Samson Valley Begins

Last month, I excitedly logged on to Steam and looked for the new Cities: Skylines DLC: Mass Transit. I searched and searched for it, until I realized it was coming out May 18 – not April 18.

Today is May 18, and I bought Mass Transit. I disabled all my mods (for now) and I started a new city, which I’ve named Samson Valley.

Samson Valley beginning

My little city is still suffering growing pains, and the blimps and monorails and transit hubs, etc., will have to wait until the population catches up.

This is going to be fun!

Thermal Point

termal-point

Thermal Point is a growing city situated above the Arctic Circle. Its current population is around 40,000, and it is growing rapidly. Surrounded by rivers and mountains, its terrain is generally flat, which makes it idea for canals, but impractical for hydroelectric dams. Oddly, its canals never freeze – even when the temperature drops to -19° c.

canal

Electricity is supplied by wind and solar power. Thermal Point has recently built its first nuclear power plant, to replace its aging coal power plant. Its water supply is heated by geothermal plants, which reduces the city’s electricity needs.

geothermal

Geothermal Plant

Thermal Point has no bus system, other than its emergency services. Instead, it relies on a network of trams, heavy rail, and a circular subway line, to ease traffic flow in this densely populated city. There are no major traffic issues, despite multiple bottlenecks created by all those canals, plus a major freeway dissecting the city, and two other freeways along its east and west borders. Commercial and industrial needs are met by rail and shipping lines.

tram

Thermal Point has recently been hit by an earthquake, which thankfully avoided most of the city. Casualties were avoided by an excellent early warning system, and property damage was minor. Because of its location, Thermal Point is subjected to frequent thunderstorms. The use of lightning rods, and a well-funded fire department, has so far kept thunderstorm damage to a minimum.

Thermal Point has been struck by several meteors – five, so far. The city has turned these meteor events into a minor tourist attraction. The district of Crater Island was built around a preserved impact crater, and has built a tourist lodge nearby. Meteor Park also attracts many visitors.

impact-crater

meteor-park

Meteor Park

I am quite pleased with the success and beauty of Thermal Point.

northern-lights

Disasters Come To Edgewood

One thing that SimCity had done better than Cities:Skylines is disasters – until now.

In SimCity, the metropolis you’ve been working on for so long could be devastated by a meteor or giant lizard at any moment. In Cities:Skylines, the only really bad thing that could happen was poor planning.

This has changed. A few weeks ago, I bought the Natural Disasters expansion for Cities:Skylines. Bad things have been happening to the city of Edgewood, and the game has become even more exciting.

Like everything that the developers of Cities:Skylines seem to do, they have taken what SimCity has already done and come up with something even better.

This new expansion isn’t just about natural disasters – it’s about disaster planning. With SimCity, it was about sending a tornado through your city and then rebuilding the damage. With Natural Disasters, it’s about setting up early warning systems – meteor detection systems, earthquake sensors, tsunami warning buoys, and so on. It’s about stocking shelters with food and water, and planning out emergency bus routes to get your citizens to the shelters.

When a tsunami flattens your nice beach-front community, rescue teams search through the rubble for survivors before things get rebuilt. Or, you can just bulldoze everything before the rescue teams get there, and let the community rebuild on its own. (I haven’t yet figured out if one option has an advantage over the other.)

If a meteor lands in the middle of a lake, and the resulting waves flood the surrounding areas, rescue teams show up with tanker trucks to vacuum up the flood waters. Or, you can just wait for the water to dry up on its own.

With SimCity, all you can do is bulldoze, rebuild, and hope you didn’t lose too many citizens.

As with SimCity, in the Natural Disasters expansion, disasters can happen randomly, or you can send that meteor into the middle of the lake just to see what will happen. There is also something entirely new – “scenarios” – in which you can plan an event, or events, and then set a goal of “winning” or “losing” (for instance, rebuilding the population to a certain level within a certain amount of time). You can also upload your scenario to the Workshop for other players to play.

I haven’t tried out scenarios, and I don’t know much about them. I’m not interested in playing City:Skylines with the idea of “winning”. But I love that the game developers came up with this option.

I am very pleased with Natural Disasters, and the new elements it has brought to the game – even though there are no giant lizards.

Crazy Little Bridge

I am rather fond of this crazy two-lane bridge I built in Edgewood. It connects the Lower Stadium District with the Jet Valley neighborhood. Because it skirts the edge of a mountain, while passing over the train line between the Stadium District and the cruise ship terminal at Alkaline Point, it rises to dizzying heights at insane road steepness. (Drivers on Edgewood Transit route 5 are advised to test the brakes on their buses before descending into the Lower Stadium District.)

bridge-1

At its highest point, the bridge offers a spectacular view of Edgewood Cathedral, which is beautiful even on rainy days. Above the bridge, Alkaline Mountain is left largely undeveloped, as is the Green Woods jungle below it.

bridge-2

Tough Times For Blogging

There has been a lot of stuff keeping me away from blogging this week. I’m into a very good book (The Atlantis Gene), there’s our rebirth of The Sims 4 – and I’ve started an exciting new city in Cities: Skylines.

The city of Edgewood is being built along a rocky, tropical coastline. I’m planning it to be more densely populated than my previous cities, but it will have some green spaces (I hope), some natural beaches, as well as some quiet, low-density districts.

edgewood-1

Great views in the district of Green Woods

The area has plenty of fertile land for farming and a lot of forestland for lumber industry. It has strong winds to power wind turbines. It should be a “green” city, mostly.

edgewood-2

Lumber industry in Green Woods

The thing that pleases me the most about Edgewood, so far, is that it contains a successful hydroelectric dam. I had never been able to get a dam working properly in Cities:Skylines until now. Edgewood’s dam is small, and not all that spectacular, but it’s generating a whopping 400 megawatts of electricity for the city. (That’s about ten coal power plants or 50 wind turbines.) A dam has none of the air pollution of coal power, nor the noise pollution of wind power.

edgewood-3

Edgewood’s lovely dam

Edgewood has recently achieved the milestone of “Grand City” (solar power unlocked!) with a population of 19,000 citizens. The thing that’s going to be tricky about the city is that with all that density, running rail lines to those farms and lumber yards without line jams will be interesting.

edgewood-4

Riverside homes in the district of Freemont

 

Stuff That Works

My first shipment of razors arrived from Harry’s today.  I am quite pleased with the shaver. It’s quite comfortable. Under my current plan, the razors arrive every three months, they are delivered by the US Postal Service, and – as an added bonus – the package fits inside our apartment mailbox. That works fine for me.

Meanwhile, in Cities:Skylines, I discovered why Riverton’s airport wasn’t working. It turned out to be the custom asset I was using. The creator is aware of the issue, and is working on a solution. In the meantime, I have replaced it with the game’s stock airport. Hundreds of tourists are now flying into Riverton, and citizens are flying out for vacations as well.

new-airport

Don’t hit the bridges!

80 Thousand

riverton

Riverton

Last night, in Cities:Skylines, Riverton hit a population of 80,000. This turned the city into a “Megalopolis” and allowed me to build a space elevator. Riverton is only my second city with a space elevator.

Apparently, a space elevator is something like an airport. I’m not exactly sure what it connects to (an orbiting space station, perhaps?) but it brings tourists into the city and boosts business. That’s good, because Riverton already has a lovely airport, connected to roads, a passenger train line, metro (subway) lines, and a bus line – but it brings in less than a hundred tourists per week, and no one seems to use it to leave the city. (I’m not sure why.)

airport

Beautiful, Empty Riverton Airport

Riverton’s new space elevator, connected only to a road and a passenger train, is bringing in 400-500 tourists per week. The game has no animation for the elevator – no people beaming into the sky – so it’s difficult to tell if anyone is using it to leave Riverton.

space-elevator

Space Elevator

Riverton is my most successful city yet. I didn’t set out to create a large city – it took a long time to reach 80,000. It has densely populated areas, full of skyscrapers and highrises, but also neighborhoods of low-density houses – and a lot of large, open, natural areas. It’s more like a metropolitan area than a single city, really, and that’s what I was aiming for. It’s a sprawling city. Citizens are mostly happy. Crime rate is low. Buildings rarely burn down.

The two most important-yet-obvious things I’ve learned from previous cities are: rails lines don’t always have to connect to the outside world (they can function nicely as in-city commuter lines or commercial transport), and metro lines don’t have to be a loop (point-to-point shuttle lines work just fine).

stadium

Visit Riverton!

Riverton has areas of traffic congestion, but with combinations of road diets, alternate routes, and public transit, I’m keeping it under control.

Last night, I followed a tourist. He was a “high wealth adult” named Dexter Harris. He arrived by space elevator and walked across the street to the train station. He rode the train to the transit hub at the airport, where he transferred to a metro line.

Mr. Harris rode to a metro station in the Pepperton district, where he transferred to another line. He exited at a metro station outside of the aquarium, in the Mermaid Park district,where he picked up a car. (Where did he get a car? Either Cities:Skylines has some sort of Grand Theft Auto crossover, or Riverton has a floating car-share system similar to car2go or ReachNow.)

Our featured tourist drove to a park and hung around for a while. Then he drove to another park. (I was impressed with a nice bit of game mechanics: When he returned to the car, it was the same car he arrived in, parked in the same spot. Traffic isn’t just randomly generated scenery in this game.)

dexter-harris

Dexter Harris got in the car again, hit the freeway, and drove across town to the skyscraper district of Lakeside. He visited a Japanese garden, and then spent the evening at The Expo Center. He then drove a few blocks to a train station, left the car parked on the street, and rode a train out of town.

I hope Dexter Harris enjoyed his vist, and that he’ll return to Riverton soon!