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Caesar IV Heaven » Forums » Caesar III: Game Help » Five 'Blockless' cities completed to a high standard
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Topic Subject:Five 'Blockless' cities completed to a high standard
M Cicero
Pleb
posted 04-12-18 20:13 ET (US)         
This post has been updated since it was made to reflect later additions/changes

First I'd like to thank those who have contributed to these forums over the years - they are a fantastic resource.

I'd like to share some cities for general comment/critique for those interested:

Miletus Grand Insulae/Grand Villa
Lugdunum Grand Insulae/Medium Villa
Tarsus Large Insulae/Large Villa
Valentia Grand Insulae/Medium Palace
Massilia Grand Insulae/Small Palace

I noticed that most of the cities in the Downloads are quite 'blocky' - especially those with the highest ratings and stablilty. So I wanted to try something different, using a more 'open-plan' layout, and to try to achieve comparable rating and stability. All my cities are eternal and stable without the use of gatehouses - using the highest level of insulae possible, and different types of Villa/Palace for each city. But mostly I am pleased with how my cities turned out visually.

Whilst it does take a lot of planning to fit my cities into neat shapes, but I'm sure cities of a similar style could be made with only minimal planning. Although there is a fair amount of experimentation needed to find the best places for certain buildings.

Also, I like to put my villas/palaces in interesting areas - partly for aesthetics, and partly because it forces me to design unique and interesting villa/palace blocks rather than being able to copy-paste the same blocks from city to city.

[This message has been edited by M Cicero (edited 06-16-2019 @ 05:09 PM).]

AuthorReplies:
Brugle
HG Alumnus
posted 04-13-18 15:58 ET (US)     1 / 21       
Hello M Cicero, welcome to Caesar III Heaven.

Your cities are very attractive, probably better than any of mine. My comments may sound like criticisms, but most of them are minor.

People have called cities "eternal" or "timeless" even though they required frequent gifts to Rome to prevent Favor from falling too much. I don't like that, but it seems to be the practice here. (Perhaps some day I'll try to build an eternal "career" city that does not require gifts to Rome, but other challenges are more appealing to me now.)

Massilia has gatehouses only in external walls, which makes it my favorite of your cities. The rest of the cities have internal gatehouses for walker control. I don't buy that they provide security for patrician areas, since all of the patrician areas can be accessed from the rest of the city without going through gatehouses or walls.

I like having villa or palace blocks in unusual locations. I don't see the point of putting villas in Miletus next to rocks--I think putting them on an island (or two) would have been better. I'm a little surprised that you don't have palaces in the larger cities like Valentia or Massilia.

Some players won't agree, but I like having shows in entertainment venues. Tarsus has no shows at all! Valentia and Massilia have shows only in the hippodrome.

Your cities don't have defenses. That may be OK in a city like Lugdunum which isn't invaded, but for the others it makes sense to have some forts. Tarsus and Massilia are surrounded by walls but the towers aren't staffed. Miletus and Valentia have reservoirs and aqueducts outside of the walls which could be easily attacked!

Have you seen the Cities by whisperwind777? They don't use gatehouses for walker control, have defenses in cities that are attacked, and have Culture 100. Your cities are closer to the population requirement and may last longer.

[This message has been edited by Brugle (edited 04-13-2018 @ 04:09 PM).]

M Cicero
Pleb
posted 04-13-18 19:14 ET (US)     2 / 21       
Thanks Brugle - I welcome your comments/criticism

I have seen the cities by whisperwind777 - his Valentia was the inspiration for mine, as well as for generally developing a style not reliant on gatehouses and having multiple loops serviced by the same building - although my goals have been different.

I also based my understanding of 'eternal' on his example - long lasting and only requiring absolutely unavoidable player intervention, namely gifts to Caesar and rebuilding clay pits. How would one make an eternal city that doesn't require gifts to Caesar?

Admittedly, my use of gatehouses as roadblocks is more to make putting my villas in awkward locations a bit easier. All my cities should work without them since they are only there for the market walkers to guarantee stability. (In Miletus, I only added the walker-controlling gatehouse after a villa briefly devolved after some 50-100 years of being stable.) Now you've mentioned it though, I might look into removing them in some of my cities - Tarsus should actually be pretty simple (EDIT: internal gatehouse now removed from Tarsus.)

The problem with palaces is that they require a huge amount of desirability, which becomes a big problem when putting them in confined spaces. I've generally avoided large statues, and restrict myself to one governor's residence. Luxury palaces would be nigh impossible on the island in Massilia (at least with all the farms), and on Valentia I wouldn't be able to have very many and I think this together with the excessive number of desirability buildings required would be less visually appealing. I also just prefer the look of grand villas.

I'm pretending that the rocks in Miletus are a hill, on which I've built a kind-of Acropolis. Perhaps one day I will make a version with villas on the islands, but when I've explored that possibility before, they've seemed to be a little too small. I liked that probably no one else has thought to use that area before.

Your comment regarding shows wasn't a surprise since I know you make that a goal in your cities. I had planned to use fewer amphitheatres in Massilia each with two shows, but I had problems getting this consistently so instead I used overall amphitheatre coverage for the entertainment points. I then did the same in Tarsus and Valentia. Personally, I don't mind the lack of shows, since it doesn't affect how the city looks, and so I prefer goals like only using large temples.

I like to think that the invasions stop because the empire has expanded by that point and defeated those enemies. In fact, I was told that Rome overexpanded and struggled to marshall enough troops, and so concentrated her legions on defending the borders - when these fell the rest of the empire couldn't defend itself. Probably a bit more complicated than that... but I like to think the lack of defence is historically accurate

[This message has been edited by M Cicero (edited 04-13-2018 @ 09:51 PM).]

Brugle
HG Alumnus
posted 04-13-18 22:41 ET (US)     3 / 21       
How would one make an eternal city that doesn't require gifts to Caesar?
By having enough defense (perhaps towers or lions/gladiators) to defeat Rome's troops when they invade. Lugdunum (my favorite mission, by far) looks like a good place to do that. (Since victory is prevented by low Favor, population can reach the requirement.)
The problem with palaces is that they require a huge amount of desirability,
A small palace needs only 5 more desirability than a grand villa.
I've generally avoided large statues,
I like to make the missions different. If I had built a few cities with grand villas and no large statues, I'd welcome the chance to build a mission with palaces and large statues.
Luxury palaces would be nigh impossible on the island in Massilia (at least with all the farms),
I'd cut down the farms by feeding the plebeians wheat instead of fruit. Would a couple of luxury palaces be that hard?
on Valentia I wouldn't be able to have very many and I think this together with the excessive number of desirability buildings required would be less visually appealing.
Two luxury (or large) palaces is enough. For visual appeal, some players might prefer having a variety of patrician houses: perhaps at least one of each type of villa and palace.
Miletus ... villas on the islands, but when I've explored that possibility before, they've seemed to be a little too small.
A bit of a challenge. Excellent!
M Cicero
Pleb
posted 04-14-18 00:35 ET (US)     4 / 21       
By having enough defense (perhaps towers or lions/gladiators) to defeat Rome's troops when they invade. Lugdunum (my favorite mission, by far) looks like a good place to do that.
You could even line towers along the farm hill overlooking the road to Rome... sounds like a fun challenge!
A small palace needs only 5 more desirability than a grand villa.
I should have specified I was thinking luxury palaces; I prefer to have the best villas to having small/medium/large palaces. Also, most players want to go for luxury palaces so I wanted to do something different.
I like the idea of having one of each though - one would need to control the level of each using desirability, which would probably be fairly tricky.
I'd cut down the farms by feeding the plebeians wheat instead of fruit. Would a couple of luxury palaces be that hard?
Farm space is awkward on Massilia, at least when you encounter it for the first time. This is probably the most identifiable and challenging aspect of the map design, and I wanted this to still be the case for when I returned to it. Hence, the idea to put only villas on the island, despite using (practically speaking) the maximum number of farms. (This was the most awkward section to plan in all my cities.) I did consider doing what you suggest instead, but I don't think it would be any more challenging so I'll probably leave putting luxury palaces on that island as something for someone else to explore.
A bit of a challenge. Excellent!
Perhaps I will attempt another version of Miletus at some point...
I would probably keep the main part of the city mostly the same though.
One other tricky aspect here is denying wheat to the plebs. (In my Miletus the wheat granary is only 1 tile out of range of markets in the city.) Either I would need place the wheat granary on the far side of the farthest island, or I would need to disconnect and use getting warehouses for fruit. Putting the granary in that position would still put it in range of the markets on the near island... so I would probably put villas on that one also. Miletus ended up being the toughest city for having enough workers to go around (despite the lower culture), and this all would probably make it if anything more difficult (would be less so if I allowed myself to surpass the 5000 pop but there's not much more fruit available from the main farmland)... certainly a challenge!
Brugle
HG Alumnus
posted 04-14-18 11:10 ET (US)     5 / 21       
You could even line towers along the farm hill overlooking the road to Rome
That's the obvious place for most or all of the towers, but what is the best arrangement? What is the minimum number of towers that will repel all invasions? (I have tested several arrangement that repelled quite a few invasions and then failed.) Would a lion/gladiator defense use fewer workers?
M Cicero
Pleb
posted 04-14-18 17:46 ET (US)     6 / 21       
I suppose the problem is consistency - if just one tower is destroyed once, then it follows that the defences will eventually whittle down. I'm thinking you'd have most your towers on the hill, and then finish them off with lions/gladiators - with perhaps a final group of towers as a last resort before they reach your city. Probably very labour heavy in any case, so high rating and/or housing goals would certainly be tough.

By the way, I've updated my Tarsus and Valentia, having removed the offending gatehouses. Also, I decided your call regarding palaces in Valentia was a good one after all; they are now medium palaces. Valentia's palaces should be extremely stable since each should be covered by a market trader when she either leaves or returns to her market. (Another trick I've seen whisperwind777 use.)
Brugle
HG Alumnus
posted 04-14-18 20:41 ET (US)     7 / 21       
if just one tower is destroyed once, then it follows that the defences will eventually whittle down
For me, a city is not stable if anything is destroyed or any house devolves.

I'm now interested in designing very-long lived cities that will produce a limited number of ghosts and be stable with no population changes. My last "eternal" city was for Pharaoh, described in Improved Immortal Iunet, but replies #1 through #18 are not very relevant. It had 5616 people, formed 46 ghosts in 2645 years and became stable with 5570 people. It ran for 2356 more years (when I submitted it to the Downloads), and I expect it could run for much longer. If I build a Lugdunum like this, I would expect it to eventually become stable with no more ghosts. (Note: forming all of the ghosts in a large city can take much longer--too long to be practical.)
I'm thinking you'd have most your towers on the hill, and then finish them off with lions/gladiators - with perhaps a final group of towers as a last resort before they reach your city.
I don't think I will combine towers and lions/gladiators. If I built this city it will probably have towers. Most or all of them will be on the hill. I have thought of putting a few "as a last resort", but don't know if that will be efficient.
I've updated my Tarsus and Valentia, having removed the offending gatehouses.
In my opinion, a significant improvement.
each should be covered by a market trader when she either leaves or returns to her market. (Another trick I've seen whisperwind777 use.)
In the link from reply #1, this aspect of whisperwind777's eternal Capua was discussed in replies #3, #8, and #9.

[This message has been edited by Brugle (edited 04-14-2018 @ 08:42 PM).]

M Cicero
Pleb
posted 04-16-18 08:58 ET (US)     8 / 21       
In my opinion, a significant improvement.
Yeah, I should have done this before really - all are now updated with interior gatehouses removed. Also, Massilia/Valentia now have small/medium palaces.
In the link from reply #1, this aspect of whisperwind777's eternal Capua was discussed in replies #3, #8, and #9.
I found this midway through building my cities - I try to use it in at least parts of my city. Miletus now does this throughout in my update.

[This message has been edited by M Cicero (edited 04-18-2018 @ 02:19 PM).]

jaroslav80
Pleb
posted 04-16-18 14:00 ET (US)     9 / 21       
I like the cities. Different and nice. Especially the villa block in Miletus on the inland hill. I have never built there anything.
Also the rule "only one governor house per city" is interesting. But I like 3 different governor's estates in a city.

As for me, I like the gatehouses and loops. It is simple and I like long distances and no need to pack buildings on a small area. Roadblocks would be nicer, cheaper and smaller; but this is C3.
M Cicero
Pleb
posted 04-16-18 15:53 ET (US)     10 / 21       
Thanks jaroslav80 - once I'd noticed there was a gap leading behind the rocks on Miletus I knew I had to do it.
Also the rule "only one governor house per city" is interesting. But I like 3 different governor's estates in a city.
Since governor's residences 'emit' a lot of desirability, one of the easiest ways of getting enough to get to large/luxury palaces in a confined space is to build them all in the same place surrounding your palaces. I don't like to do this as personally I think it usually looks a bit silly for the governor to have 3 houses in the same place. I'd have no issue building them in different parts of the city, although I just tend to have one villa/palace area in my city, where I'll put a governor's residence.
As for me, I like the gatehouses and loops. It is simple and I like long distances and no need to pack buildings on a small area. Roadblocks would be nicer, cheaper and smaller; but this is C3.
Just wanted to show there are other ways to play the game as well. Since most of the highest level cities in the Downloads use gatehouse blocks, people might assume this is the only or best way to play the game well. But yes, play in the way you prefer

[This message has been edited by M Cicero (edited 04-16-2018 @ 03:57 PM).]

trolgu
Pleb
posted 04-23-18 07:32 ET (US)     11 / 21       
Hi M Cicero

Above all, I like the other approach of how you build your cities

You may have noticed that I tried something similar on my version of connected Massilia.
This was very tedious and even after 100 years one could not be sure that no fire would break out and that all houses would always be supplied with furniture and oil on time.
Therefore I set myself other goals for the following cities, e.g. 100 culture, efficient walker control of prefects and market ladies, entertainment venues having shows, etc.

I find it always fascinating that this old game offers so many different possibilities to play it according to a personal priority list.
In this sense, continue to surprise us
M Cicero
Pleb
posted 04-23-18 11:41 ET (US)     12 / 21       
Thanks trolgu

I liked your Massilia, especially how you handled the food distribution - feeding half your plebs wheat, the other half fruit, and putting the patricians in the middle so they would get both was a nice idea.

Furniture/Oil/Wine distribution is the worst. As you probably know, houses need to be resupplied at least every 2 months. I use a combination of covering as many houses as I can with market entry/exit points, and for any remaining houses, I try to ensure that at least one market is passing those houses in, say, 3 of its 4 walks. It helps that all the loops in my cities are 48 tiles max.
Most of the workers I 'save' by not going for 100 culture probably goes into markets, and I place as many prefectures as my workforce allows. So not using gatehouses is pretty costly for market efficiency.
I find it always fascinating that this old game offers so many different possibilities to play it according to a personal priority list.
I agree
Though I reckon houses being able to store a bit more furniture/oil/wine would make such a big difference - it would make building without gatehouses significantly less tedious. (I think they fixed this in Pharoah, though I've hardly played that.)
In this sense, continue to surprise us
Well, I'd like to do a Londinium with all grand insulae/luxury palace... but its proving very tough. So we'll see
Brugle
HG Alumnus
posted 04-23-18 15:30 ET (US)     13 / 21       
this old game offers so many different possibilities to play it
Yes indeed. While I've taken breaks to play other games (such as Stronghold and Banished), I always come back to C3 (and Pharaoh).
Though I reckon houses being able to store a bit more furniture/oil/wine would make such a big difference
It would, but is that a good thing? If C3 was significantly easier to play, I might have lost interest in it a long time ago. (But maybe more other players would prefer an easier game.)
building without gatehouses significantly less tedious. (I think they fixed this in Pharoah,
Building without gatehouses is much easier in Pharaoh, since Pharaoh has roadblocks which control walkers like gatehouses. Some players have proposed building without roadblocks, but as far as I can tell there wasn't much interest.

2x2 (and larger) houses in Pharaoh do store 4 months of non-food goods. Also, bazaars have 2 buyers, one for food and one for non-food goods, so the problem in C3 of a market buyer being too busy obtaining food to obtain goods doesn't happen in Pharaoh. And bazaars have special orders, so it's easier to control things--perhaps the biggest change that made Pharaoh easier than C3. On the other hand, bazaar buyers only leave at half-month intervals (as opposed to market buyers leaving at sixteenth-month intervals).

However, there is a bug: very rarely, a bazaar goods buyer may not leave when she should, and may skip several times in a row. (My Immortal Iunet first saw devolution from this problem after over 700 years.) It's possible that this bug also exists in C3, but since the market buyer can leave much more frequently it may not cause a problem.)
I'd like to do a Londinium with all grand insulae/luxury palace... but its proving very tough
If you want a population close to the requirement and a demographic curve that is close to steady-state, the biggest problem is probably getting enough oil. You could have lots of luxury palaces (to cut down on oil consumption), but that would reduce Culture.
M Cicero
Pleb
posted 04-23-18 17:47 ET (US)     14 / 21       
It would, but is that a good thing? If C3 was significantly easier to play, I might have lost interest in it a long time ago. (But maybe more other players would prefer an easier game.)
I just think that the limited storage of furniture/oil/wine makes it difficult to the point that most players don't consider it worth the effort to make cities without the use of gatehouses (at least if they want stable housing at a reasonable level) - and that this limits the possibilities of C3 for most players. This is maybe my main criticism of the games design, though it does make it more satisfying when I do manage to stabilise my cities regardless.
(Even whisperwind777 either didn't consider it worth the effort to make sure his housing was completely stable, or he didn't fully understand the problem. Capua is the only exception - I assume that Lutetia is by chance. I think my cities are more stable [this of course partly because I can have many more markets] though it is always possible I have missed something.)

Actually, there are probably more areas where I think the game should be more difficult - for example, requiring a larger proportion of patricians for 100 prosperity, or taxes never being higher than wages for plebian housing.
Some players have proposed building without roadblocks, but as far as I can tell there wasn't much interest.
If I ever play Pharoah properly (I tried a few missions a couple of months back) it will probably be without roadblocks (or at least without distinct blocks, similar to these cities). On paper, it still looks like it might be easier than no gatehouses in C3 (?) - with the entertainment intersections being maybe the only thing that is perhaps more tricky than C3.
If you want a population close to the requirement and a demographic curve that is close to steady-state, the biggest problem is probably getting enough oil. You could have lots of luxury palaces (to cut down on oil consumption), but that would reduce Culture.
Oil is the root of my problems yes - I'd need at least 11 luxury palaces for that reason. As with my other cities, I'd just be aiming for the culture goal for the mission (75), but I'd be very stretched for workers nonetheless.
trolgu
Pleb
posted 04-24-18 09:22 ET (US)     15 / 21       
I see at least two problems with Londinium having only oil consuming houses:
1) The location of the dock in an undefendable position, which is not very good for an attractive city. (Maybe you found a better location?)
2) The'contaminated water' events, which - at least at a very hard level - do not allow bilding a stable census.

Maybe we should decide what events can be removed after how many years of play?
For example, sea/land trade problems did also influence the design of my cities.
M Cicero
Pleb
posted 04-24-18 10:38 ET (US)     16 / 21       
1. I'm planning to put the dock(s) on the small island - and then build the city 'around' the water.
2. I'm planning to remove the contaminated water events as I eventually did for my Miletus. For that city, I removed the events after the city was built because I didn't realise they would be a problem. I don't know whether I'd do the same for Londinium, or just remove them from the start.

The main problem is the worker shortage - I'll need to be very efficient with my food distribution and services. I can see this city taking a long time if I ever do succeed in making it.
Brugle
HG Alumnus
posted 04-24-18 11:09 ET (US)     17 / 21       
The'contaminated water' events, which - at least at a very hard level - do not allow bilding a stable census
I don't think contaminated water events are affected by difficulty.
contaminated water ... I removed the events after the city was built ... I don't know whether I'd do the same for Londinium,
I'd consider a city better if it was completed before the events were eliminated, but I suspect most players wouldn't care. (As you did in Miletus, indicate that events were eliminated in the Downloads description.)
trolgu
Pleb
posted 04-24-18 23:30 ET (US)     18 / 21       
I'd consider a city better if it was completed before ..


When would you consider a city completed?
- When all houses are built
- When all people are in town
- After 50 or 100 years of game play
- When the peace rating is reached
- ..
Brugle
HG Alumnus
posted 04-25-18 14:59 ET (US)     19 / 21       
When would you consider a city completed?
When the city would be won if you weren't trying to make an "eternal" city: all requirements that will be met are met and the requirement that won't be met (probably population or Culture) is as high as it will get. Better would be if everything was constructed, all people have moved in, and all requests and invasions have occurred.
jikzik
Pleb
posted 07-16-18 07:55 ET (US)     20 / 21       
I have restarted playing c3 a few weeks ago and have never used gatehouses as blocks in that game, but I do use roadblocks when I play pharoah. My recollection is, and perhaps I am wrong, that originally it was not foreseen in c3 that gatehouses would be used to control walkers, and that pharoah, which was a later game, introduced roadblocks for that purpose. Overall I think aesthetically that games without blocks are better and the city is a bit more 'organic' (but I don't know how you would define that concept in a computer game), but the problem is of course that the market walkers spend of a lot of time walking through farmlands looking for non-existent people.
DDR Jake
Pleb
posted 07-19-18 12:23 ET (US)     21 / 21       
These are beautiful cities. I like the interconnection of Valentia, but most of all the Harbour Town feel of Tarsus. I took a shot of it from the south that I feel sells it best:

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