Hello SimCity fans! I’m Guillaume Pierre, Lead Gameplay Scripter on SimCity, and my team & I build the game’s simulation using the GlassBox Engine. You may remember my post about the water system back in April, but today I’m going to talk about something dear to my and transportation geeks’ hearts: public transit!
When left unchecked, cars will quickly take over city streets, resulting in massive traffic jams and the economic loop coming to a stop. Your Sims won’t be able to get to work on time, robbers will get away as police cars get stuck, and trash will mount as garbage trucks can’t make their rounds anymore! To solve your traffic problem in SimCity, we’re providing a variety of public transportation options, starting with the shuttle buses and going all the way to the heavy rail trains and beyond.
Shuttle buses are the cheapest and easiest public transit system to set up. These small busses carry a limited number of passengers and are appropriate for smaller cities. To set some up, you just need to place a bus depot, plop some bus stops on the sidewalks of your residential, business & factory districts, and Sims will start riding the shuttle. At some point, you may invest in the larger municipal buses by building a bus terminal, and Sims will queue up at the same stops as they did before to ride them. You can also plop some park & ride stops that Sims will drive to and park their cars at before taking the bus.
In this SimCity, we’re also introducing streetcars, or trams, which ride on a dedicated track in the middle of avenues, and carry more Sims than the shuttle or municipal buses. Those tracks use up two lanes of car traffic though, so you may get more congestion at first as the system gets going. You can also connect two separate parts of town with light rail tracks placed by themselves, without car lanes or sidewalks.
Some of the biggest vehicles going through your cities are heavy trains, which come from the region and bring in tourists and neighbors into your city, more so than could ever drive in from the regional highway. Your Sims may even ride the train between two stations on opposite sides of town, or use them to go to neighboring cities. Rail is by far my favorite mode of transit; it really makes the city feels like a model train set.
Much like in real-life, people will only walk so far to take public transportation, so when placing public transportation stops, we show you that distance as a green bar directly on the sidewalks via a data layer. As a result, you can easily tell which neighborhoods are accessible, and which ones Sims will have to drive out of.
Each stop is responsible for figuring out what kind of destination exists near it, be it a work place, a home, or even another stop that may lead Sims to their eventual destination. Your Sims may very well start their journey aboard a local shuttle bus, then transfer to a streetcar, and eventually to a train in order to work at the factory town next door.
Players will be able to evaluate the performance of their systems by: 1. Checking how many people are waiting to be picked up. 2. How long they have to wait on average, 3. How many passengers are currently riding in vehicles, and 4. How many have been dropped off that day.
Each stop will also have similar information available, so it’s possible to really drill down on the data and make decisions on whether to add more vehicles or turn off infrequently used stops, for example.