Monday, March 29, 2010

Review - Capt Jacks Landing

I've got a new review up at CSG. It's Capt Jack's Landing.


One of the reasons for the lack of posts recently has been my involvement with CSGforums. Whilst I haven't been coding or anything I have been doing a lot of testing and posting to help get it up an running. I'm also a team member.

It's still growing, it now has a chat section and a file exchange. Check it out!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Entry 11: I've got a brand new steam powered combination harvester..

(Councillor Bob Crotchet) Hello, hello. Welcome everybody. Do settle down. We're all here to witness the opening of the Oak River Patents Office here in St. Raphael. It's a wonderful day for the region.

...mumbles from the crowd...

I understand that it's raining Mrs. Sullivan, I meant wonderful in, well, not in the weather sense. 

It's taken us months to, well, just get councillors from all the villages together in one place. Anyway, we were all locked up in a room a weren't allowed to leave until we came to an agreement. The result of the agreement is this - the Patents Office. We can now rest assured that people can live in peace that their inventions will not be stolen. Here to tell you more is newly appointed Patents Officer Mr. Willy Prudhoe.

(Willy Prudhoe) Thank you councillor.

(shout from crowd) GERROFF MY LAND!

(Willy Prudhoe) It's not your land Alderman Harris. We're all very grateful that you discovered this place, but you can't claim all of it.

The patents office is designed to protect your intellectual property and looking around them room I se... hmm. well, maybe not your intellectual property. Anyway, if you invent something, submit it to the Patents Office and we'll keep a record of it. Then if anyone wants to use your design they have to pay you shiny discs, which are now being called `money' or `Simoeleons' as I understand it.

mumble from crowd

No, Mr Bryden, you can't patent your discs. Why? Because we believe that you didn't invent them and anyway a law was passed saying they were unpatentable because they're too useful.

Gosh. You've turned the air blue Mr. Bryden.

Anyway, I'm pleased to announce the first invention to be patented. It was invented by me. I'm calling it the steam engine. Essentially, you heat the water and steam rises, which can do something useful. I'm not entirely sure what yet and I'm sure it can be improved.

Thank you everybody. Have a good day.


Some time later, the steam engine was modified and various inventions started to appear. These were the steam donkey used in logging ...

Or the steam tractors and combine harvesters that greatly increased the area of land that one family could farm.

Image of steam donkey from wikipedia. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0

Image of steam tractor from wikipedia. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Entry 10: Clearing up

After two years of solid work chopping down trees the villagers of Westfield, Middleton and Sudbury had made some progress. Some, but not much. They had only cleared about half the area that they were hoping to clear. They needed a new strategy. Actually, what they needed were some new tools and machinery to do the job.

In the mean time they decided that they must prepare what land they had already cleared for agriculture. That was the idea behind the clearing after all. First of all they had to get rid of all of the felled trees lying around.

Their first move was to set up a makeshift lumber yard to deal with all of the logs.

Once that was built and the logs cleared then finally farmers were able to start to move into the area.

Journal now also at SC4Devotion

I've started to upload on SC4Devotion. The link can be found here.

State of play - 1915

It's now 1915 game year. The Oak River  page has been updated to include new maps and statistics. Here are some population and wealth statistics for 1915.

Name               Money              Pop              Com              Ind
Oak River        $166,356          2,120           310               548
                       (+11,709)          (+117.4%)   (+105.2%)   (+60.7%)
Dart River        $208,766          1,973           209              595
                        (+16,964)         (+532.4%)  (+198.6%)   (+67.1%)
Sarah's Cove   $203,082          1,834           188               844
                       (+5,729)           (+1219%)     (+408.1%)   (+3025%)
Pelargir            $195,573         859               152              608
                       (-351)              (+760.2%)    (+1800%)    (+1589%)
Anduin            $192,172         653               42                 140
Revis Island    $193,999         373                56                 70
Dartmouth      $196,667         180                30                 63

Existing          $773,777        6,786              859              2,595
                     (+34,051)       (+340.9%)      (+222.9%)   (+241.4%)
All                $1,356,615       7,992              987              2,868
                    (+16,889)        (+419.3%)      (+271.1%)   (+277.4%)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

New banners

I've remodelled the banners. They now contain the entry number in the form of the route number, the name, pop stats and year in the middle and the primary village/city under consideration in the third panel. They also include part of one of the images in the background.

An example is the following:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Entry 9: It's good shipping goods

Industries in the Dart River area were having to transport their goods a long way before being shipped. The route ran through Oak River and along the coastal road to Sarah's Cove some 12km trip by road for just a 4km distance in a straight line. Additionally, a 1km stretch of road was not even in existence so the freight had to be hauled on the beach.

Entrepreneur Bob Ribblesand saw an opportunity to cut freight costs for the industries whilst making bundles of cash for himself. He started up the Dart River Barge Company to transport freight up the Dart River.

The river mouth was just 3km downstream. By the river mouth he constructed a port to handle the goods for shipping. Unfortunately, the cost of building a fully fledged seaport was too much at this stage so Bob had to settle with docking barges by the small pontoon before being shipped off.

Barge image by Mark Groves. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Entry 8: Sharpening the saws

The region of Oak River was becoming very crowded, and by crowded we mean that all the space that wasn't forest was being used. The villagers of Westfield, Middleton and Sudbury hatched a plan to clear about 4 square kilometres of forest so that it could be used as agricultural land. The area under question is outlined in the image below.

The inhabitants of Oak River wanted no part of this, being much more conservative, no doubt under the influence of original settler and Alderman John Harris.

There was no lumber company in the part of the world as of yet so the inhabitants were forced to chop the trees themselves. Armed with axes the hardy menfolk, womenfolk, childfolk and dogfolk set to work. Actually only the older children were allowed to help the adults and they were limited to cutting branches off felled trees.

Piles of felled trees soon started to appear as a small swath was cut through the forest.

Not far behind people made a rough dirt track that followed the swath through the forest. This was to allow them to get back to and from the villages easily.

This was a venture that was going to take some time.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Entries now also at CSGforums

The entries have been copied over to CSGforums. I'll still update here before updating there. This blog will have more than just the entries on it.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tiny avatar

Here is the tiny version of my avatar. Please do not use it without my permission.

Banners updated

I've decided on the banner. Here are the banners for the first 7 entries. I need to host them here, so that when I start uploading this to another site I have somewhere where they're stored.


Latest sign

Here is the latest sign.


I'm trying to make a banner for my entries. What do you think?

New review online - BSC Newman Mine v3

My latest review is online. You can read it here.

Death and Taxes

What's that quote about them being the only two things guaranteed. I've had to deal with both this week.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Custom Content fully online

That didn't take long. I've not included the dependencies because I can't be sure that I use all of them.

Custom Content Page online

Custom Content is now online. Note that it's not complete. It only contains stuff that I got from the STEX as yet, but the rest is coming soon.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Entry 7: Taking to the waves

Date: 28th January 1912. Population 4,501

The communities of Sarah's Cove and Wigglemouth took to the water like, well, ducks to water. They soon developed a network of passenger pontoons. These pontoons were incredibly cheap to run, only costing $3 a month. A number of residents use them to get to work, even at Capt Jacks Landing.

The picture above is south facing.

There were two ferry routes. One that traversed the coast line and visited all the pontoons and another that travelled between East Cove, West Cove and Wigglemouth as can be seen on this network diagram.

I haven't forgotten

I'm still here. Thanks have been a bit busy lately and also I've had to deal with some more personal stuff. I am still developing the region however. I've just not got to a point where there's anything new enough for a journal entry.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Entry 6: Coastal Communities

Date: 1st January 1910 Population: 1920

Drawn back to their roots, the settlers of the Oak River region started to become more maritime in nature. This was brought about by the construction of a small jetty near the church. The site was chosen because sites further downstream at Oak River were too shallow to allow the ferries to come in.

There are three sites that sprung up at this time and are indicated on the map below with numbers 8, 9 and 10.



The village of Barnacle (number 10) is situated just across the water from St. Raphael. It's an incredibly small riverine community.


Oak Point

Oak Point is a farming community right by the mouth of the river. It was easier to construct a ferry to transport people than to navigate through the dense forest, even by following the coast.


Sarah's Cove

Sarah's Cove was founded by Sarah Smith. It started out as a small fishing village on the coast.

Soon, a more permanent landing point for the fishermen and women was constructed a little way down the coast by the mouth of the River Wiggle. 

State of play - 1910

It's now 1910 (update coming, once I've done some testing), but here are the maps of the region.


1910 Stats.

Name             Money       Pop   Com   Ind
Oak River      $154,647   975   151     341
Dart River      $191,742   312   70       356
Sarah's Cove $197,353   139   37       27
Pelargir          $195,924   113   8        36

The state of play - 1907

We've reached 1907 in the state of play. Here's the map again.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Entry 5: Laying the black stuff

Date: 7th November 1905 Population: 627

The residents of the Oak River region wanted to know much more about their surroundings. More than the fact that they were surrounded by dense forest anyway. A few intrepid cartographers and explorers set off to map and explore (surprise surprise) the surrounding area. About 1 mile west of Westfield they discovered a river, which they named Dart River.

By the banks of the river they discovered some natural deposits of a strange substance. This substance turned out to be asphaltum. This substance was tested in the construction of a number of things, such as plates and ovens.

An asphalt plant was set up to facilitate this.

Most of the tests were spectacular failures. It was Christopher Riddles who discovered it could be used to form a hard surface that could be put on the ground. Soon the asphalt industry took off and the dirt tracks around Oak River were beginning to be replaced with asphalt.

As well as asphalt other substance were found in the region namely various metal ores. Supporting industries began to spring up, the most noticeable was the metalworks. Not only did they make metals for the industry, but their first job was acting as a mint and making new shiny metal discs that could be used in trade.

The state of play - Middleton

I've got one more entry before I catch up with my current time, but before I post that I thought I'd tell you about Middleton. It's not exciting enough to be a full entry. It's just a new village, seeded through the expansion of the region with new settlers. It's located between Westfield and Oak River, hence its name.

The clearing


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Passing the first 1000

The Brisbane1 (Oak River) region has now passed 1,000 inhabitants. The entries are still lagging behind the game play but they should catch up fairly soon.

Entries now catalogued

The entries have now been catalogued on the Oak River page. They can be found at the bottom.

Entry 4: The Church of St. Raphael

Date: 25th December 1904 Population: 278

The settlements of Oak River, Westfield and Sudbury had been existing in peaceful solitude for a short time. The young colony received attention from the churches in another part of SimGlobe. A handful of missionaries were sent out to spread the good news in the region.

The missionaries landed at Oak River and got to know the population. The searched for a good site for a church and they settled for a spot upstream of the village of Oak River, right next to the river itself. In early 1904 the church was built. A dedication service was held and the church was named St. Raphael

The site chosen was an easy cart ride away from the three villages. Over time tracks appeared where vegetation was trodden as the residents trekked to the service every Sunday morning.

Around the church and the tracks the village of St. Raphael sprung up. These housed the missionaries as well as a few people providing services for the community and the church goers.

Clearing the decks

I've got a lot of downloaded custom content, not all of which is being used. I've deleted those mods I'm not using and I've moved the downloaded zip files to my back-up drive. At some point I'll need to go through the dependencies and make sure they're all being used.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Entry 3: The Diary of William Spigot

Date: 10th June 1903 Population: 207

William Spigot was found dead in his barn with his diary beside him. Local residents, being incredibly nosy, read it. Here is a snapshot of some more recent entries.

Sunday 1st March 1903.

There are a lot more people in this village than there used to be. There's well over 100! I can hardly remember everyone's name. Only this morning I was in Rob Bryden's shop exchanging some discs for bread, when a young lady walked in. I hadn't a clue who she was. It turned out it was Brigitta's cousin and she'd just come from overseas. Of course, I didn't bother to find out what she was called.

Monday 2nd March 1903.

Worked all day in the fields. Nothing much happened until Jonas Jonasson from the mechanics passed out in a ditch on the way to the crossroads. He had been drinking some of Norbert Smith's homemade liquor. That stuff is great if you want to unblock a pipe. Not that we have many pipes mind.

Tuesday 3rd March 1903.

I came across the sea for some piece and quiet, but the village has grown so much I can hardly hear myself think. I was trying to decide on swede or turnip for dinner but I couldn't think straight because two people were having a conversation in the street by my house. I opened my upstairs window and poured water on them.

Wednesday 4th March 1903.

I was attacked by a scarecrow in the field.

Thursday 5th March 1903.

Gah! I've had enough of this. I was walking for a stroll by the river when Scratch came and bit my left leg. I complained to Mr. Harris who just laughed and said I was a grumpy old catfish. I suppose he thinks he can get away with having vicious dogs just because he's Alderman.

Friday 6th March 1903.

I've decided to move away. I'm packing up a few belongings and I'm moving out west to the deep forest and to start a farm there and get some peace and quiet.


Thursday 12th March 1903.

I've set up a new farm. I've cleared the land, planted my crops and I've not put up any dirt tracks leading back to the village, so hopefully no-one will find me.


Wednesday 5th April 1903

Infuriating! Some blighter has cleared away some land nearby and has started a new farm. I tried to chase him away with a stick, but the limp in my left leg was causing me too much pain. He's even started to lay some dirt tracks.

Saturday 16th May 1903.

Where are they all coming from? It's as if they've sprung up from nowhere. All around me the trees have been cleared and people are constructing farms everywhere.

Saturday 6th June 1903.

There is no escape. I shouted at my neighbour, for, well, existing. He told me I could just pack up my bags and leave `Westfield' (hah – we're an official village now) and go to `Sudbury' If I so wished. I'm locking myself in my barn to get away from the din.

Custom Content Reviews

One of my roles in the SimCity 4 community is a reviewer of mods. These reviews are hosted on CSGdesign's Natural Growth blog. My review can be found here and all of the reviews can be found at this location. My first review was for the Newman Inc Mine. I found it to quite well done, but not exactly to my taste. If you're interested just click the link above.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Entry 2: Shiny Metal Discs

Date: 1st September 1901 Population: 106

Since the foundation of Oak River the farming inhabitants have been exchanging goods by the method of bartering. They exchanged produce with each other so that everyone had enough to eat and drink.

However, they soon found that exchanging goods was not sufficient. Arguments broke out about the value of each type of produce. There were other services that were needed as well. Farm machinery needed repairing for one. Around this time a new settler arrived from over the sea bearing a number of small metallic discs. His name was Rob Bryden and he set up a small shop buying and selling produce from the farmers in exchange for the small discs. After a while the system was fully established and people were buying and selling goods and services from each other. Mr. Bryden brought a large number of these discs with him, but there was still only a limited number of discs, so growth would still be limited.

In addition to Rob's shop, a mechanic set up a practice. The mechanic carries out all repairs on farm machinery. Finally, money became master as the Sims try to get the best prices for their goods. With the new services came new residents who built mainly around the crossroads.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Introduction updated

I've updated the intro to flesh out the idea of synoecism a bit more.

Entry 1: The Foundation of Oak River

Date: 15th Feb 1901 Population: 55

On 3rd March 1900, following many months sailing with his wife Brigitta, his two young children Andrew and Emily and his dog Scratch, John Harris set down on untouched land. The area had as yet no name.

He set up his home and his farm and lived there in peace for a few short months.

Knowledge of this remote land brimming with opportunity soon came to the ears of more people and they too came to farm the land. The settlers came in one by one. Dirt tracks were made connecting previous farmsteads. These tracks wound their way through the forest, always following the easiest path – in this case where the forest was less dense. Over time areas of the forest were cleared next to the track and farms and houses laid down. 

On 15th February 1901 the residents got together and decided that their community was now large enough to require some form of central organisation. After a show of hands John Harris was elected Chief Alderman. The residents declared their community to be a complete village. The debate to name the village was heated but in the end it was the Chief Alderman who decided on the name of Oak River. Despite the fact that most of the village stretched into the deep forest, John Harris' home was by the banks of the river and he wanted the name of the village to reflect that.