Netherlands re-research tips

Pan Logistica
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Netherlands re-research tips

#1 Post by Pan Logistica » 11 Apr 2019 11:26

Okay, here it goes. From the fact that this topic doesn´t exist yet I gather a rework of Netherlands is in line behind at least about 20 other countries. This is totally fine (the Netherlands are already in the game, we have our very own truck brand and there´s even a paintjob pack), but I feel inspired to contribute now, and I’m just going to forget to say all of this later. I was going to ask Dirk permission to open this topic over PM, but I’m too new a member to be allowed to PM. So I figured I’d go ahead anyway. #youonlywritewallsoftextones

I made a map that together with loads of text functions as a series of pointers. The first thing you’ll notice is that it’s a pretty busy map. Lots of stuff has been added. I don’t expect a rework to add this much stuff. See it more as a list of options. Several of those options may also be colored by my own experiences. I know some places better than others. Another thing you’ll notice is that the scale wobbles around a bit, and especially the cities are probably a bit too large, Utrecht (10) in particular. As demonstrated in that last sentence, I’m going to be referring to the pink numbers all over the map between brackets to point to locations. I made roads I added, moved or edited orange, keeping the stuff I didn’t touch yellow. I moved the outlines of the land a bit as well, in bright white. The map was also a bit bigger than forum rules allowed, so I hid it in a link behind this smaller version:
Image
Speaking of links, a bunch of them are to Google Translate versions of Dutch Wikipedia articles, because there doesn't seem to be a suitable English (or Czechian, presumably) page for many of the more obscure details.

So, here are my pointers:

Roads
I would add the A2 (1). The current mess cobbled together from the A50 and the A73 is fine for getting somewhere, but it’s not an iconic road. The A2 is. It had a full series of racing games named after it, A2 Racer. How many roads can say that? I understand the choice made, the current road provides transport along the Liege/Köln-Groningen axis, but as far as recognition goes it’s no contest.

Edit: to make my point for me, there was an incident on the A73 on the very day I posted this that made the news. People were running into cows that had broken loose. Because that's what happens on real highways.

The other new roads I added were one through the “Betuwe” (2), which makes sense because of the cities I added and provides a scenic route Rotterdam-Groningen/Germany, and a road whose sole purpose in life is to go through the famous flower fields (3). Maybe the shortcut it provides going south from IJmuiden is enough to justify its existence, but this is probably one of the first things I’d drop when thinning out the options for stuff to add.

As far as minor tweaks go I would probably straighten out the southwest end of the Afsluitdijk (4) a bit, even if only to make it look good on the map. The dike itself is very nice looking in the current version of the map. I just found it a bit weird that especially on the northeastern end the lake begins so much earlier than the sea. This is a lake that used to be sea, the dike starts from a former coastline. I do agree with your approach of trying to deform both the land and the roads as much as possible to make the dike as long as possible. It’s impressive because it’s long. I also took the liberty to move the fuel stations at the Belgian border (5, 6) into Belgium. The diesel prices aren’t very different, but petrol is a lot more expensive in the Netherlands, so there basically are no fuel stations just on the Dutch side of the border.

EDIT: I've learned since making this post that I was in fact wrong about this, diesel is in fact cheap enough in the Netherlands to draw Belgian drivers across the border, so the current placement of these stations is better than my proposal.

I like the road south of Groningen (16), it has bicycle lanes and it’s a fun driving experience. But it swerves so much because it was patched together from lots of different local roads, so it might be nice to have one of those no choice intersections on it to make that clear.

Furthermore I added two of the older stopping places along the Dutch roads. We have “De Lucht” (7), a petrol station and car park on either side of the A2 and a restaurant on the western one. A pedestrian tunnel connects the two sides. I have no idea about its street cred as a truck stop, but it’s pretty well known among car travelers. “De Witte Bergen”/The White Mountains (8) is a roadside hotel along the A1. It’s not a petrol station but has a large car park. It’s reasonably well known and the name ties into the landscape on the other side of the road. All in all it’s one of the first things I’d drop for not quite working with the game’s concept.

Cities
If you’re adding a single city my suggestion would be Eindhoven (9). It’s the fifth largest city in the country and the home of DAF. Its most famous building is the Evoluon, a flying saucer looking building sitting very close to a weird on/off ramp that only connects to a single half of the highway, you can come in from the north or go north, but for the route south you’ll need to go somewhere else. Road wise ”Knooppunt Leenderheide" in the south is very recognizable as well, a roundabout connecting the highway to the city (I see now my map is a little weird/uninished around this one, but the general idea should still come across), as is the ”John F. Kennedylaan” running in a straight line from the train station in the center to the outer ring in the north. Having a DAF plant in the city would allow for missions running trucks or parts to dealers.

The other two cities I would suggest are Utrecht (10) and Nijmegen (11). If all three of these suggestions get added the game will population wise have the numbers 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 10 in the country, and on top of that their locations together form a pretty accurate representation of the distribution of the Dutch population. It also leaves room for Antwerpen (even if it was only for that brilliant flyover dropping the highway straight into the city, quick, before it's demolished!) in the Belgium rework.

Utrecht’s best known landmark is the ”Domtoren”, a large church tower which has been free standing ever since part of the church building collapsed. Like Amsterdam Utrecht also has some very nice “grachten”/inner-city canals, but those are really in the inner city, so I don’t think we can visit those. Nijmegen has a nice old center as well. it’s build on a bit of a lone hill in the landscape, and the steep streets towards the river bank are one of its most recognizable traits. In my own experience it’s also the bachelorette party capital of the Netherlands, probably due to its comparatively large university that houses several studies popular with women, including medical degrees.

Landscapes
I have a bit of an issue with the current landscape of the in-game Netherlands. Most of the map looks more like central France or something. There are too many hills and even natural rock formations, which we don’t have at all period. (There are some rocks that came here with the glaciers in the ice ages, but they’re either underground somewhere or have been used for some purpose, like being put on a city square somewhere or used to build a hunebed/dolmen (16, more on that later) in the late stone age.) The landscape also looks too dry. Grass is green in the Netherlands, and there’s lots of it. More grass may be hard on our GPU’s, but greener should be doable. I like the mills, and the ships, and some of the other details, but the overall impression is a bit off.

The real-world landscape that clashes most with this current style is our agricultural land. This is every part of the map where I didn’t draw landscape symbols. The land is flat, it’s mostly grasslands with some stables for cows pigs and chickens in it, dotted with our many towns and cities. And when I say flat I mean almost unnaturally so. A Dutch polder does not have hills, that would defeat its purpose. There might be some dikes breaking up the lines of sight, but that’s about it. I can see some hints towards this on the current map, right before entering the Afsluitdijk (4) from the northwest, but it doesn’t quite get there. I think in general you try to avoid letting people see to the next road over, to keep up the illusion of a huge freeroaming landscape better, but specifically in the Netherland I’d say it’s fine. Our polders are open enough that you often can see the next big road.

The landscape that clashes the least with the current style are the parts where I drew widely spaced trees, like the environment around Eindhoven (9). These are slightly elevated sand grounds, and they’re home to a “patchwork” landscape that includes different types of agriculture as well as some forests. The forests are mostly conifers like pines, but free standing trees are usually broad leaved varieties. These places don’t feel hilly per se, in fact they’re still mostly flat. But at least there’s some elevation, so the Calais-Duisburg road for instance feels like something that could be sort of based on the real landscape.

The closely spaced trees (8) mark the Veluwe, Utrecht Hill Ridge and Gooi. These places have more serious hills, going up to several dozen meters. The environment is forest (mostly pine) intercut with heath fields and some mini-deserts, like the White Mountains the roadside hotel at the number 8 is named after. These forests, like the forest in the “patchwork” landscapes, are mostly production forests, planted starting in the 19th century to beat back these desert environments created by intensive land use, which had become a real problem. Yes, that was a thing, in the Netherlands.

Another big thing about the Netherlands are the rivers. There is currently one big river running through the map. It looks very impressive, but in the real world there are three rivers, which has a very different feel to it. So I’d try to go for two. The dotted blue lines are optional rivers, but the big solid ones I would try to add. The current bridges are very functional, and I don’t want to push you too much to create more large 3D assets, but this section wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Erasmus bridge in Rotterdam and the Martinus Nijhoff bridge that takes the A2 across the Waal (the middle of the three rivers, with two rivers I’d use it as inspiration for the northern crossing).

I do like in general that when driving around the current map you do see water every now and then. That’s important, good job. There’s no overdoing water in the Netherlands.

Between these rivers sits the “Betuwe” (2). All across Europe supermarkets sell fruit from the Netherlands, mostly apples, pears and cherries. This is where they come from. Some orchards here would be nice. There is also a little bit of wetlands left in the river area, the Biesbosch, but I honestly feel like at that point I’m squeezing too much into this map. Similarly you could try for an industrial looking docks area south of the river near Rotterdam, I just don’t know if anyone is going to see it, it’s too far out of the way of the roads you have.

Now that we know where Dutch fruit comes from I’d like to direct the attention to the little blue greenhouse symbols at number 12. and a little to the northwest. Supermarkets all over Europe sell Dutch vegetables, like cucumbers, tomatoes and bell peppers. This is where those come from.

In the same general area we find along the coast a dune landscape, and in places where the dunes have been flattened the sand provides the perfect soil for the famous flower fields. There are two main patches, one where I drew them and another one in the top north. So that’s another place where you could put these if you’re looking for a place on the map for them.

Also in the same general area I drew some red doodles that are supposed to look like roofs to stress the urban nature of the area. You’ve got this mostly covered with the sound screens sitting along the roads here, but this is something to keep in mind during redevelopment. It’s not all flowers and cucumbers, this is the most densely populated part of the country.

The final piece of landscape can be found in the far south of Limburg (13). Those are hills. Not Dutch hills, actual hills, up to over 300 meters at their most extreme. It doesn’t quite look as if you’re entering the Ardennes, but it’s pretty close.

Sights
Let me start this section with some congratulations. The row of windmills north of the A1 looks very nice. I placed the symbols for it closer to their real world inspiration at Kinderdijk (14), but the important thing is that stuff is on the map, not exactly where. I can understand that this was the place where you could make it fit.

Another very Dutch thing are star forts and “vestingen”, fortified cities. Some famous defensive landmarks include Bourtange and Muiderslot, but I would recommend trying to fit in Naarden/Naardervesting (15), because you essentially already have your map set up for it. That weird bend in the A1 where it curves north and back west again? That’s where the road squeezes itself through the gap between Naarden, the northernmost point of the Dutch Water Line, and the lake (used to be sea) to the north. Adding some actual fortifications would be pretty sweet.

Then finally the province of Drenthe just below Groningen would like a ”hunebed”/Dolmen (16). Imagine the people who made Stonehenge were trying to make a pyramid. Now scale the image in your head down far enough that you’d be disappointed by the result. That’s a hunebed. It might be easy to make, stack some rock assets, and it’s a nice recognizable thing that you can show at full scale.

And… that’s pretty much everything I wanted to talk about. I can get a little sucked in to projects every now and then…

I would love to keep this topic open for further suggestions from others. It’s not like I know everything. I hope someone enjoyed reading this, and that it may be useful in the future. Personal record for most researched forum post ever.
Last edited by Pan Logistica on 03 Jun 2019 16:51, edited 1 time in total.

Leninsk1970

Re: Netherlands re-research tips

#2 Post by Leninsk1970 » 15 May 2019 17:32

Nice! DAF Factory :)

Cant wait for rebuild Holland ;)

Pan Logistica
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Re: Netherlands re-research tips

#3 Post by Pan Logistica » 20 May 2019 21:46

There's one more minor landmark by the way that I wanted to include in my post but forgot, and I didn't want to bump this topic for it until somebody else did.

Along the A2, southeast of Eindhoven, there's a cell phone tower disguised as a (freakishly tall) tree. Depending on who you asks it looks like kind of a neat concept or just really silly. It's far from a unique landmark within the world or Europe, but it's recognizable to people who know the road, and kind of a funny thing to come across in a game.

And now that I'm posting again anyway I might as well mention that Eindhoven aside from DAF is known for tech and electronics companies such as Philips and ASML. Rotterdam as a harbor city is associated with varied imports and exports, car parts, consumer electronics, bananas, anything worth shipping around the world. It also houses (petro)chemical plants and Leiden near it has quite te biotech sector, as does Oss near Nijmegen and to some extend Eindhoven, spinning off from their other tech companies. Utrecht is a bit of a transportation hub due to its central location, I worked at a railway station, a distribution center for medical aids and a car parts mail order firm there, but I'm not sure what specific industries I would pin to the place as iconic.

Another minor note: I know Vincent van Gogh painted sunflowers, but he did that while in France. Those sunflower fields are honestly not the best stand in for tulips and such. They feel very "wait, I'm in France now". One or two of those fields, somewhere in the south, maybe, but not too many. Grass or grain works as a replacement.

Edit: I keep thinking of things. I said forests are often/mostly pine. But at least partly because they slow forest fires broad leaved trees are often planted along roads. So as you drive/streetview around the country you'll still see quite a lot of them.

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Ruward
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Re: Netherlands re-research tips

#4 Post by Ruward » 15 Jun 2019 21:12

Nice job on your re-research tips in the Netherlands!

I would like to add more research tips further north in the Netherlands (WIP):

* A7 German border to Groningen.

- This fuel station is the first thing you notice after crossing the border. The fuel station is also a landmark:
Image
(https://www.google.nl/maps/place/Rijksw ... d7.2183296)
The fuel station and restaurant north of the A7 are Dutch, the fuel station and restaurant south of the A7 are German.
(https://www.google.nl/maps/place/Rijksw ... d7.2183296)

- The next thing to mention is the intersection between the A7 and the N33 (Knooppunt Zuidbroek).
(https://www.google.nl/maps/place/Unname ... d6.8939366)

- The last landmark before you enter the city of Groningen is already in the game.
Image
(https://www.google.nl/maps/place/Het+Sl ... d6.7593444)


* N7 (Ring road Groningen South)

- The A7 goes over in the N7 at this intersection (Knooppunt Euvelgunne)
(https://www.google.nl/maps/place/N46,+G ... d6.6184781)
The speed limit is reduced to 70 km/h

- Intersection Julianaplein is a very tricky and important one. It connects the A28 with the A7. Currently it has traffic lights and causes big traffic jams in rush hour. I am not sure if this will still be the case when SCS starts reworking the Netherlands. I might edit this in the future ;)
(https://www.google.nl/maps/place/Julian ... d6.5648181)
Greetings oet Grunn!

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Tiger313
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Re: Netherlands re-research tips

#5 Post by Tiger313 » 09 Oct 2019 11:27

To be honest, I think that the area available for the Netherlands is simply too small with the current scale in order to make things look realistic. There's a large amount of iconic interchanges, but they won't all fit on the map. But you could somewhat play with that. Just look at the routes available on the map right now.

- They should simplify the route from Amsterdam into IJmuiden (the ferry to Newcastle) by taking the N202 along the Noordzeekanaal instead of trying to add a cramped A9 in there. The Felison Terminal (ferry terminal) in IJmuiden itself looks very accurate (it's in my neck of the woods).

- As far as the A1 is concerned: De Witte Bergen is a Van der Valk motel, it doesn't even have parking space for trucks. If you want to put up an iconic truck stop along the A1, you'd be better off adding De Goudreinet, as that is a well known truckers' restaurant. It even has fuel pumps, although you have to look twice for them. But maybe for game purpose, it would probably be better to add the AC restaurants at Stroe (Tolnegen Noord/Zuid rest areas, although Tolnegen Zuid has no fuel) here and Holten (Bolder eastbound rest area and Struik westbound rest area) here.

- The route from Amsterdam to Antwerp is a bit of a hotchpotch mix of various motorcarriageways stuck together, and it's hard to define which ones. Clearly it starts at Ring A-10 (Zuidas, definitely needs improvement), going southwest by A4 past Badhoevedorp interchange (connection to A9), Schiphol (tunnel entrances look okay-ish, tunnel itself does not), the Ringvaart Aqueduct (which is way too deep and way too steep, needs improvement) and then I kinda lose where we're at. They should add Den Haag there, or at least a view of the city skyline, with (partial) Prins Clausplein (four level stack interchange with A12), and add A12 which leads to Arnhem (which is a better option to add than Nijmegen) and connects to Bundes Autobahn 3, connecting to Duisburg and the rest of the Ruhr area.

Now to simplify the route to Antwerp from there on, I would suggest following the A4 through the Westland and the Beneluxtunnel, which connects to the A15 leading to Europoort and bypassing Rotterdam downtown area to the A16. Another option would be to take the A13 - A20 - A16 route, crossing the iconic Brienenoord bridges (a greatuncle of mine was an engineer who worked on designing the first Brienenoord bridge). This gives a great view of the city, but will take up more space to make look right, and you'd end up at the same spot eventually, as well as having to add the A15 towards Europoort.

Between Rotterdam and the Belgian border, there's Sandelingen-West/Oost rest areas at Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht, the Drechttunnel between Zwijndrecht and Dordrecht, somewhat comparable to the Elbtunnel in Hamburg, the Moerdijk bridges (already in the game, but needs tweaking: the guard rails are way too high), and Hazeldonk rest areas.

Okay, done typing now. At the end of my attention span, maybe more later.

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Leen
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Re: Netherlands re-research tips

#6 Post by Leen » 09 Oct 2019 12:03

There is also the A28 which go from Groningen to Utrecht and it's on of the most important roads like the A20 A16 A2 and A1.

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BK Vissers
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Re: Netherlands re-research tips

#7 Post by BK Vissers » 09 Oct 2019 12:39

An interesting set of ideas.

I do wonder about Naarden, however. It’s tiny and when I drove there there were only small vans for local delivery. It’s a walled town and I wonder if the types of trucks we have in game today belong in it? Unless you mean simply as something seen from a major road outside the town? For eye candy it may be that Muiderslot is more easily done.

If we had rigids...Naarden would be challenging environment !
Image

adymike
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Re: Netherlands re-research tips

#8 Post by adymike » 20 Dec 2019 02:40

I think only addition of Eindhoven with DAF Truck Factory is enough for The Netherland

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Re: Netherlands re-research tips

#9 Post by Unknown# » 20 Dec 2019 06:51

@adymike - What about east central Netherlands? That part seems a bit empty. We could have at least ONE city over there like, I dunno, Enschede.

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Re: Netherlands re-research tips

#10 Post by Tiger313 » 22 Apr 2020 21:14

A1 goes past Hengelo, they could add that as a minor town, considering there's a large and well known truck stop on the east side of the city: Frans op den Bult.

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