- Anno 1800
- Season 3
DevBlog: “Tourist Season” – The Bus System
Hey Anno Community,
Today we want to give you some first insights into the upcoming DLC “Tourist Season”, specifically: the bus system.
When we presented Season 3 in February of this year, we already gave you a first overview as to what you can expect, we mentioned restaurants, recipes and the aforementioned buses. We want to dedicate a separate blog to this specific feature and give you some development insights since it’s the mechanic connecting all other parts of this DLC.
Buses are a new mechanic which is needed to connect your guests, the Tourists, with their Hotels and all amenities of the city: Restaurants, Bars, Variety Theatres, the Zoo and more.
“The Tourists should not feel like a new working class, they demand more services and need to be more pampered, they won’t walk to the Museum: they expect a transit in style.”
Specifically, you will need to free up some space to build Bus Stops, a 2 by 3 building, on various points of your city in addition to the other new buildings.
Each Bus Stop has a certain radius, displayed by a circle, indicating which public buildings are in reach of each bus stop. Only when a building like a Restaurant or a Zoo is inside this radius does the game consider it being part of your bus network. Your Tourists are not willing to walk too far from the Bus Stop to the Zoo, after all.
The second indicator to keep an eye on is the street range radius. It’s displayed via a green street-overlay, like you’re used to, from public buildings and indicates the reach of each bus stop making up your bus network. The street markings of two Bus Stops have to touch or overlap for the stops to be connected to the overall bus network.
Connecting your Hotels on one end of the island to a Museum on the other, however, isn’t optimal, since your Tourists aren’t fans of long bus rides. So, if the distance is too long, the fulfilment of the “Museum need” (in this example) for the respective Hotel can be reduced. More on the topic of needs in the next DevBlog.
By clicking on a Bus Stop, you can see which public buildings are part of your island’s bus network and how good the connection is. Our UI Team made sure to provide you with the necessary information at first glance: A new icon above buildings will inform you when they are missing a bus connection. Buildings that are frequented by Tourists (for example a restaurant or a theatre) received a little bus marker inside the construction bar.
For improvements like these, the feedback from the testers of the last Diary Study organized by the User Research Lab in Düsseldorf has been a great help.
Additionally, like for “Docklands”, we implemented a Tutorial Panel directly in the game that explains the underlying mechanics for all new “Tourist Season” mechanics – including the bus system. Just select one of the new buildings and click on the “?” icon in the building’s menu.
What made you choose buses over trams, you might ask. Well, as with so many things in game development, it comes down to prioritization.
Cause a first check made it clear for us that creating a second railway system would require a very high development effort combined with an increased risk for issues. Two separate railway systems but both using the same general rules are tricky and can lead to problems – take something as “simple” as crossings for example. Another approach, a street/railway hybrid, on the other hand, has also not been done by us before and would need a lot of initial effort.
So, in this case, the questions were: How many work hours would developing this new feature take? Is it worth spending several weeks on a completely new feature that will only make up a portion of the new DLC? Is there a different solution that provides a similar logistical challenge and fulfils the same gameplay requirements? All the while, of course, there’re still plenty of other features being designed and developed for “Tourist Season” to create the “complete package” that our team has in mind for the DLC.
The decision to not have buses use fuel, however, was an aesthetic one: While requiring you as players to supply your buses with fuel – like the tractors – would be a nice additional challenge, having polluting buildings inside your cities would not quite fit the tourist fantasy we want to present.
Dealing with this new logistical layer adds a new challenge for your city planning skills considering the already packed inner cities. Making sure your Tourists can reach all important spots in your city is a key component to “Tourist Season” next to satisfying your Tourists’ needs with extravagant new products.
“The logistical challenge would have been interesting, of course, but the resulting Fuel Stations next to the parks and Museums did not fit the theme of the DLC.”
Finally, we are happy to announce that “Tourist Season” is already releasing in a little bit more than two weeks – on May 25th at 6PM CEST (12PM EDT). Expect more news, a detailed DevBlog and the full Release Notes in the weeks leading up to the release.
Until then: Stay safe and keep an eye on our channels to not miss any news.
The Anno Team