Hi dudes and dudettes! We are back with yet another development diary and this time we'll take a closer look at the various natural resources that are at your disposal when you are building the city of your dreams.
You can check the previous dev diaries here: http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/showthread.php?802652-Cities-Skylines-dev-diary-archive!
Natural resource types
When we started to design how the maps would look like in Cities: Skylines and what they should have in them we came to the conclusion that rather than being just a stage where the player builds their city, the maps should have a more meaningful role. With the highways and railways crisscrossing the map and the water areas providing challenges for expanding cities, the natural resources work as a reward for expanding strategically throughout the map.
Info view for natural resources showing the different resources as they are located in the map. To the east you have ore on the slopes of the mountain and to the north you can see an oil field. The starting tile has fertile land for those who fancy agriculture.
There are four types of resources in Cities: Skylines: oil, ore, forests and fertile land. Resources are scattered around the map and once the player has expanded their city limits to encompass a map tile with one or more resources they are able to access them through the policies feature (if they have already reached the correct milestone to unlock Districts and Policies).
Natural resources are divided into two categories: renewable and non-renewable. Forests and fertile land belong to the renewable resources while oil and ore are non-renewable. As long as the player doesn't pollute the land or bulldoze forests, these renewable resources are always available for them to use. While oil and ore deposits are very large and contain a lot of units to extract, at some point they will deplete.
Forestry is a good alternative to regular industry where the profit is slightly higher without risking drastic effects on the environment.
Agriculture introduces farm animals alongside wheat fields and apple tree gardens.
Accessing the natural resources
Using the various natural resources is quite simple. Once the player has set up industrial zones on top of the natural resource they are after, they can go to the District tool and create a district that envelopes the area and then assign one of the Industrial specialization policies to that district. As time goes on the industry starts to change to the designated type of industry until the whole district is of that particular industry type. The policy creates both extractors and processing plants (refineries and so forth) if a natural resource deposit is available. Similarly, if the player should want to return to the regular industry, they can simply switch off the policy.
Heavy machinery is required to gain access to the riches beneath the surface. Note for future city builders: With heavy machinery comes also noise pollution.
Even if there is no resource deposit in the area the policy still creates industry of the chosen type. However, these factories are only processing plants that import raw resources elsewhere (either from another part of the city or outside of the city). Extractors such as oil drills are not needed or usable without the proper deposit available.
Effect on economy and environment
Non-renewable resources yield a big boost to the economy of the city. These specialized industries generate noticeably more tax income than regular industry. However, their impact to the environment is drastic and they generate ground pollution at a much higher rate compared to regular industry. Oil and ore industry also require more electricity to run.
While oil industry is very profitable, its effects on the environment are clearly visible as the trees in the area start to wither due to heavy ground pollution.
Renewable resources on the other hand yield a smaller boost to the economy but due to their nature, they are for all intents and purposes infinite. Forestry's impact on the environment is a bit heavier than regular industry's but it requires less electricity to run than oil and ore industry. Agriculture doesn't pollute ground but in turn it requires lots of fresh water to keep the irrigation systems working. It yields a similar boost to economy as forestry and it also provides organic foods to shops in the city (organic farming policy creates healthier food that boosts citizens' well being).
Agriculture yields less profit than the heavy industry but their impact on the environment is next to nothing. Also the bright colored buildings and farmland create a nice atmosphere when accompanied by gravel roads.
Natural resources and power plants
Oil and ore can be used to run oil power plant and coal power plant, respectively. Each power plants has a reserve when they are built but once the reserve runs out, they require correct fuel from either the local specialized industry or from outside the city. These power plants work the same way whether the city has its own resource production or not. However, setting up, for example, ore industry and having a coal power plant to buy the goods they produce the player can make sure that they get the most tax income due to the mutual benefit gained from local industry (ore industry) selling their products to another local entity (the coal power plant).
Oil and ore industry can ship their goods to the local power plants. That way it is easier to keep the fuel reserves stocked.
All industry in Cities: Skylines aims to sell its goods to the local businesses and city services that require them. However, if they detect that there is overabundance of goods in production, they will sell their wares to the outside world. Similarly if the player decides to access specialized industry but doesn't have proper resource deposits at their disposal, the newly created industry will import goods for them to process further and then again trade with the local businesses and certain city services or ship the goods back to the outside world.
Trucks like the blue one in the picture haul cargo within the city limits as well as outside of the city. When planning industrial zones it is also important to plan roads well to allow cargo to move efficiently.
- Henkka also known as an artist, designer and level designer at Colossal Order