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Cities: Skylines Outside Connections Dev Diary

Posted 22 Nov 2014 by at 2:44 am GMT
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This week’s developer diary from the Colossal Order team takes a look at outside connections and how they will have an impact on your city and the decisions you need to make.

This update also shows odd the new UI for the first time which I have to say is a real improvement. It’s a lot slicker.

Cities: Skylines

A passenger ship arriving at a harbor.

Each city needs to be connected to the outside world. The main reason for this is to allow industry to work with full efficiency, but also tourists use outside connections to travel to the city. There are many possibilities on how to get the best of your connections, so read on to find out more about importing and exporting goods, boosting your city attractiveness with monuments and luring in tourists to spend their hard-earned money in your commercial districts.

Tourism

Others using the outside connections are tourists. They come in through many transportation types, but when you start a game, they use the highway only. Tourists come to your city always, but their numbers are decided by how attractive your city is. Attractiveness is raised by high land value and having monuments. Land value can be increased by building parks and plazas, which also help zoned buildings in the city to level up. Monuments are quite exciting! They are buildings, parks, plazas and statues that you can earn through actions in the game. For example, when your city has produced 1 000 units of goods, you gain the Stadium of Many Things. Upon reaching the goal, the Stadium becomes available in the menu and you can place it in your city. It’s a popular location for many of your citizens, but also draws in tourists and increases happiness of citizens living near it. It’s often a good idea to make sure monuments have good public transport connections, so roads around them don’t get too busy.

Cities: Skylines

Tourists arrive at the terminal.

Tourists come to your city to see sights and shop. This can greatly increase your tax income, because tax is paid for every unit of goods sold. It also means that tourists want to get to your commercial areas. Tourists can come to the city by ship, airplane, train or with their own car. Especially for tourists that come in with other means than their own car, public transport is very important. The better tourists can get around, the more they tend to spend money in your city. The key is to earn and build monuments to draw in tourists, and then provide them with good transportation option inside the city to keep them there. Large amounts of tourists can also create traffic jams if they use their own cars instead of public transport, so you can avoid a lot of problems by giving them the means to move around easily.

Monuments

While monuments provide the city with happiness and attractiveness boost, there’s more! Monuments are grouped into five “skill trees”, pathways to gaining the ultimate buildings: Wonders. Different monuments are suited for different playing styles, so you can pick your favourite, play in that style and eventually gain the coveted Wonder. Wonders are massive buildings that basically remove one need from the city, but more on those in another development diary!

Cities: Skylines

The Expo Center makes people living nearby very happy.

Import and export

The most optimal city that gives out biggest amount of taxes possible, would produce and use up everything inside the city. But since it takes time to get there and most cities can benefit from outside help, there are possibilities to import and export goods and natural resources. All industry buildings need a small amount of natural resources to produce goods, that are then sold in commercial areas. Natural resources can be produced in your city, but only specialized industry can provide them, and it doesn’t unlock until a bit further in the game. So, to get your industry up and going, you need to be connected to a highway. This also works for power plants that use a specific resource to work, for example the oil power plant. It prefers resources inside the city, so if you have oil industry set up, it will order oil from local suppliers. If not, a load will arrive from outside the city. While the most tax income is gained by having your own industry provide everything, it might be better to not have polluting oil industry and rather have the oil be brought from other cities. It’s your choice!

Cities: Skylines

Cargo arrives and leaves on a cargo ship.

Maps have many highway connections available, but the starting tile always offers at least one. Some starting tiles have the highway running through them, other only have a small ramp that you can connect to. If the highway comes into the way of your growing city, you don’t have to keep it as it is. Re-building it as elevated lets you add ramps in the places you need and have inner city traffic pass under the highway. You can also just connect the ends of a high way to your city and let the traffic find its own way. There are almost endless possibilities! Keep an eye on where your industrial areas lie, because they will get most of the traffic, so a ramp near the industrial area is always a good idea.
Exporting goods works best via cargo train stations and cargo harbors. Before these are available, industry will ship excess goods to other cities with trucks, which puts a strain on the roads. With a harbor or a train connection, you can have the trucks only operate between the industry buildings and the harbor/station, and easily control where the large trucks drive. Commercial buildings inside the city are a priority, they will order goods to sell and industry always first ships to them, but if their stockpiles are full, goods can be sold to other cities.

Karoliina Korppoo,
Lead designer on Cities: Skylines

PS. UI has been re-done, how do you feel about it? We are very proud!

Cities: Skylines

Trains can also carry cargo.

Cities: Skylines

A close-up on the Expo Center.


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Cities: Skylines Dev Diary #4 looks at public transport

Posted 5 Nov 2014 by at 4:24 am GMT
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First of all apologies for the recent lack of updates, been a bit of a mad couple of weeks which usually doesn’t happen. Anyway, let’s get down to business because the fourth developer diary has just been posted and this week the Colossal Order team are taking a look a public transport. This is an area I’m sure most of you hope the game will excel in considering CO’s previous Cities in Motion titles.

This latest update is also peppered with some cracking new screenshots so soak it all up.

Working on public transport in Cities: Skylines we wanted to offer a variety of choices for the players to set up their public transport network while still keeping in mind that Cities: Skylines is first and foremost a city builder game rather than a transport simulator. Our goal was to implement the feature in so that it would be easy to use, following in suit with the rest of the features while still being robust enough to make it interesting and strategically sound. The fans of Cities in Motion games had always wanted to build rail networks and airports to control the intercity traffic but the scope of those games was always within the city limits. However, with Cities: Skylines’ goods transport and citizens moving in and out of the city, we felt that it was a good time to bring in the intercity traffic possibilities to public transport.

Public transport types
Cities: Skylines features several modes of public transport. You can set up a bus network, dig metro tunnels, lay down tracks for passenger and cargo trains, build both passenger and cargo terminals for ships and build an airpot. Bus and metro network is for inner city transport while train network can service both inner city and intercity needs (both, passenger and cargo trains!). The harbors and the airport service intercity connections.

Bus transport
The bus transport is the first, low-cost choice for public transport. There are two structures required for it to work: the bus depot and bus stops. The bus depot works as the storage space for the buses in the city and when setting up new bus routes you can see the buses leaving the depot for their designated routes. Adjusting the budget for buses causes more (or less) buses to appear on the routes. One bus depot can service the whole city but a placing more than one in strategic places around the city can shorten the time when new buses reach their routes since they don’t have to drive through the whole city to get there.

The Bus Depot

The Bus Depot

Cities: Skylines

A bus stop in the suburbs.

Metro
Metro is an efficient transport mode to move a lot of people fast. However, its downside is the high building cost since the player needs to build both the metro entrances (stations) as well as the underground tracks. Underground track building is done in a special view mode where the tracks and stations are highlighted. This mode also highlights the other public transport buildings, tracks and routes which makes planning of the network easier.

A metro entrance near the center of the city.

A metro entrance near the center of the city.

Inspecting the metro line in the special public transport info view mode.

Inspecting the metro line in the special public transport info view mode.

Trains
Trains are divided into passenger and cargo trains. Both trains have their own terminals that the player can build in the city. The player can use the train network in two different ways:
1) If they only build the terminals and connect the train tracks to the outside connecting train tracks found on the map, the terminals will service intercity traffic, importing and exporting cargo and passengers (tourists).
2) The player is also able to use the train line tool to create train routes within the city limits i.e. the player is able to build inner city train lines servicing the different parts of the city.
Train tracks are cheaper to build compared to underground metro tracks but train tracks require room to be built hence they must be fitted within the city next to all the buildings and roads. However, the player can build elevated train tracks to navigate over some of the obstacles a city can present.

 

The passenger train terminal. Tourists are boarding the train.

The passenger train terminal. Tourists are boarding the train.

Cargo train terminal located in an industrial area of the city.

Cargo train terminal located in an industrial area of the city.

Cargo train has left the terminal and is heading outside of the city.

Cargo train has left the terminal and is heading outside of the city.

Cities: Skylines features elevated train tracks as well.

Cities: Skylines features elevated train tracks as well.

Railway bridge next to the highway.

Railway bridge next to the highway.

Harbors
Harbors are divided into a passenger harbor and a cargo harbor. Both service intercity traffic, bringing in tourists and shipping goods to and from the city. Due to the huge capacity of the ships harbors are one of the largest entry points into the city by means of public transport.

Passenger ship arriving to the passenger terminal.

Passenger ship arriving to the passenger terminal.

A Cargo ship and a cargo terminal.

A Cargo ship and a cargo terminal.

Airport
Airport services mostly passengers and is the most expensive public transport investment. It brings in a lot of tourists and can really boost the economy. While the airport increases tourism into the city it also causes quite a lot of noise pollution which means that it is wise to build the airport far from residential zones.

The airport.

The airport.

– Henkka also known as an artist, designer and level designer at Colossal Order

Don’t forget these developer diaries are also being archived in the PDX forums.

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Cities Skylines Dev Diary #2 Looks at Zoning

Posted 8 Oct 2014 by at 4:10 am GMT
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Residential areas are the backbone of your city. Detached houses such as the ones on low density residential zones are inviting to older people and families with kids. High density residential apartment buildings on the other hand serve the needs of younger adults who value cheaper living costs among other things.

The Colossal Order team are back and in this second developer diary Henkka takes a look at the Cities Skylines zoning system. Cities: Skylines features a traditional RCI system for zoning so there’s nothing too complicated that city builder players won’t understand.

We did see some of the zoning in action during the recent live stream and the tools are particularly nice. I suggest you also watch that for additional details on how the tools work.

Hi there, you city builder aficionados! Once again it is the time for another exciting story from the pages of developer diaries. I am your humble host, Henkka, and I am here to talk about zoning. So, gather around by the fire and let your imagination fly…

Oh, and in case you missed the previous entry to the dev diaries, here it is: Dev Diary 1: Roads.

Basics of zoning (or “Why zoning instead of manually placing all buildings?”)
If the roads are the bones of the city, then the zones are the meat around the bones. Very early on in the development process it was clear that we wanted the game to feature a zoning tool instead of placing the myriad of the regular buildings manually. With zoning the player’s job is to rule where the different types of buildings appear but it is the citizens’ (that is the game’s) job to actually move in and build the new houses, shops and factories, all according to the different needs of the city. The player can determine what the city requires and when by using the RCI indicator in the GUI.

While discussing the possible ways to build a city a few ways emerged: placing buildings individually and zoning. While individual placing of buildings seemed interesting and in theory allowed the player to create the exact city they wanted it became clear that creating large cities would be difficult and cumbersome. The sheer amount of buildings needed to place would turn the game into an editor rather than a city builder. Also problems would arise with the needs of the city conflicting with the artistic visions of the player: the player would want to build 10 tenements in an area while the game calculated the city required only 3. Communicating this kind of information that is always changing as the game progresses would be impractical. And as the city grows and new technological levels are reached, the player would need to manually upgrade all the buildings in the city which in the end would mean going through thousands upon thousands of buildings.

Zoning on the other hand simulates more closely city planning on the higher level where the city planners lay down guidelines and rules for citizens and companies to work in. We decided that zoning is the way to go in a game of this scale. And clever city planners can take advantage of the various zoning tools and have more control over the zoneable buildings than just painting large areas if they so choose. For example, instead of zoning the full depth of the zone grid (4 cells) the player can zone thinner slices, like 2 cell deep areas, that spawn smaller building fitting the 2 cell deep restriction.

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Edited Infrastructure Video Released

Posted 30 Sep 2014 by at 10:48 pm GMT
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Segments from last week’s live stream have now been edited down to a thirteen minute video which has been released as “Infrastructure Highlights”. If you want to get a bite-sized chunk then watch this or you can watch the full thing which comes in at around hour long.

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Watch the Cities: Skylines live stream covering roads and basics

Posted 25 Sep 2014 by at 11:49 pm GMT
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It’s fantastic to see Cities: Skylines in action properly thanks to tonight’s live stream which covered game basics including zoning and road constructions. The stream lasts for about an hour so if you missed it earlier watch it below.


Watch live video from ParadoxInteractive on Twitch

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New Cities: Skylines trailer

Posted 25 Sep 2014 by at 1:28 pm GMT
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Ahead of tonight’s live stream, Colossal Order has released a new trailer for Cities: Skylines and it looks fantastic!

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The new Cities: Skylines FAQ

Posted 25 Sep 2014 by at 3:30 am GMT
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Cities: Skylines FAQ

 

Since Cities: Skylines was announced there has been numerous posts and updates from the Colossal Order and Paradox team. It’s not always easy to keep up with all the developments, news, game features and announcement posts so we plan to make life a little easier for fans. We have created a new Cities: Skylines FAQ.

We have poured over comments and forum posts to compile an extensive list of features in the following categories.

  • Terrain
  • Gameplay
  • Utilities
  • Services
  • Resources & Industry
  • Trade & Commerce
  • Transport
  • Beautification
  • Modding
  • Technical
  • Release & Beyond

All of these are now covered in the FAQ which will be continuously updated as development progresses. Community input is always important so if there is anything you want to see added or covered feel free to add notes to the comments in this post.

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Cities: Skylines Live Stream later today – Thursday 25 September

Posted 25 Sep 2014 by at 1:53 am GMT
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live stream

Good news Skylines fans, later today there will be a live stream with members of the team at 19:00 CEST. Here’s the details

We’re hosting a livestream this Thursday the 25th, talking about basic infrastructure, zoning, water and roads.

The stream will feature Colossal Order CEO/Mastermind Mariina Hallikainen and our Cities: Skylines Brand Manager; Jakob Munthe – as well as yours truly.

Whilst we do have a planned schedule on what to talk about, we would like to know what you want to know! So ask away in this thread (stuff related to the stream topic only!) and we might have answers for you in the stream!

You can find our channel here.

Cheers,
John

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First Cities: Skylines Developer Diary discusses roads

Posted 25 Sep 2014 by at 1:45 am GMT
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The Colossal Order team has posted their first Cities: Skylines Developer developer diary and the topic of discussion is the game’s roads. The diary covers the basics of road building, the different road types, parking, elevated roads, highways and ramps, and left/right side traffic. The diary has been put together by artist, designer and level designer Henkka.

It’s a lengthy update which comes with new shots to demonstrate how the road systems function.

Hi guys and gals! Welcome to the exciting world of Cities: Skylines development diaries! My name is Henkka and you might remember me from such dev diaries as ”Making the levels” and ”The Map Editor” for Cities in Motion 2 and ”Tower Bridge” for Cities in Motion. While you are taking a break from enjoying the screenshots and discussions about Cities: Skylines, you can take a look at the development processes behind the awesome game developed by us, Colossal Order and published by our friends at Paradox Interactive.

Now, put on a helmet, crawl up in a cannon and get ready to be shot into the wonderful land of Devvies!

Basics of road building
When we started designing the road building tool we wanted it to be as versatile as possible, aiming to recreate the possibilities of Cities in Motion 2’s road building tool. We also wanted to give the tool more accuracy so that creating square blocks for city centers would be easy.

When building the roads, the tool also creates the zoning grid on both sides of the road which indicates the area where zoneable buildings are built when the player uses the zoning tool. The grid is visible while building the roads which gives the player the ability to create optimal city blocks if they so choose.

T0Ufn2X
Building a curved road.

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Wired Cities: Skylines Interview

Posted 25 Sep 2014 by at 1:31 am GMT
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A new interview on Wired talks to Colossal Order CEO Mariina Hallikainen about the Cities: Skylines. Here’s a snip:

What did you learn from the reaction to the most recent SimCity as to what the player base wants from city builders?

Well, we really liked the original 90s games. We used to play these games when we were younger — the 90s and early 2000s simulation games. It was the same thing with Cities in Motion, we loved Transport Tycoon, and we wanted to bring that kind of game to the modern day. This is a little bit of the same thing. We always wanted to make a city builder. When SimCity was announced, we were like “OK, that’s it, we’re never going to be able to do anything with this!” Then, it didn’t go exactly as they planned, probably, so we thought “there’s still hope!” We don’t like to be compared to the newest one; I think we’re really like classic, old-school SimCity.

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