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Started by homefryes, March 14, 2009, 04:51:34 PM

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QuoteAshtabula [ash-tuh-byoo-luh] -- city, Ashtabula county, northeastern Ohio, U.S. It lies along Lake Erie, at the mouth of the Ashtabula River, about 54 miles (87 km) northeast of Cleveland. The site was settled in 1801; its name, of Algonquian origin, possibly means "river of many fish" and was applied to the township (1808). In the 1850s Hubbard Homestead and other houses in the town were stations on the Underground Railroad, an escape route for slaves. The town was the site of one of the country's deadliest railroad accidents on Dec. 24, 1876, when an iron bridge collapsed under a Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad train, killing 92 people. Modern Ashtabula is a St. Lawrence Seaway port with a fine harbor; it handles with Conneaut (to the east) large quantities of coal and iron ore. It is also a trading center for the Lake Erie resort area and manufactures a variety of products, including automobile bodies and forgings, fiberglass, plastics, corrugated boxes, and chemicals. A regional campus of Kent State University is located in the city. Inc. village, 1831; city, 1891. Pop. (2000) 20,962; (2005 est.) 20,321.
(source: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ashtabula)

Background and Region Development
My SC4RH region is based on Ashtabula County (described above); for the most part, the names of the city quads correspond to the real life townships. Due to SC4 constraints, however, I had to make some adjustments and create alternate names for two of the quads. I spent probably a month creating the grayscale map for import into the game. It's not perfect, but somewhat a reflection of real life, and I'm quite happy with the result. Ashtabula County is the largest county in Ohio, and is approximately 25 miles wide and nearly 35 miles at its longest height (along the eastern edge where it borders Pennsylvania). The county's terrain varies greatly from north-to-south as well as east-to-west. Its distinct features were carved out by the glacier millions of years ago. The glacier covered the northern edge of the county before retreating back north as it formed the Great Lakes. The ridges along the northern edge of the county show the glacier's delineation. Through these ridges some rivers managed to gouge their way. Two of these rivers, the Ashtabula River and Conneaut [kon-ee-ot] Creek make their way to Lake Erie within the county limits, while the Grand River, which begins south of the county line, travels north and then exits west before making its way to the lake. South of the ridges, the land levels out significantly, creating a mostly flat landscape for farming. A few creeks here and there add variety to the flat landscape, however.

Region overview

Because I did not want to leave out any of the great terrain variations, and because the size of the county is so huge, I decided to reduce it to about 25% of its original area, thus fitting nicely into a 5x7 region of large quads. I also made adjustments to some of the areas along the lake shore to eliminate having two city quads that would not be easy to develop and maintain. My overall plan is for this region to be heavily rural. The original maps I used as my base are from the early 1900s -- well before interstates and four-lane roads.

I have been working on this for awhile as I tested things out, got used to FAR/FARR, and played with some other things. I'm on my third start now, after learning some tricks along the way which will help make this as great as it can be! I also began work on 4 of the quads: Ashtabula (city), Saybrook-on-the-Lake, Plymouth and Saybrook. Other issues arose, in that some content I was using adversely affected my agricultural demand, stopping it way short of what I wanted it to be. So I decided to start from the VERY beginning so I can show my development from the beginning.

I hope you enjoy your visit here!

-- Don

Table of Contents

page 1
www.dictionary.com entry for Ashtabula
• Background and Region Development
• Pre-work
14 March 2009
1 image
1.0 - Ashtabula (city)
• signpost grid
• network plan with signposts
• leveling the rights-of-way
15 March 2009
9 images
1 comment
1.1 - Ashtabula, network continuation
• river crossings
• harbor work
18 March 2009
9 images
1 comment
1.2 - Ashtabula, more waterway prep
• river and creek bed leveling
• ploppable water
• culverts
• trees added
21 March 2009
8 images
1 comment
1.3 - Ashtabula, planning the power grid
• Town of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania (off-topic)
• plopping the utility poles
22 March 2009
5 images
1.4 - Ashtabula, development begins
• my 100th post on SC4D!
• random images of developed Ashtabula, showcasing the farms and the utility poles
25 March 2009
15 images
2.0 - Saybrook-on-the-Lake, a quick build
• network planning
• Red Brook and culverts
• trees
29 March 2009
8 images
2.1 - Saybrook-on-the-Lake, more countryside
page 2
• random images
• farming
• utility poles
1 April 2009
14 images
3.0 - Plymouth: a river, ridges and three covered bridges
• Western Reserve references
• network planned with signposts
• real-life depictions featured
• covered bridges
4 April 2009
11 images
3.1 - Plymouth, power grid and trees
• pre-development images
• foreshadowing of mini-towers
• random images
9 April 2009
12 images
3.2 - Plymouth, farms among the hills
• over 1000 views!
• region overview and comparison to real life
• my subtransmission mini-towers revealed
• random images
12 April 2009
23 images
3.3 - Plymouth, a mosaic
• inquiry into Pierpont's name
• huge north-to-south mosaic
15 April 2009
1 image
3.4 - Maps of Ashtabula, Saybrook-on-the-Lake and Plymouth
page 3
• origins of Pierpont's name revealed
• link to Region Overview map (hosted externally)
18 April 2009
0 images
4.0 - Saybrook, more creeks and culverts
• introduction of new region locator
• North Ridge and South Ridge roads discussed
• prep work on the Saybrook quad (grid, network, creeks, trees)
22 April 2009
7 images
4.1 - Saybrook, pre-development details
• random images across the quad featuring FAR/R and my utility poles
• tidbits about the area in real-life
28 April 2009
14 images
4.2 - Tips and Tricks for Plopping Utility Poles -  a Tutorial
page 4
• MD statistics: Ashtabula 6th place in growth for April; behind 5th place by 4 posts!
• tutorial with basic drawings and "grid on" images
1 May 2009
38 images
4.3 - Saybrook, it's a wrap
• received "Of Special Interest This Month" accolade for May 2009
• Mayoral warning: residents want water; development halts!
• full mosaic of Saybrook
• east-to-west mosaic following South Ridge West (SR 84)
• original map plus updated maps
the untimely death of a dear friend
6 May 2009
5 images
5.0 - Kingsville, planning strategy part I
page 5
• approaching 3000 views
• view of region so far
• details on making signpost grid
9 May 2009
16 images
5.1 - Kingsville, planning strategy part II
• more on using signposts as temporary markers
• signpost code
• how I mark diagonals, FAR and FAR curves
• work on Ashtabula River and Conneaut Creek
13 May 2009
14 images
5.2 - Kingsville, preparing the roadways
• leveling the roadways
17 May 2009
10 images
5.3 - Kingsville, roadways (almost) complete
page 6
• surpassing the 100 comments mark
• heading off to Las Vegas for a week
• random images
23 May 2009
9 images
5.4 - Kingsville returns from hiatus
page 7
• 14-month hiatus ends; update on RL events
• tying off loose ends in Kingsville
• random images
21 July 2010
17 images
5.5 - Maps and region update
• map update
26 July 2010
1 image
_ comments

Table of Contents updated 26 July 2010
Utility Poles Project [linkie]
Ashtabula (the MD) is not dead; it's just on a really long hiatus!
Check out Homefryes' BATatorium


Congratulations on your decision to start an MD, Don.  I have a feeling it will be most pleasurable to see a rural MD develop from the beginning.  I'm ready to see more. :)
Find my power line BAT thread here.
Check out the Noro Cooperative.  What are you waiting for?  It even has electricity.
Want more? Try here.  For even more electrical goodies, look here.
Here are some rural power lines.


Welcome to the MD world, Don!

Your map looks fantastic, my friend--I cannot wait to see how you develop things! Oh, and I learned something, too: I always though it was "ash-TAB-yoo-la," not "ash-ta-BYOO-la." Now I know!

Take care!



So, I assume you either live there now, or are from there? I know two people who grew up in Ashtabula and have since moved to Virginia...


metarvo and all: Thank you for the great encouragement!
Dustin: I'm glad you learned something about the pronunciation! ;)
Yoder7652: I actually grew up in the area and still have extended family there. I lived in Monroe Twp. until '75, and then in Ashtabula Twp. (east of the city) until '80. My family then moved to Mercer County, Pennsylvania, where my folks still live (yes, Dustin, I'm a former Pennsylvanian!). I've since lived various places and am now near Chicago. I'd be interested in knowing if those you know lived in the city or in one of the neighboring townships.

1.0 - Ashtabula

1.0.1 - Ashtabula undeveloped

In my testing, I had already laid out the entire transit network for Ashtabula, Plymouth, Saybrook and Saybrook-on-the-Lake. In fact I even posted two mosaics (both on this page [linkie], posts 365 & 367) of a couple of scenic areas. Because I had already created a nice network layout, I tediously documented it elsewhere so I could rebuild it all the same once again. It was a nice layout, and, well, there really isn't anything I want to change about that.

Starting with Ashtabula, I will share how I lay it all out, based on a real map. I use the sign posts for marking off a lot of things. Firstly, I make a grid on my large city quad. Ugh, yes, I know we are "breaking the grid," but it helps me get everything positioned. I use a "period" to designate major gridline crossings (every 4th gridline, starting from square 127x127, near the center), and a "space" to demark every 7th tile along the major grid line. Why every 7th? Well, it works for me, and I find a 6x6 space to be easy to work with in terms of developing an urban area. What we have then is the major gridlines 28 squares apart. This distance is roughly 0.25 mi. Now, in my small villages that have a few streets as well as here in Ashtabula where, eventually, I'll have a growing population, I will utilize this 7x7 grid to lay out the streets in the more populated areas.

1.0.2 - Ashtabula with working grid

So we have our signposts in a grid. Next I compare the grid to the map and mark off where my network crosses the major gridlines.

1.0.3 - Image of scanned map

I then "connect the dots" and make adjustments as needed to allow for the FAR/FARR networks and such to interact with each other.

1.0.4 - Ashtabula with network plan plotted out

Next I need to level out the rail and road beds. I need to have these be smooth. In my testing I found I really like how Ennedi's slope mod [linkie] works for the rails, but it can be quite tricky for the roads. If you let it do its thing, you'll end up with a virtual roller coaster for a road, one that dips below and above the surrounding terrain significantly. So I've found that in some cases, I like the rail's slope for the roads better than the road's slope. So, except in extreme cases where I really do want that steep gradient change on a hill, I use the rail tool to mark out my roads as well as rails. The trick I found for keeping the FARR puzzle pieces very level while still allowing for slight gradients is to drag 8-tile-long stretches of rail adjacent but staggered like so (occasionally the rail won't work and I'll have to temporarily switch to road):

1.0.5 - Staggered 8-tile rail segments

1.0.6 - Rail segments showing transition from diagonal to FARR

1.0.7 - Steep hill marked by the "r" posts (left-to-right) where I don't want to use rail for leveling

The ends of these 8-tile-long stretches overlap with every other stretch as shown. This keeps the ends of the FAR or FARR from dropping down, which can happen if I only use 6-tile segments. I will later bulldoze these and lay my FARR pieces on this new right-of-way.

1.0.8 - Bulldoze the 8-tile segments and plop the FARR pieces

For the road pieces, I use the same technique. In situations where the existing slope is too severe for stretches of rail (with Ennedi's slope mod), I will concede to using 8-tile stretches of road to allow for better variation.

Another thing to consider with both rail and road is where other networks will cross. With this slope mod, it can be very hard to create an intersection if you didn't level the ground along the way. This is where planning ahead with the signposts comes in handy for me. I plop a road or rail piece on the south or east end of the intersection; sometimes I will utilize the god-mode terrain tools set to the smallest size if I need to make further detail adjustments or if I don't want to disturb the land far beyond where I want the network to go.

1.0.9 - Leveling road/rail crossing

That concludes this update!

Edited to fix link to Ennedi's slope mod
Utility Poles Project [linkie]
Ashtabula (the MD) is not dead; it's just on a really long hiatus!
Check out Homefryes' BATatorium


Wow, you certainly went to a lot of work planning ahead for this project!  I'm looking forward to seeing how it looks when you start developing!


Thanks, Battlecat; yes, I do a lot of pre-planning! When I try to do things "on the fly," I'm never as happy with the result.

1.1 – Ashtabula, network continuation
As I work on the network near the river crossings, I realize I should get the three bridges done here.

1.1.1 - Rail bridge before

1.1.2 - Harmon Hill Road bridge before

1.1.3 - 10th Street bridge before

Prior to this point, I already did some work on the river's end at Lake Erie ...

1.1.4 - River mouth before

1.1.5 - River mouth after

... and placed the bridges for SR 531 and the railroad here.

I did some further leveling and "troughing" for the land-water that I'll be adding later from the true water to the south edge of the quad. I have more to do in the southeast corner of the quad where the river enters from the east and exits south, but I'll get to that later.

On my 3 crossings, I need to do some leveling to line up my bridge ends, and then redo the river bed again while lowering the tiles where the bridge crosses. This is for the rain, which will allow me to make the bridges.

1.1.6 - Harmon Hill Road bridge after

1.1.7 - Rail bridge after

1.1.8 - 10th Street bridge after

Of course, one of the drawbacks to using the rain tool is, well ...

1.1.9 - Harbor flood

... so I'll have to fix those bridges and such after I exit and re-enter the quad. No big deal. It's just §§, right?

-- Don

EDIT: Returning visitors may wish to scroll up to see the scanned map (image 1.0.3) I inserted in my previous post (the one I said was "forthcoming")!
Utility Poles Project [linkie]
Ashtabula (the MD) is not dead; it's just on a really long hiatus!
Check out Homefryes' BATatorium


You know I'm not sure if they actually lived in the city or not. The two I know are actually married...high school sweethearts. They are Kristen Danalchak (now More) and David More. Both have older siblings that I do not really know, and Krissy's mom worked in one of the local schools there.


Thanks, Yoder7652. Don't know those names ... but my aunt is an elementary teacher at one of the city schools (I can never remember which one).

1.2 - Ashtabula, more waterway prep

1.2.1 - Streets, no trees, no ploppable water

I finished out the preliminary streets. There will eventually be two more neighborhoods east of the river and an industrial park near the lake shore east of the river, but I'll wait to do those later on when I return to increase development.

Next up I'll do a little work on a small creek on the east side of the river. I did some leveling of the creek bed, and installed culverts where it crosses Columbus Avenue and State Road. East of that, it becomes shallower until we reach its inception near Middle Road.

1.2.2 - Ashtabula River and creek

I also finished up some work in the southeast corner of the quad on the river there. In real life, the river actually runs over the road on the Kingsville township line; I opted to install culverts rather than a bridge here, and finished the river to where it exits along the south edge.

1.2.3 - Southeast corner of the township

Time to add some trees:

1.2.4 - Columbus Avenue culvert

1.2.5 - State Road culvert

1.2.6 - 10th Street bridge

1.2.7 - Rail bridge over river

1.2.8 - Harmon Hill Road bridge

Next time we'll get some utility poles plopped and do some development (finally!)

-- Don
Utility Poles Project [linkie]
Ashtabula (the MD) is not dead; it's just on a really long hiatus!
Check out Homefryes' BATatorium


+1 karma point, please...there we go!

You've earned it, Don! I'm seeing some things here that are just amazing--the way you laid out your network with the sign posts is one of the most creative things I've seen in quite some time, and the ploppable water work is wonderful, too!

Oh, and I see your a former Keystone stater, too! Mercer County's only a hop, skip, jump, and 4 hour car ride from the only "town" in PA--Bloomsburg!

I will be waiting with eager anticipation to see what you have next for us here, my friend!

Take care!



Well, I'm speechless, Dustin! I certainly never expected that my signpost method would be worthy of a karma point, and I am blown away! Thank you so much for the recognition!

And ... it is I who learned something from you today: I knew that Pennsylvania had boroughs [linkie] and cities, but never knew there was an incorporated town! So I had to look:

1.3.0 - USGS topographic map of Bloomsburg, Pa.

So there you go! I haven't yet learned what the criteria are for a village to become a city here in Illinois; I live in the City of Des Plaines, area 14.4 mi² (37.3 km²), population 59K, and yet nearby Arlington Heights, which is nearly 5 miles from north to south and boasts an area of 16.4 mi² (42.5 km²) and a population of 76K, is only a village. I don't know of any "towns" in Ohio, but here in Illinois, you'll find incorporated villages, towns and cities.

1.3 – Ashtabula, planning the power grid
I'm ready now to begin doing some development; but before I do this I want to do a little figuring of where my utility poles are going to go. This involves a lot of plopping and re-plopping until I get the desired results, and then, I will need to come back and plop some over again. Any time the terrain on which a utility pole sits changes in any way, chances are the utility pole is going to disappear. But it's important to plan the grid before laying out zones to avoid zoning where the poles are. A few of the residential properties have room for utility poles, but most lots in general do not, so I try to leave a utility right-of-way to allow for easy plopping of the poles. In urban settings, I'll run the main supply poles along the sides of the major streets while running poles between the side streets (through back yards) for ease of zoning. I will also utilize the railroad right-of-way for running subtransmission lines when it makes sense to. So here we go ...

1.3.1 - State Road at the tracks

... plotting them along the tracks, which required removal of some trees ...

1.3.2 - Columbus Avenue at the tracks

... and across the river ...

1.3.3 - Tracks at the river

1.3.4 - Tracks at the river (rotated)

... to the West 17th Street substation.

-- Don
Utility Poles Project [linkie]
Ashtabula (the MD) is not dead; it's just on a really long hiatus!
Check out Homefryes' BATatorium


Wow, I'm amazed by the amount of planning that's been done here! The way you made those rivers is really neat too.


I knew I would see a good power grid here, Don.  :thumbsup:  Somehow, that reminds me of a strategy that I use.  I tend to place transit networks and power lines first, and build around them.  It's also rather impressive that you're following a map so closely, which can be quite rewarding in terms of realism.  The ploppable water also looks very good, if I do say so myself.  Keep up the good work!

Find my power line BAT thread here.
Check out the Noro Cooperative.  What are you waiting for?  It even has electricity.
Want more? Try here.  For even more electrical goodies, look here.
Here are some rural power lines.


Splime, thanks for the compliments, my friend.
Metarvo, I had to build a region for my utility poles! ;) This is the real-life place where my poles come from (they're limited to Northeast Ohio).

1.4 - Ashtabula, development begins
For my 100th post, I am pleased to share some pictures of development in Ashtabula, featuring my utility poles. Things are growing nicely. I did, however, get a little concerned that my agricultural demand was at times negative once again. This is the problem I had in prior attempts, and it was really disappointing. I have no schools and no commercial at this point; just low-density residential and agricultural. I decided not to panic, and somewhat randomly continued adding residential zones. To my surprise and satisfaction, the ag demand did teeter between positive and negative for a time -- each time it went positive, another farm or two would develop -- and eventually it stayed positive (and rather high, at that). This should prove quite beneficial when I start a neighboring quad (probably Plymouth, to the south, since I already have some really exciting plans I can't wait to share). Another thing I'm thrilled about is that Ashtabula's city budget is already well in the black, and I didn't need to cheat to get there. Of course one of the main factors behind this is the lack of city services, educational enrichment or health services. But that's fine for now; as long as no fires break out (I'm sure I can afford a fire station if needed)! I'm very leery of doing too much that will negatively affect the ag demand right now, because I don't want any of that to spill over in the region until the neighboring cities get on their feet. So, I am going to put Ashtabula on hold; however, I do want to get the utility poles laid out to give this a more "finished" look. So enjoy the random pictures (city date, 29 December 0004), and I'll be back next time to start on a neighboring quad. Eventually I'll come back to Ashtabula and start developing the "city" area.

1.4.1 - West Ave. @ Carpenter Rd.

1.4.2 - Tracks on the southeast side

1.4.3 - State Rd. south

1.4.4 - State Rd. @ tracks

1.4.5 - State Rd. culvert

1.4.6 - Middle Rd.

1.4.7 - Middle Rd.

1.4.8 - LaBounty Rd.

1.4.9 - LaBounty Rd.

1.4.10 - Sill Rd.

1.4.11 - North Ridge East / US 20

1.4.12 - Blake Rd. @ tracks

1.4.13 - Blake Rd.

1.4.14 - Hadlock Rd.

1.4.15 - Hadlock Rd.

-- Don
Utility Poles Project [linkie]
Ashtabula (the MD) is not dead; it's just on a really long hiatus!
Check out Homefryes' BATatorium


Off to a great start Don. I too am in the major preplanning stages so it was interesting to see the sign tool, never thought about that before. Anyways, the nature added and the development makes this look to be a very promising region.
The Constitutional Monarchy of Ichigamin

Terraforming Update (8/25/09)


moin homefrys,

those pictures look really nice!  :thumbsup:
a good idea to re_do an realistic tranportationnetwork ...
still miss the life on the streets, though.  :P

can't wait to see more ...



Your method of work is interesting  :thumbsup:

   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °  


projectadam, b_schlurf and Orange_o_: I'm so pleased that you have stopped by for a visit. I hope to see you again soon!

2.0 – Saybrook-on-the-Lake, a quick build

2.0.1 - Saybrook-on-the-Lake

Welcome back. Well, I said I'd go to Plymouth next, but decided to start on Saybrook-on-the-Lake instead. Directly west of Ashtabula, this is one of two quads that is "made-up," due to the constraints of the game. In real life, this quad is part of Saybrook Township, which is adjacent to the south. I also altered the land on the west edge to eliminate a quad to the west of this one with very little land. Saybrook-on-the-Lake is not a fictional placename, however, as the intersection of State Routes 45 (Center Road) and 531 (Lake Road) and Carpenter Road make up a dot on a real map with this name, so I chose it for this quad, rather than something fictional like "West Ashtabula."

Because the land area here is so small and the terrain has few variations, I was able to get the streets and rail laid out rather quickly and easily. The only outstanding feature is the creek that enters from the south and spills into Lake Erie near the center. This allowed me the opportunity to use the ploppable culverts again. Something I would like to see, however, would be a culvert that's about half the size of this one. The drawback to this one is that it requires a 15-foot clearance from the road surface. I'd like to have shallower creeks in places, and a smaller culvert would be beneficial. I'm not well-versed in making offset props, so, for now, I'll make this one work.

Here are some post-development/pre-zoning pictures:

2.0.2 - transportation network

2.0.3 - trees

2.0.4 - Red Brook @ Wade Ave.

2.0.5 - Close-up of Red Brook @ Wade Ave.

2.0.6 - Red Brook @ Carpenter Rd.

2.0.7 - Red Brook @ Carpenter Rd. close up

2.0.8 - Red Brook @ Lake Rd.

I thought I could package Saybrook-on-the-Lake into one complete update; however, I have 14 more pictures to share! So, we'll do that in the next update.

-- Don
Utility Poles Project [linkie]
Ashtabula (the MD) is not dead; it's just on a really long hiatus!
Check out Homefryes' BATatorium


Absolutely outstanding work, Don.  I've been scouting around for fellow culvert lovers for a while- now we need to see if we can get someone to BAT some quarter-size ones for installations like this

in low and swampy areas.  I really like the rolling hills and how you've spent the time to make sure there's no abrupt tile-to-tile sharp breaks on your roads.  Ashtabula is definitely bookmarked for return visits.

D. Edgren

Please call me David...

Three Rivers Region- A collaborative development of the SC4 community
The 3RR Quick Finder [linkie]

I aten't dead.  —  R.I.P. Granny Weatherwax

Skype: davidredgren


Hi, Don!

Sorry for missing so much wonderful stuff here in Ashtabula, my friend. I promise to try and make it in here much more regularly.

Saybrook-on-the-Lake looks wonderful--I'm with David on the culverts, too, amazing job with them! Those are the kinds of details that, prior to their creation and use, that I would have never even thought of to add in, but now that they're available, it's that much more incredible. And to see them used so well here, it makes me want to head in and start doing some work with them of my own!

Oh, and I'm glad I was able to show you the only "town" in Pennsylvania, too! And I can see my apartment on the map you posted, too!

Take care, my friend. I'll be looking forward to seeing what you have for us next!