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SimCity transportation systems

annie

Member
Messages
39
Points
2
I'm writing an article on how functioning transportation systems in SimCity differ from real-life transportation systems. I'm particularly interested in the role of bicyclists/pedestrians in the game and why it took Maxis so long to integrate them. Any insights?
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,889
Points
26
You should probably ask the source.

I do believe the problem didn't lie in what could be modeled, but how it could be modeled without comprimising computer system resources. Transportation models that work in real-time, like simcity require TONS and TONS of processing power. The transportation model could have been even more elaborate, but it would have excluded a portion of their market from playing the game.

In simcity, the wealthier your town, the less likely they will take public transit...no matter how inconvienent to drive. That is a major oversight.
 

simulcra

Member
Messages
127
Points
6
boiker said:
You should probably ask the source.

I do believe the problem didn't lie in what could be modeled, but how it could be modeled without comprimising computer system resources. Transportation models that work in real-time, like simcity require TONS and TONS of processing power. The transportation model could have been even more elaborate, but it would have excluded a portion of their market from playing the game.

In simcity, the wealthier your town, the less likely they will take public transit...no matter how inconvienent to drive. That is a major oversight.
In addition, in simcity 4, mass transit options are always faster (and sometimes substantially) than asphalt options, which just doesn't reflect reality. (I have never seen subway trains/light rail trains go 150 kph, and busses are rarely ever, if they ever are, faster than cars.)

A lack of pedestrians probably existed due to a societal belief that the pedestrian wasn't really needed. Suburbs, etc... Only does simcity 4 actively promote smart growth (try developing vast swatsh of low density and see the warning messages of sprawl and the suggestions of moving towards compact areas), and make it possible via pedestrian options for commute purposes. In simcity 3000/2000, zoning "mixed use" (ie instead of euclidean blocks of residential and commercial, rather interspersing them amongst each other) would result in catastrophic traffic nightmares. In simcity 4, you will very frequently get massive residential buildings (5000 wealthy residents anyone?) in which anywhere from 10% to 100% will walk to work; although that brings to another quirk about simcity 4 transportation; sidewalks have infinite capacity, and busses don't add to asphalt capacity.
 

permaplanjuneau

Cyburbian
Messages
151
Points
7
simulcra said:
In simcity 3000/2000, zoning "mixed use" (ie instead of euclidean blocks of residential and commercial, rather interspersing them amongst each other) would result in catastrophic traffic nightmares.
Huh. I've been playing these games since I was a wee one (I blame Maxis at least partially for my choice of professions--but I thank them even more), and with years of playing 2000 and 3000, I always found that mixing commercial, residential, and industrial land uses side-by-side (with lots of bus and subway stops) resulted in no traffic problems whatsoever, and a very high mayor rating. I just finally got 4 deluxe last week (years after its release), so I haven't had time to do more than learn the basics of the new game, and have no idea how this type of development will affect the traffic modeling.

As for why pedestrians weren't integrated in the modeling of earlier versions--it's definitely a processing thing. Older computers just couldn't hack the computations needed for such complex systems, and I'm actually surprised that Maxis has attempted to have 4 run such complicated models. As I said above, I still haven't experienced how well it works for myself.

(but it's Friday, so I've got all weekend to play planner in a city I can actually influence policy in--they sure don't let us planners do so in real cities)
 

SkeLeton

Cyburbian
Messages
4,853
Points
26
simulcra said:
Only does simcity 4 actively promote smart growth (try developing vast swatsh of low density and see the warning messages of sprawl and the suggestions of moving towards compact areas), and make it possible via pedestrian options for commute purposes. In simcity 4, you will very frequently get massive residential buildings (5000 wealthy residents anyone?) in which anywhere from 10% to 100% will walk to work; although that brings to another quirk about simcity 4 transportation; sidewalks have infinite capacity, and busses don't add to asphalt capacity.
The first is quite annoying not because I like to make my cities sprawl.. (I figured out finnaly that it was one of the reasons that made my budget report huge expenses versus the low income I could get from taxes before having to choke growth through high taxes)

The pedestrian option is good though, and having the rush hour expansion pack also makes it easier to fix transportation problems.

I have seen though that busses do create congestion on roads (but is compensated by the cars it replaces) and I can see it because I had a bus route from a neghoring city that passed through one city I was playing and I didn't have any bus stops in that city, and the busses that went through just did that route because they had to pass a river that only had 1 bridge so it had to pass through the smaller city to close the circuit. And yes, it's ridiculous that sidewalks have infinate capacity but if they did have capacity there should be an option to create pedestrian only streets.
 
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