Large scale city model

Hey all,

I think it’s time I came out with a longterm project of mine now it finally seems to be going somewhere.

The idea goes back to a city I designed on paper when I was 14 (1989) so I’ve been involved with it in some way or other for the last 20 odd years (!) but I only started for real last year when I made a big wire mesh of the map.

The map is approximately 8km x 8,5km large with a 6km x 4km peninsula making up the bulk of it. The original design was about 3 times bigger but I decided I was going to finish a smaller version instead of becoming frustrated with the XXL one. (As it happens, I think the small version is a biggish job already…)

It’s basically a concentrated version of the original design with all the important bits minus a lot of redundancy (so actually, the big one might not be so hard to do if and when I finish this one). In fact, I can only think of two structures (airport and stadium) I actually had to ditch for spatial reasons. And I changed the height of the tallest building from 400m to 300m because it just looked to big in the small version.

As a place, I guess my city a bit of a kitchen sink job with elements of places I’ve seen in real life and /or various media. I think you could say that it’s like Hamburg, various mediterreanean coastal cities, Midtown Manhattan, San Francisco and L.A. (I haven’t been to Frisco and L.A) having a get-together.

Spec talk:

This is rather a low detail affair. The idea is to make a complete city and strike a balance between level of detail and dimension. However, once it’s finished (ca autumn this year) I’m planning to flesh out a number of interesting places (‘famous’ streets, cathedral, prominent skyscrapers etc)in much greater detail with day and night skins.

For now, I want it to be just about detailed enough for viewers to make educated guesses at vegetation, building styles and dimension.

I merge objects all the time so I can quickly make whole districts invisible should the cpu load become too heavy to do modeling work.

RAM-wise, it should be doable with headroom to spare. I’ve done quite a few test projects using ridiculous amounts of vertices so there shouldn’t be a problem building up the city and add a few extra doodads whenever the mood strikes me. I want the model to be as detailed as possible before going in to make the ‘places of interest’.

When it’s finished, the whole thing shouldn’t consist of more than 20 objects altogether (‘old_town_buildings’, ‘old_town_traffic’, ‘beach_side_vegetation’ and so forth) for easy deletion and/or invisibility switching.

To reduce material clutter and make joining of objects simple, everything in my model uses one big texture image (with a few exceptions). So far it’s been working quite well.

I’ll keep you posted as this is coming along. There’ll be lulls and times when I’m fed up with it. With a bit of luck, I’m going to make the first detailed bits by the end of the year.

Assorted pics:

Marco :slight_smile:

Pretty cool idea, can you find a way to share images that doesn’t involve mediafire or a download? I think you would get more viewers.

i agree…downloads are not the nicest…but the idea sounds promising.

In fact, i have thinking on the same lines for a while now and really need to begin somewhere.
Maybe your images (they are downloading, couldn’t wait to comment) are going to be that inspiration that i have been waiting for.

Yeah sure, here are a few imageshack thumbnails to give you an idea. As you can see it’s not awfully detailed but it does look quite cool as a whole. I really want to bang out the city in the next 6 months or so now and not get bogged down. It’s basically a big piece of real estate for me to put future models into.

You can also view two very large overviews here to get a feel for the whole thing: (warning, large!)

Then of course there’s the zip in my OP.

On the morrow!


Oh wow this is pretty cool. What kind of stye are you going for? realistic, cartoon, game…etc
kinda reminds me of vice city…

Wow, seems like a really large scale project. I downloaded the images, looking really cool! :smiley:

Thanks, Thanks!

Hah! I think I’m not entirely sure at this point. For now it’s pretty much what-you-see-is-what-you-get: Many little cardboard houses with tiny squares for windows. At a later stage I want to work out individual areas on a 1 texture = 1 block kind of formula. I don’t think there’s a limit to how realistic this could get, depending on the zoom level of course. I guess ultimately I want the high points to be as realistic as possible and still retain an artistic, fictional feel.

Well that figures! I was watching an awful lot of Miami Vice and Golden Girls on TV when I started this as a kid. I think the entire canal/marina district could be seen as a Miami reference, so stick Miami in the mix too.

Yeah, it’s daunting… It’s a good thing I have a pretty good idea of what everything is going to look like, so all that’s left is a lot of tedious modelling.

Thanks, I’m going to keep you posted as my city is filling in.



So I decided I’m going to re-import a large number of 2010 models into my city and texture them instead of going from scratch (as I was going to – it’s easier to make a building textured to begin with instead of laying on the textures later, something I wasn’t aware of then. But I decided last year’s models are too good to trash and it’s well worth the effort).

I have attached a few recent pics. Some of them come as fairly big versions, if you can be bothered.

From now on, progress reports will be fairly boring, because it will just be more buildings and yet more buildings until it’s all filled up according to what I have in mind (or until my computer goes ‘pouf!’)

Modelling the more American northern and western bits of my city is going to be marginally simpler than the quirky old town and port districts but I can’t let the grid make me predictable and lazy. I’ll try and give an extra little something to each block.

Texture/stylewise, I still don’t know where this is going. I use photographs instead of photoshop paintings for the vegetation now, making them a tad more real. I’m also starting to replace the blob/spherical trees with my current brand of sandwich-board alpha-textured tree plane in an effort to save vertices and to make it look more organic at the same time.

Maybe at a later date, the buildings and infrastructure will get a similar treatment. But for now it’s all about sheer quantity. I want the city to come into existence.

Watch this space!!

Marco :slight_smile:

large version:

large version: