Cities of Tomorrow Review
Cities of Tomorrow is the first expansion of SimCity. As the name suggest it has a futuristic theme. Maxis’ prediction on our future is however a bit interesting. There are two possible futures, one where Controlnet is vital to have, because they manage all services. The other future is where Omega is the key, a (legal) product of sort that your Sims will want all the time. There is no exact definition of what Omega is, but it sure sounds like something that we consider illegal.
Machine or substance dependency, no enlightened future for our Sims!
The Academy and ControlNet
With the Academy you can research new buildings that will help your city prosper. These buildings can also help keep your city clean. Ground scrubber is a perfect example, it turns ground pollution into air pollution. Air pollution can then either blow away (hello neighbors) or clean that away using an Air Scrubber Crown.
Research requires researchers and this is where your high wealth workers will be good for something! They research (much) faster than medium or low wealth workers, an academy can also hold more high-wealth workers vs the medium/low-wealth.
It is not as perfect as it sounds, there is ControlNet (skynet – terminator?). All the new futuristic buildings that are enabled using Academy research require Controlnet to function. The Academy and to a lesser extend the ControlNet Facility build up this ControlNet. So you cannot just build the Academy, take all the research and then get rid of the Academy/Controlnet facility. Smart Academy people, they made themselves indispensable.
However these futuristic buildings are awesome and well worth the effort, the following table shows all of them:
The Academy Research Information
|Name||Research Cost||Effect of new buildings|
|Maglev Station||§5,000||Allows the Maglev public transport|
|Sewage Sanitizer||§5,000||Tuns sewage directly into water|
|Wind/Solar Power Amplifiers||§5,000||Allows new buildings for the wnd and solar power plants|
|Academy Level Upgrade 2||Free||Allows level 2 research and can build an Annex building|
|ControlNet Facility||§50,000||This building generates ControlNet for when the Academy does not produce enough|
|Waste Reduction Level||§50,000||This level in a MegaTower reduces waste|
|Wave Power Plant||§50,000||New Power plant, needs to be built next to the coast.|
|Skybridge||§50,000||This level can connect different MegaTowers together using Skybridge-roads|
|Fusion Power Plant||§50,000||New Power Plant, needs a lot of power before you can start it. Then it creates insane amount of power!|
|Nuclear Reactor Level||§50,000||Power plant that can be built inside a MegaTower|
|Mark II Air Scrubber Crown||§50,000||Crown that can be built on top of a MegaTower, it cleans up air pollution|
|Academy Level Upgrade 3||Free||Allows level 3 resarch can and build another Annex building|
|Garbage Atomizer||§75,000||Burns garbage without pollution|
|Advanced Wave Generator||§75,000||Generates more power than the regular wave generator|
|Fusion Reactor Level||§75,000||Power plant that can be built inside an Elite MegaTower|
|Academy Level Upgrade 4||Free||Allows level 4 research and can build another Annex building|
|Ground Scrubber||§100,000||Cleans up ground pollution and turns it into air pollution|
|Advanced Fusion Reactor||§100,000||Generates more power than the regular fusion reactor|
I want to put special focus on the Maglev, because it is one of my favourite. It allows you to build public transport on top of existing roads! And looks pretty cool too, I did find that my Omega-centered city did not use the Maglev as much as I would have liked. The awesome thing is also that the maglev station changes size whether you put it on a regular road or a highway.
I really like the Academy and that you have to put time/money into researching buildings and that it uses high wealth workers.
Sidenote: The Academy does turn your Industry into high-tech, make sure your Sims are educated!
Sidenote 2: Controlnet is a real thing, fortunately also less scary! It is a company that develops Smart Building Technology. Smart Buildings can monitor and control all of your building systems from any computer anywhere in the world without additional software.
Omega & Drones
I do not want to guess what “Omega” is, it is some kind of product that the omega factories sell to your industry who sell it to the commercial lots and that way gets in the hands of your innocent Sims. Who then cannot live without Omega. It also makes the city crazy amounts of money.
Omega is made from oil and raw ore, very healthy, it is just like Omega-3 right? 😉
Making Omega causes an extreme amount of pollution, but it also makes loads of simoleans! I also find that Sims who have Omega are easier to keep happy. But if the Omega supply stops, they will be extra unhappy.
After you get the upgrade in the OmegaCo headquarter, Omega factories can also build drones. Drones can range from personal shoppers for Sims or service drones. Service drones can help injured sims, arrest criminals and put out fires. Drones are not limited to roads [aka traffic jams], so their services are more efficient. Downside is they are made from processors and importing them gets expensive! If you have a household that loves Omega and have their own drones, they turn into gold membership. They give you double the omega profit than a regular household.
All in all, making omega gives you very fun gameplay but making your city addicted to something is not how I usually play as a Mayor! It is good to know that even when you import oil and raw ore, you can still make a profit with Omega, just make sure you have plenty of high wealth workers depended on the stuff!
Whenever you build a futurized building, be it a water tower, park or academy. The surrounding buildings and roads turn into their future self, with a lot of neon light! It looks absolutely beautiful as the next screenshot will show you.
There is even a new data layer that shows what influences the futurization and how far their radius expands.
Omega and Academy are apparently not enough gameplay to add to an EP for maxis. They have also added MegaTowers. This is where I got really excited! They are a challenge!
First off they are not cheap to build, require a lot of power and water. You can build 8 levels in a MegaTower, each level can be an apartment, service, mall or office. There are 2 types of towers, MegaTowers and Elite MegaTowers. The standard MegaTowers are more low-end. You can buy low or medium-wealth apartments and a nuclear reactor to produce power. While in an Elite MegaTower you can build medium-high wealth apartments and an fusion reactor level. Then you can put a useful Crown on top. The following tables show what you can build in each tower.
|Level Type||MegaTower||Elite MegaTower|
|Basic||Apartment Level (§) Low Wealth Resident Capacity: 1,200||Apartment Level (§§) Medium Wealth Resident Capacity: 600|
|Basic||Apartment Level (§§) Medium Wealth Resident Capacity: 600||Apartment Level (§§§) High Wealth Resident Capacity: 300|
|Basic||Mall Level (§) Low Wealth Shopper Capacity: 360||Mall Level (§§) Medium Wealth Shopper Capacity: 180|
|Basic||Mall Level (§§) Medium Wealth Shopper Capacity: 180||Mall Level (§§§) High Wealth Shopper Capacity: 90|
|Basic||Office Level (Low Tech) Total Jobs: 850||Office Level (Medium Tech) Total Jobs: 700|
|Basic||Office Level (Medium Tech) Total Jobs: 700||Office Level (High Tech) Total Jobs: 550|
|Services||Nuclear Reactor Level Power Production: 200 MW Air Pollution: None||Fusion Reactor Level Power Production: 400 MW Air Pollution: None|
|Services||Education Level Desks: 2,000||Education Level Desks: 1,200|
|Services||Waste Reduction Level Waste Capacity 0.4 Tons||Waste Reduction Level Waste Capacity 0.4 Tons|
|Services||Skybridge Station||Park Level Visitors per day: 960|
|Services||Park Level Visitors per day: 960||Skybridge Station|
|Services||Safety Level Law and FireDrones||Safety Level Law, Fire and MediDrones|
|Crowns||Gen. I Solar Power Crown Power Production: 200MW (during peak hours)||Mark VI Air Scrubber Crown Scrubber Capacity: 100 Tons|
|Crowns||Mark II Air Scrubber Crown Scrubber Capacity: 100 Tons||Gen. V Solar Power Crown Power Production: 400MW (during peak hours)|
|Crowns||Basic Tourism Crown Low Wealth: 150 – 10/tourist Med Wealth: 250 – 20/tourist||Elite Tourism Crown Med Wealth: 100 – 28/tourist High Wealth: 300 – 56/tourist|
|Crowns||SkyClops Coaster Crown Low Wealth: 150 – 10/tourist Med Wealth: 250 – 20/tourist||Hologram Advertising Crown Boosts profit from Mall and Office Level|
|Crowns||Billboards advertising Crown Boosts profit from Mall and Office Level||Biodome Park Crown Visitors per day: 960|
|Crowns||Tiered Park Crown Visitors per day: 960||–|
MegaTowers as the name suggests are massive to place, they take about 2×2 regular grids. I’ve found that if you have an area where you already have high density and happy residential buildings, that it is a good place to put a MegaTower.
Once you build a MegaTower and can build a few levels, you will think that it is the most amazing thing ever! And they are… you get employees of the right wealth level that your city needs, or you can create employment for unemployed workers. Just great right?
Sadly after a few months it crashes down, hard. Malls will stop making a profit, people who live in the building cannot find work (while there is plenty of work, my cities always require more workers). Eventually they stop being the cashcows they were at the start and you have to be careful to not go bankrupt.
It seems MegaTowers are going to require some more tuning in an update, something seems off. Why can’t unemployed people in a tower find employement nearby/outside the tower? Or why do all the shoppers from outside the tower not go into it?
Update: I’ve been informed that there is currently a bug with MegaTowers which makes Pedestrians stuck in the tower and then your Sims starve, making the tower fail. Obviously that has been happening to me a lot! The next patch will fix this.
This expansion pack comes with a new disaster, a huge robot jumps down on a building and steals energy. He can leave some oil if he is happy or radiation if unhappy. To unlock the Outworlder 6 disaster in your game you have to build 200 drones in a day and transmit 800 ControlNet.
What is neat is that even people who do not have the expansion pack can see the future! You can visit your neighbors and admire their amazing buildings. You can also send (read: infect) their city with omega, giving them amazing profit without the work or pollution 😉 Just make sure they keep sending! If the supply stops, Sims will not be happy.
There are no great works in this expansionpack and I think maxis missed the enterprise (Boat) here. Give us an insanely huge MegaTower that require either Omega or a ton loads of research to build!
Yeah, huge and fun opportunity missed here.
I have to say that this EP gave a surprising amount of gameplay, it is a whole new balancing game. It made SimCity challenging again and after quite a few hours of playing the game Im still not finished! It is not perfect because I really do think they should have added great works and MegaTowers do need some tweaking. Update: This will be fixed in the next patch!
I do have trust that the tweaking will be done, I think update 8.0 was already a great addition.
This review was written with the help of @jonstoniaa, who tested various aspect of the game, including checking that you can make a profit with Omega while importing all the goods, but that MegaTowers seriously need tweaking.