Can you build a city that runs almost entirely on trams? That's the question I plan to answer with my latest Cities: Skylines production, inventively named 'Tramtown'. Tempted by a recent sale, I bought the Snowfall DLC - mainly for the trams. Unfortunately the snow part of the DLC comes as a new environment type to choose when making a new city, meaning that you must choose between snow forever or snow never - I chose no snow. There are a few snow specific mechanics like snow ploughs, but honestly the DLC seems a bit overpriced for what it offers. During a sale though, it felt reasonable given how much entertainment I've got out of the game overall... and I really did want those trams.
This diary is going to have some similarities with my previous AAR because of the focus on public transport, but while I could use all kinds of transportation before, I am now going to limit myself to only trams, trains, boats, and planes (if I ever get to the point of having air travel as an option - so far I've never stuck with a city long enough to create something large enough to justify an airport). A big difference will be in my city layout - I still want to have distinct areas for residential, commercial and industrial zones, but there will be no requirement to spread them out at all. This means I can employ my usual planning style, featuring huge square grids of city.
The landscape upon which my city will grow is a downloaded map based on the area around Cologne - I wanted a large river to run through Tramtown. I rush through the basic early stages of the city, hurrying to the point where I can build my first tram line. There is a long strip of residential east of the highway, industrial to the west, and some temporary commercial zone which I will relocate later. The residential and industrial areas are built to be adjacent to what will become the spine of my city, where the trams will run.
There is a brief interlude while I experiment with some recently added landscaping features - canals and quays. The quay does an amazing job of giving a neat edge to the waterfront, something I've been longing for since I first built a serious coastal city in the excellent SimCity 4. The canals also look like they have great potential, but all I managed with this small section was flooding the land around it - I'll save canal experimentation for another time.
Expansion continues as the residential strip gets longer, and I add a second residential zone on the far side of the river. I envision this as an upmarket neighbourhood, at some point in the future. For my houses to level up (becoming more valuable and paying more tax) the first step is education. I'm holding off on this because I don't most of my industry to become abandoned and replaced by demand for office work. Then I unlock trams, and I can really get started on my experiment...
...after taking out a loan. 40,000 for a tram station isn't cheap, and the track isn't either. While I could just upgrade the existing street to support trams, I want to ensure efficiency, so I build a separate tram line next to the road. Having learnt from my previous city that the virtual people aren't afraid to walk a decent distance, I don't throw down tram stops in every possible place. At the same time, I have unlocked highway construction options, meaning that I can use proper on and off ramps to connect my city to the highway - as usual it takes me a while to construct something that works. It won't be winning any awards for design or aesthetics, but it does the job, and I enjoyed creating it.
This is also the time to edit that road bridge you see in the centre so that it no longer allows cars. People can still travel from the residential zone to the industrial zone by getting on the highway then immediately getting off again, but it makes a commute by car that much less attractive. The trams prove popular, and encouraged by this success I decide to tackle a surge in demand for commercial zone with a bold solution. Well, maybe more expensive than bold... either way, a new tram bridge opens to connect the south side of the river with a brand new commercial area north of the residential zone already up there. This also offers the northern residents a way to get to the industrial zone that doesn't involve cars - although a tram ride, then a switch, then an even longer tram ride might not be that tempting.
Shortly before the end of this session, I encounter a familiar problem - huge numbers of industries becoming abandoned, and worker shortages everywhere. Previously I had always put this down to sudden education causing people to leave the factories for offices, but this time I had a look at my demographics. It turned out that I simply had an imbalance in seniors compared to people of working age - about 1200 seniors to 450 adults and around 500 young adults, when previously the numbers for seniors and adults would have been pretty much reversed. So maybe this is just a temporary thing that evens out in the long run. This time I dealt with it by removing most of my industrial zone and completely shifting all commercial to the northern area and a small selection of shops to the south of my cut-down industrial zone, and things returned to normal.
And that's the state of play so far. Plans for next time include a new large residential area north of the river, and another tram bridge so we can have a loop of tram connections. After that, it will be time to try and ban private cars completely from every industrial and commercial area of the city.
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.