Jump to content

Dragonxander's Earthworks Tutorial A-1: Starting a Town

5 posts in this topic Last Reply

Highlighted Posts

The very first post of this tutorial series!!


Earthwork Fundamentals 1: Starting a Town


Welcome to Emeragrove!!

  • Population: 0
  • Infrastructure: just a neighbor connection
  • Trees: 0
  • Citizen complaints: 0

...Huh....not a whole lot of action in here. Maybe we can change that!


Our blank slate: a large city tile with a river running along the western side and rolling terrain on almost all of its land area. We will settle next to the head of navigation of the small river, highlighted by the saddle shape in red.



We want to investigate the terrain characteristics in the area, we start by activating the “terrainquery” cheat (Ctrl+X, then write "terrainquery"). This allows us to obtain the tridimensional coordinates for any point within the city tile.



We find that, towards the northwest of our view, the terrain’s elevation (y = 258.9 meters above SimCity level) is a meager 8.9 meters above the game’s sea level (250.0 meters).




Moving towards the southeast, we find a slightly more elevated position, at 260.8 meters above SimCity level. We secure this elevation by plopping road tiles to form a flat surface we want to propagate via cut and fill. This matters because if the starting terrain is too low, the slope cannot be demonstrated effectively and Sims are at risk of losing everything to a river flood within the floodplain area.



We then continue placing single road squares in a checkerboard pattern and emphasizing the boundaries of the terrain we intend to level off. One convenient way to do this is to plop a sufficiently long stretch of road squares along which we’ll be dragging the roads proper to level additional terrain along the stretch of squares.



We keep dragging roads until covering an area sufficiently large to host our town’s historic center.



Now, we zoom in towards an edge of the flattened terrain. As you can notice, the slope between the leveled terrain and the floodplain may be too steep for comfort or even safety (landslide risks, perhaps?).



We can now fix that by dragging short stubs of road, starting at the flattened area’s edge. These stubs should be one square shorter than the distance needed to directly touch the floodplain.



We continue this operation until we have the particular edge covered.



Then we begin doing the same along the diagonal edge. Notice how the stub is dragged from the protruding corner of the tile.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Original Poster
  • We repeat the operation a few more times until we complete the diagonal edge. Now we do the next orthogonal edge like we did before.



    Here, we now place these stubs next to each other, fixing the slope into position before we round up the corner between the diagonal and orthogonal edges.



    Demolish only the road stub closest to the corner.



    Now we drag another diagonal road stub to finish the slope-forming of the diagonal edge.



    We then demolish that last stub and re-trace the stub from the orthogonal side of the corner. After this, we continue forming the slope of the orthogonal edge. It seems repetitive, but this ensures the proper edge shape without having unnecessary protruding or depressed bits at this outer corner.



    We extend the second orthogonal slope that we started until either reaching a corner or until terrain conditions get in the way of this slope. As you can notice, the terrain gains elevation towards this area, so we then dig a trench based on the elevation of the floodplain.



    We follow up by removing some of the road squares closest to the next slope portion to then form the next diagonal edge’s slope.



    Then we form the next diagonal slope with the corresponding outer orthogonal-diagonal corner rounding:



    But now we have an inner corner! Wait, we can do that one too! Then we move on to the next orthogonal edge, erasing some of the roads built to flatten the trench. Notice how I erased one of the road squares next to the corner. This will help us round out these tight nooks and crannies.



    For this next leveling, we won’t use the road construction tool, but rather the one for streets. With the BRF Tunnel and Slope mod, roads differ from all the other land transportation networks because they support vertical curves. Streets and all the other networks, at least in the original mod, do not, meaning these can be dragged to form a sharp edge between flat and sloping terrain.


    Share this post

    Link to post
    Share on other sites
  • Original Poster
  • Now we drag a street stub that starts in the horizontal area and ends on the first tile of the slope. The result is we added that single sloped square next to the corner. This completes the first inner corner rounding.



    With this street stub we just completed the rounding of this inner diagonal-orthogonal corner! We can now proceed with the next stretch of orthogonal slope.



    Continue sloping this corner until reaching the three road squares at the end of the trench.



    We then enlarge the trench so its bottom is five squares wide. This would be useful for those who might want to use ploppable water or terraform a small creek that was channelized just south of the historic city center.



    We do the same to enlarge the trench two tiles towards the high terrain. This is needed to finish off the headwaters end of the trench.



    Then bulldoze the roads built for this leveling. We're building another slope and demonstrate inner orthogonal-orthogonal corners.



    We now place more road squares, just beyond the area dug out for the trench. This will define the upper edge of the trench’s walls.



    We also build the slopes corresponding to the trench. Notice how the cornering of the road squares for the trench’s edge were extended to prepare the other longitudinal wall.



    We now erase a few tiles of the corner area as we prepare to round this orthogonal-orthogonal corner.



    We go back to the street building tool, dragging two stubs to finish rounding off this corner.


    Share this post

    Link to post
    Share on other sites
  • Original Poster
  • We now form a second trench, this time diagonally. We now go to the northwest side of the flattened terrain for the town. Here we define a flat base line with road squares along a diagonal stretch, followed with a series of diagonal roads dragged against the baseline of squares.



    After some additional work on the slopes, we just completed the fill portion of the town’s terrain levelling. On to the cut section!!



    At the cut section we start work on the uphill slopes. We first go for an area in which the slope is likely to be taller.



    Here we drag and form more road stubs until reaching a location at which the rising slope requires fill, rather than cut.



    Once again we summon our little hero, the Street tool. Any tiny bits that would not be addressed adequately by the road are taken care of with this one.



    If we want to use the Street stubs in the next stretch, we must first drag another road (or even a street) to intersect with them all. Otherwise the road will extend into the street and enforce a flatter slope.



    Then, of course, we also flatten this slope with the road, to keep consistent with the one established before.



    We now shift our attention to the first diagonal cut slope. We’ll apply similar methods to those used for the diagonal fill slopes.



    After dragging enough stubs to form the bulk of this slope, we direct our attention to the corner. Here we start off the rounding by adding a few more stubs offset just one square from the adjacent orthogonal slope.



    Then we erase these stubs to then level off the other side of the corner with a few more orthogonal stubs.


    Share this post

    Link to post
    Share on other sites
  • Original Poster
  • This is the finished look of the orthogonal-diagonal corner in cut slopes.



    After this step, I looked at the preliminary progress and didn't feel satisfied with it, the shape of the flattened terrain was still awkward to build comfortably, so I decided to flatten some more portions of the adjacent rolling terrain to get a more functional space:



    This includes undoing some later progress with the diagonal sloping.



    And of course also the completion of the canals, starting with a cut slope:



    And finishing with more flat area beyond this newly formed slope:



    As with any construction, once everything is inspected and certified as being built according to plans (or plans combined with change orders), we now de-mobilize! This means bulldozing our mess of road and street stubs.



    But now that we have this fancy little terrain, how do we reach it? Some might be okay with rowing upstream or downstream along the river, others would be adventurous enough to wander through the rugged terrain, but I think most of us would rather like an overland transportation facility that is safe and convenient. Fortunately for us, the neighboring city district decided that they wanted to reach this area, so they formed a  neighbor connection, blessed with the Holiest of Yellow Arrows, to reach their new neighbors.


    But alas! That neighbor connection is located at 272.0 m above SimCity level! And our terrain stands at 260.8 m above SimCity level!!  Which means you should all stay tuned for Part 2 of the Earthworks Fundamentals tutorial, building a Main Local road!



    And here's a sneak peek of what the second tutorial will result in:


    Share this post

    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an Account  

    Sign up to join our friendly community. It's easy!  

    Register a New Account

    Sign In  

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now

    • Similar Content

      • By Dragonxander
        Welcome everyone! Today I want to present the second entry of my earthworks tutorial series! Today we're covering the basics of building a main, two-lane road into a town across rolling/undulating terrain!
        I would appreciate if forum members could give me some feedback on the tutorial entry's format. This time I'm posting a slideshow video, as it was easier to make than wrestling image hosting sites with a huge upload that was gonna have about 70 screenshots.
        For general discussions and polls on this tutorial series, visit:
        Mods featured:
        * Network Addon Mod 36:
        * BRF Tunnel and Slope Mod:
        * CPT Meadowshire Terrain Mod: 
        * CPT Meadowshire Coast Tree Mod: 
        * B98 Beach Extend Mod:
        * RVT Coast Mod 2009:
      • By Dragonxander
        Greetings to all fellow mayors and Simtropolitan citizens!
        I want to present you a series of tutorials revolving around a very immersing part of the game: earthworks!
        Why? Because it's a very fundamental aspect of any construction in real life and can add aesthetic and functional depth to your cities.  I came up with a series of tutorials I'll be developing for this purpose, ranging from the most fundamental aspects to highly demanding applications of in-game earthmoving to shape the destiny of your city.
        Perhaps the biggest gain players can get from mastering earthworks is making rugged terrain regions all that much more enjoyable. It may be tempting to always go with a very flat region to make building easy, but that approach makes players miss the opportunity of a challenging terrain resulting in a thrilling and wonderful landscape. I'll be making these based on my main ongoing region, the Sinnoh Region, as the one fundamental geographic element that defines it are its mountains.
        One favor I ask followers of this series is to avoid posting on the tutorial threads until they have been constructed. Their completion will be announced here and in the meantime, the corresponding comments can be made here.
        Finally, before we start, I would like everyone's feedback on which category should I tackle next after completing the fundamentals tutorial.
        Network Addon Mod, latest version (currently the 36, versions 34 and 35 will still be adequate). In particular, make sure to have the NAM hole digging lots, these are super important to do a lot of the required steps I'll be showing.  
        Slope mode of your choice (in my case, the BRF Tunnel and Slope Mod). I recommend this one in particular because it's one of the most strict slope mods available for SimCity 4. I currently use an older version which still did not include a dedicated Real Highway (RHW) slope, but that isn't a problem for me as you'll all learn during the tutorials.  
        Region with hilly, rolling and/or mountainous terrain--anything that isn't a super flat expanse of nothingness will do.  
        God Terraforming in Mayor Mode (or if not your thing, use the cheat to activate God mode terraforming tools in Mayor Mode  
        T U T O R I A L   S E R I E S :
        A. EARTHWORKS FUNDAMENTALS: (in the making)
        Starting a town (Emeragrove): now available! Main local road (Emeragrove): screenshots available, pending writing Bridge across river (Emeragrove): upcoming Power lines (Emeragrove): upcoming  
        Rural Freeway Segment (Route 203) Rural Freeway Interchanges (Route 203) River Diversion (Jubilife) Urban Freeway Retrofit (Jubilife) Median Mass Transit (Jubilife) Suburban Freeway Retrofit (Route 204)  
        C. MOUNTAIN MADNESS (future)
         Difficult mountain crossing (Oreburgh-Pal Park) Mountain Railway (Oreburgh-Pal Park) Dam and reservoir (Pal Park) Mine expansion (Oreburgh) Tunnels across mountains (Route 216)  
        D. COASTAL CHALLENGE (future)
        Seaport (Jubilife Port) Power Plant (Jubilife Port) Beaches (Hotel Grand Lake) City straddling the sea (Sunyshore) Building a linear breakwater (Seabreak Path) Building an island (Flower Paradise) Underwater tunnels (Jubilife)
    • Recently Browsing   0 members

      No registered users viewing this page.


    Thank You for the Continued Support!

    Simtropolis relies mainly on member donations to continue operating. Without your support, we just would not be able to be entering our 15th year online!  You've really help make this a great community.

    But we still need your support to stay online. If you're able to, please consider a donation to help us stay up and running, so that we can help keep bringing SimCity players together to share our creations.

    Make a Donation, Get a Gift!

    Expand your city with the best from the Simtropolis Echange.
    Make a donation and get one or all three discs today!


    By way of a "Thank You" gift, we'd like to send you our STEX Collector's DVD. It's some of the best buildings, lots, maps and mods collected for you over the years. Check out the STEX Collections for more info.

    Each donation helps keep Simtropolis online, open and free!

    Thank you for reading and enjoy the site!

    More About STEX Collections