VFX Done, and More Detail

I did a little tweaking today, and managed to reduce the particle count for traffic on some shorter roads, which freed up some more processing time for the sprawl twinkling effect. I briefly tried using it on the whole map, but the twinkling was designed to look like distant fires and faltering lights, which didn't look as correct on a city grid as it did on a shanty town. So I left it just in the sprawl, and focused on two new effects for the grid.

The first new effect was hover vehicle fly-bys. The DMC has hover vehicles, so I wanted to show that somewhere. Not every urban citizen has a flying vehicle, mind you. In fact, few would be able to afford any vehicle at all, except for small personal items like bicycles, scooters, mopeds, and electric wagons/dollies. Those players who live in a city will find this to be no surprise, as vehicles are costly items in a jam-packed urban center.

However, there are some logical uses for hover vehicles, if one can afford them. Law enforcement is one case, as are paramedic and fire brigade use. Rapid transport of goods, shuttles, and the rich will also maintain flying transport. So I wanted to show that some level of air travel is going on.

The scale of the map is too small to see any vehicle detail, but one would probably still see running lights on passing vehicles, like with airplanes in the night sky. So I put together a medium brightness dot that blinks intermittently, and wrote some logic to have them criss-cross the screen at intervals.

I also did a second effect which uses the same blinking light effect, but the path is from the edge of the screen to one of the landing pads on the arcology. It waits there a while, before taking off and leaving the screen again. This just adds some variety to the traffic flow, and draws attention to the nature of air travel and buildings, which share some similarities with 1930's air travel, when tall buildings had landing decks and moorings for dirigibles.

Overall, the map looks pretty active, now. There's enough going on that the viewer's eye is caught, and once they start looking at the detail, more and more appears, giving an overall effect of a lively city (or so I hope!).

With those effects done, I turned my attention back to the city map detail, and the issue of ambiguity that Rochelle called out yesterday. In order to get a better idea of what's going on, I thought it would help to add some more familiar details for the eye to use as reference. One such detail is a football stadium, which is a feature most will recognize, and makes it easier to tell what scale the city is depicted at. I think a few more items like this would be ideal.

I also decided to fill in the arcology roof and power plant with more lit detail. The old version was pretty dark, and the viewer couldn't tell if they were looking at unlit parks, pits in the ground, or what. With more lighting and detail, it should be clearer that the arcology is actually a tall building with an open garden, pools, market, and more for its residents. And the power plant should really be beaming with light, like any other modern day plant.

That's where I'll pick up tomorrow. Provided the details are looking good enough, it'll soon be time to start picking out locales for shops, services, and maybe a quest or two within the city. Which will likely mean some thinking about currency/money, and some other tricky subjects. Always lots to do!

Have a good night, all, and see you tomorrow!