Synekism 0.5

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Synekism

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Jul 1, 2012, 2:57:11 PM7/1/12
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This is the official thread for anything related to the Synekism 0.5 release.

Full details at: http://wiki.synekism.com/wiki/Release_0.5

Ihop

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Jul 2, 2012, 1:56:44 PM7/2/12
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I, for one, would love to be able to build a city on the coast, zoom out, then zoom back in on my mountain town, or anywhere along the highway connecting them. I just hope that you don't lose sight of the fact that Synekism is, I think, a city builder at its heart, even if you flee from the traditional formula (which I applaud). Procedurally-generated buildings make me tremendously happy, as does the elimination of a grid.

If you can pull off an entire planet, though, more power to you!

I've just about lost all faith in the willingness and ability of your competitors (who shall remain nameless) not to whiff on their next-gen city sims, so in 5-10 years, I suspect I'll just be that much more excited to play Synekism. Maybe by then I'll be plugging my brain directly into my computer :-P

Synekism

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Jul 2, 2012, 3:15:09 PM7/2/12
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Synekism is definitely a city builder at its heart. The planet thing is just an attempt to give it some depth. 

But as we go through this re-think there is definitely a risk we'll loose sight of what Synekism should be. This is why we don't plan on working in silence. You'll have plenty of chances to let us know if we start going down the wrong road. 

Brian Bochenek

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Jul 19, 2012, 1:11:58 PM7/19/12
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I know it's early and all, but is the plan to have a living world outside of the cities you're working on personally?  Because spending a lot of time making a procedurally generated world and the ability to zoom in and out from it seems pretty pointless if only you are the one building anything.  Considering the sheer amount of space available to a single player, there's no way he or she could manage an entire world, or even begin to plan out and build anything covering even 1% of it.

So what is the whole world thing supposed to bring to the table?


On Sunday, July 1, 2012 2:57:11 PM UTC-4, Synekism wrote:

Jarren Butterworth

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Jul 19, 2012, 6:36:44 PM7/19/12
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I'm not sure the point of the whole planet thing.  Seems like you should get the city-builder part up and running before shooting for such lofty goals.  Let's get a basic city game going first and then maybe think about some sort of cazy sim-world or online components later?

I mean seriously just getting something as complex as Simcity Classic with angled roads is a long ways off and will require a lot of work.

Synekism

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Jul 19, 2012, 8:45:17 PM7/19/12
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Brian and Jarren, both of you are correct. There are some doubts the planet thing is worth the stupid amount of work it will involve.

First off, we're not doing a planet with the idea that players will fill it with cities. We just wanted to remove space restrictions all together so if your city does out-grow it's initial lot you don't have to "switch" city lots and pretend you're working on the same city. It will be much more seamless.

As for multiplayer, we're not against it but it is not a priority right now. When we did try to introduce multiplayer into Synekism a while back one warning kept being mentioned. Most city-sim players want everything to be a certain way and while multiplayer might be fun for a bit nobody seemed interested in spending lots of time working on something somebody else could alter. It's a valid point and it's what the new flagship city-sim's online mode has trouble with. So, no multiplayer for the near future.

Now, regarding Jarren's comment about working on the core game first before going crazy, we will certainly focus on the core game before we do significant work on the planet idea. However, curvy roads and gridlessness has been done before (and it's certainly being done soon). And I don't believe we have the talent or the resources to compete directly with what's out there. So we'll be experimenting for a while.

I should also mention that keeping the planet idea in mind while working on the core game will ensure we build a core easily amended with planet-sized terrain.

Anyway, everything is still pretty much in the air. We'll see.
Message has been deleted

Jarren Butterworth

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Aug 21, 2012, 3:30:14 PM8/21/12
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Curved/angled roads has been done before... badly.  Where your game stands out is the procedural buildings.  Cities XL had spline roads but huge cumbersom pre-set buildings/lots that made it a massive pain in the ass.  The new Simcity is more of a 'sim town: societies' game and still suffers from the same problem as Cities XL, except doesn't even have the flood-fill parks and such.

If you guys work on your procedural buildings more you've got something no one else has ever done.  Right now they are just the lots extruded up based on some "demand" calculations.  It looks awful but it's an amazing proof of concept and is a great foundation to build on.

So let's try to expand on that a little with some simple "rules".  Make it so light residential generates more "house" shaped buildings.  make sure they have front and back set-backs representing yards, as well as bigger side set backs.  Then give them little roofs so they'd at least look like a monopoly house.  Get a little more advanced and teach it some basic shapes and a few different types of roof styles and have it randomly size the houses weighted by demand.  Great, now we can make houses/suburbs!

Next you can do something similar with industrial zones.  This could be fun!  Depending on some rules/demands have it randomly place warehouse/factory like blocks, storage tanks, and smoke stacks within the lot.  Industrial facilities often have a lot of open space so make sure yours do too.  When the game gets more advanced you could seperate industry into dirty/manufacturing/tech and so on and have different rules for the shapes generated.  Dirty would clearly have lots of smoke stacks and storage tanks,  manufacturing would generate huge blocky production facilities, and tech would be similar to MFG but maybe have some curves and more interesting shapes.

For commercial you could have low density/small buidings be more like strip-malls.  They generally always have parking, often in the front so have the game generate boxes set-back from the road. 

For taller buildings once again have rules that trigger based on a certain height/density.  Have some tall buildings have vertical setbacks that step in every X meters to give tapered shapes.  Some could by cylinders, some could be simple blocks.  Mix it up, randomize it and we'll see a cool skyline.  Randomly add radio masts and spires to some buildings.

Also have rules for minimum and maximum widths.  You're not going to see a 10m wide skyscraper nor are you ever going to see a 50x50m residential building. 

Mason Thrall

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Aug 21, 2012, 4:22:31 PM8/21/12
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Check out cityengine. Synekism+cityengine would be killer.

http://www.esri.com/software/cityengine

Jarren Butterworth

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Aug 21, 2012, 5:37:19 PM8/21/12
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Yeah something like that down the road would be amazing.  The way they do it is remarkably simple.

Synekism

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Aug 21, 2012, 8:13:04 PM8/21/12
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Jarren, you more or less stated our intended development path ahead.
The problem is that going from boxes to anything else, even simple
angle-roofed houses is a huge step. Our code right now is built
entirely with the assumption that everything is a box. For example,
for a building we only store the 4 points of the base and the
building's height. That's it. Furthermore, the graphics card really
hates individual buildings (it's super slow) so we have to put several
hundred buildings into buffers so they can be all drawn in one call.
This works relatively well with buildings all having exactly 8 points
but going to variable point count, efficiently, is what we're working
on. So, ya. It's going to be fun.

Mason, we've had cityengine on our radar for some time. Unfortunately
there is not much we can do about it as it is proprietary. And we're
too small fish to even approach them now. But one can dream.

KoR MaK

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Aug 21, 2012, 10:10:43 PM8/21/12
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I think that would actually be really easy if you are willing to work with models. Make a set of lot models, and change your model building algorithm to instead select and render an artist made model. Or incoporate procedure buildings like this guys is doing  http://procworld.blogspot.com/2011/02/recombining-rules.html  

And as I understand it, its not a matter of know how, the synekism team has already demonstrated programming skills capable of making this game, its a matter of motivation and timing for  the team right now.

Synekism

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Aug 21, 2012, 10:48:03 PM8/21/12
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I'm going to risk sound a bit stubborn and say that we're try to stay
away from models altogether. We want to generate as much as possible
procedurally. Not that I have anything against models. I just like the
challenge of procedural exclusivity.

KoR MaK

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Aug 22, 2012, 12:49:45 PM8/22/12
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Same here, although I realized that you can spend a lot of time working on just the procedural stuff and forget that you are trying to make a game or piece of software that people other than the dev's can play. That link I sent is a really great blog for procedural stuff, I found it while I was researching minecraft terrain algorithms and the Marching Cubes algorithm

tomworld10

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Sep 8, 2012, 2:06:03 PM9/8/12
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Hi,

I love your game !!!! I follow you since 0.1.2 and you are going the right (best) way.

About 0.5, thanks for disabling tool validation, it's a big relief ! Color gradient gives more life to the city, but I think it's a bit too light at top and the gradient could be slower (I mean to get less lighter as it goes up). The new economics are much better, but it got too easy.

I noticed some little bugs :

-I can't repause the game. Once I put on play I can't pause again, it keeps playing even if pause is activated.
-No Mouse Left Click-Drag when bulldoze or dezone tool is activated.

And a last one (probably due to disabled tool validation) which looks like a bug for now but could be a feature later :
-Buildings overlapping roads, and/or other buildings. For now it doesn't look right but with a texture that looks like an arch or a tunnel with a transparent part inside right over the road to let it seen through, it could look just beautiful. Pretty much like what's called "transit enable lots" on Simtropolis. And if it merge with another building it's not a problem really because it happens heaps in real life.

And, I noticed that it gets much harder (nearly impossible) to get very tall buildings as we used to. I am doing it wrong or is it really harder to get them ? Actually it's seems it's a feature since 4.6, so, is there a way to get them easily ?

I'd like to talk about one last thing. Textures ! Textures ! Textures ! I wanna !!!! I want to ask you if it's planned for soon, if you lack of ideas about it, how you think about this ? Because I think that ground base lots and buildings roofs texture could be easy to incorporate them soon, and will open the door for side buildings dynamic procedural texturing (I'm looking forward for the day Synekism will have that feature) which make will make the game totally unique.

Well that's all for today.

Have fun and Build fun

Synekism

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Sep 8, 2012, 4:37:02 PM9/8/12
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> Color gradient gives more life to the city, but I think it's a bit too light at
> top and the gradient could be slower (I mean to get less lighter as it goes
> up).

Noted.

> The new economics are much better, but it got too easy.

Now, would you say it is easier because the balancing is not quite
there yet or is the lack of challenge inherit in the rules themselves?
In other words, is the easiness fixable by just adjusting the game
play constants or do the rules themselves need to be changed?

> I can't repause the game. Once I put on play I can't pause again, it keeps
> playing even if pause is activated.

This will be fixed in a patch sooner than next release. For now, just
use the faster speed as the bug seems to only affect the normal speed
setting. Going from fastest to pause works.

> No Mouse Left Click-Drag when bulldoze or dezone tool is activated.

This was a design decision. The problem is that Synekism doesn't have
any mass deletion tools yet. The only way to clear a patch of
lots/roads is to go crazy with the bulldozer tool as if you were using
an eraser. If view dragging worked with the deletion tools you would
only be able to delete a single building/lot/road at a time, per
click, which is brutal. Once there are some better alternatives I
might make dragging possible in these modes. For now, use the arrow
keys or ASDW to move the view around.

> And a last one (probably due to disabled tool validation) which looks like a
> bug for now but could be a feature later :
> -Buildings overlapping roads, and/or other buildings. For now it doesn't
> look right but with a texture that looks like an arch or a tunnel with a
> transparent part inside right over the road to let it seen through, it could
> look just beautiful. Pretty much like what's called "transit enable lots" on
> Simtropolis. And if it merge with another building it's not a problem really
> because it happens heaps in real life.

Ya, this is the drawback of not having validation in place. It is up
to you to keep your city sane and not overlap everything together. At
the same time, it is your option. You can also turn validation on
temporarily with F3 + V. Now, I won't try to make overlapped buildings
and roads look right. I'm working on fixing validation so it's
actually useful. The end goal is to have proper tool validation on all
the time. I only disabled it because it just doesn't work right now
properly.

> And, I noticed that it gets much harder (nearly impossible) to get very tall
> buildings as we used to. I am doing it wrong or is it really harder to get
> them ? Actually it's seems it's a feature since 4.6, so, is there a way to
> get them easily ?

So the building height is now directly dependent on it's lot size by
area. The larger the lot the taller the building can be. This was
mostly implemented to fix the stupidly tall buildings on tiny lots
problem pre-0.4.6 but also as a realism technique. So right now there
is little you can do to have much taller buildings. You can experiment
with the lot tool to get funky lots that are larger than normal but
not by much. The goal, however, is to be able to directly control the
size of lots when you plot them as well as merge lots already placed
in which case you'll be able to achieve taller buildings.

> I'd like to talk about one last thing. Textures ! Textures ! Textures ! I
> wanna !!!! I want to ask you if it's planned for soon, if you lack of ideas
> about it, how you think about this ? Because I think that ground base lots
> and buildings roofs texture could be easy to incorporate them soon, and will
> open the door for side buildings dynamic procedural texturing (I'm looking
> forward for the day Synekism will have that feature) which make will make
> the game totally unique.

There's quite a few components I want to get right and stable before I
move on to building-looking-buildings. So to answer briefly, no,
textures are not planned for soon. There might be some texture work on
the terrain but the buildings will not get textures for some time.
Sorry.

akume...@yahoo.com

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Sep 18, 2012, 4:08:58 PM9/18/12
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I would like to congratulate you on this update and future updates!  You are pulling this thing together solo and I am very impressed by what you've accomplished with this project.  The world deserves to see it finished!

I understand fully that work and life take priority.  If you need a month, a quarter or a whole year to make adjustments and add content, I fully understand.  I also doubt I am alone in this.  Yours is such a neat little project!  Please continue to nurture and grow it into something deserving of a spot right next to DayZ and Minecraft!

Synekism

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Sep 19, 2012, 12:56:00 AM9/19/12
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Humbling and extremely encouraging. Thank you.

akume...@yahoo.com

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Feb 20, 2013, 10:51:17 PM2/20/13
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(5.1.63)  I once again salute your continued progress!  May you never tire of your vision and bring to bear the exact game you desire plus a couple of odds and ends from us.  Synekism is going to become a fascinating contribution to City Building in its own right!  Terribly sorry I missed out on previous updates with life getting in the way.  I support and celebrate your continued progress no matter how small!

Synekism

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Feb 20, 2013, 11:17:30 PM2/20/13
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Thank you! You have no idea how effective your supportive comments are at kicking me into spending more time on this project. It's safe to say at this point that Synekism is a way of life for me, but like sleep, sometimes I can neglect it.

On Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 10:51 PM, <akume...@yahoo.com> wrote:
(5.1.63)  I once again salute your continued progress!  May you never tire of your vision and bring to bear the exact game you desire plus a couple of odds and ends from us.  Synekism is going to become a fascinating contribution to City Building in its own right!  Terribly sorry I missed out on previous updates with life getting in the way.  I support and celebrate your continued progress no matter how small!

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akume...@yahoo.com

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Feb 20, 2013, 11:43:49 PM2/20/13
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Then the project is in the proper hands.  Make time for yourself, live, love, go outside and make sure to treat yourself right.  Other than this, success is a guarantee.  Git 'er Done!

john...@gmail.com

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Mar 8, 2013, 10:19:47 AM3/8/13
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I sat down at around 13:40 with the simulator, and about two hours later, this was the result:

I'm having tons of fun, however, I can't build anymore :( The simulator crashes if I try to squeeze in anything else, anywhere. Also, the borders of the city (thick white lines), love to mess with the coordinates of the build-tools (it seems if you press on the border, one of the coordinates previously assigned, wherever on the map it was, is used amongst the four coordinates).

Apart from that, I had fun. Thanks for the time and effort put into making Synekism!

Synekism

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Mar 9, 2013, 3:28:20 PM3/9/13
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That city looks pretty epic. I'd love to have the save file to see why it crashes when you add anything else.

Regarding the borders screwing with the build tool, the validation code was supposed to fix that by not allowing you to build near the city borders. However, that same validation code was also very annoying when it didn't let you build road or lot layouts that should have been valid as it was a bit overzealous. So all validation is disabled by default which is why city borders become a problem again. I will fix the validation code at some point so both issues will be resolved.

So, ya, if you can email your city to sup...@synekism.com I'm interested to see why it crashes and I'll probably use your city as good stress test for large cities.

Also, I noticed you're on Windows 8. Any Synekism problems apart from the crashes and in-game bugs that you had regarding installation and launching the game? I don't have a physical Windows 8 machine so my testing has been limited.

akume...@yahoo.com

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Jun 6, 2013, 6:46:48 PM6/6/13
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Checking in with your work.  Seems things are coming along nicely!  I can't wait to see more features though UI and Bug Fixing is certainly welcome!  I hope you're taking care of yourself and wish you luck in the summer months!  After all, with the colossal flop of "another City Simulation game" you are poised to eat their lunch when you come into your own!  I keep rooting for you!

Synekism

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Jun 6, 2013, 10:33:35 PM6/6/13
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Thanks for the encouragements! I really appreciate it.

akume...@yahoo.com

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Oct 7, 2013, 2:05:23 AM10/7/13
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Uh oh!  I missed a great update in September!  Oh well, got her now.  Guess I should hurry up and get a city built that I can post!  Keep up the good work guy!  Like the new dot under the cursor and still loving the gradient from base to full height on the buildings.  Still somehow more fun to play than Sim 5...

Synekism

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Oct 7, 2013, 12:43:03 PM10/7/13
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Thanks! It's nice to see people appreciating the little things as little things are all that I can do while I rewrite the game. Can't wait to see what you create.


On Mon, Oct 7, 2013 at 2:05 AM, <akume...@yahoo.com> wrote:
Uh oh!  I missed a great update in September!  Oh well, got her now.  Guess I should hurry up and get a city built that I can post!  Keep up the good work guy!  Like the new dot under the cursor and still loving the gradient from base to full height on the buildings.  Still somehow more fun to play than Sim 5...

theemerg...@gmail.com

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Nov 3, 2013, 8:46:45 PM11/3/13
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Feel like adding to the sentiment above regarding the good work done here. Been following this project since 2011 and although I've often been busy I make a point of checking every now and then.

Particularly as I first got interested in architecture and planning from playing too much SimCity as a kid, but as I've studied more and more I've seen cities as more of a generative thing, than a simple planning excercise. I can see the generated buildings being influenced by 'rules' that can be enabled or ignored, the form of each city being the result of the players tinkering with their planning laws. Of course I understand it's still early days, and I'm enjoying the coloured boxes anyway! I'd love to help and support this project, despite not having a background in game design.

Keep up the good work!

Synekism

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Nov 4, 2013, 1:16:12 PM11/4/13
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As always, I really appreciate the encouragements. Thank you. Work continues, good or bad.

I would say that anyone can help by just playing the game. Specifically, the more crazy cities I have to test with the more stable Synekism becomes in the long run so if you make a city you like please do send it over. Also, feature requests are always welcome. Naturally, anything ambitious will simply be added to the long queue of ambition. However, for small things, like "bold this" or "add a hotkey for this", I will prioritize to get them in because they were explicitly requested (or at least I'll provide a descent reason why I won't be adding them in).

At the very least, Synekism advances slow enough that no matter how busy you are you will never be far behind. I love to use the term "early days" myself, but it should really be "early years". :)


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flybyw...@gmail.com

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Mar 4, 2014, 12:35:57 PM3/4/14
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I have just downloaded Synekism, read the read me, I have the system requirements but it crashes every time I try to load it up. It comes up with an error message "Failed to Draw" I have win Vista, Home Premium. It would be great if you could get back to me, 
Thanks

Synekism

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Mar 4, 2014, 1:49:38 PM3/4/14
to Synekism
Sorry about that. I'll be able to respond more thoroughly later today but for now I'd suggest re-installing and making sure the files noted on the wiki here: http://wiki.synekism.com/wiki/Installation#Program_Files are all there.

Also, please send sup...@synekism.com your client_spec.xml file, located in the Program Files directory described by the same wiki link above.


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flybyw...@gmail.com

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Mar 5, 2014, 3:40:33 AM3/5/14
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Thank you for replying, I as well forgot to add, I really want to see and play this game, so sorry if I may have sounded frustrated. I will see if I can send the  client_spec.xml later today.
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