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Re: Traffic "AI"... This is why services and traffic are broken!

by TruckOttr
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Re: Traffic "AI"... This is why services and traffic are broken!

★★ Newbie

Wealth level is a persistant part of each sim. If a rich sim goes into a building or park then a rich sim comes back out. A rich sim never changes into a poor sim and vice-versa.

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Re: Traffic "AI"... This is why services and traffic are broken!

★ Apprentice

If I'm wrong, I'll admit. I think the pathing issues are so messed up that it's not gonna matter if you divert Sims to a different street, the end result is going to be the same. The fact that Sims are only filling the nearest available spot is the problem and I don't believe it's going to be rectified by a quick fix like this. 

 

Again, I'll be sure to pop in if this fixes it. However, I think you're just going to end up shifting this from one long string of traffic to a huge chunk of backed up traffic. 

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Re: Traffic "AI"... This is why services and traffic are broken!

★ Apprentice

To add on to my previous thought, the only way I think this could possibly help is that if they take a different road then the priorities change to which space they're trying to fill. This would look incredibly awkward, sort of like pouring out a glass of water on to a desk, but it would be a step in the right direction. Like I said, t's still incredibly awkward and complete unrealistic but I guess you just take whatever win at this point that doesn't make you feel like you've wasted 60 bucks. 

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Re: Traffic "AI"... This is why services and traffic are broken!

★★★★★ Novice

"Now that the game is in your hands we are seeing the emergence of many cities that test our systems in unique ways. It’s great to watch this happen because at its core SimCity is a game about experimentation and exploration. (Of course, it’s not so great when these experiments reveal bugs.)" -Lead Designer Stone Librande

 

At least now they admitted that we are the beta test crew.

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Re: Traffic "AI"... This is why services and traffic are broken!

[ Edited ]
★★ Newbie

Please explain this if you can. I have loops going on. Pedestrian Sims (tourists and shoppers seem especially prone to this) getting on public transport, getting off at the next stop, and walking back to get on the original stop (in a vast mob, as is the sim way). They keep on doing this until they give up their task. This clogs up the transit system, and of course those sims aren't succeeding in doing what they were wanting to do. That doesn;t seem to make any sense under the current theories here of how sims move.

 

My tourists are choosing to do this in my industrial corner of the map, where there is nothing that should interest them. They're completely ignoring my tourist area. If tourists are set to actually think industry is awesome, I suggest they be convinced to like it slightly less so that the workers can get some work done, and our shops and hotels stop going out of business.

 

Also (this is unrelated, but I feel the need to gripe about it anyway) I have also been seeing the train station and ferry simply stop working, no longer bringing people in or out. That seemed to be affecting everyone else in my region, so I'm guessing it's a server based regional bug. Removing and replacing the ferry or station does nothing to fix it.

 

 

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Re: Traffic "AI"... This is why services and traffic are broken!

[ Edited ]
★★ Apprentice

For those who have programmed large systems, you will recognize what EA/Maxis is doing here, with all of these "partial traffic congestion relief" videos. They are, essentially, just putting in exceptions all over the place to give the apperance that the simulator is running better. For example, when there's too much traffic down this road, we'll have every 5th car turning right instead. This is a classic band-aid approach toward "fixing" something that is so fundamentally flawed in design that it's not feasible to repair without massive re-coding. In other words, a lot of time and money.

 

Unfortunately, what you end up with is this horrible spaghetti code with all these weird exceptions all over the place. The entire core (GlassBox)  turns into a giant Rube Goldberg machine where eventually nobody dare make any big changes in the future for fear of the entire house of cards collapsing.

 

The core of Simcity is fundamentally flawed due to design choices by the developers to focus on asthetics and DLC expansion instead of city simulation. "Form vs. function".

 

As I said in another post, this Simcity is very similar in design to "The Sims" franchise where the simulation is very lightweight. In the Sims, all the Sims do the same limited number of basic actions. The effort is placed in clothing, furniture, paint, etc. This allows for an infiinte number of new *things* and some new *actions* that are really the same action slightly modified. Instead of throwing up their hands and yelling (frustration), they throw up their hands and jump up and down (celebration). Yelling and jumping up and down is yet another "action" (probably a temper tantrum), but everything is all very basic and similar.

 

The agent model of GlassBox that they have developed drives right toward the "Sims model". Everything "behaves" exactly the same, whether it's power, vehicles, sewer, Sims, police cars, garbage trucks. They just look different. Instead of a brown poop dot, you have a sim walking down the street. This allows for an infinte number of DLC mods to spring forth making it *appear* that they are layering and layering new "simulations" making the appearance of increasing city complexties and options. Want to show postmen? We can do that. Subways? Bicycles? Newspaper delivery? Provide cable tv service? Telephone service? How about Milk delivery? It's all the same brown poop dot moving around using the same broken core but with a different skin.

 

Which leads to the other thing. The aeesthics are very detailed in Simcity. It's clearly where they spent most of their design and development time. Make a small city, about 10K, zoom in to "Sim-level view" of your city, crank up the graphics and the sound effects and just watch. It all looks very pretty. You don't notice all the path problems. You don't notice the RCI misbalances. it all just looks pretty. This choice to focus on asethetics just screams for "Asian city" packs, "Latin American" packs. heck you can even have a "Cities on Mars" pack and a "It's a Wonderful Life" Christmas city pack with snow included. 

 

The game "works" exactly how EA/Maxis intended. It's a city modeler, not a city simulator. Unfortunately they used the SimCity title generating all sorts of expectations and capitalizing on the thirst of many of us expecting the next great city simulator, the next step beyond SimCity 4.

 

My guess is that they'll keep adding all these little tweaks to make the simulation appear to 'function' better without fixing the actual problems. The people wanting a true city simulator will drift away. The ones who prefer asethetics and don't care as much for simulation may stick around. What's not known is if there are enough people who prefer asethetics to keep Simcity viable in the long term. I for one, will probably be uninstalling it, chucking it into the garbage bin, kissing my $60 goodbye and moving on.

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Re: Traffic "AI"... This is why services and traffic are broken!

★★★ Novice

+1 indeed truckottr

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Re: Traffic "AI"... This is why services and traffic are broken!

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★★★★★ Novice

@eadennis wrote:

SimCity is built on GlassBox, which is an agent-based simulation engine. At the surface level, GlassBox is designed around the premise that “Agents” are created to carry data to various “Sinks” around the city. In SimCity, you can think of the “Agents” as Sims and vehicles. The “Sinks” are the buildings that receive money, happiness and other resources from these Agents. During development we tested many cities in a variety of scenarios, but there are almost limitless permutations. Now that the game is in your hands we are seeing the emergence of many cities that test our systems in unique ways. It’s great to watch this happen because at its core SimCity is a game about experimentation and exploration. (Of course, it’s not so great when these experiments reveal bugs.)

 

We are constantly tuning the game and through the telemetry of our players we are shaping and evolving the experience to accommodate many different play styles. When bugs are discovered we will address them as quickly as possible, with updates such as the ones we’ve been rolling out over the past week. Our main focus right now is updating the pathing system that the Agents use to get to their Sinks. Running a successful city means keeping the traffic flowing and we are actively working to make this system better.

 

We understand that when cars always take the shortest route between point A and point B there will be unavoidable (and illogical) traffic jams, so we are retuning these values to make the traffic flow more realistically. Guillaume Pierre (our lead scripter) talked a bit about the improvements that we are making to the traffic system in the game here. To dig a little deeper our roads will have a weighting system based on 25%, 50% and 75% capacity. As a road hits those marks it will become less and less appealing for other cars, increasing the likelihood of them taking an alternate path if one exists.

 

We are working on additional fixes with the pathing of our Agents and these changes will streamline the way that the simulation unfolds in your city. For instance, emergency vehicles will not get blocked in their garages and will move into empty lanes to get around traffic jams. We’re also working on preventing service vehicles from clumping up (for instance, only one fire truck will respond to a fire instead of two) and improving the way that Public Transportation operates in the city. We are currently testing a patch internally and hope to have it out to you soon.

 

SimCity is a simulation but it is also a game. We wanted to make managing the mundane day-to-day functionality of a city a fun experience. We wanted players to be invested in the lives of their individual Sims, which is why you can click on one and see a name and small story about what is happening to him or her at that moment.

 

On that note I wanted to take a moment to address a question that’s been coming up: the persistence of our Sims. The Sims in the game are persistent in many respects. They go from a home to a workplace or to a shop and back each day. Their happiness, money, sickness, education level, etc. are also persistent and are carried around the city with each Sim as the simulation unfolds. But many aspects of the Sims are not persistent. They don’t own a particular house or have permanent employment. We also don’t track their names, their clothing, gender, or skin color. We did this as in attempt to increase performance so that we could have more Sims in the city. Ultimately we didn’t feel that the cost of adding in that extra layer of



Let me first Thank you Folks at Maxis for continuing to work on the issues with the game. While im not happy these issues exist for and after your go live date, I am pleased you are monitoring feedback and seeing about implimentation of community ideas.

 

I want to ask about the possibility of "simulating" Sims Owning a specific house, and having a specific job.....but from a different Angle. Is it not being done because it would be too resource intensive to retain and simulate each agent and track it persistantly? Because if thats the case, mayber there is a way to give the appearance of persistance through another means.

 

If I am understanding your description quoted above, the Engine is functioning by producing agents from all buildings when specific conditions are triggered, and then they travel along the paths to various sinks which then react to the package they carry. When the sims go to work at thier job, The Residential buildings are actually constructing the sims and releasing them to find Job sinks. The pathfinding is done by taking the source location and solving to get to the sink destination. Well....each Agent is having to by some means establish its taget destination, which then shifts once the current one is full.

 

I can understand why you did it this way. Its simple, its code efficient even if it end up not being efficient in computaional cycles required to solve the shifing end points. However I would propose that this only be used for the FIRST release that a building does. To continue with our main example of sims going to work, what if the sim on his first trip is "looking for work" and has to "interview" or search for an open slot in an industrial sink. As it goes, it carries with it the variable that is the location it originated from. infact, we know Agents sort of do this because they tell us where they were and where they are going. When the Agent finds an open Job at the industry, The industry then remembers Where the Sim Came from, and Sends the Agent back with its own location. If the Agent doesnt find work, It Will return and try again later, or perhaps look in the region. When an Agent is sent by an Industry with a positive location reservation, The Residential Building then remembers the Industrial Building location in its list, and the next day is then able to Send an Agent directly to the job, repeating the cycle.

 

If an Agent doesnt complete the trip in 1 day (should a building go abandoned, or be buldozed, etc) then the Industry would Forget or "Fire" the employee. this could also serve as a deterrent to Traffic Jams....you know....workers always late they are fired. Your simulation would behave more realistically. The pathfinding would be the same, its just that a different aspect is setting the destinations rather than the setup you have. it WILL take more memory, but we will gain both processing cycles and a better representation of our real life scenarios. Sims might end up "moving" to be closer to work just from the collateral effect of adding this more discreet directional behavior.

 

Actually, they shouid try to move into other buildings if they bring home a steady paycheck, not just upgrade what they have. Why cant they list the house for sale? You know, the house sends the agent out to look for a new place to live, if it finds one the receiving building sends out another agent to the first, which then confirms by forgeting it has that slot full, sending the Sim in a moving van that one last time to take up a new slot in a higher wealth building. We are just treating sims like cards, ithe buildings being players with cards in their hands , which when played, perform acording to thier unique properties and the rules of the table.

 

 If you are already using and reporting both destination sinks and Agent sources for us to see, why not use them to set your pathfinding targets instead of (Whatever is closest + random variance)

After all, the agents dont need to be made more complex, just the sources and destinations need to reserve addresses to send thier agents.

When there are changes then there can be various status reports such as "my Job is Gone! The building burned down!". It can be obtained when the Sim goes to the abandoned factory and gets the same variable we have access to when it shoes us the cause of a building being abandoned. The Agent is recieved, and sent back one last time with a nu,, variable and the status messege, So the next day he does the random pathing to find new work.

 

I understand if it would be too resource intensive, or you know...you cant do it because I dont know what im talking about.....its your engine of course. But some times you have to turn right to go left. You may not be able to make persistant sims....but you can teach your buildings to send sims consistantly to the same locations and fake it.

 

TLDR: Can we not have the appearence of Persistant sims by simply having the Sources and Sinks remember location variables AFTER a first round exploritory trip?

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Re: Traffic "AI"... This is why services and traffic are broken!

[ Edited ]
★★★★ Novice

But why exactly do they have to rout the new generated agents to the closest Building of a certain Type?

If you give each generated Agent a random target it spreads out quiet even most of the time.

(Maybe with a chance multiplier for higher density buildings)

I mean, it is realistic to assume that the same amount of workers live in each building of the same density.

So having the same number of of workers heading for each building at the end of the work day ain't a long shot.

 

 

The aveange traveling distance might increase slightly ,

but with such small citys where EVERYTHING is just a few blocks away  I don't think that it is a big deal

and way more realistic then the current stampede towards the nearest building.

 

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Re: Traffic "AI"... This is why services and traffic are broken!

★★★★★ Novice

@benkenobi32 wrote:

But why exactly do they have to rout the new generated agents to the closest Building of a certain Type?

If you give each generated Agent a random target it spreads out quiet even most of the time.

(Maybe with a chance multiplier for higher density buildings)

 

 

The aveange traveling distance might increase slightly ,

but with such small citys where EVERYTHING is just a few blocks away  I don't think that it is a big deal

and way more realistic then the current stampede towards the nearest building.

 


Now, thats a fair question, and i agree that even setting random destination points would be reasonable instead of everyone going after the same target. Its Game Theory. I remember seeing it explained in the movie A Beautiful Mind.

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