Howdy future Mayors, I am Michael Chrien, Lead Gameplay Scripter on the SimCity Cities of Tomorrow
expansion pack. I want to introduce you to some of the unique transportation options we are adding in this expansion pack. One of SimCity
’s core mechanics is deciding and optimising how Sims move around your city. With Cities of Tomorrow
, we are expanding on that with several unique transportation tools that Mayors can utilise to create vast transportation networks high above the streets of your city.
One of the big new transportation tools we’re adding is a futuristic mass transit type called the “Maglev.” Maglev trains run on elevated tracks above your city’s road network and shorter buildings, and are heavily influenced by both reality (actively operating magnetic levitation trains in China and Japan) and the theoretical (Elon Musk’s Hyperloop concept for mass transit). Gameplay wise, the maglev behaves like a light rail network with several key differences. The first is that the maglev track is raised above the ground, allowing it to travel above roads without having to stop for car or drone traffic. The track can be drawn off-road as well giving your city shortcuts between separate districts in your city. The RCI zoning system has also been updated to allow some lower density buildings to actually be constructed underneath the tracks, so you don’t have to sacrifice precious RCI space to make way for that maglev line extension.
The second difference is that there is no central depot that maglev trains have to return to. Maglev stations snap along both narrow and wide roads and include their own garage for a maglev train. Because each station includes its own garage, you can create a decentralised transportation network that moves Sims of all wealth types quickly around your city. The only caveat is that each station requires ControlNet to operate, so you will need to make sure your Academy buildings are fully staffed or that you are able to import enough ControlNet from your neighbors, to keep your Maglev Trains running.
Another exciting transport feature we have added are Skybridges. Current skybridge technology, like the connection between the Petronas Towers in Malaysia, is restricted to being short, straight, and limited on what it can carry. Our Skybridges can link two separate MegaTowers with a long and curvy path that allows for the transfer of power, sewage, water, pedestrians, and even vehicles between the two buildings. Before building a Skybridge, both MegaTowers each must possess a transportation level. Transportation levels provide up to four Skybridge connections to other Transportation levels, provided that both levels are fully operational. Once the levels power up, Skybridges will allow the free flow of utilities and Sims between MegaTowers high above your city, but be careful, if even one transport level powers down, it could spell gridlock for your streets below.
Skybridges add a unique and exciting dimension to how Sims move around your city. For example, you could have a MegaTower with only commercial and office levels connected via Skybridge to a purely residential MegaTower. In a completely optimal layout, Sims living in a MegaTower would not have to even lay a foot on the street level to go to work and shop. Managing the flow of Sims between MegaTowers efficiently is integral to making sure your MegaTowers stay profitable and functioning. Just keep in mind that Transportation levels should be integrated into the structure of your tower ahead of time. Otherwise, you might find yourself bulldozing some levels to make a Skybridge connection.
While both Maglevs and Skybridges are unlocked through The Academy specialisation, drones are a powerful new congestion-fighting tool that is unlocked through progression in the OmegaCo specialisation. Drones in Cities of Tomorrow
are influenced by current military unmanned aerial vehicle technology, but focused on how that technology could improve and affect cities. Drones follow existing roads in your city, but fly above the car and pedestrian traffic and are not impeded by stop signs or lights. The OmegaCo Drone Assembly Line add-on at the OmegaCo Factory produces generic OmegaCo drones that search for an acceptable reprogramming building. If an OmegaCo drone enters a residential building, it will be reprogrammed into a BuyDrone. The next time the Sims in that building want to leave to go shopping, a BuyDrone will shop for them instead. This effectively lowers the amount of shopping pedestrians and cars travelling on roads in your city, while also growing your OmegaCo subscriber base (and hourly profits).
OmegaCo also produces a line of utilitarian OmegaCo Drone Hangers that can be attached to Large Fire Stations, Hospitals, and Police Precincts. Depending on which hanger an OmegaCo drone enters, the drone will be reprogrammed into either a FireDrone (responds to fires), MediDrone (heals injuries), or LawDrones (catches criminals). Because these drones are not bound to the laws of the road, FireDrones, MediDrones, and LawDrones are extremely efficient at keeping your city running smoothly during emergencies. All of this efficiency comes at a price, as all four drone types will eventually break down after use. Maximising your OmegaCo Drone Assembly Line’s OmegaCo drone output is the key to keeping your OmegaCo BuyDrone Subscribers happy.
I’m excited about all of cool new transportation features we’re adding to the Cities of Tomorrow
EP. In addition to the gameplay additions mentioned above, the team has also added a wide variety of aesthetic changes to the transportation network of your city, including futurised versions of our existing vehicles, roads and bridges. Along with the existing traffic improvements found in Update 7, Mayors focused on optimising their city’s transportation networks will have a wealth of options to experiment with in their cities. I am looking forward to seeing how you integrate these new transportation options into your existing cities, as well as use them in your cities of tomorrow.