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What makes a City Builder fun?

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What makes a city builder fun?

 

I'm working on a City Builder concept, and I'd love to get why people find them fun.  What are the features of a City Builder that really make or break the game?  I've got my own list already, but I wanted to get outside opinions, and not pre-influence this with my perspectives.

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i personally like city builders and have played many titles from both maxis and impressions. 

 

thinking about it, i come up with:

 

its a management thing.

 

similar to "tycoon" type games.

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I'll add some of my thoughts, and if anyone has feed back on that, please feel free to comment, or provide your perspective on the same.  smile.png

 

* Creation.  Creation is part of its own reward, I.e. Minecraft.  smile.png  Creating new buildings.  

* Fast Direct Rewards:  Player picks what is to be done, and they know what value will come from it.  

* What's next: Player wants to see whats next.  Similar reason why cheat codes work.  What building or feature or appearance comes next?

* Lasting Rewards:  Something the player did earlier, is proactively earning rewards.  

* Influence: Focusing on certain areas influences the game to expand in that direction.  

* Leave your Mark on the World: Since there is (in most city builders) flexibility on where you place things, it makes the design yours.  You get to try things and keep a lasting impression on the appearance of your game.

 

(These are unrefined thoughts.  As I design them further, I'll shape them into 2 or 3 key things, and all the features will be required to support those in some way)

 

 - Thanks!

Edited by Dan Violet Sagmiller

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Out of all the SimCitys I've played, the SNES I thought was the best. It was simple, engaging, and you got instant feedback. The rules were easy to learn, but not as easy to master. And who doesn't like watching a creation grow successfully, but at the same time, being able to (somewhat) micromanaging a situation.

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Visible errors or dangers, such as blackouts, water shortages, tornados,etc.

 

Character - There shouldn't be one generic well-functioning city, but several archetypes of successful city.

 

Humorous visuals - billboards, car accidents, wildlife, faux newspaper or letters from citizens or cartoons of NPCs giving missions

 

I personally love when the starting board is full of junk to clean up (and get resources from) and crazy terrain to tame.

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I love city builders, from sim city on my friends fathers 286. (we used to print out the map and do planning "offline" on my living room floor)

Also played a lot of the Caesar series.

There has been a severe lack of good ones since sim city 2000 though.

The Tropico series have done a good job though, and the traffic simulation in Cities: Skylines is awesome.

 

For me, there are two key parts. Building and Simulation.

 

It is important you have freedom to design. Preferably also the environment. 

I want hills and water and forests, and organically grow my city around them in some places, and bulldoze it down to a flat area in other places. Depends on the city I want to build.

I want to be able to build my roads and bridges any way I want.

 

BUT. 

 

Simulation is very important. I shouldn't just be able to build the city in any way, there must be rules for what makes a well functioning city.

Simulation must be believable, and detailed

 

The whole challenge and fun for me is to build a city that is both beautiful and well functioning.

 

If the rules force me to build boring square cities its not fun.

If the rules are too lax, so I can build any stupid design with no risk of problems... also boring.

 

I want traffic simulated, I want economy and services to be simulated, and it must be challenging to meet all demands.

I like how in Tropico it is impossible to meet all demands, you have to chose which groups to please.

 

Random events like tornadoes and godzillas I've never been a fan of, but please give me gridlocks and blackouts because I designed my infrastructure poorly.

Or let me get wrecked by outlanders because I didn't build protection for my post apocalyptic city.

Things that makes sense, and can be planned to counter.

I can't counter a Godzilla... just clean up the mess sad.png

Edited by Olof Hedman

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Don't get distracted by tons of secondary features in the new games. Check the first SimCity, that's where it all started, it has all the core features in place.

 

It's basicly about building a city, that comes first :) Which means buildings & roads. As an extra there could be some additional infrastructure (power lines & water pipes).

And of course seeing your city flooded/burned/tornadoed/Godzilloed is always fun too :)

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I can't counter a Godzilla... just clean up the mess sad.png

 

But isn't the part of city planning and building? Unforeseen disasters and planning to repair it.

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But isn't the part of city planning and building? Unforeseen disasters and planning to repair it.

 

I guess... 

I just think I would enjoy it more if I could build my city godzilla-proof, or train a godzilla distraction crew that leads it astray, instead of it just showing up, walking across my town destroying everything, and then having me re-build it, pretty much the same as it was before.

Edited by Olof Hedman

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I think, the point was to encourage redundancy and decentralization.

The natural tendency of the lazy player of sim city is to put all of the same building on one place.

After experiencing a disaster taking out all your atomic power plants placed near each other, or on a much smaller scale the single power line connecting your city to them getting cut off, you will know that wont work out.wink.png

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