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FYI: blog post by software engineer on SC2013 transportation team

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"Hello, I’m Alexander Harkness, and I’m a Software Engineer working in the transportation team of SimCity..."

 

http://www.simcity.com/en_US/blog/article/under-the-hood-of-simcitys-traffic

 

I'm not this guy, I just saw it posted over on SC reddit and posting it here.

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/SimCity/comments/1aw4xh/under_the_hood_of_simcitys_traffic/

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This is a good read.

 

I personally think that for the most part, the actual traffic system works very well. Its realistic, and fairly intelligent. There are a couple of improvements that can be made, but for the most part, its good.

 

The issues we are all experiencing seem to have more to do with the agent AI, than with the traffic system. Take the service vehicles as an example. The issue with garbage collection is not traffic, its that the vehicles appear to take a pretty random route, that often leads them following each other around, instead of dividing themselves up. Obviously in a town where there is crazy traffic at 5am, that is going to slow down collection.

 

Take the traffic quantities as another example: in a sensible city with a good workers/jobs balance and no insane commuter numbers, this again works pretty well. The problems come when you suddenly get an unlimited number of visitors from the region because of an acknowledged issue with mass transit.

 

So yeah, this is interesting, and I think for the most part it is great. But there are still a lot of issues that need addressing in order to fix our traffic problems. But they aren't really issues with the road system

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Problem I see with traffic is that it goes for shortest route instead of the theoretical fastest(if all roads were empty) route, and that very unrealistic. Most people will take the route that should be the fastest as opposed to the shortest. Basically the sims should avoid the smaller roads unless they provide a very distinct time savings in travel or are required to reach their destination. Of course you also have the no home/job issue that causes very weird and non-realistic traffic issues as the traffic will never properly distribute to bypasses to get to their home that is farther away.

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Demolish the smaller road, problem solved unless they are doggers

 

While this should work we're faced with the problem of only being able to zone or plop buildings by placing roads.  The result is that by tearing up roads to force traffic to follow a reasonable path we lose any type of buildings that could occupy the void left by demolishing the road.  This means losing any utility from the buildings which could have existed if that road remained in place.  If the only agents who took that road were the ones going to either the buildings on that road or selected the road if their current route was jammed up and then avoided it if the smaller road was jammed up it would be ok.  Instead a whole segment of the population waits in gridlock trying to cram through that smaller road due to shorter distance at the expense of a longer but faster trip using a larger or equal size road which is less congested.

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"Hello, I’m Alexander Harkness, and I’m a Software Engineer working in the transportation team of SimCity..."

 

http://www.simcity.com/en_US/blog/article/under-the-hood-of-simcitys-traffic

 

I'm not this guy, I just saw it posted over on SC reddit and posting it here.

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/SimCity/comments/1aw4xh/under_the_hood_of_simcitys_traffic/

 

lol:

 

"Every vehicle in the game has a basic set of performance characteristics such as top speed, acceleration, and deceleration. The values assigned to each vehicle vary on the type of vehicle (scooter, car, and truck), the wealth value of the vehicle, or where the weight has changed after a delivery is made."

 

WHY?

 

Seriously? This is what EA spent so much valuable development time on!? Trying to determine the PRECISE speed of certain type of vehicles....and worse yet, the CHANGE OF WEIGHT of delivery trucks and vans that effect speed!?

 

I thought this was supposed to be a CITY-simulation game. Not a PHYSICS-simulation game!

 

Seriously, they could have spent so much more time and effort thinking about how an online city-building game should work, rather than attempting to figure out how best to implement The Sims into this game!

 

These were my ideas the moment I learned that SC5 as actually being worked on with the idea of online-play with resource-trading:

 

Each server = a whole planet kinda like Cities XL. A player can easily choose the location they would like to establish their city, if that location has not already been taken by another player on that server. With today's techonology, city borders could be organic things: Maybe a snaking river marks the boundary of one side of the city, while a range of hills marks another side?

 

There could be a ton of different types of resources, from salt mines, to oil and coal and things....already implemented in this version. However, the player could attempt to acheive the goal of having their city becoming a major producer of a certain type of product: Silicon Valley has computers chips and hardware, for instance. That is, if the player wants to have their city specialized.

 

A player also does not necessarily have to specialize their city in any way whatsoever, and it wouldn't hurt their city in any way if they decide not to specialize. There also should be no restrictions on different types of specializations for a any given city: Your city can be a major manufacturer of computer parts, rubber, and have a high-production yield of oil, for example.

 

Cities are not isolated by restrictions on where a player can locate their next city from an already-established city: The entire world is divided up into different-sized tiles, from really tiny areas, to huge, just like SC4 only a lot more varied and organic-looking, and you can choose where and how to build in each tile. I was also thinking of something along the lines of allowing your city to "incorporate" another city tile on its border.

 

Maybe some servers can have different rules applied for how it's game-world works, and what is allowed, and not allowed. Maybe there are a couple of special servers that does not allow the building of a city on the border of an already-established city? There can only be wilderness in all the squares around your city. Then a person can establish a city the next tile over from that.

 

In such a scenario, I was thinking there could be joint-efforts made in those "neutral" tiles: A highway-connection, with an agreement on a specifically-proposed route, and maybe a monument or a shopping-center also located in that "neutral" tile. In such a case, there would need to be a minimum of two cities bordering that "neutral" tile. And in the case two (or more) cities border a neutral tile, one player can layout a "proposed" highway or railway route, with maybe a shadowed footprint. Same with a monument or shopping center. The cost to construct would be divided between all the mayors bordering that tile, after it has been approved by all the mayors involved.

 

I had a lot of fantastic ideas on how a multi-player online city-building game could work. There are so many great things they could have done. Instead, they concentrated far too much valuable time and effort with this useless Glassbox engine....worrying about how much weight friggin delivery vehicles are hauling, and the speeds of different types of vehicles. UGH!

 

It seems to me the traffic simulation did not need such over-detailed attention. They could have built a solid simulation, and improved upon it with patches and modifications like SC4 did.

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