City Builder / Colony Manager General Discussion Thread

Oh, geez, can’t believe I forgot Airborne Kingdom! (Well, I kinda can. I don’t mind having lots of storefronts, but when you’re searching for games, it’s easy to miss the ones on Epic, etc.)

Charlatan – It’s just what you were asking for! Chill and accessible, but also a unique experience.

@DoubleG – I wish the aesthetic part of city builders came more naturally to me. I think my AK cities have been big rectangles with houses on one side and industry on the other, and lamps where I get the best coverage…

Here you are sir!

@Nightgaunt Is the game progression based or more of a sandbox?

It’s a mixture, I would say? There are these hand-designed cities with hand-designed quests, but they’re randomly scattered around the map and you can encounter them in almost any order. And scattered between/around them are the destinations where you fulfill those quests and the resource pools you need to keep yourself afloat and build new stuff. So the arrangement of the world is different each time you play, even if the content is the same.

Awesome, thanks! Yeah, I’m seeing a ton of variety in aesthetics and strategy. The game gives you several valid ways of solving how to keep your city aloft and moving – all of which have different resource consumption and placement requirements – so it naturally pushes you to make unique cities.

My design used a ton of human-powered rowers, but here’s somebody who went in the opposite direction and made a compact coal burner using a bunch of turbines and propellers:

And here’s somebody who went really wide, reminds me of the mothership from Homeworld:

Neat “Klingon Bird of Prey during Pride” design:

And I would say it’s definitely progression based. You have a tech tree that you work through, and you collect new branches in the tech tree through exploring the world. As your city grows your people demand more luxuries so you need to find and exploit new resources and tech.

The default difficulty is pretty relaxed, though, and there’s no danger beyond you using up your resources faster than you can replenish them. If you’re looking for a challenge it’s probably safe to play the game on hard for the first time.

Quick question: can you fully pause and build in Airborne Kingdom? I really hate the city builders that don’t let you fully pause and build.

Also is this primarily a “design and watch it go” kind of city builder or is it a city builder that requires frequent management of stuff within the city? I tend to dislike too much micromanagement, and prefer the design-focused city builders. For example, for my tastes, a city builder where I set up efficient production chains and they do their thing is great; a city builder where I have to micromanage transport and inventory on an ongoing basis to keep production chains going is not great. Needing to set up transport and storage within the production chains is fine; I just don’t want to have to constantly manage them. How does this game handle that?

Yep, pause , place blueprint outline buildings, un-pause to see the construction. Also I see that you can refund buildings before and after construction.

And yes… @DoubleG sold me on this game, I picked it up with that Fanatical extra 10% off coupon .

5 minutes in and I am in love with this game. The animations are great, just harvested some wood using planes. :D

Oh yeah, you know what–you’re totally right. I was thinking of “sandbox” as meaning “nonlinear” but that’s not really the meaning of the word in this genre (or most of them, to be fair). So, yeah, there’s no totally open-ended sandbox mode.

That said, I do think one very interesting aspect that might go unnoticed at first is how the techs are randomly distributed. Since there are different ways to get lift and propulsion, you can end up with very different city builds just based on which ones you get when. I almost never used oars, but that’s mainly because I always had access to propellers in most of my games.

The amount of resources you get back for demolishing a building is determined by your tech progression, by the way.

There’s some of both, but it’s never super-fiddly. The most micromanagey part of the game is controlling where you assign your citizens to work. How many are our gathering which resources versus working in your industries versus assigned to building new stuff, basically. There aren’t elaborate production chains or transportation of goods around your city (it doesn’t get big enough for that to make sense).

When it comes to city layout, you usually have to fiddle with stuff only when you go to build something new. That’s mainly because of the “tilt” system. If you don’t balance your city, it floats at an angle–and if the angle is too great, it makes people unhappy. And there are some buildings and amenities that care about being placed next to other buildings. Effect radiuses, basically. (I don’t usually like that as a system in city-builders, but I think it works here because of the generally small scale of the city.)

You can move buildings freely, if I remember right. So periodically if you want to totally reconfigure your city, you can do that.

If @tomchick wants he can move the last few posts here:

I was just regretting not putting my replies over there…

Urbek City Builder released today on Steam at 10% off. It has a mine-crafty building type of look (not hyper realistic), and uses unlocked resources (and presumably resource / production chains) instead of money to advance the city creation. The creators describe it as “a low-poly city-building game with puzzle elements.”.

There is also a free demo called Urbek City Builder Prologue.

I was just coming here to post about Urbek - it launched today. It looks pretty relaxing. Instead of using cash to expand your city, you spend one of a number of resources (things like population, work, food, energy) to expand your city and unlock new features. It’s a little more abstracted than things like Sim City in that there’s no infrastructure like pipes and electric lines; when you put down something like a Watermill it generates power which is stored in your global pool. The challenge is in balancing the generation and use of all of the different resource types as you expand your city.

It looks like a low-stress type of city builder.

Thought I’d come on over to say that I spent around 4 hours playing Urbek yesterday. It’s a charming little builder that has a pleasing amount of depth. I started the tutorial and am still working through it after 4 hours.

Without money, buildings cost a specific resource to construct, provide a benefit and typically have an ongoing resource cost. To pull an imaginary example out of my hat, a house may cost 20 wood to construct, and have a constant cost of 3 food. But it provides 6 people and 20 labor. A factory may cost 50 wood and 100 labor to construct, and a constant use of 20 labor, but provides 100 energy. And so forth.

Right clicking on a building shows hyperlinks detailing possible upgrades to it (for instance, a wooden hut can upgrade to a Village House). Clicking on the upgrade shows the requirements for the upgrade (for instance, a Village House may require 5000 population and 18 people within 3 tiles of the house - when the requirement isn’t met the description will show what’s lacking - so the description may say “requires 18 people within 3 tiles - currently 12” - so you know what conditions you have to fulfil for the upgrade).

If you lack a resource that’s a cost or continuing use, the item you build won’t evolve (for instance, you can build houses - which use food - until your food production goes negative. At that point, you can try to build houses but the foundation just sits there until you get your food production back into the positive. Then the houses will pop up).

The UI is pretty minimal and everything is laid out pretty sensibly. Your building toolbar is at the bottom of the screen. It starts out simple and expands as you unlock more items. As you generate more types of production, icons show up in the upper right corner of the screen. Hovering over a resource icon shows what buildings generate and consume the resource.

There is an overlay and a minimap but I didn’t use either that much. I never felt like I was flailing around without enough information, except when I was trying to see where specific buildings were located (like, when I’m building a school I wanted to see where schools were already placed). As it turns out, there is a spot in the tutorial (that I hadn’t reached yet) that shows you how to locate buildings - it’s sort of clunky though.

There are in-game achievements to unlock certain features (that I think are simply eye candy, I don’t think they change gameplay). So you can try to develop a green city, or a bohemian neighborhood and the like. The unlocks are different vehicles on your roads and specialized house types that have their own appearances.

There’s not a lot of production chains in the game, or rather, the production chains are pretty loose. From what I’ve seen it’s on the order of: coal mine produces 50 coal, coal plant uses 20 coal and 5 wood to produce 30 electricity. I guess that’s a production chain. I feel like the game is more of a balancing act between all the various and sundry resources. As you expand, your list of resources expands, and you have more and more demands on your resource generation to build or evolve the types of buildings you want.

Given that the game is less than $20, I think it’s a pretty good value. I’ve enjoyed my time so far.

Yeah - I’ve been playing it as well - quite enjoyable. It has some loose production chain/resource threshold unlocks - but the goal here is to build a city of your dreams and not to fulfill any scenario goal (though there are some goals for you to pursue for unlocks, to give you direction). So its pretty chill.

Really enjoying Urbek - highly recommend it to city builder fans. It’s a very different take from most, that focus on traffic simulations, but its very enjoyable partly because it doesn’t get bogged down with that simulation (AFAIK).

How do the cities turn out aesthetically? City builders are one of those genres where the look of the resulting settlements matters a lot to me.

Crate has seeded some streamers with an early version of Farthest Frontier. This video was one of the better ones I watched - the guy has a handle on the genre and on a few of the game systems, so he spends more time doing stuff and less time clicking around trying to figure out what to do.

I posted this in the dedicated thread too.

That looks FANTASTIC.

I think they (Urbek) look pretty good - but I have a high tolerance for low-poly looks. It definitely has an aesthetic that I would say looks more like Simcity 2000 meets Minecraft.

Its possible to build yourself into a corner - to advance your city there is a bit of strategy/puzzling out how to fit what you need in the limited land (in normal mode).

I’m fine with the general look of Urbek, I more meant do your cities end up looking like plausibly real cities? Do the mechanics encourage layouts that look like cities as we know them?