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Realistic Cities

Article created by Shadowgate

How many times have you played a scenario that had cities in it that looked like the computers AI randomly placed buildings in an un-orderly fashion? Ive seen many of those and Im sure you have also. This tutorial will hopefully provide with how to create realistic cities.


THE BASICS

Planning

What type of city do I want to make? Will it be an agricultural town, a fishing industry, a military establishment or a super city?

These are questions that every designer should ask himself before embarking a long and hard journey of making a city. Only after you have decided what society you are representing, should you actually begin laying down buildings. Due to the fact that I'm an architect, I always have a grid note book, and pencil, and always make a base plan for the city.

Civilizations
Choosing the right city to match your civilization is definitely a must. There are some Civs that wouldt have certain items in their city such as the Chinese (Town Centres). Or other Civs that lack the appropriate architecture. The Koreans wont have stables in their cities (since in Korea, stables were only located in villages, never in cities), so stables should not be included, unless you are making a village a considerable distance from the City.

Blending
I find it interesting that when making a town, Frankish and English architecture, blend perfectly. Also The replacement effect is a necessity for merging buildings. It is a good idea to have the appropriate surroundings included in the region that the people are from. For instance, the European Civilizations would most likely have deciduous trees and grassy terrains somewhere around their towns and cities.

Location As with a real city, location is key. If you already have a map that has a lot of water in it, why not put a fishing village on that water. Cities look really nice when tucked in a forest surrounding or hidden from enemies amongst cliffs and hills, such as would be apparent in Irish villages and small towns. If the location you want to put the city in is kind of bare, be sure to use the Editor to add eye candy, forests, water, hills and cliffs.



LAYING DOWN THE CITY

Small Fishing Village

Since a city here you are making surrounded by water (theoretically), it was a good idea to have a little fishing village along the outskirts of the city. Docks were not just placed by themselves as may be the tendency. Houses were also placed near the docks and in close vicinity to each other to give the feeling that there was a bustling fishing industry there at one time. Be sure to avoid leaving buildings isolated, unless isolation plays a major part in the scenario.

Beach with Cabanas
If the city you are planning is near the water, as was the case above, what else would give it a realistic look? The inclusion of a beach. This type of setting can be used with houses, Korean yurts, since the campfire could represent cooking or other dwelling places to resemble either a shore fishing village or a vacation area for the noblemen.

Farms and Sheep Pens
If your city or town is going to be "all inclusive", it will be necessary to have some sort of food source. To make sheep pens, simple apply the dirt, grass undergrowth, and grass sandy, under the sheep, surround them by fences. It would look nice to have a stable, or granary with no farms so it looks like the sheep have someplace to go at night, to hide from wolves. When making a realistic city, it is important to place related items, buildings and objects relatively close, like they would be in a real city. It would not make sense to have your domestic food source far away from your farms. Also, as was the case in medieval times, farms and animal food sources would be kept outside of the city walls.

University
It always makes sense to use WWI and middle age universities, blended together, using the replacement effect, to make the university seem real. And don't forget to tweak those graphic enlargement numbers. Add houses and a monastery or two to the immediate surroundings of your campus to give it a College feel.

Military Structures
The Stables
The Barracks

These cities focus on military (since it includes barracks, duh). The Military city should have has large Archery and Siege regions. When creating military regions in a city, it is good to have more than one of each type of building. Reason being that the more units you can train in a short amount of time, the better. Just imagine a humongous city with one barrack, stable, archery range and siege workshop being attacked by a full force of mixed units. Not a pretty picture...For varieties sake, make a few military regions with a number of the same buildings and spread the regions out among the city. And again, it is always good to turn to the replacement effect, and graphic scale.

Grave Yard
When adding one or many grave yards to your city, be sure to keep them more towards the outskirts of the city. Body disposal was a little different back then. What type of graveyard do you want to create? A burial place for heroes? A quick makeshift locale for masses of dead individuals? A Crypt? Different World Player items will be necessary. Personally, I like to make hilly, and cliff graveyards, with crypts, royal tombs, and a few convenient little monasteries around. As for headstones, for the poor, you could use the "grassland cliff //" in the terrains menu and elevate a grave site with a small brush to make it look like something decent. But the cliff isn't necessary if it's a pauper's grave.

Conclusion
Well, don't forget to use the replacement effect, graphic scale, and remember, no matter how good you're city is, it ain't worth scrap until it has people walking around, and some sounds and voices in the background.

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