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Mark Waybill

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About Mark Waybill

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  • Location
    Wollongong, New South Wales
  • Interests
    coin collecting, bushwalking, city building
  1. Isn't this making a huge assumption that we actually know how to produce a realistic environmental simulation? As far as I know, human beings don't have enough knowledge to do this. Bah what nonsense. The environment is highly understood these days. I am not talking about, of course, macroclimatic factors like 'global warming' and so forth, nor tectonic shift. By the 'environment' I am indicating the local pollution and weather and ecosystem. Weeds, feral animals, water contamination and the like. What I am trying to say is that the very basis of the simulation should be health of the environment, the life or death of a city is the life and death of a species, of a living organism. I am working on a resource transaction system at present to simulate people. It would appear that there are essentially three types of entity in an environment. Finite resources/resource producers, resource converters and evolvers, and resource consumers. Based on that we should be able to make our own Glass Box, and possibly a metal one that won't splinter into smithereens too. I have upgraded citizen simulation and employment simulation. http://www.mediafire.com/?4qox8mv7ac5r9i5 Now with cars and textured terrain. Ignore the screenshot its old.
  2. That last bit I agree with totally. If we could get this project partly sponsored/endorsed by real urban planners/councils around the world, that would give the project a great advantage. If we market it as a game and a simulator in one, and market to these people its usefulness as well as its potential as a video game and environment constructing tool for other video games/simulations (using some kind of GlassBox system for resource transaction) we could create a very worthwhile tool. I can seriously imagine governments becoming interested in such a tool, as it would allow for social engineering experiments to be carried out without affecting real life citizens. Developers could use it as a tool to monitor impacts of new constructions on various things like traffic and the environment, which is why we need a realistic environmental simulation (although I'm in favor of a toggle for this so we can still build 'ideal' cities as well)
  3. Is Amplitude likely to have what it takes to make SC? If so then we should start some form of funding mechanism and see if they are willing to cooperate. We need to advertise the 'campaign' as much as possible, whether we employ Kickstarter or another system. Crowdfunding in principle is simple but we should probably add some incentive like those who contribute over x amount receive x portion of the profits, or some special copy of the game or a t shirt etc. If we can agree on the right site/system... Personally I feel inclined toward an independent crowdfund, like using a paypal account that only the project's head team have the password to, and then just advertising the crowdfund campaign as ongoing 'until the right amount is raised', possibly showing a bar chart or something with the 'ideal amount' and the 'present raised amount'. Then we could enter into some agreement with Amplitude or whoever is willing to undertake this (we need committed, dedicated people who understand what we want- not necessarily just any 'simulation/startegy' co) that implies that when we reach the intended target we can use that to give income to the project and they can set out working on it. As much as is practicable we should keep this project from attaching itself to any business like Kickstarter or what have you. I think we need to have an ongoing 'campaign' that only ends when we reach our goal. So we need to set a goal. If we all contact various game developers who we think might be interested/have what it takes, and say 'how much would this sort of project require to build' we might receive (if we receive any answers) answers telling us that this would be uncertain, as they may not have undertaken this kind of game before. So ideally we target studios that look promising. But lets not leave any bases uncovered. If we can get, from this data, a rough estimate figure for how much this project is going to cost to at least get it started, then we can set about raising the money in a paypal account specially created for this purpose. Then when the amount is reached (and we post regular updates of the present amount, and none of it can be used until the amount is reached) we contact the studios we felt gave us the best response and try to start something. A person claiming to have a hundred grand will be taken more seriously than someone with ideas and suggestions.
  4. I agree wholeheartedly with your opinion, Wrighteous. Indeed the idea of real world data being able to be input to the game and used for just such a purpose had occurred to me as one of the prime reaons why EA's direction with SC is the wrong one. GlassBox was the one thing they did that I do agree with. Resource simulation should be at the heart of the game engine, so that a potato from a farm becomes chips in a retail store and so that a worker commutes to a car parking space, works, and drives to his house etc etc. Crowfunding is a great idea but Kickstarter's 'campaign' mechanism seems limited? Surely an independent 'campaign' donation system over time would enable greater contribution and spread of the news to interested parties. I think a 100 day campaign would achieve very little unless we advertised a lot beforehand. To Screwball, that sounds promising. Of course it is the development team who will be interested most in that. Technically speaking I am sure that if we find the right guys they'll find the right tools. Our main job is to design the game and raise the cash so that they take us seriously. I think we should target simulation centred companies, ones with the right knowledge, but preferably indie companies who will be willing to take a gamble on a venture as unique and challenging as this. Once again Wrighteous, can't overstress how much I approve of the real world data idea. Ever since I first tried making my home town in SC2000 I have been thinking how many uses the game could have. Indeed Maxis received early interest from real life parties interested in their simulation. This game could become quite a useful tool for many branches of research and development.
  5. Well if this project is done by a professional dev team I imagine we would instruct them to make it cross platform as much as possible. I feel like making a Facebook page for this campaign... I think the best way to do this is to get the attention of those who would support the idea... Then work with that energy. The most difficult task is the initial communication to get interest in the idea from the right areas http://www.mediafire.com/?x522au9192h9dlu This is how far I've got so far.
  6. Well Elmux to tell you the truth I haven't tested OpenTTD. I tend not to download much due to my high internet costs (which is why I compress Virtucity). At present VC has just introduced a simple percentage based tax system for res, com and ind and I am making some models for the buildings. I really think any serious proper 5 will have to be crowdfunded and done from scratch by a pro dev team. Alas the advertisement of the campaign is probably the biggest hurdle, although Facebook could be used to advertise it if we could get a nice well liked page. 'make a real simcity 5' or something?
  7. I tried to but the captcha didn't load. http://www.mediafire.com/?qslluf3hi39z510 Well that is the latest upload. I got rid of the 3d models as they were bad and untextured. I daresay that should be outsourced anyway.
  8. A pitch... Well seeing as this is meant to be a serious project and not some commercial venture just for profit I wouldn't want them to have any power. This is after all about us getting what we want. I don't want to compromise. If they say 'yeah, that sounds fine, only let's make it into a cityville clone and charge players to build things' then naturally I don't want to feel obliged to let them do that. I would like to be able to retain control in our hands, so this pitch would have to be honest, even if it was positive. What would I say? 'Hello, I have an idea. Let's make a city building game to rival Simcity and heres what I want it to have. Make it. As to funds, we're working on that one. Bear with us.' Such a project like this needs to be taken seriously and committed to by the team. I really wouldn't know how to 'pitch' such an idea, seeing as my default is honest and blunt, and that doesn't do much in the world of entrepreneurial game design. Any suggestions on a good format? Ideally we should have something substantial to refer to, like a Facebook page with lots of likes or a poll. Alas we have neither. I suppose one can't crowdfund and then hire a team with the funds as an incentive, as the campaigns would have to end with a product being made immediately? Even if we have a team found before the campaign it will take much time to produce this game, so we couldn't exactly promise instant rewards.
  9. If we do get a proffesional dev team to do the engine we may as well put them on a leash and get them to do everything by our orders. I am no artist. My 3d models are blocky untextured and quite frankly ugly. They lack that 'Simcityness' they should have. My music is painful to hear. My User Interface is like the TARDIS when it doesn't feel like even trying to cooperate. My coding abilities would be inspiring to grade two students who had only just learnt what HTML stands for. To put it bluntly I am all for drawing concept art and contributing as much as I can but really the only place I am going to achieve much is in an IDE like Game Maker, which so far has failed to produce anything near to a 5. However while my practical skill is weak my theoretical understanding of how these games work is perfectly good, and I daresay that if the right people with the right skills were under my direction I could get 5 made. I know what 5 needs. We all know what it needs. What needs to be done is for the people with the resources tools and skill to make something out of our ideas and theories. I am all for crowdfunding in theory. It sounds like the perfect solution, as no big company like EA is going to pull a 360 and start making 90s style games just to please core fans. I like the idea of rewards like merchandise mentioned. However the first thing to do is to agree on just what we want and how we wish it to be implemented. Once this is done and we have our 'constitution' we can be founding fathers and try and make a nation out of this mess of concepts. The other problem is getting publicity for the campaign. If campaigns are finite in length then before we even start it we need to know what company we want to get working with us, we need an agreed upon design plan, and we need to have agreed upon basic things like the name (I will stick with VC if it is available legally). If I contacted the studio you mentioned now I might sound somewaht of a upstart trying to act like he knows what he is talking about. They will no doubt raise the question of how it is to be funded and I should respond 'oh, crowdfunding or that sort of thing'. We need to be organised. At the same time I'm all for making progress of some kind or another. I don't think the design document in its present generalised state would be of much use in a businesslike approach to the project. If a developer were to ask 'should we use OpenGL or DirectX' I would say 'whatever works best'.
  10. Well Dale I'm all for cooperation if it can achieve anything. I've said before that I'd support whatever project looked likely to succeed, and the only reason I still chug away at VC is the lack of such a suitable project to contribute to. I am restructuring the whole game at present to try and make it more logical and comprehensive. The way I have designed it you can add an infinite amount of elements by plugging them into the folders in GM, so if I want to add a new service or utility, say a rural fire station or a small police station, I just copy from a former service building and add any required changes. If I was to do all this in code without the GM IDE it would take a gazillion years and be very difficult to debug. Most of the bugs in my games aren't syntactic (GM has a good color code system of detecting errors in code) but ones that take a lot of brain racking to get to the bottom of, and in a sea of code that would be all the more time consuming. The way I see it if raising money and getting a pro dev team to make 5 is an option let's pursue it if we can, but there is no harm in working on our own idea at the same time. Look at how many such projects floundered. Designing an engine from ground up is theoretically a great idea but to get things right takes trial and error and time, and I'd want to think I had a good chance of success on the 'first draft' if I went C++. My knowledge is limited to bookish stuff like syntax and formula names, and my actual experience doesn't go far beyond simple input/putput programs. My main area of weakness is graphics. OpenGL was a headache to work not only for my compiler but for me. The more one can integrate outsourcing (model builders for graphics, using libraries for pathfinding etc) the better. My design plan so far is thus: Virtucity Design Document Written 2012 by Mark Waybill (Atomius) Overview In this document I would like to detail what features the finished game will include and give an overview of the project and its aims. By 'liking' this document/webpage you are agreeing that your honest opinion is that if a game were made to the standard written and including the entities listed, you would honestly agree it was a worthy and logical successor to the last great city building game. This project began in 2005 as a Game Maker project called Atocity which in 2012 went 3D and was called Virtucity. There have been many similar projects, too many to name, but all have shared a similar fate of failure to meet their intended goal. I hope that by hook or by crook mine shall prevail and attain the heights we expected attained by the preceding series to which we gave our loyalty. First and foremost let it be known that Virtucity is a working title I thought of in 2009. Features of the Finished Product This game shall have the following features: Landscaping Terrain shall be modifiable in game and shall have the ability to weather, raise, lower, run water upon its surface, simulate tabular water features, simulate weather, and have the ability to grow flora in a realistic and simplified fashion to represent any ecological community (rainforest, tundra etc), with the more noticeable beasts that would attract, to be simulated to a reasonable granularity of detail. The landscape shall have a good height limit so as to allow for high peaks and great canyons, and other such beautiful features that shall complement our cities, and should also have various soil types and both fresh and salt water. Transportation Options shall include but are not limited to heavy and light rail, traditional trams and streetcars, motor roads and freeways and highways, lanes and avenues and all varieties of motor road that are commonly seen or have been seen in the modern era, sea ports of a zoned nature, as will be airports, ferry systems both small and high capacity, bicycle lanes/paths and pedestrian paths and bush tracks, bus lanes and motorcycle lanes, elevated railways, subterranean railways and roads, helicopter pads and monorails. In all network type transport systems stations will be freely placeable anywhere on a line where it would not be hazardous to the safety of passengers, and thus engineering considerations must be realistic. Banking of curves, realistic gradients, and so forth are a must. Platforms must reflect the length of trains. Carriage numbers, timetables and so forth will be optionally adjustable features with defaults depending on the situation. Rolling stock will age as will stations, which will be reflected in higher maintenance costs over time. Intercity Interaction Regions will be the default area of play. Cities will be incorporated zones within a region. The exact method by which a city is played (whether other cities are greyed out and frozen during this time, or merely cease to be drawn etc) is to be decided based on the limitations of the hardware. Options will exist. Cities will be able to cover any area of a region, and for multiplayer games each city represents a different players territory. Multiplayer will naturally be optional, as would any world economic simulation, if it were even implemented. Cities may interact (MP) economically, however, and so a great project such as an airport could be constructed using two cities contributions, by agreement. Citizens Citizens shall be as detailed as is considered wise. The aim of the game is of course to create a city building game, but I see no valid objection to citizens taking on a more faceted role. However they are implemented, they should be constant throughout their lives, and must not be 'day flies'. Interactions of a social nature such as conversation are not important but I am not averse to citizens acting in an intelligent fashion if it fits with the games progress. They must however be able to upgrade or downgrade from one house/job to another, and should exhibit some level of evolution based upon their surroundings. Zoning The following will be zoned: airports, seaports, military bases, commercial, residential, industrial, agricultural, government, conservation, primary industry (logging and mining, fishing etc) and recreational. Transportation infrastructure can be thought of as a zone, and railways and roads could be 'council owned land'. I believe mixed zoning should be allowed, such as residential towers with businesses operating on the ground floor, or commercio-industrial developments. Modules within zones will include buildings and progressively more decorative features such as lamp posts etc. Naturally editing of individual modules will be allowed but not necessary. Government The City Council will be by default filled with simulated individuals who live in your city from the start. A novel approach, but realistic. Whoever heard of a Councillor working for one city and living in another? Perhaps it happens, but it is hardly an ideal scenario. Councillors will be high income earning individuals, and so will remain loyal until times get so bad that even they are adversely affected. Thus the Council's loyalty reflects that of the upper strata of the citizenry. You naturally still have absolute power and can kill your citizens or burn down their houses if you wish, but naturally these actions will have their consequences, such as unrest in your citizenry or widespread disillusionment. Opinions, Statistics and Health There will naturally be the usual array of statistics and detailed charts of your city and its populace. They may voice their opinions by common action, protest or riot, and eventually a sacking of the Mayoral office. Organisation The Project must be organised and carried out properly in a businesslike fashion. For this to be achieved it requires time and resources such as skills. Ideas such as crowdfunding have been raised, but exactly what system would be best has yet to be agreed upon. This document shall remain the only real progressive step until a decision has been reached, and some method of democratic process created, whereby the project is recognised as the leader in its field, and has a central based known to those interested in such a project. The Facebook page will until this time remain the base for the project, and one can only hope that it shall eventually attract all those interested in the idea. Opinion To contribute to this document or comment/discuss its worth and features, go to either the Facebook page, the Simtropolis discussion, or the YoYoGames forum discussion. (Only go to the latter if you actually believe Game Maker is the way to build this, which I highly doubt) However ideally discussion would take place at the purpose built ProBoard: Virtucity Project. As yet no one has commented there, and I am having issues uploading a suitable logo image so the board appears highly unprofessional at present. However it is purpose built and it makes sense to have a home away from sites with another purpose.
  11. Well Thesdale it is good to hear some progress is being made on some form of simulation engine. Meanwhile due to bugmania I've decided to totally revamp VC and make sure every last character is syntax-nazi friendly. I doubt my GM project will ever get beyond a distraction and possibly a playable but limited game in the end. Possibly you or somebody or a group, if they created a GlassBox of sorts, could then have more cred when speaking to developers, and could maybe outsource all the non integral elements of the project. I think the idea GlassBox used of resources was good. The granularity flexibility potential for a similar engine would be useful. I'd like to say I was actively working with Code Blocks on some marvellous C++ project but alas I doubt I will ever be able to find a way to build a proper engine.
  12. http://www.mediafire.com/?mnyj8d3l6phmz7y The latest download link. I doubt I will ever be able to develop curvy roads, but now we have 3d straight ones at any rate. I don't have any time to upload any screenshots, and there may be a few bugs. I visited the Amplitude site. Their philosophy is indeed intriguing. The main issue appears to be funding, if these people will listen to what we want. I could send them or whoever is the dev team the design document. It needn't be 'Virtucity' but if that name is available it just sounds better to me than BoomTown. City building is strategy to my mind. Any Mayoral decision is strategic unless absolutely aesthetic, and even the most apparently cosmetic decisions like the colour of street signs are taken with community consideration in mind, so I don't see why our genre shouldn't be considered strategy. I am all for teaming up with Amplitude, but we need the funding. The Indie GoGo site slounds great, but the campaign is a max of 100 days. What amount could we seriously hope to raise in such a short time frame? Also what sort of contract are we going to make with Amplitude in order that they do keep to our input, and what sort of arrangements for sales will be used? Is the game commercial? I imagine if it needs funding it will have to return some profit. I, in my idealistic communistic mind, envisage ten dollar sales and no price for expansions, but naturally I'm no businessman. The main problem is generating enthusiasm for the campaign, getting all those interested aware of its existence. How best to advertise it? Facebook is naturally useful, but so far my VC page has no likes. We really need to get attention from interested parties and make them feel it worthwhile to fund the campaign. Is everyone happy with the design document on Facebook? Also could everyone like the page. The more likes the better. I am not suggesting creating fake accounts, but use social networking to your advantage. We really need to get this out there so come campaign time it doesn't flop. I do believe we will have to get a studio like the one discussed to make the game. It will take me years with Game Maker to make something close to 2000, put aside 5. But first we need to get the funds and the contract so everything is down pat and businesslike. If everyone who wanted this game donated ten dollars we'd be able to go to any company we liked and get it made... There needs to be more central organisation of fans... Less dispersment and inefficiency...
  13. Hmm well at present I am introducing a rotation system for models which, due to the limitations of Game Maker's grid system, is working great for 90 degree placement but no other... Well the project has a FaceBook page but nobody has liked it yet, although it's been there for a year or so now. I daresay in a decade it'll still be rotting away doing nowt. The present development using GM is experimental I should think, as I doubt with my skill and time I will be able to turn it into anything more than a more realistic version of CityVille... Road placement is still using puzzle pieces rather than organic 'curvy' roads, and I got rid of intersections and puzzle piece diagonals in the interim so roads are less advanced than 2000 now. If a game does become 5 it will need to be done properly from the start. I have little hope that the present incarnation of VC will become anything more than a hobby that in a few years somebody just possibly might like at FaceBook, if I introduce mutant zombies or giant tarantulas... Contacting game designers might make sense, but I would come across as being quite the $%&^! considering my limited C experience, reliance on GM for making anything substantial and total lack of history working on anything professional. However I am open to that sort of idea if it might actually get such a project off the ground. Would writing a design document be the very very very first step in such a process? I think that from reading Buggi's I can understand what it would include, and it unlike a program is easy to edit. Would it be worthwhile to type up a sort of constitution for what we want in the game, covering all points, so that if it was liked that would indicate the game would be accepted as a true 5? Or would I just be wasting my time writing up yet another 'what we want in 5' list rather than finding some way to use diagonal grids in GM? edit: Wrote a simple DD. It is on the info page at the project FaceBook. Also linked the FaceBook page with the ProBoard
  14. From what I read IndieGoGo sounds better than KS. Whichever is chosen it appears the campaigns are limited in duration, although I don't know if one could merely relaunch it or what have you. At any rate it would be advisable to generate enthusiasm for the project before the KS/IGG campaign is launched. VC has a Facebook page, but as I am unsure if VC is a registered name for something already or not that might be problematic. A Google search didn't reveal anything other than my project. An issue is where would the campaign be advertised. Aside from this site there are few places where enthusiasm for this project is anything beyond lukewarm and uncommitted. It is a niche project, but as the original game shows, the end result would probably be quite successful if marketed properly. A true Sc5 would be a great game and if it was made I doubt it would be a flop. A business plan, a constitution/design document of an agreed upon nature, a central place for discussion of the project. Reading about KickStarter being the 'Coca Cola' of crowdfunders makes one think. Amidst the sea of like projects, ours is ambitious, and closer to the roots than many others. It is still in the earliest of stages. VC is an experiment at present, and naturally whatever project does succeed will be the right one. I think we need to become known as the project, whether it be BoomTown or another title that is used, or whoever is behind the project. I forsee miserable failure for a crowdfunding success unles we can advertise to interested parties that we are the one that will make it. Goodness, if all the time and effort and money invested in Cities XL, 2013 and all the Indie projects and CityVille had been spent instead on a united effort to make a true 5 we'd have something beyond all our wildest dreams. The resources are there, we need to collect and organise them.
  15. Yeah I understand your logic Thesdale. I have never tried to start such a project but I imagine you are right and one would have to write up a polished document with all the clauses. My basic idea would be that a team (to avoid confusion and limit likeliness of problems arising from individual contribution) should make the game and anyone with the skill could contribute models, music etc that wouldn't need to tie in with the simulation code itself. If accepted the contribution would earn a fixed amount and then a cut in all sales of the game representing their share of the workload. Thus those who did all the hard work on the long endless code for pathfinding and making trees that take water from water tables and give out Co2 and so forth get most of the reward, and those who constribute graphics, music, or small input would be given a smaller cut. Any profit wou;d be split 50/50, 50 percent going to those aforementioned rewards and the other fifty to a fund for maintenance and improvement of the game, such as expansion packs or tech support, a website etc. Obviously that is a rough idea. Ideally a game company with the experience could be afforded by the total contributions initial fund, but a company willing to listen to us and let us hold the reins. They get the profit, we get our game. Everyone is happy. The game now has terrain of a primitive nature with primitive water. http://www.mediafire.com/?de698266o48yaef The download is now compressed to 2.5 mb.