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Creating a city

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I doubt anyone here can tell you how to design an entire city without an extensive amount of explanation and assumption. For starters, I'm not exactly sure what you're asking here. Are you asking about:

A) How buildings should look (I.E. What kind of architecture style they fall under).

B) What kind of buildings you would find and in what quantities would you find said buildings. Also where would you find said buildings.

 

If you're looking for something related to A (architecture styles), I'd recommend looking up examples of Western Gothic architecture (and what composes it) and also American Brutalist architecture. They are the styles that have the motifs closest to what you'll see in Gotham/Sin City. 

 

If you're looking for something related to B, just look at any map of a modern city in America. You could make your own map of the city you want to create based off any map you happen to find. 

 

My apologies if this seems vague, but if you don't have any starting ideas or prototypes, there's not much I can work off of.

Edited by ChriHK

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Well, every city has to have things like a town hall, a police station, a fire station, a court house, a bank, a grocery store, a department store, etc.  While a real city would have several of these, for story reasons you may want your city to have fewer.  But try making a list of things all cities have, it's a good pace to start.

 

Then you can make a second list, interesting things that some cities have.  A central park with a fountain and statues?  A skate park?  An ethnic neighborhood for ethnicity X, Y, Z, etc.?  A train or subway system?  A river with a hydroelectric dam?  A nuclear plant?  A big factory?  The city basically exists to be the setting for your story/stories and gameplay, so If you want to have, say, parkour or skateboarding gameplay, you have to have buildings suited to that.  If you want to have high-speed car chases then you want to have different types of roads and offroad terrain, and different locations where different types of vehicles would logically be found.  If you want to have flying gameplay, then you don't want to have just an empty sky, so you might want super-skyscrapers or bridges between skyscrapers, and some blimps wandering around getting in the way, plus seagulls near the coast.  What kinds of settings and props do you want people to be able to explore and play with in your city?

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Well, every city has to have things like a town hall, a police station, a fire station, a court house, a bank, a grocery store, a department store, etc.  While a real city would have several of these, for story reasons you may want your city to have fewer.  But try making a list of things all cities have, it's a good pace to start.

 

Then you can make a second list, interesting things that some cities have.  A central park with a fountain and statues?  A skate park?  An ethnic neighborhood for ethnicity X, Y, Z, etc.?  A train or subway system?  A river with a hydroelectric dam?  A nuclear plant?  A big factory?  The city basically exists to be the setting for your story/stories and gameplay, so If you want to have, say, parkour or skateboarding gameplay, you have to have buildings suited to that.  If you want to have high-speed car chases then you want to have different types of roads and offroad terrain, and different locations where different types of vehicles would logically be found.  If you want to have flying gameplay, then you don't want to have just an empty sky, so you might want super-skyscrapers or bridges between skyscrapers, and some blimps wandering around getting in the way, plus seagulls near the coast.  What kinds of settings and props do you want people to be able to explore and play with in your city?

It's a open world sandbox rpg kinda game but with life sim elements and the type of setting is think like GTA, sin city, gotham so think corrupt officials and cops and big criminal organizations aswell as smaller gangs

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Well, every city has to have things like a town hall, a police station, a fire station, a court house, a bank, a grocery store, a department store, etc.  While a real city would have several of these, for story reasons you may want your city to have fewer.  But try making a list of things all cities have, it's a good pace to start.

 

Then you can make a second list, interesting things that some cities have.  A central park with a fountain and statues?  A skate park?  An ethnic neighborhood for ethnicity X, Y, Z, etc.?  A train or subway system?  A river with a hydroelectric dam?  A nuclear plant?  A big factory?  The city basically exists to be the setting for your story/stories and gameplay, so If you want to have, say, parkour or skateboarding gameplay, you have to have buildings suited to that.  If you want to have high-speed car chases then you want to have different types of roads and offroad terrain, and different locations where different types of vehicles would logically be found.  If you want to have flying gameplay, then you don't want to have just an empty sky, so you might want super-skyscrapers or bridges between skyscrapers, and some blimps wandering around getting in the way, plus seagulls near the coast.  What kinds of settings and props do you want people to be able to explore and play with in your city?

It's a open world sandbox rpg kinda game but with life sim elements and the type of setting is think like GTA, sin city, gotham so think corrupt officials and cops and big criminal organizations aswell as smaller gangs

 

 

Aha, I thought it was going to be a GTA-type.  I believe that with GTA they thought about all the different tracks in a racing game, or that you could build with hotwheels track pieces and other toys.  Then they arranged all these roads and other track types to make the "circulatory system" of the city.  As with real cities, they had to put the downtown type roads in a downtown area, and the rural dirt roads and mountain trails toward the outer edges, and the beach and bridge tracks by water.  They also knew they wanted lots of robbable places like 7-11s scattered evenly around the map, and the same with car fixing and remodeling garages, so they placed those.  A lot of it is just common sense, until you get to the part where you want to create unique bad guy factions and specific quests.

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How can I go about creating a modern city with a sort of Gotham/Sin City type vibe but on the west coat and does anyone have any ideas?

Well, every city has to have things like a town hall, a police station, a fire station, a court house, a bank, a grocery store, a department store, etc.  While a real city would have several of these, for story reasons you may want your city to have fewer.  But try making a list of things all cities have, it's a good pace to start.
Then you can make a second list, interesting things that some cities have.  A central park with a fountain and statues?  A skate park?  An ethnic neighborhood for ethnicity X, Y, Z, etc.?  A train or subway system?  A river with a hydroelectric dam?  A nuclear plant?  A big factory?  The city basically exists to be the setting for your story/stories and gameplay, so If you want to have, say, parkour or skateboarding gameplay, you have to have buildings suited to that.  If you want to have high-speed car chases then you want to have different types of roads and offroad terrain, and different locations where different types of vehicles would logically be found.  If you want to have flying gameplay, then you don't want to have just an empty sky, so you might want super-skyscrapers or bridges between skyscrapers, and some blimps wandering around getting in the way, plus seagulls near the coast.  What kinds of settings and props do you want people to be able to explore and play with in your city?

It's a open world sandbox rpg kinda game but with life sim elements and the type of setting is think like GTA, sin city, gotham so think corrupt officials and cops and big criminal organizations aswell as smaller gangs


As suggested above, just figure out what kind of things you want the city to have.
My suggestion is that you have buildings that support the gameplay and the theme.
If there's a lot of vice and sin in your city, then you need casinos, back-room
gambling, payday lenders, massage parlors, bars, strip joints, and mob boss homes
and mob boss offices. You don't really need hotels, travel agencies, barber shops, beauty parlors,
grocery stores, plumbers, surfboard shops, and lots of other things that your game
would not require since you're making a sinful vice city.

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How can I go about creating a modern city with a sort of Gotham/Sin City type vibe but on the west coat and does anyone have any ideas?

 

Well, every city has to have things like a town hall, a police station, a fire station, a court house, a bank, a grocery store, a department store, etc.  While a real city would have several of these, for story reasons you may want your city to have fewer.  But try making a list of things all cities have, it's a good pace to start.
Then you can make a second list, interesting things that some cities have.  A central park with a fountain and statues?  A skate park?  An ethnic neighborhood for ethnicity X, Y, Z, etc.?  A train or subway system?  A river with a hydroelectric dam?  A nuclear plant?  A big factory?  The city basically exists to be the setting for your story/stories and gameplay, so If you want to have, say, parkour or skateboarding gameplay, you have to have buildings suited to that.  If you want to have high-speed car chases then you want to have different types of roads and offroad terrain, and different locations where different types of vehicles would logically be found.  If you want to have flying gameplay, then you don't want to have just an empty sky, so you might want super-skyscrapers or bridges between skyscrapers, and some blimps wandering around getting in the way, plus seagulls near the coast.  What kinds of settings and props do you want people to be able to explore and play with in your city?

It's a open world sandbox rpg kinda game but with life sim elements and the type of setting is think like GTA, sin city, gotham so think corrupt officials and cops and big criminal organizations aswell as smaller gangs

 


As suggested above, just figure out what kind of things you want the city to have.
My suggestion is that you have buildings that support the gameplay and the theme.
If there's a lot of vice and sin in your city, then you need casinos, back-room
gambling, payday lenders, massage parlors, bars, strip joints, and mob boss homes
and mob boss offices. You don't really need hotels, travel agencies, barber shops, beauty parlors,
grocery stores, plumbers, surfboard shops, and lots of other things that your game
would not require since you're making a sinful vice city.

 

a lot of the barber shops, beauty parlors etc are for customizing your character beyond the first screen and then grocery store is for the life sim element

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a lot of the barber shops, beauty parlors etc are for customizing your character beyond the first screen and then grocery store is for the life sim element


Okay, then put those on your list.

 

i got like a list but my issue is kinda creating boroughs and then putting districts in them and deciding which buildings should go where

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I would suggest approaching this as an organic problem solving task, and start with an empty trial landscape.

 

Build tools within your code base to let you 'paint things' while moving around in a stripped down version of your final project. Begin at a starting point, and expand out from there with various tasks in hand. 

 

Take up your list of buildings and interaction types you want within your game, and then work through that list while trying to think as a player in various situations.

- You're at your 'house' or starting point, and now you want to get to the supermarket. Start traveling and laying down road markers, then place your supermarket somewhere that feels good. 

- Where do you go from supermarket? Maybe you'll go find some other store, or an objective site. Look around your world, and decide where to put it. 

- Keep things flexible. Keep moving around and placing 'sites of interest', and then modify roads to be more interesting but logical. 

- Start to build up districts. Find things that don't work or feel awkward, and fix them. 

 

Keep going over things and build up your world over time. Probably best to keep things as fairly vague placeholder building designs. Simple boxes with signs. Maybe build a tool to let you 'sketch' designs onto a texture in real time if you want to be able to have distinct and custom buildings. Fill in other spots with more generic buildings that can be churned out with minor adjustments. 

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I would suggest approaching this as an organic problem solving task, and start with an empty trial landscape.

 

Build tools within your code base to let you 'paint things' while moving around in a stripped down version of your final project. Begin at a starting point, and expand out from there with various tasks in hand. 

 

Take up your list of buildings and interaction types you want within your game, and then work through that list while trying to think as a player in various situations.

- You're at your 'house' or starting point, and now you want to get to the supermarket. Start traveling and laying down road markers, then place your supermarket somewhere that feels good. 

- Where do you go from supermarket? Maybe you'll go find some other store, or an objective site. Look around your world, and decide where to put it. 

- Keep things flexible. Keep moving around and placing 'sites of interest', and then modify roads to be more interesting but logical. 

- Start to build up districts. Find things that don't work or feel awkward, and fix them. 

 

Keep going over things and build up your world over time. Probably best to keep things as fairly vague placeholder building designs. Simple boxes with signs. Maybe build a tool to let you 'sketch' designs onto a texture in real time if you want to be able to have distinct and custom buildings. Fill in other spots with more generic buildings that can be churned out with minor adjustments. 

All I've fully decided on for the starting point is when you first enter the city your character is staying with his/her sister and the apartment block is in a area that it's not the poorest area of the city but still has its crime, unemployment etc

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i got like a list but my issue is kinda creating boroughs and then putting districts in them and deciding which buildings should go where

Creativity is MADE out of a zilion small decisions where there's no clear reason to decide one way or the other.  That's why it can be emotionally exhausting to do creative work, and why it's often better to have teammates to share this part of the work with.  But you pretty much have to do it and get it over with.  If it help, you can decide that your city as a whole should have some interesting shape, which can double as a logo for your game.  The challenge of fitting stuff into that shape will actually make it easier to place things.

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Create a simple procedural generator to build a city.

The city will look like arse and make little logical sense but this is where you get someone with artistic talent to dive in and tidy it up and add character and design choices.

A lot of the design choices are influenced by the missions in your game, if you look at gta or fallout near enough every location has a reason to exist, details that relate to missions.

I suggest creating the missions and character back story before tidying up the procgen as they will heavily influence the design.

Hope this helps!

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Create a simple procedural generator to build a city.

The city will look like arse and make little logical sense but this is where you get someone with artistic talent to dive in and tidy it up and add character and design choices.

A lot of the design choices are influenced by the missions in your game, if you look at gta or fallout near enough every location has a reason to exist, details that relate to missions.

I suggest creating the missions and character back story before tidying up the procgen as they will heavily influence the design.

Hope this helps!

procedural generator?

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Yes, procedural generator. Create a program which outputs a random city using some defined rules such as "no residential areas near industrial" and "roads follow a grid layout". Those rules are defined by you, but it takes the leg work out of filling the map at the start.

Note that a really good procedural generator could probably make a playable city straight away but that would take an extremely long time to code and test.

Hope this helps!

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Yes, procedural generator. Create a program which outputs a random city using some defined rules such as "no residential areas near industrial" and "roads follow a grid layout". Those rules are defined by you, but it takes the leg work out of filling the map at the start.

Note that a really good procedural generator could probably make a playable city straight away but that would take an extremely long time to code and test.

Hope this helps!

not quite sure how to make a procedural generator but i'll look into it

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Yes, procedural generator. Create a program which outputs a random city using some defined rules such as "no residential areas near industrial" and "roads follow a grid layout". Those rules are defined by you, but it takes the leg work out of filling the map at the start.

Note that a really good procedural generator could probably make a playable city straight away but that would take an extremely long time to code and test.

Hope this helps!

not quite sure how to make a procedural generator but i'll look into it

 

i can't find how to do it

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The idea behind a procedural generation system is that you input a bit of data, and it spits back a more complex dataset that was 'grown' in a logical manner according to defined rules. 

 

A simplified programming challenge to think about for this would be something like "From a starting point, draw a random line, between a defined min and max length, at a min/max angle offset from the previous line (if any), and stop if the point falls outside of a boundary box."

 

However I feel that [i]starting[/i] from a procedural generation stand point for a [i]city[/i] is a very awkward and difficult way to go about building a game world. Starting with a procedurally generated terrain to begin building your city is a good starting point. You would then start adding 'key points' and roads connecting things. Once you have a 'core frame work', then a procedural 'in fill' function to add in all the extra things can be extremely valuable.

 

You shouldn't be spending time placing street lights, signs, or fire hydrants ideally, but rather build a system to populate those things for you. 

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The idea behind a procedural generation system is that you input a bit of data, and it spits back a more complex dataset that was 'grown' in a logical manner according to defined rules. 

 

A simplified programming challenge to think about for this would be something like "From a starting point, draw a random line, between a defined min and max length, at a min/max angle offset from the previous line (if any), and stop if the point falls outside of a boundary box."

 

However I feel that starting from a procedural generation stand point for a city is a very awkward and difficult way to go about building a game world. Starting with a procedurally generated terrain to begin building your city is a good starting point. You would then start adding 'key points' and roads connecting things. Once you have a 'core frame work', then a procedural 'in fill' function to add in all the extra things can be extremely valuable.

 

You shouldn't be spending time placing street lights, signs, or fire hydrants ideally, but rather build a system to populate those things for you. 

where do i input the data? i'm confused

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It sounds to me like you're in the early planning stages and you don't really need a procedurally generated city. Maybe just start simple by drawing out a city map on paper or a paint program so you can get a bit of an idea of what you want in the way of important buildings, character's homes, geographical characteristics, where things appear in relation to each other, and maybe a general street plan. When you have everything that you need planned in general, then you can start asking about what the best way might be to create a 3D representation of your map.

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You might want to familiarize yourself with  Art Deco architecture

 

(has 800 pages of pictures of art deco from around the world)

 

and for the big city  aspect   :  look into how LA Noire did their cityscape  (a mix of unique landmarks and street layouts with alot of generic filler)

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It sounds to me like you're in the early planning stages and you don't really need a procedurally generated city. Maybe just start simple by drawing out a city map on paper or a paint program so you can get a bit of an idea of what you want in the way of important buildings, character's homes, geographical characteristics, where things appear in relation to each other, and maybe a general street plan. When you have everything that you need planned in general, then you can start asking about what the best way might be to create a 3D representation of your map.

the game is in rpg maker vx ace so it's 2d and tile based

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