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DevBlog: Beauty Building Part 1 – City Attractiveness

Anno is a strategy series that asks its players to manage complex economies and to build vast cities. Since its the beginning, the franchise has always occupied a special place in the hearts of players who love spending hours creating stunning city dioramas from different eras, be It futuristic or historic.

While past Anno games have offered a variety of aesthetic buildings and ornaments to support that playstyle, the focus of the core gameplay always favored efficient city layouts and optimized production chains. With Anno 1800, we finally want to give those players with an eye for beauty the option to turn their beauty building into a valid and rewarding playstyle.

City Attractiveness – Power to the beauty builders
With Anno 1800, we are introducing a new system called “City Attractiveness”, which assigns every island its own attractiveness rating, which will affect various aspects of the gameplay.
Six different criteria will have a positive or negative effect on the overall attractiveness level of your island. Three positive aspects will raise your level when reaching a certain threshold of points, while the three opposing negative ones can cause a downgrade of your city rating.
This will elevate beauty building to an engaging endgame activity where reaching the highest attractiveness level becomes a challenge in itself. Reaping the harvest of your efforts will be quite rewarding, as it gives you access to special benefits such as unique visitors, among them specialist which can boost certain aspects of your city.
Let’s talk about the three different positive criteria first, as they give a good overview how you can actually influence the beauty of your island:

Culture: The cultural rating consist of all the cultural elements you have placed on your island, such as ornaments and cultural buildings. With that, you can not only boost your rating significantly with a well-planned park area, but can also benefit from transforming otherwise wasted spaces between production buildings with small ornaments and decals. Large projects like the world fair or special attractions like the zoo will not only be popular destinations for your own residents, but will as also attract generous visitors to your metropolis.

Nature: The industrial revolution changed not only our society, but also the surrounding environment significantly. With the expansion of modern industry, untouched and serene nature increasingly became a rarity. Every bit of natural landscape left on your island will benefit the nature rating which will naturally go down as your expanding city takes its toll. We will go more into detail about the nature feature at a future point, but we are planning that the player can have a direct impact on that rating by deciding to make room for Mother Nature by removing industry and other buildings.

Festivity: You remember how we emphasized that you are the writer of your own story and that your actions will decide if your people will see you as their progressive savior or as a robber baron? If you care about the happiness of your residents, supporting all their needs and providing them worthwhile distractions and attractions, your people will show their gratitude. Celebrations held by your happy citizen or from events such as the grand opening of the world fair will boost the attractiveness of your city greatly and impress tourists on your island. Similar to city incidents such as the Riot, celebrations will get a lavish visual representation.

The three positive criteria cover a variety of ways how maintaining a pleasant look-and-feel of your city will attract visitors. But rather than just adding attractiveness points in a linear manner, there are also three criteria which will have a negative influence and could even downgrade the attractiveness level of your island:

Inelegance: Certain buildings are simply not a good looker. A strolling pedestrian might not be very font of the scent of a pig farm and the remnants of ruined buildings will damage the scenic look of your city. The system calculates the amount of unpleasant, noise producing and even smelly buildings- the odor of a 19th century soap factory is something for the faint of heart, or stomach.

Pollution: Every production building has a certain pollution factor, indicated by a variety of visual feedback. While some smaller production and manufacturing buildings might only blow a small amount of white smoke out of their chimneys, the black clouds coming from full-blown industrial districts are not kind to the lungs of your residents.

Instability: City incidents such as groups of demonstrators rioting through the streets are a rather unsettling experience. From civil unrest to blazing fires, every kind of incident will have a negative impact on the attractiveness of your city, albeit a (hopefully!) temporary one.

Find your own playstyle
Influencing criteria creates a balancing act, in which every positive aspect has its own counterpart. You can imagine them as three axis: culture against inelegance, nature against pollution and festivity against instability. Here are a few example how this can encourage a certain playstyle:

Culture versus Inelegance: Will you spend time to beautify your city with ornaments and cultural buildings or do you not care about that, leaving ruins or dirty buildings on your island. The fundamental question: are you a beauty builder at heart or someone who does not care about the aesthetic look of your city?

Natural Landscape versus Pollution: While humankind was always interfering with Mother Nature for its own needs, it was the industrial age where exploitation began at a previously unimaginable scale. Do you want to be the magnate, repressing nature for your steaming industrial machine, or an idealist who wants to preserve the slowly dwindling natural landscape as much as possible?

Festivity versus Instability: Are you a progressive thinker, who roots with his residents like a father who takes care of his children or the robber baron who dominates everyone for power and profit. It’s up to you how your residents will remember you.

While every positive criteria has its own counterpart, it does not mean that you have to strictly counter one element with another. Your city can be a true sanctum for culture and architectural wonders while an ocean of industrial chimneys belches black clouds into the sunny sky. As the attractiveness level is an accumulated value, you don’t have to reduce the amount of factories to benefit your cultural buildings; your marvelous parks can also be supported by the natural habitat of a nearby mountain range or by happy citizen celebration their benevolent governor.

You tell your own story – you create your own playstyle in Anno 1800
With our new feature, classic endgame activities such as controlling the worlds economy or military domination get additional company and with that, expand Anno’s gameplay quite significantly. 
We want to create a meaningful gameplay feature for every Anno player, where keeping your city at a high attractiveness level is a challenge with different rewarding outcomes. Moreover, as we always like to emphasize how the world of Anno shall remember your actions, the attractiveness level will affect your reputation and standing with other second party characters.
We briefly mentioned visitors and large-scale projects like the zoo. Only two of the many features, which are not only new to the world of Anno, but are also intricately connected to the city attractiveness of your island. With our next DevBlog, we want to talk about another fundamental, albeit more familiar feature in Anno 1800 but we will come back to you with the second part of the beauty-building highlight in the very near future.

While you probably picture visitors strolling around your parks, leaving a small fortune in your cities treasury, we are curious about your comments on the new feature. As you might see, it is a significant addition to the gameplay and such your comments can become a valuable pool of ideas and feedback for our team. We are looking forward to your comments!

17 Comments

  1. nemesis05 nemesis05

    Maybe paved streets could count as ornaments? They also look much, much better than the ornament ways..

  2. Lassalle001 Lassalle001

    1) People need to have the feeling of safety. No policewoman/man controlling the streets?
    2) no dustbins for all the trash?
    3) some rose/flower gardens could increase the value of every area. Ice/sweety traders would be nice to watch.

  3. alleria.sb alleria.sb

    Thank you for this glimpse into the new Anno world. I always loved this aspect of the game, and I’m looking forward to the fact that you’re making it a goal with this edition! Anno 1800 promises to be the prettiest yet of all Anno games.

    Looking at the landscape screenshot you have shared with this post, I’m thinking that some of the bigger fancy parks should be somewhat busier. In the 19th century people used to go out to see and be seen, as well as to meet people, so showing off a new carriage, pony riding, walking with a child’s stroller, young ladies socialising for the purpose of being admired, all these things should be more present in my opinion.

    Looking forward to more updates on this topic and thank you for sharing so generously with the community!

  4. Abdul-Atheem Abdul-Atheem

    I haven’t checked the website for about two weeks now and then I come back to all this beauty!! Great job guys!

  5. banan1996.1996 banan1996.1996

    I am really happy that you want to improve the endgame phase. Attractiveness of the island seems to be a great feature for doing it. I hope there will be more things like that.
    I love that ornamental buildings will have a particular function, now I will have a good reason for beautifying my cities besides just a pleasant view.
    It is also great to finally have a third source of income, not just taxes and trading.

    A big question is how much do I have to care about each of those six factors to achieve the highest island’s attractiveness rank? Will it still be possible with a few factories and/or some unhappy workers?

    Will there be more smaller monuments in addition to the world fair?

    Will there be a proper number indicating how much does a certain factory influence the pollution and unpleasantness of the island? It would be nice to see some information in the building menu.

  6. olblf olblf

    Very nice! Sounds like a system I, as a beauty builder, would enjoy!

    Anyway, is it only me or is the island in the screenshot tilting slightly? Might just be an illusion, but if you have really made some islands tilting (and still able to place buildings like that) I’m all aboard!

    Furthermore, will you be able to move buildings like in Anno 2205 in Anno 1800, or do you have to delete and replace them?

  7. AAnimanga86 AAnimanga86

    It is always nice to have a new challenge to get yourself work with. The question now is if the feature is here to give more variety to the game or do it more confusing. I think huge role will play the AI and the variety of buildings. I hope this game makes my love blossom again for the Anno series. So far looks good!

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  9. Swimming-Paul Swimming-Paul

    This is very cool and interesting information! I really hope that Anno 1800 will commemorate the classic end epicness of 1404 by including a big list of unlockable ornamentals. I perfectly remember the rewarding feeling in very long endless games, and how amazing they looked.

    When I saw the Culture criteria tab, I inmediataly thought that a public Library or a museum would be other amazing buildings to increase the complexity of this lovely new mechanic. Congratulations guys! The hype is real!

  10. MMateos19 MMateos19

    I don’t really care about the details that I can place by myself, but how many details the game has by default, for example, when you place several houses in a row and trees and elements in the garden appears. In other words, how smart the game is when knowing that houses are built close to each other and then says “ok, I can place here a wall or here some people taking some drinks in a table or some laundry getting dry over here” as the details of doors, streetlights, or as in Anno 2070 when you placed that green boulevard streets plants appeared in the middle, the smalls things like that.
    I also think that the details when building a building (naturally) are really important, for example when the materials are being carried to the construction place or some carpenters arguing about each other where to put this or that, or a construction manager giving orders to the builders. I know this might not be the case when building common housing, but for the important buildings the atmosphere has to be the same as it was in the real world, the same thing applied to fishing, building boats or harvesting stuff.
    But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to have a menu where I have the choice to place fountains, streets, parks or other decorative elements when the game is in its relaxed state, for sure! 🙂

  11. BlueBreath BlueBreath

    Beautification influencing gameplay is a feature I wanted since Anno 1404, glad you could add it to the game.
    I am wondering if those items have also an area of effect around them making some houses more attractive than others like Anno Online did it or it is just a global effect?

    Also does pollution affect population health?

  12. Heinrich_Hein Heinrich_Hein

    That empty white wall on the tower of the building in the background looks pretty sad. I’m hoping for some eye-candy buildings, not bland structures. I can create way nicer facades in minecraft.

  13. matt.9305 matt.9305

    Nice DevBlog, excellente work as always,
    For what I undertand this new feature -City Attractiveness- will work out analogus to Anno 2070 Ecobalance, is this correct?
    And as you already mention some of the benefits of having a high attractiveness, this mean that will we have disadvantages for having low or negative attractiveness? Like which ones?

  14. BertProesmans BertProesmans

    I like how this concept creates a new dynamic of previously unexploited gameplay potential. The flexibility and open-endedness facilitating “create your own playstyle” as described sounds great, i hope it delivers on the expectations.
    Good job!

  15. guest-9UKKxdQU guest-9UKKxdQU

    Interessant ! En ce qui concerne la décoration ça serait vraiment sympa d’en mettre beaucoup, comme le mod IAAM (anno 1404 -> http://www.noelshack.com/2016-50-1481722930-screenshot0020.jpg , http://www.noelshack.com/2015-39-1442869777-screenshot0000.jpg , ma ville ) Si vous ne pouvez pas rajouter de combat terrestre, est ce qu’il y aurait au moins la possibilité de rajouter des soldats autant que décoration ? comme dans ce screen : http://www.noelshack.com/2015-39-1442869837-screenshot0003.jpg Thx

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