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About MarkShot

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  1. Can one really simulate?

    As a game, I cannot fault SC4 at all. It is a superbly designed product. If you abide by its assumptions, you can create beautiful things and have a wonderful time. It is when you seek use it as a tool to explore the World at large that it begins to fail you. I have no problem with it for what it sets out to do; only that I, myself, am not artistic enough to invest the many hours to paint visions of imagined worlds. --- I like that it is not simply a modeler and that the cities are like gardens which grow and evolve. The original game came out around 2000. In the early years of gaming, you had many people really using PCs as automated board games. But a few were real innovators. Using PCs to do something new and entirely different than just mimic dice and a board with hexes. SimCity and Will Wright certainly fell into the category of innovations. Now, we take it for granted that games put us into a virtual space. But it wasn't always so. Only a special few truly saw the potential and exploited it to the fullest. So, even though I am not playing SC4, my life is richer for the months which I had. I lived a piece of history that no one who takes this hobby as precious should miss.
  2. Can one really simulate?

    Yes, I didn't find too much politics. The author was stating the facts. Both sims are designed around wealth/social class being a key evolution of city planning. Defacto zoning by race and ethnicity is a fact in many places. I am from NYC. It is not wonderfully diverse melting pot. But a collection in many cases of racially and culturally isolated neighborhoods. Also, efficient transport is a key driver of everything rather than transport reduction/elimination. Vehicular motion is as central a concept as is population. Once we get autonomous vehicles and a global pandemic, SC4 and Skylines will continue to play fine.
  3. Can one really simulate?

    Matias, I read the lecture you linked to. Totally fascinating. It went quite deep into the many limitations of these games as tools/simulations versus simply art/recreation. In thought about his (her?) social comments about class and crime. Malcolm Gladwell did a study where he linked crime reduction to birth control and planned parenthood. A reduction in unwanted/uncared for children reduced social problems. Certainly, that is not a dynamic in any of these games nor something which could be modeled. I imagine to have a real city simulators: * They would have to be object oriented. Meaning each object/component like a road, car, person, building would have a set of behaviors. * The behaviors would have to be totally open (not simply parameterized) and allow for the creation of new behaviors via an interactive language. * It would have to be extensible at the macro and micro level with behaviors like weather affects etc ... But still I see problems. Such software design is reductionist. Meaning that complex systems are the results of simple moving parts; mechanistic. Such an approach has long been taken by the neuro/AI community to understand intelligence/self awareness of brains. Let's just say mapping a brain or the behavior of individual neurons has yet to lead to an understanding of intelligence or sentient behavior. Because perhaps one needs to take a more holistic approach with is anti-reductionist. Perhaps a city is not simply an emergent entity from people, cars, roads, and building. Again thank you for the fascinating presentation. I may play again. But I will never again feel I am simulating; only painting.
  4. Okay, I admit it. I haven't played SC4 or Skylines for months. I defected. I realized that players here are like artists. Through K6 I mainly got in trouble in art and music. I was a professional software engineer/manager. This is before the Web where art did not count; workflow counted; because my users were always captive. So, I have been playing Rome 1 (Darth Mod) and Shogun 2 (Darth Mod). There is something about conquest and destruction that reaches deep down inside of me. Yes, I know I am highly flawed. To the point: I watch TED lectures from time to time (while on the treadmill). I have seen quite a few on city design. But I look at both SC4 and Skylines and I see two products that make a tremendous amount of assumptions about what a city should be. Many of the ideas in these TED lectures like going anti-sprawl and highly compact multi-functional communities are in no way easy to model in these games. My point is they are beautiful artistic, but not really labs for experimentation in city design and impact on a host of factors. Maxis once produced a game called SimLife. I tried both the DOS and Windows versions a few years back. And it was little lab in genetics, selection pressures, and populations. I was just thinking how it would be quite cool if these games would allow the user to challenge the very notion of what a city is and explore and simulate.
  5. Best Game Ever...

    There was a game called Sim Life from Maxis. I thought it was a pretty interesting introduction to genetics, populations, and selection pressures. Of course, it was not SC4. I look at SC4 and games like Sim Life as products of the golden age of gaming. When the budgets didn't exceed Hollywood blockbusters. Teams were small. Lots of independents. Entire new genres were being conceived. People were doing truly innovative stuff, not simply porting board games to computers.
  6. Re: run away drag off the edge

    Actually, I haven't played SC4 for a while. I got too lost in the sandbox ... and a funny thing happened on the way to my next NAM interchange. I found that shooting people in Ghost Recon is for some reason extremely relaxing! Go figure! Have fun!
  7. Re: run away drag off the edge

    Just read this page ... http://pcgamingwiki.com/wiki/SimCity_2000
  8. Re: run away drag off the edge

    I generally use WinEdit. WinEdit and WinBatch were products of Wilsonware. They split into separate companies and WinEdit went defunct. Otherwise, I guess I would use Notepad++. Although I only simply use WinEdit to write WinBatch, there is a WinBatch Studie IDE which I don't bother with. As far as AHK is concerned, I am unaware of any IDEs.
  9. Re: run away drag off the edge

    Sorry, no I don't have the code to do that. I just know it is possible. Here is other code for another game that works with the mouse and pixels.
  10. Cori, (1) What is the largest map/region which can be made for SC4 in terms of bit map dimensions? (2) Do you know of some Web site similar to Google Maps, but that would allow grayscale topological maps? This is what I have found. Seems a bit of installing, but once you got it done, you can get a grayscale for any location earth for an SC4 region. https://www.matterhackers.com/news/how-to-3d-print-a-map-of-anywhere-in-the-world Too bad I wish I could just click on something in Google and print topological in grayscale.
  11. Tile loop vs tile hub?

    Speaking of resolution, I am running full screen at 1080p (32" TV). I have don't this for a lot of games, since a big computer monitor just makes games/text look even smaller and I am pretty much 60; which includes my eyes. But 1080p is the same number of pixels on a 27" display as a 63" display ... just larger text. The max zoom for the game looks really crappy and pixelated, but I understand that this is limitation of SC4. That the internal rendering is at a lower resolution than my display, and then the game is upscaling. Is this correct? No way to get a sharp max zoom in at 1080p (Full HD)? Thanks. PS: I actually have two displays: 21" 1600x1200 and 32" 1080x1920. There are a few games I run on the 21" such as shooting pool or DOSBOX games. And only about two I run across both displays, because few games are designed to use floating windows which are not subordinated to the main window.
  12. I love old games. It is a sad truth that AI has not improved over the years commensurate with hardware. So, graphics have followed Moores Law, but not AI. (Or in the case of something like SC, then simulation as opposed to OPFOR AI.) Graphics have always driven the games market. Yes, computers are hitting the walls of physics. So, we see multiple cores and parallelism as opposed to faster instruction processing. But few applications and few games make any use of it. A good example for applications is video editing can speed up linearly with each new physical core. A good example for games is chess. There are chess engines that show the same linear speed jump. But most games are determined by a single core and the GPU. So, we had this trend which always emphasized graphics over AI/game play. Popular culture has made this worse. The smart phone has produced a generation of multi-taskers. (Humans don't actually multi-task well. Psych studies show they simply handle many things poorly. Without a PhD, you just need to look at highway accidents to see this.) We now live in a culture where the ability to concentrate and focus intellect has been reduced. I think we see it in our hobbies; which include games. Yes, not the entire market is like this. But only indie developers blow everything on craft and art. Business go for ROI ... so, the hardcore gamers come up short. Finally, an excellent proof of what a difference graphics make. A few years back, the market for submarine simulations was stone cold dead. Why? A submarine really doesn't have much in the way of epic visuals (compared to a flight sim). Then some European studio realized that they would make a subsim with the visuals of a flight sim. In particular, the water had to be beautiful. You got Silent Hunter 3, and it sold. (But in many ways, the classic AOD {Aces of the Deep} was a better game.) Last night, I looked at SC4 and CS side by side. For the hardcore players, SC4 still has a lot of mileage left in it. Finally, I see SC4 as a product of the Golden Age of PC games. (even though released 2003) The Golden Age was the 90s. New genres were being born constantly; not we have safe templates to follow. Will Wright, Sid Meier, and others were pioneering entirely new models of game play. They were not simply porting board games to PCs, but makings games that could only exist on PC. Budgets and teams and returns had yet to become huge. You could gamble on ideas. SC4 although 2003 was born out of the culture and formula of 1990s and golden age of PC gaming.
  13. One correction. Not undeveloped land. Fully, completed buildings. Unlike the USA, units are sold here as empty shells. But there are many more or less vacant buildings with owned units being held as investments. They add significantly to the city scape footprint, cost of real estate, ... They have every attribute of normal housing except the absence of people. This situation exists in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, China, ...
  14. Tile loop vs tile hub?

    Forgive me, I am somewhat new. NJZ? (Zombies from New Jersey?) Thanks.
  15. Tile loop vs tile hub?

    I just reread the Prima Guide and it spoke about an average commute being computed during execution to be used as the defacto constant across a particular tile boundary. But who knows. You either run lots of test cases or reverse engineer the code. Is the NAM engine in JAVA or just the front end of it?