Hello. This is Lead Designer Stone Librande here to talk about one of my favorite subjects: giant robots!
In SimCity Cities of Tomorrow we wanted to create a new disaster that fit well with the expansion pack’s futuristic theme. We talked about including realistic disasters that our planet may be experiencing in the near future, (droughts or floods caused by global warming, giant hurricanes, solar flares, etc.) but decided to go with something more fanciful. The idea that the team quickly agreed on was a giant robot attack, similar to the one from SimCity 4.
Our first task was to replay SimCity 4 and relive the robot disaster. Unfortunately, my memory of the SimCity 4 robot was a lot more exciting than the reality. The robot was huge—and its mighty “pulse cannon” could take down several blocks of skyscrapers in a few seconds—but when we looked closely, we noticed that it was shooting out a few white dots from its chest that randomly trashed a large section of your city. After leveling a few city blocks it flies back into space leaving blocks of destruction in its wake.
Instead of a mindless killing machine, we wanted the Cities of Tomorrow robot to have more personality. Outworlder 6, our robot, doesn’t visit your city because he wants to destroy it; he is just looking for energy to recharge his battery pack in order to continue his interstellar journey back home. We also wanted the player to become an active participant in the encounter and either help or hinder his mission.
Outworlder 6 arrives from the sky like a fiery meteorite, landing in a random location and destroying whatever happened to be underneath him. He immediately begins scanning the city for a nearby source of power. Although he is not malicious, his alien programmers haven’t given him the ability to understand the value of things like Sims, cars or buildings. Expect him to cause some collateral damage as he stomps through the streets looking for a place to plug-in to
your city’s electrical grid.
Once he arrives at his target he extends his “electro-coupler” and begins leeching power and other utilities from your city. This may cause temporary blackouts which could shut down some of your critical city systems. Observant players (and those of you reading this blog) will notice the energy meter on his back. As he drains the power from your city he will be filling up his own internal batteries. When the energy meter reaches the top he will fly back into space and the encounter will end. But if his meter hasn’t completely filled then he will repeat the process all over again by scanning for his next target.
To minimize his damage you’ll want him to charge up as quickly as possible. This can be accomplished by shutting down your biggest energy consumers, such as your garbage atomizers and pollution scrubbers. To maximize his damage (you know who you are) then shut down your power plants and starve him. After several failed attempts to gain enough electricity he will eventually give up in frustration and fly back into space. In this case he’ll be forced to use his backup nuclear reactor which tends to leak a bit of radiation (you’ve been warned!).
There is also a third option. We understand that many players don’t want any disasters in their cities at all. If you are a part of this group, you will be happy to know that with Update 8 released last week, we are now giving you the option to turn off random disasters in the normal game mode.
We had a lot of fun creating the giant robot encounter, from initial concept to the final 3D, we’re excited to bring giant robots back to SimCity. Best of luck to you and your Sims when Outworlder 6 visits your city!