Friday, September 30, 2016

Chilly Weather in Cities: Skylines

Just as I was starting to consider putting Cities: Skylines aside for a while, a sale offer shows up in my inbox for the After Dark and Snowfall expansions.
Lot of white landscape on the winter maps.
The deal was essentially two expansions for the price of one, not bad especially when you consider that both are fairly recent. After Dark released just over a year ago, and Snowfall last February.

I started a new city after enabling the upgrades, using a map with the Winter theme. A winter map feels like living in Alaska or Greenland. It gets really cold in the winter, snow is everywhere, and you can provide amenities like ice sculpture parks and hockey rinks to beautify your city. The occasional snowstorm will cover everything, including the roads, requiring plows to keep things running.

Those extra requirements make building a winter city more challenging than the more temperature climes. All the other services are still in demand as well, so managing finances to provide it all is more difficult. I found myself expanding much more slowly than I had previously, and paying more attention to the details of my city finances.

There's a temperature gauge to keep an eye on - the colder it gets, the more your citizens will demand heat. At first, I didn't realize that a new heating system was available, so a lot of money and time was spent on extra power production for electric heating. Eventually I discovered the ability to build a heating utility and run heating pipes along water lines, and that made things significantly easier to manage. Adding that heating system isn't cheap, though, and slows growth even more.

Between the two expansions, there's plenty of other additions besides the cold weather. New transportation options like taxi stands, requirements for road maintenance facilities, commercial zones specializing in nightlife, etc, etc. Some existing features have been tweaked as well, such as a smaller footprint for certain buildings (like the high school). And of course there are new unique buildings to unlock.

The new features certainly bring new life to the city-building experience. Plenty of new things to try out, and the cold-weather challenges are fun to work with. Looking forward to more of the same with future expansions.

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