Dear reader, all videos / screenshots have been taken straight from the development console... so sometimes something might look weird.
So, it’s been a while since my article related to CitiesCorp Concept – at that time, I was trying to focus on the polishing process itself.
Today, I would like to spend more time on sharing with you the experiences in generating ideas for CitiesCorp Concept buildings.
As you probably know, the project has been started, in order to create a sort of new gameplay experience in the city building genre. That’s why the game will be probably called always “Concept”, because skipping such wording as a part of the name might suggest that the development has been finished and this is exactly what I would like avoid – OK, if the game stops to raise sufficient attention and everybody gets bored, it might be a good idea to focus on something different :-), but this is a different topic.
“Concept” means also not to copy other games (at least for me). This is also the reason, why the game does not have rivers, highways, police stations, hospitals, trains etc., because this can be already played in other games – copying it implies that the player’s expectations have to be exceeded and as far as I can judge, some other titles did a great job on that.
So the initial idea was to go back to the roots of city building and this means that you need buildings, streets, cars and an economy – that’s it.
Buildings in CitiesCorp Concept
Many studios are spending a lot of efforts in creating an own set buildings and the results are outstanding. This is also more or less a tradition in this genre, because it is a feasible approach – using a set of buildings means also that you can optimize resources of the PC and create huge cities. The only downside is that buildings are repeating and they do not always fit into a specific city district, as the game decides where to position them – so the studios started to categorize buildings into residential, commercial, industrial, big, medium, small etc. This enabled a better district categorization and it turned out to be a great compromise – and this approach can be traced back to 1994 or even earlier, if we think about the first SimCity.
So what next? What can we do beyond that?
The idea that came into my mind, when I started to think about the project, was what if there were no pre-defined sets of buildings? What if the player would have to construct them on their own? What if every building would be individual and could be shaped according to the needs of the particular environment in the city – you know, every city builder finds a cosy corner in the city, where he or she starts to make everything beautiful.
A try out: Instantly I started to mess around with the engine and the results were pretty promising – just by taking a simple cube and changing its lengths or height, I got a different cube – if you start to change colors, even small differences would still mean it’s a different cube. Moving on with textures, this leads also to a different visual appearance. Pulling 2 different cubes into each other results also in a different shape – in fact, technically speaking, this is exactly the same when programmers are speaking about vertices, triangles, meshes and such stuff, but in this context, the basic denominator is a simple 3D cube that is used to create a building.
The even funnier part was when I was in the position to play the prototype for the first time – it felt so different to what I was used to. Yes, there is a certain learning curve behind it and yes, eventually not everybody will like the gameplay, but at least according to my experience, I’m getting completely absorbed by the game after having spent only some few minutes of playing it. And I really hope you will be caught as well.
Step by step the implementation continued, without having a clear vision about the final building – I tried to avoid to have a too clear idea that might destroy the creative process, so I was ready to work “2 steps forth and 1 step back”. Do I think the building is finished today? Definitely no, the today’s building will be the building that will be published, when going live, but I’m not going to stop further development on that.
Today’s CitiesCorp Concept’s buildings have less in common with cubes, but you can still find the very first project-thoughts in them.
As (moving) pictures say more than thousands of words, have fun and enjoy the video – if you like it, don’t forget to vote, to comment and/or to follow the development.
And yes, I know there is a big bug in the video, but I did not want to delete it, because I think it’s also worthy to show how testing works and it’s simply a part of games.
Thanks for reading and take care,