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Scaled City 4

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a new concept...

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So, I thought I would try and get some more concept ideas together so I can see where this project is going. So far I have used what is around me (English style farms and housing estates) to get a feel of modelling and texturing these smaller models. I am fairly happy with the detail, and the models aren't taking too long (45 minutes for this entry)

This lot is 2x3 but is in reality 240mx160m. You could fit a small stadium on this sort of area, so we can see how much space we actually have to play with even on a small tile.

The goal now is to try and get a few of these ideas linked together to make a small village or road network - this will give a good feel of where this project can go as well as giving an indicator of workload and timescale.

The only issue at the moment is actually planning things out before building, with SC4 it is easy to grid stuff out then plop, whereas here I am constantly working to scales and boundaries.

Keep an eye out in the next few days for more ideas and feel free to make suggestions for content! I would love to see some scaled down versions of famous BATs from the STEX!


The Concept!

After many years of attempting to BAT and mod SC4, I found myself getting interested in the idea of plop tiles for a simple aesthetic approach to the game. Don't get me wrong - I love trying to build a working transit network as much as anyone else, but the need for more realism was stopping me from playing as much. I experimented with BATs that spanned 15 tiles and saw some interesting plop only prop lots on youtube, but where my interest lies is scale. The concept behind scale city is to use the tile system of SC4 to create a new idea of purely aesthetic modding.

As we all know, the size of an SC4 tile is 16x16m (or close enough), with 256 tiles to a large city board. From my style of play (farms and grid style American cities) I was finding that I could copy and paste full farm maps to create a midwest style patchwork, covering hundreds of kilometres with cities and roads between the fields. This concept of literally huge areas got me thinking, as my machine is limited to about 40x120 large city tiles (not too shabby) I could fit in a relatively large area (the size of Chicago or London, for example). But what if I could fit in more...

Then it hit me. Why not get out the calculator and do some maths. A tile is 16m long, so 256 x 16 = 4km (approx) what if we took that 16 and multiplied by 5, so that instead of 16m to a tile, we had 80m. This would mean a large city board (conventional SC4 = 4km) would now be 20km x 20km. Yes that's right, 20km. so now my 120 x 40 region would be 2400km x 800km, which is HUGE. Working on this scale of 5 (or 0.20), I reduce the size of the BATs I make and could potentially fit relatively large cities, normally 5 or 6 large tiles into one tile, plus farmland etc.

The drawbacks are that we cannot have effective transport networks, we can't play the game as it was intended and we certainly can't zone and grow, but it's still fun looking at a region with several countries in it!

The advantages that come with scaling is that you can lose some of the time consuming detail with other BATs and still get good results. Call me old fashioned but I'm a Sketchup/Photoshop/Conversion Tool BATer as I can't afford 3DS, but I still get some good results. See a couple of concepts attached using simple models to get the idea across that scaled cities can work.


I came up with a couple of concepts using a farmland idea - normally this industrial unit would be on a 10x15 lot, and the farm fields would be 15x15.


As I love the Euro style cities of South America, I tried a BA style grid system which worked nicely, but needs some refinement.

As you can see, this kind of modelling allows for the avoidance of the SC4 grid system, something which in my opinion is getting a little tiresome. This has been done before with prop lots and road textures. With the scale concept, we can have multi-angled highway interchanges with thousands of cars lined up to give that impression of movement that is sometimes lost with prop only lots.

So, that's the idea. I am currently planning what to do with it, where to start and what the goal will be. It would be unrealistic to try and BAT millions of individual tiles so a bit of clever texture copying may solve some headaches, but I would love to see maybe a 50km square piece of land finished. I am open to suggestions and help, sometimes it may be a case of scaling down existing 3DS files for use in this project!

Let me know what you think!

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