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The Research That Goes Into Citybound


Citybound is a research project at heart, and has been from the very beginning. After SimCity (2013) piqued my interest, I started a deep dive into research literature on microscopic traffic simulation. I had occasionally read research papers before, but now I was hooked.

I was hooked on the feeling of being able to read humanity’s best work on a narrow subject, and trying to replicate it in my own simple experiments. Without having the pressure of improving one particular aspect of the research area — as the research authors had — I was more free to combine the best ideas from all the work I read, with some of my own added, to build a particular version of the thing for my own goal.

This own goal was first just to get some cars running and interacting on the screen, but soon expanded to my whole vision for Citybound. With this much wider horizon of topics, I kept my modus operandi and spent significant time over the years delving into hundreds of papers, master and PhD theses and books. I can’t claim to understand all of them in true depth, but was able to pick key inspirations here and there.

To give you an idea of topics I looked at and how they relate to Citybound:

Traffic simulation

Economy simulation

Computational Geometry

Procedural Generation

The thing is: I never really talked about my research and inspirations in depth with you, even though many people have suggested just that and voiced their interest over time, most recently u/rouzh on Reddit.

So I decided to collect and tag all the papers in my research folder and add them to Citybound’s Living Design Document. Each item of inspiration has a title, link to its origin and PDF attached in all cases where that was possible. I tried to take a screenshot of the most interesting picture or idea in each item to make the list more inviting to look at. This is how it looks:

And here is the link:

Citybound Inspiration and References

So far, I only managed to capture my saved research on the topics of economy simulation and procedural generation in there, but I plan to extend this over time with the other research I still have saved but not categorised yet, and with any new research I discover.

I hope that there is already tons of interesting stuff for you to explore. Maybe it gives you a taste of what occupied my thoughts for the past couple years!

Looking forward to your thoughts as always!

→ Discussion on /r/Citybound