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The Double Spiral Design

Jimlun

Seeker
I'd like to introduce the most space-efficient method of designing your city. It's not for everyone, as it's very high-maintenance.

1. INTRODUCTION

Planning ahead is key. Sometimes several steps at a time, but most of the time staying one step ahead will be enough. Since you're trying to use every square available to you for maximum effect, you have to wait for an expansion to do any major rearranging. The key being that as long as culture buildings give you more culture per square than your roads (which is always the case), the amount of road you have should be kept at a bare minimum. To do this successfully, you have to maximize the effect of each tile of road you lay down. Following the following guidelines will enable you to do so.

I should add that discovering this technique was a surprise to me at first, because it feels quite unintuitive, and the majority of the players that I've tried explaining it to weren't convinced. If at first you don't see the point of some of the elements, consult your brain a bit before posting. However, if there are any real improvements or complements to this guide, or even a solid refutation, do feel free to share them below.

2. BASIC GUIDELINES

There's already a guide explaining the basic guidelines, dating back to 2015. I agree with most, but not all, of it. Feel free to check it out, but I'll repeat the essential parts below.

a) Put the narrow end of buildings towards the road. If a building is sized 3x2, have the side with a width of 2 facing the road.
b) Avoid crossroads completely; keep your roads long and straight until you hit a corner. Use both sides of the road for buildings.
c) Place bigger, non-square buildings on the outside corners. Some Ancient Wonders tend to be particularly good for this. Quite often you'll only need one square of road contacting it, saving you some space.
d) Place your biggest buildings at the end of the road. This again allows you to only have one square of road in contact with it, saving you space.
e) Main Hall on the rim. I shoved mine into the corner so I'll never have to move it around, but anywhere on the edge of your city is good.
f) Expand your city in a perfect square. 5x5, 6x6, 7x7 etc. On your way from one perfect square (if 7x7) to the next (then 8x8), look at which way the most common buildings (usually residences) are facing. Start expanding your square in the other direction, so you can place the most common buildings with the longest stretches of road.

3. CULTURE BUILDINGS IN THE CENTRE

This is where most people tend to stop believing in this method. When it first hit me, I found it hard to believe as well. So I checked, and checked again. And believe me, it checks out. Well, don't take my word for it - check for yourself!
And if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. You want long roads that are as straight as possible. Where do you get the longest straight roads? At the edge of your city, of course. So if you have your roads, and road-requiring buildings, at the edge, where to put the culture and builders' hut? In the centre, of course!
You'll want as many of your latest, biggest, culture building as possible, and you can then fill in the remaining scattered space using culture buildings of smaller dimensions.

4. DEMONSTRATION

Here's a light demonstration I threw together just now to better show the concepts of this idea. I chose a city in the earlier stages because there's less data to take in, making it easier to read and understand quickly. The technique gradually becomes more and more efficient the more space you have at your disposal and the more buildings you have to squeeze in, so don't necessarily take this demo as proof, but rather just a quick demo. I might consider making a bigger demo later.



Two roads leaving/entering the Main Hall. The vertical buildings, namely residences and silk factories, take up all of the horizontal road, and the rest are left to use the vertical streets. The 4x3 and 3x4 buildings are used for corners, needing only one square each, and the Magic Academy is placed at the end of a road, also requiring only one single square of road to function. Six Spots of Whispering Trees sit comfortably in the middle, providing culture. Unfortunately there was no smooth way to incorporate the last two plank manufactories, but that's no biggie. You will often have to compromise at some point as your city continuously grows.

5. DOUBLE SPIRAL

So why the name? Well, as the city grows towards, and beyond, a size of 10x10 or so, and some culture buildings (such as the Weeping Willows in the woodelf chapter) begin to demand road contact, covering the edge of the city won't be enough to fit all of the buildings that need to sit next to the road. So, as the two long roads start overlapping, they'll start to form the humble beginning of a double spiral. I wish I had the energy to show you, but for now you'll just have to imagine it.

Thanks for reading, I hope it has been useful in one way or another.
 

Jimlun

Seeker
One example of how it can look in practice, in a 8x7 dwarven city:


Granted, there's room for improvement here and there, but overall it's pretty space-efficient.
 

sunrae

Bard
Well I have done this, its a bit weirdo_O- its going to take some getting used to. I need to cull some of my culture (cos I think its ugly) and have more attractive buildings. BUT it has freed up loads of space - loads, and before I didn't think I had much spare. So thanks for this, great idea, I would like to see a shot of how it looks as the spiral grows:) I need to do some tweaking here and there but overall very pleased.:D
 

Jimlun

Seeker
Sweet, glad to hear that you're pleased.

~~~~~

Played around a little with a highly ranked player's city today to see how many squares I'd be able to free up. Also did it because I realized I hadn't covered the transition from square to spiral in my guide. In this image you can see the beginning of a double spiral originating from the main hall.

As you can see below, it created a bit of free space, which can be used for new buildings.
I'm sure it can be improved even further, but I wasn't bothered to.

 

Lisica

Guest
I'd say that the problems with that last layout is that we need to get 4 of each faculty round the lvl 4 campus in order to maximise output which is a massive square to accommodate.

Although with so few mana buildings and so many factories, that does look like a high diamond player, so they probably don't care about not having enough faculties ;)
 
Despite the comments about buying your game, remember this game only pays for patience. I tried your plan as soon as I got an expansion. When I was done shuffling I had room for six buildings plus the expansion. It really works....thanks a lot
 

PrincessDM

Seeker
I'm following this and I think it's good. I haven't perfected it yet as still expanding but overall, very pleased I found this early on :)
 

Jimlun

Seeker
I'd say that the problems with that last layout is that we need to get 4 of each faculty round the lvl 4 campus in order to maximise output which is a massive square to accommodate.
Fair point. I only took what buildings they had at that given time and re-arranged them using my own guidelines. The main point was that they previously used up all squares, but the spiral design freed up some more usable areas. Quite similar to defragmenting your computer.
In principle it should work out even with a full campus (I know this to be true but I'm too lazy to prove it), and later on with the halfling farms as well.

So, you're right to doubt that that particular design would work with 4 of each faculty, but with a few adjustments I'm confident that the "double spiral design" would still work out. It's just a matter of solving the puzzle. :p

If one wants to nit-pick, a single spiral is sometimes better mathematically (this depends on the size and shape of the potential "end pieces"), but the difference is marginal in proportion to the total number of squares used, so a double spiral is usually easier to work with in my opinion. The main benefit is that with a "single spiral" you only have one piece of road contacting the Main Hall (like I said, marginal).
 

PrincessDM

Seeker
Hi. I've just started the dwarven level and wondering how to best to proceed with this layout. I'm still on the single layer so wonder if taking over one of the second 'arms' to use for the granite and copper?
 

tonton-des-bois

Illusionist
I think the spiral design, when it can be deployed efficiently, has the best ratio buildings/roads but... the "wheat ear" design has an advantage with some chapter/race/boosted combination : it's perfectly flexible and works with any amount of buildings oriented in a direction or the other when the spiral requires nearly equal amounts of buildings to fit the "horizontal" and "vertical" streets... and also, you can do thin tunning of the streets length, only moving a inter-block part of a street from a direction to the other...

Spiral


Wheat Ear
(adaptable to buildings direction changes)


You can also see that the "Wheat Ear" designs have "open" roads on the 2 borders where the new expansion will appear, requiring no street modification when growing, when the spiral will have to be redesigned for a part when the city will grow...
In a wheat ear design, the working area where you can put your settlement (or event factories) is in the bottom, at the opposite of the MH and is easily adaptable in width or length because at end of the roads and because of the flexibility of the road lengths, you can generally compensate a few extra roads cells because you can mostly avoid using fillers...
 
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MrPlugy

Dreamer
Myself, I'd prefer to use Wheat ear. Example latest images from tonton-des-bois, nr. 2 and 4 are best options by my opinion.
 

Hemernyn

Novice
I'm chapter V, and so far Double spiral design is working for me, but .... I think I should change it to Wheat ear since in couple of upgrades my huldings will change orientation, as seen on big players cities. So, is there someone who still has double spiral (big players) that's working.... If I need to change layout now would be the time.. ty
 

purpledaffodil

Adventurer
I’ve been running double spiral right from Ch 1 and have just entered woodelves. So YES you can stick with it. It DOES need active maintenance so I would only recommend it if you enjoy redesigning your city and optimising your space (which I do).

CAVEAT: I have never actually done full double spiral. I keep the fundamental idea of culture in the middle, everything else round the edge along two major roads. But I don’t wrap the roads around each other. Instead I add odd little spurs and a bit of a “wheat ear” where I need it to fit in buildings. I find that gives me more flexibility

My approach for guest race settlements is to treat them like a Really Big Building. They go in the far corner from the Main Hall, at the ends of the two major roads. It would possibly work to put them in the middle, but putting them in one corner means you can easily use expansions during the chapter to grow the settlement.

Here’S layout from Dwarves. You can and see the “wheat ear” sour I made, rather than wrap round the spiral.
 

Attachments

purpledaffodil

Adventurer
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I didn’t keep any plans from fairies but here it is again in Orcs. I had trouble keeping one of the main roads straight with all the slightly different sizes of building. My love of event buildings doesn’ help - all my culture is different sizes!
 

tunan

Enchanter
I think the spiral design, when it can be deployed efficiently, has the best ratio buildings/roads but... the "wheat ear" design has an advantage with some chapter/race/boosted combination : it's perfectly flexible and works with any amount of buildings oriented in a direction or the other when the spiral requires nearly equal amounts of buildings to fit the "horizontal" and "vertical" streets... and also, you can do thin tunning of the streets length, only moving a inter-block part of a street from a direction to the other...

Spiral


Wheat Ear
(adaptable to buildings direction changes)


You can also see that the "Wheat Ear" designs have "open" roads on the 2 borders where the new expansion will appear, requiring no street modification when growing, when the spiral will have to be redesigned for a part when the city will grow...
In a wheat ear design, the working area where you can put your settlement (or event factories) is in the bottom, at the opposite of the MH and is easily adaptable in width or length because at end of the roads and because of the flexibility of the road lengths, you can generally compensate a few extra roads cells because you can mostly avoid using fillers...
After my Woodelves is finished,I will definately change my city.Please look at my city and tell it is good or not,please *_*
 

tonton-des-bois

Illusionist
After my Woodelves is finished,I will definately change my city.Please look at my city and tell it is good or not,please *_*
It looks good to me. Perhaps you can save a tenth of roads cells by starting one between your stonehenge and your Academy // to the one passing between your 2 rows of Willows and remove the end in the bottom doing a U-turn because you have some Willows with roads on 2 sides but your design seems mostly perfect imo
It's always easier to save empty spaces and wasted roads when you are bigger but at your level, I would give it a 9.5/10 ;)
The typical symptoms of a weakness in a road design are : "X" shapped crossroads, fully closed loops and buildings bordered by roads on 3 sides...
But the first space-saving tip is to align buildings of the same depth on the same side of a road (connected to the road by their shortest side) and the rest follows by itself... and you did it so... no stress :cool:
 
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tunan

Enchanter
It looks good to me. Perhaps you can save a tenth of roads cells by starting one between your stonehenge and your Academy // to the one passing between your 2 rows of Willows and remove the end in the bottom doing a U-turn because you have some Willows with roads on 2 sides but your design seems mostly perfect imo
It's always easier to save empty spaces and wasted roads when you are bigger but at your level, I would give it a 9.5/10 ;)
The typical symptoms of a weakness in a road design are : "X" shapped crossroads, fully closed loops and buildings bordered by roads on 3 sides...
But the first space-saving tip is to align buildings of the same depth on the same side of a road (connected to the road by their shortest side) and the rest follows by itself... and you did it so... no stress :cool:
Thx for the rating and thx for the tips. I am currenty building a city planner in a spreadsheet if u wanna see ;)