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Network Widening Mod (NWM) - Development and Support

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Goto the NWM transitions button, hold the Shift key and press TAB 4 times, this gets you the "Ave-4 to 6 Transition" Piece. This same piece is used for both AVE-6 and TLA-7, if using the latter there is an extra piece you'll want to use "Triple Tile AVE to TLA Center Transition".

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If I were you, I'd open a blank city and plop every single piece from this menu. That way, you'll have a clearer understanding of what pieces are available. Additionally, you could take a screenshot, to keep as a reference.

Whilst I fully appreciate that documentation would help in this area, we simply can not list every NAM piece that exists, there are too many. The way I - and I'm sure many others - learnt to get the most out of the NAM was to take the time to learn what all the possible pieces were. This means doing much the same with every NAM menu, going through, placing each piece in turn. If you spend a few hours doing that, not only will the location of puzzle pieces be clearer, but you'll find many things you might otherwise have missed.

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7 hours ago, rsc204 said:

"Ave-4 to 6 Transition" Piece. This same piece is used for both AVE-6 and TLA-7, if using the latter there is an extra piece you'll want to use "Triple Tile AVE to TLA Center Transition".

Aha! Since I'd been looking for TLA-7 in a name, I zoomed right past "Ave-4 to 6" (I was also unsure of the Maxis avenue designation, which is why I asked about that earlier). So Maxis avenue is now definitively "Ave-4", and AVE-6 can be converted to TLA-7.

I did do a look twice at the triple-tile name, but experimented with the OWRs first. Thanks for the secret-sauce that not only answers my immediate question but gives me an idea how flexible my thinking needs to be when scanning these menus.

7 hours ago, rsc204 said:

Whilst I fully appreciate that documentation would help in this area, we simply can not list every NAM piece that exists

Understood. I mainly wanted to indicate that I had in fact taken time to look in the NWM doc before running for help. It has quite a few pieces listed, so I mistakenly believed the list was exhaustive (and there too, I also mistakenly believed that I needed to find something with TLA-7 in the name).

Combining the pieces you mention above is not obvious to someone unfamiliar to NWM. I hope your explanation finds its way into the NWM doc.

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You forgot to drag out the transition from OWR to TLA-5. If that transition is unsupported (which it seems like from the paths and textures), I'd recommend a quick transition to avenue (AVE-4) first; you'll notice the loop paths present, which wouldn't normally be there if the transition was done correctly.

 

Also, I'm almost 100% certain such a transition exists (AVE-6 to RD-6 or AVE-6 to AVE-4). At the very worst, there's a RHW-6S to RHW-4 asymmetrical transition piece, but it shouldn't be that difficult.

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On 3/6/2017 at 10:26 PM, jeffryfisher said:

Many simoleons died to bring us this information...

On 3/11/2017 at 7:44 PM, APSMS said:

Maybe I'm a terrible person but my slope mod is edited so that the cost of roads and such is reduced...

It occurs to me that some of you might not have cottoned to my Star Wars reference (Mon Mothma telling our heroes that many Bothans died to deliver the death star plans). I apologize for any confusion I caused.

I am now turning interest to the NRD's within the NWM. What's the widest NRD? Can we make more?

I'd love to see a double-wide NRD-8 or NTLA-7. Think about it -- each little square within a city is 16 f'ing meters (~50 feet)! In a town / city, lanes should be a MAXIMUM of 3m (because anything wider subconsciously induces speeding and stretches ped crossings to unsafe distances).

16m per square means a double-wide can easily accommodate 10+ lanes (with maybe 2 given over to side-walking and maybe 1 given to center-lane turning). Since any built-up area you'd need a center turn lane is an area where lanes should no wider than 3m anyway, TLA-7 with sidewalks would make more sense in a compact double-wide format. With 9.5' wide traffic lanes, one could even show-horn NRD-10 into a double-wide with room to spare.

Now, if you want to go to triple-wide, let's look at Scottsdale AZ... (intersections covering 4 acres... crosswalks with first-aid stations and Indian guides on the median-islands...)

PS: I apologize if this belongs in a different thread such as NAM suggestions.

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A 4 acre intersection would be ~400 ft on a side (if square). Keep in mind 4 acres is ~174 000 sq ft. Even a 3x3 tile intersection in the game is only 24 802 sqft, or a little over 1/2 acre.

The biggest issue is that Maxis set the scale with automata, which is why lanes are 4m wide. Any smaller, and a project to redesign the game's entire automata system with overrides is necessary. Although possible, most of the game's automata makers have either retired from modding or left the community entirely, and although both Rivit and Airman15 are prolific and skilled at such tasks, I doubt either of them are willing to take on the scope required for a complete automata replacement at a totally new scale, for which all of their previous mods would be not useful (well, Rivit's are a little underscaled in comparison, but generally fit the scheme of the already existing cars and would still suffer similar issues).

Alas, of Star Wars, I have seen only the first one (A New Hope). The others remain as yet unseen, though unfortunately there are no more spoilers left to be had, which is a shame considering that there was a significant period in my life when I had no idea what anyone was talking about when it can to Skywalkers, Death Stars, and 2000 Millennium Falcon, and I could have enjoyed all of the Star Wars movies with the sense of wonder that can never be regained.

Not to mention the fact that Star Wars is an over-hyped Space Opera (I like hard Sci-Fi, which SW is definitely not), which has other problems.

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2 hours ago, APSMS said:

The biggest issue is that Maxis set the scale with automata, which is why lanes are 4m wide. Any smaller, and a project to redesign the game's entire automata system with overrides is necessary.

Actually it would be possible to re-scale them either with Model Tweaker or if need be with 3DS Max, since automata are true 3D models. However, the problem with changing one thing, is that much as you suppose, it sets off a domino effect. So you adapt the roads and cars, now the trains and buildings look out of scale... before you know it you remake the entire game. That's why in many ways modders have tried to unify around a scale that fits in with we have already. Anything else would just end up being a ton of work.

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The irony is that things are already out of scale - buildings were up-scaled in elevation by Maxis (as they said in the BAT manual - cheated a little),  but automata were generally kept at world scale -  US world scale that is - which is generally larger than the rest of the world. When they did upscale the automata it was in all three dimensions, but not excessively. A strange example is that the Maxis freight diesel doesn't actually fit the Maxis tunnel.  Its like two separate teams designed these bits and didn't talk to each other.

I've always kept my automata to design scale so for example UK trains are smaller than European trains are smaller that US trains. This isn't a problem with automata but when Props are made of them according to BAT scaling rules it starts to get a bit weird at times - like an automaton driving past a statue of itself itself at 150% scale.

It is a game after all - if only we modders would stop trying to replicate real-life..

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13 hours ago, APSMS said:

A 4 acre intersection would be ~400 ft on a side (if square). Keep in mind 4 acres is ~174 000 sq ft. Even a 3x3 tile intersection in the game is only 24 802 sqft, or a little over 1/2 acre.

OK, you caught me exaggeratin'. I must also confess that I made up the bit about watering stations and Indian guides too. It just looks bigger when you're standing there in 118 F heat confronting 50mph cross-traffic. Suddenly the crown of the intersection makes it look as if it is big enough to be affected by the curvature of the Earth.

Looking at actual satellite views of where major boulevards cross, I can see examples about 150' on a side (looking at outer crosswalk lines). That's roughly 22,500 sf, which about matches our triple-tile roads and their 3x3 intersection.

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I have a new question about NWM intersections: What kind of crossing will handle the most traffic? Is a plain level TLA-5 x TLA-5 as good or better than transitioning to avenue and using their 4x4 traffic circle? Or is there some other widget that can process even more throughput? I've looked for circles that TLAs could plug into, but they looked asymmetrical, like they wouldn't take TLA-5 on all four sides.

If I step up to TLA-7 (triple wide, so more capacity), do the relative ratings change? Does its 3x3 intersection carry more than a traffic circle? Do transitions to avenues cause more trouble than any avenue traffic circle could be worth? (And yes, I know not to ever build another Maxis avenue on a diagonal -- I am still ripping those out and replacing them region-wide).

If there's an article on the merits (or futility) of using traffic circles with NWM, I'd love to read it (but haven't found it yet).

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Roundabouts provide more efficient traffic flow than intersections do. TLA-5 is an avenue with turning lanes, what purpose would such turning lanes serve on the roundabout?, none whatsoever. So logically transitioning to Ave for the roundabout is your best solution here. Turbo Roundabouts will support Ave, RD4 and RD6 setups, in combination with ARD-3 for the smaller connections. Again if you are not using a supported network, transitioning before the roundabout is necessary. Why? Well because making puzzle pieces and supporting every network is a lot of work, pragmatically speaking, a lot of the time you could argue such work is pointless.

Honestly, how many sims do you want to travel through these networks? Because you are going to need a seriously insane amount of traffic before you will have capacity issues. Rather than building in theory, why not try simply building and seeing what works? Roundabouts are for most players more to do with aesthetics than anything. Here in Europe we have roundabouts, lots of them, so that's why modders wanted to add them into the game, so road setups could take on a more European flavour. Trying to optimise the entire traffic network before you've built anything is prone to going wrong. It's only when you can see those areas in need of optimisation will you know what needs improving.

4 hours ago, jeffryfisher said:

And yes, I know not to ever build another Maxis avenue on a diagonal

Again, I understand why you think this, but in practise, I've never run into problems using them. If you find you are running into capacity issues, worry about it then. Once more I sense you are working to theory and not results. Sure the capacity is lower, but some extreme exceptions aside, it will most likely work just fine.

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21 hours ago, rsc204 said:

how many sims do you want to travel through these networks?

I don't know. I'm learning how the game works (including NAM) so that I know what tool to use for what job so I can avoid most problems and understand those that still crop up.

But mainly I'm contingency-planning for an unknown future. Imagine I am an engineer for the state working out a 50-year regional transit plan for an urban area that's about to "pop". To set aside land for corridors and interchanges, I'm not looking at immediate needs but worst-case scenarios for 50-100 game years in the future.

If the tools existed, I'd merely condemn the land or plop future-freeway (and interchange) shadow (planning) pieces. However, because I have no good way to do that (though I've toyed with the idea of designing freeway- and interchange-shaped ploppable farms), I'm actually building out the system now so it'll take up space and force me to zone development around it (I know I'm not smart enough to do that without something in the way).

I know it's not ideal SC4 strategy (and not the way others play the game), but it's one of the primary design concepts for my region. It's what I grew up with: suburban sprawl replacing orchards in "Silicon Valley" during the 1970s and 80s left giant swaths of undeveloped land for future freeways (and after much NIMBY whining by people who had built houses backing onto known freeway corridors, those freeways were eventually built).

Those swaths were set aside during the 1950s when the land was all open and almost nobody lived there -- decades before the freeways were needed. A similar process is going on where I live now, as certain roads with wide shoulders morph into "avenues" and expressways according to plans made (and using rights-of-way set aside) at least 20 years ago. I am trying to shape my towns-cum-cities in a similar fashion.

If you look back at my posts where I've made mod suggestions or asked how things work, you'll see my urban-planning / regional transit planning concept behind many of them going back to when I picked up the game in 2013.

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New question: When I drag a diagonal road across a perpendicular diagonal TLA, I get what look like 2 or 3 separate intersections, depending on the width of the TLA. Are diagonal TLA intersections not supported, or is there some trick to constructing them?

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1 hour ago, APSMS said:

Diagonal intersections with the NWM are unsupported.

OK, but is there any supported intersection supported for diagonal TLA (e.g. horizontal or vertical anything thru a diagonal TLA)? If not, then diagonal TLA has limited value, which constrains how they can be used effectively. Long diagonal segments would isolate the land around them.

If there's nothing now, then I'll write this NAM request for some future version: Each diagonal TLA should offer a perpendicular (i.e. also diagonal) intersections with itself and with simple road. That adds three intersections to each TLA network (the TLA with itself and the TLA/road plus the road/TLA).

In the mean time, how do experienced NWM users work around the limited interactivity of diagonal TLAs? Do you routinely zig-zag to create orthogonal segments where intersections can exist?

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  • Original Poster
  • The diagonal intersections are planned--have been since the beginning--but there's so many of them, and the pathing process for them is very intensive, so there's been a fair bit of debate internally about how best to approach them (especially after an aborted attempt to add some during the NAM 31 cycle).

    The idea of doing just a few networks across the board is, in my mind, the most workable.

    In the meanwhile, most people work around it with the single and dual-tile networks by dropping down to a Maxis network, but that isn't an option with the triple-tile networks.

    -Tarkus

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    Mostly I don't use NWM in a diagonal fashion. There's enough issues with diagonals regarding zoning that it's usually not worth the extra effort. If I'm really concerned about capacity I either use a highway or make the diagonal not a main thoroughfare, or if it is a main road, justify it by avoiding intersecting it so that I can justify it being a faster road.

    It's not ideal, but that's where we're at right now.

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  • Original Poster
  • In the process of doing some testing relating to recent FTL-related proposals, I happened to discover that the DIPs were not functioning properly on the NRD-4 network, dropping its capacity.  The patch below will correct this.  The recommended location for installation is the Plugins\z___NAM folder.

    In case anyone is wondering regarding the technical aspect, the culprit appeared to be the "number of paths" value on the path file for the orthogonal tile (0x51050000), which was still set to 10 even after the PedMall Connector paths were added to the network during NAM 34 development.  The DIPs were the 11th and 12th paths in the file, and this caused them to not be read.  I have changed the "number of paths" value to 12, thereby re-enabling the DIPs.

    The copy of NetworkWideningMod_NRD-4.dat in my NAM build folder has already been corrected, so the fix will be included in NAM 37 out of the box.

    -Tarkus

    z_NRD-4_CapacityFix_10172017.zip

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