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What terrible things do you want to happen to a city?




My project is similar to city-building sims like Sim City, but everything occurs from the bottom-up perspective of a resident (You) in the city.

This means that we could include the typical city disasters like a hurricane, but also economic, social, or political disasters.

What are your favorite negative events in strategy games?

We have:

  1. Earthquakes
  2. Fires
  3. Organized crime (extorts your businesses and can kill your managers)

What other terrible things should happen to our fair city? Oil runs out and no cars can move? Worker strike paralyzes the economy? Prison break floods the streets with criminals? Nuclear reactor meltdown?


Asteroids, alien attack, plane crash, moon collision and everything in VR!


Drought, epidemics, food shortage, water supply poisoned, electricity outage (assuming its present day), just to name a few :smile:


Nuclear meltdown followed by nuclear winter would be totally amazing and absolutely harsh!


These are great and hilarious you guys, thank you!


You’re welcome :smile:


Ah, forgot the really important one, zombies!!!


Melting road surfaces in high temperature (when cheap materials used)


How about a general recession followed by a recovery limited mostly to densely populated centres, thereby creating a class of economically disenfranchised voters that rally against established political elites and result in political turmoil?

… Or are we looking for something a little less believable? :wink:


Bahahah. Too soon, Vitor… TOO SOON. :weary:

I am actually trying to find the best ways to make elections high-stakes so they can behave like ‘natural disasters’.

Right now it’s only positive stuff like being able to construct special buildings. But surely we can agree that this is not really why companies back political candidates :slight_smile:


Not totally related, but this made me think about the way Brexit is being modelled in Football Manager 2017 - the game rolls the dice on whether it means freedom to work is maintained, footballers get work permit exemptions or work permits are required from then on for all EU nationals. Apparently players who get the hard Brexit option are leaving bad reviews because it makes it much harder to get hold of the most talented players, and the game thus becomes less fun (or art least a different kind of fun…)

The impact on a city might be too multicauisal and progressive to be in the same basket as meteor strikes or zombies, but having a kind of basket of economic changes could have some interesting ripple effects.


It would be interesting to rank the impact of your shortlisted events according to the extent to which they create cascading consequences across other simulated networks in your city: this is one of the true unique extras of a SpatialOS city game I think?

Seperately, it would be extra novel for gameplay if you can map out some apparently low-level initial actions which if left unchecked actually cause really serious issues - when aggregrated together with impacts across multiple areas. This would make things like irregular repairs on power lines genuinely significant once they cause failures in loads of related systems (like electrically powered emergency vehicles which now cannot recharge and respond to emergencies), for example?



Had no idea about that, thanks for sharing! I am actually much more interested in the ‘multicausal and progressive’ events that ripple throughout the city than I am in the standard fare of asteroid collisions – though of course why not keep a few of those in the arsenal as well :slight_smile:

We’ve found that these progressive problems happen already. For example, one pretty twisted thing that emerged during a few tests was caused when a bad criminal would move into a densely populated area. After a few months, nearly all the nice tenants had moved out and the player would have to fill the buildings with safety-insensitive agents we called ‘low lives’, because they would live anywhere.

The problem was that these agents damage buildings a lot, never pay rent etc. Players would get frustrated and basically abandon the area, which would sink into a depressing ghetto-like cycle of crime and ruin. That is, until a powerful player would arrive to buy everything, evict everyone, and demolish everything…

Yes, you’re getting right at the core. I’ll do that ranking.

The game plays out more like survival of the fittest than SimCity, so the point is to stress players and their companies in as many unpredictable ways as possible so that no strategy can remain stable, and dominant players are constantly being toppled as new spatial and economic niches open for new players to exploit. So these cascades from seemingly small events will be really important!


Sounds like it could prove frustrating for players if the messaging isn’t handled correctly. I won’t care if a pivotal event is the byproduct of a cascading ripple if the game doesn’t surface that flowchart. Might be worth working on log visualisations for cause and effect.

One of the biggest potential hurdles with SpatialOS games is how we surface systemic consequences to players in a way that let’s them appreciate the underlying events which led there. If the same impact can be had with scripted actions and it makes no difference to the experience, then why make the effort to accurately model simulations?


Yes, I think that’s true and I certainly don’t have the answer.

There’s a converse problem though that seems to plague many open-world/sandbox/multiplayer games. I’m sure you have seen in games like Ark or Rust where players will grind away and build giant fortresses that are too stable in the game world.

New players join and feel like the world is now dominated and there’s not much to do, especially if players with the fortress aren’t online to interact with. Eventually games seem to resort to restarting the game world or constraining everything with artificial timers.

It seems like it would be better if they were wiped out through entropy or some natural process of decay or disaster that demanded ‘adapt or die’.


How about fire ant infestations which short-circuit electric-car charging stations which prevent autonomous electric courier vehicles from recharging enough to deliver supplies to an exterminator trying to counter-act the original infestation?


Two more from my side:

  • Mobs of angry gamers because of ultra high latency due to provider inabilities
  • Mobs of angry gamers because of game dev inability to fix a progress stopping bug in the most played game ever


This is kinda what I have in mind for my own game. Decay will be in it, from clothing to buildings. And I’ve planned several scenario’s that may upset what’s been established, be it raiders coming to town or earthquakes or anything else… People need to be there :smile:

Of course… that is if I can manage to program it correctly :smile:


Isolation: Some sort of event that cuts the city off from the outside world, like a massive sinkhole that lowers the city a couple hundred feet below the surface, or mysterious massive walls raised around it’s exterior.

Points of interest:

  1. Seeing how long the city could survive with the resources it currently had available.
  2. What sort of self sustaining methods could be taken with the city’s current design. (farming on rooftops, raising fish in fountains, etc)
  3. Working together to escape the city (organising fleets of helicopters to air lift survivors out, navigating the city’s construction vehicles to build or tunnel out an escape route.)