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About this City Journal

A project based on the Hawaiian island of Oahu

Entries in this City Journal

sumwonyuno

APEC 2011

Hello all,

This week, Honolulu is hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. The leaders, high-ranking officials, and delegates from its 21 member economies have come here to discuss issues ranging from trade to renewable energy. It is the largest event of its kind hosted here. The Federal government's goals are to encourage international opportunities in the Pacific rim, and the City and State's goals are to encourage those opportunities here in Hawaii.

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What?! No aloha shirts?! :(

Understandably, security is tight. It has inconvenienced residents, businesses, and tourists. There aren't many connecting roads and thoroughfares in town (and the rest of the island). Every time a motorcade comes, people have to get out of the way, and sometimes sections of roadways get closed (including the H-1 Freeway). Thankfully I have not been inconvenienced... yet. Yesterday I did encounter military personnel in my neighborhood on the way to work. Today is Veteran's Day, so no work, and not having to deal with potential road blocks.

To my fellow Pacific Rim friends, I hope you're delegations have made the most of their stay and value their experiences time here.

Until next time!

sumwonyuno

Manoa Falls

Hello all,

Thanks for all of the suggestions. I decided to choose jeronij's waterfall lots because they are the closest I could find to recreate the falls. It's a bit too wide and hard to tame, but it does have good effects.

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After a one and a half mile hike in the Manoa Valley, you'll reach the 150 foot tall Manoa Falls.

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At the bottom of the falls are many boulders that have fell from further up the mountains. The water here flows down the Manoa Valley as the Manoa Stream, all the way down to the Ala Wai Canal in Waikiki, and eventually into the Pacific Ocean.

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Until next time, take care!

sumwonyuno

Manoa Valley Hike

Hello all,

It's been a busy summer for me. I graduated from the university, and last month I was able to get a job at a local company. I also am part some of volunteer groups, so the only time I have for games is on weekend nights. This Labor Day weekend, I was able to get some time for SimCity 4. :golly:

I went on a hike back on the 4th of July to Manoa Falls. It's always raining in Manoa Valley, so it's wet and muddy.

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Yes, those are pine trees and palm trees together in a tropical rainforest. This is only about 4 miles from Downtown Honolulu and Waikiki.

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Next time, we'll visit the falls. Anyone have a suggestion for custom content that'll replicate it?

sumwonyuno

Hello all,

It's been two years since the start of this city journal. Thank you very much for all of the support!

In the past reconstruction updates, I've been doing rural areas and single BATs. For this special update, I have chosen Downtown and attempted to BAT the highrises there. They're a step up from boxy placeholders. They are still basic models with palette colors and simple textures, but the modelling is largely done.

Looking mauka, from Kaka'ako Waterfront Park:

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Here is the old Downtown Capitalis:

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Here is the new Downtown Honolulu:

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Looking Ewa, across from Honolulu Hale:

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Looking makai, from H-1 Freeway eastbound:

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Looking Koko Head, from Nimitz Highway eastbound on a voggy day:

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Hope you enjoyed it all! Take care!

sumwonyuno

Hello all,

Nope, rail is not the big anniversary surprise, but this is partially a teaser. :lol:

For my international and national friends out there, Oahu is building a 20-mile elevated rail system, from Kapolei to Ala Moana http://honolulutransit.org/. I recently went to two City workshops on transit oriented development (TOD) for the Kalihi and Downtown areas. The City has been hosting TOD workshops so that the neighborhoods will have a voice on what they want in future growth around the stations. (My blog posts here and here).

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Here's a picture I made of the Downtown rail station:

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Enjoy!

sumwonyuno

Hello all,

I went on a hike yesterday up Makapu'u, the southeastern point of O'ahu. I'm used to it being a dry area, but the recent rains have turned the area green.

A picture from along the way up:

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An in-game inspiration:

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Here's the view from the top. I did a reconstruction update (almost exactly a year ago!) on those vertical cliffs in the distance.

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In other news, I have something epic planned for the second anniversary on July 31st. (It's suppose to be a secret! ;) ) I also have various projects and groups I'm affliated with outside of SimCity. Follow my blog (sumwonyuno.blogspot.com) if you'd like to know what else I'm doing out here in the middle of the Pacific. I'm aiming to have daily updates. I'll still do published updates here, but I might put some SimCity goodies there.

Until next time, take care!

sumwonyuno

Hello all,

I'd like to inform to everyone that has downloaded my Central Pacific Plaza and Frank F Fasi Municipal Building lots, I've released new versions of them on the STEX. Both of them are 25% taller (and stats scaled proportionally), and the Municipal Building has been retextured and the model has been improved. If you currently have them in your cities, I recommend going through the process of replacing with the updated versions. If you haven't downloaded them, please do!

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For this update, I have chosen to do the eastern slopes of Mount Ka'ala in the Wai'anae Mountains. The following picture was taken from Kaukonahua Road.

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Until next time!

sumwonyuno

Hello everyone,

I have created a lot for the Frank F Fasi Municipal Building BAT, and I have uploaded the lot to the STEX for you all to download and enjoy. It is a ploppable landmark with CO$$ jobs.

You can download it at:

http://www.simtropol...cipal-building/

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Please comment, and please report if there are any problems with the lot.

I've made a dedicated thread for my BATs at:

http://sc4devotion.c...71736#msg371736

http://www.simtropol...-honolulu-bats/

Until next time, take care!

sumwonyuno

Hello everyone,

It's been a sad time for us here in the Pacific. I hope for the best to everyone affected by the recent earthquakes and tsunamis. Here in Hawaii, we're certainly not immune to the events that happen across the ocean.

For this update, I have another BAT. Located in the Capital District, at the corner of King & Alapa'i Street, the Frank F. Fasi Municipal Building is a high-rise tower that houses multiple departments of the City & County of Honolulu. Formerly called the Honolulu Municipal Building, it has been renamed to honor Honolulu's longest serving mayor. Below the visible 15 stories is an underground emergency management complex.

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Here are the day and night renderings from gmax:

[North, East, South, West]

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Please leave any comments or suggestions you may have. I'm planning to turn this into a growable CO$, and I am going release this lot some time in the next few months.

If you've downloaded my Central Pacific Plaza lot, how is it? Have you gotten it to grow in your cities?

Until next time, take care!

sumwonyuno
Hello everyone,
 
I apologize for no updates for the past few months.  The last few months of 2010 were especially busy for me.
 
First off, I have good news.  I have uploaded my Central Pacific Plaza lot on the STEX.  You all are welcome to download it at:
 

1.jpg     2.jpg
 
As for the LEX, I haven't heard a word from the LEX scrutineers in months.  I could have uploaded my lot as far back as September of 2010, but I've been waiting since.  Anyways, please do share your questions, experiences, criticisms, and experiences from using my lot.
 
In other news, I have obliterated and rebuilt my downtown city tile.  I tried to do it last year by just bulldozing, but I had the problem of "bad decisions" that screwed up various simulators.  This time, I used two instances of SimCity.  One had a backup copy of downtown, and the other was the post-obliteration city tile.  I simply traced lengths of roadways.  It took me several hours over two days.  Surprisingly, there was not much of a performance slowdown.  Here are the results:
 
20110130_01.jpg
 
As you may have guessed, I am rebuilding my region.  I have been inspired to BAT.  In Google Earth, there has been a huge addition of new Honolulu buildings, created by various people.  Although many of the buildings (highrise and lowrise) aren't that good quality, these people have shown Honolulu can be done, and with speed too.
 
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I have been creating basic (untextured) models of numerous buildings in the Liliha, Chinatown, and Downtown areas.  I'm gaining experience on how to BAT faster.  A lot of the effort is in creating the model with accurate dimensions, while textures, nightlights, and lotting is more point-click-choose.
 
Here is the Google Earth reference shot:
 
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Here is the old downtown in SimCity:
 
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Here are the basic building models:
 
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Note the differences in height.  Some of the buildings are still just placeholder boxes with the general dimensions.  I'm surprised there are a couple of buildings I used back then that are fairly close to the new models.
 
Again, I apologize for the long gaps between updates.  But, do expect to see updates throughout on this year.  Besides the BATing I want to do, the real Honolulu is on its way to rail transit groundbreaking in March.  I may do a few updates on the planned route and extentions, using the old Capitalis region as a backdrop.
 
By the way, should I just keep things all in here, or should I make a separate thread for BATs?
sumwonyuno

Hello everyone,

I know it's been a long time since the last update. It's been a busy two months (of school and another "sc" game). I've been waiting patiently for the SC4D scrutineers on the Central Pacific Plaza lot. We'll all have to keep waiting patiently since it is out of my hands.

For this update, I've chosen to recreate some undeveloped land along Farrington Highway on the Leeward Coast of O'ahu, a bit north of the Kahe Power Plant. Based on a map I found on the Kapolei Area Long Range Master Plan, this area is zoned under Public Facility/Utility. I'm not sure what would eventually be built here, if ever.

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I travelled through the area in January of this year. The area is probably still relatively dry, since we've recently ended the dry season. It has been quite cloudy (like in the following picture) the past few days, with occasional showers and downpours, so I wouldn't be surprised if there is some temporary greening.

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Here is a zoom 4 and zoom 5 picture of my recreation. I wish I had some short, dry, and pale green or yellow grasses available to better match real life. IMHO, the combination and placement of ploppable items may be simpler compared to other updates, but the result looks more pleasing to the eye than some of my previous work.

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Until next time, enjoy!

sumwonyuno

Hello everyone,

We have reached the one year aniversary! I'd like to humbly thank you the viewers and the fans for getting us to this milestone. :)

I have good news. First of all, I figured out how to do nightlights! I can't believe how easy it was... Second, I was able to get SimCity 4 Deluxe on Steam, and now I can view nightlights. This means I can do proper testing in the game for a BAT. Third, I was able to figure out how to make custom, non-rectangular-prism LODs, so I can actually put cars on the parking garage and decorate the rooftop lanai. These are three important steps toward the goal of release a BAT for all of you to use in your own cities. I'm sorry I couldn't have made it possible as an anniversary present on anniversary day, but it will be available sometime soon. I'll have to learn how to do a quality publish to the STEX and the LEX.

I did not have any reference night shots of Central Pacific Plaza, so I had to based it off other nighttime Honolulu building pictures and available BATs. Here is the result:

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The next update will almost certainly be a note from me telling you all that the complete final project (BAT on a lot with props) will be available for download.

sumwonyuno

Hello everyone,

 
As a Fourth of July special, I bring to you all my latest attempt at recreating Honolulu.  You may have seen the hint at the bottom of the previous update.  I have chosen to BAT one of the approximately 400 highrise buildings on the island of Oahu.
 
Central Pacific Plaza is located in Downtown Honolulu, at the corner of King & Alakea Street.  It is made up of a 22-story commercial office building, a four-story extention with an open area on its roof, and an attached parking garage.
 
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I used a combination of Google Earth, Google Street View, and Bing Maps.  I got the general dimensions of the building from Google Earth.  I used the Google Street view to estimate the width of columns, height of floors, and other details.  I used Bing to get the four orthogonal views of the building and as the basis for some textures (like the roof and parking lot).
 
I had to modify the building a bit in order to fit into a 3x5 lot.  For example, the parking lot only has five columns, instead of six.  There is very little room along the sides that face the streets, so there is almost no room for elaborate ground-level landscaping.  Nevertheless, I am proud of my work, and I think the results are better than I expected.
 
The "North", "East", "South", and "West" previews:
 
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I'm sorry to disappoint, but I do not intend to release it as a downloadable lot right now.  The main reason is there are no nightlights in this BAT.  I would first need to learn how to do them, and then create them.  Even if I could accomplish that, I cannot properly test them in game on my current setup (1.1.638 no-CD patch because my CD is damaged).  Though, I could just trust the gmax night previews...
 
In testing, I have made a lot for building, and I realized that I can't place props inside the LOD.  I did try making multiple boxes and naming them LOD3/4/5, and it hasn't worked because parts of the BAT get cut off in rendering.  I'm certainly doing something wrong, so I appreciate any help.
 
As for the next update, we shall see.  :-)
sumwonyuno

Hello everyone,

For this update, it won't have a lot of words as usual because I'll leave the pictures to talk for themselves. This update features the Ko'olau Mountains on the Windward side of the island, specifically in the Waimanalo area. The mountains on the Windward side are notoriously hard to recreate because of the near vertical cliff faces. If you're wondering, the cliff edge is about 400 meters (1300+ feet) tall in the following picture, while I am somewhere near sea level:

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Here is the area in game:

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Without further ado, here is a long mosaic:

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As for a hint about the next update, look up Central Pacific Plaza.

sumwonyuno
For this update, we are going to the agricultural fields of Central O'ahu.  The area I picked is north of the Dole Plantation in Wahiawa.  This area used to be covered in pineapple, back when agriculture dominated the Hawaiian economy.  Today, a significant percentage of former agricultural land has been converted to suburban development or is left unused.
 
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Here is my interpretation of the area in the game, featuring the first time I've used the RHW in an update:
 
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Another perspective of the area:
 
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A real-life ground-level picture of the area, taken January 16th, 2010:

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The following real-life picture is facing west toward the Wai'anae Mountains.  You can see Mount Ka'ala (the highest point on O'ahu) on the right, and Kolekole Pass on the left.
 
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Let's conclude the update with a zoomed-in mosaic.  Enjoy!

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sumwonyuno

Hello everyone,

I'm sorry that I've not been able to post any updates since February. It's been a busy 2 and a half months. Now it's summer and I've got time for SimCity again!

Maybe you remember back in the January 10th update, I recreated a bunch of islands in the west loch of Pearl Harbor.

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I did not have any real life pictures of those islands at the time. I was able to go out to the west side of the island back during spring break in March. I took the following picture of those islands from the West Loch Shoreline Park in Ewa Beach.

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On to newer things, when I finally came back to the forums, I found out a new version of the NAM came out, along with the Network Widening Mod. I've been playing with the new stuff for the past few days. 9.gif I went back into the Capitalis region, and I'm in the process of replacing old Maxis roadways with better NWM ones.

As an example, I've picked the King & Ke'eaumoku intersection in Honolulu:

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A real life picture of the area, driving on King Street, three streets before Ke'eaumoku Street:

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Here is the King & Ke'eaumoku counterpart in the Capitalis region:

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The following is the results of changing the roadways to their NWM equivalents:

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IMO, the change is amazing. I am really appreciative of all the work that's been done by the modders! Look next week for another reconstruction update!

sumwonyuno
Don't worry everybody, I'm still here!  The tsunami that passed yesterday were more like rapid tidal surges.  I'm certainly glad that it wasn't destructive.  Although my home is less than a mile from the ocean, it's 15 meters above sea level and out of any tsunami evacation zone.  It's coincidental that I had written a paper on disaster planning a few weeks ago (about tsunamis) and the weekly topic of the TV program Island Insights on PBS was on disaster preparedness.  While I stayed at home, I had some time to catch up on school work and SimCity.
 
The area I chose for this update is on the Leeward Coast of O'ahu, Farrington Highway to the south of Makua Valley.  It was relatively easy to make, taking about 2 hours from scratch on a new city tile.
 
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The following real world photo was taken January 9, 2010.  It looks green because of recent rain, but this is the dry side of the island.
 
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I found the equivalent shot in Google Street View.  I would guess this photo was taken in the first half of 2009.
 
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Notice how much drier it is.  Though, that tree in the distance actually has green leaves compared to the same tree in my photo.  In the game, I went more for my photo because there aren't many yellow/dry color grass mayor mode flora available.
 
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sumwonyuno

 Hello everyone,

 
I'll start off by saying that my goal is really too ambitious:  an accurate rendition of the island, complete with terrain, roadways, and development.  I'm getting frustrated because I'm hitting the same game limitations that I went through with Capitalis.  I can't play the game if I'm fussing about things the game was simply not made for (e.g. non-compass grid development).  I still want to put more of Honolulu into the game, but I need to be humble...
 
In other news, I've figured out how to get the BAT, Lot Editor and SC4PIM working on my system.  Yesterday, I finished my first complete lot.  It is based on a two-story house in Kalihi.  It is meant to be an R$ home.  
 
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There are some things to point out.  For homes close to town, there isn't much space.  The building almost takes up the entire lot.  Yet, there is enough space for plants along the sides of the house.  The garage is part of the house.  The lanai (balcony) rests above the garage.  Virtually all residential lots have walls or fences surrounding the perimeter.
 
Using a 1.0 filling degree, the PIM rates this building (10m x 26m x 7.6m) as a stage 4 with 36 R$ Sims.  I would guess this building in real life has half that number living there.  The densities in the game are something that that I need to reconcile.  The Capitalis region had ~2.3x the population of Oahu, while the development in game generally looks less dense than real life... and it gets back to the whole matter of game limitations.
 
...
 
After a long reflection, I'm kind of leaning away from reconstructing the island as a whole.  A more doable option is to do small sections of the island (within one city tile).  I could focus on one area for a while, rotate it so it's doable in the game, and make it as close to real life as I can with terrain 'n paint, and custom BATs.  The areas I end up doing wouldn't be contiguous, so the region view would be a mess... but that's one sacrifice I'm willing to have.
sumwonyuno

Sorry everyone, I've been bogged down with school work from my classes and I haven't had much time as I'd like to work on SimCity.

The following is a small cluster of islands in the west loch of Pearl Harbor.

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I decided to try using mangrove trees and the result is actually quite nice in my opinion.

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As for the rest of the region, it's pretty messed up. I've been experimenting with different strategies for terrain. One strategy worth noting is to add an Image Overlay on the Google Earth world, then snap it to a certain elevation above sea level. The image will block everything below that elevation. As an example, the black image is at 130m above sea level.

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I basically use the same strategy I use to trace shorelines to trace that Image Overlay outline. I use the combination of the Google Earth ruler, the road tool, ground lifter, leveling tools, and terrain query.

Here is the result of tracing 130m in game. I've used the rain tool to outline it better.

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sumwonyuno

The island of O'ahu can be generalized as a rocky volcanic island. However, it covers almost 600 square miles, and has varying geography in different parts of the island. The simple conclusion is that there is no one magic terrain, flora, or rock controller that accurately portrays all real life characteristics of all parts of the island in the game, all at the same time. The best I can do is download as many (non-conflicting) plugins (and tweak them) such that the underlying terrain is acceptable, and pick flora that looks close enough to what may be found in the corresponding area in real life.

Generally, I would generally classify the dirt of the island into three areas. The southeastern part of the island has darker brown dirt. Most of the island, from 'Ewa to Kahuku, has famously reddish dirt (good for farming). The northwestern part of the island has faded to light brown dirt. This is the result of the Wai'anae Mountains being older than the Ko'olau Mountains, and the differring geography leading to different decomposition of Hawaiian basalt.

I've chosen the Red Granite rock mod by pegasus. Up close it's somewhat red, and far away it looks brown.

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As for terrain, I've chosen hemblem's Californian Terrain Mod. It's green at low elevations, drier at "mid" elevations (good for highlands), and then pale green at the highest elevations possible on O'ahu (+1100m above sea level). I've also modified the plugin so that beaches extend "forever" (at elevations lower than 251m) so that I can make variable width sandy areas.

I cannot represent the windward-leeward look with a terrain mod because the terrain mods depend on elevation, not with rain patterns. Flora is how I plan to mimic the windward-leeward difference.

I'm in awe of natural environment shots I've seen in other people's work. I've downloaded many ploppable flora plugins available on the STEX and LEX. The following is the result of about a week of playing around with mayor mode ploppable flora, rocks, and water.

Although Pearl Harbor is thought of as the quintessential U.S. naval base, and today it is virtually surrounded by suburban development, it once was a huge wetland area. There are still small pockets of protected and undeveloped shoreline. I've chosen two such areas on both sides of the Pearl City peninsula.

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I'm not sure what the first area is exactly. Google and maps I've seen doesn't have a label on it. It's a grassy area between the H-1 Freeway and Pearl Harbor to the west of the Waiau Power Plant in Pearl City.

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Here is the result of my interpretation of the area in the game:

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The second area I've chosen is known as the Waiawa unit of the Pearl Harbor National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is actually only the two ponds (with greenish looking water). The wider area is owned by the U.S. military.

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I've started by "roping off" the area with roads. This is to restrict the area that I'm considering.

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I put in the small stream that runs through the area, and the larger dirt tracks/abandoned roadways as reference points in the game. I also refine the look of the shoreline.

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After many (discontiguous) hours later, the flora, rocks, and ponds are put in.

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The zoom 1 picture of the area.

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On Monday, I'll be starting yet another semester, and I know I won't have as much free time as I'd like. For the next update, it'll probably be more protected areas/undeveloped land. I'm not sure exactly where, but it'll probably be on hilly, if not mountanous, terrain.

sumwonyuno

I don't intend the following as a tutorial, but hopefully the mentioned strategies can be adapted if you are interested in recreating a real world place, by hand.

Google Earth is the workhorse of figuring out where things belong in the region.  The island of O'ahu is about 65km x 51km, and therefore, the region in the game requires 17 large city tiles in the east-west axis and 13 large city tiles in the north-south axis.

Google Earth has a grid, but unfortunately, its lines are in degrees/minutes/seconds.  The Google Earth grid is therefore only helpful as a stationary reference to start and end measurement lines.  The ruler tool and the elevation value are absolutely essential to transfer the information from Google into the game.

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SimCity uses a compass grid, so naturally, an area in real life that is aligned with the compass is much easier to do.  However, there are very few things on O'ahu that are that way.  The fundamental rule of thumb for development in Hawai'i is the concept of mauka (toward the mountains) and makai (toward the ocean).  The Native Hawaiians devised an ingenious land use system where a large valley (or group of valleys), from the mountain tops to the ocean, is a self-sufficient community called an ahupua'a.

Fastforward to today, many neighborhoods are situated in the traditional ahupua'a areas, and these neighborhoods keep the indigenous names.  Additionally, along the southern coast of O'ahu, the concept of 'Ewa (generally, west), and Koko Head or Diamond Head (generally, east) is used to indicate the perpendicular axis compliment of mauka-makai.  Here is a sign at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa that demonstrates the directions.

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The mauka-makai and 'Ewa-Koko Head concepts are why both developmment and the roadway system are going to be very difficult to replicate.  I'll likely simplify things on the small scale, but try to keep the large scale look quite accurate.

The largest area on the island that is aligned to the compass grid is the Honolulu International Airport runways.

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My strategy is to pick an easy reference point (on the Google Earth grid), and then measure the distance to another easy reference point (another grid line, a building, or a roadway).  It is important to only take orthogonal distances (north-south or east-west).  I often move the map so that one reference point is on the border of the window.  The elevations of the reference points are also noted.  Let's take the Reef Runway as an example.  This breakwater wall that sticks out is an area of interest.

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Using the Google Earth ruler, the breakwater wall is about 157m x 18m.  A single cell in the game is 16m x 16m.  So the breakwater wall takes up about 10 tiles x 1 tile in the game.  The breakwater wall is essentially at an elevation of 0m (sea level), and that translates into the game as 250m.  The terrainquery cheat code and the terraforming tools (god mode and mayor mode) are used to draw the target area into the desired shape and elevation.  I use the road tool to measure the number of tiles quickly.  Each road tile is $10.  So, I measure $100 worth of single-tile, straight road for the breakwater wall.

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I repeat this process as necessary on the small scale (working with meters in mayor mode).  I also use a similar strategy on the large scale (working with kilometers in god mode).  In the kilometer scale, I use the fact that a large city tile is 4km x 4km.  I eyeball fourths of a city tile and terraform that way.  When I'm ready, I go back to the small scale and refine the terrain.  The road tool and the Google Earth ruler can switch roles so that the road tool measures a distance to be used in Google Earth.

As for the problem of working between city tiles, it's necessary to pick reference points that match up with the borders between two city tiles.  It's absolutely necessary to remember (or note) what you've done on one side of the border so you know what to do on the other city tile.  The distance from the edge or corner is the way I do it.  I don't use the reconcile tool often, as it often messes things up.

20100103_07.jpg

Next update, we'll go into terrain, textures and flora.

sumwonyuno

[Edit]:  Thanks to everyone that nominated me for Most Realistic City Journal!   18.gif

Try to find what's special in the picture below:

20091227_01.jpg

Here's a bigger hint:

20091227_02.jpg

Yes, I've successfully retextured a bus!  To be more specific, I've retextured the NYBT NYC MTA New Flyer bus from the STEX.  Credit goes to Gwail for the model.

TheBus is the public bus service for the entire island of O'ahu.  Oahu Transit Services is a private company contracted by the City to run TheBus.  TheBus fleet has over 500 buses servicing almost 100 routes.  There are a variety of manufacturers and bus lengths that make up the fleet.  Here is an picture of the #57 bus out in Waimanalo:

20091227_03a.JPG

This bus a different model than what is in the game, but let's just pretend that TheBus has bought that model.

There is a rainbow paint scheme, and I'm working on that.  I need to figure out how to make another working bus instance.

20091227_03b.JPG

There are articulated buses, and I need to find a correct model first...

Now, forget the last update.  After days of debating with myself, I've decided to scrap the idea of using the old terrain and congestion view.  It wasn't an easy decision to make.  The problem lies with the game grid and how the road network is aligned in real life.

Here is how Capitalis looked:

20091228_01.jpg

Here is an O'ahu map from the STEX (with incorrect elevations):

20091228_02.jpg

As you can see, the northwest part of Capitalis is fairly accurate.  As you go south and east, the region is skewed.  I was having many problems as the result of legacy decisions back in Capitalis.  As an example, I've obliterated city tiles to flush out the eternal commuters.  So, if I was going to destroy the development, it left me free to do whatever I want with terrain.  If I could do whatever I want with terrain, I could put the landforms in better relation to real life.

The downside is that Downtown was east-west before, but now it's going to be northwest-southeast.  It's either that, or the rest of the island at a compensating angle.  Since I'm BATing virtually all development, I could possibly make things to graphically fit with 45 degree roadways.  30 degrees is a whole other nightmare...  As a tentative plan, I'll be working on the rural areas first.  I'll progress toward Downtown-Waikiki.  This gives me more time to work on diagonal development.

I know it all sounds insane, but at the very least, I'd like to get more area of the island to be like real life.  If I'm only able to do the rural areas, that's fine.  If I can get the urbanized areas too, then 5.gif.

I have started to take the region apart.  By the time you read this, it's already out of date.

20091228_03.jpg

sumwonyuno

I assume you've noticed the name change.  From now on, I will be referencing places by their real names.  It's quite unwiedly to constantly need to use two names for a location.  Since I'm redoing everything in the region to be more like real life, might as well use the real names.  The Capitalis chapters will keep their proper nouns.

20091221_04.jpg

All of the development in several city tiles have been demolished.  I did not obliterate because I did not want to lose information on where the roadways have been.  The congestion view is helpful to put roadways back in where I want to.  This is a time-saving measure, as I don't have to constantly switch back and forth between SimCity and Google Earth to gauge relative distances among the roadways.

20091221_01.jpg

Not all roadways are exactly where they were before.  I've moved and modified the roadways to the south of Punchbowl Crater.  This area is skewed since I have to conform to the game grid.

20091221_02.jpg

I've modified the slopes of Punchbowl Crater to be less jagged and cover more area.  It doesn't look so imposing anymore.

20091221_03.jpg

sumwonyuno

Results of Voting

Hello, Everyone,

I apologize for the lack of posts. I didn't realize how much school work I had to do since Thanksgiving. Don't worry, I'm still here, and Capitalis is too. I won't have a bona fide update until well after my finals are done (the 18th).

As for the voting, the responses from both Simtropolis and SC4Devotion, the results are overwhelming for Choice 4: Reconstructing Community Island. Thanks to all that participated. If your choice wasn't the winning one, I will try to incorporate the other three (subtly and explicitly) into the project.

Here are some ideas of things I've been thinking of (not all are doable):

- Ploppable items (grid and mayor-mode) for various items (flora, parks, eye-candy, etc.)

- TheBus automata (rainbow and classic yellow shades)

- BATing and lotting

- transportation network modding

Now, there are over 400 highrises in Honolulu, thousands of low and mid rise buildings, and hundreds of thousands of residential homes. I'm not aiming to do them all. I will need to think of a doable strategy to create a good mix of RCI and ploppable buildings that evoke that feel of Hawaii: lanais, open-air designs, landscaping, mauka-makai, etc. The different architectural styles, the feel of different areas, and the functions of buildings are all under consideration.

I have purged much of my 1.9GB plugins folder. Much of the custom content buildings I had in my collection I couldn't use for Capitalis (too tall). It's stripped down about 120MB of mods and game additions. I've left the terrain texture alone, but I've changed the water texture to something closer to real life. I also have started to work on terrain elevation.

Here is the work I did before Thanksgiving:

20091125.jpg

My strategy is to start from shoreline or the mountains (depending on the area), and first put the transportation network to the correct elevations. The development will come later, once I create it.

Although I really want to work on rail transit, until Mufi (the Mayor of Honolulu) digs that hole in a Kapolei field for groundbreaking, I'm not officially working on rail transit. I can do things such as the route and rationale for certain decisions as part of the Community Island reconstruction. The designs for the future stations and future development is an ongoing process. I'd like to BAT a station or two, but one, there are no blueprints I can go by, and two I'd need to learn additional things to make the stations work in game.

I'm also going to migrate away from Imageshack, as I've been losing an uncomfortable amount of pictures. I am going to do a combo of Photobucket and Picasa Web Albums. The Island Tours will be moved to Photobucket, and have thumbnails instead of full pictures, because of the bandwidth limit. My custom content, terrain, and the big/important pictures will be hosted on Picasa Web Albums.