I do like 'the Paradox approach' to expansions, where the paid additions are accompanied by big free updates with new things for all players. So sure, city-building sim Cities: Skylines [official site] will be playing with snow and trams in the Snowfall expansion next Thursday, but developers Colossal Order are also working on new things for everyone. I do like the look of the 'Theme Editor' letting folks retheme the world to look like, say, another planet. Or covering it in Dolph Lundgren. Have a look:
That's pretty nice that, isn't it? Not world-changing (well, aside from making Earth look like one of Jupiter's moons), but fun to fiddle with.
Paradox explain that the patch will also bring rain and fog, "an expanded UI for public transportation management," and new chirps and hats for "everyone's favorite in-game social media avatar". THIS WILL MAKE YOU LOVE THAT DAMN BIRD.
Right, yes, anyway. Snowfall will arrive next Thursday, February 18th. It'll cost £9.99/$12.99. If you demand to see Snowfall now now now, Paradox played a fair bit of it on that same livestream. You'll learn about heating, cold-related illnesses, snow troubles on the roads, the new tram system, and plenty more.
Heck, I'm just curious to see nice tram systems. I understand the advantages of a tram network in theory but I've never ridden one myself, probably because those I've seen are the result of innumerable compromises. Building a tram system here in Edinburgh caused years of disruption and ran over-budget, and they've turned out less useful than busses. Cities: Skylines is interesting from a planning perspective because transport systems are built up from scratch alongside the whole dang city. You start off planning for future growth and trusting it'll come, rather than slowly reacting to years-old needs - unlike most of the cities I've known. They've all pre-dated cars, so transport solutions are smooshed in between all the buildings and routes which may be illogical but were there first - obstacles planners must work around. All the political, financial, and social pressures that brings will often lead to an inefficient, troubled public transport network.
I enjoyed this article explaining that China's newly-built, sprawling, empty 'ghost cities' aren't failures, rather they're "built on an urban model, timeline, and scale that is simply unfamiliar to the methods of Western urbanisation." They're planning for the decades to come. They're like city-building sims.
Oh! Adam has something to add: "Manchester's Metrolink tram system is the best way to travel around the city and its outskirts on the one day every year that it runs on time. Even though I've been using it for years and trams should feel ordinary, I still get excited about Blackpool trams because they seemed exotic to me when I was a tiny child."