T-RAM/post

From SC4 Encyclopaedia

Jump to: navigation, search

The tram or Ground Light Rail (GLR in short) has made its way into SC4 quite a while ago, although Maxis had never planned to make it part of the game. For this reason, this network only became available through the NAM. In this context it is worth mentioning – especially for people who are less acquainted with the technical background of the game – that the tracks used for the tram system do not belong to any of the game's original traffic networks like roads, highways or rail. Hence they cannot be drawn as simply and easily as e.g. roads. Instead, the tram tracks are actually modified elevated rail lines. That's why they are dragged by placing dedicated starter pieces first and then, beginning at the starter piece, dragging the line with the elevated rail tool. Moreover, there are puzzle pieces that provide both dedicated tram tracks and tram tracks embedded in an avenue.

In general, building dedicated tram lines or Tram-in-Avenue networks is rather easy as long as certain rules and hints are observed. Chrisim's manual contains both some general rules for tram novices and several useful hints for advanced players. He has published this manual in the German SimForum as well as in on the international site SC4D. If you know further useful tricks, don't hesitate to share them with us. This manual and many more bits of knowledge and ways to sculpt cities and regions in SimCity4 can be found on www.simcityplaza.de.

Contents

T-RAM

Version 1.0 of T-RAM has just been completed. Users of the German SimForum have had the opportunity to follow the process of creating the new puzzle pieces. What exactly does T-RAM mean, though? It is pronounced 'tee-ram' and represents both the word 'tram' (Ground Light Rail or GLR) and the designation 'Tram-Road Addon Mod' – not to be confused with 'RAM' (Rail Addon Mod). T-RAM is part of the Network Addon Mod (NAM).

The acronym T-RAM is intended to be a catchy abbreviation in view of the release of this new set of tram puzzle pieces outside the German-speaking world. The translation of this release into English and – if possible – into French is taken care of by Chrisim. I'd like to thank Chrisim in advance for publishing this text on SC4D and possibly on TSC.

Being part of the NAM, the T-RAM release is synchronised with the NAM release cycle!

T-RAM is the next expansion package for the GLR network. It adds two further track configurations to the network, which are primarily intended for medium and low-density zones.

4fe2143f1770d047fb42ef0ad5e65973.png

In Europe and Japan, the tram is a common sight in every major city. Now the NAM releases so far have already provided tram versions featuring separate, dedicated tracks. However, we know that except for the city centre, in European cities the tram tracks are often integrated into main roads. In order to make it possible to recreate this configuration for SC4, two new sets of tram pieces have been created.

These two new sets are provided as puzzle pieces, similar to the Tram-in-Avenue parts more experienced tram users already know. In addition to this, said Tram in Avenue has been expanded by several puzzle pieces.

The T-RAM version contained in the 2008/2009 NAM includes:

  • the new Tram-in-Road puzzle pieces,
  • the new Tram-on-Road puzzle pieces,
  • the new Tram-in-Avenue puzzle pieces (connections to Tram in Road),
  • the new Tram-in-Avenue roundabouts,
  • an alternative grass texture for Tram in Avenue and Tram in Road,
  • three-way puzzle pieces for Tram in Avenue, Tram in Road and Tram on Road underpasses under rail viaducts and elevated highway

tram036aant3.jpg

b513159d855e9fbb11af5dd60d6ebbba.png


The following components are provided as options:

  • T21 files for vegetation inside the Tram-in-Avenue roundabouts

1kroundaboutsnr6.jpg

Due to the larger number of puzzle pieces, these have been distributed over two rotation rings. Just like with other puzzle pieces, clicking the left mouse button on the corresponding icon will make the first puzzle piece appear at your mouse cursor so you can place it. Using the tabulator key, you can flip through the available puzzle pieces. Since the rotation rings are endless, you'll get to the first piece again once you have tabbed through all puzzle pieces. If you press Shift + Tabulator simultaneously, you can flip backwards through the rotation ring.


0e6e73ab1693911e5a9f7f4944ca5723.jpg


==NOTE:== A bug in the Windows version of SC4 makes the game crash whenever a puzzle piece of a particular traffic network is moved over a transit-enabled lot of the same network, e.g. a GLR puzzle piece moved over a GL station. When selecting a puzzle piece, the mouse cursor may happen to hover above a transit-enabled lot – bang, crash to desktop. We cannot do anything about this. The only thing you can do is try to avoid crashes by planning and executing your building activities carefully.


If you have built a road prior to placing Tram-in-Road or Tram-on-Road puzzle pieces, the puzzle pieces will automatically align to the road. In the same way, you can place puzzle pieces on an existing tram line easily. This means that you can draw additional tram lines in your city without having to bulldoze roads before. However, it is recommended to be careful at intersections. In general, the automatic alignment of the puzzle pieces also works on intersections, which was not the case with Tram-in-Avenue pieces. It is worth mentioning that for now, only few of the new intersection pieces are equipped with traffic lights. This will be changed with the upcoming T-RAM 2.0. For this reason, unlike with Tram in Avenue placing the puzzle pieces on existing roads is not mandatory; they can also be plopped on empty terrain. With a puzzle piece at your mouse cursor, you can press the Pos1 or End key to rotate the piece by 90 degrees.


ce78ebff12cc83fcf571ef9304b5cfd9.png

6eb3a615e5b23c3b45e26d46199296d7.png

43239db9a4816535b4a07b3adbba43f2.png

2a5f6e74a94fbaae594b0e24b5161b72.png

c7637bb7615f354421723c8c08510814.png

6241a9b18c92edcac13eb1e045666063.png


The new avenue roundabouts offer more possibilities for mayors who provide their city with a public transportation system that involves a tram network. When installing the NAM, the user is prompted with an option to choose between roundabouts with and without vegetation, the former option being preferred by a large number of forum users. The roundabouts themselves behave like a regular avenue roundabout when connected with draggable avenues and roads. The Tram-in-Avenue roundabout with only a 90° tram curve inside features one free tile which can be occupied by any 1x1 lot you like.



c8c52cebc2d82d84e75d2168c1576f64.jpg

4252e9e59111fd7f660295d90e043125.jpg


As shown above, we have included many alternative pieces in the T-RAM as requested by many users. Many textures were suggested, but in order to keep things manageable, we restricted the additional pieces to the version with vegetation.


8e4e1009ba57c98d506e225a5e027e98.jpg


Now for a quick comment on the three-way puzzle pieces for Tram in Avenue, Tram in Road and Tram on Road underpasses below elevated rail and elevated highways:

f332e911f58d95bd16436adcc9a4c7da.png

Actually these pieces look thoroughly unspectacular. However, people who have some advanced modding knowledge know that such puzzle pieces normally cannot be fully functional regarding the traffic networks they are connected to. Why is that? Well, SC4 normally restricts the number of traffic networks (i.e. the automata paths for each transit type) to two per tile. This doesn't cause a problem in most cases, e.g. when a road crosses a rail line - in this example, one traffic network intersects with a second one. Now in case of the Tram-in-Avenue, Tram-in-Road, and Tram-on-Road pieces, the puzzle pieces themselves are already used by two networks at the same time. As a consequence, intersections with a third network shouldn't be possible. However, thanks to a modding trick Chrisim has succeeded in making such three-way pieces fully functional. This discovery marks a milestone in SC4 modding and can be valued as highly as the discovery of starter pieces for draggable networks like SAM or the traditional tram.


4d8fed22b1152ccb0ef5d671eb8da1e7.jpg

c4c4b32b8dd571072aaa74abd4ba0110.jpg

7cfd755392af968bc6b3b0dfceb3a22f.png

e4f53392d9b95bb8d97c610ae2fc3b80.png

900a66fa684acb199d91663e8314f0e2.png

08aa479168f8c29ea02b721d4b8a8add.png


Future Outlook

As of now, T-RAM 1.0 is still not complete. During the testing phase we discovered that the new networks opened up an enormous potential for further innovations. Provided they turn out to be popular enough among SimMayors, we would like to release those pieces that are currently planned or under construction in one or more future versions of the T-RAM.

Under construction:

  • Various transitions between Tram in Avenue & Tram in/on Road
  • Stations for Tram in Road
  • Diagonal tracks for Tram in Road
  • Roundabout for Tram in Road
  • Intersections with diagonal Tram in Avenue

Planned:

  • Intersections with diagonal Tram in Road
  • Roundabouts for Tram on Road
  • Stations for Tram on Road
  • Additional three-way puzzle pieces for intersections with other traffic networks (monorail etc.)
  • Elevated Tram in Avenue
  • Single-track lines (the so-called "V Projects")
  • Connections to single-track lines
  • Tram-on-Road intersections (if tecnically feasible)

Well, let's interrupt the list at this point – after all, it is up to you, the players of this game, to decide which would be interesting and challenging additions for a SimMayor who wants to make life better for his citizens and help his city grow and prosper.


Notes

With the release of the 2008/2009 NAM we will probably be able to provide one or two stations for the new Tram styles. However, these are not part of the NAM and need to be downloaded separately. On the other hand, it is perfectly possible to use the existing tram stations. We have made a few short movies to demonstrate how a SimMayor can use existing stuff to achieve pretty nice results.

It is apply to the movie:

  • Ton an! sound
  • Film ab! camera
  • Klappe (klick) and action


Movie 1: Haltestellen_parallel_zur_Strasse Movie 2: Strasse_parallel_zur_Haltestelle Movie 3: http://www.myvideo.de/watch/5666954/versetzte_Strecken_und_Haltestellen_mit_Kreuzung Movie 4: http://www.myvideo.de/watch/5811781/Gestaltung_eines_Haltepunktes


Moreover, please remember that connections to neighbour cities cannot be made with puzzle pieces, only with draggable networks. As a result, Tram in Avenue, Tram in Road and Tram on Road cannot be used to make direct connections to neighbour cities. The only solution to this problem is separating the tram tracks from the road/avenue and dragging the connections individually.

616f14e3a7f007b538839c8a2e670e42.png

7b75dd5ebfae30d5a9638a0d023ac079.png

Acknowledgement

I'd like to thank Chrisim for his intense support once again! It was mainly due to his help that we have been able to put the original idea for this mod into practice within six months. I also want to express my gratitude to the members of SFBT and of the NAM team. Their comments and observations helped to shape the T-RAM to what we can offer the SC4 community today – a beautiful expansion package for the tram! Special thanks go out to Warrior, who provided us with the technical background knowledge for the three-way pieces. Images have been provided by Chrisim, and Schleicher68 contributed the movies for better documentation of the new possibilities.

Personal tools