Cities visual refresh, tile resources

Posted by Oleksandr on September 17, 2017

September 2017 development update (v2) brings new and improved gameplay features, visual updates, AI enhancements, further backend and website work and other changes. New functionality is available in newly created game sessions and in the demo.

City visuals have been refreshed. There are now two kind of houses used: short and tall, where tall houses are used in the center of large cities. House textures have been reworked to be more detailed, and now there are windows on the sides of a house. Windows are lit even in dark areas, thanks to a shader trick, where bright yellow pixels in the house texture are interpreted as emissive, and generate additional light.

Cities now appear more lively, and look much better from the side. On that note, another new feature is automatic adjustment of camera elevation angle when you zoom in with a mouse wheel (or trackpad), which will make it easier to get a different visual perspective on your empire. Also you can control camera rotation with Alt+[arrow keys], and use Alt+0 shortcut to reset it.

Possible future work on city appearance might include different styles for different cultures and for different technological levels. City walls will need to be visualized somehow too.

Terrain tiles can now contain special resources that provide extra yields. Currently there are:

Right now resources only provide additional yields, but in future releases there will be more interaction with the gameplay (strategic and luxury resources, etc). City screen UI now provides a better presentation of large yields, by grouping resource icons into one large icon with a number.

Base terrain tile yields have been tweaked: grasslands and plains now require a road to generate trade, but on the other hand water tiles generate 2 trade instead of 1. New configuration should encourage tile improvements early on, and favors coastal placement of cities. Speaking of that, one of the high priority development targets is to implement water units. Also rivers and lakes are planned soon.

AI has learned how to build all kinds of available useful buildings, based on the calculated benefit to the city. It is now required to build an Aqueduct to grow a city past the size of 6, and a Hospital after the size of 12. City buildings system right now is very rudimentary and will need a lot of work. Some fresh game design ideas are planned there (and especially regarding wonders).

Browser technology required for the game (shared memory for Web workers) is finally enabled by default in Firefox (version 55 and up) and Chrome (version 60 and up), which means Statebuilder now works out of the box without needing any experimental options. Support for other browsers (including mobile) is expected to come later.

Complex performance-sensitive applications such as games can now be delivered to the end user in the most friction-free way possible. Just click the link and start playing - the future is here!

WebAssembly will be adopted as soon as thread support is implemented. Currently the game is compiled to asm.js-style JavaScript, which does not provide optimal runtime performance and load times yet. WebAssembly is expected to improve the situation further.

All important changes since v1 release (June 2017)

The game works directly in the browser!
You can try it right now.

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