Slow composition

I have a set of hand written pages of the next 20-30 features to implement/changes to make to pocketcity in order to make it 1. better and 2. more easy to port. One of the things I’m planning on doing is moving the water pipes underground. This will change things quite a bit.
I’m considering getting a new laptop (again) and I’ve reached the point where the hardware that’s available is reaching what I want. It needs dual-core processor; I’m not getting another uni-processor machine again. Acer have dual core centrino models, with a decent graphics card. The only problems are the DVD drive and the video card. It’s a DVD-RAM drive. It won’t region free! it’s the same problem as the Ferraris. I don’t want to re-code all the non region-2 discs I have. That would be a pain in the ass. The video card isn’t supported in Linux either, which is another annoyance. I hope that ATI release a driver for the X1000 family soon.
Alternatives are Alienware and their Aurora m7700, which has an athlon processor. Has a more supported graphics card, but it’s about twice as expensive as the Acer. Then there’s the Widow PC laptop. Still the price tag problem.
Until I get a new laptop, I’ll have to be happy with the one I have. It’s an early generation centrino, so I’ve only got a/b wireless, and an integrated GPU. It works well for what I’m doing (programming, watching movies, occasional game).
Shame that Dell haven’t caught up on dual core for the gaming laptop.

It would be really easy to get work done

Well it seems to be a problem for me – I’d love to get more work done on Pocketcity, but these bloody episodes of CSI on UK Living (I used to work there) are distracting me horribly until really late at night.


Tonight is the night to consider changing the simulation routines. Currently they are very hard loops being performed to issue the water and power around the map. It’s guaranteed to work correctly, but it’s awfully slow when the map becomes densely populated.
Ermmm, it’s about midnight, I’m watching ‘Lost In Translation‘. I don’t think I’m going to get much more musings done tonight.

Release, Complaints

Ok, I released the latest Pocketcity. It was just languishing.
Now on to the complaints, and how can I fix them.

1) I originally downloaded what was the “stable” version .17, and I had color. After running into some of the snags that I will mention below, I decided first to dowload the update which warned that it would have bugs. Well, I lost the color. I have a Tungsten T3 running on Palm OS 5.2.1. Actually, the color shows when I view the map, but the city is now in black and white. I tried deleting the game and re-loading the first “stable” .17, and I still have B&W. Patch available?

I don’t think this exists in the 0.17 release version, it sounds like the user uploaded one of the -bw tilesets.

2) The tax rate doesn’t seem to have any impact on the rate of development. I tested raising it and lowering it to see if population, factory growth, and commercial growth would (as they should) be stimulated when lower… no connection it seems. Here’s one way to have a big bank account… raise the tax rate sky high! They won’t move out! 🙂

True, the tax isn’t influencing people. I still have to get the feedback loops working properly.

3) It doesn’t seem to matter how many Military, Police, or Fire Stations I build… I can only have one unit deployed to fight monsters.
3a) I kept trying to get more units deployed because fighting them doesn’t seem to kill them any faster than just letting them run their damage unchecked. I thought if I could deploy more than one tank, I could stop them. I also tried deploying one tank, and one police car… still no apparent effect except that they seem to sometimes divert course.

Unfortunately you need to surround the monster/fire to nullify it. I need to change them to area effect items.

4) Deploying a firefighting unit seems the surest way for the fire to spread. Instead, I learned to pause the game and bulldoze all around the fire and just let it burn out. Early attempts to use the fire fighting unit ended in exponential spread of fire.

Same problem as 3, it’s not an area effect item.

5) Rate of development slows down a lot if I try to build a seperate “colony” further down the river. When the game starts, it’s really cool to see it grow. I expected that adding the same config. a little further down or even accross from the river would yeild a similar rate of development. It seems as they are all tied in to a reduced growth rate once population hits a certain level.

This is the distribution algorithm acting up again. I’ll have to re-work it to make it deal with this situation a little better.

6) Looking for ways to stimulate population growth. As indicated in item #2, Tax rate doesn’t seem to stimulate. I tried trees and water, and no apparent stimulus there. Roads are a must, but after that, I haven’t seen increased paces of development from the addition of PD’s either. Thought more would move in with better police presence, etc…

Problems with feedback circuit.

[Listening to: Love Will Not Die – Deine Lakaien – (4:49)]

Today’s bug

1120599 – Visor Prism Startup Crash
Based on the fact sheet from Palm one, we have the following details about a visor: it runs palmos 3.5.2, has a 16bit display, and when we start up pocketcity it crashes.
Well it doesn’t seem to happen with the developer roms I have, which makes things a bit difficult.

More Bug repairs

large numbers of the screen location/scaling bugs have been removed from the game – I was getting confused as to what elements were being kept in native coordinates and what were being kept in logical coordinates – the Palm platform doesn’t make this terribly easy – for example if you want small text you need to cheat. It’s easier to do things when you don’t have to scale, but them’s the breaks.
The next focus is on getting the ‘nix port to work correctly with the new save-game format. Once that’s been accomplished I’ll work on getting the desires coded.
With every cycle of zone development/reduction:
– if we don’t have enough for commercial || industrial increase
the desires of residential
Normalize the desires every cycle?
Industrial | Commercial:-
need = (residential_value –
(commercial_value + industrial_value))
need = months * months / 35 + 30 – residential_value
need = (industrial_value * 2 / 3) – commercial_value
I need to *visualize* this
Default Desire levels:
Evaluation 0 [it’s normalized from -32000 -> +32000 ]
Residential 500
Industrial 250
Commercial 0
Scale goes from -512 to +512
Every time we try to promote and don’t have enough of other elements to allow it to grow we should increment the desire level, every time it can grow we decrease the desire level. a +-512 scale should be sufficient.
I need to come up with a good layout for the desires – horizontal colored bars should be good.

beaming seems to work

Well, I seem to be able to send cities between different instances of the simulator. My next effort is sending them between real devices (mixed mode is the real trick).
It works when the applications are open, closed, rinning and non-running.


I’ve started work on beaming. Doesn’t look too hard (famous last words).


I only need to save 2 of 8 bits from the world flags, so a small amount of compression is in order. The easiest thing to do is simply remove the other bits from the fields as it’s put into the savegame database. turns a 10k structure into a 2.5k.