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What's so fun about city builders?

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I'm working on a City Builder game at the moment, and I have a few basic ideas of what I feel makes the city builder games fun and addicting.  What I'd like to hear are other peoples opinions of exactly what makes a city builder so fun.  If you could, please include a reference to a city builder game you like, what compelled you to start playing, and what kept you playing.

 

Thanks.

 

I'll start:

 

I really like Galactic Reunion, an older game, which involved wars with alien species, advancing technologies, discovering new solar systems, establishing colonies and mining for resources.  I can't really say what drew me in in the first place.  I think it was a 5$ game box that I passed by and just thought to try it.  I found it quick and easy to start placing buildings in my world, and then expand to my local moon.  What kept me involved and loving the game for so long was that it had a long game play time to get around to things.  There were always different ways to expand.  If/when you run out of funding, you can start looking at back logs of new discovered planets.  And switch mining resources to work more on the materials of value to you.  I liked that aspect a lot.  It was one player (no multi-possible).

 

I really liked that the advancement of my own people helped improve things.  I could hire the best advisors to begin with, or I could start with cheaper ones and send them to college.  I had a lot of ways I could push things to get to my core goals of the game.  

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Well Anno 1602 and 1404 are some of my favourites, along with Caesar 2. I suppose I enjoyed in Anno that it had specific stages of development that gave you a sort of focus of your building ... you wanted an industry of ale and cloth first, than you wanted bricks, bread and beef ... each stage rewarded you with higher tax paying citizens.

 

Another draw of the Anno series was you could have several separate cities on the one map and trading with freetraders and "rival" cities was necessary to initially prosper (Once you where a midsized city you could often monopolize these industries ... although in the late game where you had metropolitan cities you had to start really on trade from others again as you couldn't cope with your citizens demands).

 

I enjoy easy initial progress, limited perhaps by limited resources but forgiving if you spend them, with the later game becoming more complex, maintaining resources and money grows importance ... I'd at least to have more than a ramshackle village and a few farms before the gods get angry with me for not building them a massive marble temple (looking at you Caesar 3!).

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Hello, big city building fan here.

I'm also the creator and webmaster of http://xlnation.net, the largest community for the Cities XL series.

 

I like city building games because they allow me to be creative. I love fine-tuning my cities' inner workings and to see the complex interaction of a bustling city in full 3D. Cities XL is my favorite city building game because it has nice graphics and I can create beautiful large cities with it. I did not buy the new Sim City because EA really botched the game.

 

P.S. I am also (very slowly) playing around with my own city building game project. Good luck!

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There is a website, citybuildergames.com, where a lot of city building people are. You might ask them rather then the general sampling of game devs here.

 

Personally I like complex production trains and managing citizens needs and such.

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I did not buy the new Sim City because EA really botched the game.

 

I remember reading an article about a guy who lived in Massachusetts and had terrible traffic in the city he lived in. He recreated his city in the new SimCity and was able to not only recreate the traffic issues but also pinpoint where and why it was happening.

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A partial city building fan here. What makes City Building exciting for me was that I enjoy games which actually make me think and looking at how my city builds into a flourishing economy. 

 

Personally, I enjoyed playing Tropico 3 and Tropico 4. The complexity and realism of the game really impressed me.

 

Just a summary, it's a game about building a city in the Caribbean during the Cold War period. Other than building a city, you have to manage the diplomacy between USA, Russia and Europe as well as keeping the different factions in the city happy. Building churches to appeal the religious people, having free housing to appease the communist and so on.  

 

What I liked about that was the high level management required to rule the island. You have to plan how you want your city to develop economically and politically right from the start. Also, the game actually gives you a lot of freedom to control how you play the game. You can actually implement policies which helps to propel your island forward in a certain direction. For example, if I wanted the city to rapidly increase in population, I can basically allow immigrants, regardless of the skill level to enter the city. 

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Also aesthetics! I want to have nicely laid out streets and blocks of buildings ... not a big mash of structures in order to get all the necessities into the smallest space possible (An the only way it seems your citizens can access them is taking a shortcut through their neighbors backyard).

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I enjoyed in Anno that it had specific stages of development that gave you a sort of focus of your building ... you wanted an industry of ale and cloth first, than you wanted bricks, bread and beef ... each stage rewarded you with higher tax paying citizens.

 

Thats an interesting point.  So far in my design, I was making it small pieces of everything, and then expanding in some additional layers of complexity (more details that can be configured at larger scale, etc..)  I'll have to think about what might be good splits in my game for technology/silos of abilities.

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I love fine-tuning my cities' inner workings and to see the complex interaction of a bustling city in full 3D

 

I like this perspective.  As in , you do one thing, and it has a ripple effect.  It seems like it would be good to help amplify that out a bit, so you can see the influence different buildings have on each other.  Sort of like an RPG sword that gains fire.  The sword is good, the fire is good, both have clearly noticable effects, and together it becomes even better.  I'll have to think of good ways to make the game display the effects of your layout strategy.

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