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City Editor

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Ah...back to the ol' journal. It's been like a month since the last update! I've been working on the game the whole time...just on some of the less exciting parts like multiplayer issues and gameplay stuff. I've been spending a few hours in the gym every day striving for physical perfection, as well as playing ice hockey at the local rink and golfing whenever I get a chance...I'm really enjoying everything right now :-)

I've started working on a city editor, so I'll be keeping up with the journal again....at least for this part of the game's development. Over the next few entries I'll also talk about some of the other things I've added into the game over the last month.

The city editor is something that has been LONG overdue, it will add a lot of replay value (in terms of user created cities), and add years back on to my life :-) I can tell you trying to edit these cities using algorithms is NOT "good times".

I'm not throwing away all of my previous work in generating the cities, note the 'Auto Generate City' button in the screenshots, also random cities will still be a feature of the game. I've been working on the editor for about 8 hours....I'm about to call it a night. I'm going to pick up tommorow and hopefully wrap it up.

Here is how it started out earlier today...I got the windows in place as well as a grid. This editor is totally in-game and is accessable via the main menu. I'm going to encourage players to create their own cities, and I'm trying to make it as user friendly as possible.

I then started to fill in the two main windows with different options...

You'll be able to 'paint' roads, plazas, parks, etc. onto the map with relative ease...I wanted to have a 3D preview of your current brush, spinning in the Brush Selection window...so I had to setup a seperate viewport for that....

Then I started to get some roads into the editor...and started to work on making it so you can edit the city.

Aaaaand here's one more screenshots in fullscreen mode...it looks a lot sharper. I forgot to turn FSAA on, so there are a lot of jaggies. Note the shadows on the poles and stuff...I think I've finally got the shadow maps lookin' good enough for the final product.

Tommorow I'm going to add support for triggers, I'm going to make it so you can set objectives on the cities, and I'm going to add all kinds of other stuff in there.

This editor will do wonders for the game, now I can easily create non-uniform cities for the game, without having to write rediculously complex algorithms to do the same thing.

Alright...I'll see if I can squeeze a few more hours of work in before I gotta go to sleep :-) I'm hoping to have the game finished within the next week or so....wish me luck with that!

- Dan
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so are there going to be any missions in this game?

or is it just multiplayer, FPS/RTS style gang combat?

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Howdy EDI...well the missions are all generated in real-time. There aren't going to be any scripted missions, with voiceovers, etc. I think GTA pretty much hit that on the head, and I don't even want to go there.

Besides...I think the world could do without another game that walks the player through a young gangbanger's rise to power via a series of scripted missions, each more difficult and tedious than the last...*yawn*.

You'll be able to receive missions in a sort of MMORPG way though. There won't be any specific voiceover/animation content created for each mission, or a campaign mode or anything like that.

You'll have to go collect items, extort businesses, expand territory, carry out hits on other gangs, etc. You'll receive those missions via cellphone when controlling a gangster, or you can give your own orders/missions to gangsters from the RTS view, and then complete them yourself with your gangsters, or let the AI handle it.

I suppose the missions are closely related to 'quests' in MMORPG games, but I don't like calling them quests :-)

- Dan

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If it makes you feel any better, I'm having trouble getting my heightmap game to generate good levels randomly, and it's 2D[grin]

Kick ass screens though, keep 'em coming, and welcome back!

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Welcome back man, I was missing your journal posts!

Everything looks like its coming together nicely. The city editor is amazing and will definitely add a different scope onto the player's experiences.

Keep up the motivating work

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Hey guys...yea I've been feeling empty without my daily visit to journal land :-) It feels good to be back lol.

Logging my progress in the journal really helps me to stay on track, and since I work alone I really need your opinions, so if you don't like the look of something...let me know!

- Dan

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... I'm hoping to have the game finished within the next week or so....wish me luck with that!


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Finally, it took you quite some time to post again! I like the editor and I agree with you, it can be crucial for the success of a game. Just make sure it is easy to use, that includes the camera handling (Mouse: panning, zooming, scrolling; keyboard: FPS controls)and shortcuts (switching through brushes, tools, etc).

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Yay - you're still alive!

Thats a pretty sweet looking editor [grin]

I'll probably never get time to, but I was thinking through some algorithms for automagic cityscape generation a while back. Is this what you were using before? Didn't work?

I figured that a set of algorithms to assign value to land followed up by a phase of buying by potential property owners would work quite well. Could all be expressed as a fairly simple set of rules.

If you can use properties of the map (e.g. flatness, elevation, locality to other features) to define value; rich people/companies get to pick first and will buy the better more expensive areas; poor people/companies get the crappy areas... rich people/companies are attracted to buying property nearer other rich people/companies. Industrial facilities prefer to be near arterial roads/railways/rivers...

That sort of thing... run it through a number of iterations and you should end up with a half decent city. I think [smile]

Keep up the good work!

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Long time no read ;)

Looking great man :D Game finished within a week? That would be pretty cool!


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Hey guys, thanks for the comments. The editor is already looking a LOT better than in these screenshots I'll have another update soon, probably later tonight.

Jack - Yup I've had some similar ideas for that type of stuff....the real problem comes in with the road placement...writing code that correctly places a grid of roads, then the 4 lane roads and has intersections in the correct places. It's nearly impossible once you factor in other things like houses, rivers, etc. It was becoming a real mess.

Gaheris - The map editor uses the same controls as the RTS view in the game so it supports all that stuff :-) zooming with middle mouse button, WASD movement, scrolling, panning, etc. I'm also planning on adding a freelook mode so you can fly around your cities, or maybe I could make a controllable helicopter...like in SimCopter...lol.

Aight...back to work :-)

- Dan

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