It's been a while since I played Cities Skylines, and I didn't find it any fun. I know it's probably been patched and upgraded since then, but is Cities Skylines like other games, where you download DLC anyway, and unlock it, or will it download the DLC content later only after you've paid for it? If it's the latter, I'm not sure I want to deal with it again...
By Indiana Joe
Hi all, Matt here.
Coming back from a few years of rarely touching the game, and being rather disconnected from the shrinking but still active and amazing custom content community, I found myself feeling renewed interest in playing. 15 years after this game was created, it has long been a tradition for the enthusiast player to customize it heavily to their liking. In a nutshell, I wanted to build a fresh new plugins folder, and I wanted to document the thought process. I know very well the feeling of spending more time customizing than actually playing, so I wanted to have a theme of simplicity, and of keeping the traditional spirit of gameplay that the creators at Maxis originally wove into the game, as it was that unique charm that drew all of us into the game in the first place.
This one is going to be quite the essay, so buckle up (and also written at 2 AM, when you have all your best ideas ) I will discuss some of the philosophy I am going in with as I plan out this plugins folder and it's "final form," and then some content-specific practical planning for customizing each aspect of the game.
In fact to make it more of an interesting article than an essay, I think I'll drop in some old screenshots of mine from throughout the years, from random unrelated scenes and projects.
A quaint small town on a bay, its name forgotten among all the other sleepy little communities that are easy to quickly build in the game, yet look like they have been nestled in the hills for generations.
Over the years I have collected a fairly moderate size of plugins for the game (3 and a half gigabytes worth, but who's counting?). While I kept my own plugins folder relatively organized, it was the plugins themselves that did not mesh together very well. There can be much inconsistency between countless different authors. The perfect solution to this would be to use the wide array of creator tools made by the community to customize each lot to one's own standard. But I think I can save a lot of time by limiting the number of cooks in the kitchen. I will focus on a few high-quality creators that have a large catalogue of content that is consistent in design. I will probably still end up making many of my own edits, but the less of this I am able to do, the more accessible this project might be to a reader who wants to follow in my footsteps and use this as a guide to build their own folder.
A second main issue is the sheer size of the available custom content. A mile-long menu of lots to scroll through in the game makes for a poor playing experience. Of course there is a mod to address this: Daeley's Advance Menu Navigator. While impressive in its time, it is a dated and imperfect mod. My intention instead is to limit the number of total ploppable items I include in the game, for a more traditional experience. I aim for a style of gameplay that feels like a new expansion pack for the game; the mythical follow-up release to Maxis's Rush Hour.
"Limit" will in fact be a central theme to the folder. There has to be a balance between having too many repeat buildings and lots, and having an overwhelming amount of custom content. The folder never has to be "complete" per se, but will set up a structure such that anything added will fit right in, like an identical link at the end of the chain. Nothing new will be added that massively changes the way everything works, outside perhaps of updates to major mods. Now, in 2018, I feel is a great time to do this, which brings me to the subject of timing.
A shopping center, featuring a mall, a few restaurants, and a smaller strip mall. Sims come in droves on the weekend to spend exorbitant amounts of money on trivial materials and gimmicks.
When is a good time to build a plugins folder for SimCity 4? Somewhere on the highest mountaintop in Timbuktu, a wise monk ponders the answer. The answer is...now! No, really, not as in "it's never too late to start," but actually now in 2018.
My personal renewal in interest for the game is 90% nostalgia of course, and another part of it may be the new desktop computer I built this year. The desktop is where I discovered and fell in love with the game; it has a different playing experience with a bigger monitor and comfy office chair. I left home to go to college and had less time to play, but also the game was less enjoyable on a laptop. Not to mention all of the graphics driver issues that come with that setup.
In the time that I've been gone, the community has waned and slowed down. Many left for other city builders. EA was disappoint as per usual. Colossal Order stole the show with the beautiful Cities: Skylines. SimCity 4 is an aged bottle. But that is a good thing. Imagine, for a moment, the plugins folder you are building in 2009. The NAM is new, lots of content is being made. 2 years later, and your folder is outdated. You've got obsolete stuff in there, and it requires constant maintenance. By 2013, the new SimCity drops and everyone hates it. Go back to ol' SC4 and your plugins folder and now it needs to be updated to add all of the new HD content, updated mods, etc. etc.
Skylines is still growing with official updates and custom content, perhaps in a few years it will be easy to make a perfected collection of content for it. But now is the time that I can sit down and make a SimCity 4 plugins folder, and it will feel relatively stable. New content is coming out but not like in the past, when the mod landscape was changing from year to year.
Playability, Having Fun, and Having Style
Downtown with a busy boulevard, public hospital, and a civic plaza. Someone needs to water that grass between the hospital and town hall parking lots.
As previously said, I want to focus on making the game fun to play. There should be a balance between realism, which can never be perfectly achieved anyway, and "game." Every piece of added content will build off of what the game provides, and statistics will be balanced in accordance with the traditional game. A few exceptions will be the traffic simulator and agricultural simulator, modified by the NAM and SPAM respectively. These mods are well-balanced, well fleshed-out, and improve the game experience tremendously.
Also, nothing should feel like cheating. It will be an immense project to try to re-balance the financial aspect of the game. Going into this I hope to have consistent prices and incomes from various lots and objects. Having goals and struggles are a huge part of what makes the game entertaining and engaging, and I think the sandbox play style that many players have gone towards has also turned some away by the boredom that comes with it.
I envision a consistent style across my game, building off of the American architecture and city layout that Maxis designed. Fortunately most content available conforms to this. I will try to stick to High Definition content as well, as there is plenty of it available. There are some good collections of old lots that use SD props, but fortunately many of them have been re-made or re-lotted.
Alright, this is the end of the rambling article. I'm going to split this up and make another post organized into specific sections of the game and the custom content I will use. Thanks for reading~
Hello everyone. This will be my custom content showcase and workshop thread. In all the years I been a member here, I never uploaded any content but enjoying great work by other members. I take this opportunity to say Thank You to all content makers for making our city building experience so enjoyable. I feel that making content is overdue for me and I want to give back to the community. I have some buildings and trees that I will be showing in upcoming updates to this thread. I will also be asking for advice and help.
9/17/2018 Release: Norway Spruce 2 Link https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1515191700
More info on last pages of this thread.
Note: This post was edited 5/29/2015 to reserve this first post for all current updates.
This Let's Play Cities Skylines series will be aimed at newer players. We will be focusing on gameplay rather than detailing and keeping the use of mods and assets to a minimum. The region is inspired by Scotland and Norway.
Mods & Asset List: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1508633016
In this episode, we get the city started by building the layout of what will be known as the New Town district, and unlock the second tile.
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