Cities In Motion 2 – Preview
The number of times I’ve heard people complaining about bus timetables is unreal. Particularly given that I live in a place relatively off the beaten track, it’s rare that we’ll see a bus go past more than once an hour, and even then it’s a wonder if it stops. There’s been letters to our local MP about getting more buses to pass through, petitions going round, the whole shebang. Thankfully, Colossal Order are working on Cities in Motion 2, a public transport sim that allows you to create your own routes and timetables for public transport, and I got a wonderful opportunity to see the game in its current state with the CEO and Lead Designer of Colossal Order.
While the original took place over one hundred years, from 1920 to 2020, for the sequel the developers have decided to focus instead on a modern day scenario with slower day/night cycles (each day lasts 24 minutes, and allows you to see the differences in traffic) so that the player now has a lot more control over their transport links, rather than just planning out routes in a pre-defined city as in the last game.
Creating these links is fairly straightforward. New to Cities in Motion 2 is the ability to lay down your own roads, which come in many varieties, including the option to place down bus routes exclusively for your buses to roam around in. So you begin by laying down your roads, then building a depot on the side, followed by some bus stops. With all this in place, you can select your route along the road by linking the bus stops together, with each one able to handle more than one bus route. Once that’s done, you buy an army of buses to take to the streets and ferry the people around. There’s a bunch of different buses planned to be in the game too, so you can pick and choose your fleet to suit your needs. You can also alter the timetables, saving you money if you’d rather cancel a service at night, for example, but the developers pointed out that if you prefer then you needn’t worry about that, and can just focus on the city development and route planning instead.
Of course, as in a real city, it’s not all about buses. Also available to build are trams, which are more expensive to build initially, but are cheaper to maintain, and your very own metro, which can be overground or underground. You’ll need to make sure your city has a variety of transport too, because your citizens get picky about which type of transport they’re willing to use; the richer inhabitants, for example, won’t want to use cheap buses, and the poorer folk might not be able to afford the metro. Achieving a good balance, and trying to get as many people to stop using their cars instead, is vital to getting ahead in the game and making a lot of money.
One of the incredibly cool things that Colossal Order showed off was the new dynamic city growth. The original Cities in Motion had an unchangeable city that grew in the same way each time, but for the sequel, the developers wanted to make the city grow around your roads, and it’s a rather lovely sight to behold. After putting down some roads and transport links, houses and buildings will pop up along the road, dependent on what you build. So if you focus on building bus lanes and getting good bus links, you’ll likely see cheaper buildings opening up as people hear they have good bus links to get around the city. That said, the city growth isn’t entirely down to what you build, and you will need to cater to the needs of new citizens as they move in, which makes sure that you stay on your toes in terms of what transport links you build and keeps things interesting for the player.
From what I saw, Cities in Motion 2 is gearing up to be a great sim with some brilliant ideas behind it, as well as a passionate and dedicated team working on it. The build I saw was pre-alpha, and it was obvious that it had a long way to go, but with the dynamic city growth and increased control over your transport, as well as planned co-operative and competitive multiplayer play in the works, Cities in Motion 2 could well be a game you’ll want to keep your eye on as it rolls into the station in Q2 2013.
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