DevBlog: Beauty Building Part 1 – City Attractiveness
Anno is a strategy series that asks its players to manage complex economies and to build vast cities. Since its the beginning, the franchise has always occupied a special place in the hearts of players who love spending hours creating stunning city dioramas from different eras, be It futuristic or historic.
While past Anno games have offered a variety of aesthetic buildings and ornaments to support that playstyle, the focus of the core gameplay always favored efficient city layouts and optimized production chains. With Anno 1800, we finally want to give those players with an eye for beauty the option to turn their beauty building into a valid and rewarding playstyle.
City Attractiveness – Power to the beauty builders
With Anno 1800, we are introducing a new system called “City Attractiveness”, which assigns every island its own attractiveness rating, which will affect various aspects of the gameplay.
Six different criteria will have a positive or negative effect on the overall attractiveness level of your island. Three positive aspects will raise your level when reaching a certain threshold of points, while the three opposing negative ones can cause a downgrade of your city rating.
This will elevate beauty building to an engaging endgame activity where reaching the highest attractiveness level becomes a challenge in itself. Reaping the harvest of your efforts will be quite rewarding, as it gives you access to special benefits such as unique visitors, among them specialist which can boost certain aspects of your city.
Let’s talk about the three different positive criteria first, as they give a good overview how you can actually influence the beauty of your island:
Culture: The cultural rating consist of all the cultural elements you have placed on your island, such as ornaments and cultural buildings. With that, you can not only boost your rating significantly with a well-planned park area, but can also benefit from transforming otherwise wasted spaces between production buildings with small ornaments and decals. Large projects like the world fair or special attractions like the zoo will not only be popular destinations for your own residents, but will as also attract generous visitors to your metropolis.
Nature: The industrial revolution changed not only our society, but also the surrounding environment significantly. With the expansion of modern industry, untouched and serene nature increasingly became a rarity. Every bit of natural landscape left on your island will benefit the nature rating which will naturally go down as your expanding city takes its toll. We will go more into detail about the nature feature at a future point, but we are planning that the player can have a direct impact on that rating by deciding to make room for Mother Nature by removing industry and other buildings.
Festivity: You remember how we emphasized that you are the writer of your own story and that your actions will decide if your people will see you as their progressive savior or as a robber baron? If you care about the happiness of your residents, supporting all their needs and providing them worthwhile distractions and attractions, your people will show their gratitude. Celebrations held by your happy citizen or from events such as the grand opening of the world fair will boost the attractiveness of your city greatly and impress tourists on your island. Similar to city incidents such as the Riot, celebrations will get a lavish visual representation.
The three positive criteria cover a variety of ways how maintaining a pleasant look-and-feel of your city will attract visitors. But rather than just adding attractiveness points in a linear manner, there are also three criteria which will have a negative influence and could even downgrade the attractiveness level of your island:
Inelegance: Certain buildings are simply not a good looker. A strolling pedestrian might not be very font of the scent of a pig farm and the remnants of ruined buildings will damage the scenic look of your city. The system calculates the amount of unpleasant, noise producing and even smelly buildings- the odor of a 19th century soap factory is something for the faint of heart, or stomach.
Pollution: Every production building has a certain pollution factor, indicated by a variety of visual feedback. While some smaller production and manufacturing buildings might only blow a small amount of white smoke out of their chimneys, the black clouds coming from full-blown industrial districts are not kind to the lungs of your residents.
Instability: City incidents such as groups of demonstrators rioting through the streets are a rather unsettling experience. From civil unrest to blazing fires, every kind of incident will have a negative impact on the attractiveness of your city, albeit a (hopefully!) temporary one.
Find your own playstyle
Influencing criteria creates a balancing act, in which every positive aspect has its own counterpart. You can imagine them as three axis: culture against inelegance, nature against pollution and festivity against instability. Here are a few example how this can encourage a certain playstyle:
Culture versus Inelegance: Will you spend time to beautify your city with ornaments and cultural buildings or do you not care about that, leaving ruins or dirty buildings on your island. The fundamental question: are you a beauty builder at heart or someone who does not care about the aesthetic look of your city?
Natural Landscape versus Pollution: While humankind was always interfering with Mother Nature for its own needs, it was the industrial age where exploitation began at a previously unimaginable scale. Do you want to be the magnate, repressing nature for your steaming industrial machine, or an idealist who wants to preserve the slowly dwindling natural landscape as much as possible?
Festivity versus Instability: Are you a progressive thinker, who roots with his residents like a father who takes care of his children or the robber baron who dominates everyone for power and profit. It’s up to you how your residents will remember you.
While every positive criteria has its own counterpart, it does not mean that you have to strictly counter one element with another. Your city can be a true sanctum for culture and architectural wonders while an ocean of industrial chimneys belches black clouds into the sunny sky. As the attractiveness level is an accumulated value, you don’t have to reduce the amount of factories to benefit your cultural buildings; your marvelous parks can also be supported by the natural habitat of a nearby mountain range or by happy citizen celebration their benevolent governor.
You tell your own story – you create your own playstyle in Anno 1800
With our new feature, classic endgame activities such as controlling the worlds economy or military domination get additional company and with that, expand Anno’s gameplay quite significantly.
We want to create a meaningful gameplay feature for every Anno player, where keeping your city at a high attractiveness level is a challenge with different rewarding outcomes. Moreover, as we always like to emphasize how the world of Anno shall remember your actions, the attractiveness level will affect your reputation and standing with other second party characters.
We briefly mentioned visitors and large-scale projects like the zoo. Only two of the many features, which are not only new to the world of Anno, but are also intricately connected to the city attractiveness of your island. With our next DevBlog, we want to talk about another fundamental, albeit more familiar feature in Anno 1800 but we will come back to you with the second part of the beauty-building highlight in the very near future.
While you probably picture visitors strolling around your parks, leaving a small fortune in your cities treasury, we are curious about your comments on the new feature. As you might see, it is a significant addition to the gameplay and such your comments can become a valuable pool of ideas and feedback for our team. We are looking forward to your comments!