Ideas for CitiesXL

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Re: Ideas for CitiesXL

Postby City Builder » 12 October 2010, 04:37

Well with only 2 1/2 days until first release, I obviously don't expect any changes or additions at this point. But, Mr Focus, if you really are taking notes on what we would like to see in the Cities XL game, then I submit to you these suggestions, some of them are not purely my own, they might be other peoples suggestions that I'd like to expand on, and some others are indeed my own, although not exclusive as others might have suggested it in the past 46 pages.

1. Modding support. This is really a must. With the modding support that SC4 has, if EA had taken advantage of the game they could have continued to put out expansions to keep selling to us. But apparently they are a really big fish in the ocean and their Sims game is a bigger fry than the SC4 game so they dropped it, and just continue to actively sell the game in shops and now after 7, 8 or more years, finally in DD. However, with Focus not being nearly an EA, I would imagine that they would like to continue to see expansions and sequels put out and people to keep buying them. It is my belief that adding true modding to the game will keep players playing the game for years to come, and that means you can continue to add DLC, expansions, sequels for years to come and get them to buy it with new features that only you at Focus will be able to add to the game core. And if you keep your customers happy and continuing to play the Cities XL game, then that turns viral like SC4 is and people continue to buy your product 7,8 or more years down the road, which as I'm sure your accounting offices realize eventually is pure profits. Plus having true modding abilities in the game (full modding abilities of things like adding new buildings) keeps your player base very VERY happy indeed.

Without proper modding support, the game will be like the dozens or hundreds of 'Roman' city building games, they might have had an expansion if they were somewhat decent but in general that was about it before the people lost interest and thus moved away from the franchises and the franchise ended, sales ended the game ended it's lifespan.

2. Bug Fixes obviously are very important but more so is proper testing of the game. Do NOT use your paying customers as your testers. Nothing turns off the consumer nearly as fast as being used as the guinea pigs to test what they've paid good money for. I truly believe that MC used us, the consumer as their test bed.

Things I'd like to see in the game:

3. California Route 56, Add in some more of the simple on and off ramps, ones that are like a simple road that can connect up to the highway and a reworking of the obscenely large interchanges, like the bizarre cloverleaf and all the rest that take up unproportinately large areas in the city when they really should not. If you question what I mean, simply google earth and look anywhere in California at the freeway system, you will see some simple one lane or two lane onramps that take up virtually little space.

4. More is almost always better. You tout that the game will now have aproximately 700 buildings. However with the hundreds of buildings that are reportedly already in the game, the frequency of them repeating is far too often. Because the game is static (i.e. buildings never change once plopped), it is imperative that there be a large diverse collection of buildings so that they don't duplicate so often, otherwise the cities look nothing at all like real city, but rather like an artificial arcade game. As it is to me now, the game in Cities XL, is purely for building pretty looking cities and I admit it does that in spades (other than all the duplicate buildings). The managment of the game is far too shallow, so a diversity in the looks of the buildings is definitely necessary to keep my attention. Which brings me to...

5. How shallow is thy gameplay Dear Cities XL?. The only thing that keeps me playing is the ability to create beautiful looking cities. The management of the city is far too shallow feeling, not nearly enough to do in the game at all, other than plopping more streets, and more buildings. Beef up the gameplay, add more for the mayor to do to keep him occupied. However, do NOT add busy bee work just for the sake of trying to keep the player occupied. Add only quality distractions for the player to keep busy. I spend far too much of my time admiring my cityscapes rather than doing something constructive in the game because there really isn't that much to do as far as gameplay goes other than plopping more streets, more buildings, what else is there? It needs something.

6. Show me the Money: I think it very odd the token system. While we have cash reserves in our city, we are using tokens to trade with Omnicorp (and now our own cities in XL11), that is just strange to switch off to tokens. I think it far better if the system would use one system, cash! Let me buy resources or sell them to other cities of mine with the cash that I have, the cash that I am earning per month to make deals, not this strange token system.

7. Eye Candy which is not to be confused with Rock Candy: As I've said, the game currently is all about the eye candy, the building of visually attractive cities, so let's beef it up a bit. I know that you've fixed the problems of chimneys belching out smoke in XL 11, but I think it's also time to add smog from that belching chimneys. While having the smoke coming out of the industrial stacks is nice, it needs to linger around in the air of the city to show that it's filthy with smog.

Water, lakes, streams and waterfalls would also be nice. I'd really like to be able to create a canal that goes through some of my cities that looks like the real water in the game, or create a pond or lake in my city and add a boat dock where residents in my city can rent a sailboat or motorboat for the day, none of this artificial water textures for me, they just don't look real, and the only way to make it look real will be if you give us some sort of water tool. I think that SC4 did this very well. Allowing us to dig down and have water appear. I'd love to see something similar to this in XL but perhaps done differently so that it is exclusively to Cities XL.

8. One size does NOT fit all: Yup, you might have guessed it, I'm going to suggest what others have suggested, we need buildings in a more diverse range of sizes. One or two sizes do not fit all and looks artificial. Also the buildings that you do have should be reworked so that they don't all sit on platforms, this also looks artificial and I've heard people complain about this and it is what has turned them off from buying the game. While I understand that the roads are raised and you need to somehow make the buildings match up with the roads, I think getting rid of the backyards (through a slight tapering) platforms.

And I'd really not be opposed to having a system that breaks things down into individual pieces, for example, allow us to place just the building part of the lot, and then all the pieces of the front yard and backyard, like driveways, external garages, trees, swing sets for the kids, pools (with real looking water please), picnic benches/tables etc. Basically deconstruct the current lots down into individual pieces and those players that like to build their own complete lots can do so, in this way the lots won't replicate as much as they do now. It all comes down to modding too, we would need the ability to create our own buildings, and pieces and parts that all go on the lots.

9. How am I to get to work today? Yup, mass transit is sorely needed. We need all (most of) the mass transit options that can be found in many major metropolis's today. I think this has been expanded on enough in this thread that I'll just leave it at that.

10. Listen to us please: Many of us have a long history of playing city building games, we know what we want, we know what we need, we know what those in our community desire. If you listen to us, and try to give us what we want you will have a run away hit on your hands. It will far outsell SC4, IF you give the community what they are asking for. Obviously you have to hold the reins, you can't give us everything that the people want, but you can listen and make decisions on what you can give us and then do it. We know we can't have everything we ask for, but to not give us anything at all that we ask for means the game will never be that hit that every publishers loves to have under their belt.

11. Help my house is on fire AND I'm being mugged! Make the buildings that you give us mean something. What is the point of having a fire dept or not having a fire dept in CXL 09? Absolutely nothing other than some minor disatisfaction. If the player chooses to not build a fire department, then buildings SHOULD catch on fire. They should be reduced to rubble, the fire should continue to spread until it engulfs the entire city area that which is connected anyway. And there should be a time penalty for clean up, building rubble should not be removable for a certain amount of time. Police Dept: Crime in neighborhoods should build up and make people move away from the city and it should take a long long time to get people to move back into those neighborhoods after the crime has built up. Without a clinic or hospital, there should be disease that spreads throughout the city.

Buildings catching on fire is nothing new to city building games, heck the 'Roman' city builders have been doing it for the past several years, so it's not like it's brain surgery that needs to be performed, and seriously, it is severely needed as it would add some interactivity, some form of life to an otherwise static game. And even if the player does place fire departments, there should still be fires that break out around the city, just not as often as if they did not have fire depts in the city.

12. Real Worlds, Real people, Real Money Values: Do away with the token system. Yes there I said it, do away with the token system and use one form of monetary value, since the game keeps track of our monthly income and our savings, it would be nice if the trading system also used the cash to do the trading. As it is now the token system seems like it was tacked on to try to serve the purpose, but it really should simply have been cash used to buy and sell our resources to other cities. This may mean that you need to actually put a number on the resources that are produced and sold, for example, that my city of Malibu with 5 windmills are producing 5,000kw each, and the power plant that pollutes the air is putting out 50,000kw, and the city would then need to keep track of how much electricity each object in the city uses, so that it can tell us that we need 2500kw of electricity and we should then be able to buy it from cities that have a surplus USING CASH, not silly tokens.

13. I'd like a huge helping of Micro-management with my gruel please: Let's get down and micro the features that are in the game. Take offices for example, why not then have sub levels like attorneys, or IT, or a slew of other choices that fit in the office scheme, then when we place individual buildings we would have a choice, are we placing an office building that houses Attorneys and IT specialists or are we placing an office building that holds mostly financial offices. If you are going to keep the token system (which I would hope you'll eventually just get rid of that silly idea), then let's micro it down to where we need tokens for things like certain types of employment in our cities such as attorney tokens, or IT tokens, or a whole slew of possible industrial tokens. This should make the game more difficult and add depth to an otherwise pretty shallow game as it currently stands. You've got a good start with the taxes in 2011 and breaking them down into each group, but we need far more micro management in the game to keep the player occupied.

14. Electricity, and Water and Waste oh my! Micro this too. We should need to build the water pipes and pay to maintain them in our cities, we should also need to run power poles in our city and pay maintenance on this, and or pay extra to place the lines underground for those that don't want to see unsightly power poles which are present in some form in almost every modern city in the world.

15. Do away with the hole socialist style of gaming. Seriously, no city that I can think of pays to have a bowling alley in the city, that is a private business that should pay taxes. My opinion is that MonteCristo added in the pay to play leisure buildings because they could not come up with other more creative ideas on how to use up the money that we earn in the game. I know for fact there are more creative ways of using up our funds in the city rather than having us pay 5,000 a month to have a bowling alley in our city.

16. We want numbers, not silly percentages: Completely remove the percentages in the game. We want cold hard numbers. I don't want to know that I've got 1% unemployed elite workers in my city, but rather that I've got 250 elite people that are out of work. This percentage based system I believe was a way of cutitng corners in programming the game. Allowing MonteCristo to not have to program real numbers into all of the items that hold multiple objects (people, power, water, etc). The whole percentage thing is a major source of frustration to many of the Ciites XL gamers and really needs to be reworked to be hard numbers. We should know that a simple one family home will only hold 4 workers, and a medium density apartment building will hold 60 workers, and a high density apartment high rise will hold 300 workers. We should also know exactly how many employees each employment type of building accomodates. By doing it this way you will be giving us the information that many of us are seriously craving. Cold hard numbers that feel factual instead of this silly percentage system that only serves to frustrate some of us.

This is probably the 2nd biggest turn off to Cities XL, the silly percentage system. It seems that MonteCristo was heading in the direction of trying to rework the game to be a number game, that is to give us the real number as evidenced in the statistics panel where it shows us not only the percentages, but there is one line that tells us exactly how many vacant jobs there are in the city. Unfortunately they didn't seem to finish it, otherwise we'd be able to click on any building in the game and instead of getting a silly percentage, we'd get the real number of how many people are living in that building or working in that office etc. Please continue this and expand on it to get us the real numbers in the game and do away with the whole silly idea of feeding us percentages that are in very little way meaninful to us as city builders.

Do I want a whole new game? No, I seriously don't, but I would like to see many ideas written in this thread to beef up Cities XL and make it a beacon of shiny goodness in the city building genre, as I'm sure you do. You can shoot for mediocraty with Cities XL and not do much with it at all, and you can make a couple hundred new buildings and sell them in an expansion pack, or you could make this really shine. Let the modders create the new buildings, and you folks at Focus should concentrate on adding new 'real' features to the game in each expansion pack and or sequel to the game, you add the stuff that we can't as modders, and we'll continue to buy your game. But if all you are shooting for is the bare minimum and all you do is add new buildings to each expansion and you ignore the modding abilities of the game to where we can't do that because you want to use it to sell expansions or sequels, then you will hit the nail right on the head and have a mediocre game that will not still be selling in seven, eight or more years down the road.

Okay, the more that I think about it, the more that I realize that all I'm really doing is talking to the air. I'm sure that Focus has their own designs planned for the game if 2011 sells enough copies to make it worthwhile to continue the line of Cities XL.

If I have only one wish to be granted, it would have to be make the game more engrossing and involved and give something to the player to occupy their time while playing the game. Building roads and plopping lots next to them is not nearly enough to keep people entertained for very long. There is a lot you might be able to do with Cities XL, I hope that you beef up the gameplay above all else.
Last edited by City Builder on 12 October 2010, 12:01, edited 2 times in total.
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afteq
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Re: Ideas for CitiesXL

Postby afteq » 12 October 2010, 06:55

City Builder wrote:


Everything this man said, do it. Do it all.

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Winter Dragon
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Re: Ideas for CitiesXL

Postby Winter Dragon » 12 October 2010, 10:54

One day I'd like to do things like this:

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Basically you could connect a bridge straight onto a retaining wall and build a tunnel directly into it also. Not many cities irl might do that but it's something I'd definately do if the game allowed.

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Re: Ideas for CitiesXL

Postby City Builder » 12 October 2010, 13:29

Oh yes and another idea that I think really needs doing...

The GUI needs help. When placing individual buildings in expert mode, having to keep clicking on the far left or far right icon of the buildings to advance or retreat the building list is insanity. This should simply be on a scrolling list that is controlled either by clicking an arrow (similar to how it's done now) but more importantly, should be controllable by rolling the mouse wheel to scroll through the list of buildings.

It feels with the way it works now that maybe MC didn't really intend originally to have a very large selection of buildings that we could individually pick as having to move through the list from one end to the other by click is a terrible affair to me.

Even just using a couple of plaza mods is uncomfortable if you want to get to the last plaza texture in the list of plaza's in my opinion.

I have one of these hyper scroll mice by Logitech, this means that I need only flick the mouse wheel and it will scroll several hundred lines in a spreadsheet, or in SC4 terms, I can flick my mouse wheel at most twice, and be at the bottom of my parks menu, which is absolutely FILLED with objects from custom creation.

Video here of that in SC4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlI2v2BVd2A
You can see how long it takes to scroll through the list by holding down the arrow button, and how long it takes to scroll through the list by using the mouse wheel.

The more that I plan on using expert mode to plop individual buildings, the more I will remember where the buildings are in the menu, the more I will want to get to the end of the list of items in a hurry, using the mouse is the only fast way of doing this.

Even games like The Sims 3 uses the mouse wheel to scroll through all the buildings that I can place in my neighborhoods, it would be a good and positive function to have in Cities XL as well.
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soltan gris
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Re: Ideas for CitiesXL

Postby soltan gris » 12 October 2010, 17:32

City Builder wrote:The more that I plan on using expert mode to plop individual buildings, the more I will remember where the buildings are in the menu, the more I will want to get to the end of the list of items in a hurry, using the mouse is the only fast way of doing this.

Even games like The Sims 3 uses the mouse wheel to scroll through all the buildings that I can place in my neighborhoods, it would be a good and positive function to have in Cities XL as well.


But in CXL the wheel scroll zooms the camera in and out. It allows a fast and easy way to move through the city. How much time you spend usually moving through the city and how much time scrolling through menus?
That being said, they could allow a key bind for faster menu scroll, for example PgUp - PgDn, or whatever.

And Citybuilder, sorry to break it up to you, but you're not the first to ask for all these things, not even the second, or the twentieth. Have they been included? Some of them, yes. Why haven't the rest been included? Maybe because it's not that easy to actually do it as it is to ask for it.....
Yeah, you could always go angry and shout 'You're not listening to us!', but you must realise that the development process is work, and then more work, and then some more. Modders can only do so much; and whatever they do they still need to clean for a long time for it to work properly. All these thinks that you ask for, on the other hand, will require big changes in the coding and the engine of the game. This is not as simply or as fun as drawing a pretty new scyscraper and copying it in the right folder.

Now I'm not saying that your ideas are bad; on the contrary. But it'll take time to implement them, and money, of course. Programmers don't work for free. Which means that there should be a reason for someone to invest this time and money; the only reason could be that the game is selling well.

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Re: Ideas for CitiesXL

Postby mr-tom » 12 October 2010, 19:00

Winter Dragon wrote:One day I'd like to do things like this:

Image

Basically you could connect a bridge straight onto a retaining wall and build a tunnel directly into it also. Not many cities irl might do that but it's something I'd definately do if the game allowed.


That would be awesome.

In the meantime though, I'd settle for knowing how to build the retaining walls... :D
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Simaril
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Re: Ideas for CitiesXL

Postby Simaril » 12 October 2010, 19:16

I'd love to see standardized upgrades or patches available periodically.



I'm going to go ahead and rain on the 'custom content' parade:

I like games with rules. While custom content enabled SC4's long lasting popularity and fixed inherant problems, it also ruined the game for me - and the same is now true for CXL. I enjoy the challange of buillding amazing cities within a set of rules. When you start adding things like money trees, garbage chutes, and other cheats it becomes more of a picture than a functioning city. I also enjoy the challange of making the most with the tools at hand. Really amazing city journals made with vanilla versions SC4 and CXL are entirely missed because other players make their own custom eye candy that completely overshadows the game itself. Once I add custom content it no longer feels like a game, achievement becomes hollow.

I thought CXL PO was great because of its integrity alone.

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Winter Dragon
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Re: Ideas for CitiesXL

Postby Winter Dragon » 12 October 2010, 19:59

@mr-tom re: How to build the walls. Just place one road next to another at an elevated height (shift key), if you get the roads close enough to one another the terrain becomes too steep and it puts a wall instead. Feel free to send a pm if you have any problems. :)

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Re: Ideas for CitiesXL

Postby mr-tom » 12 October 2010, 21:20

Thanks - will give it a go once I get 2011.
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Re: Ideas for CitiesXL

Postby PTTG » 12 October 2010, 23:26

About the mousewheel thing- that isn't an either-or question. It's a very common standard to have the mouse-wheel be context sensitive; when it's over the city view, it's moving the camera, and when it's over the toolbar, it scrolls the list.

Totally standard and highly intuitive.


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