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Pabbicus

Recreating Orlando, Florida.

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I'm planning on making a to-scale, as-exact-as-possible replica of the city I currently live in.(Orlando, Florida.) I'm sort of taking an inventory of what I need at the moment. RHW, I think some rail expansion collections, a lot of BATs that fit the feel of suburbs and such. A few things are bugging me, however.

  1. What would you say is the best way to recreate a gated community in SC4? I can get some bats for the right condominium feel, but are there good gates and such to base it on?
  2. Another thing; what kind of scale should I be taking the maps at? I can pull maps from google earth data(which is a pain in the ass due to the sea level disparities, but I can manage,) but I'm not sure from what level I should take the shots to get sim city to scale streets the right width.
  3. What is the best way to make large streets? Not a lot of things qualify as "avenues" in Orlando, since there aren't many widely-divided streets, but there are a lot of roadways with 6 lanes which aren't really highways, either. Lots of transitions from 6 to 4 to 3 to 2 lanes, as well, and I'm a bit worried about that. Any tips on getting extra-wide streets? Favorite puzzle piece sets?
  4. Road curving; I'll need to use modding for that, right? A lot of roads here are built to curve around lakes. That's not very well supported by SC4's mechanics. Any favorites or suggestions for curves?

If something else comes up, I'll post more about the challenges and progress I make. I realize it's probably going to take a long time, but it seems like a fun challenge.

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Think about making the whole region the city. The biggest city tile is only 4 Km. per side ( A Km. is 5/8 of a mile). For a city such as that you also have a problem unless the basic city has a grid layout, because you can only have streets at multiples of π/4 (45 degrees or 50 grads). Any nice, curving cow tracks are out. You can just call the city tiles "wards".

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  • Original Poster
  • Think about making the whole region the city. The biggest city tile is only 4 Km. per side ( A Km. is 5/8 of a mile). For a city such as that you also have a problem unless the basic city has a grid layout, because you can only have streets at multiples of π/4 (45 degrees or 50 grads). Any nice, curving cow tracks are out. You can just call the city tiles "wards".

    Yeah, I was planning on that. 16 km^2 is as big as it gets, which I do think gets the city center. It's a big metro area though. Any idea what the big region's size is? When I pull data off google maps it automatically creates a flatlands-style region with all the features in it. I'd assume it's somewhere around 100-200 km^2.

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    Hey Pabbicus ! Glad to see a Floridian on the forum. Well I'll just say good luck with that. Recreating cities using exact scales is a pain. As my Ontarian neighbor said (I live in Quebec) you might face some issues for the recreation of non square/non diagonal streets. But Orlando from what I remember is pretty geometric.

    If you are looking for diversification, you will definitely need the Street Addon Mod(SAM) and the Network Widening Mod(NWM). The SAM will allow you to make your streets more grungy or more sexy and the NWM will allow you to make bigger avenues, with 2, 4 and 6 lanes and there also several types of road. These are essential tools along with the NAM and the Real Highway Mod.

    One of the issues you might face is the number of lakes on the map. If you are using the NHP map of Orlando, you might want to replace the lakes with PEG's ponds or some others on the SC4 Devotion Exchange. By the way I think that map covers most of the metro area and Orange county (which is about 2,600 sq km ). But that's huuuuge so I don't think the map covers it all. Drunkapple et Dobdriver made very detailed, huge scaled maps, maybe you could make a request.

    Anyway back to the lakes. The lakes from the maps made for SC4 generally have a slope, which doesn't look very realistic, especially in Florida, though Central Florida is not as flat as South Florida.

    You can recreate lakes using the Lake Eola model from Downtown: just recreate a lake using PEG ponds models (or from other creators on the STEX or the LEX), add some trees or recreate a park add some houses next to it if you want your Sims to have a private access to the lake. Then just add 4 roads using a square shape model. In case you need extra help, just go to google maps and take a look at Lake Eola park. I think that's the best way to avoid issued linked to road curving (SIMCITY5 !!!!). Otherwise you can do the same thing with diagonal roads, the outcome will be pretty much the same.

    Regarding the Downtown area, I don't think you need advice on this one. I think the key word is: parking lots and garages. It's going to be pretty tough to recreate exactly the downtown area since very few buildings on the stex look like those you can find in O-Town, especially the modern ones. But you will definitely need to use low-rise content. If you are motivated enough you can take a look at the great tutorials on the forum on how to make your own buildings. 3DS MAX has allowed highly skilled and dedicated SC4 BATters to take custom content to another level.

    Regarding gated communities, for a better Florida look, you might want to use the LBT (yeah I know I always do ads for the former LBT Team) content. They made great mansions that are available on the stex but these are props only, so you will have to lot the mansions.

    Available here:

    It is now an essential file but in case you don't have it download it ! It's the most recent c.p prop pack and contains a huge variety of trees including among others, great palm trees.

    http://sc4devotion.com/csxlex/lex_filedesc.php?lotGET=2790

    Again, good luck with your recreation. The best advice I can give you is ''Children learn by copying''. That's how I went from cra**y content to something much more realistic. I visit SC4-related forums every single day, checking for some new content. Search in the City Journals section or in the City-Building Concept / ''Show us your..'' section. You might find great ideas on how to build your highways, your lakeside areas or your residential and downtown areas.

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  • Original Poster
  • That was very helpful, thanks! If there are already maps, that saves a lot of hassle. I'll make sure to detail every step of it once it's underway. Not sure if anyone will follow it, but I think it will be nice to document the undertaking of an exact recreation of a major metropolitan area.

    The city itself is marked most importantly on maps by the overchange that happens downtown between I-4 and SR408, so I might just start off on a map by building those highways across the region.

    I'll probably have to make a lot of BATs, honestly. I'll need the major facilities like the UCF Campus, the hospitals, and the most important buildings downtown for starters. Gated communities I'll need to find walls for. The trouble, and the reason I pointed them out, is that they make up the vast majority of housing in Orlando and the metro area. I live here so I go through a lot of residential areas, and typical streets and row houses seem to only exist in the ghettos(the "number streets" as they're called, and Parramore, in the southwest,) in any number larger than a small pocket.

    Might take months, or more. Still, I'm going to do my best to get started soon and take a few hours a week or so to do work.

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    Recreations are a very painstaking process, particularly if you work block-by-block like I do. What you notice with downtown American cities are the number of parking lots and garages, as someone else has also mentioned. I would recommend familiarizing yourself with Lot Editor, this will alow you to alter exisiting lots to give them a more Floridian feel and also create new lots such as parks etc.,. There is nothing worse than finding the perfect building but then finding there are trees on the lot that are completely out of place for the climate you are working with, LE will help you avoid all those problems. Be aware that true recreations are a very time consuming process, I have been known to work at a speed of one block per 2 hour session!

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