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 Post subject: City Simulator
PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 4:26 am 
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I've decided to make this thread here as a brainstorm type thing...

I'm going to get myself a new computer first probably, because I'll need more programming power and hard drive space for this to all work.

So, initial shopping list will be for a 2D or 3D game engine, and probably a MMOG and other middleware... I'll worry about that later though, I want to think about what a city and by extension a city game needs, I think if I focus on that at first it'll making shopping for the game engine, MMOG middleware and other middleware a lot easier.


UTILITIES
Gas, Power, Sewage, Water
One thing I had in mind for the online aspects would be players trading and working out deals and such, like some players could end up having a sewage based economy with massive sewer treatment plants, or selling gas and power etc..

NATURAL RESOURCES
One thing I've found lacking in SimCity 4 is natural resources, my idea would have regions with various levels of natural resources available for the reaping, like forestry, mining, oil, etc. and the processing facilities to go along with them.

I'd think that natural resources would have a great impact on how a city develops, like a forestry town would produce lumber and other wood products that can be sold to other players for constructing their own cities.

There would have to be services of all kinds in the cities too... Police to keep the cities crime rate down, fire protection services to keep everything from burning down, health and mental care facilities to keep everyone healthy and sane, education facilities from K-12, community colleges and major universities.

I'd also like to see sports in there, like if you as a city mayor puts money into sports from K-12 and in college and university you get better major league players and those major league players can be on the local teams that play league sports against other players teams and so on... so if you support school sports and build hockey rinks you're going to produce good hockey players, and when you start winning games against other players, you start making more money from taxing ticket sales.

Visiting other cities might not be very doable, but encouraging tourism with your population could be a real thing.

I'm going to take some time later to look at the needs and wants of real cities and come up with some more details.


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 Post subject: Re: City Simulator
PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 10:04 pm 
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I'm thinking for zoning residential it could be like this...

Residential zoning menu comes up and you have the following options.

Detached Housing (Low Density)
--- Single Family - 10-50 units per hectare
Attached Housing (Medium Density)
--- Duplex - 40-70 units per hectare
--- Rowhouse - 60-100 units per hectare
Stacked Housing (High Density)
--- Multi-story walk-up - 80-280 units per hectare

The population would also have to have a class system that would also involve the housing system.

Upper Class
Upper Middle Class
Lower Middle Class
Working Class
Lower Class

Different classes would be able to inhabit the different housing systems in game, the neighbourhoods and building appearances would reflect the class of people living in them... the upper class for example would want to live away from the lower class typically.

As for transit, in Sim City games you plop down some bus stops and let it go, I'd think having the ability to plan out bus routes would be a good idea... say you know a lot of people commute between 2 specific locations, you could make that a bus route and place one or more bus exchanges along the route.


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 Post subject: Re: City Simulator
PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 7:06 am 
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Built in building creation tools.

With SimCity 4 you have to use gmax or 3ds Max to build houses, office buildings, and whatever else you want to make for in game use.

I think building architect tools into the game could be a great advantage...

Like selecting pre-built components or designing your own components and assembling it all without leaving the game.


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 Post subject: Re: City Simulator
PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 8:13 am 
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There's a few different city simulators out there...
SimCity 4 and Cities XL 2011 seem to be the top two.

SimCity 4 takes the lead though because of customization.
Cities XL 2011 looks more realistic visually though.

I'd like for mine to be a mix... visually realistic, and customizable.

Would like to be able to have the character you play... they mayor... be able to walk around city streets, drive around city streets, talk to people, maybe even walk into some buildings and houses.


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 Post subject: Re: City Simulator
PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 8:24 pm 
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So, I'm going with the name NationOne for the game so far, I wanted to make it a Nation simulator instead of a city simulator because the stuff I've been coming up with has a lot of international stuff.

So, you will load into the game for the first time and create your character that you'll be able to walk/drive/fly around your nation.
You pick your title, for example, Lord, President, Prime Minister, Minister, Overlord, Chancellor, etc. from a drop down menu or you can create a title.
You make up your name, pick a gender, and use sliders to create your avatar with various features.
You choose your clothing... business suit, tuxedo, Hawaiian shirt and shorts, military uniforms, mad scientist lab coat, and various others and accessories to go with them.

You can select a terrain or create one... I hope to find some way to incorporate google earth terrains or use DEM files, DEM is a Digital Elevation Map, to make earth or other planet based ground, and hopefully be able to copy a road map right out of google onto the game... I think that'd be a great tool for players trying to recreate real cities.
For creating terrain you would select a style of terrain, there are noticable differences between the Rocky Mountains, the flat land in the center of North America, and the East Coast, as well as major differences between all of those places and Europe or Asia... so the terrain generator would use features of those styles of terrain to create a random country side for you to build on. You would also pick what kinds of trees, plant life and animal life are to be scattered about the world you create.

So you start off in a blank area, first thing you have to do is determine the natural resources around where you want to begin, Forestry, oil, etc, this would give you an idea of how to start building your city... if it's oil rich you'll want to build a small town with an oil based economy to start off, drills, people to work the drills, refineries, and other logistics and start selling your product on the international market to make money in order to expand your small community.


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 Post subject: Re: City Simulator
PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 5:03 pm 
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I think it would be nice to have weather and seasons... like if you choose to make your location on the west coast of British Columbia, you'll get lots of rain and occasional flooding. More north you go the more snow you get... that kind of thing.
Wind would be good to have flags and stuff blowing in the wind.

I'm reading about different free game engines right now, I'll make a post later when I narrow my choice down.

As for the National aspects...

You'll be able to generate your country map, assign borders to states and provinces.

So you make your nation a recreation of the USA, you have oceans on 2 sides and the gulf of mexico in the south, along with a long international border in the north and another in the south... as well as the island state of Hawaii and the state of Alaska which you have to get to by passing through another county, flying or taking a ship. You'd be able to view an in game satellite image of your territory that you can tell to display different information like population and roads and so on.

So you click on one of your states, say New York, this view breaks down the state into it's own regions that you can assign yourself or use the real New York regions... But there's different ways to break up New York into regions...
My choice would be to divide it into the 11 economic regions as defined by the Department of Economic Development.

Say you pick the Hudson Valley District, which is just north of New York City... that region would be divided even further into the counties it's composed of... Those counties are Dutchess, Columbia, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester.

Now from that you pick your county, say you want to start in Putnam, you click on Putnam and it loads up the area for development... you can either overlay a google map of the region that would show roads and start putting in roads manually that way, which I think would be the best way, rather than having the program try to put in the roads itself... or you can just go all random and make up your own road system.

----

Another idea I have which works with the one above would be to have a map of the Earth with country lines in place already, but that would allow the player to make up his/her own borders. So you'd be able to zoom in like I mentioned and work on New York State a bit, then zoom out and go to Europe and built Paris for a while.

I think it'd be good to zoom into a certain level before going 3d for load time concerns... like in SC4 the largest area is 4km by 4km, or 16 square km... the largest county in the USA is San Bernardino in California which is about 52000 square km... but that can be divided further, and my idea would include limiting the maximum rendered area to a certain number of square km's. But it would also allow for you to drive from LA to Vancouver, just having points along the way where you cross between 2 rendered areas which would stop you for a loading screen.


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 Post subject: Re: City Simulator
PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 5:59 pm 
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I was just thinking about demographics in the real world and how they can affect the region you're in...

So I think having access to demographic controls in game would be able to produce a more realistic region.

Race, culture, and religion percentages can have a great impact on your surroundings.

Here's a list of religions in the world... you can break them down even more though.
Christianity, Islam, Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist, Hinduism, Chinese traditional religion, Buddhism, primal-indigenous, African Traditional & Diasporic, Sikhism, Juche, Spiritism, Judaism, Baha'i, Jainism, Shinto, Cao Dai, Zoroastrianism, Tenrikyo, Neo-Paganism, Unitarian-Universalism, Rastafarianism, Scientology.

So you get access to the demographics of your city and pretty much do a forced conversion of your population, otherwise you'll be using the default which I would want to be the world wide numbers, so you'll end up with 33% Christian, 21% Islam, and so on... which might be okay... but if you're doing a recreation of Portland Oregon you don't want to have to keep your population happy by putting down a mosque every other block... Or be doing a recreation of Baghdad and having to put down Catholic churches everywhere.

So your population will have whatever religions you want them to have from being atheist/agnostic to hard-line conservative christian and Islam or Jewish, etc. so they will call out for you to allow places of worship to be built in your town.

So you'd be able to adjust demographics for religion, race, and various other fields, which in turn would affect how your cities develop and look and feel.


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 Post subject: Re: City Simulator
PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:34 pm 
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I'm still not sure what game engine I want to use...

I might go for an open source one, but I don't think that's important.

I have a few release options though.

I could have it as an open source game and have the official/main release being a realistic city/nation/world builder and anyone contributing to that release would have to follow certain rules for the content they supply, and that content would ultimately need to be approved by me for the official release.

Or I could make it limited open source with only certain things being changeable by other people.

Or I could make the majority of it closed source, but listen to the suggestions of the players.

Whatever way I do end up releasing it I will allow creation of buildings, road types, and other things by players... And natively I hope, so you wont need other software to do it.

I'm leaning towards Unity for the engine which has good cross platform options, and it has been used by an architectural firm for creating visualizations for clients which caught my eye since the buildings in my game idea would be architectural by nature.

In fact I've been looking at screen shots and videos while writing this and I've settled on Unity for the engine...


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 Post subject: Re: City Simulator
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:54 pm 
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One thing I think is important is tile sets... that is the ability to tell the game what style of building grows where... in SC4 you're limited to 4 tile sets that control your entire playing field, I want to have tile sets that allow you to control what style of buildings grow on a specific block within your city... Like having china town. I'd also like to allow players to create new tile sets.

I'm thinking that building and releasing the game with a couple of tile sets would be a good idea, and then making official release tile sets later on that can be easily added to the game.

I'm also messing with the Unity Game Engine now so I might put up some images of some of my progress.


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 Post subject: Re: City Simulator
PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:32 pm 
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I'm starting to figure out how to use the Unity Game Engine... it's really fun... I've managed to import models from 3ds max and assign physics to them so you can walk into them and such... I'm going to need to use the pro version if I want to make this simulator game.

After I figure out some more of the engine I'm going to make up some puzzle games or some such thing and release it on addicting games or some other such website.


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