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DevBlog: Electricity

Driven by the ever-present urge of territorial expansion, Anno 1800 will see you venturing forth to claim new islands, expand your industrial machine and grow your population. Your once scenic rural hamlet will grow into an impressive metropolis, bringing with it all the challenges of managing dozens of complex production chains at once. Thankfully, if you are feeling a little adventurous (or always strive for perfection), there is one wonder of the modern age that may come in handy: electricity!

Power for the new age
Upon reaching the fourth residential tier, the future suddenly becomes reality, as your first power plants start boosting your industry and giving you a significant advantage over your competition. Once connected to your factories and other modern production buildings, electricity will significantly buff your productivity, which will allow you to grow your cities without losing crucial building space needed for your residents or to expand your trading empire. Thanks to this breakthrough, a smaller production island could quickly turn into an industrial powerhouse, being able to provide the majority of resources to supply your main island.
Storing electricity and transporting power over long distance was a song of the future back then, which means that your power plant will provide electricity on a radius based on street distance. All factories and craft business can benefit from a connection to the local power plant, while farm buildings (such as the pig or grain farm) will not receive a boost from electrical power.
While electricity can boost the outcome of your older production buildings significantly, some modern facilities will require a connection to your electrical network to begin operation.

To drive home the atmosphere of this brave new world, electricity will also be visualized in the game world, with electrical poles on your streets showing you which areas are connected to your electrical network. With boost up to 200%, the cart pushers of old will not be able to handle the higher demand for production relevant material to keep the machines running. To solve that issue, boosted production buildings will swap their old horse carts for modern steam powered contraptions and the UI of connected buildings will undergo significant changes as well:

Get things rollin! Not all assets are final.

But not only modern factories are hungry for power, your dear investor friends will have a serious chat with you at the country club if you are not providing their modern city mansions with electricity. They obviously cannot be bothered taking care of the logistics of establishing electrical supply to an apartment district in a 19th century metropolis, but they are certain that you are up for the task.
Many assets and visual feedback are still a work in progress but we are looking forward to show you the system in action!

Running the electricity business
While power plants are an incredibly effective tool to boost your production, they are also fairly challenging to operate. The trick is that your power plant runs on fossil fuel, and its hunger for oil is not to be taken lightly. Refineries, which extract the fossil fuel from natural deposits, can provide the huge amount of oil needed to run your power plant – but that still leaves the question of how you transport all this oil!
In order to support large parts of your city with electricity, you will need to pave the way for the train to transport tons of fuel across your island.

This is where the oil harbor comes into play, giving your tankers an opportunity to unload and store all the oil coming into your production islands. But you still need to get it from the harbor to the power plants, right?

The industrial revolution lead to an incredible demand for resources and materials, creating a logistical challenge impossible that called for  modern solutions. Enter stage left: the railway, the trusted iron horse powering the advances of the 19th century!

The train will load the fuel from your harbor to transport them to any connected power plants on the island. Of course, that means that you have to connect your oil harbor to your power plant via railway tracks to get things moving. Depending on your islands layout, this can pose an interesting challenge in itself, making sure that all power plants are connected to the harbor (or an oil field, assuming you were lucky enough to have one on this island).

Establishing an efficient supply line is therefore by no means a trivial task, from finding and tapping oil reserves, putting all the needed workforce in place to the logistics of getting it all to the power plants near the factories you want to power with electricity. This is where good predictive building of your industrial districts pays off, ensuring that you can group your factories efficiently to ensure that as many of them as possible benefit from your power plants.
This diagram gives you an overview about the logistical network required to support a power plant.

A new century on the horizon.
During development of these features, we closely followed the many creative and passionate community discussions revolving around the railway. Because of that, we wanted to create a meaningful endgame feature for Annoholics who want to optimize their economy as well as for enthusiasts who want to experience technology advance alongside society.

Together with features like our item system or Influence, electricity allows for a level of customization and strategic gameplay rarely seen in the Anno series. Imagine dense industrial districts powered by electricity, further boosted by items and Influence specializations. A feature, which also greatly benefitted from our Anno Union play testers, as their feedback helped to shape and improve the system.

We are eager to hear your opinion, so feel free to share your feedback on the new electricity feature in the comments below!

21 Comments

  1. chgolover1 chgolover1

    That’s scattered _far_ from each other.

  2. chgolover1 chgolover1

    I think there should be more than one oil harbor per island. That way, you can put them at different ends of the island so that the trains dont have to go so far to get the oil and bring it to all the power stations scattered for from each other.

  3. M.I.A_ReddieEX M.I.A_ReddieEX

    love the idea of bringing some transport into the game! but actually there has to be more balancing. i could establish the normal line, but even with a full oil harbour the trains arrive late so my powerplants just sucked away the oil and now waits for the next trains to arrive. interessting thing: the trains arrive all on one powerplant and then they ride to the next one. ive got 5 powerplants on my big island and just imagine how long it takes until it reaches the last one. could there any way to keep the trains riding?

  4. dimes09 dimes09

    I personally don’t like the idea of trains entering a building. Right now it looks unrealistic how a speeding smoking train instantly stops as it enters a building. Do the people choke on all the smoke? Do we hear the screeching sound of the brakes? It would be nice for the trains to at least slow down before entering buildings. It would be even better for the trains to slow down and stop next to the buildings and unload resources that way. There could be storage train lots locations that allow goods transported across vast distances and then rely on local delivery trucks for distributing those goods/resources around town. This would add a nice variance to how buildings are spaced out.

  5. Sandi.V. Sandi.V.

    IMPORTANT QUESTION?

    Will the roads cross the railway? Or will the railway line block the construction of road crossing??

    Because here I see that the railway line divides the industrial zone on the left and the right and that the road does not cross the railway line anywhere.

    I really hope that the road will be able to cross the railway line and that the railway line will not be an obstacle in the middle of the city, like a wall.
    🙂

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  6. Ristonhawk Ristonhawk

    Will the power plant oil consumption be variable based on local demand, or fixed regardless of local demand?

  7. Swimming-Paul Swimming-Paul

    This new feature is going to be MAJOR! The trains already look gorgeous and they are going to fit just perfectly with the traditional Anno mechanics.
    I really wish there would be an option to build passenger train stations, too, or even better, a monumental train station! Keep up the good work, we´re cheering for you!

  8. HannesDS HannesDS

    This is so awesome and makes perfect sense.

    In previous Anno-games, when you had big cities, you’d also need to have a lot of space for production buildings. This could often lead to boring islands filled with farms and factories.

    It would be hard with the new attractiveness mechanic to have enough space for ornaments, squares, wide streets… .

    It’s awesome to see how you guys think about these kind of things and weave all the new features together.

    Now I’m also happy that there is no land combat. Destroying or controlling one piece of railway = 50% less productivity = decreasing economy = losing the game

    I also like that buildings will change if they are connected. This brings me to the question: Will buildings have expansion modules like in Anno 2205?

  9. dogolbintolol dogolbintolol

    Uranium Fuel Elements in Anno 1800?

    I wish I can build and produce a cheap Power Plant using the Uranium minerals in Anno 1800. Since it was was first discovery in 1789, I think it would be interesting if it can be considered as an option of energy production in this exciting game! IMHO a fuel element is one of the most interesting things in Anno 2070. It is very easy to produce, an we can sell it with a high price!

    Refer to Wikipedia the first uranium was reported as early as 1566, pitchblende from 1727 and 1763 in Schwarzwald. In the early 19th century, uranium ore was recovered as a byproduct of mining in Saxony.

    The first deliberate mining of radioactive ores took place in Jáchymov, a silver-mining city in the Czech Republic. Until World War II uranium was mined primarily for its radium content; some carnotite deposits were mined primarily for the vanadium content. Sources for radium, contained in the uranium ore, were sought for use as luminous paint for watch dials and other instruments, as well as for health-related applications, some of which in retrospect were certainly harmful. The byproduct uranium was used mostly as a yellow pigment.

    In the United States, the first uranium ore was discovered in 1871 in gold mines near Central City, Colorado. I’m not sure there was a Nuclear Reactor built in 19th Century but I think it will be great if in Anno 1800 also giving this options 🙂

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  10. BoooooogieMan BoooooogieMan

    Wow, looks awesome! Getting excited to see this in action!

    My only worry is, how the curves of the train network will look like 😀

  11. clesius clesius

    This game will be the game of the decade !
    #1 Don’t you think it would be more intresting to use coal wheras oil to make elctricty plant work ?
    Or perhaps you meant by oil, whales oil … that would be awsome !
    In the XIXth century, whales oil was very important, for almost everything.

    #2 What about music ? I’ve always enjoyed your choices of music for Anno’s serie.
    XIXth century was also a very important century for music and art in general.

    I can’t wait to play this game.
    I started with Anno 1602 as I was a child, and no as a grown up I still can’t wait for the next Anno !

    By the way, In a chronological order, we played :
    Anno 1404
    Anno 1503
    Anno 1602
    Anno 1701
    Soon, Anno 1800
    Anno 2070
    Anno 2205

    What could be the futur of the franchise ???

    Anno 1332 ?
    Anno 1233 ?
    Anno 2133 ?
    It’s getting harder to find some century that is relevant with the exploration of the ocean…
    Well that was just a thougth i wanted to share.

    Greetings from France, Normandy !

    Clesius

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  12. olblf olblf

    This new feuture sounds great and I don’t have much to add to it. I only have two thoughts:

    Are power plants only using oil? I guess it make sense from a gameplay perspective, but historically and logically coal would have been the go to fuel. I would have liked if powerplants could use both coal and oil.

    The train-system sounds awesome!! My thought is just that maybe it could be used to carry other goods as well? Like maybe, if you connected a coal mine via trains to industries that need coal, you wouldn’t need a warehouse to provide cart pushers? Just a thought.. Or maybe there is another way of using trains for goods transportation? I just feel that this great new gameplay feuture should be used for more than just fuel for electricity.

  13. FHackner FHackner

    This is by far the most exciting devblog I read. Not that I didnt like the previous, but the whole idea behind having electricity as an endgame resource

  14. banan1996.1996 banan1996.1996

    With every devblog Anno 1800 seems to get just better and better. I already know it will be the best Anno, I love how complex it will be.

    I am happy about electricity requirement for the most advanced and modern production chains. You have to use it to produce some luxury goods and you can also use it to boost productivity in other facilities from lower population tiers. And I’m glad it’s not working with farms as it just wouldn’t make sense.
    Did you maybe consider including fertilizers production chain which would boost farms productivity? It could work like in tundra expansion in 2205, a steady flow of fertilizers would boost productivity of certain farms. Otherwise items would be the only way of doing it.

    I love that electricity will boost productivity up to 200%, it will really feel like a breakthrough. And visual presentation of electricity looks awesome!

    It’s great that investors residences will need electricity. Or will it be counted just towards their happiness? What about buildings other than investors residences and production facilities? For example will our lovely world fair require electricity as well?

    I was expecting that power plants would use coal, not oil. But in the end it’s better because otherwise coal would have too many uses.

    The idea of combining electricity with trains is just genius, I wouldn’t think of any better use for trains.

    I would love to see how you build a whole power plant infrastructure during the AnnoCast. I feel like it’s still not entirely clear how exactly it would work so I would love to see it in action and see how you build it from scratch.

    What kind of workforce will power plants need? I think that power plants should require two types of workforce: workers and engineers. Such a combination would be cool in my opinion.

    Are there any other power plant types? Other than ones fueled with oil?

    Combining all features I can already think of several playstyles that I would use. One way is making every tier fully euphoric before advancing and optimizing whole production with electricity after reaching engineers. Another would be rushing for engineers fulfilling only basic needs and then preparing the electricity network for production of all goods needed to make my population happy. It really sounds like electricity might be a challenge and it will definitely require some city-planning skills.
    PS: sorry for such a long comment but I just have to write about every little thing 😀

  15. Barracuda1955 Barracuda1955

    Love it, This game is sounding like the best Anno game yet. Ready to play it right now. 🙂

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