Sunday, August 19, 2007

Google Earth New York: Midtown Skycrapers

Last week I showed you the Financial District of Manhattan in my other New York recreation project, Google Earth New York. Today we'll head to Midtown, Manhattan's bustling business center.

The Midtown skyline looking up from 42nd Street.

Bloomberg Tower on 57th Street

100 United Nations Plaza next to Trump World Tower.

860 and 880 United Nations Plaza across the street on 1st Avenue.

The Austrian Cultural Forum near Fifth Avenue.

The Corinthian Apartments near the Queens-Midtown Tunnel.

Park Avenue Tower on 55th Street.

425 Fifth Avenue.

The Bryant Park Hotel (formerly the American Radiator Building)

The New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue.

The Lever House on Park Avenue.

The world famous Plaza Hotel next to Central Park.

Across the street from the Plaza Hotel is the new Apple Store encased in a glass cube and hidden under the plaza outside the General Motors Building.

Nearby is the Four Seasons Hotel.

More to come next time.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Manhattan Transportation Map

Just a quick update today from Sim New York to show the road network and infrastructure.

All of the roads are laid out including the complex network of diagonal streets in the West Village. Even the Highline is placed as indicated by the black curvy line running through Chelsea. The green dots represent parks (or buildings located in the park menu). The map isn't entirely accurate but it's close.

More next time.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Storm Floods Subway System and Spawns Brooklyn Tornado

A severe storm this morning dumped nearly 2 inches of rain on the city and flooded most of the subway tracks around the city; shutting down the entire subway system around the city. Every line was effected and commuters who use the subway to get to work were advised to "stay home if they could" by MTA officals. Some parts of the elevated subway system in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx were blocked by downed trees.

The Long Island Railroad service is suspended due to the tracks at the Bayside Station being completely flooded and Metro-North service was temporarily suspended.

This is not the first time the New York subway has been flooded. In 2004 Hurricane Francis dumped more than three inches of rain on the city and turned stairs in subway stations into waterfalls.

Roadways were also effected by the severe storm. Many motorists in New Jersey were trapped in their cars due to the high water. In Williamsburg Brooklyn many streets were also flooded including high trafficked Broadway.

To make the situation worse. A rare F2 tornado touched down in Brooklyn ripping some roofs off of houses and apartments, toppling trees (or ripping the tops completely off), and blowing out windows in buildings in the Bay Ridge and Kensington neighborhoods. Con Edison is urging residents in Brooklyn to conserve energy as the clean up effort gets under way. Con Ed fears the heat advisory today is likely to put a strain on the on the power grid.

Tornadoes are a rare occurrence in New York but are becoming more frequent. On July 18th an F1 touched down in a nearby suburb of New York, Islip Long Island. Last year an F2 tornado touched down in Hawthorne and Mount Pleasant, 20 miles north of New York in Westchester County. Less than 10% of tornadoes recorded in the US reach F2 scale.

At least one person was killed in the violent storm. Today's storm is one of the most destructive and most likely costly in recent New York history. Some studies suggest the increase in Tornado activity and severe weather in the New York area is due global warming. Many other studies show rainfall patterns and amounts are already changing on a global scale.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

How To: Taking SimCity to the Next Level

This section of the blog is how to advice on where to find some of the best 3ds models for SimCity to how make the game even more realistic to gmax tutorials.

Updated 7/6/08

-Giant List of SimCity Tutorials and Videos has some great tutorials for SimCity players. Check out their long list of SmiCity tutorials and videos.

-How to Create Custom Automata for SimCity 4

Fellow Simmer Vester_DK has written some great articles on anything and everything relating to how to make custom automata for SimCity 4. You can read them here.

-How to Create Custom Queries

Here's a handy tutorial about how to make a custom query for all the modders out there. Download the UI Editor Tool and then follow this tutorial.

-3ds Max Video Tutorial

Since BAT uses Gmax and Gmax is very similar to 3ds Max (with some features removed) I've found some videos which will help people getting started with the basics of BAT.

1. Getting Started with the Interface

2. Customization of Interface

3. Edit Mesh

4. Edit Poly

For a complete tutorial on how to make a building in BAT from scratch refer to the Simtropolis Omnibus section's BAT tutorials.

-How To Make BAT's for SimCity 4 in Sketchup

I've gotten a number of requests about how to make custom content for SimCity. The most obvious way to do this is with the gmax add-on for SimCity 4, BAT. BAT is based off of Gmax which is similar to 3ds Max minus a couple of additional features. If you've never made anything in 3D before Gmax will be a little difficult to get the hang of and your early work won't be as accurate as you would like. Many people who don't have 3D skills put requests in the BAT Request Thread only to have them (mostly) ignored. Or they wish they could have the great skills of their favorite BAT artist. Now they can.

A simple 3D modeling application that I'm starting to model my buildings in is Sketchup. Sketchup is almost like a 3D drawing tool and it is very easy to use whether your a beginner or a longtime 3D modeler. Even someone with no 3d modeling expeirence can make a fairly decent building in about an hour. You'll have to render your building in BAT (BAT for Max is preferable if you have the money to spend on 3ds Max); by using Sketchup to create your buildings you can cut down on the time it takes to make.

You can download a free 30-day trial version of Sketchup at

Here's some great video tutorials created by the author of Sketchup for Dummies to get you started with making 3D creations in Sketchup for SimCity.

1. Making a Quick Model in Sketchup

2. Understanding Edges and Faces

3. Using SketchUp Components

4. Select and Replace

5. Putting It All Together

Once you've created your model in Sketchup you can export it in a format that can be imported by BAT, 3ds. Go to File-Export-3DS. You're model should now export to your chosen destination and you can import it into BAT, texture it and render it for SimCity 4. Sketchup even has a network link to Google's 3D Warehouse where you can download 3D models.

-Nightlighting Tutorial

So you've got your building ready to go after days or weeks of hard work. You may have created it from scratch or converted it from Sketchup by following my tutorial. All that needs to be done is nightlighting.

Here's a simple nightilghting tutorial to finalize your buildings.

Happy BATting!

How to Get Sketchup Models into SimCity

This tutorial explains how to use Sketchup models for SimCity.

Download tutorial-94.97 KB.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Google Earth New York


Another update of the continually growing Google Earth New York, my other 3D New York recreation. Here's some sights from the Financial District.

Hanover Square near Wall Street

The Banker's Trust Building on Wall Street

The Cube in the Plaza of the HSBC Building (formerly the Marine Midland Bank Building)

17 State Street at the tip of Lower Manhattan near Battery Park

The Police Museum near FDR Drive

88 Pine Street (also known as Wall Street Plaza)

The Wall Street corridor at Broadway

Stay tuned for more next time.