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Author Topic: Memories from Urbs Urbis....  (Read 4818 times)

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Offline mightygoose

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Memories from Urbs Urbis....
« on: February 03, 2010, 03:23:09 PM »
back when this was tried before.... we made quite extensive notes on gameplay mechanics... more associted with the simulation engine than the graphics.

now that you guys have a working graphics engine, you have got further than many many previous attempts. i still have all my notes from when i offered a hand as a simulation ideas man.

they may or may not be useful to you, but they are here if you want them, i am still familiar with the content so if you have any queries or spark any discussions from them i would be happy to aid you however i can.

Initial thoughts

way i see it.... looking at the ideas in this thread and maintaining a reasonable system
these ideas are not my own in fact ive mainly expanded upon and developed ideas in this thread.
2x2m grid..

8 compass points and a top down view.

you custom zone neighbourhoods of anysize. basically you would start with a large terraformed/whatever city area. then you zone neighbourhoods of different shapes and sizes. for actually working and growing the city only th neighbourhood is rendered fully. the rest of the city is rendered in B&W in ultra low poly models. maybe even just the ground map.... the city still runs and developement still occurs but it saves on processing power. when you want to then browse our city. you exit the Editor menus and render the enitre city max detail. things cannot be changed but you can take photos to your hearts content. as you fill the city provided it can be expanded and new neighbourhoods added.


these would be effectivly city tiles in themselves.... height limits, zoning type and density factors can be selected.. also style of architecture and maybe even something like a hotspot feature.. you want this are to redevelope for a small budget amount you can promote growth in any three neighbourhoods city wide.

rest of city...

using the active but reduced method (ABR) of displaying the rest of the city it allows for utilities to have much greater radiuses in fact hospitals built could have selected neighbourhoods as patient catechment areas(on second thoughts more applicable for schools).... global budgeting of amenities etc... neighbourhoods also allows any player to have huge cities.... with small rural settings larger neighbourhoods may be preferable when processing power is not an issue, and in the busy downtowns, maybe neihgbourhoods of only a few city blocks could be used. also small neighbourhoods for chinatowns etc.


as you zone for use buildings can grow on the zone. the zone then auto covers with a texture until another building grows in the same zone. with density controlls you could have it based on buildings per unit area so no w2w would grow in lower density stuff. or even job capacity/ residents per unit area. using this open zoning technique a multitude of possibilities occur. i propose building models having few or no props but instead this is handled elsewhere...


it seems spline based roads are the general consesus. a step on top of this i would say is having roads open lot as well. so an avenues median could have a pedmall dragged down it to create a pedestrian walkway. there would be many many types of spline networks. i propose pedestrianism to be taken as a much larger base. ie if you draw a road... a basic curb appears... then sidewalks are drawn in manually/ if you want... it can auto sidewalk but you can extend them to all angles over and into zones. ie a sidewalk could continue straight after a road turn to create a pedestrian street with shops on it. obviously with this open zoning overides and priority orders would need to be considered.


could work on a circuit like basis... to save easy of compute group commuters in 10's, coming from zones as a whole... like say there is a large housing estate... one arrow base... that splits... as for the circuit. there are no commuters unless there is a suitable job and a valid route A-B, intersections and traffic act like resistors lengthening commutes and better links creating shorter commutes...


work on a more intuitive basis.... have per lane capacity based on vehicle size.... you may get 10,000 cars per day at full capacity but im damn sure you wouldnt have same flow with 10,000 lorries. again instead of creating time penalties have speed penalties on busy stretches of road instead...

props.... majority of props for city would be part of the in game lot generation process... dependant on type of zone and also on sidewalks/ road. landmarks could perhaps have their own unique lotting code so there area is different to rest. this allows for better ground continuity....

anyway i think thatis pretty much it for now....

my next idea was that all algorithms were based on a .ini file base to make modding a simple effort of editing text in notepad???

mock examples that show the kind of parameters and modifiers you will need to think about.


PARAM_ID=      #zones game ID#[parameters, fixed elements, used by program, various integer values]
PARAM_NAME=      #its name in the menu#
PARAM_ICON=      #the location of its icon file#
PARAM_COLOUR=      #the xone colouration on the ground, if its implemented#
PARAM_MAX_HEIGHT=   #max building height allowed in zone#
PARAM_GROWTH_ALLOW=   #res,co,cs,ind,man#
PARAM_STYLE_ALLOW=   #ID range from style index#[more on this to come]
PARAM_BUILDING_SPACING=   #controls density#
PARAM_ROAD_SPACING=   #controls sidewalk width#
PLOT_FLORA_ALLOW=   #ID range of props to be used in plot generaton#[plot generation fields,ID ranges]
PLOT_PEOPLE_ALLOW=   #as above but as per respective catergory#
PLOT_RES_ALLOW=      #as above but as per respective catergory#
PLOT_IND_ALLOW=      #as above but as per respective catergory#
PLOT_MAN_ALLOW=      #as above but as per respective catergory#
PLOT_CO_ALLOW=      #as above but as per respective catergory#
PLOT_CS_ALLOW=      #as above but as per respective catergory#
PLOT_SPECIAL_ALLOW=   #as above but as per respective catergory#
PLOT_TEXTURE_ALLOW=   #allowed ground textures#
MOD_PLOT_SEED=      #modifies the system clock seed to allow lot diversification#[modifiers, affect ingame supplied values and return new value]
MOD_RES_DESIREABILITY=   #affects pinpoint desireability in respective field, five values in order of wealth level#
MOD_FIRE=      #change in risk of fire#
MOD_AIR=      #change in air pollution#
MOD_WATER=      #change in water pollution#
MOD_TOURISM=      #affects an areas ability to attract customers and big businesses#
MOD_NOISE=      #change in noise pollution#
MOD_CRIME=      #affects crime probabilities#
MOD_HEALTH=      #affects health quotient#
MOD_EDUCATION=      #affects education quotient#


MOD_RES_DESIREABILITY=         #affects pinpoint desireability in respective field, five values in order of wealth level#
MOD_MAN_DESIREABILITY=         #see above#
MOD_IND_DESIREABILITY=         #see above#
MOD_CO_DESIREABILITY=         #see above#
MOD_CS_DESIREABILITY=         #see above#
MOD_FIRE=            #change in risk of fire#
MOD_AIR=            #change in air pollution#
MOD_WATER=            #change in water pollution#
MOD_TOURISM=            #affects an areas ability to attract customers and big businesses#
MOD_NOISE=            #change in noise pollution#
MOD_CRIME=            #affects crime probabilities#



Finally my personal review map of Cities XL, could help you miss some of their mistakes

Points of Consideration

1.   User Interface
1.1.   Is it minimal enough?
1.2.   Is the layout easy enough to understand?
1.3.   Is it aesthetically pleasing?
1.4.   Are the menu’s easy to navigate?
1.5.   Is the displayed information useful?
1.6.   Is the information accessible enough?
1.7.   Is the information clear and relevant?
1.8.   What do you think of the warning icons that flash up over areas that need specific attention?
1.9.   Do you like that chat box being permanently open?
1.10.   Overall how do you rate the beta out of ten in respect to this category?

2.   Zoning mechanic
2.1.   Do you like the fixed lot size?
2.2.   Do you agree that higher density and wealth level zones should be progressively unlockable?
2.3.   Do you agree with the wealth and zone types available?
2.4.   Do you think zoning is costed appropriately?
2.5.   Are there any other zone road laying configurations you would like to have included?
2.6.   Would you like to see a greater lot density within your zones?
2.7.   Would you like to see a snap to city block size option in the zoning tool?
2.8.   Do you think the zone max/min sizes are appropriate?
2.9.   Do you like the bucket fill park zoning and resource extraction zoning?
2.10.   Overall how do you rate the beta out of ten in respect to this category?

3.   Transportation Options
3.1.   Are you happy with the street, dirt-street, road, avenue setup?
3.2.   Do you like the road dragging options?
3.3.   Do you think the transport options are costed fairly?
3.4.   Are you disappointed that lane adding, and lane specific traffic limitations were not available?
3.5.   Do you like the Bridge/Tunnel mechanic?
3.6.   Would you like to see roundabouts offered at impossible angle junctions?
3.7.   Would you like ploppable intersections?
3.8.   Would you like to see some form of overpass implementation?
3.9.   Do you agree that other transport options should be progressively unlockable?
3.10.   Overall how do you rate the beta out of ten in respect to this category?

4.    Terrain & Terraforming
4.1.   Are you happy with the range of Terraforming brushes available?
4.2.   Is the city size satisfactory?
4.3.   Would you prefer to make neighbourhood connections anywhere on a city edge?
4.4.   Do you like the resources being distributed unevenly throughout the city area?
4.5.   Are you satisfied with the amount and detail of flora and fauna within the city?
4.6.   Was the water rendering to your liking?
4.7.   Did you like the Atmospherics?
4.8.   Were you happy with the day/night cycle progression?
4.9.   Are you happy with the terrain textures?
4.10.   Overall how do you rate the beta out of ten in respect to this category?

5.   Simulation mechanics
5.1.   Did you feel the transport capacities were appropriate?
5.2.   Did you feel the various zones had sufficient populations/job capacities?
5.3.   Did you feel that the YIMBY/NIMBY effects were appropriate to the source?
5.4.   Do you feel that Pollution was accurately balanced?
5.5.   Do you think the game optimum ratio of unskilled to skilled workers was realistic?
5.6.   Do you feel that population demand grew at a plausible rate?
5.7.   Do you think the pathfinding engine was effective and had sufficient max commute range?
5.8.   Do you feel the lack of immediate garbage, water and power requirements was detrimental?
5.9.   Do you like the token exchange system for trade?
5.10.   Overall how do you rate the beta out of ten in respect to this category?

6.   Graphical & Audio presentation
6.1.   Are you happy with the Level of Detail on models at each setting, considering the minimum & recommended system requirements?
6.2.   Are you happy with the level of automata present at each setting?
6.3.   Are you happy with the texture quality at each setting?
6.4.   Are you happy with the texture realism within man made objects?
6.5.   Are you happy with the texture realism in the terrain and flora?
6.6.   Did you like the background music?
6.7.   Did you like the effect sounds present?
6.8.   Were you satisfied with the loading times considering the level of graphical representation present?
6.9.   Do you think the Lower end graphical settings were neglected excessively in favour of the cutting edge presentation?
6.10.   Overall how do you rate the beta out of ten in respect to this category?

7.   Online Elements
7.1.   Do you feel that the Planet idea has been developed sufficiently as a multiplayer concept?
7.2.   Would you like to se some form of fantasy political compartmentalisation of the planets into separate fictional nations etc?
7.3.   Do you like the idea of Blueprints for landmarks?
7.4.   Are you happy with the versatility and variety in maps on the planets?
7.5.   Do you like the concept of online profile pages?
7.6.   Did you like the ability to explore friend’s cities?
7.7.   Did you find the internet elements lagged significantly?
7.8.   Did you like the idea of having a custom avatar?
7.9.   Do you feel the online elements bring a personally significant extension to the games playability, assuming what the offline game will contain by comparison?
7.10.   Overall how do you rate the beta out of ten in respect to this category?

8.   Monte Cristo & the community
8.1.   Do you feel the beta represents what Monte Cristo implied the game would be like in terms of content and function?
8.2.   Do you feel the game is a significant step forward from City Life?
8.3.   Do you feel Monte Cristo has translated a significant amount of community suggestions into the product?
8.4.   Do you feel the Beta feedback protocols are obvious and sufficient?
8.5.   Does the beta change your opinion on Monte Cristo’s sincerity in its promise to listen to the community?
8.6.   Do you think a sufficient percentage of the Beta keys were made exclusive to the Simtropolis community?
8.7.    Do you think that a significant number of the criticisms of City Life have been addressed?
8.8.   How much do you feel Cities XL, based on the beta, appeals to the Simtropolis community?
8.9.   Do you feel that the profile page system will contribute significantly to the Simtropolis community?
8.10.   Overall how do you rate the beta out of ten in respect to this category?

9.   Marketing Considerations
9.1.   How do you feel the online element will significantly increase the market appeal among casual gamers comparatively to city simulation gamers?
9.2.   Do you believe that the closed beta will increase the games profile in terms of potential customer outreach?
9.3.   What percentage of final sales would you estimate to be casual gamers, based on the beta content and functionality?
9.4.   If you had to pick an age advisory rating based on the complexity and learning curve of the game what would it be?
9.5.   Do you feel the beta was publicised adequately?
9.6.   Do you feel the beta occurred too close to the final product release date to make any significant changes?
9.7.   Do you feel that the released screenshots prior to the beta were an accurate representation of the gaming experience?
9.8.   Do you believe the name Cities XL is appropriate considering the scope and functionality of the final game implied by the beta?
9.9.   Do you perceive this game to be a top forty annual sales contender, based on the beta?
9.10.   Overall how do you rate the beta out of ten in respect to this category?

10.   City Building
10.1.   Do you feel there is sufficient building variety within the game?
10.2.   Do you feel that the architectural style is versatile enough?
10.3.   Do you feel the game is sufficiently complex in terms of micromanagement, based on the beta?
10.4.   Do you feel the game is an effective urban simulator, based on the beta?
10.5.   Do you feel that a plop airport was a necessary implementation given the city size limit?
10.6.   Do you feel that you will be able to build realistic cities with the game, based on the beta?
10.7.   Do you feel that the game is taking the city building genre in a direction appropriate to the gaming market as a whole and specifically the simulation market?
10.8.   Can you envisage recreating your hometown using Cities XL?
10.9.   Do you consider the learning curve adequate and prolonged enough?
10.10.   Overall how do you rate the beta out of ten in respect to this category?

11.   Compared to Simcity 4
11.1.   Of the two, which is more complex in terms of micromanagement?
11.2.   Of the two, which represents the urban environment in more detail?
11.3.   Of the two, which makes you feel more in control?
11.4.   Of the two, which more accurately simulates the human geography of an urban area?
11.5.   Of the two, which would you probably play for longer in its “as released” state?
11.6.   Of the two, as they stand now, which are you more likely to want to play?
11.7.   Would you say Cities XL represents a progression from Simcity 4 or an alternative?
11.8.   Do you believe Cities XL will be as accessible to custom content creators as Simcity 4 is?
11.9.   In six years time do you believe Cities XL will be selling as well as Simcity 4 is today?
11.10.   Overall how do you rate the beta out of ten in respect to this category?

12.   Some Final Questions
12.1.   Do you feel the beta provided you with a sufficient representation of the final game?
12.2.   Does playing the beta make you more or less likely to buy the final product?
12.3.   If you had to sum up the game in one sentence based on the beta, what would you say?
12.4.   Are the system requirements too high to appeal to the majority of existing city simulation gamers?
12.5.   How long do you think you would play the game for before getting bored, if the beta were the final release?
12.6.   Do you feel the game has sacrificed complexity for aesthetics?
12.7.   How do you think the final game will be received in terms of magazine reviews?
12.8.   Does this game suddenly fill your head with a thousand possibilities?
12.9.   If you had to pick your one favourite thing about the beta, what would that be?
12.10.   If you had to pick your single pet hate from the beta, what would that be?
12.11.   Is there any one thing that is obviously missing from Cities XL at this stage?
12.12.   Overall how do you rate the beta out of ten?

anyway if you want any more ideas i'd be more than happy to elaborate on my proposed simulation mechanic....
NAM + CAM + RAM + SAM, that's how I roll....

Offline croxis

Re: Memories from Urbs Urbis....
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2010, 10:35:48 AM »
Awesome stuff I remember debating some of these points all those years ago. We had such momentum, if only I knew programming back then.