A brief introduction to diagonal city building
So from time to time I will post some walkthroughs/explanations about creating realistic/beautiful/interesting cities. It's nothing lengthy, just simple tips and ideas. The first one is a rather nasty area of the game- diagonals.
Every player wants to gridbust- build in directions other than up, down, left and right. Vanilla SC4 only has orthogonal buildings, parks and fillers. Now the game has diagonal roads and the Network Addon Mod (NAM) has enabled players to go into FA (Fractionally Angled) territory, but the diagonal BATs and LOTs have not kept up with the various orthogonal options SC4 presents. It is possible to create several diagonal areas in a large city tile without it becoming repetitive. Ideally a city should feel like it is going in eight directions, not just the usual four.
What about FA? I have only seen a few dozen FA BATs and LOTs. If you think incorporating realistic diagonals in a city is hard, then try exploring the dark art of FA design. It's something only the most skilled SC4 players use and very sparingly because the FA options are tiny.
For now though let's focus on this rather nasty diagonal area. Adding in orthogonal buildings when there are diagonal roads and wide curves would look ridiculous. It's all very well laying down diagonal roads but without the means to incorporate them into the city, and masking the jagged diagonals (see the top left of the picture), then one should may as well stick to the grid in urban areas. Fear not though, there is a way to make diagonal areas look smooth, flowing AND connect with the orthogonal areas of the city.
Note: I keep saying orthogonal, it just means right angles, or for SC4: up, down, left and right directions.
For starters clear the area, get out the grid and start counting the width of the diagonal area- number of squares. I've found that a diagonal building on its own, complete with a back-door filler, takes up two squares/tiles of width. The thinnest diagonal city block is three squares in width. Finally, to bound a diagonal building between a road and some kind of barrier takes between two or three squares width. Note: technically two rows of diagonal buildings, which don't connect, could be considered a city block. However, I've found it usually looks pretty weird.
This is really important because to complete a diagonal area one must know how much space there is available. There is nothing worse than demolishing the diagonal buildings because there was not enough space; it means many lost minutes as many inner-city diagonal buildings are scattered throughout the landmarks menu.
Having laid out a street template I have gone ahead and plopped in most of the Wall-to-Wall (W2W) buildings for this area. Fuse orthogonal with diagonal buildings, this really does give the impression that the city extends in eight directions/angles. I have compiled a small list of diagonal buildings, one link for each diagonal BATter. But that's all fine and dandy; what will stop the buildings not connected to a road from becoming abandoned?
The answer to this is pedmalls. Just one pedmall next to a building and it will never become abandoned. I don't believe this will work for residential buildings though, the Sims need to access the road network to find a job. Connected pedmalls though will ensure a connection. In the middle left you can see the pedmalls in action. For the player just starting to use these pedmalls I will say this- you will see that Maxis white pavement texture. I use a sidewalk mod and Paeng's pedmall parks to bring the sidewalks to life. A word of warning about pedmalls- when you plop them next to streets/roads the sidewalks will not appear. Plop any lot or building, on the other side, to make the sidewalks appear.
Another consideration is the jagged texture tiles of the street. Do you want grass or pavement? Pavement works best for inner-city areas. But plopped buildings always cause the street to show jagged grass textures. Worse still, if you want to expand the pavement with pedmalls or diagonal pavements, it will only reinforce the jagged appearance. Here I will let you in on a little secret- the NAM has the SAM (Street Addon Mod). The SAM contains two streets which will always have jagged pavement textures: SAM 6 (cobbled streets) and SAM 10 (Japanese Moonlight textured streets). I use these streets often for diagonal inner-city areas. In this picture I used SAM 6. But a word of caution- use SAM 6 sparingly because cobbled streets imply old areas; pre-20th century and older. Think of the Old World and Europe, think of narrow streets and pre-modern architecture. I am building an American-styled city and I have used the SAM 6 sparingly because cobbled streets in American cities are, I believe, rare to see.
Fillers are important for making the area behind these diagonal buildings look convincing. Diagonal buildings often come with 1x1 lots which have a variety of textures. SFBT's diagonal pavements and pedmalls can make the appearance of these back areas more uniform and consistent. I will be applying two layers of diagonal fillers: 1. a half pavement/half grass lot and 2. a half forest/half transparent texture with a fence running through the middle. This will give the appearance of the area being closed off and mark a clear separation between building, road and whatever else borders the area.
In the bottom middle of the picture I improvised together a park since I was running out of space. I even snuck in some FA! I would say that this area has been reasonably filled in, fits in smoothly with the bordering roads and looks like another part of the city. But a special part because it is a diagonal area. Additionally the FA pavement, the numerous diagonal roads/rails and the curving highway all create the impression of grid-busting. In the area I filled can you see any jagged diagonal edges? THIS is an example of a seamless diagonal area.
This was a small area about two hundred squares worth. This took me roughly 45 minutes to complete. For someone starting on diagonals for the first time it will take a couple of hours. Diagonals are rather tricky to get right, it does not help that the selection of diagonal fillers and BATs is far smaller than the selection of orthogonal fillers and BATs. Finally, to conclude, I recommend the following method for constructing diagonal areas:
1. Work out the width of the area.
2. Place in the necessary streets.
3. Plop in the buildings; be that diagonal, orthogonal and diagonal/orthogonal transitions (BATs which are as rare as gold dust).
4. Add in pedmalls and consider using SAM 6 or SAM 10.
5. Infill diagonal blocks with trees/pedmalls/fillers/concrete/paths/parks/car parks. The fillers can be a mixture of orthogonal and diagonal.
6. Extend the back area of a diagonal row of buildings with diagonal fillers, lay in at least ONE diagonal layer and then choose between further diagonal layers or extending the back with orthogonal fillers such as trees, grass tiles, etc...
7. Fill in spare space with either more buildings or parks or something unique. Be creative with how you fill in empty squares.
List of goodies:
xannepan's content- http://sc4devotion.com/csxlex/lex_filedesc.php?lotGET=1613 (LEX).
Glenni's content- http://community.simtropolis.com/files/file/22357-transition-from-long-to-short-diagonal-buildings/ (STEX).
prepo's content- http://sc4devotion.com/csxlex/lex_filedesc.php?lotGET=1324 (LEX).
Ferox's content- http://community.simtropolis.com/files/file/18809-diagonal-euro-buildings/ (STEX + his other files are largely W2W).
zero7's content-http://sc4devotion.com/csxlex/lex_filedesc.php?lotGET=1174 (LEX).
Paeng's gridbusting warehouses- http://community.simtropolis.com/files/file/27701-paengs-gridbuster-warehouses-vol01/.
Motokloss's content- http://community.simtropolis.com/profile/422335-motokloss/content/?type=downloads_file.
Reddonquixote's content- http://community.simtropolis.com/profile/68861-reddonquixote/content/?type=downloads_file.
--Quite a few of his buildings have diagonal versions of them.
Darknono35's content- http://community.simtropolis.com/files/file/29566-nybt-605-third-avenue-ny/.
SimCity Polska links: http://www.simcitypolska.pl/index.php?action=downloads;sa=view;down=47, http://www.simcitypolska.pl/index.php?action=downloads;sa=view;down=145 and http://www.simcitypolska.pl/index.php?action=downloads;sa=view;down=83.
SFBT diagonal filler lots http://sc4devotion.com/csxlex/lex_filedesc.php?lotGET=1197.
MGB - diagonal fillers http://community.simtropolis.com/files/file/29797-mgb-diagonal-filler-set/.
T-Wrecks's IM IRM filler set - http://community.simtropolis.com/files/file/28298-industrial-revolution-mod-i-m-filler-set-1/.
Diagonal industrial fillers- http://community.simtropolis.com/files/file/27699-nightowls-diagonal-industrial-fillers-and-extenders/.
Paeng's Pedmall Parks- http://community.simtropolis.com/files/file/26454-paengs-pedmall-parks/.
The latest NAM (more support for SAM 6 and 10).
RRP Wooden Fences- http://sc4devotion.com/csxlex/lex_filedesc.php?lotGET=1888.
KOSC diagonal parking- http://community.simtropolis.com/files/file/30953-kosc-sp-modular-parking-diagonal-set/.
AND Gobias' sidewalk mods. NOTE (29/04/2017): The administrators of the BSC LEX have restored Gobias' files: http://sc4devotion.com/csxlex/lex_filedesc.php?lotGET=2850.
PLUS grab the rest of T-Wrecks IRM fillers and while you are at all of his IRM files.
FINALLY- If you are a real die-hard then type in "diagonal" into the LEX and STEX searches. Scour these exchanges and nab everything which says diagonal. It will probably take several hours but the reward of more variety is always worth it.
Additional content (edit- 16/04/2017)
Simcoug's R$$ Diagonal Homes:
Simcoug's Diagonal W2W Tenements:
--This is for transparent railway textures.
MGB - Terrain Grass NAM (TGN) for Gobias Berner Oberland- http://community.simtropolis.com/files/file/30159-mgb-terrain-grass-NAM-tgn-for-gobias-berner-oberland/
--Replaces all the road network grass textures with the Berner Oberland styled grass. There is also a Sudden Valley, Appalachian and Pyrenean version of this mod to.
Selecting the base texture replacement option for the Berner Oberland, Sudden Valley and Appalachian terrain mod installers. This goes hand-in-hand with the TGN. For Berner Oberland and Sudden Valley you can find them on the LEX.