Dead ends and cul-de-sacs in town planning

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kamnet
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Dead ends and cul-de-sacs in town planning

Post by kamnet » 01 Sep 2019 13:04

So here I am, awake and bored at 5:30 AM when I stumble upon a video on town grids vs. cul-de-sacs.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9vDcfH03gs

In real life, I kinda hate cul-de-sacs, because in my experience it's usually a group of ugly houses in a sprawling subdivision that seems like a never-ending nightmare of groups of houses cut off from each other on poorly-maintained concrete slab roads. There's little to no interactivity, no convenient way to get from one area to the other without using a car, and even using cars it feels like a chore. I much prefer grids because while this usually does push more automobile traffic it also allows you more options to walk, bike, or implement public transportation. And you can get from A to B in as immediate or meandering of a manner as you wish.

And it got me to thinking about my own OpenTTD play. My habit for years has been to default to grid road layout. It's the easiest way to create maximum density for whatever mode of transport you're using in the game. But, I'm also a sandbox player mostly, and I try to implement aesthetics when I can. In most of my games my aesthetics are designing stations and their immediate surrounding areas because that's what we've mostly had access to. But that's going to be changing in the future for many of us since we now have RoadTypes/TramTypes which will give us new visual (and performance) options to implement. We've also have even more Objects than ever, and even a few new town building sets to play with.

While I do prefer grids, one cannot deny that using Original Roads or Better Roads offers nicer visual appeal, especially when paired with a town set like TTRS or Swedish Houses that makes use of building nice apartment/townhouse blocks in unique shapes. That especially works well when you want a nice looking town but you're not going to do a lot of town planning, and the town only exists for the purpose of one station on your train network. When you are interested in developing the aesthetics of a town and tapping into the resources it can have, Original Roads or Better Roads can get into your way.

One of the things that I'm going to look at in a future game is how to try to develop nice, visually-appealing towns built on a 3x3 grid, where some of the default roads will be replaced with rail or tram, and using dead end and cul-de-sac designs to create more eye-pleasing landscapes while still trying to maximize density.

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Re: Dead ends and cul-de-sacs in town planning

Post by jfs » 01 Sep 2019 13:29

I wonder if the visual appeal of towns could improve if the game supported 3x3 and 4x4 town buildings, perhaps along with generally increased station catchment areas, to allow for infrastructure to take proportionally less space on the map. I might have an idea on how to allow larger houses to be built and handled, the real issue would probably be getting art drawn.

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Re: Dead ends and cul-de-sacs in town planning

Post by kamnet » 01 Sep 2019 13:39

jfs wrote:
01 Sep 2019 13:29
I wonder if the visual appeal of towns could improve if the game supported 3x3 and 4x4 town buildings, perhaps along with generally increased station catchment areas, to allow for infrastructure to take proportionally less space on the map. I might have an idea on how to allow larger houses to be built and handled, the real issue would probably be getting art drawn.
This could definitely be an improvement. If you had a 3x3 block then you could design a group of buildings with buildings facing outward on two parallel roads, taking up 1.5 tiles and then a small, non-negotiable alley between them. Although now thinking about it one could also design eyecandy alley roads (one w/ pavement, one w/ grass) to simulate the effect as well. The benefit to either of these would be a reduction of using Objects (which, IIRC, you'll eventually hit a hard limit on being able to place) to simulate the effect.

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Re: Dead ends and cul-de-sacs in town planning

Post by L. Spooner Inc » 01 Sep 2019 18:20

What you need are megastructure arcologies, which we'll need to start constructing soon in the real world if there's any hope for survival. While giant square blocks the size of a city are perfectly viable, looking at proposed arcology shapes shows a tremendous variation from pyramids to hemispheres. It would make for an interesting aesthetic to have these begin replacing sprawling cities as time passes, both for the sake of aesthetics and to scale up realistic populations without needing to take up half the map.

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Re: Dead ends and cul-de-sacs in town planning

Post by acs121 » 01 Sep 2019 22:17

The street system that works the best stays "Improved" or "Original" - at least in OpenTTD, when you enable towns to build roads. Why ?

Because this road system is chaotic. It means you can't know where it will be going. You could say it's a bad thing. No. How many times did it happen with me that I calculated where the road will go and actually it's 1 tile further. I just hate it when that happens.
Also, imagine you want to build a very large station. You already get it : dead ends all over the place. Same thing with segregated roads, etc.

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Re: Dead ends and cul-de-sacs in town planning

Post by Alberth » 02 Sep 2019 04:48

jfs wrote:
01 Sep 2019 13:29
the real issue would probably be getting art drawn.
For a proof of concept, just use place holder art, eg a few ugly rectangular-ish shapes in 2 or 3 colours.

If it works, there are plenty of artists around here that can't wait to try it and make decent pixels.
Being a OpenTTD developer does not mean I know what I am doing.
Also, other OpenTTD developers may have different opinions.

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