The Road to Alpha, Week 20 - The Calm Before The Storm

Thanks to all the kind donators!


What I did

  • Ordered and partly installed The New PC™
    • Specs
      • Intel i7-4790K
      • NVIDIA Geforce GTX 780
      • 16GB RAM
      • 2x256GB SSD
      • 1TB HDD
    • First capture and encoding test successful:
      • ARMA III, Ultra Settings (most demanding game I came up with)
      • Full monitor capture at 1920x1200, 60FPS
      • h.264 'veryfast' preset, 10Mbit constant bitrate
      • Result: 60FPS maintained throughout the video
      • CPU usage between 40-60%
    • This update is the first one edited and rendered on the new PC!
      (You can't tell a difference, it was just faster for me)
  • Set up the Official Citybound Wiki
    • Self-hosted, forever ad-free
    • A couple of early helpers have already contributed content!
    • Might even be integrated directly into the game

What I will probably do next

  • Study more for my final exam
  • Maybe do another livestream on Saturday
  • Fall back to regular updates after next week, hopefully even regular livestreams!

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The First Livestream & Call for Donations

So yesterday I did my first development and Q&A livestream on Twitch ever.
It ended up taking 5 hours. It was one of the most fun things I ever did.

Thanks to everyone who joined, you were amazing!

If you missed it, you can theoretically watch the uncut recording of the whole thing, or just skip through it.

What we did

  • Implemented a first rough version of a pollution system
    • Factories create pollution when they are built
    • There is an animated pollution map that shows you the severity of pollution everywhere
    • Residential buildings won't be built in areas where pollution is too high
  • Answered lots of questions
    • Unfortunately, I won't have the time to summarize all the Q&A, but I won't mind answering the same questions again in the future. If something really gets asked again and again, I will add it to the FAQ.

I want to do this more often

My goal would be to do 2 livestreams a week, in addition to the regular weekly update video. In the update video I can then also adress the progress made in the streams in a compact way.

My final exam is getting closer and closer, so I don't know when I will be able to have a regular streaming schedule, until then everything will be pretty spontaneous - but I will keep you informed of course.

I need a better PC

Every component of my system is now a couple generations old. It was was barely able to do 720p30FPS livestream encoding and run the game at the same time, it was laggy as hell (at least on my end) - the CPU had a constant near-death experience and my humble 4GBs of RAM were more than used up at all times. Also (and this is kind of embarrassing), I didn't even have enough space on my hard disks left to do a local recording of the full stream.

In addition, my system is unpredictably unstable, I consider myself very lucky that it didn't freeze or BSOD during the stream, like it often does, especially when the weather is hot like it is now.
Case in point: My PC had a BSOD during my writing of this blog post, I had to start all over again.

I think you get the idea: In order to make high-quality streaming feasible, to speed up video editing and to improve my overall developer happiness, I need a better PC.

I can't really afford one right now, and people already suggested that I should ask for donations, but out of a false sense of humility, I didn't. But I really should:

If you have some spare money and you enjoy the content that I've been putting out, the best way to support me right would be a donation (even a small one!) that I can use to buy a new PC:

Update: I have received over $2000, this is enough, please stop donating :D Thank you very much!

Thank you, and see you soon!

The Road to Alpha, Week 18 - No Voice, No Problem

Finaaale, ooO-OOoh!


What I did

  • Improved the zoning system
    • Zones are more contrasted from each other
    • The zoning brush now hase a mode where it aligns to roads
    • Zones can now be painted anywhere
  • Implemented the savegame feature
    • Small savefiles, quick saving & loading
    • Can be used by mods as well and to store additional data in the savefile
    • Quicksave & Quickload functionality
  • Lost my voice cheering for Germany

What I will probably do next

  • Add multilane intersections and new traffic behaviour
  • Implement different building densities

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The Road to Alpha, Week 16 - Going Shopping

This topic makes me hungry...


What I did

  • Continued improving the new user interface for roads
  • Added shopping behaviour for citizens
    • citizens will try to get new groceries when food of their household is low
    • if possible, they try to as few trips as possible (for example on the way home from work)
  • Starting implementing savegames

What I will probably do next

  • add more behaviours for citizens, as well as shops, factories, farms and offices
  • allow agents to go to neighboring cities and get resources from there
  • continue implementing savegames

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The Road to Alpha, Week 15 - A Mixed Bag

No donation money was used for the cap...


What I did

  • Continued working on integrating the traffic simulation with the new road system
    • Car agents can now use the new roads
    • Pathfinding rewritten to work with road systems consisting of individual lanes
    • Many animations and traffic behaviours are still missing
    • Still lots of bugs in the underlying lane connections structure that have been uncovered by the agents
  • Got a MacBook Pro!
    • Started cross-platform testing & optimization
    • Full Retina resolution not really feasible
    • Added upscaling that lowers resolution of 3D graphics, but leaves the User Interface at full resolution

What I will probably do next

  • Fix bugs in the new road system
  • Make agents make more use of the new road system
  • Start working on gameplay again

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The Road to Alpha, Week 14 - Intermezzo & Design Goals

Experiencing temperature-related difficulties...


What I did

  • Started Integration of the new road system with existing systems
    • Procedural buildings already work with the new roads,
      but building shapes don't nicely adapt to curves yet
    • Started rewriting the traffic simulation, the code will be much cleaner thanks to the simpler architecture of the new road system, perhaps even performance will be better
  • Thought about realism and fun, the two main design goals in more concrete detail
    • "easy to learn, hard to master" will be achieved by making citizens forgiving when it comes to basic needs but hard to get completely satisfied.
    • The player should always be able to control difficulty by choosing their own set of challenges without constant fear of dramatic failure.
    • Easier said than done, but good to keep in mind

What I will probably do next

  • Continue integrating the traffic simulation and the new road system

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