Improved Town Layouts

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Improved Town Layouts

Post by 2TallTyler »

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Default houses, new rules.

Downtowns defined by passenger service, sprawling suburbs, historic preservation, and more. Starts in 1700. Works with all base graphic sets.

Now on BaNaNaS. Source and a much nicer-looking Readme on GitHub.

Please let me know any bugs, feature requests, or comments here.

Overview
  • Visual improvements to building placement, zoning, and clustering, as early as 1700
  • Towns grow around your transit network. High-density residential and commercial buildings only appear where passenger and/or mail service is provided.
  • Office buildings need residential buildings to house their workers. Town sprawl is suburbs, not skyscrapers.
  • Landmark buildings and districts persist through decades and lend character to your city. When a landmark building is receiving cargo, it won’t disappear and break your network.
  • Expanded cargo deliveries with compatibility with most industry sets including FIRS: Deliver food and goods to shops and markets, alcohol to stadiums, and wood or coal to heat pre-1945 buildings.
  • Uses only base game sprites, so visually compatible with any base graphics set including original TTD, OpenGFX, aBase, zBase, and NightGFX.
Please read the full README on GitHub for full gameplay information. You can also read the changelog.
Last edited by 2TallTyler on 06 Jul 2020 02:41, edited 5 times in total.


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Re: Improved Town Layouts

Post by Monty_Montana »

Hi all

First of all, I would like to thank you for the enormous effort that has gone into this improvement. These are good ideas implemented to make towns and cities seem more organic, more realistic, which greatly improve the naïve mechanics of the vanilla game. Also, it introduces new mechanics to the game that are interesting and bring a point of freshness to that aspect of the game.

I have a question: can this set be used with TTRS (Total Town Replacement Set) or are they incompatible? I have loaded it into the game and it says it is incompatible with any house set, but to what extent? TTRS buildings look pretty good. It would be nice to be able to use the mechanics of this set with the buildings of the other set (as I understand that your NewGRF doesn't change the appearance of the buildings, other than combining those from different climates)

I would also like to know how this NewGRF can affect city growth scripts. If you can think of anything right away that would prevent you from using it, please let me know. Otherwise, it's all trial and error; nothing happens.

Finally, I have seen that houses until 1945 accept coal and/or wood as fuel, simulating heating. As a suggestion, I think that houses after that date (or maybe another more adjusted one) could also accept oil fuels simulating heating oil (this load exists in FIRS as "Petroleum Fuels" and has an equivalent in ECS).

Thanks in advance and sorry if I have drawn wrong conclusions. I have not had time yet to test the modification thoroughly.

Greetings,
Montana.

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Re: Improved Town Layouts

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Monty_Montana wrote:
05 May 2020 16:14
[C]an this set be used with TTRS (Total Town Replacement Set) or are they incompatible? I have loaded it into the game and it says it is incompatible with any house set, but to what extent? TTRS buildings look pretty good. It would be nice to be able to use the mechanics of this set with the buildings of the other set (as I understand that your NewGRF doesn't change the appearance of the buildings, other than combining those from different climates)
I don't know if TTRS replaces sprites or buildings, but assume it's the latter, which means they are most likely incompatible. Improved Town Layout is actually a house set, which just happens to use graphics from the base game. Each house has an ID and town sets which use the same house IDs will be incompatible.
Monty_Montana wrote:
05 May 2020 16:14
I would also like to know how this NewGRF can affect city growth scripts. If you can think of anything right away that would prevent you from using it, please let me know. Otherwise, it's all trial and error; nothing happens.
I added a hotfix this morning after someone on Reddit pointed out that some scripts require food or goods to be delivered to a town in order for it to grow. High-rise commercial buildings in this set only grow when passenger service is provided, creating a chicken-and-egg problem until I added a low-density shop which will appear in nearly every town to accept food and goods and allow town growth to begin. Test it with your favorite script and let me know any problems. :)
Monty_Montana wrote:
05 May 2020 16:14
Finally, I have seen that houses until 1945 accept coal and/or wood as fuel, simulating heating. As a suggestion, I think that houses after that date (or maybe another more adjusted one) could also accept oil fuels simulating heating oil (this load exists in FIRS as "Petroleum Fuels" and has an equivalent in ECS).
Great suggestion. I'll add it to the 1.02 release, which is already in the works to improve stadium generation.

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Re: Improved Town Layouts

Post by LaChupacabra »

The whole sounds great! And it looks great! Despite some problems, which I will list below, you have done an amazing job! :)

I really like the unchanging nature of the city landscape, that the buildings are not being replaced by every now and then - it's really nice.


After several tests, I noticed some not very favorable features or mistakes.

1. All towns look very similar when you start the game. Even in Cities there are no larger or characteristic buildings.
2. Earlier, the city center was almost the entire city - the suburbs hardly existed. Here, the center with large buildings remains small in the case of city development, and thus becomes disproportionate.
3. In the current version, the entire suburbs look the same. The development of infrastructure where inhabitants are transported is a very good solution, but with this arrangement, player doesn't deal strictly with transport services while building his lines, but the expansion of the city. He doesn't have to plan the line, adapt, just where he builds it, there will be more profitable houses. If there were some diversity it would be more interesting.
2,3 disproportionate center, monotonous suburbs.png
2,3 disproportionate center, monotonous suburbs.png (486.6 KiB) Viewed 2014 times
4. In arctic climates, larger buildings are placed in snowy areas than in those without snow. Other buildings seem to have been assigned to both areas or a different layout.
4 inhabitants needs snow.png
4 inhabitants needs snow.png (787.01 KiB) Viewed 2014 times
5. Also in the Arctic climate, in the suburbs, when the city is already large, "Shop and offices" buildings are being built everywhere
6. With the addition of OpenGFX + Landscape in "alpine" mode, buildings don't adapt their appearance - the height is taken into account, not the type of ground.
5,6 office attack and hot houses.jpg
5,6 office attack and hot houses.jpg (369.95 KiB) Viewed 2014 times
7. Acceptance of "all" loads by buildings is not always a good option. Sometimes, scenario assumptions using a script can be such that not every city should have a chance to develop fully. Then the lack of supply of some loads stops excessive development. The solution here would be an optional exclusion of acceptance of certain loads, including even goods and food. Then the possibility of supply would be determined by the presence of shops or other enterprises in the city. On the other hand, if they accept, they could also accept building materials. These, in turn, could have some impact on the development of the area, perhaps even greater than passenger transport.
8. The possibility of selling alcohol at stadiums is a quite controversial idea. ;) It doesn't matter for me and probably most people, but there are people who become very aggressive after drinking and therefore it is banned in most countries.
9. In temperate climates there are no markets in the suburbs.

I would have several suggestions for points 1,2 and 3. I don't know if they are definitely possible, but maybe they will be somehow useful. I will try to post them tomorrow.
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Re: Improved Town Layouts

Post by 2TallTyler »

Changes in 1.02:
  • Default houses are now overridden in all climates.
  • Added population requirements for stadiums
    • Old stadium has a minimum of 1,000 people
    • Modern stadium has a minimum of 10,000 people
    • Towns can now have both types of stadiums
  • Town buildings no longer accept ECS Tourists
    • This was improperly implemented and needs revision.
LaChupacabra wrote:
05 May 2020 21:46
1. All towns look very similar when you start the game. Even in Cities there are no larger or characteristic buildings.
3. In the current version, the entire suburbs look the same. The development of infrastructure where inhabitants are transported is a very good solution, but with this arrangement, player doesn't deal strictly with transport services while building his lines, but the expansion of the city. He doesn't have to plan the line, adapt, just where he builds it, there will be more profitable houses. If there were some diversity it would be more interesting.
These are features, not bugs. The idea is for the town to develop around your transport services. :) I'm not sure how to change this without undermining the goal of the project, but I welcome your suggestions.
LaChupacabra wrote:
05 May 2020 21:46
2. Earlier, the city center was almost the entire city - the suburbs hardly existed. Here, the center with large buildings remains small in the case of city development, and thus becomes disproportionate.
From the screenshot under 3, I suspect you may have gaps in your passenger transportation. Office buildings will only build within two tiles of another office building, on a tile in the catchment area of a station which received passengers last month. If you have a gap of more than one tile between catchment areas, office buildings can't "jump the gap."

Otherwise, pre-1945 office buildings need a residential population of 300 people per building, and post-1945 office buildings need 1,000 per building. Note that residential population is the sum of houses, town houses, and flats -- not the number next to the city name. But from your screenshot, it should be willing to build a lot more towers.
LaChupacabra wrote:
05 May 2020 21:46
4. In arctic climates, larger buildings are placed in snowy areas than in those without snow. Other buildings seem to have been assigned to both areas or a different layout.
5. Also in the Arctic climate, in the suburbs, when the city is already large, "Shop and offices" buildings are being built everywhere
6. With the addition of OpenGFX + Landscape in "alpine" mode, buildings don't adapt their appearance - the height is taken into account, not the type of ground.
The houses which aren't following the rules (or have snow sprites) are default houses, untouched by this NewGRF. I have now fixed this by overriding all default house IDs.
LaChupacabra wrote:
05 May 2020 21:46
7. Acceptance of "all" loads by buildings is not always a good option. Sometimes, scenario assumptions using a script can be such that not every city should have a chance to develop fully. Then the lack of supply of some loads stops excessive development. The solution here would be an optional exclusion of acceptance of certain loads, including even goods and food. Then the possibility of supply would be determined by the presence of shops or other enterprises in the city. On the other hand, if they accept, they could also accept building materials. These, in turn, could have some impact on the development of the area, perhaps even greater than passenger transport.
I'm not sure what you mean here. The single shop in nearly all towns is intended to circumvent the chicken-and-egg problem when a script requires goods to be delivered to a town, but the town has to grow before it accepts said cargo. I included many cargo options to maximize compatibility with scripts and industry NewGRFs.
LaChupacabra wrote:
05 May 2020 21:46
8. The possibility of selling alcohol at stadiums is a quite controversial idea. ;) It doesn't matter for me and probably most people, but there are people who become very aggressive after drinking and therefore it is banned in most countries.
I didn't know this. It's quite common in the United States for stadium concession stands to sell beer. If it bothers anyone I can add a parameter to remove alcohol from stadiums.
LaChupacabra wrote:
05 May 2020 21:46
9. In temperate climates there are no markets in the suburbs.
Which markets? The large 2x2 ones with glass roofs, or the 1-tile shops? I'm getting plenty of markets in my game.
LaChupacabra wrote:
05 May 2020 21:46
I would have several suggestions for points 1,2 and 3. I don't know if they are definitely possible, but maybe they will be somehow useful. I will try to post them tomorrow.
I welcome your suggestions! :)

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Re: Improved Town Layouts

Post by mak »

Interesting levitating building.
New game started (JGR 0.34.2) as experiment with GRf's shown.
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Re: Improved Town Layouts

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mak wrote:
06 May 2020 13:18
Interesting levitating building.
New game started (JGR 0.34.2) as experiment with GRf's shown.
I've been having trouble with that building flickering in TTD graphics. I'll have to troubleshoot. Thanks for the report.

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Re: Improved Town Layouts

Post by LaChupacabra »

I made one more attempt with version 1.0.1 and it is confirmed that the range of the station / passenger transport even in the whole city does not affect the size of the center with tall buildings.

1952 (the game started in 1950) - you can see the extension of the range of stations that are to serve an area of ​​67x67. Just in case I used the standard version of the game.
2 Total capture 1952.png
2 Total capture 1952.png (240.5 KiB) Viewed 1889 times
1959 - a small center appeared, but not quite in the central part of the city (very nice feature)
2 Total capture 1959.png
2 Total capture 1959.png (359.06 KiB) Viewed 1889 times
2024 - the city is large, it has 160 diameters; the center occupies a very small part despite the provision of transport over a much larger area.
2 Total capture 2024.png
2 Total capture 2024.png (398.48 KiB) Viewed 1889 times
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Re: Improved Town Layouts

Post by LaChupacabra »

Small request: Could you mark versions in addon names? Contrary to appearances, sometimes it is very important. Choosing the wrong version of the addon, especially when creating a scenario, can cause ... slight discomfort, writing gently. ;) ...and the loss of several hours of work, for example.
version.png
version.png (6.43 KiB) Viewed 1881 times
The marking may be any. v01 / 0.0.1. It is important to be consistent (which is not the rule among the available addons) and newer versions don't change the order of the others - the latest version should always be at the bottom. It's also good that the non-public / test versions are marked differently.
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Re: Improved Town Layouts

Post by 2TallTyler »

Interesting. I'll do some tests with similar settings and figure out why the large buildings aren't spreading more.
LaChupacabra wrote:
06 May 2020 13:47
Small request: Could you mark versions in addon names?
Sure, I can add this with the next release (as well as fixing my version number formatting).

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Re: Improved Town Layouts

Post by LaChupacabra »

2TallTyler wrote:
06 May 2020 14:07
Interesting. I'll do some tests with similar settings and figure out why the large buildings aren't spreading more.
Maybe it is also a matter of town growth speed. Maybe you chose the configuration for a slow and normal growth rate of towns - the life span of buildings does not change (?), they are exchanged at the same pace, but new buildings around the city are created at a completely different pace, which shows disproportions. I will describe ideas in the evening (I hope). For this moment, I've noticed other problems in the newer version 1.03 ...

Again the arctic climate
2TallTyler wrote:
06 May 2020 03:59
The houses which aren't following the rules (or have snow sprites) are default houses, untouched by this NewGRF. I have now fixed this by overriding all default house IDs.
But something went wrong... ;)

Without the OpenGFX + Landscape addition, the buildings in the snow have completely disappeared
4 no buildings on snow.png
4 no buildings on snow.png (670.43 KiB) Viewed 1817 times
With the addition of OpenGFX + Landscape, buildings have disappeared from areas with snow all year round. However. Where the snow lies in winter, buildings still don't use the winter version.
4,6 no buildings on snow (OpenGFX), hot houses.png
4,6 no buildings on snow (OpenGFX), hot houses.png (296.8 KiB) Viewed 1817 times
I think it's because you used the same buildings for all climates. And those from temperate climate don't have the winter version, which is probably required.
But even if you used the usual graphics as a winter version, it still will not look good - then new sprites with snow graphics will must have to draw in... or use other graphics.
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Re: Improved Town Layouts

Post by supermop »

I love the concept of this set, and while I haven't played it long enough to really see pronounced effects yet, I am really enjoying using it. I am curious how buildings are selected per climate as I am getting some mission / Moorish style churches in towns in a temperate 1930s game. Reusing buildings from other climates is a good idea to increase variety while using base set sprites, but in the case of Opengfx at least, the art style is kind of jarringly different.
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I am also curious as to which buildings count as unique.

Great work!

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Re: Improved Town Layouts

Post by alexperris »

First I want to say that I really love what you have done so far. Cities are looking a lot more realistic while using your mod. It isn't perfect yet but you're very much on the right track.
I'm also enjoying what you've done with limiting mail in the more junk mail fork. It especially works well with a 1700 start.
I have so many suggestions for you I don't even know where to start. You could, and I would really like you to, turn this into a historical development mod. You could chart the economic structural changes (in western cvilization) from the preindustrial period of the early 1700s through a possible proto-industrial period, into the industrial revolution and further to the post-industrial period and a theoretical age of automation. (I of course skipped over some really important periods and times of change mostly for length reasons.) The game could become about the player dealing with these changes while maintaining a profitable and efficient transport system and watching your actions having a profound affect on the towns and cities. All of these different ages and player actions could have a vast effect on the look, feel and structure of the cities.
I would really like to help you, in the limited way I can, to create this concept.

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Re: Improved Town Layouts

Post by 2TallTyler »

Thanks for the kind words, all!
supermop wrote:
11 May 2020 14:49
I am curious how buildings are selected per climate as I am getting some mission / Moorish style churches in towns in a temperate 1930s game. Reusing buildings from other climates is a good idea to increase variety while using base set sprites, but in the case of Opengfx at least, the art style is kind of jarringly different.
There is currently only one climate. The set is designed for temperate but overrides all base game buildings so it works identically in all climates. At this time I have no plans to add snow sprites, since that would break the default compatibility with all base graphics sets.

The Neo-Moorish church mirrors an architectural movement from about 1850 to the 1940s where many Middle Eastern-inspired buildings were built in American cities (and elsewhere). They're about as jarringly different from neighboring buildings in real life — for example, the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Theatres were common, as were synagogues and meeting halls of the fraternal organization the Shriners. I wouldn't mind repurposing the building as something besides a church (why is Christianity the only religion in OpenTTD?), but as the original TTD sprite (my base set of choice) has a cross atop the building, I'm a bit stuck there.
supermop wrote:
11 May 2020 14:49
I am also curious as to which buildings count as unique.
Unique buildings either:
A. Encourage specific transport provisions, such as a market which accepts food or a modern stadium with heavy passenger traffic
B. Are a visual landmark which create a neighborhood or notable scene in your city

Many unique buildings in this set fit both categories. Most are restricted to one per town, except Hotels and Spas. The list:
  • Old stadium
  • Modern stadium
  • Neo-Moorish church
  • Historic church (default temperate sprite)
  • Market
  • Hotel (temperate)
I'm adding a few more in the upcoming 1.1.0 release. Those marked * must be enabled in parameters since their sprites are used by base game or FIRS industries:
  • Museum
  • University (temperate bank)*
  • Courthouse (sub-arctic bank)*
  • Spa (sub-arctic hotel, used by FIRS)*
alexperris wrote:
12 May 2020 18:31
I have so many suggestions for you I don't even know where to start. You could, and I would really like you to, turn this into a historical development mod.
...
I would really like to help you, in the limited way I can, to create this concept.
I'd love to hear your ideas! I want to keep this NewGRF relatively focused to maintain compatibility with industry sets, gamescripts, and base graphics sets, but there's always room for cross-compatibility with other projects. I'm already planning a canalboat set to extend useful inland transportation before the steam locomotive and am thinking about an industry set which develops over time. If you think your ideas would derail this thread, feel free to write them up in a PM and we can brainstorm there!

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Re: Improved Town Layouts

Post by supermop »

2TallTyler wrote:
12 May 2020 19:27
The Neo-Moorish church mirrors an architectural movement from about 1850 to the 1940s where many Middle Eastern-inspired buildings were built in American cities (and elsewhere).
I'm pretty familiar with the architectural style, though I'll say it really had very different manifestations from place to place, and the mid 19th century examples really would be quite distinct from the 20s and 30's building that are more well known.. The sprite in game really is more of a southwest Spanish mission style than Moorish in my opinion. My point however, is not about the style of the architecture, but the pixel art style of the sprite itself. The church in question, as well as a white tropic warehouse that is used, have drastically different styles of window and wall textures, and fenestration well outside of the typical range of scales for the temperate building. This is likely a result of different artistic choices between the climates in OpenGFX.

Potentially other base sets that use more consistent artwork between climates would not have this problem (though they might have that church drawn completely differently). Some climate specific style choices could still be an issue, for example a choice to make tropic building look sun bleached and dusty versus prim English temperate cottages with thatched roofs.

Best,

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Re: Improved Town Layouts

Post by 2TallTyler »

Understood. It fits in better in original TTD graphics. Similarly, the sub-tropical warehouse looks like a dirty concrete warehouse and doesn't bother me.

I can add a parameter to enable/disable sub-tropical sprites in the upcoming update (which also fixes that glitch with the market roof).

Incidentally, do you know if there's a way for a NewGRF to detect the base graphics set being used?

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Re: Improved Town Layouts

Post by supermop »

Indeed the Foster sprites are great and have a good consistency of style. I don't mean to disparage the OpenGFX work - I actually love a lot of the sprites and choices - but there is a big discrepancy between climates.

I was pretty sure you could test for the current base set (you can check for other NewGRFS..) but I cannot find anything in the NML docs. Possibly there could be a desync issue with a switch that tests for base set as different clients in MP can have different basesets loaded.

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Re: Improved Town Layouts

Post by Andrew350 »

2TallTyler wrote:
13 May 2020 12:24
Incidentally, do you know if there's a way for a NewGRF to detect the base graphics set being used?
supermop wrote:
13 May 2020 13:58
I was pretty sure you could test for the current base set (you can check for other NewGRFS..)...
Indeed you can check for base sets, in basically the same way you check for other NewGRFs. I gave a sort of explanation at the bottom of this post under "NewGRF News". But basically, you just need to know the GRFID of the "xxx_extra" file of the base graphics set(s) you want to check for, and either do something similar to what I did in the example above or use your own solution. :)

I honestly don't know if there's a desync risk with this, but as long as you only change graphics I would think it's unlikely there would be an issue. Let me know if you need any help with this :)

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