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    SimCity's Heavy Traffic - SimCity Insider

    SIMCITY’S HEAVY TRAFFIC

    September 20, 2012

    Guillaume Pierre, Lead Gameplay Scripter

    Hello SimCity Insiders! I’m Guillaume Pierre, Lead Gameplay Scripter on SimCity. My team & I build the game’s simulation using the GlassBox Engine. If you have not done so yet, I recommend you read Tuesday’s blog postabout public transit options. Today, I’m going to talk about emergent traffic.

    Previous SimCity games took a map approach to traffic, where each cell would define its maximum traversable speed, along with its traffic capacity and what types of vehicles (pedestrians, cars, etc.) can go on it. In the newSimCity, however, we have actual vehicles that follow the roads, wait at lights and get stuck in traffic. They are path-bound agents that have to make decisions about where they should go, both on a strategic and tactical level.

    On the strategic level, each agent is given a list of destinations it should go to, sorted by priority. For example, when Sims decide to go to work, the list goes: 1. Go to work, 2. Go back home, and 3. Leave the city.

    traffic-small.gif

    Avenues like this help alleviate heavy traffic.

    As the Sims leave their homes (either by foot if the destination is close enough, or by car if it’s farther out) they will try to go to the closest destination at the top of the list. At each intersection, the Sims will try to take the best path to the destination, based on distance and on how many workers are needed in shops and factories. If for some reason the top destination becomes unavailable, then the Sims will try to go back home.

    Some agents may switch back to the top priority when it becomes available again, while others will only go down the list. For example, the first option is used by police cars that may be patrolling the streets and then all of a sudden need to drive to the scene of a crime, while the second option is suitable for large crowds that need to be more consistent with their destination.

    On the tactical level, cars will try to go into the correct lane before reaching an intersection, so if workers need to make a left turn to reach a coal mine, you’ll see a bunch of vehicles queuing up on the left side of an avenue, while the middle and right lanes may only have light traffic. As a city planner, you really need to think about how your Sims can most efficiently get to their destination.

    Another thing to consider when building your city is how long cars will have to wait at intersections. Cars on an avenue will wait a shorter time at a red light than the cars on a four-lane road that’s crossing it. Emergency vehicles on the other hand will force the lights to turn green in order to get to their destination faster, potentially causing more traffic for Sims going back home after their work day.

    There’s a lot more to say about traffic, but that will be it for today. Come back again soon for more exclusive information in SimCity Insider!



    User Feedback


    I want to know if traffic will be smart enough to avoid crowded streets? For instance wold a person drive around a traffic jam if they had an option to exit? I am worried that these cars will be set on going from point A to point B with no automatic update to a faster/better route. This will be terrible gridlock constantly if so. This image above also points out that the spacing between mass transit vehicles may not be an option. It looks like 2 or 3 trolleys in a row behind each other.

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    About gridlock... In my city it always happens... The only way to avoid it would be with a live traffic report on your phone or something, (not very common by these latitudes)...

    Anyway, if sims can avoid collapsed routes, good for them... I don't have that possiblity... hehe.

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    Looks pretty good. Hopefully there will be trains with multiple cars and longer station platforms. As is, looks more like a touristy waterfront streetcar setup than a mass transit system.

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    This blog post, for once, redeems my hope that this game could become something great. Of course, to really do so, we'd need to be able to implement our own mods (e.g. SC2013 version of RHW) but this is a step forward.

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    The most interesting thing we've seen so far. Perhaps there is some redeeming qualities here, but I am still sitting on my hands as far as this game goes. The questions about the scope of the simulation still have not been resolved.

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    Looks good. I think I will be frustrated though if I cannot build extra turning lanes ect. if streets are being backed up from left turns and thats the main problem. I guess I'm just spoiled by TULEPS.

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    I was wondering ... why a GIF and not a video?

    Surprise ... after declarations idiots and explanations idiots now we also images idiots.

    Save the GIF and disassembled to see the real "Heavy-Traffic".

    Impressive ... Now all is legal to mislead the consumer.

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    It's been my experience that the previews, even the intro video to the game not what can be expected in the game. Take Sim City 3000's intro video, it looked more like Sim City 4 and was nothing like the in game graphics or workings at all.

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