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To Zone or not to Zone?

I have a confession to make. It's a terrible thing, really: we've been shamelessly spying on our forums and we’d like to thank in particular all those who have contributed to the CUC (Cities Unlimited Conceptual) articles that tr0bl1 has been compiling on the English-speaking forum.

If you’ve followed this blog, you will have noticed we've stayed off entering into design issues mainly because we did not want to restrict people’s creativity.

But now the time has come to start explaining what concepts we've started to integrate into the game and you’ll see more of these blog entries in the coming weeks.

I think there has not been a subject that has caused more controversy than zoning & plopping. The subject has been debated sufficiently on the forums, both here and in other community websites, for me to skip having to explain the merits of each, but to sum things up:

  • Plopping allows a lot of control,
  • Zoning allows for the rapid construction of large areas and for the zone to grow of its own accord.

Here is the direction we’re taking: The « Mass placement Tool ». This is a work in progress idea that we are quite keen on and are going to test.

If you are used to blogs, you know that blog entries are categorized by some keywords named “tags”, used to help blog visitors to look for blog entries that interest them.

In CITIES XL, all the buildings will have “tags” that describe their function (such as Residence, Commercial Service, Hotel, Industry, etc.) and other important characteristics (such as size, level of wealth, architectural style, geographical origin, and so on).

Moreover, each individual building is identified by a unique tag so that you can choose specific buildings. Finally, we also want players to create their own custom tags and define their own sets of tags (« My Clean Industries set »).

What will the mass placement tool allow? It will enable players to select a zone and the set of building tags they want to see appear in that zone. The result should be that the buildings which appear in the selected zone correspond to the functions and other characteristics expressed by the tags. The tags will be used as a kind of sorting system: by selecting a set of tags you will actually be selecting a set of buildings.

Nevertheless for the plopping fans we will allow selection of specific buildings to precisely place any single one of them in any given spot.

To check out our example of how to create zones and fill them with buildings, head over to this blog entry.

So, to answer the age old question: Is CITIES XL taking the zoning or plopping road?

The answer is: The Mass Placement Tool

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