Cities: Skylines - After Dark - Dev Diary 1: Night Time, what is it?

Cities: Skylines - After Dark - Dev Diary 1: Night Time, what is it?

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Co_Karoliina

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After Dark, the first big expansion for Cities: Skylines, has many new features, but the most notable one is the day and night cycle. Taking the cities from daytime to night is not as simple as one might think. While the change from day to night is visually stunning, there's much more going on under the hood. Each and every building in the game received a new texture layer to have the windows light up nicely. In addition there are new lighted signs, neon signs and other lights to make the city look interesting during the night. The sun rises and sets, painting the sky with bright colours, you can see the moon and stars move across the night sky.



The city simulation changes during the night to make sure the night time feels like a night should. Citizens go out less and prefer to stay indoors. Only a few go to work, to simulate a night shift. The people who do go out, choose destinations that have to do with having fun and spending time with friends. When there are not as many private vehicles on the roads as during the day, service vehicles can move more freely. The separate night time budget allows you to adjust how active services are during the night and day. To get the most out of the quiet night time, you can set garbage trucks to operate mostly during the night, or have hearses pick up bodies at an increased rate.

One big change during night is that crime increases. With the cover of the night criminals are more active and more police are needed to keep the city safe. This can easily be done with the night time budget: raising the budget allows police stations to have more vehicles in use and thus they can work more efficiently.



When traffic is less intense during the night, it also helps to identify problem areas in the road network. As traffic jams lessen, the real problem areas are easier to spot and the quiet night is the perfect time to alter roads and create new ones. This ebb and flow of traffic will make the city feel more alive and add a whole new element of trying to cater for both the quiet times and the busiest times. New options for public transportation allow you to choose if the lines are active during the day, night or both. Creating bus lines that serve the needs of citizens only during the night, when their destinations are different from the day, is possible and a very good strategy.



All in all the night time creates new challenges and changes the way traffic behaves to alter the way the city works. We want to create more variation to the game and make the cities feel alive, with ever-changing needs and a constant, but changing, stream of citizens traveling to their desired destinations. Night looks awesome and we are currently balancing it to feel equally awesome!

Karoliina Korppoo

Lead designer on Cities: Skylines
 
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Victor Cortez

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I can't see the pictures. Is it just me?

Edit: one question: how long (in real life seconds/minutes) is a day?
 
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HussarHD

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Amazing, I can't wait for more!
 

Deville

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Looks good.

I hope you guys learned from CiM2 and the design error with day/night time and time tables.
If a day is only a few minutes long, vehicles will have several hours to travel across the city once and arrive somewhere around noon at best. Didn't work in CiM2, hopefully it will now work with the service vehicles.
 
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ghostbirdofprey

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Will we have per route control over day and night use of mass transit? ie. can we have some routes set to always be running and some only during the day or night, or are we going to just have to set routes to daytime only and create an overlapping set for the night time?

On a side note, while you are mucking with mass transit, will you be adding the ability to set the number/frequency of buses/trains on a per-route basis separate from altering the number of stops and just adjusting funding globally?


Also can you tell us how long day and night are likely to be?
There have been many concerns we might have problems where cims leave for a destination during the day and arrive at night or the next day.
 
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mikeny

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Nice! I have to agree with Deville. Wish the "time" in the game was slower and the calendar was changed to perhaps a clock and go by quarters. If Im playing for a very long time, seems odd that the calendar says, 2.1.3013.

I can't wait for beaches! Here in the U.S. most highways (with onramp/offramp) called parkways end at parks; namely beaches. Finally I can do that. I still wish there can be "policies" on the limited access highways such as toll booths and to not allow trucks/commercial vehicles on them in areas. I was sad to see that I can do a heavy truck ban but it doesn't apply to highways :(

Still....ALL HAIL Karoliina :) ALL HAIL CO :)
 
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Darkath

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Did you change how the time ticks in After dark ? It would be to fast if each day is like 20 seconds like it is now.
 

ghostbirdofprey

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I am confused why everyone seems to think the day night cycle would actually be aligned with what the clock says. The clock has never been an accurate measure of time in any city building game ever.

I suppose a new policy

Heavy Traffic Ban during Day Time

Would now make sense.
I'd actually like heavy traffic bans for both day AND night.

Keep the main streets clear of trucks during the day to ease traffic, but keep residential areas clear at night to reduce noise
 
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Greygor69

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I am confused why everyone seems to think the day night cycle would actually be aligned with what the clock says. The clock has never been an accurate measure of time in any city building game ever.

I don't think it will be aligned with the clock.

I'd be happy if there was an option to drop the clock from the UI altogether.
 
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ghostbirdofprey

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I don't think it will be aligned with the clock.

I'd be happy if there was an option to drop the clock from the UI altogether.
What they could do is have the clock track the day night cycle and be completely divorced from the passage of days, and just track the days through the date since they go by quickly enough
 
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Shroomblaze

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What is the new texture map used for lighting? Did you just update them with illumination masks and calling it new because they didn't have one previously or are they using a whole new map type all together? Really would like to know. Thanks :)
 
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ghostbirdofprey

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What is the new texture map used for lighting? Did you just update them with illumination masks and calling it new because they didn't have one previously or are they using a whole new map type all together? Really would like to know. Thanks :)
They've said they will talk about that in the future (Moo mentioned a devblog)
 
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Cymsdale

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Someone add Wayne Manor to workshop that provides huge nighttime crime suppression. Go!
 
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Sunsanvil

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This is just me, but I find this whole direction unappealing. Its challenging enough to create and manage an ever expanding city in a relatively steady state. Now everything from buildings to traffic are going to yo-yo back and forth between two different states? Thank you no.
 
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DarKOrange

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This is just me, but I find this whole direction unappealing. Its challenging enough to create and manage an ever expanding city in a relatively steady state. Now everything from buildings to traffic are going to yo-yo back and forth between two different states? Thank you no.
Then don't buy the expansion pack, this as simple as that...
 
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ghostbirdofprey

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Personally, I think the fact that we DON"T have a day and night cycle exacerbates some problems.

Since everyone is always on the streets at the same time going the same direction, they get backed up and just keep getting more and more backed up. Nighttime would likely relieve backups somewhat and cause them to cap at a certain level of gridlock, and having temporal separation for trucks and service vehicles would also help alleviate daytime congestion.

Then don't buy the expansion pack, this as simple as that...
except the day-night cycle is a free update to the base game which means EVERYONE gets it
 
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FourWinds

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All the old cycle considerations (from before the original launch) rise up for us all to consider again I see.

Well, we may get told, or we may not; I do think however that CO will have kinda thought it through.

If the date and progression graphic remain on the UI, I'm sure it will be adjusted to match the cycle; maybe this means it won't remain. If you have a certain budget for garbage trucks, then I'm sure time will be given for them to make it out and back before sunrise, and maybe this means that we will have no choice wrt the 'real world' length of a day. Maybe the cycle time will change on its own dependent on the size/budget of your city.

A lot of us have pondered all these questions a long time ago; I almost wish they don't tell us, as it will make a nice surprise to see what's been decided when it arrives in a month. I know I have a choice to try not to look at diaries btw, but that's not going to happen is it.
 
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hellmonkey

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Then don't buy the expansion pack, this as simple as that...
Except it might not be. The day/night cycle is free and being added to be base game. Everyone will be getting that. I don't think there is a way to opt out of updates, but I could be wrong.
 
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