How to ruin your life in one simple step



This is the follow-up from last week’s post, detailing my urban and transport plan for Zark, capital city of Puftnarkel. If you want it (this will make more sense if you read it) then click here for a link. Now in the past, my urban plan would look pretty sparse visually. It would have been 90% text with a few stock images and maybe some hand drawn plans. Boring as hell to read, not the most informative. But, this being the 21st century, there is another option. It belongs to Paradox Interactive and Colossal Order. It looks like this. Cities: Skylines is a game by Paradox Interactive that was released on Steam two months ago. It has subsequently had a quarter of a million sales in the first 24 hours, and is still going up (available for purchase on Steam for £30 or £21).

Now what makes C:S (Cities: Skylines, not CounterStrike) unique to me out of the kajillion other Sims City knockoffs is two things. Firstly, it looks really pretty. I mean, seriously beautiful. The tilt shift is just, wow.

And second is the sheer level of detail that the game goes into. Every single citizen (upwards of 100,000 for some of my cities) has a name, age, education, place of work, place of residence and current activity. Every spot has a wind level, so you can vary the output of wind turbines. There is water pollution, which flows downstream and can make people ill. There is fluid dynamics when you build or break dams. You don’t need that in a city builder! That’s just showing off!

So, over the past three weeks, I have been working tirelessly on a C:S project. It has been a massive undertaking. I have designed terrain, built roads, designed traffic flow, constructed sewer systems, assembled power grids, put up train lines and assembled a fully functioning public transport system.

may have been using infinite money and unlock all services. But that is beside the point. Welcome to Zark.


Cue Space Odyssey music

If you go back to last week’s post, you will recognise the map I have built it on. It is the same place, in the south of Puftnarkel.But now it is alive. It is a bustling metropolis.


Make a point of going to listen to the music from this game. It is so good.

It is also slightly unfinished (I am yet to expand onto one and a half islands plus the north side of the lake) but that will actually help me illustrate some points about the system.overview As you can hopefully see, the city is built around a square grid plan with long lines of roundabouts and mainways running between them. The squares are arranged so that traffic doesn’t build up on the larger roads but is instead diverted round onto the whole system. I have a really good illustration of that, with the roads for one island that I constructed before adding any buildings.

I hope you can see that alright.

I hope you can see that alright.

You’ll have to imagine this, but inside the blocks the roads are one-way, running in alternating directions. So for a block with ‘vertical’ streets, the traffic will flow north-south-north-south inside the grid and in all directions along the sides. There are a very few places where this rule is altered to redirect heavy traffic, but it is a general rule. Sound familar? That’s because I planned the whole thing last week. But now it is here for you to see in glorious tilt shift 3D.

The metro system was a lot harder to build well, because I foolishly built metro lines before finishing the city. That means that in some places, there are seven different lines running through one tunnel. But the overall grid is still in place.

We apologies for any delays you may experience, this line crosses a lake.

We apologies for any delays you may experience, this line crosses a lake.

As a product of me having infinite money and too much time, I may have gone a little over the top on the whole healthcare/police/fire thing. I was building two of each of those on every block, plus another two fire stations in industrial areas and two schools in residential areas. Plus hospitals. The result of that is (at time of writing) a healthcare capacity of 23,000 and no sick citizens.

If only the NHS was this good.

If only the NHS was this good.

There are a few other cool features that I am going to point out. Remember last post I was using lots of weird language in terms of residential/commercial/industrial areas? That’s because the game forces you to zone all areas to one of six types. Here’s what that looks like in practice.

Apologies for the poor contrast, but it's not my fault.

Apologies for the poor contrast, but it’s not my fault.

Those colours that you can see on the map and in the toolbar represent the six types. The last thing I want to point out is the district system. C:S lets you break the city into districts with different laws and taxes. Due to the whole infinite money thing, I may have made all public services free and legalised cannabis. But hey, I have 100% residential happiness, so who cares!

This is what districts look like.

This is what districts look like.

Now, I know there are a lot of open green spaces in the city. Some of them, like the ones around the highways, are there to keep people away from the noise pollution. But a fair few are just because I was too lazy to fill in the gaps. If I had another month, I would fill in these gaps. I might actually have a followup piece in a few months with an update on the progress. And the green spaces do have a pretty good effect on the land value.

The green bits have maximum land value.

The green bits have maximum land value.

So anyway, I’m just going to finish with a collection of cool pictures of Zark. Enjoy them.

kl8 kl7 kl6 kl5 kl4 kl3 kl2 kl1Bye.


One thought on “How to ruin your life in one simple step

  1. abyssbrain says:

    I haven’t played this game yet, though just a few months ago, I’ve wasted a lot of time playing GTA V Online…


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