A comprehensive Guide to Beautiful Building: II. Residential Grid Layouts

In this second part of the guide, I’ll show you how I do my neigbourhoods.

Residential/office/whatever on flat land

On flat land, you can basically do whatever you want. As said in the part before, you have mainly two options: go for a symmetrical thing, or do something a bit at random.

On a big map, I find that it gets less beautiful the more symmetric pieces you puzzle in there, so oftentimes, I only go for one centerpiece in symmetric, and then fill re rest up as it goes.

The other two differences in districts are the placement of your big streets, if you choose to place some.

I call them “circled”, for those who have a 4- or 6-lane street circling and by that encasing the region,  and “vein-like” for districts, where a large road just goes all the way through the middle of the place.

Here’s an example of a circled district:


You start off with a random rounded (or squared, if you prefer) form of a bigger road. Then again with the free-form street tool, you take one 2-lane road around. As you can see, you don’t have to stay in the circle for every bit, exceptions make it interesting.

In a third step, you connect some of the secondary roads inbetween and with the encasing circle, so that your citizens have enough access roads.

Finally, you fill the holes with either dead ends or cul-de-sacs (the round thingies).

There you go, in a matter of minutes, you can have something unique (mainly because it yould be virtually impossible to recreate that thing…^^).

And here, an example of a “veined-like” neighbourhood:veinedguide

Same goes here: you start off with one big street, then mesh in a smaller one, add some connections and fill the gaps with dead ends.Unique. Well almost, this example was actually made in the asset editor and the final version can be downloaded here.

Well, now that you have your thing, time to beautify. How you ask? Walkway magic!

walkwaymagic.pngThe walkways serve two things: it makes the place look really intricate and people just might let their car in their pocket and walk.

Key isto follow a bit the style of the whole thing. if your district is more squared than round, you may put straight walkways in there. And vice-versa, like in the examples shown.

Also, don’t fear to waste a bit of building space. After all, a design like such is not meant to have the highest population density!

You might also want to choose between the dirt-way or the asphalted walkway. I for example, prefer the dirt-way in most of my districts, except high commercial and heavy industry. Besides, I mostly use the gray walkway in my symmetrical centerpieces.

Note that you can’t elevate the dirt-ways! If you want to build overpasses for pedestrians, you have to take the gray one.

The following is an example of my actual central district, in an old-town style.


On the right, you can also see that I attached a circular district for offices and commercial stuff.

(by the way: the central park you see there, can also be found on the steam workshop, as a 6-piece puzzle.)

Here’s the examples from before with stuff in it:

Also, remember to fill with trees! Either you just place them one by one, or with a tree brush. As you can see, I really like encasing my districts with some kind of trees too.

(Ab)using the topography

While flat places are very versatile, most maps come with mountains and other challenges. Or if not, you can just put some in! This mod lets you change the map even while playing your game. Use it to your advantage.

One example here: On my map (which can be found here), I added a lake with some tiered plateaus on it.


It makes perfect for a nice lakeside estate, and so I put in some tourism and low-density residences.

By the way: the coloured pieces on the right is the place that eventually became this:

A rather unspectacular example of using some plateaus available to build a large district on:


As you can see, it is not quite finished yet 😉 But it eventually became this place:


As you can see, uneven terrain is never a reason to just bulldoze it flat. I look at it as a small challenge, but a bit opportunity to sync the civilisation I plant there with the “nature-given” map.

As a final example, I want to show you that you can also transform a flat land into something more topographically interesting, like a spiraled mountain:


While it might at first look a bit outlandish, it has it’s own charm, and after a while, it even fits quite snug on the map!

Well that’s it for this thime folks!

I hope you enjoyed the read, I would certainly love to hear some feedback. And if you didn’t learn anything new or interesting, I hope you enjoyed the screenshots at the least =)



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