The problems with day-night cycles, rush hour traffic, passage of time, etc.

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raresteak

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Jan 21, 2015
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Preface:
I want to see day-night cycles, and vehicle and pedestrian traffic that is dynamic over the passage of every in-game day. This was one of the things I appreciated that Simcity 2013 tried to do, which to some extent, they succeeded. If implemented to C:SL, it should also open up a straightforward opportunity to implement seasonal cycles in the future.

There are, however, some drawbacks, besides more work for the devs, of featuring those things. I've thought of some possible solutions to two of the main problems that I believe will arise with the implementation of those features. Feel free to add to the topic, be it more problems or more solutions, and I'll try to add them to my original post where appropriate.


-


Problem 1: Traffic Congestion
In Simcity 2013, when it reached a certain time, for example, 8:00am, every single worker and student left their residential buildings at the same time. The roads go from nearly empty, to filled up completely, almost immediately.

Consequences:
- Agents don't get to their destinations on time
- Commercial/Industrial buildings don't get enough workers on time
- Students don't get to school on time
- Chain of events that negatively impact, or ruin, your city

Possible solutions:
- Solution 1: An obvious solution is to make the game time slower. In SC2013, I think 1 game minute = 1 real second: a ratio of 1:60. Reducing that ratio to 1:30 would have probably done wonders for SC2013. If C:SL's agents are significantly smarter than SC2013's, I think a 1:30 real-time:game-time ratio will work very well, even with maps of much larger distances (up to 10km a side instead of 2km).
- Solution 2: Different and flexible working hours and schooling hours. Universities in SC2013 did this to some extent with classes every 3 hours (4 classes a day?). Why not apply this to workers in C:SL too? For example, spread it uniformly between 7:30am, 8:00am, 8:30am, 9:00am. You now have 4 different batches of workers leaving their homes at different times. Traffic congestion is reduced by 4 times. I'd like to see evening and night shifts as well. Emergency workers (police/fire dept/EMT) have to cover shifts throughout 24 hours.

-

Problem 2: Passage of (long-term) Time
The twitch stream showed a city in 2033. If we assume starting from 2015, that's 18 years. I've timed 1 day in C:SL to be very close to 9.70 seconds real-time. That makes 1 year (9.7*365) 3540.5 seconds, or 59 minutes and 0.5 seconds.

Let's round that up to 1 year in-game = 1 hour real-time. That 18 year savegame on the twitch stream is about 18 hours time played, if played without pausing and constantly on the slowest speed.

Now, what if we followed a 1:30 real-time:game-time ratio? Every in-game day, in real-time, would be (24 hours/30) 0.8 hours, or 48 minutes.

Consequences:
- 1 year in-game, would take (0.8 hours * 365) 292 hours real-time (without pausing and on the slowest speed).
- In C:SL, Cims progress with age, in education, homes, jobs (career?), marriage, family, etc. You won't get to see this effect noticeably if 1 year takes 292 hours.

Possible solutions:
- Solution 1: In SC2013, 1 day was 24 minutes long (1:60). However, instead of having 365 days in 1 year, 1 day represented 1 month. 12 months made 1 year. This means 12 days made 1 year in SC2013. 1 year in SC2013, in real-time, was therefore (24 minutes * 12) 288 minutes long, or 4 hours and 48 minutes. If C:SL followed that, but with a 1:30 real-time:game-time speed, 1 year would take 9 hours and 36 minutes real-time. Still pretty long, which brings me to Solution 2.
- Solution 2: Let players set up how many days make 1 year in the Game Settings. Personally, I don't mind 1 year taking 9.6 hours real-time. However, others may want it faster, or even slower. Give us some options, for example, from slowest to fastest: 48 days = 1 year (4 days/month), 12 days = 1 year (1 day/month), 4 days = 1 year (1 day/season). With those 3 examples, players have options of 1 year taking 28.8 hours, 9.6 hours, or 2.4 hours. I think that should cater to most of the players' range of preferences. Even better is if this setting can be adjusted with 1 (or more) slider(s).


-


What do you, the community, think?
Do these "problems" I brought up matter to you? Would they have an effect on how much you'd enjoy C:SL? Would the inclusion of day-night cycles, dynamic city (vehicular and pedestrian) traffic make C:SL a better game to you? What about the potential for seasonal cycles? Or do you prefer the passage of time as it is in the present build of C:SL, with no dynamic time of day that affect the schedules, behaviour and movement of every Cim?

Once again, do post up what other problems and solutions you have in mind and I'll try to add them to this post. I would also like to hear what the devs think about this. Do they (C:SL devs) not think that SC2013 got this aspect of their game right, at least in concept?

Lastly, does anyone think that CO's foundation for C:SL in this aspect, of passage of time, could be already too firmly planted, that changes as fundamental (and possibly radical) as these, would be too profound to be implemented?
 
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charlesnew

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Well, for the first section, I don't think it will be that big of a deal. In SC5, the agents went looking for workers everyday. In CSL, every person has their own job/school already, so that means you can solve this by just making the workers come out of their homes at random times from 6am-9am. I don't think Cities in Motion 2 (or 1) had this problem, so I think CO will know what and how to do it.
 

Rodrico Stak

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There's certainly no way it'd be in for release, but I'd be surprised if it wasn't added later in DLC. That said, I have to wonder, why have the day/night cycle associated with the number of days that pass at all? I know it sounds a bit strange to say, but many of these problems could be avoided by having the day/night cycle progress at a speed unrelated to the number of days that pass. SC4 did that with its day/night cycle, and it worked well.
 

citysimplayer

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I to want to see a day/night cycle (not necessarily light/darkness) that will drive a rush hour effect. I have been posting about this topic since I joined the forum. I haven't thought about the specifics of how a day is calculated like yourself. I will take anything that works and makes the game playable. I think rush hour is a big part of the challenge of the game. To set your city up in a way that rush hour traffic can be managed appropriately (like any real city has to consider). I realize some people who play these types of games could care less if there is a rush hour or not.

I think your options on passage of time are interesting. How doable they are is another story. One fear I have is that the foundation of the game is too firmly planted as you mention. Rush hour could break the game. I hope that is not the case but then why wouldn't that have been part of the game at launch? Its possible there were just too many other technical hurdles they needed to work on first. Time will tell.

I did pre-order the game because the game looks decent enough (and better than simcity2013 simulation wise) there should be some enjoyment value without rush hour (at least for a while). I'm hoping that shortly after launch they are able to implement rush hour (assuming it can be implemented).
 

charlesnew

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There's certainly no way it'd be in for release, but I'd be surprised if it wasn't added later in DLC. That said, I have to wonder, why have the day/night cycle associated with the number of days that pass at all? I know it sounds a bit strange to say, but many of these problems could be avoided by having the day/night cycle progress at a speed unrelated to the number of days that pass. SC4 did that with its day/night cycle, and it worked well.

Yeah, and maybe they shouldn't be days but minutes or something, just so it makes sense.
 

raresteak

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Jan 21, 2015
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There's certainly no way it'd be in for release, but I'd be surprised if it wasn't added later in DLC. That said, I have to wonder, why have the day/night cycle associated with the number of days that pass at all? I know it sounds a bit strange to say, but many of these problems could be avoided by having the day/night cycle progress at a speed unrelated to the number of days that pass. SC4 did that with its day/night cycle, and it worked well.

Well, Cims in C:SL age and progress through life, so I figured that's going to a major feature unique to C:SL, and for that, shouldn't we need a clear distinction of the passage of time for days, months and years?

I don't know if something more abstract could work, but if you could elaborate on what you mean, it could turn out to be a better solution.
 

zorkman

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If as the OP says the average day takes around 10 seconds there is no point in having day/night cycles, as they would only be cosmetic & frankly pointless. If the days were considerably longer, I could understand it more & would add to the game, but if this was to happen your city would take an age to grow & your sims to age. I never really liked the night cycles in previous city builders, so am certainly not devastated that they wont be in the game.
 

citysimplayer

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If as the OP says the average day takes around 10 seconds there is no point in having day/night cycles, as they would only be cosmetic & frankly pointless. If the days were considerably longer, I could understand it more & would add to the game, but if this was to happen your city would take an age to grow & your sims to age. I never really liked the night cycles in previous city builders, so am certainly not devastated that they wont be in the game.

I think day/night cycle is simply a way to describe a schedule in which the agents operate on that would simulate real life (abstractly of course). I think you can have a day cycle that is independent of a life cycle similar to sc4 and sc2013.
 

KR153

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Aug 15, 2014
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The way they created this game makes it hard for me to believe we will ever get one. A real shame, to me it is among the essential things, although we won´t get a considerable mass of people to get this going.
Let´s see how long it takes for people to get bored by eternal sunshine.
 

zorkman

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I think day/night cycle is simply a way to describe a schedule in which the agents operate on that would simulate real life (abstractly of course). I think you can have a day cycle that is independent of a life cycle similar to sc4 and sc2013.

As long as I have an option to turn it off, I am happy for them to introduce this later.
 

kissof

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Feb 13, 2015
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i think it's easy to overcome that,
simply make the day time longer.

i don't mind waiting 1 hour or 2 hours before the night arrives at low speed, as long as there is night i can wait hours....

so no reason to not put it in....
 

iMarvin

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i think it's easy to overcome that,
simply make the day time longer.

i don't mind waiting 1 hour or 2 hours before the night arrives at low speed, as long as there is night i can wait hours....

so no reason to not put it in....

Same. And there's always the fast forward button to press if someone doesn't want to wait.
 

zorkman

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i think it's easy to overcome that,
simply make the day time longer.

i don't mind waiting 1 hour or 2 hours before the night arrives at low speed, as long as there is night i can wait hours....

so no reason to not put it in....

That is what I said. The trouble is if you did this your sims would hardly age even if playing for 100's of hours. I suppose it depends on what is most important, building a city or looking after your simulated citizens. The best option is to give people the choice of how they want to play.
 

Grockefeller

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Mar 19, 2012
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And what about two level of time. Like in Simcity 4. Let's say you're city is moving fast with a day every 2-3 seconds, things are constructed and evolve fast and a lower level where it takes maybe 24 minutes to spend a day, the simulation for cim to organize their daily routine.
 

citysimplayer

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Why cant the building spawn/sim life span/tax collection be on a different tick than the day. Example:

Building spawn/sim life span/tax collection: 10 sec=1 day (just as the game is right now)
Day Cycle: 10 sec (or whatever makes sense) = 1 hour (thus allowing for a rush hour)
 
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xone_lai

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Feb 12, 2015
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If as the OP says the average day takes around 10 seconds there is no point in having day/night cycles, as they would only be cosmetic & frankly pointless.

Aesthetic is important... Day/Night render is mandatory.
And I see people actually confused this with actual time passes. No, we're not talking about actual time passes sun rise sun set moon rise moon set - but pure aesthetic feature.
It doesn't matter if 1 day will takes 10 seconds or 1 second... Day/Night cycle only need to be pure aesthetic on a fixed real-time scale, for example 30 real world minutes for 1 cycle.
 

citysimplayer

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Aesthetic is important... Day/Night render is mandatory.
And I see people actually confused this with actual time passes. No, we're not talking about actual time passes sun rise sun set moon rise moon set - but pure aesthetic feature.
It doesn't matter if 1 day will takes 10 seconds or 1 second... Day/Night cycle only need to be pure aesthetic on a fixed real-time scale, for example 30 real world minutes for 1 cycle.

I agree the aesthetics is important but gameplay is even more important. Managing your infrastructure to be efficient during rush hour would be a strategic component of the game. Sun and moon would be nice for aesthetics but not have an impact on how you play.
 

raresteak

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Jan 21, 2015
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Let me get this straight from those asking about separate types of passage of time.

For example:
- Day-night cycle time: 24 minutes. Citizen routines, rush hours, work, school, etc. all follow this 24 minute day passage of time
- Calendar/date/year time: 9.7 seconds real-time per day (as it is in current C:SL build). Aging of citizens (along with education, job, marriage, kids, etc.) follow this passage of time

Is this what you are proposing?

I get that this is a viable solution, and even though it breaks immersion to some extent, having two disjointed and contradicting passages of time running concurrently, personally, it's a fair compromise for a solid gameplay experience.
 

citysimplayer

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Isn't that how the other games do it? Plus, I don't think the game would be playable if the day/night cycle was linked to the actual game progression.