Welcome to "Making Pleasing Downtowns and Skylines". Hopefully this short little tutorial will help you get some ideas on how to build realistic and fantastic looking skylines and downtown areas.
In this tutorial I will cover:
Some tips on how to make skylines look better and more realistic.
Some BATs that are worth downloading to improve your skyline.
Some tips for creating rural and suburban downtowns.
Some BATs that are worth downloading to improve rural and suburban downtown and business centers.
Part One - Skylines
Skylines define your bigger cities. To have a pleasing skyline, here are some tips that you can consider to make your skylines more pleasing and exciting!
1. Using Custom Content
One of the benefits of Simtropolis is the STEX, where there are thousands of great BATs and LOTs that you can download and palce in your cities. The continuous use of Maxis buildings becomes tedious, so one suggestion is to go into the STEX and download some of the highest quality BATs and LOTs available for the game. There are many skyscrapers that can easily fit into any skyline of choice available on the STEX, so get downloadin'!
2. Diversity in Buildings
The trick to a pleasing and realistic skyline is to have diversity in your skyline. Who wants to see 7 Wren Insurances dominating your skyline? Try to limit the amount of repeated buildings by bulldozing them and using a different tileset. You can also bulldoze the lot until a different building appears, without changing the tileset options. But to have a skyline that is diverse and has a variety of buildings and landmarks will definitely be given attention, especially in city journals.
3. Balancing Your Skyline
Many skylines are over the top and stretch for miles and miles in each direction. If you are going for a mega-metropolis outlook, then this is fine. But if you are striving to create a realistic skyline with diversity, balancing out your skyline is one of the essentials. If you are using custom content, try to varietize your skyline by including smaller buildings and taller buildings. Also, try to balance between residential and commercial buildings in your city. This doesn't only help your city's economy, but it helps balance your skyline and diversify your city.
Part Two - Downtowns
This section is more for smaller city downtowns, rather than bigger ones. You'll find that creating realistic, pleasing downtowns parallel making pleasing skylines.
1. Using Custom Content
You'll be surprised, but there are many suburban and rural buildings located on the STEX that could really fit well in a downtown. Also, many of the Maxis in-game buildings for smaller downtowns (like Ken's Dinner Theatre for example) are overly repeated automatically. Try and take advantage of the STEX's custom content; you'll find that it really benefits your downtown areas.
2. Diversity in Buildings
Yes, basically the same as the above section. You don't want a downtown consisting of the same building. So diversify your buildings and make your downtown unique!
3. Balancing Your Downtown
For smaller, rural downtowns, balancing is essential. Try to stay away from the square-like downtown. For example, you have a downtown in a rural environment, and there are four roads meeting where downtown should be. Don't fit the downtown in between those four roads. The result would be that your downtown looks squarelike and cubed in. Downtowns, especially rural and suburban ones, should fluctuate between circular shapes or narrow shapes. Avoid the square! You'll find that a circular or narrow-circular downtown, easily accessible by many roadways will look much better and pleasing.
Part Three - A List of Recommended Custom Content for Skylines
Here are some recommended authors of BATs and LOTs that can fit in your skyline:
/Zumi/ -- /Zumi/ is a great BATter who has made many great BATs and LOTs in the past. They really fit into any skyline.
NDEX -- NDEX is the award winning BAT team on Simtropolis who has created dozens of buildings, ranging from suburban shops, to towering skyscrapers. NDEX's material is recommended by anyone on Simtropolis.
Ill_Tonkso -- Ill_Tonkso is now a member of NDEX, but has released several buildings for great skylines before his induction into NDEX. Worth a look at!
JtPortland -- An excellent BATter who has released many skyscrapers for skylines as well in the past.
Part Four - A List of Recommended Custom Content for Downtowns
For downtowns, here is some authors of BATs and LOTs:
SimGoober -- Easily one of the best for suburban and rural downtowns. There are some highrises, some midrises, and some complexes for downtowns that work well. Also his creations of real-life stores and shopping centers help push the realism into the game. He is a part of the BSC, the other famous BAT team on Simtropolis.
Kevdan25 -- Includes an array of many fast food chain restaurants that any downtown may have. He is a great, realistic BATter, and contributes to BSC, the other famous BAT team on Simtropolis.
Part Five - Some Examples
Santa Terra, Chicago333
Sa Penya, Jeronij