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Prospect Bay

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About this City Journal

Welcome to the Pacific Northwest! Inspired by the historic cities and coastal communities of California, Oregon and Washington, Prospect Bay attempts to replicate their distinct character and feel in 1080p through an organic development style

Entries in this City Journal


It's been a good six months since I last played my region of Prospect Bay intensively. When I started this MD, I had already started another, much larger region called Yakutat Bay which more and more came to consume all of my SC4 efforts as I worked on it. I'll be making an MD for that region eventually too, but first I want to round this one out a little because Prospect Bay is close to being finished.

Last time, I said that my next entry would focus on the city of Port Deliverance. I've decided against that. The city was the first that I built in the Prospect Bay region, and does not come close to living up to the standards that I build today. Plus, it's really small so there's not too much interesting to see.

In general my play style has changed a lot since I started Prospect Bay more than a year ago. It was the first region I played based on real world terrain, and also the first where I had realism and organic development at the top of my priorities list. Consequently, there are a lot of things I would do differently if I were to go about building this region again. Foremost among those are the designs for the region's freeway interchanges. I literally built out my learning process with RHW from scratch in them, and as a result they do not conform to contemporary highway standards. That's why I decided to go into the region's largest city, Lagos, and update its most important central interchange.


Here's a map of the highways in the Lagos metro area. Wide lines represent freeways while narrower lines represent at-grade alignments. As you can see, the city is still very much a work in progress with new neighborhoods in development for quite a ways along the southern urban fringe. The highway interchange I updated is the big one between Highway 1 and 24.


This is what the interchange used to look like when I built it in October, facing east. I don't think I did so badly considering that it was the first full four way interchange I built with RHW, but the positioning of the exits and entrances and the unnecessary narrowing of the roadways at certain exits certainly left something to be desired. At first I tried to rebuild the interchange from scratch a couple times, but in doing so I realized that making some simple upgrades would be a more elegant solution.


Here's how the interchange looks now. The retrofit was a pretty wide ranging project, involving rebuilding many ramp connections, widening the mainline roadways, new overpasses, acceleration lanes, merge in/merge out auxiliary lanes, fractional angle curves, and a couple minor surface street upgrades.


The eastern side of the interchange leads into a bridge approach and a partial interchange with Lagos' Market Street facing toward the bridge. As part of the upgrade I rebuilt the Market Street overpass and its bridge ramps, reconfiguring them to eliminate the need for entering and exiting traffic to make U-turns at the congested street's nearby intersections, which also saw upgades. I also improved the merge for eastbound traffic entering the Highway 1 mainline by getting rid of an extra lane that terminated at the merge point.


The southern side of the interchange was one of the trickiest to work with. I had given up on being able to use a fractional angle ramp leading into an RHW-4 split for northbound traffic trying to turn east or west when I practically built the thing by accident with not a tile to spare--the highway goes into a smooth curve just beyond the lower right edge of the screenshot. I was even able to improve the sound walls between the ramp and the neighborhood to its east.


At the western edge of the interchange is the Pine Valley Mall, the largest concentration of jobs in the city outside of the industrial port. The main improvements I made in this area consisted to building more articulated curves for the right turn ramps, building a short merge lane for traffic entering the westbound mainline on Highway 1 before it heads into a viaduct and placing cosmetic pieces. You won't believe how much of a pain it was to rebuild the central overpasses of the interchange in the same spot while widening both the surface and the overpassing lanes from one tile RHW to two tile RHW! It felt like I spent half an hour frantically clicking around.

There were more subprojects in this update, but that about covers the main and most interesting ones. I chronicled everything else related to the update in a short series of gameplay/commentary videos, if you're interested check them out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WslD4pd14Wk. I hope you guys enjoyed the entry, if so I plan to bring you more of this style from Lagos and Prospect Bay soon.

As an added bonus, here's a dusty old screenshot of Lagos' industrial port from October, again facing east:


I have a heck of a lot of work ahead of me with bringing this sector of the city up to my current standards, including an already commenced dredging project for the channel in front of the container cranes and a widening project for Highway 24, so don't judge!



Prospect Bay


Click on any of the images to see them in the original glorious HD!

I won't bore you with too many details in this introductory post, but to give you guys some background on what's going on, Prospect Bay is a region of over a quarter million people spread across a few dozen discrete settlements in a scenic coastal area based on Dobdriver's map of Nelson, New Zealand. Most live within a couple miles of the shore in towns of less than 10,000 population.


Watertown, a prosperous hamlet centrally located on the coastal highway

The economy of the region is dominated by agriculture, resource extraction and manufacturing. In particular, timber and lumber processing are areas that have been cornerstones of the regional economy since the inception of its settlement due to the density of the old growth temperate rainforest covering most of the hills, and they have only become more intensive over time with the arrival of new, more efficient modes of transportation and a steady supply of people to work in the mills.


The lumber mill and its associated rail spur have been the main drivers of economic development in Napoleon, just a couple miles southwest of Watertown in the rolling hills

Of course, more recently, with a constant increasing factor of economic activity and population growth, the boom times have expanded to include the services and public sectors. While it's quite far from an accomplished fact at this point, there are those who foresee all the scrap yards, warehouses and farmers' co-ops on the region's Main Streets being squeezed out by banks, department stores and government office buildings.


For many years in the region's early history, High Street in Trapezus was the biggest hub of commercial activity to be found as well as far and away the premier entertainment destination

Urbanization has already fundamentally changed the character of the region. Gone are the days when every property owner could count on having a virtual forest on his land or in the vicinity of his house, and children could wander and play anywhere with minimal supervision.


You're definitely never really alone when you're in Lagos, the economic and cultural capital of Prospect Bay

But for the masses moving in, the expanding urban amenities make all the hassles worth it, and the sweeping Bay and mountain views along with the many remaining swathes of unspoiled nature offer a kind of beauty and majesty that's a world away from anything they knew in the congested city centers of the East Coast and other countries. The historic small towns that take the best advantage of this resource are often some of the most prestigious real estate areas, owing to short overall commute times. They are also hotbeds for getaway tourism from the cities nearby, with thriving strips of boutique shops.


With its historic charm and breathtaking coastline dotted with cliffs, islands and sandbars, visiting Happy Valley is always an idyllic experience--at least until you get stuck behind an RV on the narrow highways leading through the hills out of town

In my next entry, I'll be talking about some of the region's earliest history, with a particular focus on its first city, Port Deliverance, a very unique place in its own right. Due to the difficult local geography, the town has not physically expanded since before the railroad's arrival and has become a living artifact of a previous century, protected in contemporary times by the region's strictest redevelopment laws.


Perhaps the most exceptional aspect of Port Deliverance's historical preservation is the town's location along a major transportation corridor--everybody taking the coastal highway from east of the region to Prospect Bay's major cities passes right through the middle of the preservation district


Check out my YouTube channel!

One of the unique things about this MD is that it focuses on a region that I built almost from scratch on YouTube. While the video series is already long enough at more than 100 installments that I don't seriously expect too many people to watch it from start to finish, I release SC4 gameplay/commentary videos in the style of Haljackey, Mandelsoft and Casper based in the region frequently, or at least whenever I have the time to play. In the future as I create entries for this MD that focus more on specific areas and things, I'll include links to all the relevant videos as supplementary material.

In the meantime, you should check out my two latest videos. In them, I take viewers on a thorough tour of the region's largest city, recently lost to a corrupted save file and rebuilt better than ever from a 3 month old backup. It should be an entertaining watch, and a great way to get more familiar with Prospect Bay's character.


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