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Author Topic: WEST END  (Read 249736 times)

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Offline paroch

Re: WEST END
« Reply #40 on: September 18, 2007, 02:54:30 PM »
REPLIES:

Thanks to all who have visited the most recent West End update and BIG thanks to those of you who have left comments.  I used a program called clip2pic to take the pictures for update 3 which resulted in much clearer pictures with no loss of quality - I think this made a difference.  I must thank The Tea Cat for pointing me in the right direction.

OK, specific replies:

Sober - thanks for dropping by and your comment.   I downloaded some underwater rocks but couldn't find any underwater greenery - if you have some good stuff please let me know what it's called so I can track it down  :thumbsup:

thundercrack - glad you like the region and traffic shots.  I'll try to drop these in on a regular basis from now on.

Joan - welcome back, I appreciate your visits.  That industrial area is 100% growable - I tend not to plop too many buildings in my cities unless I'm after a particular look.  The surprise of seeing what develops is half the fun in my opinion.  The sports complex is simple but I hope effective.  As for traffic control - I'm not sure how much I controlled of this, but I have deliberately left the bottlenecks at a few junctions as this is more true to reality in my opinion.  For me the bus data was more valuable, I like to know whether the sims are using them or not.

nedalezz - welcome back.  You were the first to comment on West End, so you're always welcome!  It's funny most of the pictures were taken whilst the trees were on "autumn".  And a quiet suburban town is what I was aiming for.  I live in a quiet suburban town myself, so the majority of my towns / cities go this way!

bat - thanks for your comments again.  Glad you liked the region shot.

capo - welcome to SC4D in general and West End in particular.  Thanks for the positive comment.  I work in London, so I'm sure certain elements of London will crop up from time to time ;)

Robin - thanks for that.  Yes, the region is HUGE, the shot I included is only part of it!  If I manage to fill the whole region up I will be old(er) and grey(er)  $%Grinno$%

Here's a taste of the next update (which is still in progress) GREAT PORTLAND.  Located directly to the south of Little Portland this city currently has a population of 35,000 and will be quite an important transport hub in the region.

3.17 Great Portland city overview


The region population is now 250,000 and the first airport is under construction in Great Portland.  Plans are for a single runway with one terminal but space for a second terminal if required.  Here is a shot of early construction:

3.18 Construction of runway and taxiways


3.19 Airport location in relation to city


You'll notice the airport site is just below the motorway for easy access.
Construction on the runway, taxiway and terminal buildings is now complete.  Just got to work out how the transport links will fit in best.  Forward planning is not my strong point!

3.20 Construction complete


This is my first attempt at an airport that is not a Maxis plop and drop, so your comments on how to improve it are welcomed.  I've used a mix of RMIP2, ACE and Joergs bits.  RMIP looks great but it took me ages to work out the bits to use!  I'll include closer shots of the airport in the next update.

I'll aim to give you update 4 over this weekend (RL permitting!)  $%Grinno$% $%Grinno$% $%Grinno$%


Offline thundercrack83

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Re: WEST END
« Reply #41 on: September 18, 2007, 03:06:25 PM »
Looking good, my friend! I like your airport, and I know what you mean about the RMIP pieces--there's so many of them, it's hard to figure out where they all go! Anyway, I'll be looking forward to this weekend to see you next update! Until then...

Offline Madeira aka Constantina

Re: WEST END
« Reply #42 on: September 18, 2007, 03:22:28 PM »
very promising by the looks of it.

Offline Jmouse

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Re: WEST END
« Reply #43 on: September 18, 2007, 10:11:26 PM »
Nice update, paroch. You're taking your time, working through the details and otherwise doing exactly what needs to be done. And I think your first try at building an airport is working out just fine.

Until next time...
Joan

Offline bat

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Re: WEST END
« Reply #44 on: September 19, 2007, 08:51:16 AM »
Fantastic little airport! Great work! :thumbsup:

Offline tooheys

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Re: WEST END
« Reply #45 on: September 21, 2007, 07:10:16 AM »
Nice couple of updates. Anyone who can get farms to look good on a slope has my attention :thumbsup:.

Airports take a bit of practice, and some research to get it right. But you've started out small, so the layouts fine although the runway needs to be longer. While the largest Maxis airport probably covers the same area, the scale is different. I know it's going to take up some space, but I would recommend that you increase the length of the runway by at least 50%, preferrably double it. Take a look at the large jet at the gateway and think about how much runway it wiill need to get off the ground. Better still, imagine your on the plane /wrrd%&

Anyway, only a suggestion. You are doing nice work here, Great Portland is looking good and will be back for more.

Cheers

Dave






Offline sebes

Re: WEST END
« Reply #46 on: September 21, 2007, 10:40:52 AM »
You started a very nice MD. I am looking forward to your next updates to find out how the airport will develope :thumbsup:
Check my MD:               
Rhenen,NN

Offline paroch

Re: WEST END
« Reply #47 on: September 22, 2007, 05:22:19 AM »
Hi all. Thanks for the ongoing support and comments.  Before the update here are some replies:

thundercrack - thanks for your visit again.  Yes RMIP is great but confusing for me.  I guess it's experience and having a good memory.  I'll have more detail on my next airport I'm sure.

Madeira - welcome to West End.  I hope I can deliver on the promise!

Joan - good to see you again.  You're right about taking my time - I sometimes wonder if SC4 takes up too much of my time ;)

bat - thanks.  And yes, little was my plan.

Dave - thanks for the constructive comment.  You'll see I have extended the runway.  Maybe not quite by 50% but I've also taken out the 747.  As for the research...I'm a bit too lazy for that.  I'll probably just copy one of your airports!!!!

sebes - welcome and thanks.  I love the real Amsterdam and also your Amsterdam MD.  I must re-visit it soon.


UPDATE 4


Welcome to the latest instalment from West End.  Today we’re visiting Great Portland.  This is a town/city of 50,000 and it has a few firsts for the region - the first airport and first GLR.  I showed you some “under construction” pictures before of the airport, well now things have developed.

Following Toohey’s advice I have extended the runway.  I have also taken away the 747.  This is after all more of a regional airport, so it can handle jets but not the largest aircraft.

4.01 Overview of Great Portland Regional Airport


You’ll notice that some commercial development has started on the north side of the airport.  There are two hotels, The Sheraton and Airport Conference Hotel.  There is a large area to the south of the airport that is undeveloped.  The city council are still deciding whether to zone for a mixed commercial and industrial park (industrial demand is very high) or whether to leave undeveloped to allow room for terminal 2 should it be needed.  The regional government have plans for an international airport further east near the coastal cities, so this may mean terminal 2 will never be needed.

A GLR runs around the airport as well, so again, if T2 is built then this will be easily incorporated into the GLR system.

OK, now let’s have a closer look at the airport:

4.02 Terminal 1 - west

Some walk on gates for small business jets and regional prop jets.

4.03 Terminal 1 - east and Main Entrance

Some jet way gates plus the bus-to-gate pick up point.  Bottom left of the picture is one of the multi story car parks that serves the airport.  You can also see the main entrance to the airport next to the GLR station.

4.04 Terminal Transport Hub

Good transport links right next to the door - GLR and bus already in use.  The subway station has been built but no subway system is running yet.  This will be needed as the GLR is already proving popular.  Construction is underway on the airport branch of McDonalds.

I’m going to show you the GLR route into the city centre.  You can see the main GLR station above, now let’s follow the line east into town.

4.05 Commercial development

The next GLR stop is on Aviation Drive, the main avenue out of the airport.  Here commercial development is already springing up (in fact it upgraded after I took the pics).  The space between the GLR and the taxiway is earmarked for a cargo facility.

4.06 Runway End

Here the GLR has a junction.  East over the avenue and into the city centre, or south to linkup with proposed Terminal 2 site plus western town suburbs.
GLR station is on a small plaza.  Residential development already underway - but it must be noisy living there!

4.07 Small Plaza

The next GLR stop is seeing a small commercial plaza develop.  Again, it has developed further since the pics. 

4.08 Industrial Zone

Here the GLR crosses the road and enters the industrial area.  This is quite a dense industrial area and is relatively close to the city centre.  A debate is underway as to whether this should be redeveloped.  A larger industrial area is being planned to the east of the motorway which would enable a seaport to be built.

4.09 Almost there!

The GLR winds through the last of the factories and into the wooded residential area.  The Hong Kong Garden Estates are the most common high rises in West End.  I really like these buildings and they fit the character of West End - but they do crop up a hell of a lot - maybe time to weed some out - what do you think?

4.10 Great Portland Central

And here the GLR comes to an end - connecting with the mainline railway station “Great Portland Central”.  This station is heavily used (13,500) and is already over capacity, so the city council are deciding how to improve this important transport hub.  Many travellers from other cities change from train to GLR here to get to the airport.  It is likely that a direct subway line will link the airport to here.

Now for some other shots of Great Portland.  I think I’ve said before I don’t do much plopping, instead I enjoy seeing what will grow.  This little neighbourhood is my favourite in Great Portland:

4.11 Amstel Grove

Named after my favourite Dutch beer.  I think this little corner of Great Portland is very tranquil and has a relaxed feeling.

4.12 Commercial Waterfront

The main commercial district of Great Portland - mainly offices.  Strongest influences here are Jmyers, SimGoober and RP/Zero7.  The south bank of the river is planning a commercial district to rival this but will likely to have more retail than offices.

4.13 Entertainment

This certainly wasn’t planned!  A Best Western Hotel, Century Cinema plus Hooters, Plaza Azteca and Pizza Uno.  Any visitors to Great Portland usually end up spending at least one evening on this “mini strip”.

4.14 Keep it green

This corner of Great Portland is a wildlife reserve.  Many species of waterfowl live here, so it has been declared a protected zone.  The few houses that are here are very popular.

4.15 Bay Living

Living near water has always looked nice - and these folks thinks so too.  Thanks to Sober’s comment I tracked down some underwater props - I think they look OK, but with a bit more playing I’m sure I can improve on this.

4.16 Peninsular

This peninsular is home to a lot of sims in a little space.  Not the smartest part of town but the views are awesome!  Small water taxi station is an alternative way on and off the peninsular.

4.17 Dominci Park

The largest park in all of West End (so far!).  Residents and visitors alike come to Dominci Park to relax and stroll along the numerous paths.  The city council bill it “the jewel in our crown” - that’s politicians for you!

4.18 Freight Terminal

Here is the industrial freight terminal.  I’ve experienced problems with whichever freight station/terminal I use.  The track doesn’t appear to run through it (even though it does) and usage is always zero.  Please suggest a good freight station / terminal to me - I’d love to be able to do something better than this.

4.19 South Bank

The south bank of Great Portland is only just getting going.  I think this will be the site of my next update.  I have not built many of the rewards yet (I know I have loads waiting), so the south bank could be home to lots of interesting places.

Please feel free to comment on where I can improve - I do take your suggestions seriously.

Thanks and until next time..... $%Grinno$% $%Grinno$% $%Grinno$%



Offline bat

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Re: WEST END
« Reply #48 on: September 22, 2007, 10:30:42 AM »
Fantastic new pictures there, paroch! Wonderful new pictures of the airport! Also great areas next to the GLR-Way! Also the others are looking wonderful! :thumbsup:

Offline Madeira aka Constantina

Re: WEST END
« Reply #49 on: September 22, 2007, 10:57:51 AM »
i like it  :)

Offline Jmouse

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Re: WEST END
« Reply #50 on: September 22, 2007, 07:01:56 PM »
Very interesting and well-done update, paroch. Your transport systems appear to be very efficient, and it would be nice to see some traffic-usage data for the different elements. Also, what's the population now?

Until next time...
Joan

Offline paroch

Re: WEST END
« Reply #51 on: September 27, 2007, 01:52:56 PM »
Bat - thanks for the comment - The airport and GLR took me some time so I'm happy you like them!

Madeira - I like your comment :)

Joan - Thanks for that - and your wish is my command.  Traffic info below.  I'll let you decide whether they are efficient or not!!

4.20 Congestion data:

As you can see the major routes are green but a few bottlenecks on some downtown roads and some of the streets.  I'll have to have a closer look at these - but I do think that some congestion is good as it adds to the realism.

4.21 Road data:


4.22 GLR data:

Most of the route is being well used.  I have the Dockalnds Light Railway mod installed and am seeing plenty of blue and red trams zipping around the airport and city.

4.23 Bus data:

Buses tend to be the workhorses of my local tranportation but here in Great Portland they are not being used much in the city - BUT plenty of people are taking buses for longer journeys out of town eastwards.

4.24 Train data:

The trains were so busy I had to upgrade the line to a double track through most of the city.  Plenty of use on most of the line.

4.25 Ferry data:

Not much happening here - YET!

4.26 Zoning Data:

Thought this may be of interest.  You can see the Industrial is concentrated with the Resi areas interspersed with commercial districts.  Some commercial zones up by the airport have high levels of customers.

Great Portland population is now 65,000 and the regional population is 260,000.  I'm going to develop the south bank of Great Portland next and then move to another city.  I'll come back to Great Portland later when I have decided whether to build Terminal 2 or a new industrial area to the south of the airport.

Hope you find this of interest.  Hope to give you update 5 over the weekend......... $%Grinno$% $%Grinno$% $%Grinno$%



Offline Jmouse

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Re: WEST END
« Reply #52 on: September 27, 2007, 02:33:10 PM »
Impressive data, paroch. Thanks for including it. Great Portland is about the size of the city I live near now, and the transport system has similarities. I call it a tic-tac-toe layout with two five-lane thoroughfares north to south, and two more east to west (that's two lanes each direction and a left-turn lane down the middle - don't know if they have that kind of setup in other parts of the world or not.).
Anyway, it looks like you have traffic under control which is no easy task in SC4! :thumbsup:

Until next time...
Joan

Offline paroch

Re: WEST END
« Reply #53 on: September 30, 2007, 03:35:08 PM »
Hi all and welcome to update 5 of the West End MD.

Fisrt of all, a big thank you to Joan for your unflinching support of this MD.  I’m glad you liked the traffic data.  And as for keeping the traffic under control I’m not sure how much of that is luck rather than judgement!

Anyways, update 5 is a look at some other parts of Great Portland that I like and hope you do too.....

5.01 South Bank School
Development has moved across to the south side of the River Dinnium.  The main residential area surrounds the South Bank school which has good sports facilities.  I like the way the European W2W buildings have developed.  It only took a little bulldozing to achieve this, so I am pleased with the outcome.  In the bottom left of the picture is the pitch where the neighbourhood team play every Sunday.



5.02 South Bank Commercial Plaza
Directly on the river is the new Solar Power Plant.  People who live south of the river are “keen to be green” so insisted on solar power.  The Portland tennis centre is also on the river side and is home to the annual Portland Open which attracts players from across all of West End.  I like the way one of Goober’s adult stores is sandwiched between the tennis stadium and the JJB sports store.



5.03 FC Portland
Here is the NRG Stadium, home to FC Portland, the most successful team in Great Portland.  The stadium has a capacity of 45,000.  West End isn’t developed enough yet to have a fully fledged league, but once it does I am sure that FC Portland will be one of the main teams.  At the bottom of the picture you’ll see the new subway station.  This line has been built to link the south side of the city with the airport.
The food courts are popular all week round, whether a nice spot for lunch or a dinner in a buzzy atmosphere followed by a walk along the riverside.  Of course on match day it gets really busy with fans wanting beer, hot dogs and burgers.  The stadium is known for its beef and onion pies.



5.04 The Port
Many say that this is where Portland got its name - the port.  This is my first attempt at anything other than a maxis plop and drop port.  The main container port and ro-ro ferry port is in place.  There are a couple of rail freight yards that service the port but I need to build up the industry and warehousing around the port.  I’m lacking small filler lots, so any suggestions are welcome.



5.05 Convention Centre
OK, we’re back north of the river now.  I know this is a standard Maxis building but I really like it.  The convention centre has been built up near the airport and is currently hosting “Reptile Locator 07”, the world’s largest exhibition dedicated to people looking for lost reptiles.  My son’s two corn snakes escaped yesterday and we’ve only found one so far, so one is loose in the house somewhere! &cry2


5.06 Runway’s End
Here is the development that has built up at the end of the runway of the nearby airport.  I like the way it’s all so uniform.  A little bit of bulldozing, making historic and luck has given this result.  Have you noticed how when you come in to land at an airport you see so many swimming pools in gardens.  It's odd because when you're on ground level you don't see them.  Anyway, can you see the plane in the picture - and they're looking down at those two swimming pools thinking "I never knew those pools were there"!  Take a bow RP (zero7), Gascooker and MattB for your brilliant BATs.



5.07 Business Park
Here is a small business park that has only recently been developed.  The park was designed with small businesses in mind.  They were asking for small buildings that could be used either for office space or small storage and distribution centres.  The six square glass and brick office buildings are VERY realistic - buildings just like these can be seen on most business parks in England that have been built in the last 10 years or so.  The  blue, white and yellow buildings are supposed to be tyre shops/garages but I think that they work well as small business distribution centres.  All in all I am pleased with this small development (quick, make it historic before it upgrades!)



5.08 Missouri Park
This park has been developed between the large industrial zone, the sea wall and the rail bridge.  Across the rail bridge is the Port of Great Portland.  The park isn’t used that much as it is quite a drive from the nearest residential area, but for those that make the journey it is a nice quiet corner of the city.  The park is named after the missing snake and it is rumoured that this park is home to all the escaped reptiles in Great Portland! ;)



5.09 Riverside Living
One of the new riverside developments.  This is towards the western edge of Great Portland and will be the last high rise zone to get planning permission on the riverside.  The city council have decided that no new builds taller than 4 stories will be allowed within 100 metres of the river from now on.  I really like the red building called “Moscow Red”, only recently released on STEX.  I must of course thank Jeronij for his great sea walls.  I use them a lot, I guess I should look for some alternatives just to add some variety.


5.10 Peninsular Redeveloped
In update  4 I showed you the peninsular (pic 4.16).  Since then a sea wall has been built (which resulted in many of the buildings being lost).  As a result the whole peninsular was redeveloped.  I am pleased with the end result.  The new subway line has a station on the peninsular which means that it is very easy for the residents to access the South Bank and the airport.  This has helped make it a popular place to live in Great Portland.
You can also see the small business park in this shot.  You’ll see you have to go through the business park to get the Portland Bill Lighthouse.



5.11 Peninsular zoom in
This shot of the peninsular is zoomed in and spun through 180 degrees.  You can see the subway station and the gardens.  I’ve just spotted two undeveloped squares!



5.12 Region Shot
Here is an up to date picture of the region.  Your opinions are welcomed on the following questions:
a) what town/city should be developed next.
b) when it comes to airport development, would you go for expanding Great Portland, or building a larger airport?  I am thinking of either Carnaby (directly south from Great Portland) or East castle (which is in the top north east of the region).
c) expand the port at Great Portland, or build a larger one on the Piccadilly / Carnaby coast?
d) Cavendish is likely to be a large farming community - do you agree with this plan?
I will listen to your opinions and if there is a clear majority I will develop as you suggest.



I hope you’ve enjoyed this update.  The city now has a population of 97,000 and the region is up to 307,000.  I’m away for about 10 days from Tuesday so the replies, next update and next development decision will not be until after I’m back. 

Until next time...... $%Grinno$% $%Grinno$% $%Grinno$%




Offline Jmouse

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Re: WEST END
« Reply #54 on: September 30, 2007, 07:14:16 PM »
Very nice update, paroch. Great Portland is moving in a positive direction and you're showing it off in the best possible light. The photo with the plane in it is especially good -- I never get lucky enough to catch a scene like that!  ::)
In response to your questions, how about taking a whack at one of the islands -- Regent perhaps?
Can't give an opinion on the airport since never achieved a higher plane than a plop-and-drop. (And please excuse the silly pun!)
As for the seaport, ask yourself why you need one. The game designers gave us a lot of informational tools which I'm trying to get into the habit of using. If you're looking for efficiency, check out the usage stats. If you're going for looks, just trust your obviously good eye for detail.
And Cavendish looks like an ideal spot for a farming community. :thumbsup:

Until next time...
Joan

Offline Shadow Assassin

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Re: WEST END
« Reply #55 on: September 30, 2007, 09:05:26 PM »
Looks good, but I suggest moving your airport out of Greater Portland, it's too close to development. Maybe build another airport just south of it?
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Offline tooheys

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Re: WEST END
« Reply #56 on: October 04, 2007, 05:01:04 AM »
Hi Paroch, great couple of updates.

You certainly have some good looking lots in your collection, and you put them all together quite well.  :thumbsup:

The convention centre and stadiums look great  :)

You certainly are having some trouble with some of your lots, the freight stations I use myself. I'll have a look and see if I can work out what is missing (although I didn't help much with the ferry terminals $%Grinno$% ) . Ive also got some nice looking warehouses that are great for fillers and will get you a link in the next day or so.

I hope you don't mind me making a suggestion or two along the way. Feel free to ignore me anytime  ;)

I know it always good to try and work with the natural topography of the region, but sometimes as in RL you just need to flatten things out or terraform them to a workable arrangement. Take your picture of the port for instance, IMHO it would look better if the rail line thru the port was flat. Changes in rail elevation, if they can't be avoided, should be gradual, now this isn't really possible in SC4 without the use of a decent slope mod. Something to consider, but be warned, a slope mod will impact on the way you plan a city (something to experiment with first).

Anyway, I've raved on for too long. I hope I have given you something to think about, if not, just tell me to shutup ;D

Cheers

Dave

PS: Here are the warehouse links: 1 and 2. You might also want to look for the "BLS small industrials by Barbw". They are great for filling one or two tiles in industrial areas.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2007, 02:47:48 AM by tooheys »

Offline bat

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Re: WEST END
« Reply #57 on: October 05, 2007, 03:31:45 AM »
A great new update, paroch! Wonderful work on that region! :thumbsup:

Offline paroch

Re: WEST END
« Reply #58 on: October 11, 2007, 09:36:42 PM »
Well, I'm back from my break, and back on SC4D.  Struggling with the time difference (just jumped forward 8 hours) hence why I‘m here at 3 a.m  %wrd

It is always interesting to visit somewhere different and see some real cities / towns / landscapes and think how you can incorporate them into SC4.  We flew to Las Vegas via Calgary in Canada and coming into land at Calgary I was struck by just how flat the land is there. It stretches for miles and is all perfectly flat.  And the farms were all perfect square patchwork fields.  The small roads seemed to form a perfect grid as well.  So now, when I make square farms I won't feel so guilty. 

From up in the sky I also appreciated just how much land schools take up with their various buildings and sports fields.  I will have to try to allow more space for them in future.

Vegas of course is a weird city, like no other place.  From a city concept angle I can see how the city is growing rapidly but is really struggling with traffic.  They have installed a monorail system that is quick, modern and clean BUT the stations are too far back from the main road (the strip), so consequently it is not used as much as it could/should be.  I guess it's not as easy in real life to flatten a few buildings just to improve the transportation network.  I guess if the city planners had realised just how HUGE Vegas was going to become they would have allowed room for a decent elevated rail/monorail where it really needs to be. 

The city is laid out in a series of grids and the low density residential (in SC terms anyway) stretches out for miles.  I guess this version of suburbia is what I try to achieve but it is so hard to resist zoning some medium  and high density zones  ;)

The airport at Vegas is so close to the main hotel district.  The only other place I know of with an airport so close to the city is Pisa in Italy but that is a much smaller place.  So I guess that means I don’t feel soooo bad about the location of the airport in my region.

Anyways, thanks for the comments whilst I was away - here are some replies:

Joan - thanks for your support with West End and thanks for the reputation point - much appreciated  :).  I appreciate your comments and will act accordingly (Regent has already started some small development but I will now concentrate more on this).  And Cavendish will be a tranquil farming community (I hope).  Btw, I see you’ve started your own MD, I’ll be over soon.

Shadow Assassin - thanks for that.  I kind of realised that myself but sometimes you need someone else to tell you!  I think I’ll leave the airport as it is (for now) and develop the region's large international airport in Carnaby.  Once this is built I can then decide whether to leave the current airport as a specialist cargo or business airport or redevelop it into something else.

Tooheys/Dave - Good to see you here again and thanks for the help with the ferry terminals and warehouse suggestions.  And please feel free to make any suggestions or comments - I’m certainly not a “perfect player” in any respect.  As I said to Shadow Assassin above, sometimes you kind of know something is not quite right and someone else saying so certainly helps - I know that rail line needs to be level and your comment just re-affirms that.  I’ll have to read up on slop mods before deciding whether to take the plunge.
Thanks for those links as well.

bat - cheers for the comment.

Well I hope to give you another update soon and looking at my stats, hopefully it’ll be in Ones to Watch pretty soon.

Take care...... $%Grinno$% $%Grinno$% $%Grinno$%


Offline Jmouse

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Re: WEST END
« Reply #59 on: October 11, 2007, 10:23:35 PM »
Welcome back, paroch. Hope you had a pleasant trip.
Just remember, though, that you can't judge an entire country by one city or state. (And you're right, Vegas is a bit weird!) Anyway, The State of Texas alone has many faces including flat lands, semi-desert, the canyon-studded Hill Country, coastal areas and a huge swath of piney woods in the east we call The Big Thicket.
So, just go for the look you want and be willing to relax the rules of reality a bit here and there if need be. Please yourself and you'll please your audience. ;)
And I'll be looking forward to your visit.

Until next time...
Joan