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About this City Journal

A fictional Nation, fulfilled with different styles and vibes.

Entries in this City Journal


Swartzia - Merry Christmas!

So we are close to Christmas!

Time to think about what we´ve done so far, time for peace, time for remembering others, time for gifting...

In Swartzia, Christmas is celebrated seriously, with Christmas parade, big pines tree all over the city... In December, the hotels are always full of visitors, coming from several places of the nation and with some international tourist too. Ok, enough talk, lets get to the pictures.












Merry Christmas and a happy new year!


The end (?)


As I mentioned on my back, my objective was to get this CJ done and I consider it is. However, I never know if maybe someday on the future Ill wish to play SC4 again, maybe get more inspiration and do a better "work". Anyway, I´d like to thank you all for attention and comments. For those who didnt saw yet, I recommend to take a look at my 3 "Articles", they are a good read (Article 1 is the best of them):






Thank you all and happy 2016!


Comments reply



@raynev1 Thats a nice vision, I actually feel like I should stop gaming to do other stuff and in a decade or two get back... People on 2035 are going to say that their video-games are the real ones, that everybody before was fake,maybe they are even going to call them "simulators" instead, and they might say that our era sucked... Well, that´s going to be nice for City Building, really!


<the picture below is a glitch and it appears by its own even if I edit the CJ post>



Article 3: Final ideas

Article 3: Final ideas


Builders VS Mayors


Years and years ago, some people complained about “the cheaters”. They were talking not only about people that used money cheat (a.k.a simleon tree), but to people that would swap other things too, like using SuperDemand mods (its more than just one). In the other side, some other people complained about “the noobs”. These guys had kind of ugly cities, with some repetitive building. But they used to say “hey, at least I made it on the honest way”.


The noobs were known as mayors. And the cheaters as builders.


Everyone started playing SC4, or maybe any other City sim, as a mayor. Manage money flow, taxes, control crime and fire, build hospitals, and etc… This is the meaning of playing as a mayor.


However, there is always a time where you get tired of these things – or better, tired of the engine that runs these things – and want to build the City of your dreams. Then, you will not want the engine holding you back. You just want to build and make things exactly – or almost exactly – like you want. So, you take the money out of equation, create or destroy the demand (or “plop” the buildings on your own), take out any problems related to crime, end any possibility of any fire, etc.. At this moment, you become the builder.


It is just about what you want to do – and achieve. Have as much population as possible, or have as many satisfy rate as possible, is not everybody´s goal on this. Repeting: it is a question about what you want to do.


Some people prefer to stay on the middle although. They try to build the city they want without doing engine “swaps”. That’s a way too. So, if you call anyone a “$%&^!” for having an ugly city, or if you call anyone “a cheater” for using the money tree, stop and ask yourself what the other people want. Maybe the idea was never having a pretty city, or the idea was never having the engine holding you back.


Finally, it would be a good idea if anyone developing a city builders take note about the builders. It would be a great idea to have a mode that disables the engine – the money stuff, the sims processing – and create a builder mode, where you could create exactly what you want. Managing the traffic, when clicking on a street and setting it to “zero”, “small”, “medium”, “heavy”, no money, and anything like that. Even if we are full of mods trying as much as they can to make a builder mode possible, SC4 is going to always process traffic information, sims information, and always simulate everything – wrongly, with the mods. This will likely consume memory. With less memory, with no simulation, maybe this mode could generate larger maps – or, at least, lit will be a lighter mode.


Expanding “Mayor Mode”: State and Nation management, different systems


I wonder if someday there will be an expansion of the mayor thing. I mean: What about having a position as a president? Manage a whole state or nation? Just imagine how would be a “President Mode”. Problems to solve, currency, diplomacy, trades, managing transportation as a whole, solving trouble done by big disasters like flood, earthquakes, etc… Mayor Mode has a good potential for expanding in any City (Nation?) Builder Sim.


And: Why capitalism only? Why not some variations of it or radical changes? Not for the sake of the efficiency but it would be fun and puzzling. “Mayor Mode” is something people don’t take long to get tired and a different mode, with different strategies and approaches would be nice.




In the end, somehow, all the 3 articles I´ve made talks about the future.


A big problem today on City Builder Sims is the proportion about detail versus size. Finding the right balance is hard. For most games that includes any kinds of maps, from racing games, airplane simulators, some action games, RPG, etc… There are always limitations at computing, and that influences on the map. If the map has too many details, it is too small. If it has huge, it is detail lacking. For example, do you know what the biggest map ever made on videogame history in any platform is? There are some RPG, Racing Games, but in the end, it is “Flight Simulator” rules… It has the whole world as a map, every kilometer/mile. However, 90% of the map is just texture taken from the satellites, sky images like on Google Earth. And it is like that since the 2000´s.  In the other side, the new “Sim City” tried to process the commute of every citizen and barely end with 1 square kilometer…

With the potential expansion of computing and hardware, with the natural evolution of technology, limitations problems like that might be solved, even if we could never reach the infinite. There always would be the limitations but they will get smaller than they are today.


I really believe that the golden age of City Builders Sims (late and middle 2000´s) will come back in between 2020 to 2030. As I´ve shown on the others texts, there are some problems with map size and general appearance. With better computing, these problems are solved slowly. Just imagine: Bigger maps, like 10x10 or 20x20 km… Better, good looking and realistic graphics… Expansion of Mayor Mode… Even if these days have not been the best, someday the golden era will come back full with new concepts, new ideas, new ways and new possibilities.


Comments Reply


@Dedgren (Art 2): These graphics expansions and evolutions doesn’t happen from day to night, they happen slowly. Slowly we get some new possibilities… Slowly “we get there”.


@Raynev1: Thanks.


@kschmidt: Thanks. There are comments saying that my cities look busy, but I´ve always thought that the traffic in SC4 in general is not big enough. Sometimes, we see real ghost towns with big buildings… Even if I used to not be good at generating traffic it was better than nothing. Always tried to get balance on my scenery too…


Here are some pictures about some cities around the country (actually, some of my experimental/incomplete works that I never showed/featured anywhere):


Experimental Swartzia

Decided that the forest need more flowers and less diversity of pines, even if maybe I exaggerated in the number of flowers in the actual Swartzia. Also, I switch some buildings to make a better fit. This is just a scratch, there is nothing around this scenery area.



Saint Paul


It is based in a more fantasy version of the Brazilian City São Paulo ("São Paulo" means Saint Paul in english), in the super small size map of SC4. The result was good, but a bit far from the real Saint Paul (São Paulo). I really thing that I should have took this far, it would be a good work. I used to have trouble at generating traffic with external plaza, but I happened to find a mod that would generate traffic right on the streets without needing a car plaza.






(Unnamed) Multiple Islands City


Not a bad idea, but not a new one either. It is commonly used in some racing games. The more common approach for islands is to make something rural, paradise style, with beachs, some trees, etc... However, the idea here is to create a big and dense city spread in several islands. The main problem I found was finding something different than a beach to put on the coast, something a bit more creative and functional. Not much buildings done that.






I could look on google for a more "Anselli" style name, but I decided to just put the one I used. It was supposed to be a creative medium size city, with the objective to be a vacation city to a big center. The final result was a bit weird...Maybe too much creative...In the end I decided that it was too exotic to render something interesting.






Claire Coast


I named this originally as "Bright Coast" in portuguese ("Costa Clara"), and it was supposed to be one of my two main cities (that had portuguese CJ´s of their own: "San Matheus" and "Arvoral", the first was completely reworked and redone once and has 2 versions). However, the city file corrupted suddenly and I had no backup, just very few pictures (in the end I just archived one). Some concepts were re-used for later cities, but the idea of big parks and important governmental buildings was reserved for the capital of Anselli (I was supposed to get it done last year but found no motivation to do so, I got tired of SC4 again after getting Viminalis and Swartzia done).






With portuguese name "Renascença" (Reborn in portuguese, Phoenix is a more elegant but unprecise translation), I decided to take a new style that I never done before. I think it is based on some poor New York Style, not sure. I actually not disliked the work, but I had a shot with it on a brazilian version of one of these images competition ("ImageVSImage") (originally started on SC4Devotion) and it was a failure. The city look kind depressive and not pretty, and, even having a style didnt compensated its flaws.




Experimental sunset on San Matheus


The idea was to create a different mix of colors, and create a blur effect on the ground that decreased with the highness. Not bad, but it wasnt an "oh!" work and it took too much work to get it done, and my photoshoping skills are actually not good (I know just the very basics for 00´s days).




That´s it!


Article 2 - Complement

If you havent seen Article 2, I recommend to do so before seeing this update:




@dedgren: Its time to wait and see... However, I think it is going to be 5-10 years, not 4-5 years...


Article 2 - Complement


Hi all,


I expect that some of you enjoyed my latter article ^^. In this update (next one I go back to SC4), we are going to have a look at some scenario shots of two racing games:


1) DriveClub

2) Gran Turismo 6


You may ask me what kind of City Journal is, a weird one indeed. Well, I don’t have much idea where to put these content. “Make a topic” some would suggest. But I wonder if the topic would get lost in some other thousands ones. And these kind of stuff are not tutorials.


So lets get started…


1) DriveClub


DriveClub is all about driving cars on the road in some good-looking scenario. It is not simulation-intended. There are more environment shots than urban ones, and the only big city is the one that was shown on the last update. Here are some extra pictures of DC:














All these DriveClub pictures were taken from:



2) Gran Turismo 6


Gran Turismo 6 is a racing simulation game. It has some cities tracks, and more urban areas than DriveClub (also known as DC). However, Gran Turismo 6 is old generation on PS3, it has less graphic content than dc. Also, in GT6 the quality of the out-track pictures are variable. Here are some 10 shots from GT6:
















Heavy edited:








All of these Gran Turismo 6 Pictures were taken from:








Please keep in mind that these cities and scenario are not my work. DriveClub© is a work by Evolution Studios (http://www.evos.net/), released in 2014. GranTurismo© is a trademark from Polyphony Digital (http://www.polyphony.co.jp/english/), and its 6th version was released in December 2013. 


Article 2 - About graphics



@dedgren: Thx. I dont have any yet. Im using a very basic laptop, just to internet and MS Office. Nothing heavy is demanding for now, and I dont pretend to get back to gaming at PC anytime soon.




Before getting started, let me let you know that there have been rumors over the internet about a new sim game that received little attention lately. In these last days, it was leaked the text and the images of this new sim homepage (front page of its website):


Create your own Cities!




Create your own towns!




Create your own ghost towns!




Create your own old (or scary) touristic area!




Create your own movie!




Create your own beautiful nature scenery!




Create your own beautiful shot with image editing!




It’s up to you!


(end of the page)


It is a surprise, isn´t it? Or not?


Would you buy it?


I would. I actually did.


Sadly, for those who got a bit excited, and for the confirmation of those who were somehow suspicious about it (those who wondered: “Too good to be true”, “What kind of computer would run something like that?”, “I already saw that somewhere”), that´s not a new game, and it is not a City Builder.


It is DriveClub, a non-simulation racing game. It looks good, right? Yes, and it is not alone. There are several others games with nice looking graphics. And some of them have nice looking cities. Haven’t you already noticed that city building games are having trouble with that?



A City on Gran Turismo 6


 Article 2 - About graphics


City Building is a category of game that includes a massive quantity of details to be rendered, considered and done. The problem is not only get a big city rendered, but the fact that the city must be very customized (otherwise it wouldn’t be a city builder at all). And it just get worse when you need to process a huge amount of data to decide what is going to grow, where it is going to grow and why it is growing. The city changes all the time. It is “alive”.


 In some games, you walk through a scenario, or drive through it, but you always do that on a pre-made scenario, with no amount of data to be processed, equal for every user and usually it is not needed to detail every place on the city (unless you are on completely free-roam game, where you can walk or drive anywhere on the city you want). Even in the free roam case, the maximum speed of the user is usually not as high as the speed of movement of a camera of a City Builder.


That it is the reason – or at least what I believe it is – for the fact that, when compared to games released on the same year or close years, city builders looks worse than them.


But there is Sim City 4.


If you compare Sim City 4 to others from its time, it is clear that SC4 look, at least a bit, ahead from them. But it is a City builder, shouldn´t look worse than the others from its time?


Yes, it should. But SC4 got a trick: Camera restriction. What generated some complaints, the constrain of the camera to perspective view, allowing only moving horizontally and zooming, were undoubtedly the main factor for giving Sim City 4 an graphical advantage. If the camera were free, Sim City 4 would look far worse. Some BATters probably have a good explanation about why constraining the camera saved your money on not needing a Super Computer for the work and improved the appearance of everything on 2003 Sim City´s. Since I never got any serious BAT done, Im not an expert at this, so I cant get very far about this subject.


There were some few discussions on a brazilian forum (used to be www.simcitybrasil.net, but now it´s gone) about how the Sim City released in 2013 looks when compared with Sim City 4. Maybe this subject come to discussion here too. Not all people were convinced that the new Sim City did look better in comparison of the old one. Indeed you were free to take your shots from almost anywhere you want, at any angle, and that’s a good evolution. But I believe it came for a price: In terms of graphic and appearance.


Even if you say: “But, hey, I dislike the new Sim City”, it is very difficult to deny that the same phenomenon happens to the others. I believe that for that very reason SC4 is still alive and it is hardly and slowly being replaced. You can still get shots that looks fairly realistic from a game with 12 years old just because of the camera constrain (and, of course, a nicely done work from Maxis). Some of them look better than any other city builders competitors that try’s the very same angle of view. Following that, you got thousands of buildings, hundreds of mods, which fix some bad aspects of the game. It is difficult to “win” that, but someday, we will get something better. Some say we already did. But for now, we can look at other games, specially racing ones, to have an idea about what “graphical” future is coming for us.


PS: The driveclub pictures were taken from:



The picture from Gran Turismo 6 I took on my own.


Swartzia - Sunset

@dedgren: Thanks! Ill consider your suggestion next time (even if I dont know Ill have next time in SC4)

@kschmidt: Thank! I didnt knew about that mod, roads/streets really need to be more smooth. However, the computer(a modest notebook)  that host this city is dead, sadly =(. 


Swartzia - Sunset


When the sun goes down...














Article 2 will be next week!


Swartzia - Overall view

@kschmidt: Thanks for your comment! Trying to put one map next to another and make the whole region as one city it is not the best solution (I tried). Every sim can only commute to the map behind him. If the works are in one map and the residential area is at a non-neighbor map, the travel can´t happen. Some regions have some serious imbalance because of this. Sadly, everything is really about short distance commute.


Swartzia - Overall view


Swartzia is a small, but touristic city in Anselli. Generally, it is most visited at December. It is also known by its flowers. Here are the pics:


P.S.: If you havent seen last update, it is a text with some interesting stuff about commute, its a good read:



















Hello, guys.


Yes, I have abandoned my City Journal for almost 2 years from now.


I should not had done that, but at least Im back to get this done – even if it won’t be done as I initially planned. I had plans to introduce and show, in detail, 5 cities, however, in the end we are going to have 2-3 cities on detail. I had problems with my notebook (it did broke last year and I had to buy a bad one just to use internet and ms office), and, also, the Portuguese version of this Cj was completely lost by www.simcitybrasil.net (please don’t click). I´ve tried to restore it, but, by now, the Brazilian sim city website is completely gone.


Well, Im going to start with the only thing the Brazilian version had and the English don’t have: The Article 1. First, I had to completely re-write it because I had no backup of it. Second, I pretend to release 3 articles about some interesting non-tutorial stuff. By now, I already have the article 2 done.


Article 1 – Commute experiment


As we known, Maxis use the metric system or international system to measure units of distance, time, and speed. It was posted more than a decade ago, somewhere on ST, that a Sim City square unit is 16x16 meters, the small map is 1x1 km, the medium map is 2x2 km and the big map is 4x4 km.


I had done myself – two years ago – some “experiments” about commute and speed. First, with completely empty plugins folder, I´ve started with one house and one small shop. The first thing came into my mind was: “If a place is right near the other, is the commute is zero?”. Here´s the answer: No. As shown in the picture below:




For calculating commute, the game counts 1 or 2 squares? I’ve decided to increase the distance between the house and the shop by 8 squares. If the game counts only 1 square in this case, the increase of commute would be 9x. If the game counts 2 squares, then it would be 5x times. An 9x increase means that the new commute would be 9x6=53. If 5 then it would be 6x5=30 minutes. So:



This dramatic increase indicates that not only the game counts just 1 square or less in this case, but it also counts some time for the sim to leave his house or the count is less than a square. However, in order to not create unnecessary overcomplicating, lets count as 1 square.


Before proceeding, I found something odd about the house and the shop. The game states that the whole city has 5 inhabitants, but the shop employs 7 people!




Switching back, what about sims walking speed? Well, if you pay attention, they took about an hour to travel a distance that doesn’t look to be big. Think about it – How long you take to travel 1 km by foot (0.62 mile)? 15 minutes? 20? Well, for sure is not an hour.


The average speed of a walking human is 5 km/hour (about 3 miles/hour). The average of a Sim City sim is:

(9 squares x 16 meters/square)/(1 hour)

(144 meters)/(1 hour)

(0.144 km)/(hour)

0.144 km/hour! That’s less than 0.1 mile/hour. Wow, how slow, huh? Are sims turtles and Maxis never told us that? Well, maybe turtles in cars can get really fast. So, I made an increase on the distance to 20 squares, put a decent avenue (that made the distance increase to 22 squares), and here it is what I got:




Much faster, huh? About 13 minutes, with 2x the distance… So lets get back to our simple speed calculation:

(22 squares x 16 meters/square )/(13 minutes)

(352 meters)/(0.217 hour)

(1622 meters)/(hour)

 That’s about 1.6 km/hour, or almost 1 mile/hour. It looks like that sims cars travel about 3 times slower than a regular human being walking! How slow are they? Im really starting to think that a turtle would easily beat a sim on any race. Even using a car the sim would still lose for the turtle. Lol.


What about a sim, in a car and on a highway, or in one of many Simtropolis sunken Highways, how much speed?




It looks like that our poor, or better, slow sim, decided to buy a Porsche (the red car), so he would go faster. However, how can a poor ($, not $$$) sim can buy a supercar? This is just interesting evidence that SC4 generates the cars on the highway, without considering the wealth of the houses around. Getting back to the speed, here it is the new commute due to the highway:




About 7 minutes. Then, the speed of a sim on a highway is:

(1622 meters)/(7/13 hour)

(1622 meters)/(0.54 hour)

(3 km)/ (hour)


3 km/hour, or almost 2 miles/hour, is enough to win the turtle, but still too slow to win a human being walking.


I made a similar experiment with subway, and the sim did took 8 minutes to take 20 squares. Something like 2 km/hour.


What can we say about this?

Well, sims are slow. Very slow. Very very slow.

Now comes “my opinion” part.


I really don’t think this is a mistake from Maxis. I believe they are very aware of this. They know. The real problem isn´t the fact that sims are slow. It is because the maps are too small.

Here are some examples of city sizes:

Tokyo = 2,188 km^2

London = 1,572 km^2

Ciudad de Mexico = 1,485 km^2

Johannesburg = 1,644 km^2

Toronto = 630 km^2

SC4 “large” map = 16 km^2


In terms of speed, in the biggest map SC4 can ever generate, it would take about an hour to go from an up-left house to a down-right store walking. It looks to be big, but, actually, it isn´t. At street speed, about 20 km/h (about 12 miles/hour), it would take about 15 minutes. At 100 km/h (about 62 miles/hour), it takes only 3 minutes.


If Maxis decided to put sims at realistic speed, then what sense would the Rush Hour expansion do? With such small map there is no need for any fast ways of traveling. The commute on a city with only streets would be 15 minutes at peak (with no heavy traffic). There is no reason for subways or highways. The avenues and buses would solve any heavy traffic problems. No worries about commute times.


I believe that, in order to try to mask the problem of a small map, they decided to make sims go slow. So, they would make the gameplay better (sacrificing simulation), and hide the real problem. I really think that very few people ever noticed that sims are really slow, and maybe not even half of Sim City players are aware about how small the “large” map is.


This is because, at least in 2003, there was no computer that could take a real size map. I really hopes that in the future, that changes, and really hope for some new City Sim with a 20x20 km map or larger.


Viminalis - Night Shots II

Night Shots (part II)

The last pictures of Viminalis. Last update about the Viminalis.




Next update will be the last update of the year, it is supposed to happen on Dec 21.


@Fox: Thanks!

@Jayguum: Yes =D, thx.


Viminalis - Night Shots I

Night Shots (part I)

First part of two, showing the night pics of Viminalis.




Next update is expected to happen november 30.


@Afrizan: Thanks!!! :golly:

@UndercoverNinja12: Thank you. Ill consider extend it next time.

@Shoko: Thanks :)

@IBPME: Thank you, glad you like it :D


Viminalis - Culture Plaza

@Huston: Thanks :golly:

Culture Plaza

The famous culture plaza on downtown is a very good place to know Viminalis history and tradition. On the picture it is possible to see the theater and the center of culture.



Viminalis - Mall

What´s up guys?

I decided to include a city that I made about 3 years ago on the City Journal. So, at least for a while, Im going to update weekly because Viminalis is almost done and the next city was already made.


@raynev1: Thanks. I plop one-by-one most of the times to avoid too much repetition.

@SylvioJorge: Thanks. It looks like ST got more brazilians than I thought.

@APSMS: Viminalis in my mind is mostly cloudy, however I haven´t noticed anything on the shadows. I see some with few intensity and as far as I concerned, they are set on. I will check on the graphic settings. Sadly, almost everything is done, but I will consider taking time to re-take some pictures when it is possible to do it.

Viminalis - Mall

One of the four malls on the city.





Viminalis - Center plaza

Introducing the author


This is my first CJ (actually second, but the first one was a very long time ago.. And disappeared. Or at least I couldn't find it), so, please be a little patient. However, Im not a newcomer, so, I wont post any horrible pictures with abandoned maxis buildings. My plans are to update every 15 days.

I wish to thank "A Nonny Moose", "jason leo", "AcronShinra", "CycloneBoom" for giving me help about some troubles I had and still have on SC4.

Introducing Anselli

Anselli is a nation with big diversity, with different styles and vibes. The capital is Annacardio and will be show on the middle of the CJ. I wont talk about history, just very short descriptions and images. This CJ is more eye-candy...

Introducing Viminalis

Viminalis is a city that has environmental commitments, but not focused on it. It is more made to live than to tourism. It is well-known on the country because of it´s plazas.

Viminalis Location 1 - Center Plaza

Located on a rich location, it is a nice place to relax. It´s next to a shopping mall (not shown), it has either commercial or residential buildings.




That´s it folks. See you on next update.

Next update: Planned to be October 13 (can possibly come a bit earlier).


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