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      Our files host is experiencing service degradation atm. This means some STEX files will not download and will toss a 504 error. It could also mean avatars, attached images and such might appear to go missing. We apologize for the inconvenience. The best we can recommend if you get the file download error is to try again at a later time.

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Found 16 results

  1. Some More New Areas

    Replies: feyss: Thank you very much! Simmer2: Thanks for your comment. Also please tell me how add MMPs onto transit tiles? Tyberius06: Cheers! They're a most welcome addition, I tried the MMP versions though they are not quite as versatile... SC4L0ver: What really made me like Simmer2's new walls were the gated sections and the ruined walls- perfect for breaking up orthogonal and diagonal walls. _Michael: Thank you! I use a few different layers to make the tracks more rougher and organic. sejr99999: Correction- painting with MMPs. kschmidt: Thanks! What do you mean by the stone side road? tonyr: Sure! JP Schriefer: Thanks a lot! Sciurus: I used the LE to take a simple grass park texture lot and add a prop family of C.P.'s houses. Then I went to ILive's Reader to make the new lot have a transparent texture. As for the pictures, yes they are a little darker than usual, it is something I noticed a few days after posting the entry. I guess I overdid the contrast a little... Entry 16: Some More New Areas Here is one more small visual feast. Giving how things are getting busier this half term with the teaching then it will be four-five weeks to finish off Pololomia and there are only three city tile corners which need to be completed. Anyway- enjoy! 1. In the centre of this picture there was this blank area to be filled in. 2. By adding Simmer2's Bricks and Blocks Building Supplies I realised how I could complete the area: mixed light industrial/commercial combined with a small park. 3. 4. And yet more fields finished off. 5. Given the large areas to MMP, each finished field feels like a marathon. 6. And now it takes longer to finish off the field edges/walls/fences. 7. When I create these fields the first things I include are the fences/walls and the tracks. 8. This helps tell me exactly where everything should go. 9. I also try not to repeat myself when creating fields. Sometimes there will be areas with similar MMP combos, other times each field has a different MMP combo. 10. 11. MOAR grid-busting! 12. The Maxis Highway Override FA pieces are surprisingly MMP friendly! 13. The boundary between the urban and the rural... 14. Some time in late March Pololomia will be fully completed. And then the complete city tile tour can commence! Thanks a lot for the comments and the suggestions. I'll see you in late March!
  2. Developing the City of Pololomia

    Replies: Urban Constanta: Thank you! Odainsaker: I didn't know that- so thanks for that brief slice of urban history. I basically went for a style that is green, takes up space and has paths/parks running through these neighbourhoods. RandyE: It is harder to build extensively with diagonals because there are fewer buildings to use, but I have worked out ways of creating diagonal city blocks. As for the industry and commerce a lot of that style you were talking must be because I used Mattb325's buildings which are spacey, have green spaces and look rather modern. kschmidt: It means a lot of use of the "Make Historical" button! I used the No Maxis buildings mod and I have in my head a list of buildings which suit various themes. The "standard" you were talking about is actually growable for the green suburbs. licoricebomb: The horses can be found here- http://sc4devotion.com/csxlex/lex_filedesc.php?lotGET=2862. Entry 2: Developing the City of Pololomia In this entry I show you the current state of Pololomia and finished areas. This is a large city tile I'm working on and one which is a basic template for the style I go for when playing SC4. Enjoy! 1. So this is the city of Pololomia as it stands. In the southwest corner is the city centre, then the city fans outwards and decreases in density... 2. The W2W buildings I have used are mainly Jasoncw, NoFunk and Goofyguytpa creations which can be found on the STEX. 3. While I have found that Mattb325's creations are great for filling in city blocks which aren't necessarily W2W. 4. The W2W Buddhist temple is zero7's Z7 Temple and Stupa. 5. Every city block I create has parking in the middle, back alleys or gardens at the back which connect together. It's easy to place buildings down but it is a lot harder connecting them together- so I use car parking, trees, parks and other fillers to make each city block unique. Also MMPs are useful too for adding variety to blank texture tiles! 6. An even trickier thing to pull off is density transitions. Ideally in the centre of cities and the inner city area the buildings are at least several floors high with higher buildings dotted around. But in mid-rise areas this can be anywhere between 10 to 4 floors high with the occasional tower block. While for low-rise areas it can be anywhere from ground floor height to four floors high. 7. The secret to diagonal city building is hiding the jagged square edges of the textures. In this picture I have hidden/disguised most of the jagged square edges so that it all blends together. SFBT Diagonal Fillers and Simcoug's Diagonal Tenements are some of my preferred methods for building diagonally. 8. And now back to the inner city area and this time railways. Now railways really need to separate and divide a city. So that means walls, tunnels and bridges. Having road crossings on a railway in an inner city area is not very common. So in this picture I used FLUPS to really emphasise the railway splitting up the city, lastly every bit of the railway is bordered with fences and walls. 9. Little roundabouts can be a great cosmetic addon or architectural addon even if it's a little unrealistic. Also tight FLUPs in urban areas are some of the coolest things this game has to offer. 10. Roundabouts can also prove to be a useful means of separating streets and SAM streets... 11. In this neighbourhood I used KingOfSimCity's Maxis Mansion Overhaul mod which is incredibly cool stuff. Large lots, green areas and those FA tennis courts! 12. But it's also important to break up a themed area with other fillers: for instance WorkingManProductions Allotment set and FrankU's parks (tree fillers). 13. The next entry will show further development from Pololomia and more finished city scenes. I think this city will take four or five weeks to finish. In the north and east I want to create rural areas and farmland and THAT is the trickiest transition of them all - urban to rural! So see you then! And thanks a lot for your comments!
  3. Encyclopedic Entry no.3 - The Blueprints

    Taking a break from the usual localized entries it's time for another all-encompassing E2 update(the last one was almost 8 months ago!) E2 is short for Encyclopedic Entry and it is a comprehensive analysis/overview of one specific system covering the entire region. The original plan was to have 12 of these updates, but there will be 10 now after cutting off 3 and adding 1 special entry - that special entry is today's. What's special about this E2 is that instead of focusing on one specific system I'll instead be showing a variety of images from many different places across the region. Additionally to keep things fresh (for the images already seen) I'll be doing it in a way that as far as I know has not previously been done on Simtropolis - we'll be seeing their blueprints. These places encompass my best work in SC4 to date and my favorite things to create in-game(Industry, Infrastructure, Interchanges, Road & Rail networks, Lattice Towers & Skylines), with the exclusion of only my mmp work which doesn't pick up well with the blueprint photoshopping. In any case I figured this would be as good of a time as any for an update that showcases the best of what I've done so far since I've likely passed the half way point of the CJ. This entry is in essence both a review of what's been shown and a teaser of what's to come(all the images in spoilers). It will quite likely be the biggest single entry of the CJ both in terms of the number of photo's and quality of content so I hope you like what you see. Industry & Infrastructure Seeing as how I'm working through the industrial heartland of the region it's only fitting that I start with Industry first. Dresden Generation Station You might be asking how many times must I show this place before enough's enough? lol, well these images are a little different then the ones before but more importantly I'm please to announce that I'm planning on releasing this relot on the exchange, so the next you'll be seeing this facility is in your own city. As is the complex is made from several different modular lots, perhaps 2 dozen different ones in total. So it's going to take me a while to put it all together in one or two lots and it probably wouldn't look exactly the same but I'll do the best I can. Eastlea Power Plant Hillsboro TS South Shore Sewage Treatment Plant For sneak a peak at some of the industrial facilities I will be showing more of shortly, click on the spoilers below. Highway Interchanges It simply wouldn't be an all-inclusive update without showing you my highway interchanges. Here's a fine selection of which for your viewing pleasure Cisco Bay Highway 709/700 Interchange Highway 709/Crosby Ave. Interchange Sky Bridge, southern approach Dresden The Z-change The Web Looper Junction, Highway 700/702(S) Lindin City The Butterfly, Highway 705/709 () Spaghetti Junction v1.0(NAM 32), Highway 700/704/707 Spaghetti Junction v2.0(NAM 34), Highway 700/704/707 Perhaps the biggest spoilers of all, some of the other major interchanges which all together have have taken me hundreds of hours to create. Road & Rail Networks ICR & Fastraxx rail lines in Lindin City Frieght and Passenger rail lines in Dresden Telecommunications A personal favorite of mine, still have plenty of custom BAT's(and relots) to show & release The Ring of Steel from below KIRO TV Tower WBNS TV Tower Some of the towers yet to come; Skylines So far very little in the way of skylines has been shown so far but that will change as I get closer to the center of the metropolis. Lindin City Cisco Bay Dresden Click on the Spoiler below for teasers of Central Pretoria; I'd love to hear which one is your favorite picture or place and what you are most looking forward to seeing next. Also big thanks to all those who voted on the last poll with regards to the hydro pylon textures, I'll give it one more week before the results are final as it's pretty close right now but it looks like I'll be changing the textures afterall. *Update 07/08 I've modified the contrast and lightness settings on a number of the images so that the details are more clearly seen.
  4. Entry no.33 - The Railways of Dresden

    This entry will cover the passenger and freight rail network in Dresden. Slight difference in format as this time I'll intersperse the mosaics' throughout the entry. I'll go over the passenger train network first and then go over the freight train network(s). Some of the images will cover locations already seen(but no duplicate photo's were used) but in order for this to be an all encompassing update they will be included here as well. However most of the mosaics seen below are taken from a higher and wider/longer perspective which gives a much better sense of how the network runs through the city. But first I'll start with something I've been working on for a long time. Completion of this project has been delayed mostly due to city building and work on the CJ but I've finally managed to finish this sucker - the Dresden city map. Passenger Service The city is served by two Fastraxx commuter train lines - the L(Loop) line and the SS(South Shore) line. There are 5 train stations in the city, 4 on the L line and 2 on the SS line. Dresden station located in the downtown area serves both lines allowing for commuters to transfer over between the two. The L line features all day(5am to 1pm) commuter train service operating every 15 minutes in both directions while commuter trains only run during the peak period(morning and afternoon rush hours) on the SS line. Hallmark trains, the name of the inter-regional train service(the equivalent to Amtrak) operates regional long distance trains on the SS line. The only station that they stop at is the Dresden(downtown) station. 1 The first station on the combined L & SS lines coming into the city from the north is Portlands. This station is fairly busy because of the nearby Industrial Sector G which is directly to the east of it. SS line trains pass through the station without stopping. The station is built on a viaduct that is 1.85km and passes over 10 roadways. 2 Average daily ridership is 3,945(all number used are actual in-game counts), parking for 180 vehicles is provided in a small surface lot across Edison Rd. The next stop on the combined line is Dresden(downtown) station. You can barely see the station itself because of the surrounding highrises. Average daily ridership is 5,961 and parking for 1,250 vehicles is provided in an underground lot. As mentioned above, trains on both lines stop here as do regional trains. The station is currently operating near maximum capacity. It's difficult increase service any further because the station(and the entire viaduct) has only two tracks. Problem is there is no space to add an additional track(s) through the area without demolishing many highrise buildings. That's the in-game justification, out of the simulation the problem is the nearby curves don't really allow for any space for a turnout. A total of 192 trains pass through the station on a daily basis: -160 on the L line, all-day(20 hours) 15min service in both directions -32 on the SS line, 10 commuter trains every 20 minutes northbound in the morning rush hour(s) and the same number and spacing for southbound trains in the evening. Additional, 12 daily regional trains, 6 northbound 6 southbound 4 The L & SS lines diverge between this station and the next stop, Orchard Height. If you've seen just about any of my previous dozen or so updates you'll have seen this junction already but for completion purposes here it is again. 5 The SS line continues southward, stopping at Woodside before leaving the city. The station is currently very lightly used with an average daily ridership of only 281. Proposals have been tendered to develop nearby land which would greatly increase it's usage and the location could certainly use some work. 6 The L line meanwhile continues northeast, stopping next at Orchard Heights. Daily usage is 1,061 commuters with a surface lot of 255 spaces. 7 The last stop on the L line in Dresden is Gonzaga, another lightly used station with a daily ridership of 312 and parking for 170 vehicles. 8 For the record, Gonzaga is the name of a small neighborhood in Dresden's north east quadrant. In all honesty it's the least interesting of Dresden communities, mostly because the roadways all straighten out before entering the next city over. In any case here's a little pano of what Gonzaga generally looks like. Freight service Both of the regions two major freight companies operate line through Dresden. The ICR's(InterContinental Railway) Lakeridge subdivision(railway specific term for a mainline corridor) runs northeast to south. First running along side the crest of the Costello mountain range before spiting the communities of Orchard Heights and Valhalla Park. Next it crosses over the Farham corridor and highway 702 on a 440m long viaduct(seen up close in the last entry images 17&18) before cutting though Woodside on an elevated embankment. ICR's Sumeria spur branches off the Lakeridge sub(northward), runs around Valhalla Hill and connects to the GWR mainline at the Sumeria-Dykon Junction where traffic between the two freight companies is interchanged. The GWR's(Great Western Railway) has 3 mainlines in the city. The Almera sub. enters the city from the northeast and runs along the shoreline of Cisco Bay until the Sumeria-Dykon Junction. The Portland sub. enters the city from the north via the Vandenburg tunnel under Cisco Bay, curves eastward through the Portlands area and ends at the Sumeria-Dykon Jct. Lastly the Farham sub. begins at the Sumeria-Dykon Jct and runs southward, adjacent to(but physically separated from) the SS commuter rail line between the Woodside & Valhalla Park neighborhoods. All the above mentioned mainline rail corridors are double tracked, signalized and fully grade separated from road traffic. The Sumeria spur has grade crossing but is not considered a "mainline". The Almera & Farham subs are connected to each other with what in railway parlance is called a "connecting track"(what else would they call it? ) at the Sumeria-Dykon Jct to complete the wye. The GWR also has a medium sized intermodel facility and rail yard adjacent to the port of Dresden. There are multiple private rail sidings and spurs throughout the city, mostly concentrated within Industrial Sector G. All of that talk about running this way and through such and such location is difficult to conceptualize, so here's another map of the city with all the mainlines and important connecting tracks properly labeled and uniquely colored. We'll start off with thew Portland sub. in the northwest quadrant of the city and go from there. 11 After exiting the Vandenburg tunnel from Calgon, GWR's Portland sub runs along side highway 700 and the Fastraxx commuter line 12 The mainline then enters into Industrial Sector G where GWR's Aberdeen Yard is located. 13 Up close the yard admittedly could use some more work, I have some rail car props but I haven't gotten around to relotting them yet. But from afar things are much more interesting; . 14 Just east of Aberdeen yard is the "Racetrack Intermodel" Facility, so called for it's likeness to a racetrack. The runaround track allows trains to change directions without having to wye or disconnect the engines and reconnect them on the opposite end of the train either of which are much more time consuming activities. The facility seen at the bottom of the image is the South Shore sewage treatment plant originally shown in entry 29. 15 The Portland's control tower rises above the area and was actually once the tallest structure in the city. 16 The Port of Dresden is lightly used compared to the Port of Calgon on the other side of Cisco Bay. Most of the lots used here are of the older and probably less interesting variety, it might be something that I'll change in the future or I might just keep em'. Either way I don't like to use the same kinds of lots and buildings in another city if I've already used them once before. Another angle of the Port & Rail yard, one of my favorite images of the update. ; 18 The Portland Sub the continues on until the Sumeira-Dykon Jct where it officially ends. This junction is where GWR's 3 mainlines converge along with the Sumeria spur leading to the ICR mainline. 19 The single track rail line is the Farham-Almera connecting track, though it's only lightly used because most of the freight traffic continues off either of those lines onto the Portland sub in order to get to Central Pretoria. The Almera sub begins at the Junction and continues north east towards the City of Cisco Bay in the Middle East borough and points further East. I posted some similar image in a previous update as the one below but this one is one zoom level higher and more inclusive. It covers the GWR mainline from the Portland sub.(entering on the right side midway down the image)to the Almera sub. exiting at the bottom of the image. 21 The Almera sub runs next the the power plant and then through undeveloped land along the shoreline of Cisco Bay before exiting the city and entering the Middle East borough of Pretoria. 22 The Fraham sub also begins at the Sumeria-Dykon Junction but instead continues southward. The lower portion of the junction is actually one of my favorite network connections. It wasn't easy to link the two railway companies lines together with what is know as the Sumeria spur especially considering the switch onto the Farham sub need to be facing northward, otherwise freight traffic from the ICR would be just doing one big nonsensical U-turn. Managed to figure out what I think is an interesting and very compact solution that I've been hiding from view until now 23 All that's missing is proper RRW textures under the highway which I think is something the NAM team is currently working on. ICR's Sumeria Spur(the single track line) runs around the neighborhood of Valhalla Park. It passes underneath highway 700 no less than three times and once under the L-line before finally linking up with ICR's mainline. Although it might no be noticeable, there is a significant change in elevation along the spur of 52m/171ft. 25 Closeup of the Sumeria Spur junction with the ICR mainline While I feel I've done even more elaborate work with highway networks in cities I've yet to show, Dresden is probably my best work with railroads to date and will be hard to surpass; 27 Going north from the switch in the ICR, the line meets up with the commuter L-line just east of the Orchard Heights station and shares the same corridor(the Lakeridge corridor) but is otherwise complete separated. Now lest go back south. The ICR line runs above and the GWR line( the Farham sub) runs below in the same corridor as the SS line for about 2km. I've already shown plenty of close up shots of the area but never a shot of the 'complete picture' So without further ado, here is the Farham corridor in it's entirety ; 30
  5. Entry no.32 - Valhalla Park & Woodside

    This update will cover the last two neighborhoods of Dresden; Valhalla Park & Woodside which are located towards the central & southern portion of the city. These neighborhoods are largely suburban in nature with only a few small pockets of commercial, institutional or industrial development. How the cites areas/neighborhoods of Dresden are divided up; First some colorful closeups of Valhalla Park, arguably the nicest suburban area in the entire region. These photo's beg the question, is there such a thing as too much tree cover? 3 4 5 Places of local interest (by 'places of interest' I mean visual interest, not landmarks for tourist) Located near the center of Valhalla Park and nestled in between two rail corridors is Our Holy Grace Catholic High School. With 593 students(2015), this is the largest of Dresden's 4 high schools(2 public, 1 catholic & 1 private). The school has extensive sports facilities and is home to the popular Red Back's highschool football team. There is also a chapel and numerous footpaths for students to take. 7 Russ Jasckson Elementary School and the adjacent Kensington Park in Woodside. 335 total students, one of 5 elementary schools in Dresden. 9 The park has multiple tennis & basketball courts, an outdoor swimming pool, a racket court and a nearby community garden. Dresden Main Water Reservoir With a total capacity of 50,000 cubic meters of water, or rather 5 million liters! this is the largest of Dresden's 10 water towers/tanks. When full there is enough water to fill up two Olympic sized swimming pools. Thankfully there are no olympic sized swimming pools to fill in Dresden. 11 12 If your interested, 'TMT Inc.' can build a a water tower for your city(with your city name on it), though it will cost you a 'like' Jamison Ford Elementary School & Valhalla Park PD at the intersection of Middleton Rd. & Genosha Blvd. 14 A small industrial park near the underpass Rd. Interchange. 15 Commercial development at the edge of the downtown district/Woodside neighborhood. There is also a plasma gasification waste disposal plant nearby seen in entry 29. Local Transportation connections This area of Dresden is largely car dependent due in large part to the barriers created by the highway and railway corridors cutting through the area. Still community connectivity is an important aspect for creating a cohesive and desirable suburban environment. In recent years Dresden city council has spent much time and effort on improving the pedestrian realm by building new footpaths and bridges. So rather than showing the roads first I'll cover the pedestrian network instead. Valhalla Parks pedestrian footpath network; 17 One of most important links in the network is the recently constructed pedestrian bridge over the Fastraxx & GWR lines an otherwise major barrier. 18 The bridge was partially built over BioHazrd Inc. property. The old route, the footpath that lead to the Genosha Blvd. tunnel remains in place but the tunnel is not very pedestrian friendly. 19 From here the path goes under the IRC line and then highway 702 20 Other parts of the network include the pedestrian bridge over Station Rd. 21 A long flight of stairs leading to Industrial Sector G, it's good exercise! 22 In case your wondering this route is TE enable and heavily used. It's also not as bad of a climb as it looks, only 130 steps to the top which is 90ft/27m higher. and footpaths along Middleton Rd. Roadways For Valhalla Park, the main roads leading out of the community are Genosha Blvd. (west) which leads to downtown Dresden which as you can see is typically very congested. 25 Middleton Rd. north to Orchard Heights 26 Underpass Rd. and Milldeton Rd. south & west to Woodside and of course the 702, to points further south or north. For Woodside, aside from Underpass Rd. & the 702 seen above there is Esna Parkway which is used by many to reach downtown Dresden. The Hope Springs Eternal Church is at the top of the image. 28 And Indigo Rd. which runs along the north east edge of mount Tokiko. west to downtown Dresden. And now once again it's time for my favorite part, the mosaics! 30 31 32 Angles 33 Probably my favorites, from Genosha to the 700 34 ...and back 35 That brings to a close another long entry. As much as I've loved building and covering Dresden the next entry will likely be the last one of the city. For one most of the city has been developed and shown but secondly it has also become oh so frustrating to work with. Less than a month ago it took only about 80 seconds to load the city, now it takes nearly 3 minutes plus the game freezes for another minute shortly after it loads. Also the city crashes almost every time I change a zoom level, even with the CPU set to 1. I'm guessing it's because of all the mmp'ing and new lots I've used, some of which I haven't extensively tested like I normally do because I wanted expiate the city building process.
  6. Entry no.30 - Looper Junction, Version 2.0

    Over the past year I've rebuilt the entire highway network as it had previously had been almost entirely maxis-highway based. The hardest and most time consuming part of that process is rebuilding the major interchange between highways. Just when the rebuilding process was nearly done, the NAM team goes out and gives us NAM 33/34. Because of this I've had to rebuild several of the major interchanges, yet again. Thanks a lot NAM team... for being so DAMN AWESOME! because building interchanges has always been one of the things I love the most about playing sim city 4. RHW constructions can be a times frustrating but overall I enjoy the challenge of building an interchange in as compact of a space as physically possible while maintaining smooth curves and grades, I liken it to playing a logic game and probably nothing else I do in my day to day life makes me think as much I have to in order to 'solve' the problems that I encounter when building RHW interchanges(not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing ) Looper Junction was one of the more difficult rebuilds, because I had to join a diagonal highway with an orthogonal one in middle of a city on uneven land. The end result of the original RHW rebuild using NAM 32, shown in entry 20 and seen below, required me to create a custom piece in order to compete the vision of the interchange I had in mind. But as cool as that interchange looked, from a real word perspective it had numerous flaws most of which weren't correctable until the release of NAM 34. I did a minor rebuild with NAM 33 which was shown as part of entry 26 but I'll skip those changes here as they only correct a couple of the many flaws described below. The main issues; - 10 slow speed turns(numbered T1 to T10) that is a 90 degree turn within 2 spaces - 4 slow speed merging on ramps - 2 slow speed off ramps - 3 hairpin turns - 2 unnecessary ramps - 1 weave zone - and 1 very unrealistic tunnel One of the biggest issues was with what I called the "secret ramp" noted above as tunnel 2. The ramp runs underneath the entire interchange and connects the NB702 with the SB 700 which takes commuters into Downtown Dresden. A long tunnel built underneath an interchange like that is not realistic. I'm quite sure that if I didn't show what that tunnel was for it's purpose would not be clear. It looks more like it's connecting some other road from off the screen to the interchange then the ramp it actually serves. This ramps as well as the corresponding return ramp, where sharp turn 8 is located, were added to make the interchange fully accessible. That is you can connect to all possible routes going into the interchange from any direction. In the past I used to think more ramps are better and missing ramps makes an interchange incomplete. It's easy to think that way when building interchanges in a self contained perspective rather than observing the network as a whole. Turns out this ramp is completely unnecessary and actually an exercise in bad urban planning. Sims in SC4 inherently only want to travel short distances to work, that is either within the same city or travel to the next city tile, it's rare to see them go further than that. This is why I originally designed the RHW highway network with multiple options to travel to the same location. Most of the sim's in the city want to travel downtown for work, where the densest concentration of commercial jobs are. But the amount of jobs available within the next two large tiles amounts to 20 times the number available in Dresden. In real life commutes of 20, 30 or more kilometers are quite common and most sims in Dresden should be traveling further north to Central Pretoria for work. I've been redesigning the highway network with that in mind, which means curtailing the number of interchanges and eliminating duplicate ramps. There already are two highway exits off of the northbound 702 connecting to high capacity roads(avenues) that can take commuters coming from areas south of Dresden into the downtown area. Sims traveling from the neighborhood of Valhalla Park would reach downtown via Genosha Blvd. while those traveling from Woodside would likely be split between Esna Parkway & other local roads. The larger concern is for those coming from points south of Dresden the population of which is 3 times as much. They would likely be split between the two existing exits. From the city boarder the Esna park route is 2.6km and has 7 intersections, while the Genosha Blvd route is 3.1km with only 2 intersections before arriving at downtown Dresden. Considering the above, a third ramp at Looper Junction to route traffic to the same location for the population catchment area is completely unnecessary. Especially so when as mentioned above, most sims from these area should continue down the 702 towards Central Pretoria. The elimination of this ramp(NB 702 to SB 700) and the corresponding ramp going in the opposite direction(NB 700 to SB 702) eliminates the unrealistic tunnel, a short merging ramp and one tight turn. This also eliminated the the weave zone. A weave zone is as an area where the highway entrance and exit use the same lane and the entrance and exit are quite close together. These areas require caution and cooperation because vehicles share the same lane to slow to exit the highway while other vehicles are using it to increase speed to enter the highway. Planners try to avoid building modern interchanges with weave zones. The other big change was courtesy of the new NAM. Thanks to the improved flex fly pieces, 8 of the other 9 tight curves were eliminated as were all the slow speed merging on ramps. While I didn't have the space to build full acceleration/merging lanes, the curve were smoothed out allowing vehicles to at least enter the highway at speed. Vehicles in the right lane are still expected to slow down for and yield to these vehicles if necessary or otherwise face being fined. Also drivers in Pretoria are thoroughly trained to use the proper techniques in these types of circumstances One of the 3 hairpin turns was taken out(#3) while the other two remained as is(#1 & #2). There just wasn't enough space to replace theses with any other type of ramp but aside from that I like how they look, they're part of what gives Looper Junction it's name. the end results of the NAM 34 rebuild: slow speed turns - 10 before / 1 after slow speed merging on ramps - 4 before / 0 after slow speed off ramps - 2 before / 0 after hairpin turns - 3 before / 2 after weave zones - 1 before / 0 after Time for some screens, Looper Junction now has a 3-level stack. The level 2 ramp is the SB702 ramp to downtown Dresden via Baker St. The parking lot next to it is the overflow lot for Lacross Stadium, cars enter & exit the lot underneath the ramp. The southern terminus of the 700 before it turns into Esna Blvd. and downtown Dresden. The highway grounds are keep clear of weeds and well manicured in this section to give the core a clean image and attract business. These are the new higher speed on & off ramps from the 702 The NB 702 to EB 700 ramp runs below extensive mmp work also helps to make the interchange look more realistic, also much improved from the previous version. The hairpin curve on the WB700 to NB702 ramp remains... ...but the entry curve onto the 702 has been smoothed out allowing vehicles to accelerate and enter the 702 at a decent rate of speed. Where's a weed wacker when you need one? Tunnel entrance The three curves section One purely aesthetic feature was added inside the interchange... Dresden's new city council wanted to beautify the appearance of the interchange and so they added what they called the "A Tribute to World Peace". Really it's just some manicured bushes & weeds made to look like a large peace sign. Though at 240 feet in diameter it's said to be the largest peace sign in the world. Peace & weed's Now let's see what she looks like in her entirety looking South central section - day looking north central section - night looking south, entire area - night looking north, entire area - day looking west - night looking east - day A couple of higher resolution cuts below. You have to save the image if you want to see the finer details as you can't really see them on ST looking south - day looking north - night I'd like to say this will be that last time Looper Junction will be rebuilt, but you just never know what the NAM team has in store for us next.
  7. Laying the tracks

    From the previous thread, we have gathered the resources in the form of maps to start laying the foundation of the city. I will start with railway, as these are the least flexible and therefore it is easiest to building things around the railway rather than vice-versa. I'm going to pull up the map from the previous entry and post it below this paragraph for reference. You can see the railway lines marked by black-white dashed lines. The main line goes from south-east to north-west. This is a quadruple track and it carries both freight and commuter trains. There is also a line that goes directly north from the main line. This is double track and can't be that busy, as there is a road-crossing. The rest are single tracks serving industrial facilities. Indeed, a look on Google Maps indicates there are quite a few spurs leads to industrial sites not on this map. Finally, there is a gigantic rail maintenance depot to the north-east of the city tile. With this in mind, it is obvious to start with the most major track (the SW-NE). To get a reference point to start work, I will find out the furthest west and east point of the line (where it reaches the city limits). There are 256 tiles across one axis in the map, and my map is 606 pixels wide; therefore there are 0.42 tiles per pixel. Why did I calculate this? Well, I can measure (in pixels) on my map how far down from the top of the map, the railway line is at the boundaries and multiply this by 0.42 to get the distance in tiles and then to plot it on Simcity. The western point is 281 px (119 tiles) down and the eastern point is 87 px (36 tiles) down. I can also deduce the angle of my railway line from this. The difference along the northern axis is 83 tiles across the whole city (256 tiles). Bit of trigonometry and you get an angle of 18°! The fractionally angled railway that comes with NAM is 18.4°; hence the exclamation mark. However, things won't be quite as a easy as plopping one straight line of FARR, as the only FARR interface with road networks is a Maxis road crossing. There are four road-rail interfaces across the main rail line, so it will need to bend into orthogonal at these points. This will render the line slightly off track. But I will intend to start from the west and work my way eastwards. The final road interface will be at the rail maintenance yard, so I don't mind switching it to diagonal before getting back on track at the eastern city boundary. The next step is to make a note of where the road interfaces occur. Similar to as before, I will measure (in pixels) how far the roads are from the map in Photoshop and then convert this into city tile units to measure across on the map. So far west to east we have Browns Line (49 px, 21 tiles); 30th street (in grey; 189 px, 80 tiles); Kipling Avenue (345 px, 146 tiles); and Islington Avenue (509 px, 215 tiles). I think they are all avenues (two lanes either side), so I will plot them onto the map roughly where I think they will intersect with the railway line and start building a FARR railway line. As I mentioned earlier line uses quadruple track, but I will be using the standard dual track instead. Why? Quadruple track doesn't exist (or at least not yet) and if I were to do two parallel dual tracks, it would be three tiles wide at fractional angles (48 m, compared to the real-life scenario of about 16 m!). Also, the two tracks wouldn't be used by in the game, as I have no way of separating freight and passenger trains. Next step are the detailed interfaces with road and rail, as they are currently just rail crossing... not ideal for a busy commuter line in one of the largest urban areas in North America! I will work from west to east. The first one is Browns Line and is composed of a an avenue bridge with a very gentle slope from the north and to the south it immediately splits into two one way roads and turns perpendicular with a moderate slope as shown below in Google Maps: This was mostly successful. I haven't covered the topic yet, but I did have to check the location of Lake Shore Blvd W to see whether I would have room between the bridge to get a nice curved ramp to Browns Line. Unfortunately I couldn't use the NAM curved pieces, but I did move Lake Shore Blvd by one tile so I could get a smoother gradient: Next up is 30th Street. A rather simpler affair with this one. As shown by Streetview, a simple avenue under rail underpass should do. Looks like I've hit my file upload limit. I will carry this on as a second journal entry or hopefully as a second post in the entry. Still have Kipling Avenue underpass and Islington Avenue bridge coming up!
  8. Entry no.20 - Looper Junction

    After months of work, with many breaks in between mind you, I've just about completed my Interchange Rebuild Project. Looper Junction, located in Dresden of the South Shores borough is where highways 700 & 702 meet and one of 7 major interchanges that needed to be completely rebuilt. current Highway System map; As with the others, the reason for rebuilding this interchange is because I decided to used the Project Symphony highway mod, which is not compatible with NAM highway interchanges. Looper Junction before the rebuild; This was a rather difficult interchange to rebuild because of how the two highways met. I couldn't easily change the approaches of each highway without destroying a good portion of the city and extensive terrain modification. The lack of diagonal highway ramps for Project Symphony and elevated RHW additionally limited possible solutions. All of which necessitated a unique solution to fully connect the two highways. My first attempt; Not exactly very realistic or aesthetically pleasing. Problem was the missing piece I needed to create the interchange I had in mind doesn't actually exist. Then it hit me, why not just make it myself? As for the name, I think its rather self explanatory as to why I settled on calling it Looper junction; The missing piece; Admittedly its not the safest interchange around since most of the ramps don't have extended merging lanes. To account for this speeds are heavily restricted on the ramps and the 700 approaching/departing downtown Dresden. And a center median was also built to prevent the most dangerous type of collision(head on's). But most importantly it is fully functional; It's not as large or as free flowing as spaghetti junction but considering the circumstances, I think it came out alright; Interchange rank of the BIG 9 Size in terms of total space - 5 of 9 Size in terms of ramps - (7) 5 of 9 Size in terms of entry lanes - (16) tied 6 of 9
  9. This will likely be the final entry from the Middle East borough of Pretoria. To mark the occasion I've completed a street map of this area which covers 21sq/km. Due to the size of the map I had to split it into two images. However it seems the top portion doesn't always show. Silly imgur, doesn't know what it wants to do from one moment to the next. In any case the image for the bottom 2/3rd's of the map is working and is the more important section of the borough. At first the city borders were irregular but it came off a little too confusing having them all over the place in addition to the irregular borough borders. So I simplified them to follow the actual in game city borders. And concluding the tour of LC, City overview: A - Highway 709/705(Comerica Parkway) Interchange B - Lealand Sewage Treatment Plant C - ICR Rail Tunnel Entrance D - Comerica Parkway/Astel Rd. Interchange E - Rockcut(neighborhood) F - Kalahari 'Peak G - Rail Tunnels and Junctions H - Downtown LC I - Earl Reyes memorial park J - Highway 700/West Way & East Way Interchange K - Fastraxx Lindin City Station L - Livingstone gated community M - Spaghetti Junction N - Hillsboro TS P - Lincoln(neighborhood) P - Highway 707/Trafalgar Rd Interchange ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- G - Rail Tunnels and Junctions Which tunnel goes where and is used by whom is covered in entry 17. But I still have a few pano shots of them I want to show; In case anyone was wondering, those diagonal tunnel are indeed functional H - Downtown LC LC was one of the first cities established in Pretoria and the second city that I started working on after Cisco Bay. The earliest snapshot I have of it dates back to Aug 2005. Every year or two I'd come back to freshen up the city and modernize the transportation system. Original build-out(circa 2005) Many years later And today Historically the downtown core was built up during the first population boom in the late 20's/early 30's, leaving little space for future development. During the recession of the 90's some buildings fell into ruin. Once the region emerged from the recession some of these buildings were demolished to make way for new highrises but most were preserved due to heritage considerations. The area boxed in by the freeway and several rail lines is actually the densest development in the Middle East borough with 8000 residents and 6000 jobs. This translates to a population density of approx. 30,000 per sq/km.The city does not have height limit, however most of the downtown core was developed in the 1930's. Today these buildings are designated heritage structures, meaning they cannot be torn down to make way for newer(and likely taller) buildings. There have been a few parking lots which have been developed, including the cities new tallest. List of the 10 tallest buildings in Lindin City Closers ups were already seen in Entry 16. But here are the aerial and mosaic shots of the area. Wider versions of the mosaic shots from entry 18. J - Highway 700/West Way & East Way Interchange The interchange between the cities main thoroughfare and the cities busiest highway, the 700. A look at local traffic patterns of the interchange K - Fastraxx Lindin City Station Just denoting the location of the station on the aireal map, Rail transit in LC has already been discussed in Entry 17. I - Earl Reyes memorial park Directly across McDowell Drive from the Livingstone gated community is the Earl Reyes memorial park, 14 acres of pristine green space in the heart of the city. Posthumously named after the major who served an incredible 5 terms during the boom years of the 1920's & 30's Mr. Reyes is widely considered to be the most popular major in the history of any city in Pretoria. Obviously the man must of been a great leader to get re-elected 4 times in a row. Closer view of the park. The building in the lower right hand corner is the tallest in the city("The Turn"). L - Livingstone gated community Nothing like a little income inequality. While not mansions by any stretch of the imagination, things like complete home automation & geothermal heating are standard. The community features cobblestone roads, 10 foot stone walls and 24-7 security at a gate house. All of which means the prices are not for the faint of heart as a house here will costs more than twice as much as the going rate in any of LC's other neighborhoods. But buyer beware, you may have to put up with a a little noise from time to time. Despite years of protest, the Livingstone home owners association has been so far unsuccessful in their righteous fight to indefinitely ground the air ambulance service flown out of nearby LC Memorial Hospital. One Livingstone homeowner claimed it was so bad he felt like he was in the middle of a war zone. When pressed upon which specific war zone he was comparing the noise to, he promptly declared the interview over. And once again for the second straight year, three homeowners claimed that traffic levels were at an unacceptable "medium" level and demanded action from the mayors office. Seems like there's a little trouble in middle class paradise. M - Spaghetti Junction Extensively detailed in Entry 13. About the only thing I didn't show in that entry were the traffic patterns of the interchange. N - Hillsboro TS Previously covered in Entry 2. Though its appearance has changed a little since then. Following the great 2009 Southwestern Corsica Blackout Crisis(Corsica is the state Pretoria is located in), the station underwent an extensive modernization program. The blackout was caused when a lighting strike hit the facility which caused most of the 250kv circuits trip. Many of older transformers and circuits at the station were in excess of 40 years old and approaching the end of their life span. They have all since been replaced with newer equipment to increase system reliability and total power flow. Basically, I tired to made it look even more high tech. Old New And of course the obligatory mosaic shots P - Lincoln(neighborhood) Outside of the downtown area, Lincoln is the oldest community in LC. More or less, its just your typical suburban community. Many residents here are still bitter about how several blocks of housing were demolished to make way for highway 704 and the expansion of spaghetti junction. P - Highway 707/Trafalgar Rd Interchange As with the other interchanges, this one has been revised multiple times over the years. Conversion 1 Conversion 2 It's still lacking in proper acceleration ramps, but that's because they unfortunately don't exist for diagonal RHW's. One last picture for the road, a cross border merger between the two mmp covered 'peaks' of Lindin City & Cisco Bay; And that concludes the tour of LC and the cities of the Middle East. Thanks for viewing! Here's some teasers of my next city, Dresden; Been a while since my last update because of the reboot. Going to take a turn southward from the Middle East area to the South Shore borough. Here's a small preview of the next city, Dresden(noted below in red); Dresden is primarily industrial. There are some very large industrial facilities located here including the regions primary/largest power plant. To serve those industries many rails lines and spurs run through the city. I'm in the process of converting the highway interchanges from maxis to RHW. The city has 6 local interchange and one major interchange, which is perhaps the most unusual one in the region. A new city also means new releases from the ToS Project. Which is probably what I'll take care of in the next update
  10. This entry will deal with the transportation network and locations of interest around LC. Lindin City Street Map Transportation Highway System LC is served by no less then five! highways(700-series - interchange access only). In numerical order these are; Highways 700(6 to 8 lanes), 704(6 lanes), 705(4 lanes), 707(4 lanes) & 709(4 lanes). There are two highway interchanges in the city, the massive and sprawling Spaghetti Junction and a smaller interchange between highways 705 & 709. In addition there are 3 other interchanges in the city. Passenger Service The city is served by a Fastraxx commuter train station on the L and ME lines. There is no physical connection for trains between the lines here(there is a highspeed connection in the next city) but the stations are built next to each other allowing for passengers to interchanging between lines. The L line features all day commuter train service operating every 15 minutes in both directions. While the ME line is only served by commuter trains during the peak period - morning and afternoon rush hours, Hallmark trains, the name of the inter-regional train service(the equivalent to Amtrak) in the nation of Albion, makes frequent stops over the course of the day at the ME line station. The station, though small, is somewhat of a mini transportation hub since it serves as a crossroads for multiple transit lines and highways. Approx. 4,200 passengers use the station on both lines during the peak period, which amounts to a healthy 14.0% mode share of all traffic during the rush hour period. As with neighboring Cisco Bay, the these rail lines slice right through a downtown area on a long viaduct(s). 3,470ft(1,055m) for the ME line and 3,207ft (978m) for the L line Which makes them the second & third longest rail viaducts in the region. Though if you include rail bridges and bridges connecting to viaducts they are only forth & fifth, ICR's Guardians Gate Bridge & subsequent viaduct in neighboring Cisco Bay is third at 3,927ft (1,197m) long. The ME line enters into the 1.4km long Delhi Tunnel which takes the line underneath the community of Rockcut, Drogo Peak and the Trueno river before reemerging above ground in the city of Mayfield. Meanwhile the L line then enters into the 1.8km long San Halo Tunnel which takes the line underneath Kalahari Peak and then Cisco Bay before reemerging above ground in the City of Cisco Bay. Freight service Of the regions two major freight companies only one of them still has mainline(s) in city. ICR's(InterContinental Railway) Lakeridge subdivision(railway specific term for a mainline corridor) runs west to south and passes through Kalahari Peak through the D.Lison tunnel. While the ICR's Omaha sub. branches off northeast fromt Casanova Jct. located at mile 3.5 of the Lakeridge sub, which is just west of the aforementioned tunnel. Both lines are double tracked, signalized, fully grade separated from road traffic(in Lindin city) and quite busy as they're ICR's main corridors through the Pretoria region. A new tunnel was recently built under Kalahari Peak in 2009(the Lakeridge-Omaha connecting track) to fully connect the junction in all directions. The Fastraxx and ICR line tunnels do not intersect. ICR's line passing below the L line. The old route of ICR's mainline, now called the Lakeridge Spur, is still in place. This is the line branches off on the east side of the tunnel and goes under the Trueno river in the Las Plagus tunnel - you wouldn't want to walk through that tunnel without some biohazard protection gear . ICR uses this line to interchange freight traffic with the GWR and to access the port of Isuzu in Cisco Bay. As discussed in entry 8 GWR's(Great Western Railway) old mainline, the Midland sub.used to run east to west across the northern part of the city. This rail corridor was GWR's primary north-south rail line through the region for almost 100 years - from the time it was constructed in 1858 until the completion of Vandenburg tunnel under Cisco Bay in 1956. Afterwards the line become superfluous and was abandon. The right-of-way was quickly bought by the PRGA(Pretoria Regional Governing Authority i.e. the government) in 1957. The government promptly ripped up the tracks and used the rail right-of-way to build a portion of highway 707 the following year. Today most of the right of way is occupied by Spaghetti Junction. The line went through a 2,663ft (812m) long tunnel before emerging in Gravhenhurt east of Lindin City and crossing the Trueno river on the Rustaway bridge seen in this image from entry 12 The western tunnel entrance, seen below, was sealed up about 15 years ago when the region underwent a highway modernization program - i.e when I switched to the RHW. The east side was only sealed up last year as it was increasingly frequented by urban explores. Through the tunnel itself largely remains intact. That concludes the transportation brief of the city. Now for a closer look at the places of interest in LC. City overview: A - Highway 709/705(Comerica Parkway) Interchange B - Lealand Sewage Treatment Plant C - ICR Rail Tunnel Entrance D - Comerica Parkway/Astel Rd. Interchange E - Rockcut(neighborhood) F - Kalahari 'Peak' G - Multiple Rail Tunnels H - Downtown I - Earl Reyes memorial park J - Highway 700/West Way & East Way Interchange K - Fastraxx Lindin City Station L - Livingstone gated community M - Spaghetti Junction N - Hillsboro TS P - Lincoln(neighborhood) P - Highway 707/Trafalgar Rd Interchange A - Highway 709/705(Comerica Parkway) Interchange The smaller of the two major highway interchange in the city. The original 705-709 interchange was built in 1961-63, this interchange connected the downtown area of Lindin City to the rest of the Middle East borough via the eastern stub section of highway 705, later renamed the Comerica Parkway as it was built on land originally occupied by the now defunct Comerica Rail line. This is the first version of the interchange, made back in 2006. Just a weed bit dangerous to use eh? The issues with it were quite obvious. All 3 ramps merging onto highway 709 had no acceleration lanes once so ever. Users were forced to merge on as quickly as possible from the ramps off the 705. Reconstruction of the interchange necessitated the demolition of all previously built bridges and ramps. This would require staged construction. One bridge was demolished at a time, north followed by south, and traffic in both directions would share the remaining bridge. Construction was further complicated by the Hardac Hydro corridor which ran directly over the interchange. All of which pushed construction costs upward. All secondary ramps(local access) were removed to increase safety and to simplify the interchange for users, while the primary ramps were all rebuilt. Initially I tried to rebuild the 705-709 interchange small enough to keep most of the surrounding development in place. But the ramps could connect coming off the bridge Building RHW interchanges in relatively small spaces is like putting a puzzle together. Which makes it all the more satisfying when it finally does come together. The highway had to be shifted a couple of spaces away from the river to get everything to fit and by that point there was no space left for any development behind the interchange. Which was no big loss, it looked much cleaner and realistic this way. The current configuration mosaic of the area, from entry 2 Interchange rank of the "BIG 9" Size in terms of total space - 8 of 9 Size in terms of ramps - (4) tied 8 of 9 Size in terms of entry lanes - (12) tied 8 of 9 Overall its the second smallest of the big 9 interchanges ahead of only the 700/709 interchange in Cisco Bay seen in Entry 9. The evolution of the freeway interchange The highway bridge over the Trueno river is called the Higg's Boson bridge. The original spans were built in 1962-63 but by 2001 it had severely deteriorated and was in need of major rehabilitation or outright replacement. It was decided that the bridge would be replaced with a new and more durable span. The cost would be greater up front but much less over time considering rehabilitation would just be delaying the inevitable. The northern(WB) span was replaced first. During construction EB & WB traffic were routed onto the southern bridge each using one lane. After the northern span was completed, EB & WB traffic were routed onto the new span until the southern one was completed. Aside from the two railway viaducts, It is the longest bridge in LC. Bridge stat Waterbody - Trueno river Type - Box Girder Built in - 2001-04 Design Life - 100 years Roadway - Highway 705 Total Length - 2x 735ft (224m) Longest Span - 2x 498ft (152m) Clearance - 110ft (33.7m) Average daily traffic - 38,100 (2014) Cost - $115 million (2014 dollars) B - Lealand Sewage Treatment Plant Lealand STP is one of two fudge factories that deal with all the s*** coming from the people of the Middle East borough. It's the slightly larger of the two and has the capacity to deal with 150,000 people's worth of crap. The plant has 3 large sewage digester tanks, the third tank was added in 1981 increasing the plant's capacity by 50%. There is a single(multi-flue) 220ft(67m) tall smokestack on site built to vent gases from the incineration of a small amount of bio sludge. However new pollution regulations have come into effect requiring either advanced scrubber technology and/or a taller stack. Considering the small amount of sludge that was incinerated it wasn't worth the cost to implement either measure. Thus all bio sludge incineration actives have ceased and the stack is currently only used to vent some very foul odors. Thankfully the area is largely industrial in nature. C & D - ICR Rail Tunnel Entrance and the Comerica Parkway(highway 705)/Astel Rd. Interchange As seen in the last entry this is a diagonal rail tunnel entrance, specifically for ICR's Lakeridge sub eastern entrance to the D.Lison tunnel. Meanwhile the interchange connects the neighborhood of Rockcut and a nearby industrial area with the Comerica Parkway(highway 705). The original version of the 705/Astal Rd interchange Much like the 705/709 interchange, it was in dire need of modernization. Today's configuration B&A mosaics E - Rockcut(neighborhood) Rockcut is the last community to be built in LC. As its namesake would lead one to believe, the area was flatten out to make way for development over time. The community started off as little more than a single road with a small number of houses in the 1940's. It has expanded dramatically in the post-recession period. I'll stop here for now and complete the tour of LC in the next entry. Thanks for dropping by! Area covered so far Closeups of the riverbank can be seen in [url=http://community.simtropolis.com/journal/5253/entry-25468-entry-no2-hillsboro-ts-transmission-substation/]Entry 2
  11. Entry no.16 - Lindin City

    Lindin City(LC for short) is the second largest city in the Eastern portion of the region. It's located just north of the city of Cisco Bay, seen in entry's 5 to 10. I've actually already shown two of my favorite areas of this city already, those being Spaghetti Junction & the Hillsboro Transmission Substation, but there is more to the city than just two places. This entry will focus on the downtown area and the nearby Kalahari Peak. As with the first entry on neighboring Cisco Bay, this update will only be comprised of closeups. Downtown LC The rail line cutting across the center of downtown is the Fastraxx(commuter train service) L-line(Loop) The main local interchange of the city. The cities main through fairs, the West and East Way both pass underneath highway 700. Underpass city She's a city of Tunnel's as well A glimpse of Kalahari Peak and the summit On the other(east) side of Kalahari Peak And lastly crossing the Trueno On the next entry I'll post up the city map and take a look at the remaining places of interest in the city.
  12. Entry no. 10 - Goodbye Cisco Bay, hello...

    A few last mosaic shots of Cisco Bay before saying goodbye to the city for good. I'm quite happy with how free flowing the highway & rail system of the city came out: The next few entries will focus on the scenery around the Trueno river as well as some large scale highway & rail expansion projects:
  13. Continuing on from where I left off last time, City overview: A - Broadcast Hill B - The Trueno River & related tunnels C - Guardians Gate Bridge D - Port of Isuzu, Supra River & Isuzu (Rail)Jct. E - Highway 709/Astel Rd. Interchange F - Kewston(neighborhood) G - Highway 709/Malkin Blvd. Interchange H - Cagalli (Rail)Jct. I - Downtown J - Highway 709/Crosby Ave. Interchange K - O'Leary Peak L - Fastraxx Cisco Bay M - Highway 700/709 Interchange N - Cisco Bay Beach O - Highway 700/Malkin Blvd. Interchange P - Great Western Mall, & Richview(neighborhood) Q - Great Western Tower R - The Skybridge G & H - Highway 709/Malkin Blvd. Interchange & Cagalli (Rail)Jct. This interchange connects downtown Cisco Bay with vehicular traffic originating from the east. There is no westbound access onto the 709 here. For that direction of travel drivers must make there way to the nearby Crosby Ave/709 interchange. I've made numerous changes over the years to this interchange, but it never seem to look quite to my liking. This is largely because of the difficulties in making the a realistic looking connection to a diagonal highway in SC4. Even the RHW mod or project symphony for the matter don't fully resolve this issue. The other problem at this location is the lack of space due to nearby rail lines crossing over the highway. In order to maintain smooth curves, both horizontally & vertically I finally settled on a tunnel solution: Transformation of the interchange over time: The next few paragraphs deals with trains & grades So it may be a long read to some - you have been forewarned The horizontal curves are the 45 degree highway & rail pieces, I placed the highway and rail lines as close as physically possible while still enabling the use of these curves. The vertical curvature I'm referring to is for the rail lines. I use a slope mod, which is good enough for roads but not for the rail lines. For those I manually smooth out the height difference one zone at a time. GWR's Almera sub for instance(the rail line on the top of the image) drops 91.5ft/27.9 over a distance of 1890ft/576m(40ft over 16 spaces in the image above) or or more plainly it drops about 2 spaces of height over 36 spaces. This equates to a 4.8% grade. I didn't pre-plan that out before hand or anything, its just what it ended up being. Anything over 1.5% is considered not desirable for freight trains and over 2%(or 2.2% in some areas) is considered "mountain grade". The biggest reason why freight trains can only handle such small grades is because rail companies try to make their mainline trains as long as possible while needing a few locomotives as possible. This of course reduces expenses and increases profit. But it can cause problems on lines with steep grades. A quick goggle search indicates the largest grade in the US was 4.7%. Here's an excerpt on what it's like for a train to operate on a very steep grade; "Operating conditions on the original mainline through Kicking Horse and Rogers passes were proving to be something of a nightmare. Between Field and Hector, on a four mile stretch known as the Big Hill, stretches of grade up to 4.5 per cent meant that eastbound trains climbing up to the pass had to be divided into sections for the assent. Freight trains working down the hill were restricted to SIX miles per hour, and four steeply graded safety tracks were insurance against runaways." Thankfully while I'm certainly much more attentive to this than your average SC4 player or perhaps almost any player for that matter, I'm not completely anal about it. I don't spend my days trying to make every rail line is SC4 under 2 or 3% thank god lol. There's no point to that. As I said before, I don't measure or preplan the grade. My goal is simply to make the slope relatively unnoticeable. I'm guessing most of my rail grades are probably around 4 to 6%, which certainly appears to be a very smooth grade in game. IRL freight trains would struggle mighty with even that. But on planet Azura, where my city is located in, one consequence of the overall population being far lower(mentioned in the first entry of this CJ) is that things like freight trains can be and are indeed far shorter. Instead of the monster 2 mile long freight trains that many companies run today(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longest_trains), the longest trains on Azura would be at most half a mile long. This also means that the freight yards need not be 2 miles long either, otherwise I'd have to build my freight yards as big as a medium sized city! Therefore the trains are much lighter while at the same time the number of locomotives remains the same. On top of that the length of most of the grade changes are relatively short, probably a km long at most. So even the 6% grades are not that problematic. Now back to the interchange. Here's how it actually functions: Cagalli Jct. is nearby to the interchange: As with Isuzu Jct, the sole purpose of this junction is to serve as an interchange point. An interchange point is a location where freight traffic can be transferred from one company to another. Even though these companies are in direct completion with one another they will allow each other to use their lines to reach specific customers that they otherwise wouldn't have access to. This is at steep cost of course. This junction in particular is used by eastbound trains coming off GWR onto ICR's track or conversely southbound trains coming off the ICR(Lakeridge spur) and onto GWR track. The power line/hydro corridor seen in the foreground is the Hardack hydro corridor. This line connects the largest power plant in the region, located in the South Shore borough, to the more denser areas of the Central borough. It's a vital piece of infrastructure that at this spot carries up to 2000MW of power. 2000MW is enough power to supply the needs of over a million people during the mid day summer peak. Electrical usage peaks on both a season & daily basis. Seasonally, summer and/or winter, deepening on the climate of a region, is when power usage is at its highest due to power intensive applications like heating and cooling. On a daily basis the peak threads to happen early in the more and late in the afternoon and then drops at its lowest in the middle of the night. The 1MW to 500 people ratio is derived from my real life numbers. The record summer peak demand for the region I live in is 26,000MW for a total of 13 million people. What can I say, we're power hogs over here Though power conservation measures have slowly begun to decrease our usage over the last couple of years. The power usage in the city itself is 112MW, which puts it in the mid-range of nearby cities: 285MW Lexenborg 134MW Lindin City 112MW Cisco Bay 85MW Halon 72MW Mayfield 14MW Mount Prominence 13.9MW Gravenhurst Here's one last overhead shot of Cagalli Jct & the Malkin-709 interchange before moving on: I - Downtown Cisco Bay There's been plenty of pictures of this area in previous entries so won't to spam any more, well maybe one more, For the record, the Cardiff Capital Tower built in 1979 is the tallest building in the city: List of the 10 tallest buildings in Cisco Bay: More or less about what you'd expect from a mid-sized city of 40,000. Following the construction of the Cardiff tower in 1979, the city slapped a 17 story height limit on all future buildings(quite obvious yes?). They did not want the downtown area to be overwhelmed with highrise buildings like other area's of the region. Their primary reason was out of concern about overwhelming the transportation network of the city with too much density. While the city had a well integrated highway network there were a few problematic areas(eg. item R). Higher capacity subway lines do not run into Cisco Bay. While the L line runs a fairly frequent commuter train service it would not be sufficient if population densities were to increase any further. Aside from the train station there are only a couple of low frequency bus routes that operate through the city. The height limit originally only covered the downtown area but was later extended to cover the entire city after condo's started popping in Richview. It remains in place to this day. IRL many cities across the world have height limits in place either localize or across the entire city for a myriad of reasons. Here's a few IRL examples: Airport/FAA restrictions: Miami Edmonton until 2014, 492ft/150m San Jose 300ft/92m Historical precedents: Philadelphia 1894 to 1984, 548ft/167m Saint Petersburg Street widths: Washington View cones/corridors(for scenic reasons): Vancouver There is one other city Pretoria metropolitan area that has a height limit, that being Calgon with an absolute limit of 675ft/206m. However unlike Cisco Bay, the restriction in Calgon is likely to be lifted soon as developers are mounting increasing pressure to built taller. J - Highway 709/Crosby Ave. Interchange The interchange that connects downtown CB with vehicular traffic originating from the west: As with the 709/Malkin interchange, there were numerous early versions of this one as well: From the beginning, 2005: Could never get that connection between the highway ramp and the road to look natural. So in the end I separated the two and incorporated a tunnel instead. The pre-RHW/Project Symphony/CJ version: And today's version: The rail line(ICR's Lakeridge sub) limits the type of ramp that could be placed here, hence the 'stub' ramp that goes underneath the viaduct and connects to Michigan rd. on the south side/side opposite of downtown. While not an ideal solution its the best that could be done to maintain connectivity. Needless to say the speed limit for the ramp off the 709 is quite low and is strictly enforced by photo radar - something my sims aren't too happy about... K & L - O'Leary Peak & Fastraxx Cisco Bay More or less just denoting the location of each in the aerial shot. The Fastraxx commuter station was seen in last update. O'Leary 'peak' meanwhile is the highest point(elevation-wise) in the city, by a dozen or so feet from the hills to the east but there's nothing to look at there. I've yet to do any mmp work on the hillside, other than planting trees that is. In truth I'm contemplating removing it altogether so as to expand the suburban area of town. M - Highway 700/709 Interchange One of the "Big 9" interchanges in the region. Though its so small calling it big in any respect is a bit of an oxymoron. However that was always the idea, I wanted it to take up as little space as possible, as at first I wanted more space for development to increase the population. And later I wanted to maintain the existing development in the area. But I also wanted it to be a custom interchange rather then just the standard maxis or later on, the project symphony 3-way. Plus I never liked the maxis 3-way to begin with, urgh: So work started on a new custom version, once the NAM become advanced enough: The original version was completed sometime around 2006-07. a few minor modifications were then incorporated over time: Traffic paths: I was actually quite fond of the unique appearance of this interchange, so much so that for nostalgic reasons I really didn't want to rebuild it for the CJ. Alas seeing as how I was rebuilding the entire freeway system, it had to be modernized as well. As with many other interchanges both in this city and around the region, the available space for ramps and transitions that could be used was limited by a near-by rail line, curse you GWR!. But as difficult as building a RHW interchange is a small space can be, its easier than rebuilding an entire rail line and the portion of the city it cuts through. Originally this is what I came up with: However I needed the northbound 700 to be elevated so that I could get rid of the slope before the Skybridge. Otherwise I couldn't place any ramps there(item O). This is end result of that modernization: Interchange rank of the "BIG 9" Size in terms of total space - 9 of 9 easily the most compact. Size in terms of ramps - (4) tied 8 of 9 Size in terms of entry lanes - (12) tied 8 of 9 Comparison: Traffic Paths: N - Cisco Bay Beach Where sims in Cisco Bay go to relax. Using the name of the city & bay for the beach is the not most original name I know, but currently there is only one beach on the shoreline of Cisco Bay - the shoreline is predominately industrial. So its only logical to name it so. The beach officially ends at the chained link fence, property beyond which is owned by the railway(GWR). Though that hasn't stopped trespassers from frequenting the area occasionally playing chicken with trains O - Highway 700/Malkin Blvd. Interchange And we've reached the last interchange in the city. As with the other four this one has gone through a ridiculous number of revisions over the years. Earlier changes: Aside from the fact that I switched over to Project symphony, the road underpass/tunnel was causing some strange behavior as sims refused to use the ramp and would rather just drive right off the highway and straight into the tunnel, somehow miraculous managing to survive the trip home: The difficulty here was adding access ramps to a diagonal highway. The location of the ramps couldn't be moved much since the whole idea is to connect the highway with Malkin Blvd. The highway had to curve in this location because of where the connection was to Lindin City on the other side of the bridge. The problem with diagonal ramps is the lack of an acceleration/merging lane, but diagonal ramps are not even an option with project symphony anyways. So I had to get rid of the slope leading up to the Skybridge and use that location for the ramps. The merging lane issue was dealt with by increasing the width of the bridge from 4 lanes to 6 lanes. The highway also had to be elevated here to maintain the bridge clearance for ships heading to the Port of Isuzu as well as ports further up river. While these ships aren't large and don't require huge clearances, 20-odd feet doesn't quite cut it. The final change: Overview of the approach to the Skybridge: P - Great Western Mall, & Richview The Great Western Mall doesn't quite live up to its name. For starters its the second oldest mall in the region having been built in 1969, its not a very refined mall at all compared to its newer contemporaries. It's also the smallest official mall in the region with a mere 75,000 sq/ft of retail space and just 200 surface parking spots. The mall contains large grocery store, a well known discount clothing realtor and has space for a dozen other small shops on 2 levels. Really the only reason why its called 'great' is because the GWR - Great Western Railway purchased the naming rights to the mall and promptly named it after themselves back in '69. Richview is a nearby highrise luxury condo community. While not entirely gated, it is walled in and heavily patrolled by private security. A total of 1,447 residents live in the 5 building complex. 4 of the 5 buildings in the complex are built out to the maximum 17 story limit. Amenities include outdoor and indoors swimming pools, tennis courts, a rock garden and mini golf putting green. The mayors house/office is also conveniently located nearby for the rich locals to voice their concerns to. Q - Great Western Tower The Great Western Tower is a 559ft tall freestanding reinforced concrete structure built in 1967. At that time it was the tallest structure in not only the city but all of the South Shore borough. List of the 10 tallest structures in Cisco Bay: (Measurement information in most cases is gotten directly from occupant size exemplar, otherwise I measured it on screen using a ruler 1cm=2.25ft in the 2nd closest view) The tower has three public levels - one being the ground level where entrance fees are paid. A restaurant occupies level two at the 386ft level and the observation deck occupies level three at the 406ft level. The GWR once again purchased naming rights here shortly after the tower was built. The contract extends for 100 years, its unlikely that they will renew those rights when they final expire in 2068. Attendance has fallen precipitously over the years as newer, taller and more flasher attractions have popped elsewhere in the region. Telecommunication revenue, which was never that great to begin with since the tower is not located in an idea location for such, dried up after the construction of the tower on Broadcast Hill in 1984. The HAAT(height above average terrain) of the tallest transmitter here is a mere 560ft verses the far greater range provided by Broadcast Hill's HAAT of 998ft. Having said all that, I think having a short concrete tower located here is still kind of interesting and the night lighting is quite nice as well: At this time the city has no plans to demolish it and replace it with something else, as the costs of maintaining the structure aren't exorbitant... at least not yet. R - The Skybridge The Skybridge is a recently constructred 6-lane RHW bridge: bridge info: Type - Cable-stayed Completed in - 2005 to 2008 Design Life - 150 years Roadway - Highway 700 Total Length - 2,231ft (680m) Longest Span - 1,182ft (360m) Clearance - 100fft (30.5m) Cost - $535 million (2011 dollars) Width - 158ft (48m) Hight - 425ft (129.5m) The new bridge replaced the Spanbridge, a cantilever bridge that was the longest of its type in the world when built in 1924. Imo the in game highway/avenue cantilever bridge is still one of the best looking structures available in the game. But then again I can't say that I'm impartial since I love steel exoskeleton structures. Type - Cantilever Built in - 1923 to 1924 Design Life - Roadway - Highway 700 Total Length - 2,204ft (672m) Longest Span - 1,250t (381m) Clearance - 149fft (45.4m) Cost - $46 million (1924 dollars) Width - 105ft (32m) Height - 414ft (126m) The next section deals with the history of the old bridge, so feel free to skip it if reading about fictional history is not you cup of tea The Spanbridge was the first highway bridge to cross Cisco Bay. However after 84 years of use the bridge was badly degraded/corroded and in need of immediate replacement. The bridge had also been over-built height wise, engineers had anticipated that the Trueno river would one day need to accommodate ships larger then low-max class. Hence the hefty clearance of 149ft, with the deck level coming in at 160ft ASL. However this turned out to be unnecessary as cargo volumes along the river have never even come close to reaching the point of requiring larger vessels. Not to mention justifying the cost of expensive dredging of the river bed which would be required to allow for ships with a larger draft. The height of the roadway in addition to the narrow width of the lanes had become a severe safety hazard by the mid 70's. By then transport trailers had grown in size both in width but more importantly in height. The taller trucks were often buffeted with strong winds at times causing them to swerve over onto adjacent lanes. In response, the number of lanes was reduced from 6 lanes to 4 in 1975. However issues with swerving still persisted and after numerous crashes resulting in fatalities a bylaw was introduced in 1982 restricting the speed of transport trailers to 45mph/72kph over the bridge. This of course resulted in serve congestion. By the 90's even the its name had been largely forgotten as sims commonly referred to it as the Slowbridge. Hence its replacement was long over due. The new bridge was built adjacent to the old bridge and once completed the 'Slowbridge' was dismantled. The Skybridge was not only significantly wider but the height of the roadway was reduced from 160ft to 105ft. Winds at this height are substantially weaker, thus the by-law did not carry over onto the new bridge except during the occasional periods of high winds. Sensors on the bridge continuously monitor local wind speeds and once a certain threshold is reached a yellow warning light automatically activates at the entrance to the bridge and all bridge users must reduced speed during these periods. And with that I conclude this entry. Probably should have broke it up into two but I was on a little bit of a roll there. Hope you found it interesting nonetheless.
  14. Boxed Construction

    Good day Some buildings in SimCity 4 Deluxe is a type of envelope, there how to remove them or release them. Thanks and I await response
  15. Hello, Can the default Maxis railways or elevated railways take ninety degree left or right turn? Or do I have to make smooth curves for their left/right turnings? In my games I never saw them taking 90 degree L/R turnings..... They always go straight and take L/R turns if the rails are smooth curves. Thank you
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