Why Matr exists
Me and The Roads (Matr) is a response to many road enthusiasts (including me)
looking for a good road network simulation game.
SimCity, for example,
offers trip-based traffic simulation, but you'll be frustrated by
its limits to road-building. Your choices
are two-lane streets and six-lane freeways. The freeways are always elevated,
even when crossing open country or climbing a hill -- and a street can't
cross under a freeway going diagonally! Furthermore, there are no signs
and no road maps, for the highways you pave don't have numbers or names.
Me and The Roads starts at the other end: a solid highway layout model.
Matr doesn't yet simulate traffic like SimCity,
nor does it provide the trees, buildings, and hills that make your created
world more realistic. In return, you get real maps, highway logs, street
names and route numbers, 3-D perspective views, and realistic road signs.
As Matr improves, you'll get hilly terrain, freeways, interchanges, custom
signs, and the ability to drive along and see everything at eye level.
Fiscal and political constraints will come last, and they'll be optional,
so you can restrict your challenges to engineering ones.
Me and The Roads actually has a long genesis. Here are the previous versions:
- Basic, VIC-20, 1984: A fixed 10x10 grid with hard-coded road layout.
Used 6502 assembler to scroll. Single route numbers only.
Fixed overhead view. 90-degree corners.
"Drive" interface, where you use arrow keys to follow the road.
- Pascal, PC, 1991: 20x20 grid, randomly laid out. Overlapping route numbers.
Fixed overhead view, in EGA graphics mode.
New: Signs for routes (as at rural intersections) appear in separate pane.
On-screen map of layout.
- C++, Macintosh, 1996: 40x40 grid, randomly laid out.
Fixed overhead view, still 90-degree corners.
New: User-specifiable properties (range of route numbers, rules for generating
spur routes). Multi-lane roads (up to 10 lanes) and freeways.
Automatically generated interchanges. State, US, and Interstate shields.
(Signs at route intersections still were in rural cutout format).
The Mac version never got a map.
- Java, any OS, 1999: 100x64 grid. Randomly generated layout.
45-degree corners allowed. 3-D perspective view. Route and street signs
placed in view. User can now renumber routes, pave new, move, unpave.
Route log. Zoomable, pannable map integrated with rest of system.
Kurumi.com offers two other games
(Trippy Drive '71),
both in Java.
People have asked about whether they will be ported to Windows,
Macintosh, etc. to allow offline play and faster performance.
Answer: no; porting to platform X or Y takes valuable time I'd
rather spend learning and creating new stuff, and improving
the content of the programs themselves.
I've done GUI and graphics work in both MFC and MacOS;
porting from Java to them would be primarily busywork.
I also have political motives for releasing Kurumi software in Java:
Me and the Roads ||
- increase the amount of cool things you can do in Java regardless of
what brand computer you own.
- encourage people to get the tools needed to run Java on their machines
- encourage developers that Java is the way to reach a wide audience
- let you all know that Java is more than just kewl animations, web counters
and "Slap a Spice"