In my previous post about traffic management I said that I wanted to try building a city in a different manner to my usual dense grids, and decided that I might as well try both of my ideas at the same time - a city focused heavily on public transport, and also one with a lot of smaller villages and towns surrounding the central urban area. In game terms, this means I'm going to class residential areas outside the city centre as villages (low density residential only, usually no services) or towns (mostly low density but maybe some high density residential, low density commercial, some smaller services). All my industry and offices will be in the city centre, along with most of my commercial. We'll see how it goes.
Having zoned a couple of villages and my city centre, I'm already feeling uncomfortable. I like perfectly aligned roads to use every inch of ground, and the incredible waste of space here... well. You can see I've made liberal use of the free-build road tool, and it actually looks okay with low density residential, since the gaps in buildable space aren't obvious. It's very expensive though! All the roads, power cables and pipes to connect the villages almost put me in the red before I've even reached the first population milestone. Luckily I make it to 440 people (Little Hamlet) which gives me a $20,000 cash injection and the ability to take out a loan.
Before long I've built a few more villages, and got a fire house and a police station in the city (at first I accidently build a clinic instead without realising, causing a crime wave to sweep the entire area - after I build an actual police station, this does at least let me see that the police will cruise around the villages even beyond the roads marked as under their influence, as they go and suppress the rampant criminality. The same thing seems to work with my clinics and the landfill - I'm not seeing any epidemics breaking out or people complaining about rubbish not being collected. The next step is growing big enough to unlock the first public transport option: buses. Traffic isn't a problem yet, but that's not the point - I have an ideological commitment to public transport to express.
I unlock buses, and setup four routes. Initial uptake is... underwhelming, if not terrible. Time to try something radical - I decide to make all but the two western approaches to the city bus lanes. That means only buses and emergency vehicles on calls. It honestly doesn't seem to have much effect at first. There isn't much of an increase in people using the buses, and traffic doesn't seem to have gotten worse anywhere else. We do get a problem with rubbish - so I manually adjust the bus lanes to also allow garbage trucks, hearses and emergency vehicles when just on patrol.
But then, as some time passes (and I build a new village and expand several others), I do see an increase in trips saved - on the lines serving the northern and eastern villages, which do not have an easy car route into the city, the percentage of trips saved increases to 80% plus, up to 92% on the blue Northtown line, which serves our only town. So things seem to be working!
I continue expanding, including a new town in the far north, across the motorway (please don't look too closely at my horrible on/off ramp 'design' there). I give them police and fire stations, and their own landfill, in anticipation of other villages being built around them. They're the furthest away anyone has been sited so far, but seem to have no trouble commuting into the city. After extending it to serve them, my Northeast and Out green line quickly becomes the most used. My biggest problem right now is providing more residential zone without all my villages and towns merging into each other. I'm very much looking forward to unlocking High Density zones at the next milestone, which should enable me to make the towns much more populous without making them so much bigger in area. Then we might see some interesting traffic problems there.
It's taken a while for me to get around to doing this first part of the AAR, and I actually hoped to have progressed further with the development of the city and focus more on big changes over time, instead of talking about lots of details and small expansions as I have here. Part of this has been me pressed for time, and part of it has been forgetting just how long it can take to develop a city in the early stages. Especially since I've not been able to just add more blocks to a big grid city, and have to instead take the time to do roads, power lines and water pipes specifically for new villages, it takes a while to build the population needed to advance through the milestones. Hopefully when I do unlock the High Density zones, I'll be able to pick up the pace a little bit for the next entry (now up, here).
What's All this then?
I like making and writing about PC games - mostly strategy games. Expect after action reports, thoughts about design and gameplay, and maybe even a few prototypes.