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MandelSoft

Project Symphony - Development

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To SC4D mirror topic

Project Symphony is an attempt to join the Maxis Highways (abbriviated as MHW) with the Real Highway Mod (RHW) by the total conversion of the MHW. The new MHW will have the specifications of the RHW. It looks like a RHW, it will ride like a RHW but it will be build like an MHW.

Initiated by jdenm8 and later on joined by MandelSoft, both NAM Team members, this mod will be a total revamp of the MHW, making it easier to construct than the RHW and will have a slightly more urban look than the RHW. Moreover, this can be a stepping stone to the usage of the RHW. After all, this mod is meant to work along with the RHW and the MIS (Modular Interchange System) for ever increasing flexibility.

If you are new to Project Symphony, please read this post. It will answer many frequently asked questions about the network and its future development, and it is updated regularly. If your question isn't answered by this thread, by all means, ask.

Preview shots

The following pictures sum up the current features and posibilities:

The pieces:

projectsymphony_contents_01.jpg

projectsymphony_contents_02.jpg

projectsymphony_contents_03.jpg

The features:

projectsymphony_contents_04.jpg

projectsymphony_contents_05.jpg

FAQs

1. Can this mod work side-by-side with the regular Maxis Highway

No. This mod is a complete replacement. However, this is an optional NAM component, so you can choose whether to install it or not.

2. This mod completely replaces my Maxis Highways. Can I keep all of them or do I need to demolish them?

Most of the draggable content will be ported over with no problems. Especially there will be quite a lot of diagonal functionality from the first release, something uncommon with other NAM items. However, you probably need to demolish the interchanges, since those are not converted due to lots of modeling work and vast underscaling. However, you will be able to build other kinds of interchanges as a replacement with some help of the RHW.

3. When will it be out?

As we from the NAM Team say: it will be ready when it is ready. Seriously, we have no idea when it's fully ready for distribution. Probably it will be included in the next NAM.

4. Will this mod be left-hand drive (LHD) compatible?

Yes, it most certainly will, as one of its developers works under LHD ;)

5. What about the Euro textures?

They will probably be released simultaniously with the rest of the mod. One of the developers is already working on that front...

6. Why are there no starters on the ramp pieces?

This will allow you to build more compact interchanges. Starters tend to be in the way in quite some cases. There will be stubs however. You can use the starters from the RHW for the ramp construction. This decision may change in the future, possibly with the implementation of FlexRamps (of which I don't know how to make them).

7. Will pre-fab style interchanges ever come back?

No. The massive amount of time required in making one, the size limits imposed on them, the fact that they would duplicate already existing functionality, along with the rigid inflexibility of such setups, the underscaled dimensions of these interchanges and the massive number that would have to be made in order to account for all the networks both MHW and RHW renders the notion of plop interchanges impractical and unworkable. Semi-prefabs will probably the biggest components that will be realised.

8. How about bridges and tunnels?

The current Maxis Highway bridges have proven to be too hard to convert for now, so you have to use avenue bridges instead, or some of the new dual RHW-4 bridges. For the tunnels, there will be a 7.5m high ground level tunnel override available, which will require a custom slope mod (included in the mod):

symphony_tunnel_01.jpg

On behalf of the NAM Team,

Maarten (MandelSoft)


Latest developments (November 12, 2012):

Cloverleaf ramps:

symphony_cloverleaf_01.jpg

symphony_cloverleaf_02.jpg

Diagonal elevation transitions:

Also, I got this ready yesterday:

mhw_l0_to_l2_transitions_01.jpg

mhw_l0_to_l2_transitions_02.jpg

T-Stack interchanges (currently L0xL0 only):

symphony_t-stack_01.jpg

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As I said in the news comments section, you're a few months away of actually "killing" MHW. Project Symphony is a major breakthrough for this community, as realistic highways will take over one time for all. The usual RHW complaints, like a steep learning curve, the lack of prefabricated interchanges and the tedious tab-ring rotations are going to be a thing from the past. Have you checked that? A T-interchange that actually looks realistic!!

The revolution is here! Thank you so much, NAM Team!

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Seems the revolution is delayed until the NAM team decides to release all this. However, I will keep my cans of worms ready to eat when the time comes to bait my breath.

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MandelSoft's stream from earlier today shows Project Symphony in action.

Gotta say I'm impressed with the amount of stability this mod has even in its infancy. It also seems transition well to other networks.

Link to the video: http://www.twitch.tv/mandelsoft/b/341898799

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Interesting project here; will the new MHW be at ground level height?

Note that there are two MHW networks: Ground MHW elevated MHW.

What do you think? :read:

Wow! Also, I have one more question:

Will it be mandatory to install this with the NAM or would it be optional download?

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Wonderfull, I was waiting for this mod for a long time. I've seen a couple of bridges on the video, do you convert all maxis and/or other highway bridges to be compatible with this mod?

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do you convert all maxis and/or other highway bridges to be compatible with this mod?

Refer to: http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=15238.msg437591#msg437591

Directly quoted:

The current Maxis Highway bridges have proven to be too hard to convert for now, so you have to use avenue bridges instead, or some of the new dual RHW-4 bridges.

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The aesthetics of this mod are appealing, but the functionality changes (specifically with the interchanges and ramps) are worrying to me. I have previously tried working with custom interchanges and ramps in the past, but have always failed. I constantly seek comfort in the fact that the ramps and interchanges available with the MHW and earlier versions of the NAM are predictable, easy to build and understand, and most importantly for my region, compact.

In my Downtown Genesis (Timbuktu) region (the only region I have managed to build successfully; I have failed no fewer than four other regions), development is so tightly packed and traffic so dense from literally years of building in the same region, MHW is the only real option for me without having to demolish years of intense work that I take so much pride in. The compact ramps and interchanges have played an integral role in this for me, allowing me to take advantage of every single empty tile in nearly all of my cities (except where cloverleafs are present). Even today when I bring my old Timbuktu cities up to standard with my current capabilities of dense overpopulation, wherever MHW ramps or interchanges are needed, I can always think back and say "okay, a perpendicular road ramp is needed here, which will consume two tiles on all four corners of the ramp" and change my road or zone layouts as needed without things being too complicated.

I guess what I am saying is that I am not ready for a mod that changes the need for different parts of a network for this game, especially if it takes up more room than my successful cities can provide. Space is tight in my only successful region, and I like that. Empty space sometimes causes me distress, and I want to fill up such empty space with as much as can be achieved in the highest density possible.

This will be a very popular cosmetic mod, I have no doubt. But when it comes to modularity on highway networks, unless several ramps can stack parallel on top of each other (like in Cities In Motion, but that's obviously not happening), I prefer to stick with raised parks and roads. Please forgive my decision with this mod.

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The aesthetics of this mod are appealing, but the functionality changes (specifically with the interchanges and ramps) are worrying to me. I have previously tried working with custom interchanges and ramps in the past, but have always failed.

Will the conversion from MHW to the new facility be optional?

You guys have obviously not read the entire thread:

Wow! Also, I have one more question:

Will it be mandatory to install this with the NAM or would it be optional download?

As with all other NAM projects, this one will be optional to the core NAM install.

Just don't expect any sort of default MHW equivalents of any of the above or any new MHW prefabs; It's never gonna happen unless it's PS-ified.

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Forgive me, my intention was to state my feelings towards this modification. I understand that it will be an optional download, but despite the appealing visual changes to the MHW I feel that I will not download it due to certain changes that would have to be made to existing MHW set ups. I apologise for the confusion.

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but despite the appealing visual changes to the MHW I feel that I will not download it due to certain changes that would have to be made to existing MHW set ups.

Oh, they'll still work, but they'll visually incompatible (the paths should still work), and it's absolutely unlikely that any of the MHW prefabs will ever be modified.

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They will be unchanged. You won't be able to plop any more than what are already there, but existing ones will still work exactly the same way they always have.

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I have read the entire thread, but there are more things going on in my life than just this. A simple yes or no would have been rather nice. I don't go back and slug through 20-odd pages to recover a small fact.

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If your only option for transport is building densly with MHWs, I think you should re-think your urban planning strategy...

There is no urban planning strategy in my gameplay anymore, largely because the sims always violated what I planned out, resulting in homes being abandoned due to commute time, wrong types of buildings appearing in the wrong zones, sims taking the wrong routes, etc.

Because of that, the only kind of gameplay that I find works for me is to adapt to what happens. Usually this results in space being hugely taken advantage of. ^_^ If it would be acceptable to you, I could send some images of how I use MHWs in my cities to you through private message.

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If your only option for transport is building densly with MHWs, I think you should re-think your urban planning strategy...

Best to update the FAQ with this question, along with the tunnels/bridges question from SC4D: Is this mod optional or mandatory?

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  • Original Poster
  • @Ganaram: Done!

    @Shinkansem: OK, show me, because I'm curious about that. I never had such severe problems in my more spaceously planned out cities where there's even enough room for wide RHW types.

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    I should add, if you're running a current-generation NAM Traffic Simulator Plugin (and it isn't being overridden by some sort of outdated/incompatible transit mod also residing in your Plugins), you shouldn't be seeing that sort of behavior.

    I'd also add that if you want to try experimenting with different options, make a copy of your existing region for such purposes. That way, if things go awry, you'll still have your original version safe and sound.

    -Tarkus

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    I tend to stick to the KISMIF plan when it comes to highways. KISMIF ::= Keep It Simple, Make It Fun. I probably will not use this extension because I hardly ever use highways of any kind. These teeny-tiny city tiles are too small to warrant the use of such things.

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    Project Symphony has to be the biggest thing I'm looking forward to in the next NAM; it simply looks amazing, and seems ideal for the region I'm currently working on. Thanks for your hard work NAM Team, and good luck with seeing NAM 31 to completion.

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