January 05, 2011, 12:54:49 am
Yes, trainz simulator seems pretty close to what a road creator might do. I saw a image in their movie creating a railroad, that is the way it should work, simple &fast. Indeed roads are easy made in sketchup, archicad or allplan. BUT and there is a big BUT here, it is very hard to make them leveled to the ground, at least with the softwares i am used to work with.
Most of the time you make streets in 2D and the ground is flat, and that is fast and ok. You draw the street borders, the streets, etc. For example i have allready made settings for the heights and colors of street with textures and etc. After that i just draw in 2D the roads, street borders and give them all their heights. Allthrough this works well for flat terrain it al becomes tedious for leveled grounds. So in my opinion this is where lumion should come to help.
So for the road maker i suggest the following (from my perspective as an architect).
In the first place there should be a method of tracing the streets after the real ones from a dwg file of urban planning. Usually they come as a vectorised project or bitmap (jpg, tiff, etc) or they may be traced after images from google earth. I would love to have a layer for example in which to put the file with the road shape (be it vectorised (on scale) or not, this should be the two methods, and a scaling option for bitmap should be provided)
The true greatness of the software would be a procedural road. First of all let's face it. It IS VERY HARD to make intersections for roads with traditional software (and harder to make changes to them for that matter). In my opinion the roads do not necesarily need to be from different countryes, they should have just the bigger parameters implemented, and after that different texures and objects applied to them would make them look more american, european etc.
By main parameters i mean the section of the road. This is what urban planners use to define a road. This is definetely something you should take into consideration. I think what you have in mind is more like a puzzle combining the roads. Different types of roads at a size and you put them one after another like you do with fences or bushes now. I think this should not be the approach.
You should be able to control the main parameters of the road like: size of one lane, numbers of lane, size of sidewalk, size of middle ground (for large boulevards or highways.) Some basic aditional options should be provided like let's say if there is or not a safety belt for the highway, or other accesories on the side of the road. I would recomend 2 different types, one for roads (highways) outside of city and one for city roads. (because outside roads do not have sidewalks) What matters most is lane size, and sidewalk size. Borders and other accesories should be added automaticaly. A great relief would be adding automatic textures for borders (which are very hard to produce for curved roads, and I never really had time for this)
After you set the main parameters of the road you should be able to just draw a line on the terrain (curved or simple) and then the software does the rest with your desired section of the road. After that slight adjustements should be made possible from key points (to move a intersection for example) .Pedestrian crossings should be added where you need them by dragging a square.
The key is that after you make the road modeller you may give the apearance of let's say paris, or london, or new york with aditional objects that you place, in my opinion just the main parameters of the road (which are the same for all countries) should be automaticaly made by the software.
So in conclusion the following steps should be followed:
-a way to insert bitmap from google earth and/or vectorised scaled file (dwg) to draw road after
-a scripted simple road that follows section modifiable by the user
-section of the road easy to change (a image of the road section where you drag sidewalk and each lane of the road to desired length)
-roads that follow the level of the ground
-aditional objects to create ambient for american, european or custom road
-possibility to change road texures with the ones you desire
-simple way to draw markings on the roads (pedestrian crossing, priority, etc)