Project Gemini

(22 October 2011)     Sadly, due to an irrecoverable hardware failure (and life being relatively busy), I have been forced to suspend all work on this region/project for an unknown amount of time. While I have chosen to leave this webpage up for reference, it is unlikely that it will be updated any time soon. Sorry for any inconveniences.

The whole project started out with me coming up with a good computer to run the program on. I've found in the past that SimCity 4 runs well on Windows XP computers (better than Windows 7 Ultimate, strangely). In any event, I now have a completely clean install of Windows XP Pro x64 sp1. My system specs for this devoted game computer are as follows, Dual Core AMD Opteron(tm) Processor 275, clocked at 2.21 Ghz, with 6.00 GB of RAM installed. NVIDIA GeForce 6200 TurboCache (tm) at 1440x900 px at 32 bit colors.

I'll skip the gory details of installing the game, instead taking this time to focus on what addons I'll be using in this region. First off, I'm a proud, firm supporter of Mr. Black and his wonderful utilities buildings. Non-polluting, cheap, small buildings are the way to go if you want to have a sprawling metropolis. Second, as much as I appreciate the original Maxis transportation networks, I'll be using the NAM in its latest edition, with default settings for everything. In addition, I'm a proponent of education, and what better way to educate than with cheap schools that yield the same results? La voilą, JENX schooling. Links follow.
Black Hole Water Works v2
Black Hole Waste Management v2
Black Hole Power Company v2
Network Addon Mod (NAM)
Shmails JENX Elementary School
Shmails JENX High School
Game installed, time to create a new region. I've given this one a lot of thought. Being a person drawn to both space and the sci-fi, I've decided upon the name Gemini. It has the word "gem" within it, and it allows me to use various other Zodiac signs as city names (Caprica comes to mind) ...and besides, it just seems so majestic. I drew up the plans for this region a little while ago, plotted out city sizes, and developed a general idea of what sort of development will be where. A new region, named Gemini, a config.bmp swap and several minutes worth of land elevation rendering leaves me with a rough sketch of the region.

The config.bmp was created in GIMP; the greyscale image is the product of a scanner and some GIMP-age as well. I used my user-created config.bmp to replace the regular config.bmp in "~\My Documents\SimCity 4\Regions\Gemini" to set up the city-size map. A use of "Ctrl+Shift+Alt+R" with the Gemini region loaded generates/renders the region. The addons go into the "\My Documents\SimCity 4\Plugins\" folder.

A little background to the region plans. I've always thought that the best place to have a region develop would be near the water, at the intersection of perhaps two or more landmasses, with some nice mountains somewhere in the design. I developed first the general layout of the land: a Y of water, opening into a larger body of water, with a delta. I then went in and added detail—coastlines, delta islands, mountains, a lake, a small island inset in the west river. A few copies of the chart allow me to figure out how large I want each of the various cities. It ends up being 14x14 kilometers, with a nice arrangement of large, medium, and small cities.

     2.22.11  –
Thanks to multiple computer crashes and an incredibly hectic school-musical season, I regret to say that I have not been able to keep up with this project—until now.  After tearing my tower apart, reseating the processors and the RAM and doing a nice thorough vacuum of all of the heat sinks, fans, and ventilation ports, I finally got my system running again.  The complete upgrade/date/whatever-it-is-they're-doing at simtropolis certainly didn't help my situation either.  I'll admit that I really haven't had enough time to be taking screenshots of every step in the process, but I do have a rather nice view of what cities I've started to grow thus far.

I'm going to operate here with the assumption that you (the reader) have a general understanding of how SimCity4 works and therefore skip most of the schipz about regions, city growth, pollution, and other such game mechanics.

You'll notice I started at the eastern side of the map with the city "Corsica", a name that lends itself greatly to Coruscant and the Latin verb coruscare: to glitter or sparkle.  This little plot of land is the city I plan to develop into the capitol commerce district of east of the river.  Since I took the screenshot, I have grown Corsica into a more populous city.   I will post a picture specific to the city in the near future (hopefully), most likely accompanying a short article on its various districts.

Tempsville and River City to the north of Corsica allow the burgeoning metropolis to merge gracefully into the farmland of Wieka and East Harbour.  Because more detailed pictures are to come, I'll stick to the theory behind these cities and their names for now.  I chose to name River City as such due to its close proximity the main river that splits the western mainland off from the east. Tempsville (pronounced tems-vil) is a sort of mix of the Thames river (in England) and the French "ville" for city or town.  Again the river exerted its influence on my mind during the naming process.

Any region (especially one populated by hundreds of thousands (soon to be millions)) needs its food.  One of the wonderful things about SimCity4 is that it allows you to create entire regions—not just cities—whose cities can be specialized.  Wieka and East Harbour (along with Traverston to the south) provide this necessity to the rest of the region for the time being.  Each town has its smaller residential and commercial district to provide the farms with workers and the necessities.  SimCity4 allows farms to be nearly any size; however, I have always preferred to see the checkerboard pattern from the regional view, so I generally choose to zone my farms into rather large-sized generally-rectangular shapes.

Wieka is actually pronounced wick-ee-uh.  I've determined that it was originally Wikea, but that whoever wrote up the first documents signing the township into existence switched the "e" and the "k" by accident.  Or something.  That name just sort of came into my head; the other, "East Harbour", came from it being the only plot of land (thus far) that touched water (voilą Harbour (because the British spelling is prettier)), and its location being to the east.

The name Traverston, for the expansive farmland and forest south of Corsica and north of Notron, is ultimately its root "traverse" in town-name form.  The two major commercial districts of the east (i.e. the aforementioned Corsica and Notron) are connected by this township that has a single railway and road running directly through its middle.  Farms sprang up around this road, and eventually a small residential and commercial area formed directly in the middle of the land.  Another residential district developed along the southern border, shared with Notron.  It is best to assume that this area acts as a sort of rural-suburb of Notron.

There's no hiding the fact that I'm an avid fan of Star Wars.  It's only fair that a few of my SimCity4 cities borrow their names and styles, therefore, from places etc. that have to do with Star Wars.  Coruscant, originally Notron, was an ecumenopolis (essentially meaning "city-planet") home to over 1 trillion sentient beings.  It is from this planet that the southern parts of Gemini-East are named.

As I continue to grow Gemini-East over the next few days, I fully intend to update this blog.  As I complete each of the individual cities, I will upload them to either simtropolis or some other third-party webiste for your viewing, downloading, improving, destroying... pleasure.

     .... more to come soon!

This webpage was last modified 16:22 10/22/2011 est.