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Just Passing Through - A Rochefort Tutorial

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  • Original Poster
  • Hi everyone

    If like me, you are a regular browser through the CJs, you'll have seen not only some fantastic cities on view but also farming communities and rural areas.

    In addition I've been particularly impressed with the way some authors present the more far flung reaches of their regions, areas that have little or no development but are traversed to link one city square to another. Some of the care and attention paid to these areas deserves high praise indeed and they portray an approach to game play that centres on realism and a very aesthetically pleasing end result.

    In homage to these ideas, I have put together a walk through of how I have produced one such example for one of my regions. It's a sort of guide to the way some people view the game and looks more at techniques and style than at any technical aspects of gameplay.

    As usual take from this what you find useful and disregard the rest (unless of course you find it all useless, so disregard it all !!).

    So, here's my city square, a medium map with a small river valley between semi forested hills.


    Now my plan is to make this part of the region into a densely forrested area, with a highway and rail route travelling North/South, a single highway intersection and a small rural train stop. My priority with this is that the transport network should be as unobtrusive as possible but still somehow enhance the look of the area.

    I've put the map into "zones" view to give you a clearer idea of where I plan to place them. I tend to work alot in the zones view as it gives a totally unhindered view of the base terrain level.


    Now I want to start by selecting a level at which to pass the highway through the city square. I don't want my transport network to infringe on the valley, but neither do i want it to be sat on top of the hills. With this in mind I start by placing a single road tile just above the valley floor.


    Now, using single road tiles again, I will mark out the whole route I intend on taking from South to North. I'm going to keep the highway level for ease of the tutorial, but many of you out there like ascents and descents, twists and turns etc..and you should plan your route through with your own preference in mind.



    Now I'm happy with my route, I'm going to lay a ground highway.



    Once I've laid the highway I follow the same procedure for rail, first marking out the route in single road tiles and then laying the rail. incidentally I use a rail mod by Pegasus (available on the STEX) for those who do not recognise the style of the tracks.



    Central to the rail route will be a small rural station situated at the entrance to the rail tunnel. I usually produce the route of my tunnel by road first and then, once demolished, I can tidy up the levels of either end of the tunnel before running the rail track through it.


    Once all the road tiles have been demolished, I've laid the rail and created the tunnel.



    Next, I want to build my highway junction and for a little added interest I'm going to take one direction of the road leading away from it under a rail bridge and through a tunnel to head out West and my other direction will slope down to the valley floor and cross the river over a stone bridge.

    So, to prepare the area directly around the junction, I again level the ground using single road tiles and break through the rail. I have bones1's slope mod in my plug in file which helps me to produce a more even gradient and for the rail bridge I'm using JayStimsom's excellent rail over road trestle. Both available on the STEX.




    I'm going to finish this off with grampaal's rural rail stop (more pics of that at the end of this tutorial) for the full effect.


    Eastward I simply ran a road down the slope towards the river.



    Well that's about it for the tutorial..short and sweet but hopefully you'll get the idea about planning your routes, making the transport network compliment the landscape and maybe a tip or two on how to achieve the results you want.

    For an overall picture of the end result, here's a few screenshots of the end result. Lots of ploppable trees on view by Andreas Roth.








    Well that's all for now.

    Thanks for reading.


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    Awesome work on these tutorials Rochefort. I've just started improving my gameplay through these tutorials and getting my hands dirty with STEX and the collector CD 9.gif I'm pretty sure it was discussed in the Omnibus but I have a question which I haven't been able to dig up through search. Perhaps you can point me in the right direction/post? It involves terraforming with streets and roads. I'm getting used to using roads (Still need some practice to get the exact desired results) but I see a few people in pictures using roads. What does this do as opposed to streets? Anyways, thanks again for your wonderful tutorials 4.gif Cheers, X

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    I'm absolutely gobsmacked at times. I never figure these things until I have already got a bunch of bldgs going and b'lieve me it costs to go back and do it later. What I can't figger out is: How do you get a tunnel where you want it? Usually the road or track just climbs right up the hill or backfills a long bridge. 46.gif

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    Another great tutorial!  The amount of detail that can be put into a simple city map like this is quite inspirational.  There will probably be several areas like this in the region I just started working on. 

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    Hi, Rochefort.

    Another excellent tutorial -- one that I will certainly enjoy following.

    A comment for you. I 'm getting a broken picture link about mid-way down the tutorial. It is right after this text:

    "Eastward I simply ran a road down the slope towards the river. "

    Once you are able to resolve this, I'll be downloading this tutorial and add it to my ever-growing, ever-good Rochefort Tutorial's folder.



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  • Original Poster
  • Thanks for the posts everyone.


    Firstly, I use bones1's slope mod so all my roads, regardless of type, act differently than you would expect from the standard in-game pieces. With the mod installed, there are some subtle variations when terraforming with streets and roads if you are actually laying more than a single tile at a time.

    I have found that single tiles behave the same way, but sometimes I may use roads drawn down a rough hill to produce either an inverted or extruded slope..whichever effect I'm trying to achieve. I did actually produce a couple of small tutorials on this effect but they could probably have been presented better. If you search the forums for "slope tutorial" you may find them.

    In the meantime, my best advice to you is to start a small city just to practice on.

    Nothing works better for you in the long term than experimenting with the tools available and then applying them to your game play. A thousand tutorials doesn't replace personal experience.


    Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad people get something from what I post or it wouldn't be worth doing !


    I have checked the links and I can't see any obvious reasons that you're getting a broken link. I'd be interested to know if anyone else is experiencing the same problem. If so I will reload the images again to Imageshack and edit the post.


    I've saved you til last because I popped back into the game to try to put something together that might help you. Obviously some of the problem will depend on your original terrain and whether there is any surrounding development, but here's a mini-tutorial within a tutorial which I hope gives you a starting point to figuring out how best you apply tunnels in your own scenario.

    I'm going to start with a basic hill as below:


    Now I've levelled out a small approach road to the east of the hill and my plan is for it to exit 9 tiles down from the ridge of the hill.


    If I begin to draw the tunnel you will note that for quite a stretch the road wants to remain a road.


    Now that's not what I want, but not to worry...one tile further and the green tunnel display pops up. Now you may be tempted at this point to lay your tunnel as the game seems to be saying "this is the end of the line buddy" but that's not the case. Instead it will continue to offer you a tunnel exit every tile from here on in. just continue down the hill until you reach your desired exit point.



    So, as you see, I have arrived at the 9th tile down from the ridge and I am happy to allow the tunnel to be laid.


    Thing is, I don't like the way the road now leaves the tunnel as I want it to level out and not travel all the way down the west face of the hill. To achieve this I need to use single road tiles again, starting with the two tiles to the immediate left and right of the tunnel exit.


    Once I have the right terrain for the road to continue along, I demolish the unwanted road tiles and I'm done.


    Hope that helps you to re-think your use of the tools you have at your disposal. As I advised Xob_Alibob, experimenting on an empty city is the way to broaden your knowledge of how the game works. It's also loads of fun and I now seem to spend more time doing that than playing the game.

    Once again, thanks for the comments and bye for now.


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    Hey Rochefort,

    Thx for yet another G R E A T  tutorial. I've used the rural trainstop a lot too, it's so decorative. Have you seen the small whistle stop from the wild west serie - it's quite useful as well, but doesn't have a lake though...

    Two things:
    1 - How much do you use the holedigging tools and PEG leveller from the stex?
    2 - Where as DeKoven had troubles with the tunnels, I have been biting the carpet over not being able to make the small bridges you so often use (eg. in the wonderful bear traps). I simply can't make a 4-5 tile road og blvd bridge. It always runs down the sloop to my sunken HW or what ever. Do you use a bridge mod?

    You ought to be the Simtropolis Minister of Education with your so well explaining tutorials. I vote for you!

    BR, Zugtroll

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  • Original Poster
  • Hello Mr Zugtroll and thanks once again for posting to my threads.

    I did see the wild west series and, as we've come to expect from the STEX, its original and its been good to see it develop. I've recently stopped downloading from the STEX because I found my plug-ins folder getting to rediculous levels. I'm probably going to be a little more eclectic with my choices from now on, but its hard because there are so many excellent things on offer...talk about a kid in a sweet shop !!

    In answer to your 2 questions, I use smoncrie's hole digging lots ALL the time...in my opinion they are 2nd only to the NAM as the best add-ons available for the game. I haven't got Peg's leveller because, in truth, I'm a little scared of downloading peg's stuff. No offence at all to peg, its just that there's so much and its all such fantastic quality that I'd soon be staring down the barrel of the mother of all plug in folders. In saying that, I do have some of his work and it's superb (as you'd expect).

    As you are one of my favourite ST members, your 2nd question is something I will address on my tutorial thread. I'll put a little tutorial together which hopefully will help you out or at least help you to identify the problem. I think it's pretty simple (as long as I've understood it correctly) but maybe some other members will also find the explanation useful.

    This gives me an opportunity to plug my tutorial thread. Its not really had much chance yet to get off the ground and I'd hoped it would provide me with some requests and new ideas for tutorials. My imagination at times can be pretty limited and when I do get ideas they tend to be in the middle of the night and then bang goes my sleep patterns. I enjoy putting the posts together...in fact I find them therapeutic (weird eh?)....and I'm more than happy to have a go at solving problems or offering up alternative ideas to pretty much anything as far as design or technique is concerned, so if anyone is reading this and you have a question I may or may not be able to help with please drop by my tutorial thread and feel free to say hello.

    And finally...thank you for the compliment. I'm only just getting started with these threads and some of them I feel could have been alot better. Its as much a learning curve for me as it is for anyone reading them and I hope I can improve. There are vastly more talented contributors on this site already and I hope I can improve the quality of what I present to even half of what they give to us.

    Maybe I'll accept junior undersecretary to the guy who takes out the garbage in the Simtropolis Ministry of Education for now and try to work my way up the ladder.

    Thanks again


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    Nice tutorial Rochfort.  I an glad you like my hole digging lots.

    I have a few tips for making a better rail overpass:

    First make the area where the overpass will be located level with the train tracks.

    Then place Sunken Hole Digging lot on both sides of the tile where the road will cross.  The sunken Hole digging lot is designed to dig the exact amount needed for perfect overpasses.

    Drag a road between the Hole Digging lots to sink the tile down to the correct level.

    Bulldoze the road and the Hole Digging lots.

    Plop the "T" rail OnSlop puzzle pieces on the slops on both sides of the tile.  The "T" Onslope is used here because it will match your modified tracks better.

    Connect rail tracks on both sides to the OnSlope pieces.

    Drag a 3-tile length of road perpendicular to the tracks and over the road intersection part of both OnSlope pieces, then bulldoze it on both sides of the tracks.   This will remove the rail x road intersection from the puzzle pieces.

    Drag the road between the two OnSlope pieces and plop the rail x road puzzle piece to complete the overpass.

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    Yes indeed, that was a great help. I'm thinkin' I just didn't ever go far enough to get a tunnel; additionally, I'm thinkin' that your system works just BECAUSE you start so close to the beginning of the tunnel. I was trying to run a road most of the way across the city tile. Just didn't work right. 43.gif

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    @Smoncrie: I'm glad you read Rocheforts comments on your holedigging tools. And I agree completely, they have saved hours of distress with the oh so clumsy God mode tools. I've read and printet your directions. I'm not sure I got it all right, but now I'll try it out step by step. Thanks for posting it and thanks for the holes.

    @Rochefort: You are too modest when considering you right place in Simtropolis. I would be very grateful for an illustrated tutorial on small bridges. Please..
    And about PEG: He has made my plugin folder the mother of all plugin folders, but I have made a subsystem of PEG folders, eg. Waterrelated PEGs, thus I remove all the waterfront additions when I do an inland city, and put it back when I reach the coast. Further more I try to download growables mostly. Cruising the STEX certainly is like having dinner with an angel.

    So long, Z.

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  • Original Poster
  • What can i say, I'm very honoured to have you pop by one of my threads smoncrie. Few developments in the game have had as big an impact on my enjoyment of it than yours, so thanks once again.

    Thanks again for the kind words KoolSIM, I'm glad you find them useful.


    I never get bored of the variation this game throws up. Even after I put together the little feature on the tunnels I was thinking "ah, but what if you had this scenario or that one?" I didn't sleep thinking about it. As I'd avise anyone, experiment as much as you can and then experiment some more.

    One thing I do ALOT is demolish whole tracts of my cities when I strike upon a development idea and (crucially, although not always the wisest move) I DON'T save it until I'm done. That way I can exit to region without save if I'm not happy with the changes and either start again or just abandon the whole plan.

    My social responsibility forces me to make a point here that generally you should save OFTEN as the game has a habit of crashing mid way through the best thing you've ever created, but sometimes you just gotta take risks (or at least I do).


    Thanks as always for your input. Have you tried the plug in manager that was on the home page before the system update? I think it does everything you've just described automatically. As i remember, it allowed you to specify the plug in folder for each city so that only the ones you chose would be available for the game once you loaded a particular city.

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