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DeWitt County - Blasts from the Past (aka "Long Lost" CJ Images from 2003-2005!)

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Welcome to DeWitt County!

Regional Satellite:


Regional Satellite View (as of 10/12/2014), Click Through for Hi-Res

County Street Map:

County Street Map (updated continuously), Click Here to View in New Window

Regional Statistics:

Total Population...........26503

Top 5 Cities (by Tile):

1. Telford..................5811

2. Caledonia................5305

3. Aurelia..................5061

4. Ardsley..................2619

5. Joliet Bay...............2254

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  • Original Poster
  • Index of Updates:

    Background Information:

    Welcome to my latest foray into City Journaling! (My last prior was in 2004-2005 :D )

    Some background information regarding the region and my SC4 setup:

    Map is blade2k5's "Somewhere in the World #5" I play with several mods, with a goal towards realism. Mods include, but not necessarily limited to:
    • CPT Meadowshire Terrain
    • Columbus Tree Mod
    • NHP Ennedi Slope Mod ("Smooth212" variant as often as practical)
    • PEG Brigantine Water Mod
    • NAM (duh!)
    • SPAM
    • 4+ GB plugin suite in total
    • (I will likely revise/expand this list as time goes on, so please check back periodically if you're so inclined.)

    Regarding my playing and city journaling style:

    I play slow and deliberate and tend to lay my cities out in an organic fashion. I'm a transportation engineer by trade, so I have a tendency to emphasize attention on those aspects in-game. I prefer to fill the entire map with the basics (terrain, base roadway network, agriculture, etc.) prior to delving into the intricacies of city-building. I'm not huge on CJ "graphics". Allow me to explain: I generally prefer to cut to the chase with simple screenshots and discussion. That's not to say I won't post maps, a mosaic or two, a road journal, etc., just that it will not be the primary focus of the CJ. I do expect to seek some community input on certain proposals (civic placements and highway routings to name possible examples). In general, it is my initial intent to take a "let's see how it develops" perspective on the journal.

    As a result of my aforementioned playing style, it will take me some amount of time to populate the entire region map. Therefore, I'll take this opportunity to apologize for the likely slow-going in the near term. However, I'm sure I'll concoct some "updates" to maintain some level of attention!

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    yes that looks like a sweet region, but no trees? omg monotonous tree planting for you! Looks Pacific Northwest like with the green and mountains near the coast like that.

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  • Original Poster
  • I love that region already Im anxious to see where you take that. All of the small windy rivers have me inspired. Good luck with the CJ!


    I spent some time looking around on the STEX for something I wanted to build on and this was my favorite along with a few other close contenders.  I like how it has a good mix of everything - hills, plains, rivers, harbors, islands, etc.  Plenty of opportunities to use all of the features of the game if I so choose.


    Another plus is it's not an area I'm familiar with.  In reality the region is taken from coastal China; an area I'm not familiar with.  Too often I would work on a "familiar" area and I would feel like that nature of the map tended to create a bias in the way I developed it.


    yes that looks like a sweet region, but no trees? omg monotonous tree planting for you! Looks Pacific Northwest like with the green and mountains near the coast like that.



    Actually, the trees are done and shown in those region shots.  It's just such a large region that you probably can't see them.


    The real "monotonous" part is going to be laying out the roadway network and farms.  I also want to add details such as irrigation canals and streams/ponds, but I may well come back around to that after getting a little bit of the city-building started.


    One dilemma I've already come to a compromise on is the base street grid to be used in the flatter agricultural areas.  Generally I would have liked a 1-mile grid, but since SC4's city tiles are "measured" in kilometers, that is not an option since I want the grid to also be compatible with the tile configuration - superimposing a 101 x 101 cell grid on a 256 x 256 cell city leads to uneven block sizes on the edges; something of which I'm just not a fan.  Making no mention of the fact that now every city has its roads in a different place and the tediousness of making sure they are all laid out correctly.


    Ultimately what I've chosen to work with is a 1 km grid (64 x 64 cells), with the first roadways at the 32nd cell of each city - essentially placing the city lines at mid-block.  Generally this would not be considered a real-world situation but I did this out of personal preference; since one cannot "see" the city beyond the edge of the current city, I didn't want to create a situation where many of my major roads lie along the edges of the city tiles.  I feel this would be disadvantageous in built-up neighborhoods due to the density of intersections which would now effectively be neighbor connection nightmares, the difficulty in create highway interchanges and transit options on these roads, etc.  Naturally I realize I can only avoid so many of these issues, but I feel it's best not to head straight into them, either.


    Now to get working...

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  • Original Poster
  • I love that region already Im anxious to see where you take that. All of the small windy rivers have me inspired. Good luck with the CJ!


    All of the small rivers are the bane of my existence!  I want to make use of some surface water (such as Peg's PPonds, etc.) but the transitions to the Maxis water rivers are quite problematic.  This leaves me with two choices; either dredge them out to darken them, or eliminate them.  Aside from a few of the more major channels (where ferries might be reasonably used), I'm planning on going with elimination and simply replacing them with the surface water.  It's just a simpler, less problematic and more flexible option.


    Slow going so far, but eventually I hope to have some actual content here!   :)

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    I love that region view!
    Regarding plop to game water transitions - depending on what water mod you have, it can be achieved fairly seamlessly.  I use the with good ol' PEG Brigantine water mod.  Here is an example of a quick n' dirty transition:


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  • I just thought I would break my silence and provide a brief update; the region is coming along slowly, but surely.  I have finally finished the greater terraforming work and am resuming work on rural road and farm layout.  I hope to have my first real pictorial update within the next few weeks.  Allow me to say that this region has entailed by far the most preliminary work of any on which I've ever worked!


    I love that region view!
    Regarding plop to game water transitions - depending on what water mod you have, it can be achieved fairly seamlessly.  I use the with good ol' PEG Brigantine water mod.  Here is an example of a quick n' dirty transition:


    That's an interesting option, and something I may incorporate elsewhere; however, what I've chosen to do is more along the lines of what is detailed here: http://www.simpeg.com/forum/index.php?action=articles;sa=view;article=70.  Sometimes they look a little awkward, but all things taken into consideration I think that provides the most flexibility when it comes to future terraforming, adding tributaries, environmental context, etc.


    The approach I have taken is to remove ALL non-navigable "Maxis water" from my region.  It's my belief that this will create the most flexibility going forward, especially as this will minimize the total number of Maxis-PPond water interfaces within the region.  In some, particularly coastal areas these PPond lakes look a little awkward but I have to take what I can get.  They certainly look better than the shallow, nearly invisible Maxis lakes they are replacing.


    That region looks great! I can't wait to see it develop!


    Thanks!  Me too!

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  • Original Poster
  • Could you give a link to get that region?

    Here you go...  


    Naturally, I have made some modifications.  Aside from those I've mentioned above in relation to the water, I modified the city tile configuration and some of the coastlines where advantageous; for instance, by default there will be several areas where a coastline falls very near a tile edge.  In general, I cut these back because I didn't want any cities that consisted nothing more than a sliver of land on the edge; things like that.  If you click through to the full-size image in the original post showing the city names/boundaries, you'll see what I mean.  All in all, I like the variety of landscapes it offers, I think you can incorporate any type of custom content in some place or other if you are so inclined.

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  • 1st [real] Update!


    We're long past due for an update, so I thought I would indulge a bit and show the region where it is at the moment.  There's still a long way to go, but most of the preliminary terraforming/landscaping has been completed.  All that remains to be worked on in that regard are about 5 tiles, mostly mountainous ones in the northwestern corner.  What I'm currently focusing on at the moment is "seeding" the villages and populating the countryside with farms.  I'll say one thing; I've never used a money cheat before but I am seriously tempted to just in an effort to fill in the farms.  As you are most likely aware, the way the game is set up it is practically impossible to fill out a large tile solely with agriculture provided the funds allotted under the "hard" difficulty setting.  We'll see.  I'm still grappling with that in my mind.


    Anyhow, without further ado...


    Below is the humble beginnings of Caledonia (pop. 404), the county seat (looking north):




    The concession road theme is one I've adopted to help lay out the rural road grid, as I've alluded in a previous post.  Each road is centered on a 128 cell-wide strip starting at the western and northern edges of the county (i.e. on a large city tile, as all of these are, appearing at cell row/column 64 and 192).  The north-south roadways are termed "nth Concession", in increasing number from the western county line.  Likewise, the east-west roadways are termed "nth Line" in increasing number from the northern county line.  The top to bottom convention for the lines may seem odd, but remember we don't have a hard southern border here.  North is all we've got.  These roads may end up being major arteries, they may forever remain bypassed dusty farm roads or they may end up in the dustbin of history even before the onset of suburbia.  Time will tell.


    Note that I'm trying to be better than I have in the past with naming features such as highways, neighborhoods, water bodies, etc.  I've gone with signs for the moment (particularly on the streets, despite their ugliness) since the ground labels have an annoying tendency to disappear when you make modifications to the street.  I understand why this needs to happen but it's still annoying nonetheless.  Also featured here is my first attempt at a "plop" waterway - I think it came out rather well.  Note that it is also topographically correct (ignoring the hydrologic effects you'd see in real life, of course :D).  This has all been done using the terrainquery "cheat" to map the plop elements to cell edges - incredibly tedious but necessary work since the game lacks any form of useful contour lines.  In some areas I've terraformed channels to minimize the number of ponds, but in a low-lying coastal area such as this I feel it's an appropriate look.  Note that I haven't delved into super-detailing with gravel, cattails, etc.  Maybe in the future but for now I'm looking at function over appearance.  (Yes, these are functional as they are dictating my agricultural layouts in several locations!)


    Onto the others.  Terrain in Buckminster (north is right):




    The waterway to the north follows the only easily traversable divide through the mid-county range (I'll come up with a real name eventually!). This should lead to some interesting regional transportation [dis]connections.  Not everybody is going to want to swing around the south end by the coast in Hazel Dell!


    A beautiful mountain valley, in Oullette (north is down):




    A closeup to Telford (pop. 1404), located near the far northeastern extent of the County (north is right):




    Telford is currently the county's largest village.


    Finally, a detail of the game/plop water transition I've used.  From Lansing (north is up):




    Not perfect, but I think it does the job.  As I noted above, if I went into some more superdetailing, I could do a better job of covering the transition up.  I just have bigger fish to fry at the moment.


    Note that I have also updated the region pictures in the first post.  Does anybody have any problems accessing the larger version?  I'm pretty new at off-site hosting (years ago I would have hosting through my ISP), so any feedback is welcome.


    Hope you enjoyed!  More to come...

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  • Original Poster
  • Very nice. Great to see a new update.

    Thanks!  It's good to finally start providing them!



    Minor update today, pretty much consisting of updating the regional views on the original post.  As you'll see, I've added a transportation view.  Note that this is still a work in progress as disconnection abounds.  It's a big region, and as such it's slow developing but I'm getting there.  One of my focuses right now is getting a heavy rail corridor established.  Oh and yeah, most of the roadway connections that do exist are dirt.  I have a macroscopic view in mind for how I want the whole thing to develop, but in a microscopic sense it's being developed very organically.  As such, with some notable exceptions, I'm not even sure which roadways will be the first to see pavement (aside from those getting the FAR treatment, seeing as that does not exist for streets).


    I will comment by saying that I am nowhere near scratching the surface of the NAM yet, but two things I am really enjoying are FAR and diagonal bridges.

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  • 2nd Update - Prop Pox and Neighbor Deals


    Happy New Year!    :party:


    Yes as the title indicates, I actually managed to develop prop pox in Telford, despite little development.  The key was the massive number of props associated with the various farm fields/lots.  Some of the BSC lots in particular seem to have quite I high number.  Unfortunately, I was aware of prop pox and some of its suspected causes; however, I had already developed R$ in 4 city tiles before applying a fix to the PEG BDK file suspected of provoking the pox.  I knew I wanted to hold off on developing actual villages but the monotony of zoning farms and laying ploppable water had gotten to me.  Fortunately, I wasn't too far along and it wasn't unreasonable to simply obliterate the cities and re-lay them nearly identically - though I did make a few tweaks so in a sense I at least was able to derive some benefit from the whole ordeal.  Apart from Telford, Caledonia, Aurelia and Ardsley were essentially ticking time bombs due to disabled props so away they went - but now back and better than ever!  I have also done some sandboxing in a test region and do not seem to be developing the problem anymore, so here's hoping the problem has been licked...  I already have two more tiles above the 16MB "limit" on the prop subfile but no "infection".


    Along with redoing those 4 affected tiles, I also wiped out another 2 (Sable Park and York) which had somehow developed a capacity for garbage disposal despite me never having placed anything of the sort.  The only cause I can think of it that I had deleted some farm fields I didn't like (and subsequently removed them from the plugins) and while I thought I caught them all and did it properly, maybe I didn't and this was the odd side effect.  While a minor issue, it bothered me nonetheless and since I was in the mode of replacing, away they went as well.  One oddity through this process is that 4 of the 6 total tiles encountered some bug whereby the ploppable water disappeared at simulator date 02/01/00, so that required some in-place replopping.  Not a big issue as it was a simple bulldoze and immediate replop.  Now in the past, but annoying nonetheless!


    As for what I've been up to...


    We finally have a cross-county heavy rail corridor (as shown in the regional tranportation map).  Below is the line as it snakes through the foothills in Geddes (looking west):

    Allow me to say thank you, NAM team, for wide-radius curves and FARail.  How I ever laid out anything appealing without it I do not remember.
    A farm teaser; this one from Potsdam (looking north).  Eventually I'll come back and add fences and tree rows, etc.:
    Let's see, I also mentioned neighbor deals in the title, what could that mean?  Here's something I had developed for my Buffalo region (way back when!) that I thought helped to keep an important aspect of the game in order - a neighbor deal map.  It's a simple spreadsheet with 3 pages - Power, Water and Sanitation.  I've made some improvements to it for this iteration and I'm happy with how it works.  Shown below is my current power sharing arrangement (click through for a readable full-size):
    As you can see, I have 3 power plants, located in Lansing, Aurelia and Telford.  One thing I wanted to try to get away from in this region is having power plants located in every city - this isn't something you would typically see in reality.  It's tricky to get the deals set up in the game, especially if you have an arrangement of cities A-B-C and you're trying to push power through an already-developed "B" but with some trickery involving placing windmills, making a deal and then removing the windmill, it's possible.  (While I've managed to get it to work, I'm unable to actually elaborate how I did it - seems to be a lot more trial and error than anything!)  Over time I will definitely be adding more plants - demand will eventually soar and the gouging that the middlemen cities do is going to make development cost-prohibitive in the more far-flung reaches.  Currently my longest reach is 5 cities (Aurelia to Point Vincent and Telford to Turner) and the cost for 250 MWh is something over $200/mo!
    Until next time!

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  • Original Poster
  • 3rd Update - Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes



    Vincent Light, Point Vincent (looking south)


    As if the prior incidence of prop pox didn't cause enough upheaval; I've caused a fair deal of it myself recently, both within the game and in real life; hence the lack of any real updates (I confess this is more like an Update 2.01).  Examples include:


    • Reconfiguration of my SC4 setup from a Windows XP virtual machine to Wine (along with the attendant tweaking to get all the little utility/modding apps working again) cost me about a week.  Well worth the effort, though.
    • A wedding and honeymoon took up another two weeks.  Also well worth it!
    • The monotony of placing farms provides little opportunity for meaningful updates.


    Things are moving along; however, and as you'll notice in the overview images in the original post, I'd like to say I'm about 70% done with the process of preliminary road and farming layout.  Most of what remains is in the northeast quarter, the western edge, and the islands.  Most of the other areas are too hilly to support any major agricultural presence.  I've been tempted on many occasions to just start building the cities already, but in the end I'm more motivated to complete the entire landscape "canvas" before I get into the more intricate workings.  As it stands now, there ought to be quite a pent-up demand for residential seeing as the region already boasts some 1.12 million I-Ag jobs!


    I have also bit the bullet and used "cheat money" to allow me to fill out the maps.  Ultimately, it's not really cheating as much as it's avoiding placing the simulation on cheetah and spending who-knows-how-much time for the city to produce those funds on its own and ultimately ending up in the same exact place once it comes time to start building cities.  I've also decided that once I'm done with that setup, I'll seed each city with about $20,000 and call that good enough.  Seeing as the agricultural cities have an income source in place due to this placement (and several are showing tidy profits due to the power-sharing arrangements), I feel like that might be a fair starting point for funds.  And if not...let's just think of the moolah code as a form of "federal aid" (lol).  I may even reset the dates to 01/01/00 just for cleanliness.  We'll see just how OCD I'm feeling that day.


    Anyway; all the upheaval should be finished and life is great.  Excelsior!

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    Benedict, Schulmanator, Schriefer:  Thanks!  Glad you like it.  Here, have another:



    Cape Barrington Lighthouse, Barrington (looking West)




    4th Update - Fire Up the Canon...


    I've gone faaaar too long without an update.  Ugh.  Well, the region view in the Original Post continues to be updated and as you'll see, I'm getting tantalizingly close to finishing up this farming business.



    Farms, yeah, we got a few of them (Nessvale, looking North)


    So let's add a little background to the story...


    Political: DeWitt County is one of 23 counties in the State of Jefferson (capital LaFayette), which in turn is one of 17 states in the Federal Republic of Columbia. DeWitt County borders Stark County to the north and Metcalf County to the west.  


    Climate:  The northern border of DeWitt County lies on the 37th parallel north of the equator and as such primarily enjoys a climate best classified as humid subtropical, with areas of humid continental in the higher elevations.  This would be analogous to the coastal regions of Virginia and North Carolina in real life.  Now I realize that such an area in real life would not have snow-capped 2500-footers - but I like the way that looks so we have to suspend at least a little bit of realism...)


    Transportation:  Let's start with some bridges.  DeWitt County is currently home to 115 bridges (yup, I counted them, in fact I'm even maintaining a spreadsheet; Ardsley and Parma-Kettering lead the count with 8 each :) ).  The majority of the bridges are of the historic stone arch variety pictured below...



    Cavendish (looking North)


    ...with a few covered bridges sprinkled in for good measure:



    Pembroke (looking North)


    It's not all dirt back roads; however...



    SR 1A, Barrington (looking North)


    ...nor are all the bridges stone relics, such as this modern 1725 foot (520 m) span in Telford:



    C&M Railroad over Perkasie Creek, Telford (Looking East)


    Continuing on with the theme of roadgeekery (something of which I think we'll see a lot of here in the future), I'd like to unveil the route shields which may be found across the county.  First is the shield denoting County touring routes (abbreviated C.R.), which the casual observer may notice is simply the same as those found in many places across the US:




    Not all County Routes are signed.  County Routes are generally administered by the DeWitt County Department of Public Works (DCDPW) in Caledonia.  There is no particular logic to the numbering arrangement of County Routes.  There are far more lane-miles of County Routes than any other classification of signed route.


    Next, we have the shields denoting State touring routes (abbreviated S.R.), for one/two and three digit route numbers, respectively.  These are my own creation:


    004-08_SR2.png     004-09_SR3.png


    All State Routes are signed; they are administered by the Jefferson Department of Transportation (JTrans) in LaFayette.  Numbering generally increases from east to west and from north to south but is not strictly adhered to.


    Next, we have the shields denoting Federal touring routes (abbreviated F.R.), for one/two and three digit route numbers, respectively.  I wanted to make these somewhat similar to that for US routes, but couldn't come up with one on my own so I just ripped off the US interstate shield:


    004-10_FR2.png     004-11_FR3.png


    All Federal Routes are signed and are administered by the Jefferson Department of Transportation (JTrans) in LaFayette.  Numbering generally increases from west to east (odds) and from north to south (evens).


    Finally, we have the shields denoting National Highway System routes (abbreviated N.H.S., N.H., or simply N-), for one/two and three digit route numbers, respectively.  These are my own creation:


    004-12_NH2.png     004-13_NH3.png


    National Highway System Routes are effectively Federal Routes which feature exclusively limited access and grade-separated intersections and are designed to standards similar to those of the US Interstate Highway System, European motorways, etc.  Note that as of the start of the storyline, the NHS isn't even a gleam in a policy wonk's eye yet.


    Hope you enjoyed.  I'm going to try to make an effort to be a little more regular about posting updates.  Once I get into actually building cities and highways that should be much easier.

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    Schriefer, Ln X:  Thanks!



    5th Update - Farming Completed!


    When was the last time you ever saw a region featuring just a hair under 1.93 million agricultural jobs (1929353 for those expecting precision) and 0 residents?  Probably never and you probably never will again!  Now with that somewhat enjoyable tedium completed (at long last), I can start moving onto bigger and better things with this region.  But before we get there, enjoy the view:




    As always, click through to see the full-size.  Until next time!

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