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Traffic Department 3-D


A 3-D remake of the little-known shareware game Traffic Department 2192, distributed by Epic Megagames.


Technical Features

  • A 3-D engine
  • Destructable terrain (roads and buildings), or at least scorchable terrain
    • Damage done to roads and buildings remains in later missions, and you can sometimes see construction crews cleaning it up
  • Sand should be kicked up when driving over the desert
  • The view should be switchable between cockpit and external
  • Weather: rain and sandstorms.
  • Sun and shadows
  • Upon leaving town, the terrain may be procedurally generated
  • Visual appearance of ship shields, scorch marks, smoke, sparks from scraping things
  • Multiplayer play should be possible in both cooperative and competitive modes
  • Your hovercraft has a rear-view mirror

Gameplay Features

  • More civilian vehicles, who have the AI to clear out when a fight starts
  • More allied vehicles. It may be possible to get help or call for help
  • Fights should still be fast and furious with lots of twisting and turning, and the added feature of knocking each other into walls. Running away should be relatively easy.
  • Hovercraft hover slightly above ground and can be knocked into it or scrape the ground after a fall
  • Hovercraft spin rapidly, can be upended, and have little to break their momentum other than dropping to ground and using wheels
  • Hovercraft can take damage to specific systems like in Wing Commander, and the damage may be location dependant
  • Hovercraft gain lift by being over anything, not just a road. They can be stacked. The amount of lift is based on distance from the object below.
  • Running into a building now can damage you and leave a mark on the building
  • Hovercraft have shields which bounce you off of building walls and other craft. If your shields are shot through, then you crash.
  • Buildings have shield generators on their walls which create short-range force fields that push vehicles away in the event of a crash. The force fields are a standard safety feature for an age of hovercraft. It is possible to run through them at a high velocity, but they will greatly cut the damage done by an indirect crash. It is possible to knock out individual shield generators.
  • Traffic enforcement becomes a gameable factor; you get credit for enforcing speed limits and towing disabled civilians to a shop, and demerits for shooting or blowing up civilians
  • The construction area at the northwest of town is now a fun place to do stunts with ramps and ditches. The dunes outside town become a playable area too.

Input controls

  • Pause
  • Switch view between cockpit, outside, top-down, map
  • Accelerate / Decelerate.
  • Hover / Drop
  • Turn/Yaw
  • Pitch is important for aiming.
  • [maybe] Rolling is less important, but you should be able to roll slightly to perform maneuvers and scrape a wing on the ground.
  • Guns and missiles
  • Turn on sirens
  • Launch tow line
  • Communications
  • [maybe] View damage report
  • [maybe] Eject

Game rules

Don't get blown up.

Useful Strategies

Get in the first shot. Battles will still be over quickly.


Copy the story from the shareware version. Copy the cutscenes too. I don't care if they look 20 years old.

City generation

Procedural generation of city cruft

Procedurally generate business locations, signs, awnings, billboards, parking structures, etc. This algorithm will be run to establish the city's appearance before the game is pressed, in the same way that Elite pre-generated the star system locations.

Generation of city districts

The algorithm may begin by creating a 3-dimensional traffic model assuming traffic routes of ground, low air (3rd floor), and high air (5th floor) in each lane. Increased importance will be given to those locations that are adjacent to a city exit or to a building face that has not been manually marked as undockable. For example, all agricultural greenhouses on the peaks of buildings will be undockable, as would be buildings under construction and military facilities that civilian traffic would not dock to.

The highest trafficed areas would be the most likely to contain business fronts, which will increase the traffic to the facing lane.

Traffic Generators:

  • Residences – Are established in all areas. A minimum number of residences are required in each city.
  • City Entrances

Traffic Sinks:

  • Business fronts – Are established at the highest-trafficed areas.
  • Offices – Are established in areas of moderate traffic.
  • Industries – Are established in areas of low traffic.
  • City Exits

Traffic Modifiers:

  • Parking structures – Are established near the highest-trafficed areas, and amplify the effect on traffic of all components of the attached building.


  • Traffic originating from a city entrance must not take the same city exit on its way out.
  • The algorithm should consider where lane changes are appropriate or not and the effect of intersections.
  • As businesses can create their own draw, the algorithm should be run twice or perhaps several times.
  • The algorithm may designate certain streets as one-way streets.
  • Traffic sinks may accept traffic generated inside the same building without creating any traffic in the street.
  • Time of day may matter. Residences will generate huge amounts of traffic at 8:00 AM and suck in huge amounts of traffic at 5:00 PM. Offices and industries will do the opposite, and also release a moderate amount of traffic at noon for lunch.

Generation of building internals

If a car goes through a window, the game should automatically generate a simple room depending upon the type of building crashed into.

  • Residence: Add a table, couch, and wall-mounted viewscreen.
  • Business: Add a counter and chairs.
  • Office: Add cubicles.
  • Abandoned: Add a broom and bucket in a corner.

There should be trivial differences in appearance each time a room is generated.

Multiple endings and story arcs

Player choices may lead to any of multiple endings, and may unlock mission arcs that are not otherwise available. The canonical ending will be one of many available and will result from the combination of roleplaying a bad attitude and being highly effective in combat. The exact opposite qualities, controlling Velazques's temper and not hurting the Vultures enough to cause them to react, will lead to a sandbox mode with Velazques as a traffic cop as long as the vultures allow the Traffic Department to exist.

The canonical storyline has the “good” general chosen before the official meeting, and he shows up only to make it official. To allow other endings, the alternate storylines can have this general assassinated by one of the other generals.

There is a game-time limit of, say, 100 mission-days at the outside before one of the generals is given command of the Vulture empire. This will sharply restrict the available endings and may trigger an immediate bad ending if the general decides to attack Seche from orbit while you are still there. Certain triggers resulting from player action may kick the counter forward to a special mission or arc. For example, time passes when Velasquez is grounded. Certain points along the timeline are special missions that can cause a major branch depending on how they go.

“Endings” may include immediate game endings or the triggering of a small number of final mission arcs that will lead to either an ending or a sandbox mode.

In-mission actions can change:

  • Vulture power and public reputation
  • Traffic Department power and public reputation
  • Velazques reputation with command
  • Velazques reputation with vultures
  • Velazques attitude - self-confidence, aggression

Variables may include

  • Allegiance - who V is currently working for
  • Personality - you can choose to make Velazques less insane
  • Fear - How afraid are the Vultures and how far will they go?

The NPCs may modify the strength and reputation of the Traffic Department for storyline selection purposes as long as they are alive. If they die early, their place in the story may be taken by a randomly generated NPC or simply skipped.

The Generals War

Generals are:

  • Kreel - The current occupier whose position can be weakened by the TD.
  • Marilith - Is patient before choosing to act.
  • Talon - Is aggressive.
  • Orlok - Arrives last. The peacemaker, pre-selected by the Overseer. Survives if everyone else is weak enough.
  • The Silicoids - They attempt to take the place of one of the generals.

The game may need a degree of randomness to determine how the conflicts between the generals play out. Doing well will force the story to take one route, but a mediocre job may reduce the chances to 50/50.

The shapeshifter may be selected if all of the generals are weakened. Who weakens them? Each other.

Your actions primarily affect Kreel but can set events in motion that result in the generals' power changing. Kreel may react to the TD differently depending on whether other generals are present to see his actions and are a threat. Waiting may be advantageous.

The “good” generals will still crack down on you if you do too much damage to the Vultures. Even the amorph will know that he has to save face.


There are multiple minor storylines. Different storylines are available depending on who is active and how much power various factions have.

Several storyline events are queued up that are played out between the next few missions.

Major incidents are capable of breaking minor storylines. For example, being mind-controlled by the Vultures cancels any missions that require an allegiance with the Traffic Department or any other faction. The minor storyline is “grayed out” and shoved aside until it becomes available again.

There may need to be a matrix of various powers and their strength.

  • A global story matrix and a matrix for each city?
  • A story matrix for each branch?

Vulture Powers:

  • The generals and the amorph
  • The local vulture leadership in each city
  • Local power and branch availabililty influenced by key personnel (named characters)

Viable rebel factions:

  • The TD leadership in each city
  • The gangs, at least two in each city, hostile to each other, bad public relations
  • Sechian workers on the moon
  • A splitter general's Vulture forces, such as forces run by the amorph

Various NPCs:

* Essentially every named character who has a plot thread. Their availability opens the thread and allows the consequences of the thread to play out.

Storyline flags and variables:

  • represent events that have happened, not actors
  • Variables adjust likelihoods of events. Flags force events to happen.

Proposed mechanisms:

There are three or four one-dimensional tracks for major storyline traits. Advancing, say, 20 points on any of them causes an incident to trigger. The specifics of the incident and its outcome depend on multiple other variables.

  • Timeline: Advances one point per mission. Can be adjusted by other events. Incidents on the Timeline represent the conflict between the generals.
  • Vulture aggression: Advances one point per anti-vulture mission success and one point for every five Vultures destroyed. Incidents on the Aggression track represent the Vultures reacting to their losses, cracking down, and panicking.
  • Department Weakness: Advances several points when missions fail or co-pilots are lost. Incidents on the Department Weakness track represent a collapse of morale and capability, and they set flags that will take away options from other incidents.
  • Anger: Vel's insanity. Incidents on the track represent crossing boundaries that make her behaviour worse, and how long the department will put up with Vel's antics.

An event may do any of the following:

  • Show preliminary story (always!)
  • Trigger an emergency mission
  • Add or remove NPCs
  • Change flags that affect what missions are available.

Trait tracks may look like:

[ (empty) (empty) EVENT (empty) EVENT ]

Mission sets may look like:

(mission1, mission2, mission3)

where: 1. each mission has availability requirements 2. the order is irrelevant 3. 4. these may mostly be used internally

Mission tracks may look like:

Mission → Mission → Mission


1. The availability of the next mission depends directly on the results of the previous mission.


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trafficdepartment3d.txt · Last modified: 2015/06/24 21:13 by deltatango