In Slow Time: Mineral Cities

Adam featured Mineral Cities in yesterday’s Katchup. but I wanted to refocus on it, because it deserves a post of its own. Mineral Cities is “A minimalist RTS / city-builder hybrid set in peaceful future space, where rules are simple and minerals are king.” Sounds like magic to me.

The developer wants just £6,000, and I don’t see why this shouldn’t succeed – especially in the light of our unrequited love for city building games. I’ve posted a couple of videos below. Go take a look.


  1. Alien426 says:

    Not very impressed by this (other than the generally neat globe view): You seem to plonk down those structures wherever. Intersecting one another. On mountains.
    Where’s the strategy? Am I missing something?

    • garethjenkins says:

      Hi Alien426 — some of the mechanics, in brief:

      – buildings cost resource (in the examples in those videos, they are 50 — and you start with 200)
      – you collect more resource by harvesting minerals
      – harvesting minerals requires a harvesting and a processing building — which need to be near eachother
      – the efficiency of those buildings after placement rapidly declines
      – you can improve the efficiency by placing more buildings nearby
      – the more harvesting buildings you connect to a single processing building, the less efficient it gets
      – if the efficiency (which is manifest by the moving parts of the buildings) falls off completely, you can place a beacon building which will reset all nearby buildings to full harvesting efficiency
      – beacons increase in cost each time you place one
      – objectives generally take the forms of “gems”, a special kind of mineral
      – gems only appear once you start harvesting minerals
      – normal minerals regenerate over time on most planets
      – harvesting minerals too quickly doesn’t given them sufficient opportunity to regenerate

      but the only control inputs are:
      – location of buildings
      – selection of buildings
      – the time at which you place buildings

      The extremely simple controls lend themselves well to experimental play (all of the above mechanics are manifest visually) and strategies to different objects quickly emerge.

      There’s a walk/talk-through of those basic mechanics in the gameplay video above, and a more detailed breakdown of the mechanics and how they differ on different planet types in the updates on the campaign page.


  2. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    The first thought I had when watching the video was that this is basically Overpopulation : the game. Doesn’t look that appealing to me.

  3. wu wei says:

    Visually it reminds me of Lights of Altair.

    It looks very much like a mobile game, though. I’ll check out the demo before writing it off completely, but it didn’t look like it has the depth I want from a “city-builder”.

    • AngoraFish says:

      Light of Altair was a ton of fun, but this seems very basic indeed.

    • garethjenkins says:

      Hi Wu Wei — if you enjoy the zoning and planning aspects of city builders, this should feel pretty familiar. If you’re more into the building trees and micro (and to some extent macro) management, it’s probably not going to have as much appeal.

  4. Joshua Northey says:

    This looks like it could be anywhere from great, to a puzzle game turn off and never play again after 5 minutes.