Just a short update on mass transit, but not short for lack of content—rather for lack of time. I’ve been busy!
I have the basics of trains working. Many of the assets are finished and will be integrated next week. On Thursday, May 7, I plan to release an option to run basic diesel trains through your city. We might start adding one new mass transit feature per week.
Once trains are working, we will be in a feature freeze as we ready the game for Steam Early Access (planned for late May) and a broader audience. The game will be cleaned up, tuned up, and polished for a couple weeks. After that, we will pivot toward moddability and what I call “platformization”. There’s been loads of great ideas about what might be possible, including different settings, new mechanics, language support, new buildings, heatmaps and effects, and quality of life features. We want to open the game up so that as many of those ideas can be realized as possible, either through us or through the modding community.
Hello folks, and welcome to my little corner of the NewCity Friday Facts. This week we’ll be talking about the Community and Health heatmaps, which I’ve been hard at work on—
… What do you mean I already talked about them? They were the topic of last week’s Friday Facts? Well they weren’t in the game last week!
Fine. I’ll find something else to talk about. So how are you? Doing well I hope. I’m great, thanks for asking.
I heard it said once that making a game is like sailing a ship through a treacherous strait during a hurricane. While you’re still building the ship. And the ship is on fire. And the water is on fire.
Everything’s on fire.
The deeper I get in this little gamedev career of mine, the more I discover that isn’t quite accurate. The truth is much worse.
It’s not just an indie dev thing either. There’s lots of open-source codebases you can peruse if you have half a mind to. Codebases for games from decades past, games you’ve likely played that are still household names today. And the more I dig through those codebases looking for hidden nuggets of brilliance and inspiration, the harder it is for me to ignore one seemingly universal, inescapable truth:
The fact that videogames work at all is an absolute miracle.
Even your favorite games from large studios are often held together with blood, spit, and prayers. If you could see the man behind the curtain, he would be cowering in fear, hands holding on to the steering wheel of the ship with white-knuckled intensity, just trying to keep it sailing straight down the strait. Dark, jagged rocks tower over the ship on either side. Let’s call those “buffer overflows” or “crashes” for this analogy. Suffice it to say, everything from the storm overhead to the rocks beside you to the sea beneath you seem to be working together to try and sink your ship.
And then there’s the end-users. Please understand, it’s not your fault. We don’t blame you. But when we turn our little project loose, that’s like letting go of the steering wheel. Already a terrifying proposition all by itself. And when the users grab hold of the steering wheel, they find things to try we had never even considered. Like cranking the wheel all the way to the left just to see what happens. Remember, I’m an end-user too. I’ve played plenty of games in my day. I loved finding the cracks in the polished, gleaming surface that let me see beneath to the cogs and machinery belching smoke as they groan from the stress of keeping the ship moving.
But when it’s your game, it feels different. As a developer you just want to keep the ship sailing. Everything you do, every line of code you add, is laser focused on moving the ship forward. That’s one of the reasons we need all of you playing and reporting on your experiences with the Closed Alpha. You’re turning the wheel in ways we hadn’t thought of, finding rocks we couldn’t see in the storm. You’re helping us to find and fix all these holes in the hull and put out fires before we turn over the wheel to all the players yet to come.
Thank you for joining us on this journey. Thank you for your feedback and honesty. Thank you most of all for having the audacity to actually enjoy playing our half-built inferno of a ship. And thank you for sticking with us as we keep at it—bulkhead by bulkhead, fire by fire.
Having said all that, I’d like to make this clear: I wouldn’t have it any other way. Game development is such a crazy, wonderful world to be a part of. And when the ship sails out into open water, and the sun peeks through thin cracks in the storm overhead to shine through emerald-green waves and set the ocean’s surface to sparkling, it’s all worth it.
It’s always worth it.
We’re excited to continue our weekly community game stream! Join us on Discord and Twitch for a fun-filled night of automation on an alien world, watching supersoup struggle with even the simplest aspects of OpenTTD, or whatever other game we might be playing. 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!