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RTMT Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Started by z, September 10, 2008, 06:42:16 PM

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1. What should I know about when zoning around RTMT stations?

RTMT stations are technically not part of the road network (they just look that way), so residential and commercial zones that need road access need to have at least one square of their zone touching a road that is not part of the RTMT station.  When you place a 1x1 RTMT station next to a road intersection, there is never any problem, as even a zone that is one square wide with its arrow pointing to the station will still have access on the side from the intersecting road.  For RTMT stations not near an intersection, a common solution is to use the Control key while zoning to make sure that at least one square of the zone points to the road adjoining the station.  Although the game does not always honor this advice, if it doesn't, you can bulldoze and try again.  It rarely takes long at all to get a healthy building growing in front of an RTMT station.

It's also important to note the difference between residential and commercial buildings in this situation.  If a residential zone's road access is completely blocked by an RTMT station, then you will get the no-access ("car") zot above the building, which will dilapidate and become abandoned.  In this case, it's best to rezone as described above.  However, commercial lots act very differently.  Even if their road access is completely blocked by an RTMT station, they don't display no-access zots, they don't dilapidate, they pay taxes, and they keep their job potential, as shown by the Query tool.  In other words, they do not appear in any way to be abandoned.  However, no Sims can actually work in such a building.  Players may or may not consider this a problem, especially if these are small zones in low-density areas, as very few jobs will be affected.  However, where this considered to be a problem, it can be cured in the same way as for the residential case, by doing a little rezoning using the Control key.

A completely different approach to the problem can be found in memo's excellent tutorial, RTMT stations with zones having road access.  This method requires only slightly more work than the one described above, but has the significant advantage that it will always work immediately on networks where suitable puzzle pieces are available.

It's also useful to note that in many cases the zoning problems solve themselves as the games progresses.  Especially in higher-density zones, buildings tend to get bigger, and the game will often create a building that is wider than the RTMT station by itself.

Finally, for industrial lots there is no problem at all, since you don't really zone lots directionally (with an arrow) for them, and instead you just fill the zone.  The zone doesn't even need to be rectangular.  There are very few industrial lots that are 1-tile wide, plus these are almost always ancillary ("filler") lots.  Industrial lots actually get "tied" together, forming a sort of "mega-lot" (an "anchor" industrial lot, with several "Mech" and "Out" ones attached). These act as a single lot, and having access even to a single road tile is enough to serve the entire "mega-lot."  (If you use the Route Query tool and check a few industrial buildings and their trip paths, you will see how this works).  So for industrials, you can zone the area and put the RTMT stations wherever you like, and the zone will develop properly (either as a part of a larger lot, or as an auxiliary lot, attached to an anchor one).

Ideally, this problem wouldn't exist, but it appears to be inherent to the game, and applies even to such in-game structures as the Maxis tollbooths.  Fortunately, the workarounds to this problem are quite straightforward.


2. What's the best way to place RTMT stations to serve intersections?

It turns out that a single RTMT station placed right next to any side of a four-way intersection will fully serve both of the intersecting roadways.  This may not be immediately obvious, because the props such as bus stops look like they're only serving the roadway on which the RTMT station is located.  But in reality, the entire square or squares comprising the station serve all the station's functions.  This means that on the road on which it's located, the RTMT station acts like a standard RTMT station.  To the intersecting roadway, it looks like a roadside station, which is really what it is in that case.  The result is that both roadways have the full functionality of the station available to them.

This even works for diagonal intersections, as long as one of the squares of the RTMT station is positioned on a square on the orthogonal roadway that is directly adjacent to a square containing the diagonal roadway.


3. Are there any performance disadvantages to using RTMT compared to roadside mass transit stations?

In a word, no.  Cogeo and I have both done extensive testing of these stations under a variety of circumstances, and our results have demonstrated conclusively that there is no performance or pathfinding difference between these stations and standard roadside mass transit stations.  In fact, as long as you don't use mass transit stations excessively, neither type (RTMT or standard) should have a significant performance impact on your game.  Further research into the inner workings of the game has provided solid theoretical support for these conclusions.  For those who are interested in the full technical explanation of this research, see this post in the thread TE Lots, Transit Switches, and You.  RippleJet offers additional proof of one of the major conclusions in this post.


4. I'm unable to plop subway stations on roads without first demolishing the road.  This is especially a problem where roads are hidden by tall buildings.  Can this be fixed?

Certain plug-ins are known to cause this problem by changing the type of view that is displayed when a subway station is selected.  It appears that there is no way to fix this problem in those plug-ins.  Removing the plug-ins allows you to plop RTMT subway stations directly on roads without demolishing them first.  It also changes the view displayed when you select a subway station to the standard subway station view, which includes buildings.  The two plug-ins known to cause a problem are DataViewModd.V1.dat and DataviewModd_RH.dat.  If you find any others that cause this problem, please let us know.

If you like the way that DataviewModd_RH.dat causes mass transit stations to be highlighted in the Traffic Volume View but still want to get rid of this problem, you might want to try replacing that file with the Improved Traffic Volume View, which also causes stations to be highlighted on the main map, but does not cause any problems with RTMT.


5. When roads are hidden by tall buildings, how can I plop a subway station on a road that I can't see without accidentally plopping it on (and demolishing) a nearby building instead?

There is a simple three-step process that will assure that you never accidentally destroy a building when plopping a subway station, even when your destination road is not visible in the normal view.

1. Go to the Zones data view, and see where you want to plop your station.

2. Select the station from the menu.  There's a slight delay before the view changes.  During this delay, move your cursor to the exact spot in the zones view where you want to plop your station.  (If the delay is excessively long, try using DAT Packer.  Not only does it speed up game loading times, but it also eliminates virtually all of the delay when leaving the Zones data view.)

3. Once your view changes and your cursor turns green, just click to plop.  Your station will be guaranteed to show up right where you want it.

It also helps to become familiar with the plop cost of a station.  For example, if your station costs $800 to plop, then to plop it on a road with no subway underneath should cost around §802.  The extra §2 is for demolishing the road under the station; the total figure might be a little higher if slopes have to be changed.  If there's already a subway running underneath the road, add another §100 for demolishing one square of subway, so the total cost should be a little over §900.  If the total cost is something like §3400, then you're about to demolish a major skyscraper.

Using the above method, it's possible to successfully plop a number of subway stations on a road you can't see.  After you plop the first station, just move the cursor along where you think the road is, and make sure that the plop cost doesn't change by more than a few simoleans.  You'll know when you hit an intersection because a tool tip saying "Already occupied" will show up at the cursor.  This tool tip will also show up if you pass over an existing station, or one square to either side of an existing station.