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For SimCity I made close to 200 vehicles. In order to build that many assets I had to design an art pipeline that was quick and simple, yet gave the toy like visual quality we aiming for. To make matters more difficult, every base vehicle had to have an upgraded state so when you build a new hospital you get a new ambulance to go with it. Most of vehicles took a day to build and only have around 300 faces. Here we see some of the emergency vehicles, with a base and upgraded state for each. The fire marshal doesn't have two states because it only appears on upgraded stations.

Some of the funnest vehicles were related to crime. From left to right: Police surveillance van, starter Superhero car, upgraded Superhero car, hippy van, murderer muscle car, bank robber getway car, and the arson van.

Here we have the sim owned cars. A lot of care was made to make it as clear as possible how wealthy a sim is by look of his car, from left to right is cheap to expensive. Making new car designs is incredibly difficult. It is easy to tell when the proportions or design are wrong, and coming up with something aesthetically pleasing without running into copyright problems is even more difficult.

Sadly not everything we built made it into the shipping game. Here are some military ships that got cut. The oil tanker and cargo ship thankfully did make it into the game. Large ships were difficult because of problems routing them around the world as well as being very difficult to optimize for texture memory.

Also of note, most vehicles were modeled with much more detail than would ever be seen. I've found that sub-pixel detail sometimes helps give models a better sense of scale. Here is a close up of the nuclear sub.

The Cities of Tomorrow expansion pack for SimCity 2013 required futurized versions of almost all aspects of the game. I was responsible for designing nearly all these vehicles, but this time I did have some help from another artist in making a few.

Here are some of the vehicles, mostly drawing inspiration from many sources of science fiction imagery and film - primarily the works of the late, great, Syd Mead.

For SimCity 2013 and SimCity 4000 I was responsible for nearly all of the artwork involved in rendering roads, streets and bridges. Here is an 'atomized' version of the SimCity 2013 suspension bridge showing all of the component pieces as well as the final 'composited' version.

The difficulty with SimCity 2013 networks is that they have to adaptively scale and stretch to fit any length or grade.

One of my favorite models was the UFO. Based off the classic profile I thought it would be fun if that was just an organic shell of a tentacled alien with an ominous eye stalk.

One of my favorite gameplay shots, this shows some of the roads and vehicles in their natural context.

Another of my favorite shots, this one showing the UFO abduction. You can also see that the cars have working head, tail and brake lights. The roads had to be pixel-perfect with working streetlights, stop lights, and variations based on how wealthy the neighborhood is.

On SimCity 4000 I was responsible for all of roads, rails and networks as well as all the lot props such as swimming pools and fountains.

Here is a shot showing some of the complexity of the procedural road system.

I also got to make some promotional images, these were a real treat. They may not look like much now, but 12 years ago renderers were much less advanced and results like this were hard fought.

All images property of Michael Long 1999-2015 and all rights apply. All usage requires permission.