Transport Fever: The virtual model railroad (sort of)

Transport_Fever_open.png

Is the game Transport Fever any good?  Is it for you? Let’s find out.

The year is 2000 and you watch as your stage-coach from 1875 comes rolling into town just past the electric tram. Your fully loaded stage of 4 passengers stops at the airport as the 747 Airline to Dallas is just taking off. Why? Because you can in Transport Fever!

Is this game perfect? Nothing rarely is but if you enjoy Cities Skylines or SimCity you just might really like Transport Fever even more.

The not-so-good (probably)

Before I mention all that’s good about Transport Fever, let’s get some of the basics, technically speaking, out-of-the-way that could be considered negatives with this game.

Tycoon Game?

Users have mentioned that Transport Fever is not a true transport tycoon game because there is no competition with other networks.  You are alone in this game as you build your networks and try not to go broke in the process (unless you are using the no cost mod of course).

Learning Curve

There is a learning curve in Transport Fever but it’s mostly due to a somewhat poor designed menu system that appears to be a bit out dated IMO.  The fonts in the menus are also smaller than they need to be which can make general navigating a daunting task until you get used to what the options do and where they are located.  You will also encounter some redundancy in menu options which can be quite confusing at first. For example, opening up the new line option can be done by clicking on multiple locations.  (Note: Fonts can be scaled larger in the settings menu (upper right) but doing this enlarges the bottom task bar and other menus to something too large for my liking!)

Laying Train Tracks

Generally track laying in Transport Fever is fun but sometimes you will find the track (and roads) do not want to go where you want them to due to uneven and height variations in terrain.  Using the in-game terrain height overlay option can help.  (It is located in the bottom right menu.)  Helpful note: A flat terrain works best for track laying but mountains and hills are fun and challenging maps to play.  

If your computer CPU and GPU are not very powerful, like mine, your frame-rate will suffer on larger maps and in later years when more transportation networks are working at the same time.    (My system: AMD Phenom II 945 x4, 8gb ram, GTX 750ti 4gb)

YouTube Gameplay of Transport Fever can help when you are just starting out or anytime

I highly recommend watching YouTube videos of basic gameplay and read about the game in the steam community for Transport Fever. (On YouTube I suggest Skye Storme or Colonel Failure as great places to start.)

 

The Good

 

A little bit like a Virtual Model Railroad

Create Virtual Transport Networks to watch the trains (boats, and planes)

Transport Fever features virtually unlimited track manipulation for creating a simple model rail system. Don’t want to mess with the mechanics of transporting all the goods?  In Transport Fever you don’t have to.  Want to transport only food? You can.  If you just want to transport people from various cities and watch your towns grow, you can do that too.  And with the no cost mod enabled you can create rail lines, ship lines and air transport lines galore.  While Transport Fever can be a great sandboxy type game for laying rail, it is not a very realistic virtual model railroad because you do not have as much control over your trains as you would in a real model rail layout.  Also, Important to note you cannot drive the train but you can ride along with it.   Note that in later years, a better computer system will be desired to fully enjoy your extensive transportation network. 

Graphics and Optimization

Transport Fever looks and plays better than Cities Skylines and I have an old machine (AMD Phenom II 945 x4, 8gb ram, GTX 750ti 4gb) until you get into the later years especially on the larger map sizes.

Sound

There are lots of sounds in this game. Some are wonderful and some can get downright annoying and repetitive (I’m thinking of the default airport, birds and train stations). But guess what? If you enjoy tweaking game files, (back up originals first) you can remove or even change certain sounds in the sounds folder. (HINT: There is a silence.wav sound which I found came in handy if you simply desire, silence. )

No Cost Mod and No End Year Mod

The Cost option comes included with the game and it makes Transport Fever the ultimate model railish transport sandbox. Enjoy laying train tracks, roads, airports? Lay them at your heart’s content and why not put in multiple tunnels underground or a giant bridge across the lake, because you can.
The game also includes a NO END YEAR mod so you can use that Stage Coach in 2047 and beyond.

Mods

This game uses community mods and they make an already great game expandable. The creators of these models and mods are truly talented artists!

I will list many of mods I use here that I believe are essential to have a great sandbox experience in Transport Fever.   (Note: As I live the USA, I enjoy mostly American looking models)

One of my favorite collections featuring Santa Fe and BNSF

A big thank you to the creators of these great models, skins and mods!

 

Conclusion

Learning curve, room for improvement? yes and yes but I highly recommend this game for the beautiful trams, stage coaches, trains, the sounds, the planes, the trucks, the endless train tracks and the fantastic working mods and models found on the Steam Workshop…….

Need Help?

As always feel free to ask if you need some basic help with Transport Fever and I will try to point you in the right direction.

 


Transport Fever on Steam

Transport Fever Workshop on Steam

Transport Fever Industrial FlowChart

How Transportation Works in Transport Fever

Transport Fever Wiki

Transport Fever Official Website

Map Creation Tool for Transport Fever

Fantastic video on how to Create your own terrain map for TpF using Minecraft WorldPainter

World Painter

Hope

Audacity

Fullyfreefilms.com


Image source

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What Lego City Undercover Has Proven

lego-city-undercover

Lego City Undercover is an extremely lite GTA style open-world game for computers and consoles that proves it is possible to make a popular family friendly open world game that is still fun but without profanity, prostitution and excessive gore.  In addition to this, the main playable character in Lego City Undercover is a police officer.  Yep.  That’s right, you play as a cop (Chase McCain) and actually have lots of fun and adventure in the process.

There are many fans of GTA that will always defend what it is. They will say it would never be possible for a similar game to exist that could be as fun unless the profanity, gore and prostitution exists.  I have long believed however that this claim could be proven wrong if only the game existed.  (By the way, I believe it’s actually the profanity and prostitution that is being defended from GTA games rather than the exploration of the beautifully rendered game world.

Enter Lego City Undercover

Lego City Undercover nearly achieves the objective of “fun to explore”.  Note I said nearly.  The world of Lego City has adventure and extensive exploration including flying helicopters but remember, the vehicles, aircraft and characters are made of computer generated Legos.  There is no blood and gore here just broken Lego bricks which is fine for what it is.  The sandbox open world style of Lego City Undercover is fun to explore even for adults like me but imagine if this world was not Legos but was a living breathing world complete with realistic looking people and vehicles.  (Imagine if there was an actual train horn for the trains…. something Lego City Undercover is inexplicably missing.)

If Lego City Undercover wasn’t made with Legos

I believe the concept and story found within Lego City Undercover is brilliant and should be developed into a realistic looking game world.  Even though Lego City Undercover is amazingly fun as it is with Legos, a realistic looking version of it (including a working train horn for the trains) would create a whole new game for me (and others) to play and completely accomplished without prostitution, profanity and excessive gore.

Will we ever see a cleaner GTA looking kind of game?  As of this post, one game to keep your eyes on is Police 1013 currently in development.

 

 

 

 

 


The Crew and the state of open world games

Third Person Open World Games Miss the Mark

My Review of Lego City Undercover on Steam

Police 10-13

Audacity

180movie

Athiest Movie

 


Image source

Modding and Making Cities Skylines Better

 

 

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Last time we took a look at Cities Skylines in 2018.  Today I want to discuss a few mod’s (modifications) I enjoy which serve to make Cities Skylines better and also we will look at some essential upgrades I think Cities Skylines needs “out of the box”.

Let’s first look at making Cities Skylines better with mods.  I use a few basic mods but am limited by what my computer can handle.  This is also true when downloading assets (buildings, vehicles, trees, etc) that have been created by the modding community found in the Steam workshop.  The more assets one downloads for the game the slower your game will run.  (my system specs are located at the bottom of this post for your reference)

Mods to enhance your game

 

Loading Screen Mod  One way to help speed up the loading times for Cities Skylines is by using a great mod called Loading Screen Mod by thale5.  Thank you thale5 for this great addition to Cities Skylines.

Find It! –  If you are going to be using assets in Cities Skylines, The Find It! mod by SamsamTS is an essential addition to help you quickly locate assets while in-game.  Very useful. Thank you SamsamTS for this great addition.

Move It!Move It! a mod also by SamsamTS allows for the quick-moving and copying of assets while in-game.

Fine Road Tool and Fine Road Anarchy – Two great mods that work together for allowing the manipulation of roads!  Thank you SamsamTS for these essential mods.

Ambient Sounds Tuner 2.0 by BloodyPenguin – Want to turn off or control individual volumes of sounds in-game? This mod will help you do that.  Thank you BloodyPenguin for this fantastic addition to Cities Skylines

Kra’s Realistic Ambience Sound Pack by KraIstGerecht –  And better sound pack to remove and change some annoying default sounds from Cities Skylines. (Ambient Sounds Tuner by BloodyPenguin list above is needed to use this pack)  Thank you KraIstGerecht for this great addition to Cities Skylines. 

Chirpy Exterminator by simssi – Essential mod if you want to remove the Chirpy from Cities Skylines.  Thank you simssi for this great mod. 

Slow Speed by Scott – Don’t like unrealistic speed of the vehicles AND people in Cities Skylines?  Other mods may allow control over the speed of vehicles but this mod slows the speed of the people too!  Thank you Scott for this essential mod.

Emergency Light Changer by boformer – Necessary mod if you want control over the color of lights on emergency vehicles from blue only to red and blue (American style).  Thank you boformer for this essential addition to Cities Skylines.

American Road Signs 2.2.0 by Judazzz–  Want the American green looking signs in your game? This mod does just that.  Thank you Judazzz for this amazing mod.

Daylight Classic by BloodyPenguin – Essential mod for removing the default yellow color from default Cities Skylines and giving the game a more realistic sunlight look.  Thank BloodyPenguin for this great mod.

Automatic Bulldoze v2 by mexahuk – Makes bulldoze management easier and automatic in Cites Skylines.  Thank you mexahuk for this great mod.

Road Options a.k.a Crosswalks Remover / Road Colors Changer ++ by TPB – Essential mod if you want to be able to quickly have control over your road colors and more.  Thank you TPB for this great mod.

Advanced Vehicle Options (AVO) by SamsamTS – Essential mod to allow some control over your vehicles  in Cities Skylines.  Thank you SamsamTS for this great mod.

Improved Public Transport 2 by BloodyPenguin – Great mod for allowing more and easier control over your transit system.  Thank you BloodyPenguin for this great mod.

Traffic Manager: President Edition by LinuxFan – Necessary mod if you want control over intersections, roads and more.  Thank you LinuxFan for this fantastic addition to Cities Skylines.

Building Themes (Green Cities) by BloodyPenguin, boformer, SamsamTS – Great mod for controlling your district styles in Cities Skylines.  Thank you BloodyPenguin, boformer, and SamsamTS for this great mod.

These mods are some of the best mods that simply help Cities Skylines be more accessible to the average user without adding the need for dependencies (except the sound packs)  into your game.  These mods play nicely with each other too (no conflicts as far as I know) and are easy to install/uninstall through the Steam workshop.

If you are interested, here’s a complete list of mods and assets I have subscribed to in Cities Skylines

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A Better Vanilla/default Cities Skylines

It is my opinion Cities Skylines could be an even better game by doing a few simple things.

Seasons.  The game needs Seasons by default or at least a Winter/Summer change (snow/no snow).

District Names Overlay On/Off Toggle.  The District Styles feature is lacking already in Cities Skylines but it really needs a simple ON/OFF name toggle to allow hiding/unhiding of districts name overlays that appear directly on your city while in-game.

Better default Anti-aliasing and Optimization.  This game seems to have memory problems and doesn’t graphically look that clean by default.  The edges on buildings, roads and well just about everything are jagged even on high settings without a mod.  In my experience any mod (such as Dynamic Resolution to counter the anti-aliasing problem only slows down older computers and seems to make my game look worse).

An American Overhaul. This is more of wish than anything but without mods, Cities Skylines doesn’t look American as SimCity accomplished quite well.  Semi Trucks with 3 trailer wheels? Railroads with catenary lines everywhere? Of course the emergency vehicles sirens are not American either and the overall look of buildings and houses don’t look anything like the kind we see in the United States.

Better Road Building Tools.  At least one that allows for sharp junctions and more control over where they can be placed.  Mod’s fix this but why not the vanilla game?

Conclusion

While Cities Skylines has weaknesses, it is still a great city builder and simulator especially with mods.

Do you play Cities Skylines? What do you enjoy about Cities Skylines? Let me know in the comments!


My System specs

Heres a quick look at my computer system. Yes I told you it was old but surprising Cities Skylines still runs okay (without many assets).   Microsoft Windows 10 Pro   System Type: 64 bit AMD Phenom(tm) II X4 945 Processor x4  NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti 4gb ram)


Cities Skylines

Cities Skylines Disasters expansion on Steam

Paradox Interactive

Cities Skylines on Steam

Find me on Steam

Hope

Audacity

Fullyfreefilms.com


Image source from my in-game screenshots

It’s 2018: Revisiting Cities Skylines

cs_snow

Today we revisit Cities Skylines, the city builder simulator/game (for computer and now consoles).  Remember? It’s that game that tried to replace SimCity 2013 and for many of us, was successful for the most part.  I have reviewed Cities Skylines in the past but there have been quite a few expansion packs and mods released since then so I figured it’s a great time to get a fresh look at the game and what I think about it in 2018.

Criticisms and Recommendation

While I do not hesitate to recommend this game especially for you who enjoy computer city builders like SimCity, I haven’t shied away from noting some frustrations with the game as well.  And at that time, the primary feature I have needed to force myself to overlook is the non-American influence and look of the in-game building models, vehicles, signage, road and track styles (Cantenary lines), etc no option to change them without mods.   Of course, since this game was made in Europe I can kind of understand the European influence but this isn’t always the case with games no matter who makes them.  (Police 10-13 for example is being made in Australia and as far as I can tell, appears to be quite American.)

Expansion Packs

Now it’s 2018 and Cities Skylines remains the only city builder for computer that has withstood the test of time and in my opinion has only gotten better.  There are expansion packs and DLC which enhance the game.  I will only be commenting on the expansion packs I have installed.

There is After Dark, which brings a few night related policies and styles to the game.  Snowfall, which brought snow-covered maps to the game, including trams for any map but did not bring us seasons, more on that later.  Match Day adds a Futball/Football stadium, which in America we refer to as Soccer.  There is the Mass Transit expansion which notably adds some more transportation options, such as Blimps, Large Airport, Taxi, Monorails, Cable Cars suspended from a cable (not to be confused with San Francisco cable cars) and ferries.  The final expansion pack I have installed as of this post is Natural Disasters.  The Natural Disasters Expansion features as you might assume naturally occurring ways to destroy your city (then rebuild it), such as flaming Meteor, Earthquake, Tsunami, Forest Fire, Building Collapse, Sinkhole, Lightning strike and Tornado.  In addition to some disaster related buildings and options, this expansion also adds helicopter air support including police patrol, fire, search and rescue and medical choppers to the game. Green Cities is the most recent expansion pack to be released which I can’t comment on since I don’t have that one, yet.

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What Do I Really Think of the Expansion Packs?

SnowFall

In my opinion, all of the expansion packs offer something important to enhance the overall game-play of Cities Skylines.  For example, in the Snowfall expansion pack the included trams are a necessity if you want to build a proper city.  SimCity 2013 included trams by default so SimCity fans will love having trams from the Snowfall expansion. Mods will let your download custom trams (such as this awesome cable car from San Francisco by stockjr97) which enhanced the city experience.  I recommend picking the Snowfall expansion pack up on a sale (either Steam or the Paradox website).  Also as the title suggests, snow is included but not as a season.  (boo hoo)

Neglecting seasons or at least Winter/Summer city building on the SAME map is a mistake because even the Sims 3 has snow and summer on the same map.  Right now, with Snowfall, (without mods in the game) a Winter map must be chosen in order to see snow and to enjoy some included winter parks such as an ice rink, ice sculpture park snowman park, sky lodge, curling, snowboarding, Christmas tree and more.  Water line heating has also been introduced with this expansion but I have not experienced it as a necessity on a non Winter map.

Mass Transit

Mass Transit expansion is a must for the added transportation options it brings to the game even if you don’t want to use them all at the same in your cities (but we try, right?).  Why wasn’t trams included with this pack?  I’ll try to understand, it’s about marketing.

Natural Disasters

In my opinion, the Natural Disasters expansion is fantastic simply for the helicopters which get added to the game!  Random disasters can be turned off in the options menu and just as in SimCity, any disaster can be summoned at will whenever—if you so choose. (Although I have noticed a curious increase in tree fires in my city since I have installed this pack).   However if you do unleash a disaster or two, remember you might want to save your city first.   (by the way Paradox, we want Alien UFO’s and a large monster to eat the buildings)

After Dark

In the After Dark expansion, I am not totally sure all that it does but it will include a prison, prisoner transport van,  nice hotel, casino, and some policies as they relate to tourism and leisure especially after dark.  Oh I get it, After Dark!   (by the way, the day/night cycle was already included in the game for free in an update.)

Conclusion

So is Cities Skylines better in 2018?  The short answer is an obvious yes but mostly because of expansion packs and mods.  The modding community has been busily creating more great content and in my opinion necessary content to the game.  I may need to do a post about that soon.

Do you play Cities Skylines? What do you enjoy about Cities Skylines? Let me know in the comments!

 


Cities Skylines

Cities Skylines Disasters expansion on Steam

Paradox Interactive

Cities Skylines on Steam

Find me on Steam

Hope

Audacity

Fullyfreefilms.com


Image source from my in-game screenshots

How to destroy a city without losing it in Cities Skylines – Natural Disasters

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If you have the Natural Disasters expansion pack for Cities Skylines it’s pretty simple to wreak havoc on your city with say, a tornado, an earthquake or a meteor strike (or two or three) without actually losing the hard work you put into building your town.  That is, assuming you save it first.

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Manually Save Your City First (Disable Auto Saving and Random Disasters)

Besides simply saving your city, there are a couple of things you must do to preserve your city or town if you want to for example, watch that Tsumani flood your town.  But before you watch any natural disaster level your city, if you don’t want to permanently lose your city you will need to also disable AUTO SAVING of your game and disable random disasters.  Disabling these two options are very important if you don’t want any surprises later.

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Disable Auto Saving and Random Disasters

In the options menu (on the main menu) or within the gameplay menu while in-game you must uncheck all the entries for automatically saving your game (such as to save a game automatically every 10 minutes or more).  Why do this?  Doing this insures you will have full control over your city before and after a disaster strikes.   You don’t want the game to overwrite your city with an auto saved destroyed copy of your city by mistake!  You will also need the make sure the Random Disasters option is unchecked too.

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When you are sure the appropriate options are disabled (not checked), you can build your city and prepare your city for its impending doom.  (If you have a created a city already that want to see a disaster strike, load that saved city and just remember to make sure all the options I have mentioned above are disabled before you unleash any disasters!)

If you haven’t already, you can add some of the buildings to your city which are included with the Disasters expansion such as an evacuation bunker, early warning system, helicopter depots and radio antenna if you so choose.  It’s up to you what you do before you destroy your city just make sure it’s manually saved if you want to access it later.

 

Pick a disaster and watch the aftermath

When you are satisfied with your saved city, you are ready to pick a disaster.

The destruction caused by the disaster can be pretty devastating on your city but no worries because if you did everything correctly you will always have an untouched saved copy waiting to be destroyed again, and again if you so choose!

Obvious but important note:  Do not save your city after a disaster (without renaming the destroyed city first)  if you want have access to your original untouched city in the future.


Disclaimer:
My tips are intended for entertainment purposes and not officially endorsed by the maker of Cities Skylines. If you don’t want to lose your city, please save it. I will not be responsible for lost cities.

Like Cities Skylines? Read my review here

Like Simcity? Read about my updated SimCity (2013) (aka SimCity 5) experience here.

 


Cities Skylines

Cities Skylines Disasters expansion on Steam

Cities Skylines on Steam

Find me on Steam

Hope

Audacity

Fullyfreefilms.com


Image source from my in-game screenshots

Would you be interested in a family-friendly version of Grand Theft Auto?

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The question was once raised, “Would you be interested in a family friendly version of Grand Theft Auto?”

And my response is, absolutely.  By now, there are mods available which turn GTA games including GTA 5 into a similar family friendly gaming experience.  Yet I believe there is money to be made for any game company/developer who developed a GTA 5 style open world game without the extensive profanity, sex and violence (specifically against others) which GTA games are known for.  Essentially it could be GTA 5 lite.  This game would feature the same map, same natural environment including AI traffic but different gameplay options.  Police patrol? Yes. Catch bad guys? Yes.  Cause explosions? Sure.  Fly?  Drive?  Run? Yes, yes and yes.

In-game options are always good

Another option would be for Rockstar games to include a filter(s) within their games.  Simple on or off options for language.  Street dialogue profanity on/off.  Assassin’s creed Black Flag includes a similar option to remove blood.

We already see games which feature beautiful scenery but do not focus on swearing, sex and violence at every turn.  The CREW Wild Run is a perfect example.  However, The CREW only features a driving mode.  No running, walking, doing police patrols, exiting your car, etc.  In fact you can’t get out of your car at all.

Just Cause 2 is another example of a great open world game without sex and extensive swearing. In fact, the swearing can be virtually eliminated by lowering the volume for dialogue.  However, Just Cause 2 does not feature a modern American style city nor a map or vehicles like GTA 5.  Additionally, there is a lot of violence in Just Cause 2 (explosions and commando style shooting)—against the bad guys.

Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption outside of missions doesn’t even feature all the sex, violence and swearing one can find in GTA 5.  Red Dead Redemption isn’t available for a PC nor does the map feature a modern American-like city.  In fact, RDR is a western game.

Modding GTA games

An open world game that virtually eliminates swearing, sex and allows the player assume the role of a good guy or as a cop will get my business.

At this point I will note the mod for GTA 5 called LSPDFR. LSPDFR is a police mod essentally allowing the player become a cop in the GTA 5 world.   The trouble with mod’s is how they cause GTA games to crash.  In the meantime, I will be waiting for a permanent solution to LSPDFR or even the family friendly mod for GTA 5.  Is Police 10-13 going to be that game?

 

Would you like to see a GTA 5 family friendly version or similar?


The Crew and the state of open world games

Third Person Open World Games Miss the Mark

Police 10-13

Audacity

180movie

Athiest Movie

 


Image source

Review: How Does Project Highrise Rate in 2017?

 

PH_full

 

This review is for Project Highrise plus the available DLC (Las Vegas, Miami Malls and Tokyo Towers). I purchased this game as a bundle on a Steam sale which included the available DLC and the base game Project Highrise.

Initial Observations

Contrary to what I have read, Project Highrise in my opinion is not much like the old 1990’s Sim Tower.  Yes, you can build a tall building and yes there are animated people walking around and yes there are offices, hotels, restaurants and apartments but for me that is as close as those two games get to being the same.  I consider Project Highrise more in line with a city builder such as Cities Skylines because of the required planning and management aspects to it.

Tutorials are Helpful

For me there has been a slight learning curve to discovering the game’s mechanics.  The included tutorials are extremely helpful although they only scratch the surface for how the game operates.  Playing with unlimited resources I found has given me the best experience and the most fun in learning the game.

DLC Adds Variety to Game

As of this writing, I have not played Project Highrise (PH) without the DLC but as far as I can tell, the added DLC (Las Vegas, Miami Malls, and Tokyo Towers) are welcome (essential?) additions in making PH an enjoyable experience. The DLC gives the game depth and variety with its added hotel building expansion which includes casinos, stores, art galleries, event venues, in addition to apartments, office and multi-level lobbies. Who doesn’t want to add stores, hotels, casinos and event venues to their tower?  Get it all with a Steam sale and you can’t go wrong.

Additional note about DLC (Las Vegas, Miami Malls and Tokyo Towers):  As catchy or flashy as the DLC titles may sound, their function is simply generic in the game.  What I mean is the Las Vegas DLC adds generic hotels, casinos, and event venues as options to PH (all things one might see in Las Vegas). The Miami Malls expansion adds generic mall related spaces such as mall security, demo booths, or a mall directory with a variety of stores to choose from. Tokyo Towers adds a generic Japanese flare to apartments, art, and lobbies within the game.

Choose the kind of buildings you wish to create

In Project Highrise you get to choose the direction you want to take your building beside just up, whether it be by adding hotels, apartments, stores, businesses or a combination of all of these (must have the DLC).  It’s up to you (mostly) because you get to choose the types of tenants who will make up your tower. (This is different from Sim Tower where in that game I believe the specific types of food eateries, restaurants and establishments were randomly chosen for you.) PH gives you much greater control and variety in who will move into your building. (A pizza place or a Mexican restaurant? A pet store or an electronics store? You get to decide from a list of choices.)  Again, this is why I highly recommend the additional DLC.

Graphics and Sound

Both the graphics and sound of PH are decent but are nothing earth shattering. The game could do more with additional animations and sound effects which would add a little more vibrancy to the game.

Unlimited Money and Resources Game-play Option

In the main menu, there is an unlimited money feature which allows for more creative and faster building from the start. In my opinion, this feature alone makes the game worth a purchase.  However, it’s important to note that even with the unlimited money and resources option enabled, not all in-game building options will be available at the start (although plenty will be). This applies to things like 2 floor apartments, large luxury apartments, large hotel suites, casinos, large offices, metro transit, etc. (See Your Tenants can be needy people below.)

Not to fret though because having the extra money, prestige, buzz, and influence available are also important for greater possibilities to growing your building faster, bringing in consultants, fulfilling contracts and opening up a variety of future tenants.

Depth of Gameplay

Consultants are an essential part of PH and add an enormous amount of depth to the game.  With influence the player can add consultant offices which in turn will open up more available options for constructing the perfect building.  There are four types of consultant offices and tracks to choose from: Aesthetics, Politics, Operations and Tourism. Aesthetics pertain to art, sculptures and galleries in your building and also to its general appearance.  Politics consultants lift some limitations and codes on building heights and will allow for public transportation.  Operations pertain to the inner workings and maintenance of your building such as the number of workers available and the speed at which they build. The Tourism consultants open up the building to allow event venues, hotels and the construction of casinos.

Buzz allows for campaigns or ad’s to be placed to bring in more people to your tower, lower the costs of building materials or improve the overall moral of office workers among other things.

Prestige stars reflect the level of the good in your building and the happiness (or sadness) of your tenants and visitors. You gain and lose prestige stars by forming various actions in game or allocating space for specific tenants.  Unhappy tenants and other factors can lower your Prestige level (the number of stars you have).

Optional Contracts

Project Highrise features optional contracts which are basically a checklist of goals and achievements you can obtain depending on the particular deal or contract you sign. For example, one contract might be to bring in a specific number of people into your tower (grow your population). There is no time limit to complete this task and when your tower reaches that number in population as specified in the contract, you will receive a cash reward for completing the contract.  Note: Fulfilling contracts help build your wealth faster especially if you are not playing with unlimited resources

Your Tenants can be needy people

Tenants who you might wish to occupy a space in your tower will have needs or requirements that must be met before they can be placed in your building. Some have few needs like electricity and water while others have many.

This is very important in understanding who can move in immediately and who will have to wait. For example, a luxury two-bedroom apartment might need special cleaning services, handyman services, trash pick-up and more variety of restaurants and cafes  placed in your building before a luxury apartment can be placed in your building. IMO the necessity to check these needs of prospective tenants adds a great deal of depth to the game-play.  For some players, meeting these needs might become frustrating but for me it added an awesome element of realism and depth to the game.

Prestige stars are also necessary in order to bring in specific tenants.

A little bit like SimCity or Cities Skylines

Offices, stores, apartments, hotel rooms and other selected tenants need electricity to run and be happy.  Some of these tenants also need water, a phone line, cable TV or Air Conditioning (hotels). Therefore as you might guess, planning and setting up your buildings infrastructure is important in Project Highrise.

Unlike Sim Tower, elevators in PH do not need to be monitored for capacity and usage times.  However, their location does matter depending on what type of tenant you choose to locate nearby.  Some businesses or apartments for example may not be happy if placed next to the elevators.

In addition, smells, noise levels etc, must be monitored to keep your tower dwellers happy.

Lots of Space

One awesome thing I love about Project Highrise is the amount of space you have available to build your tower or towers.  The player is actually given a few options in the main menu. There is Standard, Narrow, Short and Wide or Extra Large.  I found the Extra Large option to be a wonderful amount of space to build a huge (or spread-out) tower or even multiple ones! Of course, if you choose the smaller play areas (which aren’t that small at all), the option to expand your building opens up with a building permit which you can obtain by adding influence and the proper consultant offices!

Room for improvement

Like many games which are good, Project Highrise also has room for improvement.

Poor in-game music

PH lacks music options during game-play. In fact there is only soundtrack available and IMO was a poor choice for this game. Unless you enjoy repetitive elevator music, you may agree.  However, allowing a music style selector (or mod) available would greatly enhance the music options. Fortunately, the music can be turned off completely.

More animations and visuals to enhance the game quality

The current animations and sound effects in the game are fine but having additional animations, visuals and sound effects would further enhance the game’s overall quality, likeability and charm.  For example in the pet store, it would be wonderful if the cat and dog moved and we saw people actually purchase items from the stores or sit down and eat at the restaurants rather than just stand or walk through them. (Yes, there is a very large hamburger that appears on the tables but I didn’t always see anybody eating them.)

Store names don’t always match the in-game graphical representation

Now I realize this is a game and not to be taken too seriously but I still noticed when the model train store had dolls in it instead of expected model trains and that some restaurants look eerily similar.

Why not display all tenant needs and requirements from the categories menu?

The game could do better job at how it displays the requirements and needs for tenants in general. Currently (as far as I can tell) the player must first allocate tenant space (at no cost) in order to view the needs of that prospective tenant only to find you need to delete that space because your tower doesn’t yet fulfill those requirements.  There should be a way of displaying the needs of tenants from the categories or selection menu before anything is placed in the building. While it doesn’t cost anything to allocate the space, it is an unnecessary extra step the developers might want to consider eliminating to make the game-play less tedious.

A faster third speed would be nice

Waiting for things to develop can be a looonnng wait.  The current speeds available are normal and fast.  Sometimes fast isn’t quite fast enough.

Escalators and Parking Spaces

Wish there were escalators and parking spaces.  Some two story malls stores include an escalator already but it would great to be able to add one in addition to the elevators and stairs.  Where are the parking spaces for cars to park?  This little nugget was part of Sim Tower and I miss it.

A big picture view

When your tower gets big sometimes it can be difficult to spot what is making someone upset in your building and it can be especially tedious to search for specific tenants or that elusive recycling bin or eatery to check its stats.  Having a view available which displays all tenants located in your building each broken into categories with specific stats, might go a long way to making them easier to find especially when something goes wrong.

My Rating of Project Highrise

Overall, I would highly recommend this game especially if you enjoy city builders and a Sim Tower style game.  My nine-year-old daughter can also attest to the fun factor this game provides.

Get the game plus DLC in a bundle on a Steam sale for $10-$15 and it’s a great deal.

At the 10 dollar price point, my rating for Project Highrise (with DLC) is 4 stars (out of 5)

Have you played Project Highrise? Did you like it? Dislike it? Let me know what you think of the game in the comments below.


Project Highrise on Steam

Project Highrise Bundle Steam

Simcity 5 in 2017

Raising the Bar in Gaming

Police 10-13

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Raising the Bar in Gaming: Top Realistic Style Open-World Police Games in 2017

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Listing the Top Sandbox Style Police Games

So what are the top, most realistic, most exciting, graphically pleasing, sandbox style police games/sims available in 2017?  Unfortunately, I know of none to speak of……..yet.  Not to fret though, Wingman Games is currently working on fixing that with the development of Police 10-13.  Police 10-13 is a game that has the potential of finally raising the bar in gaming and filling a void in the gaming world with a realistic quality police simulator.

An Exercise in Futility

The gaming world is known for all genres and styles of kids and family games.  Some kids games (and family games) feature adorable animals, digital dolls, bricks, puzzles, building skills, driving, racing and more.  Then there are also realistic simulation style games such as X-plane and FSX or various vehicle simulators which allow a person to drive and race cars, drive a truck, a tractor, a ship and even a train!   He or she can build a model city, manage a town, go to war, shoot zombies, shoot aliens, shoot people, inhabit alien planets, build roller coasters, fight monsters and demonic beings or even kill the police.  Most of these games feature excessive violence, sex and such grotesque profanity not even gamers on YouTube will use it on their channel.  It’s true the modern gamer has many gaming options available.  However, if you are searching or have been searching like me, for a game that respects and features law enforcement as the hero in an open-world style environment, you will be disappointed.

The Search Continues

The most disappointing part about my search for a good police game is not that it doesn’t exist. With the more recent advancements in computer graphics and technology, I have been especially disappointed to find out this type of police game isn’t only possible to make but it could have already been done.  In fact, in the past 15 years of gaming, game developers have already built police and law enforcement models and vehicles right into their games and they did it well.  GTA 4 and 5 for example, have featured great looking graphical representations of police and law enforcement operations–just from the wrong side of the law.  Driving simulations and games such as The Crew, various truck simulators, and many Need For Speed titles have also featured great looking police vehicles, chases, sounds and lights. However, for gamers looking for a that realistic yet fun police simulator, these games are not.

What’s the Problem

The biggest problem with these games has been their lack of option and/or unnecessary content.  Any open-world game like as GTA does not give the player the option to remove excessive violence, profanity and unnecessary sex, nor do they allow one to play as the police.  If such a game does allow one to play from the law enforcement side of things, such as NFS Rivals), they are always accompanied by unrealistic side affects built right in.  These highly unrealistic modes or features can include but are not limited to: ramming, shooting, shocking, more ramming, jamming and similar abilities in order to get another vehicle to stop during a chase, (again, think NFS Rivals or NFS: Hot Pursuit).  Albeit these unrealistic features add brief moments of gaming joy, but generally I find their inability to allow role-playing as a police officer in a respectful and realistic manner will always hinder any chance of these types of games from becoming truly great.

Good News For Police Game Seekers

The good news is that for the millions of gaming fans who have been seeking (and patiently waiting) for a graphically feature rich open-world game which represent law enforcement in a positive light, will finally get their wish. Many law enforcement and gaming fans like myself are anticipating a great police experience in the eventual release of Police 10-13.  This game promises to be all the things many gaming police fans are hoping for–without skimping on graphics and overall quality.  (Support Police 10-13) (Roadmap of Police 10-13)

Honorable Mentions

For now, there is another game I have recently discovered (despite being released in 2006) called 911 First Responders/Emergency 4 and although not open-world, it does feature law enforcement and first responders in some realistic situations.  The game may be graphically dated and not a third-person sandbox style game but there is the ability to add MODS which for me breathes fresh life into this top-down strategy based game. Find my review on Steam here.

Also worth mentioning is a game called Enforcer: Police-Crime-Action.  If you can find it for $5 or less this game is worth playing.  (Note: Steam has periodic sales) The game is an open-world style game which allows the player to take on the role of a police officer, sort of.  Enforcer is an indie game which can be modded also helping to lift some of its built-in but nearly game breaking limitations.  The graphics are somewhat dated but for a cheap price it’s worth a look.  Find my review on Steam here.

 


Police 10-13 – (Currently in Developement)

Police 10-13 coming to Steam

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My Take on Open-World Games and Police 10-13

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Like many things, the gaming world is no stranger to oddities.  And when it comes to open-world sandbox style games this reality takes center stage.   For me, simulation gaming is not only fun but can also be educational.  Gaming for many is visual so when a game creates a breathtaking realistic looking environment to play in, both casual and die-hard gamers take note.

Stunning Graphics

For example, flight sims such as X-plane or Microsoft Flight Simulator have the ability to carry one to another place all from the comfort of the home computer.  These games are not only fun but for the most part they provide a clean, safe, toxic and profanity free entertainment.   Many driving sims such as American Truck Simulator and similar games rise to the same level of gaming entertainment.  Even games like NFS Rivals, or Forza games allow for relatively toxic free gaming environments.  Enter open-world games such as Grand Theft Auto, Saints Row, Watch Dogs 2, Assassins Creed to name a few, and a person’s toxic free gaming experience vanishes.

Let me explain.  The graphics of X-plane 11 rise to a new standard in realism as do the graphics for most modern open-world games such as GTA V.  However, besides the sandbox nature of both games and the visually stunning graphics, there isn’t much to compare in terms of the quality of content.   Which brings to me my main point about gaming.

Popular Games

Where is the open-world game as visually mesmerizing as GTA V or X-plane 11 and one that features free roam driving, flying etc but without the vulgar profanity, obscene sexual content and excessive violence?  I have no doubt developers have the ability to develop such a game.  In fact GTA games would get my vote (and many others) if they had removed (or allowed for) the removal of swearing, unending blasphemy and lewd sexual content.  After all, kids do play these types of games–lots of kids.  And why do they?  I doubt it’s for the grotesque sexual content or even the swearing.  I believe millions of kids (and adults) play open-world games because they are fun to explore, free roam, and do stunts within a graphically rich environment.  It is my view that exposing anyone to lewd sex acts, treating women as nothing but sex objects, glorifying murder and raw abuse and wrapping it with unending cussing only will prove to degrade and desensitize society against such behavior.   (These points alone is why Barack Obama was and is so popular and Donald Trump or Ted Cruz is not.  It is also a principle reason why Jesus was murdered and God is hated.)

Game Ruining Material

Let me ask this.  What does driving a car have to do with citizens on the street insulting and swearing at you when you pass by?  Nothing.  What does flying a plane or helicopter have to do with featuring inappropriate sexual behavior?  Nothing.   What does getting the choice to drive various vehicles featured in-game have to do with waterboarding and torture of fellow human beings? Nothing, that is unless developers choose to write a story which includes it.  And with all open-world games that I know of, this has been essentially the case.   Yet, as developers have shown the corruptness of their hearts by writing these types of sub-par stories, a developer and game company could raise the standard in gaming and write a truly great story that all adults and teens could enjoy.

A New Choice

There is one game that is currently in development that I hope will be one of the first, if not the first to raise that standard for open-world gaming.  That game is called Police 10-13.  It aims to be a realistic police simulator set in an open-world environment.  Police 10-13 has great potential to become a one-of-kind sandbox game featuring beautiful graphics without the unnecessary baggage that has kept so many people from playing other open-world games.

 

 

 


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The Anger and Vulgarity Free Open World Game: Will We Ever See It?

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First, I am an adult who enjoys playing simulation style video games.   And like many other people who live on this planet that God has created for us to live on,  have beliefs and boundaries that we do not seek to cross.  That does not mean we don’t like to have fun.

A higher standard in open-world gaming

It’s too bad someone doesn’t make a game with the beauty, magnitude and detail seen in the map featured in GTA 5 and others.  Will we ever see a game that can be freely explored on land, by rail, in the air, in or on the water without being subject to hate-filled angry citizens who repeatedly insult, curse or swear whenever they are passed. When will there be a beautiful game world that does not feature vulgar, immoral sexual encounters, unnecessary violence and murder?   For people who believe this is acceptable and simply part of the game, it’s no wonder so many people would have no desire to go to heaven in real life.  Maybe now would be a good time to pause to take the good person test.

The responsibility of game developers

In a game I would play, there would naturally be some blood if an in-game police officer or criminal was shot (part of police and military work by the way).  Why should this be considered  excessive violence?  It wouldn’t be in my kind of game.  And in my kind of game there would be a filter option for people who might want to remove blood completely.  In my kind of game, unnecessary anger and vulgarity would not be found.

Speaking of filters, as far as I know, GTA developers have never included an offensive content filter in any of their games.  And why not?  They target 17-year-old kids. They target adults.  They target anyone who wants to explore a beautifully crafted game world and drive a car, plane or boat.   What kid doesn’t want to drive a car, train, plane or boat, do stunts or see explosions.  I know I do and I am not a kid.

Reality shows us that there is a blatant disdain for moral values (especially Biblical ones) among developers—hence games that feature fun plus unnecessary trash are created.  It’s true that as much as the developers may disagree with my worldview and participate in these types of vulgarites in real life (or simply lack a mindset that fears God), does not mean that there aren’t people (like myself) who disagree with this Godless lifestyle.  And it certainly does not mean we don’t desire to drive a car or complete missions in game like GTA 5 that can be vulgar and hate free.  We already have mods (that crash) which allow this type of adventure, so why not a complete standalone game?

 

If you agree, let me know in the comment section below!


 

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