Introducing the Ben’s #CitiesSkylines Stream. Follow Me as I use the Urban Simulator as a Communication Tool

Weekly Streams

The initial tests have been done and the scripts are being written to keep the streams into 10 minute portions (for now). It is time to get the weekly Ben’s Cities(Skylines) Stream on the road (so to say) and out the door ready to be served every Monday.

The Ben’s Cities(Skylines) Stream

These streams will be starting off as short often two part streams commentating on all things urban simulation and urban geography using Cities Skylines as communication tool. From urban planning to urban development and onward to First Person mode (what the citizen sees) and Lane Mathematics this will both be causal but also formal as the game is used for downtime and urban geographic purposes.

Today I give a very brief overview of the game, the layout and the mods I use. From next Monday I will do both urban development and drop down to first person view so you see the world from a Cim’s perspective. At the moment both Manukau, and Grand Manukau/Layton Cities will be used in the streams. One is an older mature city the other one I recently started.

As always don’t forget to subscribe, like, share and leave a comment below. \

In the meantime: Drive Safe!

BE AFRAID: First #CitiesSkylines Recorded Stream with Commentary

First commentated video on my Cities Skylines creations

Four years after the game came out I finally recorded and commentated one of my Cities Skylines creations.

I have two cities in play at the moment; Manukau, and Grand Manukau/Layton Cities. Today’s recording was of Manukau as it is the larger and older city at 155,000 however, Grand Manukau/Layton Cities (5,500) will be recorded as well as every city I have different game plays (apart from my core rule of Urban Islands and Twin Cores).

This two part recording is a test and a few more tests will be done before I settle into recording style. Note: I will not be live streaming on YouTube or Twitch as of yet.

First Commentary Stream of Cities Skylines – Manukau

Part 2 (I am restricted to 10 minute streams which is not a bad thing as it keeps me on the short and narrow otherwise you get 20mins of me pondering what should go where (just like any city).

Muhahahah nuclear farms.

I will try and record every Sunday New Zealand Time (currently GMT+13) and upload for Monday. Content will include both First Person mode as I follow Cims and traffic around as well as urban planning and city building.

Comments can be left below – just remember still testing as I get use to the concepts.

FEE FREE UNIVERSITY STUDY: #CitiesSkylines Campus DLC: A First Look with the University of Manukau

How does it rate?

So how does the Campus DLC for Cities Skylines rate?

TL:DR version: I give it a B+

Right now that those with extremely short attention spans are satisfied I’ll move to the long version of what I think of the Campus DLC for Cities Skylines.

Cities Skylines Campus DLC and the Campus Content Pack by King Leno came out around 36 hours ago as of this post (so overnight in New Zealand time). This time around I did not have the usual two week wait for Mod’s to catch up as the main two Mod’s that would be impacted by Campus DLC (Real Time and Transport Lines Manager) were either updated very quickly or only had User Interface glitches and are to be updated very soon. So yesterday I fired up the game and load the City of Manukau which earlier in the month I had prepared for the new DLC. See #CitiesSkylines Introduces the big Campus for more there.

Straight away the first bugbear would come up: RAM. This DLC and the new Content Pack are chewing even my 20GB of RAM (so I’ll have to take it to 30GB now) which is very unusual when a new DLC has come out for the game. In the past with previous DLC’s and even Content Packs the usage of memory will increase that is a given but not the large jump seen with the Campus DLC. Paradox and CO have been told to optimise the game and make it able to utilise 64bit systems better, if they want to release more DLC’s then they will need to do this sooner rather than later.

Once Manukau loaded it was straight in to building the University campus (you have three to choose from: University, Trade School and Liberal Arts (simply Arts in the Commonwealth). I would also build an Aquatics Centre for my University sports team as well.

Manukau pre Campus DLC

The above picture shows the land between the Airport, Papakura and Manukau Technology Park in which the University of Manukau will sit. At this point in time there is only one road in and out until I connect up Manukau University Town to the new bypass at the left of the map. Transit-wise there is:

  • One bus station connected to a Monorail Station
  • One heavy rail station connected to another Monorail Station
  • One Metro Station (trains run underground)
  • A Manukau University Town circuit bus
  • Cycle lanes and cycleways

Before I could start building the University I had an 800KV and a 400KV transmission line running through the proposed campus.

Transmission Lines from Nuclear City

Time to bury the 800KV line and reroute slightly the 400KV line:

With the lines either buried or diverted the building of the Campus can now continue (both Lines came from Nuclear City and deliver power to: the Airport, University, Papakura and City Centre, and the Papatoetoe-Tamaki urban area).

Laying down the University

Time to build the University of Manukau starting with the Administration Building then working from there with support buildings, Faculties (Science, Medicine and Law), dormitories and various other structures:

Arts and Engineering Faculties are in separate institutions such as Trade School and the Liberal Arts.

Next up the University Aquatic Centre:

University of Manukau Aquatic Centre

Now for some University policies:

FEE FREE!

Yep the University of Manukau is entirely FEES FREE with the City of Manukau adopting Universal Education (being paid for with Residential and Commercial Taxes increased 1% each respectively). However, no Free Lunches folks – that one is on you. The University also provides Student Healthcare, will have Visiting Scholars and of course fund Academic Works.

With a bit of tinkering the Aquatic Centre and team is all set up and yes I have not activated the Free Transit on event day. Go pay your flat fare of $2 to catch the train, Metro or Monorail the Centre

Oh did I mention FEES FREE!

Getting the University going:

Once I had completed the University and some surrounding residential and commercial using the Always University City Districts (to best enable the King Leno University Content Pack) time to let it rip:

As Manukau has the previous vanilla universities and the Hadron Collider (which negates the need for schools) operating it will take a while for the new UoManukau to come to full power (as we wait on the new generation of residents to come through).

Once the University has settled in I will look at the Trade School and Liberal Arts Campuses given Manukau is deemed a large mature City game wise.

Thoughts?

Apart from the RAM issue and with the addition of the University District mod mentioned earlier the Campus DLC and Content Pack definitely give a bit of spice to your City no matter size or stage of game play.

No doubt debate will rage on Universal Education or Education for Profit (I use Universal Education) and should be plenty of YouTube videos on that one.

I will take Manukau some time to readjust as the effects from the Hadron wear off as Citizens die, new ones are born or move into the City. However, even with Universal Education I can still keep the City running in the Black – with Residential and Commercial Taxes at 10%.

To get best bang for buck from the DLC a new City will be needed and with the beautiful maps that came with the DLC I am sure my Urban Geography skills will be tested again.

Should you go out right away and purchase the DLC and Content pack? If you have nudged over 1,000 game hours as I have then yes? Otherwise wait for the Steam sales.

Catching up with Manukau #CitiesSkylines #UrbanGeography

Some 700 photos – and been slacking off a bit

Some 700 photos between March and now means I have been slacking off a bit with updates to my cities here.

I won’t share all 700 in this post as that is picture OVERLOAD for anyone. So over the next few posts I will be staging all the photos including data sets for Manukau while sharing the Urban Geography story through Cities Skylines.

In the run up to upgrading the City Centre

Manukau City Centre and Downtown have received upgrades over the last four weeks as well some urban expansion including a new technology park. In the run up to those photos lets take a look at where we are at the moment with game-style in Manukau.

Starting with the trams that run through the City Centre and Downtown of Manukau

Trams in Cities Skylines are particularly useful as they can move towards 300 passengers per rolling stock unit compared to my largest bus (a bendy bus) moving 135 passengers. Unlike heavy rail and Metro Rail trams are integrated into the urban area (no severance) and can blend other features like cycle ways. Trams are also quieter than monorails as well.

The main problem is they are at grade with the traffic and get caught at intersections causing congestion as seen below:

I am going to have to bite the bullet and replace the trams with monorail which takes the same road as trams but is elevates – so not fouled by intersections. Noise is easily mitigated mind you through trees and some rezoning (commercial loves monorail stations, residents don’t). Ah well onwards and upwards!

Buses

My workhorses of the transit fleet:

Buses I divided into three classes to make most of their flexibility:

  1. Light: these are feeder busses running every 15-20mins either all day or in daylight hours. These as they say they do feed into larger transit lines and will seat between 30-70 people per bus. Bus priority not often used except near transit hubs
  2. Standard: this is where the bus is the primary mover of people in a given area. The budget varies and allows frequencies between every 5 minutes in peak and 20mins off peak (night). Capacity ranges from 30 to 90 passengers per bus and bus lanes are seen on arterial roads
  3. Metro: this is where the big bendy buses (130 passenger) ply their trade often on busways connecting different Districts within the City. Frequencies are every 3-5 minutes and bus lanes or bus ways are used along most of their route. Metro buses can also feed into Metro Rail where the Metro rail runs north-south and the Metro Bus will run east-west intersecting the metro-rail at a transit hub. If the Metro buses are constantly overloaded I will swap them out for Trams or Metro Rail (more often Metro Rail owing to their grade separation above or below ground)

Bus Hubs of various sizes are used depending on purpose with some also interconnected with trams and mono-rail stations as well. And as expected Transit Oriented Developments are utilised around the bus hubs or transit interchanges as well to get best utilisation.

Bus Lanes and Busways:

Cycleways and Pedestrian paths

Cycleways and pedestrian paths I tend to use to connect cul-de-sacs up to nearby main roads. However, when your City has a river or three running through them cycleways and pedestrian paths become good cheap sources of moving people from A to B without needing the car clogging the area. Paths can also included Shared Spaces (with cars) or Pedestrian Malls.

Some examples:

Of course separated cycle lanes and ordinary cycle lanes help too:

Big Data Mk1

Finally the data sets I use in both planning and evaluating decisions when working on the City. The data set is very rich and covers a wide range of topics including even individual transit lines as you are about to see:

Cities Skylines is a bit more than slapping down some roads and zones. To make the City function optimally you have to respond to happenings and plan for them as well. The data sets can help especially with transport, electricity, water and amenities – unless you want the City to lock up and the residents sick.

A final shot of Manukau in the prelude before we go over to how the City is currently and how it got there:

BadPeanut Gives #CitiesSkylines the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I Oblige and Build the Manukau River Bridge

Harbour Bridge edition gives City gravitas

Manukau was missing something as a river city and I could not quite put my finger on it. Ahhhh I know how about an iconic bridge transplanted into the City!

Cue BadPeanut and his Sydney Harbour Bridge design!

It is not exactly the smallest asset at 130MB (as it is made of 34 sub-assets) and dwarfs most other in-game assets as well. However, with two walkways, 2 motorways, and a heavy rail line the Sydney Harbour Bridge does a fantastic job at connecting the two sides of Manukau over the Manukau River.

This is what was here before the new Bridge:

Pretty bland and yes the traffic was beginning to bank up at the Trans-Manukau Link/River Town roundabout.

Time to upgrade stuff:

Yes we have floating cars to indicate where the old bridge and roadways were.

And now to plop the Manukau River Bridge using the Sydney Harbour Bridge asset:

After linking it all up this is what we get:

As with the real-life Sydney Harbour Bridge the asset has two actual motorways on it rather than one. A 6 lane two way motorway (4+2 but I believe this can tidal in real life) or the Bradfield Highway and the 2 lane one way (including a single bus lane) Cahill Expressway make up the roadways while either side is flanked with shared paths and finally heavy rail to take passenger trains on one side.

Given the Trans Manukau Link is an existing highway the layout of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in my example fits perfectly well.

The 2-lane Cahill Expresway effectively services as a mega long off ramp from the Manurewa/Papatoetoe side of the river to the Manukau River Town Roundabout. The 2 lanes of the Bradfield Highway that follow Cahill in parallel continue uninterrupted to existing 4-lane highway of the Trans-Manukau Link. As for the 4-lanes of the Bradfield Highway heading towards Manurewa 2 are from the existing Trans-Manukau Link while the other two come from the 2-lane onramp that feeds traffic from the Manukau River Town Roundabout. The four subsequent lanes continue to a large roundabout that give the exits for Papatoetoe and Manurewa with the rest of Trans-Manukau Link being 3-lanes either side or a 6 lane Highway.

Now for some extra shots that were captured in the last game session:

Next up: the development of the City Centre

The Wayless Travel – the Trans-Manukau Link Road. Part Two with City Geometries #CitiesSkylines

NOTE: DO NOT OPEN WITH MOBILE DEVICE OR ON MOBILE DATA. DESKTOP RECOMMENDED

Part Two covers the Trans-Manukau Link in the day time, it also covers some of the urban geometries I am using in Manukau via Cities Skylines

The map I am playing to build Manukau on (this my first city with the Industries DLC) has a major transport weakness where there is no east-west connection between two sets of inter-city motorways along the coastal area. As a result and also how Manukau has developed a new east-west link was built and called the Trans-Manukau Link

The Link can be seen and annotated by the black arrows I quickly scribbled on:

Manukau with Trans-Manukau Link annotated

The link is either a 4 or 6-lane toll road that links one of two inter-city motorways and forms an expressway for freight and people to move across the coastal part of the city away from urban roads. It is not a motorway however there is no urban development flanking the Link. The Trans-Manukau links up several urban roads although it does not link with a separate 2-lane expressway that runs north-south from Manukau Shores through Wiri and Wiri East on its way to an inter-city motorway.

Free from urban clutter and an average speed limit of 70km/h going through multiple urban forms the Link has become a bit of a tourist trap for travellers either passing through or stopping Manukau for a holiday.

I have two sets of albums of the Trans-Manukau Link, one at night and the other in the day with a few aerial shots of the surrounding urban geography. This is done using the free camera mode that allows the camera to come down to first person level inside a City which is great for checking out all the nooks and hot spots a city has.

Manukau with 69,000 people in it

Trans-Manukau Link – Daytime

City Geometries

I had a comment on the geometry of the City so I am going to post a few pictures that help capture that: