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A behind-the-scenes look at the development of SimCity BuildIt Regions

Game GM Inka Vikman discusses expanding SimCity BuildIt gameplay across stunning vistas

Concept to Completion

The latest SimCity™ BuildIt update, Regions, features three exciting new maps that allow builders to expand their city into a world!

From concept to completion, Game GM Inka Vikman walks us through the development process and gives us insight into why the team decided to create Regions. 

Hi Inka, can you tell us about your work on SimCity BuildIt?

Hei! I’m Inka, Game GM for SimCity BuildIt.

I work with a talented team of artists, engineers and designers at the Tracktwenty studio located in Helsinki, Finland.

For the past 5 years, as a studio, we have crafted this amazing title to the next level.

I am responsible for introducing fun, new experiences to players and building them out with my team.

How did the team arrive at the decision to expand the game and develop SimCity BuildIt Regions?

The number one ask from the community has been “more land” – and we have heard you!

You asked for it, but we wanted to surpass your wishes and expectations and deliver something new and inspiring. We thought about delivering three new maps with new content instead.

What gameplay considerations did you have for the three new city maps?

We wanted to extend the builder journey, introduce new puzzles, and expand gameplay across stunning vistas.

Were there any challenges for the development team when creating the new maps?

Regions was one of the development team’s all-time favourite updates; they also wanted to make it happen. The time was right, we were excited to be able to create something completely new for our players and could not stop playing it ourselves!

Early map concepts

How did the development team use experiments or research to build out the earliest versions of Regions?

I discussed the vision with my Technical Director, and he got so excited that the first prototype of Regions was created by the next day! Our team of artists explored visual directions with designers, and mapped out multiple options before we decided on which ones we were going to make. Prior surveys indicated that our players would like to see ecological cities, more beaches and more variety with residential sets. Our players love nature, and we believe Limestone Cliffs is the most beautiful map ever!

The number one ask from the community has been “more land” – and we have heard you!

Can you tell us more about the development process from a design perspective?

Antanas Gudonis (Lead Artist): After deciding on the themes for the new maps, we created very quick 3D concepts to explore different colors, basic landmarks and composition.

Next we developed grids of buildable areas for each map, which we used as a base to create 3D models of landscapes around.

After we were happy with terrain mesh, we started adding details such as rocks and trees to make the maps more alive.

During final stages of development, we fine-tuned the colors, added birds, clouds and various particle effects.

There were quite a lot of changes during the development process of the three new maps.  We were trying to make distances between various buildable areas feel more natural, make camera angles work properly and find the correct amount of details given the constraints of mobile platforms.

Development concept art

What are some of the new visuals and features players will experience in Cactus Canyon, Green Valley and Limestone Cliffs, and how are the regions differentiated from each other?

Green Valley introduces three game areas to build on, and one of the areas is an Island with two beaches! This map offers sustainable living options for citizens, as players can build houses with urban rooftop gardens. Players can offer organic food market services to their citizens and go green with more ecological crafting options!

Green Valley map

Cactus Canyon has a beautiful red canyon feel to it, where citizens can be provided with gas stations, and craft with oil when producing car tires etc.

Cactus Canyon map

Limestone Cliffs is a stunning map with new shades of green, nature and rivers. The contrast of the urban city really makes the map come to life. For min-maxers, who will try to maximise population, this map is a fun puzzle to solve, as the city layout is actually a H-shape. 

Limestone Cliffs map

In addition to Regions maps, players can complete new tasks with Contest of Mayors, as they unlock these new maps. Trading HQ is available on all the maps too. 

Is there anything that you would like to expand on about the development process for Regions?

Creating something new like this, reminded us of the times when we first made this game.

There were new creative problems that we needed to solve as we explored new map layouts, we also felt like we really challenged ourselves to take risks with these new maps. In the future, we want to work on more maps as they are fun to make and play.

We hope you enjoy Regions and give us feedback on what you want to see next!

______________________

Explore all three new maps in SimCity BuildIt Regions!

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