Saturday, February 18, 2012

Traffic Game Bibliography

As I may have discussed before, the game my friend and I are working on revolves around traffic.  Traffic and infrastructure has been on my mind for the past year or so mostly because Manila's infrastructure is so woefully inadequate, and I suppose making games about it is my way of, if not solving the problem, then at least probing and exploring it further.  I wouldn't go so far as to say that it's like writing a book or creating a painting about it, but there are certainly similarities there.  As any good writer or painter must do, I've buried myself in as many books as I can about the subject to do some research.  While I know I am not doing these books justice with these rapid fire descriptions, I do hope you'll find them interesting enough to give them a shot.

Green Metropolis : Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less are the Keys to Sustainability

This is a fascinating book with a pretty controversial premise.  In contrast to common knowledge, city living is actually the most eco-friendly way of life.  Living densely, David Owen argues, makes us all inherently more efficient, and is the key to sustainability.  While there's a lot to chew on in this book, this idea of density and the kind of mass transportation that allows fascinates me.  I've already got a game idea in mind that plays into at least some of those concepts, and I think my ultimate game making goal is to create a new Sim City type game that relies less on strict zoning requirements and more on how to efficiently use a restricted space.

Traffic : Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) 

While this book might seem to have some impact on our current game, the truth is that the traffic concepts discussed will take me much more time than I have right now to distill and turn into a game mechanic.  Terms like induced traffic and traffic calming will be of no interest to players if I can't figure out how to make them fun.  Chapters of this book that excited and interested me are its peek into LA's high tech traffic control system, which is mostly necessary because LA and its environs are built around automobile usage, and only recently have they started upgrading their public transit system.  His research into Mexico and India is also interesting because of the similarities between those places and Manila, in terms of traffic congestion.

The Great Reset : How New Ways of Living and Working Drive Post Crash Prosperity

This was probably the least interesting of the three books, at least in terms of finding anything useful to turn into a game.  It's not a bad read though, and starts out as a history book detailing the US Recession of the late 1800s, the more famous 1930s Great Depression, and how American Society changed then, and how they'll be seeing some major changes now.  Most of the city and transit changes that he envisions for the future borrow a lot from Green Metropolis, so if that's what you're interested in I'd pick that up instead.  Frankly Richard Florida has disappointed me lately, and  the only book of his I can really recommend is The Flight of the Creative Class: The New Global Competition for Talent (That has nothing to do with either traffic or infrastructure though).

Full disclosure, I've linked these books to my Amazon Associates account so on the off chance you're actually interested in these books please do click the links to help me out!  Speaking of helping out, I'll be making an announcement about the game this coming Monday, so do make sure to check out the blog next week and help us pimp our game!

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