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Continuing on from where I left off last time,
A - Broadcast Hill
B - The Trueno River & related tunnels
C - Guardians Gate Bridge
D - Port of Isuzu, Supra River & Isuzu (Rail)Jct.
E - Highway 709/Astel Rd. Interchange
F - Kewston(neighborhood)
G - Highway 709/Malkin Blvd. Interchange
H - Cagalli (Rail)Jct.
I - Downtown
J - Highway 709/Crosby Ave. Interchange
K - O'Leary Peak
L - Fastraxx Cisco Bay
M - Highway 700/709 Interchange
N - Cisco Bay Beach
O - Highway 700/Malkin Blvd. Interchange
P - Great Western Mall, & Richview(neighborhood)
Q - Great Western Tower
R - The Skybridge
G & H - Highway 709/Malkin Blvd. Interchange & Cagalli (Rail)Jct.
This interchange connects downtown Cisco Bay with vehicular traffic originating from the east. There is no westbound access onto the 709 here. For that direction of travel drivers must make there way to the nearby Crosby Ave/709 interchange.
I've made numerous changes over the years to this interchange, but it never seem to look quite to my liking. This is largely because of the difficulties in making the a realistic looking connection to a diagonal highway in SC4. Even the RHW mod or project symphony for the matter don't fully resolve this issue. The other problem at this location is the lack of space due to nearby rail lines crossing over the highway. In order to maintain smooth curves, both horizontally & vertically I finally settled on a tunnel solution:
Transformation of the interchange over time:
The next few paragraphs deals with trains & grades
So it may be a long read to some - you have been forewarned
The horizontal curves are the 45 degree highway & rail pieces, I placed the highway and rail lines as close as physically possible while still enabling the use of these curves. The vertical curvature I'm referring to is for the rail lines. I use a slope mod, which is good enough for roads but not for the rail lines. For those I manually smooth out the height difference one zone at a time. GWR's Almera sub for instance(the rail line on the top of the image) drops 91.5ft/27.9 over a distance of 1890ft/576m(40ft over 16 spaces in the image above) or or more plainly it drops about 2 spaces of height over 36 spaces. This equates to a 4.8% grade. I didn't pre-plan that out before hand or anything, its just what it ended up being.
Anything over 1.5% is considered not desirable for freight trains and over 2%(or 2.2% in some areas) is considered "mountain grade". The biggest reason why freight trains can only handle such small grades is because rail companies try to make their mainline trains as long as possible while needing a few locomotives as possible. This of course reduces expenses and increases profit. But it can cause problems on lines with steep grades. A quick goggle search indicates the largest grade in the US was 4.7%. Here's an excerpt on what it's like for a train to operate on a very steep grade; "Operating conditions on the original mainline through Kicking Horse and Rogers passes were proving to be something of a nightmare. Between Field and Hector, on a four mile stretch known as the Big Hill, stretches of grade up to 4.5 per cent meant that eastbound trains climbing up to the pass had to be divided into sections for the assent. Freight trains working down the hill were restricted to SIX miles per hour, and four steeply graded safety tracks were insurance against runaways."
Thankfully while I'm certainly much more attentive to this than your average SC4 player or perhaps almost any player for that matter, I'm not completely anal about it. I don't spend my days trying to make every rail line is SC4 under 2 or 3% thank god lol. There's no point to that. As I said before, I don't measure or preplan the grade. My goal is simply to make the slope relatively unnoticeable. I'm guessing most of my rail grades are probably around 4 to 6%, which certainly appears to be a very smooth grade in game. IRL freight trains would struggle mighty with even that. But on planet Azura, where my city is located in, one consequence of the overall population being far lower(mentioned in the first entry of this CJ) is that things like freight trains can be and are indeed far shorter. Instead of the monster 2 mile long freight trains that many companies run today(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longest_trains), the longest trains on Azura would be at most half a mile long. This also means that the freight yards need not be 2 miles long either, otherwise I'd have to build my freight yards as big as a medium sized city! Therefore the trains are much lighter while at the same time the number of locomotives remains the same. On top of that the length of most of the grade changes are relatively short, probably a km long at most. So even the 6% grades are not that problematic.
Now back to the interchange. Here's how it actually functions:
Cagalli Jct. is nearby to the interchange:
As with Isuzu Jct, the sole purpose of this junction is to serve as an interchange point. An interchange point is a location where freight traffic can be transferred from one company to another. Even though these companies are in direct completion with one another they will allow each other to use their lines to reach specific customers that they otherwise wouldn't have access to. This is at steep cost of course. This junction in particular is used by eastbound trains coming off GWR onto ICR's track or conversely southbound trains coming off the ICR(Lakeridge spur) and onto GWR track.
The power line/hydro corridor seen in the foreground is the Hardack hydro corridor. This line connects the largest power plant in the region, located in the South Shore borough, to the more denser areas of the Central borough. It's a vital piece of infrastructure that at this spot carries up to 2000MW of power. 2000MW is enough power to supply the needs of over a million people during the mid day summer peak. Electrical usage peaks on both a season & daily basis. Seasonally, summer and/or winter, deepening on the climate of a region, is when power usage is at its highest due to power intensive applications like heating and cooling. On a daily basis the peak threads to happen early in the more and late in the afternoon and then drops at its lowest in the middle of the night. The 1MW to 500 people ratio is derived from my real life numbers. The record summer peak demand for the region I live in is 26,000MW for a total of 13 million people. What can I say, we're power hogs over here Though power conservation measures have slowly begun to decrease our usage over the last couple of years.
The power usage in the city itself is 112MW, which puts it in the mid-range of nearby cities:
134MW Lindin City
112MW Cisco Bay
14MW Mount Prominence
Here's one last overhead shot of Cagalli Jct & the Malkin-709 interchange before moving on:
I - Downtown Cisco Bay
There's been plenty of pictures of this area in previous entries so won't to spam any more, well maybe one more,
For the record, the Cardiff Capital Tower built in 1979 is the tallest building in the city:
List of the 10 tallest buildings in Cisco Bay:
More or less about what you'd expect from a mid-sized city of 40,000.
Following the construction of the Cardiff tower in 1979, the city slapped a 17 story height limit on all future buildings(quite obvious yes?). They did not want the downtown area to be overwhelmed with highrise buildings like other area's of the region. Their primary reason was out of concern about overwhelming the transportation network of the city with too much density. While the city had a well integrated highway network there were a few problematic areas(eg. item R). Higher capacity subway lines do not run into Cisco Bay. While the L line runs a fairly frequent commuter train service it would not be sufficient if population densities were to increase any further. Aside from the train station there are only a couple of low frequency bus routes that operate through the city. The height limit originally only covered the downtown area but was later extended to cover the entire city after condo's started popping in Richview. It remains in place to this day.
IRL many cities across the world have height limits in place either localize or across the entire city for a myriad of reasons.
Here's a few IRL examples:
Edmonton until 2014, 492ft/150m
San Jose 300ft/92m
Philadelphia 1894 to 1984, 548ft/167m
Street widths: Washington
View cones/corridors(for scenic reasons): Vancouver
There is one other city Pretoria metropolitan area that has a height limit, that being Calgon with an absolute limit of 675ft/206m. However unlike Cisco Bay, the restriction in Calgon is likely to be lifted soon as developers are mounting increasing pressure to built taller.
J - Highway 709/Crosby Ave. Interchange
The interchange that connects downtown CB with vehicular traffic originating from the west:
As with the 709/Malkin interchange, there were numerous early versions of this one as well:
From the beginning, 2005:
Could never get that connection between the highway ramp and the road to look natural. So in the end I separated the two and incorporated a tunnel instead.
The pre-RHW/Project Symphony/CJ version:
And today's version:
The rail line(ICR's Lakeridge sub) limits the type of ramp that could be placed here, hence the 'stub' ramp that goes underneath the viaduct and connects to Michigan rd. on the south side/side opposite of downtown. While not an ideal solution its the best that could be done to maintain connectivity. Needless to say the speed limit for the ramp off the 709 is quite low and is strictly enforced by photo radar - something my sims aren't too happy about...
K & L - O'Leary Peak & Fastraxx Cisco Bay
More or less just denoting the location of each in the aerial shot. The Fastraxx commuter station was seen in last update. O'Leary 'peak' meanwhile is the highest point(elevation-wise) in the city, by a dozen or so feet from the hills to the east but there's nothing to look at there. I've yet to do any mmp work on the hillside, other than planting trees that is. In truth I'm contemplating removing it altogether so as to expand the suburban area of town.
M - Highway 700/709 Interchange
One of the "Big 9" interchanges in the region. Though its so small calling it big in any respect is a bit of an oxymoron. However that was always the idea, I wanted it to take up as little space as possible, as at first I wanted more space for development to increase the population. And later I wanted to maintain the existing development in the area. But I also wanted it to be a custom interchange rather then just the standard maxis or later on, the project symphony 3-way.
Plus I never liked the maxis 3-way to begin with, urgh:
So work started on a new custom version, once the NAM become advanced enough:
The original version was completed sometime around 2006-07. a few minor modifications were then incorporated over time:
I was actually quite fond of the unique appearance of this interchange, so much so that for nostalgic reasons I really didn't want to rebuild it for the CJ. Alas seeing as how I was rebuilding the entire freeway system, it had to be modernized as well. As with many other interchanges both in this city and around the region, the available space for ramps and transitions that could be used was limited by a near-by rail line, curse you GWR!. But as difficult as building a RHW interchange is a small space can be, its easier than rebuilding an entire rail line and the portion of the city it cuts through.
Originally this is what I came up with:
However I needed the northbound 700 to be elevated so that I could get rid of the slope before the Skybridge. Otherwise I couldn't place any ramps there(item O).
This is end result of that modernization:
Interchange rank of the "BIG 9"
Size in terms of total space - 9 of 9 easily the most compact.
Size in terms of ramps - (4) tied 8 of 9
Size in terms of entry lanes - (12) tied 8 of 9
N - Cisco Bay Beach
Where sims in Cisco Bay go to relax. Using the name of the city & bay for the beach is the not most original name I know, but currently there is only one beach on the shoreline of Cisco Bay - the shoreline is predominately industrial. So its only logical to name it so.
The beach officially ends at the chained link fence, property beyond which is owned by the railway(GWR). Though that hasn't stopped trespassers from frequenting the area occasionally playing chicken with trains
O - Highway 700/Malkin Blvd. Interchange
And we've reached the last interchange in the city.
As with the other four this one has gone through a ridiculous number of revisions over the years.
Aside from the fact that I switched over to Project symphony, the road underpass/tunnel was causing some strange behavior as sims refused to use the ramp and would rather just drive right off the highway and straight into the tunnel, somehow miraculous managing to survive the trip home:
The difficulty here was adding access ramps to a diagonal highway. The location of the ramps couldn't be moved much since the whole idea is to connect the highway with Malkin Blvd. The highway had to curve in this location because of where the connection was to Lindin City on the other side of the bridge. The problem with diagonal ramps is the lack of an acceleration/merging lane, but diagonal ramps are not even an option with project symphony anyways. So I had to get rid of the slope leading up to the Skybridge and use that location for the ramps. The merging lane issue was dealt with by increasing the width of the bridge from 4 lanes to 6 lanes. The highway also had to be elevated here to maintain the bridge clearance for ships heading to the Port of Isuzu as well as ports further up river. While these ships aren't large and don't require huge clearances, 20-odd feet doesn't quite cut it.
The final change:
Overview of the approach to the Skybridge:
P - Great Western Mall, & Richview
The Great Western Mall doesn't quite live up to its name. For starters its the second oldest mall in the region having been built in 1969, its not a very refined mall at all compared to its newer contemporaries. It's also the smallest official mall in the region with a mere 75,000 sq/ft of retail space and just 200 surface parking spots.
The mall contains large grocery store, a well known discount clothing realtor and has space for a dozen other small shops on 2 levels. Really the only reason why its called 'great' is because the GWR - Great Western Railway purchased the naming rights to the mall and promptly named it after themselves back in '69.
Richview is a nearby highrise luxury condo community. While not entirely gated, it is walled in and heavily patrolled by private security. A total of 1,447 residents live in the 5 building complex. 4 of the 5 buildings in the complex are built out to the maximum 17 story limit. Amenities include outdoor and indoors swimming pools, tennis courts, a rock garden and mini golf putting green. The mayors house/office is also conveniently located nearby for the rich locals to voice their concerns to.
Q - Great Western Tower
The Great Western Tower is a 559ft tall freestanding reinforced concrete structure built in 1967. At that time it was the tallest structure in not only the city but all of the South Shore borough.
List of the 10 tallest structures in Cisco Bay:
(Measurement information in most cases is gotten directly from occupant size exemplar, otherwise I measured it on screen using a ruler 1cm=2.25ft in the 2nd closest view)
The tower has three public levels - one being the ground level where entrance fees are paid. A restaurant occupies level two at the 386ft level and the observation deck occupies level three at the 406ft level. The GWR once again purchased naming rights here shortly after the tower was built. The contract extends for 100 years, its unlikely that they will renew those rights when they final expire in 2068. Attendance has fallen precipitously over the years as newer, taller and more flasher attractions have popped elsewhere in the region. Telecommunication revenue, which was never that great to begin with since the tower is not located in an idea location for such, dried up after the construction of the tower on Broadcast Hill in 1984. The HAAT(height above average terrain) of the tallest transmitter here is a mere 560ft verses the far greater range provided by Broadcast Hill's HAAT of 998ft.
Having said all that, I think having a short concrete tower located here is still kind of interesting and the night lighting is quite nice as well:
At this time the city has no plans to demolish it and replace it with something else, as the costs of maintaining the structure aren't exorbitant... at least not yet.
R - The Skybridge
The Skybridge is a recently constructred 6-lane RHW bridge:
Type - Cable-stayed
Completed in - 2005 to 2008
Design Life - 150 years
Roadway - Highway 700
Total Length - 2,231ft (680m)
Longest Span - 1,182ft (360m)
Clearance - 100fft (30.5m)
Cost - $535 million (2011 dollars)
Width - 158ft (48m)
Hight - 425ft (129.5m)
The new bridge replaced the Spanbridge, a cantilever bridge that was the longest of its type in the world when built in 1924.
Imo the in game highway/avenue cantilever bridge is still one of the best looking structures available in the game. But then again I can't say that I'm impartial since I love steel exoskeleton structures.
Type - Cantilever
Built in - 1923 to 1924
Design Life -
Roadway - Highway 700
Total Length - 2,204ft (672m)
Longest Span - 1,250t (381m)
Clearance - 149fft (45.4m)
Cost - $46 million (1924 dollars)
Width - 105ft (32m)
Height - 414ft (126m)
The next section deals with the history of the old bridge,
so feel free to skip it if reading about fictional history is not you cup of tea
The Spanbridge was the first highway bridge to cross Cisco Bay. However after 84 years of use the bridge was badly degraded/corroded and in need of immediate replacement. The bridge had also been over-built height wise, engineers had anticipated that the Trueno river would one day need to accommodate ships larger then low-max class. Hence the hefty clearance of 149ft, with the deck level coming in at 160ft ASL. However this turned out to be unnecessary as cargo volumes along the river have never even come close to reaching the point of requiring larger vessels. Not to mention justifying the cost of expensive dredging of the river bed which would be required to allow for ships with a larger draft. The height of the roadway in addition to the narrow width of the lanes had become a severe safety hazard by the mid 70's. By then transport trailers had grown in size both in width but more importantly in height. The taller trucks were often buffeted with strong winds at times causing them to swerve over onto adjacent lanes. In response, the number of lanes was reduced from 6 lanes to 4 in 1975. However issues with swerving still persisted and after numerous crashes resulting in fatalities a bylaw was introduced in 1982 restricting the speed of transport trailers to 45mph/72kph over the bridge. This of course resulted in serve congestion. By the 90's even the its name had been largely forgotten as sims commonly referred to it as the Slowbridge. Hence its replacement was long over due. The new bridge was built adjacent to the old bridge and once completed the 'Slowbridge' was dismantled. The Skybridge was not only significantly wider but the height of the roadway was reduced from 160ft to 105ft. Winds at this height are substantially weaker, thus the by-law did not carry over onto the new bridge except during the occasional periods of high winds. Sensors on the bridge continuously monitor local wind speeds and once a certain threshold is reached a yellow warning light automatically activates at the entrance to the bridge and all bridge users must reduced speed during these periods.
And with that I conclude this entry. Probably should have broke it up into two but I was on a little bit of a roll there. Hope you found it interesting nonetheless.
Haven't played SimCity in a while and just went back to play this evening. There was an update, then when loading a map it said something about unable to load and to restart the game. Did that went in to resume and it sat there loading. I restarted again and the terrain is corrupt in a grid like way. I took a screen shot to show and this is happening with all the maps. I've uninstalled and reinstalled, Turned off antivirus and malware protection and repaired and its still doing the same.
I am having an issue where BAT will not import any 3ds models that has PNG texture files. Most of the time, converting them to jpg works, but this can cause some problems in the model if the model that I downloaded has transparency in those textures. Sometimes the model does not read the loss of transparency and I am fine, but sometimes I get an ugly white into the model.
This is all because BAT will not import 3ds models with PNG textures. If I try to import a model with PNG textures, nothing happens. Nothing is imported. No error message or anything, it just does not import.
I was wondering if there is a fix for this?
I Googled the problem but nothing about this came up. So there has to be a way to get it to read models with PNG textures.
The map tools in SC3 are quite poor... so I looked at what other tools existed...
There are lots of them actually, but if you're here you might be familiar with one already... SimCity 4.
I first looked how to export a sc4 map to a heightmap... and it wasn't straightforward. Using the tools I found I was only able to get a 16bit greyscale map, and the scale was really different... It requires a few correction layers to get the scale right in SC3. Oh and also photoshop proves to be an awful tool when you need absolute precision... I already knew that but here I had an absolute proof).
For now I think I have the land values right. Everything under the base ground level will need more tweaking (SC3 has only 30 levels there, while SC4 has about 80...)
Also... the textures REALLY need to be bettered (but they'll never be as good as in SC4 )
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