction tools in Cities in Motion 2:
First because there is no world-absolute mode, only terrain-relative, you easily end up getting strange-looking rises and falls when making bridges and tunnels. Second, because each spline segment of a road has to be valid at the time of planning it, you can end up in situations where placing a segment is impossible even though the next segment would actually make the first one acceptable. Being able to go back and fix the geometry of things before committing money on it, and not having to completely re-build parts of a junction, overpass or whatever, would be a great boon.

I know these are UI issues which are still not a major consideration, but I think that at least the ability to having planned-but-unbuilt networks that can be adjusted without rebuilding, would be something that influences the data and code structuring.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

Volmarias posted:

Yeah, I have to agree with this. Multiplayer is not an appealing aspect of city builder sims for me. I don't want to start making my zen garden region and having my neighbor design his city in the shape of dickbutt.

That's not an argument against multiplayer city sims. That's an argument against your friends.

Obviously nobody sane would make multiplayer compulsory either.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

Carlos Spicywiener posted:

For those of us who like to be very precise with zoning, it allows precision. I may not be explaining the mechanic properly though.

EDIT: And I'm also making the assumption that zones are intrinsically linked to (main) roads.

I'm pretty sure that Citybound doesn't have zones be attached to roads the same way they are in SC 2013. They are just areas painted onto the terrain, and the follow-road mode is a convenience for making zones that match the roads well. On the other hand, buildings spawned in zones probably do link to the roads in some way.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

Speaking of desirability factors, is noise pollution something worth putting in? While it tends to follow air pollution levels, it also tends to fall based on different factors. The first row of houses next to a railway is going to receive large amounts of noise pollution, but even the next row over will be getting much less. If I was to model this, I would probably use three "maps", one of noise generation, one of noise shadowing (tall, solid structures) and a calculated one of actual noise pollution per area.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

Taeke posted:

All this talk about mixed zones made me think about something else I've thought about some time ago, namely not so much mixed zones but mixed buildings.

I think that's exactly the point of mixed zones, to allow that type of buildings.
Of course in real life they occur more often than not.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

anselm_eickhoff posted:

Just a heads up:

No update tomorrow, but I will try a development/Q&A livestream! Starting 4PM GMT

(I'm linking there so I have only one place to update when I need to change infos regarding the stream).

If you won't be able to make it, but have a question that you really really want to have answered personally, post it here and I will answer it on stream when I have time.

I'll be at work/on my way home at that time, but if you could talk about landscape, in particular hilly terrain, water, and flowing water, that'd be cool. Only SimCity 2000 really had something akin to flowing water, which was somewhat faked, and it's one of the elements I've missed in SimCity 4. I realize it's hard to do right, and you may very well have to go full Dwarf Fortress/Toady One on it to do it "right".
More importantly, the influence of terrain, levels, perhaps even ground/soil types, on construction, costs and desirability.
If it's something you are not doing, just a few words on why would be appreciated

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

Baronjutter posted:

I'm wondering if the maps them selves will just be huge enough that regions won't matter so much. The demo map he's been showing off is 20x20. What was the biggest map in sc4, like 4x4 ?

Yeah, the small maps in SC4 are supposed to be 1x1 km, so the largest would be 4x4.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

Actually, I didn't even bother checking...

But he's still streaming. Is that 5 hours by now?


(Why is it a lesson in GLSL pixel shaders?)

nielsm fucked around with this message at Jul 15, 2014 around 17:05

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

KillHour posted:

I made a quick mockup for a possible way to do mixed zoning.



I'm not sure how colorblind friendly it is, but I have an easy time telling them apart. As for how it would work, clicking with the zone selected would add that zone to the area. Ctrl-clicking would remove only that zoning type. Alt-clicking would replace the existing zoning type. The remove zone tool would remove all zoning.

Density could be shown with line thickness or spacing.

I think lines like that becomes too busy on screen.
My own suggestion is raster dots, something like this:



The size of the dots would signify the density. This would be a zone with rather high residential density, and lower commercial density.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

Baronjutter posted:

I thought my text idea was a good one and colour-blind friendly

These dots and hatches all look like those colour-blind test patterns. This is very triggering.

Yeah, text hatching is probably just plain better.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib


Donated a some spare balance I suddenly discovered I had on my PayPal account.
Could you consider putting up another donate button for sending in Euro instead of USD?

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

reignonyourparade posted:

Consider adding a warning at least when people set it above whatever arbitrary size seems appropriate for a low-to-mid computer.

Better: Collect telemetry data during alpha and beta, typical framerates for cities of particular sizes on various hardware configurations. With enough data, you should then be able to dynamically produce a "recommended maximum" city size based on the player's computer. Don't prevent anyone from choosing any absurdly large size, just give them a warning that it might be frustrating to play.

(Bonus feature: When the game peaks out on framerate, try to determine whether it's due to CPU, physical memory size, memory bandwidth, or GPU.)

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

Keep in mind, Dwarf Fortress is what happens when you want to simulate everything. DF can run reasonably, but it tends to bog down massively on its own complexity over time. Definitely do fake some things as needed to keep the simulation complexity manageable. As long as something about the size of an SC4 large city is possible I'd be happy.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib


It's on now, or at least the preparations are.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

anselm_eickhoff posted:

Sure, most of that will actually also make use of the zoning mechanic: You zone a park, procedural details get added. You zone for a hospital, depending on budget, a hospital building with few or many wings and extra bits gets generated, etc.

Have you decided how it would work in more detail?
One way I could imagine doing it would be setting two budget values, one for hospital development, and one for hospital maintenance. The development budget would go to construction of new hospital facilities, and the maintenance budget to upkeep of existing facilities. That would let hospital growth in zones be based on the player's funding allocation, and hospitals receiving too little maintenance would deteriorate and become unable to serve patients.
With a little extra care the same system could probably allow for private healthcare facilities to grow in commercial zones too.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

Everyone's been hanging out in the traffic engineer thread instead.


Personally, my interest/engagement in Citybound has been lower recently, I think largely since focus has been more on small, fiddly things rather than larger scale gameplay/economic simulation.

However someone tried making a lot more parking in SC4 than usual. Let's talk about parking again, or something.

Brotato Broth posted:

Old and busted.


New hotness.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

I think an amount of parking is often mandated in zoning ordinances, i.e. requiring at least one parking space per X workplaces/homes in a building. Presumably that kind of requirements can also be offset by dedicated parking houses, which could either be private, or constructed or subsidized by the city.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

If you want to make parking really complex, keep track of every single car and its owner, and let people leave them in garages outside the city core and then continue on foot or public transit, complete trips to several sites in the core, and return to the car and head home.

For a simpler model, perhaps only allow on-lot parking, with the number of users of a building potentially capping out if the parking space is too small and some of the users don't have public transit options to get there.
A slight extension might be to also allow nearby parking space (in dedicated garages, public or private) to be available for buildings within walking distance.

In the end, the simplest in implementation might actually be the former, generalized model, since it probably avoids having a lot of special cases. The downside would be potentially more computation and bigger data to keep track of.

When parking is limited, there's also the questions of carpooling, if you're going to handle that at all.
And taxis.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

Everyone posting don't wanna see concrete hell cities the solution is simple: Just build a walkable, transit-served city instead of one dependent on cars for getting around. Can't be that hard, right?

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

One (or two) more factor you might add: Public transit stigma, or private motoring sense of privilege.
That thing you often hear as part of the reason American cities tend to have trouble implementing public transit, with modern light rail or bus lines sometimes even becoming NIMBY subjects, "giving all them evil blacks a straight route to my home". If your city has been running on private cars for a long while, having some stigma against transitioning to public transit might also be a gameplay element. But it might genuinely not be a fun one, I don't know.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

I wonder how an "asymmetric" multiplayer model could work for a city simulator. One player would act as mayor/designer of the city itself, but one or more players could act as transit managers, and perhaps other players might be major business owners. I suppose the main risk of this model would be that not all the roles might have as much to do as the "mayor" role.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

KKKlean Energy posted:

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

Yeah, definitely this. Make sure you get ownership, investments, payments and profit sharing worked out sooner rather than later, it'd be bad to see the project die from that kind of issues.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

Nah, making the roads work is fundamental. Since the simulation is intended to be based around things being able to move between locations through the roads, if the roads don't work the foundation of everything else is missing.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

Naked intersection or light controlled.
Or a roundabout.
Or yield from two of the roads.
Or an all-way stop.
Or the dreaded light-controlled multi-lane roundabout.

There's several more choices for intersections. And yes roundabouts ought to be an explicit type of intersection, not just something the player fakes with one-way roads.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

Yeah I could imagine CO would just make wall-to-wall buildings be a couple special categories/flags for "corner", "double corner", "enclosed in roads" and of course "no corners", and only spawn on perfectly rectangular blocks. That would just be sad, but they sort of painted themselves into a corner with that grid system. Even then, it does seem that their zoning is not actually grid based, but a "map" like e.g. pollution levels and wind speeds are, and the zone colors shown in the grid are a quantization of the map. My reasoning for them having a map for zoning is how existing zoning re-flows when you change around roads.

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

This is what I've been wanting always. Continue down that road. (No pun intended.)

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.

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nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

KKKlean Energy posted:

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)

Road Intersection Simulator 2016.
It could work.

You start with a blank map except for some fixed road stubs near the edges. Each road generates an amount of traffic with destinations. You get graded on various efficiency and cost parameters.
Or for alternate challenges, you start with a pre-built intersection and is told to fix it.

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