Today we are going to talk about building and managing the colony. Managing the colony is one of the most important aspects of They Are Billions. What you build and where is key for the success of the colony. So let's talk about the main aspects of city-building in They Are Billions.
Where to build...
When you start a game, you will have the Command Center already built. This is the main building of the colony. You can start building structures on the available free cells surrounding it. Most buildings cannot be next to other buildings as you need to have at least one cell in between. But there are special rules for different buildings. For example, colonist dwellings can be placed next to each other up to two rows. Tesla Towers, walls, traps, towers can be built next to any other building. In contrast, some buildings must be separated by a specific distance to properly operate like Mills, Warehouses, Markets, Banks...
A very important aspect of the game is that you can only build structures inside the energy coverage of the colony. The Command Center has energy coverage radius of 10 cells. If you wish to expand the colony you will have to build Tesla Towers to extend the available area. If the energy network is broken because a Tesla Tower has been destroyed or infected, the buildings affected will be disabled until the energy supply is restored.
Because of the threat of the infected, you have to be very clever on where you place your structures. You have to factor in the environment geography and the energy coverage of your colony. Sometimes you won't even have physical space for a specific big building, so you have to expand the colony further than you'd like. That is often very risky and dangerous... Don't waste space! And at the same time, you have to take into account to have fast access to roads for your soldiers, otherwise, when you need them to defend the colony, they will waste a lot of precious time running in a maze of buildings.
These type of resources can be produced or collected and then stored in the colony. They are five: gold, wood, stone, iron, and oil. These resources are produced daily, working time of eight hours (in game time). They are spent when you build or repair structures, train soldiers... Also, most of the buildings have a permanent gold cost (the salary of the workers inside). Some of them, like the Power Plant, require a permanent input of wood and stone to produce energy.
Gold is mostly generated by the colonists. The more colonists in the colony, the more gold that will be produced. Better houses generate more gold. Also, some special buildings like the Command Center, Bank, Market or even quarries with access to gold deposits can generate gold too.
Wood is produced by the Sawmills while stone and iron are produced by the Quarry. These buildings have a collection radius and can only obtain resources from the cells inside that radius. For example, the Sawmill gets wood from surrounding trees. The more trees inside its radius, the more wood it will produce. When you build this type of structures, a message will appear, telling what the production value will be if you build it in that place. Two structures cannot be built too close that their gathering radius is overlapped.
Oil is a special and very valuable resource that can only be obtained by placing Oil Platforms over oil fields. However, these usually are very scarce and often very far away from the colony.
Resource sources don't ever end, provided that they have their needs covered (workers, salaries, energy...), the building will produce resources forever. BUT the colony has a limit to store resources. That limit depends on the number of warehouses you have built. The excess resources will be wasted if the storage limit has been reached unless you have built a Market. In that case, excess resources will be automatically sold, providing the colony extra income in gold
These resources are an integral part of your colony:
- Workers: Most buildings need workers to operate. The more complex the building, the more workers it will need. Also, you need workers to train soldiers for your army. Workers are provided by the colonist dwellings.
- Food: Every colonist will consume one food unit. Also, some soldiers need extra food units. You cannot build houses or train soldiers if you don't have the available food required. Food can be produced by some buildings like the Hunter Cottage, the Fisherman cottage, Farms... In the same way as the resources buildings, they have a production radius that will determine how much food they will produce depending on the surrounding environment. The Hunter Cottage prefer woods and fields to find food. The Fisherman Cottage needs sea/rivers. Farms prefer grassy fields.
- Energy: Most buildings require energy to work. Build Mills or Power Plants to provide energy for the colony. To extend the coverage reach of energy to your colony, build Tesla Towers.
There are two buildings to train/create units for your army: the Soldier Center and the Engineering Center. Every unit takes some time to train. You can create as many of these buildings as you need.
In the beginning, you will only have some basic structures and units available to you. There are three special buildings that let you research new units and structures. They are the Wood Workshop, the Stone Workshop, and the Foundry. They are very expensive to build, and every research has a high cost. However, through all of your research, you will be able to evolve the colony with more sophisticated buildings and units. Deciding which new technology to research is key for the colony’s progression.
There are special buildings with special features that affect the surrounding buildings. For example, the Market reduces the food consumed by the nearby colonist dwellings. The Warehouse improves the resource production in all surrounding resource producing buildings. The Banks increase the gold collected from the nearby colonists.
The Three Pillars of They Are Billions
As you can see, there a lot of decisions to make when building a successful colony. There are three main pillars in the game that must be well balanced because they are equally important:
- The Colony Management: Economy, resources, colonists...
- The Colony Defense: See the last update :)
- The Colony Army: The colony cannot progress without an army that can clear the infected from the areas that you wish to colonize, for getting resources, reaching better defense environments or just to have enough space to expand the colony.
This has been a long post, but don't be afraid of the complexity of the game. Indeed when you play, everything feels very natural and intuitive, and most importantly - fun! :)
We are still polishing the beta and solving some nasty bugs. We have finally found a mysterious bug that can crash the game after an hour of playing. It seems the culprit is the sound library... Several days of development has been lost because of that bug, but it is OK because that is part of game development. We expect the next update for the end of October to be about the beta release and the gameplay video - cross your fingers!
See you soon!