I've added JasonB to MSN, which is a start. First Stages
The latest render
was linked to me my illspirit a day or two ago. Since the islands are moving, this render just gives a loose indication of how much of the environment is going to be taken by the current MI islands. Getting a top-down render of Necrosis at this same scale would be very useful for the planning. Will the islands take long to move in the modelling programs so we can get the render we will actually work from?
To begin some rough preliminary planning we will need some renders at about 3,000 x 3,000 or 6,000 x 6,000 pixels for good printing:-
- The textured landscape so we can see geographic details.
- A heightmap or contour model so we can see actual height changes from top-down view.
- A wireframe of the landscape for drawing on.
- If possible, all the buildings on illCOM should be shown.
That's the render wishlist, from my perspective anyway.
I have created railway systems in Uphold the Law (GTA1)
, Pacific City (GTA1)
and a subway system for MultiSlayer (GTA2)
. These cube-based 2D games are a very different environment to the triangle-based 3D of MI. The basic principles of route planning, railway station positions and minimising interfeerence with exists buildings are pretty much the same.Bridges
In order for the railway to be realistic, it must allow big ships to get under or through the bridges. MI might not actually have any big ships as vehicles but it must be a possibility. It'll look silly to have the docks on illcom and Necrosis blocked from shipping by the railway. Using mission script to coordinate lift bridges, ramp bridges and/or swing bridges would be one solution. If the train was approaching, the moving part would stay closed. If no train was anywhere near, then it would open at timed intervals like the GTA3 lift bridge did.
For the bridge between Necrosis and illCOM it may be possible to just have extremely long, shallow slopes. The most realistic type of moving railway bridge would be something like Ramsey swing bridge
in the Isle of Man. Swing bridges rotate instead of rise, which is why they are used for moving heavy railway bridge sections.
There will probably need to be some slopes in order to accomodate the difference in height between the South islands and the North islands. Railways do have slopes and I agree with JasonB that we can get away with steeper slopes than reality. We must avoid the stupidly steep slopes and sharp turns of GTA3, imho.illCOM
- It might be possible for the railway to be on a flyover which ran above lots, with one or more above-ground stations a bit like in Portland of GTA3. This relies on there being a route of low buildings which could be traversed without any stupidly sharp corners. From train journeys around the UK, particularly to Southampton, I know that trains do relatively tight curves in cities. Maybe not tight enough for illCOM, though.
- If a route cannot be found over illCOM then an offshore railway would be used. The station would be on a new island, called illSTA or something. Blatent and TGR have lots on the East side of illCOM which it seems might be removed from them, so either of their lots could be used to join the main four-lane road of illCOM to a new island. This would be a bit like the Ocean Docks area in Los Santos; a man-made island but for the railway station. It could have a multi-storey carpark, some little shops, a restaurant, etc. In fact, the illSTA island could be divided into lots like illSUB was.
- Putting the railway underground for illCOM has been suggested by many people previously. However, I think this would be a bad idea as it would require the creation of massive slopes to make the train switch from running on the land of illRES, illURB and Necrosis. Where would these slopes go? Either you have stupidly steep slopes coming from bridges, like in the Easter Basin area of San Fierro or you have underground tunnels from illRES and Necrosis. But that doesn't solve the problem, since you would need a steep slope somewhere near Necrosis for the railway to meet the land and another slope somewhere for illRES. If the railway is underground for illCOM, it would have to be underground everywhere because illCOM is the lowest major island.
Of these options, I think 2 might work the best. Very little intrusion, no stupidly sharp corners and the railway station will have a good road link to the main illCOM island. Another island would better justify the "Myriad Islands" project name, too.illRES
I think a tunnel running through Black Mesa is a must-have. From which angle it will approach, how much it will curve, whether it will have an amount of slope and other things are not clear. If we do need a slope to get enough height for the hills of illURB, I think putting it inside the tunnel would be best as it would not be noticed quite so much.
- Getting to Black Mesa in the first place has a couple of options. The easiest would be to enter it from the sea, coming from the South-west corner. Once inside the mountain, the railway could either curve to the West to run along the freeway and approach illURB from the East.
- Alternatively, the railway could curve a gently to the North and then gently around to the West, ready to approach illURB's North-east corner.
Of these options, I think 1 might work best as it has minimal intrusion. We don't need a railway station on illURB because it is not a big center of people or business.illURB
- The railway would run on top of the cliffs, so there would be minimal interfeerence with roads and lots. A station could be placed on the North-East section of the island, on the edge of the cliff. There railway could then sink into a subway which would curve towards the South so it did not pop out in the Northern bay of illURB. The section were it sinks into the ground would be something like how Eurostar does it on the UK side.
- If there is quite a sharp curve inside Black Mesa, then the railway could exit from the mountain in a flyover which ran alongside the North edge of the freeway. It would remain striaght, so there would be a bridge, tunnel or level crossing where the freeway turns North to go over the bridge. The railway bridge would be to the South of this bridge. If the railway began to curve south before the bridge and the bridge were curved towards the south, it might be possible for the railway to round around the South-east coastline of illURB. Otherwise, it would need to be a bit like how the railway runs between houses in the Prickle Pine area of Las Venturas in GTASA.
- An extremely long flyover across the South-east area would be another possibility but woud interfeer with a lot of properties, roads and would require an epic amount of modelling. Would also mean that shadows would have to be added to any buildings, road and land which was placed underneath the flyover sections.
Of these options, I think 1 might work best since it has minimal intrusion. It would also allow a shallow, underground slope to be used so the railway could be brought to a level suitable for crossing the Necrosis island.Other islands
I've recently seen some screenshots of JasonB's island and it is a major center of population which should have a railway link, imho. I don't know where it will be positioned after the GTAVC islands have moved, so there is currently no way to plan how to include it in the route.Summary
These are just ideas. I think posting our rough plans directly into this topic and having them reviewed by everyone straight away would be best. The beaurocracy of sending them to the Council, then having them sent back, then sending them again, then getting an approval, then posting them to get them reviewed would create drastic delays and frustration, imho. Nothing will be made until all relevant people agree on a design, so we should get as much feedback as possible to make sure there are no problems.
It's clear to me that JasonB is a serious modder, so I look forward to working with him.Rough Ideas
If the islands are moved to the North-West corner, I think it would make the environment look something like this:1024 x 1024, 55.6kB
My first general idea for the railway route:1024 x 1024, 59.6kB
This is an extremely rough design. It's just to help people visualise the sort of railway route I'm thinking of.