NOTE: We are doing community game nights every Friday, including tonight at 8pm PST. Tonight we’re playing OpenTTD. Find us on Twitch to join!

How’s it going, folks? These be supersoup’s words. Short but sweet this week. Depending on your definition of sweet…

We’ve been having tons of fun with the community game nights. Please do join us next time, even if its just to chat along on Twitch or Discord. We had a great time playing OpenTTD this evening and I’m looking forward to giving it another go next week. Maybe I’ll even be profitable!

Also, as you can see (or perhaps not) by the post’s thumbnail, we changed our texture filtering method for a more retro feel, better contrast, and marginally improved performance. It should work well with Gainos’ upcoming models. Soon!

Colors subject to change
Colors subject to change

This week I started in on two all-new heatmaps for your cities: Community and Health. They’re going to add some depth for those looking to maximize the experience for their virtual citizens and provide the best possible city on all fronts. Let’s dig a little deeper into each one to see what’s in store.

Your city’s Community heatmap will represent the strength of the community bonds in your city. Do people shy away from others as they pass on the street, or do they welcome one another with a smile and a nod of the head? Is your city an ocean of isolated homes and families, or one where everyone knows everyone else’s name? As you might imagine, a stronger community comes with certain benefits—namely increased residential demand, increased tourism, increased prosperity, a reduction in moveouts due to dissatisfied citizens, and an increase in mass transit use. Of course, it’s still a WIP, so the exact benefits are still up in the air. You can increase Community with specific amenities like parks, social services, agriculture (farmer’s markets!), schools/libraries, and mixed use buildings.

Your city’s Health heatmap might sound like the inverse of the pollution heatmap—and in one very significant way, you’d be right. But it’s going to bring more to the table as well. For starters, just because pollution shows up in your pollution heatmap, that doesn’t immediately indicate an impact on health. Starting at around “step 2” pollution, or a large swath of “step 1” pollution, you’ll start to see Health begin to drain. Health is also reduced by major gatherings of vehicles, so city-sized traffic jams will create pockets of low Health in turn. The design doc for Health is less concrete than Community, but some potential benefits would be an increase in park effectiveness, increased use of pedestrian paths (once pedestrians are implemented), increased prosperity, and reduced turnover on citizens. It will of course come with unique amenities like hospitals to help maintain it via an area-of-effect boost. Low Health may also have additional unexpected side effects, like an increased likelihood of a tax rebellion (if playing on a valid difficulty level), reduced effectiveness of education, and more.

As you can tell, they’re still very much in the early stages. Closed Alpha participants will be able to start playing with the first iterations of these heatmaps starting next week, and we’ll be tuning and tweaking them all the way up to Early Access. Thank you for your patience, and I hope you enjoy!

The Perspective mode may never get old
The Perspective mode may never get old

We’re excited to continue our weekly community game stream! Join us on Discord and Twitch for a fun-filled night of building elaborate automated assembly lines, running train rails hither and yon, and watching supersoup get destroyed over and over again as he tries to cull all alien life from the planet. We’ll be live on the Lone Pine Games Twitch Friday evenings; specific times to be decided, keep an eye on the Discord for details.

Questions? Comments? Feedback on the game? Sound off on our Discord.

As always, we’re incredibly thankful for our great community across the web. We love seeing the hard work and attention to detail you pour into your cities, and it inspires us every day to keep building. Thank you again for your support!

If you want to play the game and haven’t contributed yet, head over to our IndieGoGo page. We’re also on Reddit and Twitter. Give us a follow if you haven’t, and we’ll keep you up to date on what’s new with New Cities!