There's no typo in "Simulation of Urban MObility." This title is written like this to hint at its popular abbreviation, SUMO. I went into SUMO fully knowing that it is not a video game. However, the fascination with train sets that rests in the boy section of my brain was making me eager to watch little cars running on lanes and intersections of my own design.
Unfortunately, SUMO features a remarkably obtuse interface. The only thing that you seem to be able to accomplish is open and run pre-made scenarios. At least that's what sumo-gui.exe does. Moreover, these run incredibly fast, always finishing in a few milliseconds. However, you can set a delay of milliseconds for each step.
To create anything, you will need to launch netedit.exe. Both this and sumo-gui.exe can be found in \DLR\Sumo\bin. Creating routes is somewhat awkward also. Clicking on the workspace will set up a node and then clicking someplace else, will draw a line. If the second click lands on a node also, then the two nodes will be connected. It's simple once you get the hang of it, but I couldn't figure out any function to edit these lines and nodes. Yes, you can delete them individually, but when it comes to moving nodes or straightening lines, or multiple selections, SUMO seems not to follow the general trends for vector graphics editing.
Also in the same folder, there are several others executable files which set up additional parameters, but you can only run them from the command console. Courtesy of SUMO, you fire up the command console from a batch file located in the same folder.
Instead of delving into SUMO's documentation, I have chosen to search the net for some video tutorials. It's needless to say that for such an obscure program, the videos were boring, bland, and with no voice. That's not SUMO's fault of course. However, the sleepier I got from watching these uninteresting videos, the more my curiosity grew of what YouTube was suggesting on the side. So I abandoned my intellectual pursuit just to stare at beautiful 3D traffic simulations. What I learned though is that if you know a bit of programming (Python), you can animate SUMO scenarios in Unity. There's also the option of linking SUMO to data from OpenStreetMap.org.
- Little yellow arrows that run across black lines
- Many separate executable files
- Integration with OpenStreetMap
- Command line parameter setting, yay :|
Unmistakenly, Simulation of Urban MObility is only intended for power users. It is so unfriendly and unapproachable from an average user's point of view that I can't find a reason to recommend it to anyone who's not specifically in search of it. Even so, I think there could be better options. But what do I know?