View Full Version : City Map WIP

06-22-2012, 05:10 PM
This is just a new test map I'm working with. I used City Engine to randomly generate a city within the "confines" of the island coastline. The southern end of the bay (so the north-central area of the city) is composed mostly of skyscrapers, the surrounding area is then "divided" (going outwards in arcs) into "Parisian", "Venetian", and "vanilla suburban". That last label is my own, but it's pretty close. I didn't write up any of the CE code myself, it's all from the example projects and such, namely the City Wizard "textured city" rule file, and then the Paris and Venice rule files. I used an obstacle map but no terrain map, so the CE file doesn't actually display the hills I've added since generating the city.

This is really just a test of CE, and colors in PS (CS5). And of scale - I have the hardest time scaling things properly at this size. The original map is 20"x20"; this one is 5"x5".

No labels, no green or natural areas, and individual buildings can't be differentiated if they're set right up against each other (which is the case in most of the lots, where the buildings "circle" a central courtyard area). Although I like this map, I think the next one I work on will be a whole lot more custom and not relying so much on random generation.

06-23-2012, 01:48 AM
Still, I think it's cool how the buildings are all different shapes. It does seem to fill them in pretty tightly, though. It'll be interesting to see a comparison of the two methods you use.

06-24-2012, 01:03 AM
@ Janden - thanks for the feedback. With so many buildings, I may find that using the buildings generated and completely rearranging them will work better than actually going in and hand-drawing every single building.

The density is a little tight; it's supposed to be the expansion (or rather, the final expansion of several) from an originally rather small, fortified colony comprised originally of only magic-users. Over time, they're number dwindled and non-magic folk - sensitive to magic and not - started moving in and building up around the original town. Now that I have a coastline and a whole lotta buildings to work with (already set up in lots/blocks! yay!), I went in and created the terrain and outlined the different areas of the city. I think I'll outline the districts next, but as they're not walled (nothing was walled and no borders/boundaries were enforced after the initial village), they do sort of blend into each other. They're certainly not divided up by level of wealth or anything, although "type" does sort of determine district. My notes do indicate "wealth levels", but what will really matter more is "commercial", "residential", "heavy industrial", etc.


I have to clean up the river and canals, but just before the river police have my head: even the rivers have been shaped, to some extent, by the residents. Most of the "rivers" on the map are actually canals badly, and shakily, drawing in with the mouse while making notes about city "zoning". Even the river, except in the Deeps, has been shaped and re-directed. It does naturally stem from the temples' hill/mount (which is why it's the temple district), and it does naturally curve up towards the northeast because of the cliffs, but it the hills it now runs under were artificially created to keep the beasts in the Deeps away from the general population. The river runs through a cut-stone "pipe" shored up with steel; heavy iron grates, well-rusted shut, were buried in the rock at both ends of the passage, but some things still get in from time to time ...

#EDIT: I've got to ask - although I like the size of the island and the city, I'm not sure if it's a little big? I'm working at 20"x20" and 300 dpi, so when I zoom in to 100% and overlay a screen-grab of a Google map, the scale I got is the one on my map. I'm just not sure if it's a little ... too big? Or maybe it's pretty average or small, and working zoomed in is messing with me.

06-25-2012, 01:43 AM
Working with the buildings I generated in CE, I pulled them off the terrain map and color coded them. I based the colors on these old maps of London by Charles Booth (his maps, along with a corresponding modern map of London can be found here (http://booth.lse.ac.uk/cgi-bin/do.pl?sub=view_booth_and_barth&m.l=0&m.d.l=0&m.p.x=8795&m.p.y=6652&m.p.w=500&m.p.h=309&m.p.l=0&m.t.w=128&m.t.h=80&b.v.x=299&b.v.y=134&b.p.x=14975&b.p.y=8445&b.p.w=500&b.p.h=309&b.p.l=1&b.p.p.l=5); he mapped the poverty levels of London by literally going door-to-door in most cases, and talking to local clergy, and looking into tax records and such). Graven is more "modern" than Charles Booth's London (1800's, I think), but the basic wealth levels are still useable. Here's what I've got so far for the "ratio" of different wealth-levels, with the terrain map + notes next to it for reference, and the descriptions of each color listed.

Any feedback about the (apparent) number of buildings for a specific wealth level (for modern times) would be appreciated. I felt that low/mixed/"fairly comfortable" income would be highest, and middle/upper class would be smaller but, with the addition of "commercial" make up almost 1/2 of the buildings? I'm not really sure how accurate that is, though.


* NOTE: current placement of buildings is NOT the final placement! I'm just color-coding right now, and trying to figure out the "ratio" of very low/low/mixed/comfortable/middle/upper income buildings, and commercial buildings.

06-25-2012, 03:48 AM
Well, city engine seems quite an impressive piece of work!

06-25-2012, 06:17 AM
I have posted a colour scheme to the old Procedural forums here (http://forums.esri.com/cityengine/forum-61047.html#pid2727). Perhaps you find it useful or have ideas to improve it.
Good work so far kestrelgrey! I will watch this thread :)

06-27-2012, 01:14 AM
@ Lukc - CE is pretty impressive. About as impressive as the price-tag, unfortunately. I'm using the demo, which unfortunately doesn't include an export option (the paid version let's you export different objects from the CE project into a variety of formats from 3ds max to obj). I had to zoom in really close and screencap the entire city piece-by-piece, then paste each piece into my map and line up all the pieces. It would have been easier to export the city into obj, import it into Maya, and render a really high quality top view, but eh. It worked out all right.

@ Katto - that color scheme was really interesting and helpful! I took it and sort of fiddled with it, to work with my map. I did use your color choices for each different type of building (residential, commercial, offices, industrial, mixed - res/comm, mixed - res/office), but didn't reflect those colors onto the actual buildings on the right.

Here's a quick/minor update - I've "zoned" the map in preparation for placing buildings. The lighter the color, the less dense the area and more (likely to be) wealthy. The darker the color, the denser the buildings, and the more likely they are to be run down, abandoned, or otherwise poor. The colors of the buildings on the right don't reflect the colors on the actual island map, so here's the color scheme for the "zoning map" -
green = residential, blue = commercial, red = offices, pink = industrial, cyan = mixed, residential/office, yellow = mixed, residential/offices. Since it's a pretty big city, I just did a very rough pass on this and didn't worry about details. I just wanted to get the basic building types/density (/wealth levels) marked on the map before I start placing buildings. I may go in and make more detailed notes about central areas, key locations, landmarks, etc. which would indicate where main roads and major subway stations will be located.


P.S. - I didn't "zone" the temples hill area; I figure the entire hill is pretty much dedicated to temples, shrines, and their attendant gardens and green spaces. There will be temples in all the other areas as well, for the most part, but they're sort of "buried" into the surrounding blocks now (like Tokyo).