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Author Topic: Improving region play  (Read 17673 times)

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Offline croxis

Improving region play
« on: September 08, 2009, 11:03:17 AM »
There is much demand for regions much like simcity4.  However I found sc4 regions to be quite limiting and, in my personal opinion, not worth putting in without improvements.  What improvements would you think benefit the region level?

Me:

Multiple people playing different cities simultaneously.

Autosyncronization (no need to load neighboring cities to sync demand)

Edge effects.  Placing dirty industry at the edge of one city will spill over tot he neighboring one.

Offline Nardo69

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Re: Improving region play
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2009, 11:45:44 AM »
Well, there are quite some region play features that I miss in Sc4:

  • I am not sure if autosnychronization would work but at least a static pic of the neighbours - where available - would be very helpful to smooth out transition!
  • Some Infrasturctur could be region wide - airports, ports, universities, prisons, schools etc.
  • Electricity could be created region wide and transported by HV lines with the need of trafo stations at the consumers.

just some points ... ;)

Offline catty

Re: Improving region play
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2009, 01:08:30 PM »
Well, there are quite some region play features that I miss in Sc4:

  • I am not sure if autosnychronization would work but at least a static pic of the neighbours - where available - would be very helpful to smooth out transition!
  • Some Infrasturctur could be region wide - airports, ports, universities, prisons, schools etc.
  • Electricity could be created region wide and transported by HV lines with the need of trafo stations at the consumers.

just some points ... ;)

Ditto on all of the above, Autosyncronization and Edge effects does sound quite nice, as to the "Multiple people playing different cities simultaneously" I'd prefer a good AI to do that, as I definitely a single-player type of person  :)
I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?" DEATH thought about it. "CATS," he said eventually, "CATS ARE NICE.

Offline tomkeus

Re: Improving region play
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2009, 01:42:52 PM »
    Well since, I'm working on the simulator, here's what I've planned so far


Well, there are quite some region play features that I miss in Sc4:

  • I am not sure if autosnychronization would work but at least a static pic of the neighbours - where available - would be very helpful to smooth out transition!
  • Some Infrasturctur could be region wide - airports, ports, universities, prisons, schools etc.
  • Electricity could be created region wide and transported by HV lines with the need of trafo stations at the consumers.

just some points ... ;)

  • Some relevant data will be compiled for each city and then used to represent it when player is not playing it
  • That is definitively how it's gonna be..
  • As for electricity, electricity will be provided through publicly owned electric companies. It is a concept I thought might be interesting. Players will be able to control certain number of companies. Companies can be region owned and city owned. Region owned companies are needed for big investments, which, cities on their own couldn't afford (power plants, airports, railroads). Any profit from these companies will go the region (this means shared between the cities) or to the owner city. Same for the losses. I'll perhaps elaborate on that in the topic on the economic model. It is a feature which is possible to be derived from the basic model I described on the aforementioned topic.


Seeing CXL please don't make it a multiplayer.
Only make it a multiplayer once the single player has been totally finished for a year or so.

We don't need much of the effort to make multiplayer. It is just useful byproduct of the basic framework.[/list]
« Last Edit: September 08, 2009, 01:45:03 PM by tomkeus »
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Offline croxis

Re: Improving region play
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2009, 02:08:04 PM »
Multiplayer thread is opened, please move discussions on mp threads there :)

Offline oldman9942

Re: Improving region play
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2009, 09:31:37 PM »
I think that people don't want Sim City 4 style regions, per se, but rather they want really large playing areas.  EA's implementation was rather clever, in that they scaled the existing city/connection model to a larger grid, but you were in fact really only ever playing one city at a time.

Without thinking outside of the box on this topic, my thoughts on improving SC4 regions went like this:  Assume computing capacity can handle this setup.  Instead of loading a single city, load up to 9 (the city in the center and the adjacent eight).  Only the one in the center would be editable, but events could happen in any of the 9.  When the playable area moves to a new segment, then the unloaded adjacent areas are loaded, and the other ones are swapped out.

In addition, a second thread would be running which would determine the probability of some event happening in an unloaded city.  The probability would eventually go to 1, forcing the load and update of cities which hadn't been loaded in a long time.

Thinking outside of EA's region box, I imagine a non cellular type model could work too, although I'm a bit less creative about it right now.

Offline mrdazza_460

Re: Improving region play
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2009, 05:42:18 AM »
how about just having one budget for the hole region, and not have to bother with selling water and garbage to other cities, that really started to annoy me withy SC4.

1 Have one or two large power plants that feed the whole region, this allows us to have high Voltage power lines that acutely to something

2 Have 2 or 3 large pumps that feed the hole region.

3 having one large serge fram

4.haveing better travel form one city to any other city in the region   

ummm I will think of more let me dust of some of my CXL suggestion   
« Last Edit: September 29, 2009, 05:51:04 AM by mrdazza_460 »

Offline tomkeus

Re: Improving region play
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2009, 12:41:13 PM »
how about just having one budget for the hole region, and not have to bother with selling water and garbage to other cities, that really started to annoy me withy SC4.

We have to take think of situation where we have more than one player within the region.


1 Have one or two large power plants that feed the whole region, this allows us to have high Voltage power lines that acutely to something
2 Have 2 or 3 large pumps that feed the hole region.

This is how it's going to be. One decent thermoelectric plant costs something of the order of 1bn$ and since we want to have realistic costs in game, that is far more than one city budget can handle.

3 having one large serge fram

We still have to sort out resource extraction economy (and yes, farms belong there)

#define TRUE FALSE /*Happy debugging suckers*/

Offline Atomius

Re: Improving region play
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2009, 02:34:26 PM »
IMO a unified regional administration, including a unified budget, and a unified region (i.e pollution travels intercity, power stations can power entire regions in a realistic fashion (you do not need a coal power plant for every town)) is a great idea. Also multiplayer within a region, and the idea of loading the entire region and only playing one city but being able to move between cities without going back to the region view is a good idea. Game speed aside that is, but i'm sure there are ways to alleviate that, and besides computers are getting more powerful.

A regional terrain editor would be good, and indeed what i think would be best is this: You start a region like in Simcity 4, at the same zoom level. You have, however, the god mode GUI. You edit regional terrain in this GUI. Next you switch to a regional Mayor Mode GUI, which, as you hover over a particular city, switches the data to that city's data, so for instance if this was the regional setup of four cities:

simtown-simville-simland-simmingdale

and you began play in simtown, if you moved over to simville the GUI would reflect that move and switch to simville data and editing. Thus a seamless transition between cities.

For multiplayer you'd simply block any editing input into the other player(s) cities but you'd still get data on them.

Regional transportation and COMMUTING. Sorry for capitalizing but i just can't get over the fact that in Simcity 4 travelling one mile to work is considered a 'long' commute. Seriously i know somebody who lives in Dapto and commutes to Sydney (that's like a hundred km train ride). Theres no excuse for not allowing regional commute imo, especially with faster modes of transport like trains.

Another possibility is a regional government that is ABOVE the local mayor administrations. This could be like 'simnation' or more correctly due to the average region size and average country size comparison, 'simstate' or 'simcounty'. It would be an AI administration like simnation that could do things like present you with rewards for your cities, compare average crime rates in simcounty to your presently active city, etc etc.

Just some ideas. Oh and beyond simcounty you would of course have other simcounties, like the neighbour cities of 2000 and 3000.

Offline Eliteforce

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Re: Improving region play
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2009, 04:05:24 PM »
*auto-generated regions* like how you made cities in SC3k and SC2k. 
Built in region terraforming.
Regions aren't limited to just a square, you can add cities to the edges of it to keep it expanding.  eventually it will get too demanding for pc's to handle but that's the user's choice.

Offline mrdazza_460

Re: Improving region play
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2009, 05:04:33 AM »
Quote
We have to take think of situation where we have more than one player within the region.

Your not going to go all Cities XL on us are you, pleases don't 

Whatís wrong with single player games, doesnít any one wonít them anymore? Am I just living in the past?   

Offline tomkeus

Re: Improving region play
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2009, 06:17:25 AM »
Your not going to go all Cities XL on us are you, pleases don't 

NO.
#define TRUE FALSE /*Happy debugging suckers*/

Offline croxis

Re: Improving region play
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2009, 10:03:10 AM »
Elite, we have someone working on a random map generator.

Mr. Dazza, as I said here in many threads, there will be no difference between the single player game and the multiplayer game.  The only difference between the two will be the presence of people and a few lines of code so city owners can manage who can touch their cities.

Do you honestly think that the Cities XL way of doing multiplayer is the only way?

Offline mrdazza_460

Re: Improving region play
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2009, 04:18:45 AM »
Well no, I donít think that CXL is the only way to do thing.   

There is a difference between the single player and multiplayer is cheating and  in city building game I generally like to cheat, and I can do it with out people complaining.

I donít cheat because I wonít to play the game quicker, I cheat because I donít wonít to worry about money. I like to build every little detail as possible spend time designs road networks and where I wont certain building placed,  with out a money cheat I can not do this, as I tend to places roads then delete them because I donít like the way they look. If  I canít do this i cant get the satisfaction out of the game as I wont.

Offline croxis

Re: Improving region play
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2009, 11:58:59 AM »
You are the one who decides if you want your region to be multiplayer or not.

I figure we are going to go for a sandbox mode where money is not an issue as well as a limited simulation.

Offline JoeST

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Re: Improving region play
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2009, 01:12:44 PM »
it probably all be 'easily' configurable...
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Offline oldrogue

Re: Improving region play
« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2009, 05:35:44 PM »
My dream would be for a region that is not blocked off with predetermined city sizes.  Rather you go in and where you start your village you will be able to actually see that village's limits expand naturally....if you start another village a few kilometers away well, then maybe they will eventually bump into each other and either merge or become semi-rivals.  I try to play my regions like that....I will look at a "large" city square and pick anywhere from 1 to 4 little areas that would have been logical for a settlement to start.  Building each one seperatly and see how they interact.

I also "cheat" in the fact that I'm NOT playing a game, I AM trying to creat an area that is believable and that I would like to live in.  I like a to have just a touch of the economic worries, but only enough to keep things semi-realistic. 

That to me is one of the joys of the system, you the player can do what you want to do ...some create beautiful bats and lots, some do down to the cent budgeting, and others recreate exact duplicates of real life places, some can right moving and believable histories  of their creations.  Some want huge city scapes with vast oceans of skyscrapers. Others like myself make intimate little paintings of an idyllic lifestyle that can't be found in the real world anymore.   All of this breaks down to the fact that any improvments are going to have to apeal to a very large cross section of players and as any elected official will tell you....somebody is always going to be irked at what you've done.....grin...

Oh, and as a post script, in a new region situation, I would be thrilled beyond belief if it were possible to climatize the region and to make sure that the native flora and agriculture reflected the climate..I hate seeing a bannana plantation pop up next to a strawberry patch or an apple orchard.

Ok, so I'm still going  ;D  If we are talking region wide, how about "hidden" natural resources?  1 area of the region might have coal or oil or whatever that can be exploited.   That way town A can be built around a coal mine, town B around a shipping point, town C around a....you get the picture.

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Offline Atomius

Re: Improving region play
« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2009, 06:08:54 PM »
Lincity has resources such as coal and i would back the idea of resources in a city sim- if that is there is a mode where the region is self sustainable.

Offline dragonshardz

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Re: Improving region play
« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2009, 10:23:03 PM »
Resources is a good idea...just please don't make it too much like RTS games. It should be set so that while coal is handy (more $$ is always good), it isn't required for building.

I'm gonna take oldrogue's suggestions and run with them.

No predetermined city sizes: Unfortunately, there DO need to be limits on city AREA to aid the computer in processing. Squares are the easiest geometric shape to work with and still allow cities to be built in a grid. 1024 meters to a side is the largest size available as posited HERE. That's a lot of land to work with, 10.24 kilometers per side, which is about 104 km2. Keep in mind that the largest city in SC4 has an area of 8 square kilometers. The largest proposed city for CityMania is 13 times larger than the largest city in SC4.

Now, we all agree that in real life, naturally formed cities that are perfectly geometric are extremely rare. In nature, rectangles, squares, and other 4-sided polygons (quadrilaterals) are rare as well. Thus it can be assumed that squares are BAD. Why? Well, take a look at your nearest truss bridge.

In fact, here's one right now.

Image courtesy Wikipedia.

Note the central span. The outermost horizontal and vertical members together make up a rectangle. Alone, that rectangle would not be able to support the weight of a train and the bridge would break. BUT, the side is braced internally with triangles created by the center vertical member and the two diagonal members, as are the opposite side, top, and bottom. Triangles are the strongest and most-often occurring geometrical shape found in nature. Man figured this out and voila! Bridges that can hold tons of weight with no problem.

"But Patrick!" You say. "If that's right, why are buildings square?" And that's a good question. The thing is, the human mind thinks geometrically and squares and rectangles provide the most usable room for their shape. Ever stood up in a triangular room? It's not comfortable, but it's sturdy.

"OK, that makes sense." You say. "So why don't skyscrapers fall down? They're square, and don't have any triangular bracing."

Well, that's not entirely true. You see, skyscrapers DO have internal bracing, besides the beams in the walls. It's just not visible on our level of existence. Take a piece of concrete and use an electron microscope to zoom in. What you'll see is that the concrete's constituent parts are triangular pyramids. Sand is a crystal, and most crystals have a triangular structure at the molecular level. It's why diamond is so strong: all of it's molecules are triangular, and are arranged in triangular patterns.

Now, to get back to my original idea: Regions SHOULD be unlimited, at least to the point your computer can handle. However, cities do need limits, both because they have them in real life but also because your computer and the programming of the game needs a place where it can say "Stop here."

My suggestion is this: In Region mode, after you've used your God-level terraforming tools, you open a menu and pick a city size. Then, you can draw out the city limits using a line tool with splines available as well. Let's say for example I choose the smallest available size, which has an area of 0.4 km2. I choose to have my first city have a hexagonal shape. I am limited to a hexagon with an area of 0.4 km2, and thus draw lines that are 0.42 km long. We'll assume that there's an ingame tool or wizard to help with this and move on.
(I know what they say about assumptions, believe me.)

Rendering program courtesy Autodesk, Inc.
This is the shape of my city limits. There are mountains to the north and a river to the east. I will be blocked by the mountains unless I wish to spend money to build a tunnel, but I can expand across the river should the need arise.


Rendering program courtesy Autodesk, Inc.
In SC4, once I fill up the available space, that's it. Time for a new city. Not so according to my idea. If Jenress is surrounded on all sides by wilderness, I can simply expand the borders up to the next size, small, with an area of 1.6 km2.


Rendering program courtesy Autodesk, Inc.
Ah, but what if there is a city across the river? My city expands up to the river and stops there. A popup appears, explaining that my city has come in contact with another city (run by Player X) and cannot expand further in that direction. When I press OK, I am allowed to draw a polygon with an area the size of the blocked area.


Rendering program courtesy Autodesk, Inc.
Now, at this point, I can do three things with the other city: Ignore it, trade with it (this is where resources comes into play), or fight it. Being a nice guy, I choose to trade with it.

I enter into a chat similar to this...


Image courtesy Stardock, Inc.

...though not in real-time unless the other player is also playing his city. I choose trade and make an offer. My city has coal, so I offer to trade it.

When Player X next plays that city, my trade offer appears in a "While you were away" popup. He accepts, and we continue on our merry way. Eventually, Player X gets tired of the city and "sells" it to me. This allows for simulation of how real-world cities grow.

Selling: Player X enters his diplo menu and offers to give me the city. I accept, and the game downloads and installs the city's files on my PC and generates a list of plugins that the city depends on. I now have full rights to the city, and can decide to remove anything I don't want, like a transit plugin.

Obviously, selling cities would not be lightly-made decisions, as the seller loses all rights to the city. There would most likely need to be some sort of compensation, but I'll not be getting into that.


Now, at this point I continue growing both of my cities, eventually expanding them to the largest size of 104 km2. At this point, my cities must create more usable land within their limits or start growing up if they haven't already.

The idea is that the cities have a predefined size but not a predefined shape, which allows natural growth. In fact, you could even draw a city with circular limits. Also, in my illustrations, the city borders include mountainous areas. In SC4, if there's mountains in your city you're stuck with them, but with this system cities can avoid having useless space by drawing borders just up to where the land becomes unusable.

This does raise another question: What about intercity transit networks? One of the things I find most annoying about SC4 is having to load an entire city just to draw highways from point A to point B. A way that would work better is to have a regional government level of building, so transit networks can be built between cities without having to create cities. And of course, your city will just incorporate those networks into its borders as it grows.

Resources, as stated, are a great way to give meaning to the presence of a city. Acclimatization is also a great idea. I don't have any ideas on how to make those work at the moment, so I'll be ending this post.

Offline croxis

Re: Improving region play
« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2009, 02:20:34 AM »
As I said in the other thread there is one reason why computer games almost always have square maps.

Quad Trees. Not only do they require a square map, but the map size must be 2^n. That limits the maps to 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048.... in dimensions. Quadtrees are a serious optimization tool programmers use to optimize the game both at the graphical level and at the simulation level. Non 2^n maps are possible, but you will be robbing the programmers of tools to make the larger maps playable.