How to make a visually pleasing slope
…exactly the way you want it, without the help of a slope mod.
Yes, it‘s right. We’ll attempting the almost impossible: Creating a slope that looks good, exactly the way we want it, without resorting to a slope mod. The goal of this tutorial shall be: We will be (for demonstrational purposes) making an overpass with the height of 7.5m over a railway line, where the terrain rises exactly by 1.5m per city tile. (This requires making a slope that takes up 5 city tiles.)
In this tutorial I will frequently use the term height increase per city tile. This mostly means what it implies: The height distance (im m) between the lowest point of a city tile that is not flat and its highest point.
This tutorial is also supposed to be part of the "How to Do It" Simtropolis Challenge, Season 3. I hope posting it will suffice, if not, I'd appreciate if someone tells me.
Let’s first start with a little thinking:
1. Which possibilites do we have?
- We could manually raise the terrain with the terrain raising tool, either with the one that comes in the Mayor Mode Menu, or the one from the God Mode Menu. But, as you might have already thought, it seems to be impossible to make it look accurately right.
- We could also just simply use a slope mod. But however, you might definitely want a slope to feature a defined height increase, not just any, and perhaps no slope mod available is meeting your demands and you also might not want to leave Sim City 4, modify your slope mod, return, drag your traffic route, leave Sim City 4 and so on…
Fortunately, there’s a third way to make slopes. This tutorial will be all about making a slope by resorting to this way.
2. What do we need?
- The Network Addon Mod, which is available here. It comes with the only required tool, the Hole Digger and Raiser Lots. We will be using these lots.
- This tool unfortunately is a puzzle piece, which can trigger the bug that causes SC4 to return to desktop when hovering the mouse cursor over a transit-enabled lot. You might want to install this plugin that fixes this bug.
- Probably the Extra Cheats Plugin, which is available here. It isn’t really mandatory, but quite helpful, as it allows you to plan your slopes according to what you actually want.
- And, most important: The brain.exe, which is available in your head. Most importantly, you will need to use a bit of mathematics (for instance, if you want a road to take 5 tiles to climb a height difference of 7.5m, you need to calculate: 7.5m/5 = 1.5m), especially considering that with the tool we are using, you are unfortunately limited to height increases per tile of 0.5m, 1m, 1.5m and so on (it increases by increments of 0.5m).
Also, please note that the Hole Digger and Raiser Lots destroy subterranean water pipes and subway tunnels – so, after using them, it is highly recommended to check your water pipes and subway tunnels, lest you end up disconnecting parts of your city from the local water supply (this happened to me once).
3. The theoretical process
This part is rather easy to explain: As you might have already noticed, you can use the Hole Digger and Raiser Lots to raise/lower a tile, as well as raise large parts of your terrain (for instance, to create terraces). The choice of how much you can raise/lower your terrain seems to be low, since the tool itself only offers the possibility to raise/lower the terrain by increments of:
15m, 7.5m, 8m, 10m, 12m, 14m, 15.5m, 24m, and 30m
You can actually increase your possibilities if you raise the terrain by a certain amount, then lower it by another amount. For example, raising it by 15m and lowering it by 14m eventually raises the terrain by 1m. And, most important for this tutorial: If you stagger those cleverly, you can create slopes.
4. A practical example
Perhaps a few pictures explain more than words. Let’s now focus on the goal topic of this tutorial, namely, the 7.5m overpass that we will be making exactly here:
I’ve placed park lots to label the place where the slope will be in the future. Let’s now first grab the Raiser Tool and press TAB until we get the 15.5m raiser tool (15.5m-14m = 1.5m).
Place it exactly here (red dot):
This will create a mound with the height of 15.5m. Next, press SHIFT+TAB to return to the 14m tile and press END to switch to the digger piece (it should be glowing red instead of blue). Place the tool exactly on top of the mound and the result will look like this:
Now, use road stubs to lengthen the raised terrain to the opposite side:
I’ve marked the next spot where you should place the raiser tool again with a red dot. This will, basically, allow you to make slopes if you continue this pattern. You can, by the way, at least in this case speed up the process if you make a "wall" like this with only the raiser tool…
…and then lower the terrain. All of this will eventuall lead to this result:
Now, all that is left is creating a trench for the railway and then dragging the railway through it and placing the 7.5m Road overpass puzzle pieces. This is the result:
5. Final words
Looks complicated – and in fact, it is. It’s rather time-consuming, but it is the only way I’ve ever been able to figure out to make a slope exactly the way I want it. This is especially useful in making overpasses/underpasses – for instance, overpasses with not the same height increase per tile but gentle in the beginning, more steep in the center and gentle in the end, like it would be realistic (try to make this with a slope mod)…
…and sometimes useful in making nice mountain roads like these:
Especially for the latter purpose, you might want to install the Extra Cheats plugin, and use it by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+X and then typing in terrainquery to actually find out which height difference you have to deal with. That’s the point where you need to use your brain.exe: 1. To calculate how many city tiles it will take your slope to climb this difference, and 2. by how much meters you will have to raise every tile.
That’s all for now. I hope you liked this tutorial.