- Union Update
Union Update: Islands and decorations
Spring is the time of plans and projects, as they (and also Tolstoy) say. And indeed, sunny Spring has finally arrived in Mainz, thought we can assure you that is not keeping us from working full steam ahead on Anno 1800. After last week’s DevBlog about city attractiveness has found a lot of acclaim with you all, we are taking a quick sidestep this week to cover a basic yet important topic in Anno 1800: items
In some ways, this is a Pandora ’s Box, as items can have quite an impact on several of the game’s features, including next week’s topic. For that DevBlog, we will return to the topic of city attractiveness, with a closer look at what draws tourists to your island, and what benefits they offer.
The net month will bring several bank holidays for us here in Germany, which is why we will skip next Monday’s Union Update. We are looking at some busy weeks after that, as we are in the middle of the preparations for our next AnnoCast, the next set of focus group testing of the game and much more.
An updated look at the community island
We already showed you all the effort that goes into creating one of Anno 1800’s islands. Once the closed the voting on our Community Island Vote, our level artists were itching to get started. During the first steps, the original winning concept from GmExpresso had to be slightly altered, as we made some changes to the access points to the plateau and the beaches to give them additional emphasis. The real work began with the digitalization of the island. For starters, the island was created in a basic three-dimensional form via World Builder, defining the rough terrain.
With the basic layout done, things moved on to the editor, requiring lots and lots of manual work and loving attention to detail. Going layer by layer, our barren island was populated with vegetation, rugged rock faces and fissures in the terrain. During these steps, every part of the island receives additional manual reworks- from the coast and forested areas to the jagged peaks of the mountains.
The version of the community island that you see here has not yet passed final approval, as it is missing the last round of quality improvements. As part of that, we will add some more small environmental details to make sure that our community island looks great. The same is also true for the islands we have shown you previously, none of which have received the final polish and approval yet. With that said, we cannot wait to show you the final Anno 1800 islands in the future!
PPF99 The question for me right now is how the AI will judge what an „attractive city“ is. Will it be enough to plaster empty lots between factories with flowers, or will it be necessary to combine these with other decorations into large-scale parks?
Answer: Beauty is famously in the eye of the beholder. Your city’s overall attractiveness is influenced by many different factors, of which decorations are one. Creating a system that judges attractiveness by a set of very strict rules (for example via layout and geometry) could limit player’s creativity, and would likely end in all “attractive” cities looking similar to each other. The way the system calculates the attractiveness gain of ornaments is the ratio between decoration and population. If you city grows bigger, you will need to construct more decorative objects and parks to keep your culture bonus.
We will share more information about the behavior of your visitors very soon.
Theatralix I am still unclear on what the exact benefits are. Is having the most attractive island just (as hinted at by the blog) another endgame goal besides economic domination or having the strongest fleet?
Answer: Raising your cities attractiveness and luring in visitors is more than just a (admittedly very lucrative) source of income. It will also affect some diplomatic interactions with other characters, and give you access to some rare and helpful items. Who knows, maybe your city may end up being so attractive that some of your visitors will be tempted into permanently settling in and sharing their skills with you?
Rick_Rickleston Will some of the factors taking into consideration or city attractiveness also be visualized in the game? For example, air pollution? Will areas with higher pollution look a bit shabbier and run down, as in Anno 2070? Seeing the environment changed by pollution was one of my personal highlights of that game?
Answer: Visual feedback, such as fumes from your nearby industry or city ruins will be an important indicator for the player to detect pollution or other unpleasant influence on your city.
Jinkha5 Is there a global attractiveness rating for players? I could see myself building an attractive main island, but prioritizing productivity on my secondary islands.
Answer: We love enjoying the beautiful aspects of the world. So if you take great pains to outsource a large part of your productivity and set up complex supply lines, it is only fair that you earn the rewards. In other words: city attractiveness is measured per individual island, while some of your fellow governors will also take the overall state of your empire into account.
SersSers2010 What benefits are there to reaching a new level of attractiveness? Will parks have maintenance costs? And how about the decorations?
Answer: When reaching higher city attractiveness levels, you will be rewarded with special items and unlocks. As an example, special ornaments will be only accessible with higher attractiveness tiers. Parks won’t have upkeep costs. The construction space in Anno is a rare resource and because of that, we think that the in materials, money and space is already quite an investment.
Sauerbraten95 You mentioned ruins several times in your blog. Will there be other incidents besides fires that can cause your buildings to turn into ruins, and will players always have to remove them?
Answer: We will discuss what incidents will contribute to your islands insecurity and can cause ruins in the future. For a topic like this, we greatly prefer to show you pictures rather than just words.
FaNt0mIc What has happened to the time-honored Anno tradition of the Jorgensens? Will it continue or not?
Answer: It is true that this is one name that seems to keep popping up in the chronicles of the Anno series. Maybe we should task one of our resident chroniclers to look into this phenomenon…
Endophyte After just going bankrupt again because I wanted to try something new in Anno 2205, I have one absolute no-go for Anno 1800- the save system. Will you stick to just auto saves, or are manual saves back as well?
Answer: We realize that a lot of work can go into one of your Anno-sessions. That is why we want to support manual saves so y can try new things, or relive a momentous milestone over and over again.