by Gideon, HSM team writer
If you’ve followed Home Tycoon Potential, as well as HSM’s past interview with Hellfire Games about Home Tycoon in Issue #12, then you know that we are keenly interested in this exciting new game. Now that it’s almost upon us, we are happy to offer a follow-up interview with Hellfire’s marketing & community manager, Ben Lewis, about this exciting new game.
HSM: Since Home Tycoon is designed for the player and friends to be able to tear around their own cities, how many friends can visit a city at a time and does a player have to be online for their city to be visited? Can you visit cities built by other than those on your friends list?
Ben Lewis: Each city is a unique game space and holds up to 16 players simultaneously. You don’t need to be present in your city for others to visit, and you can visit cities owned by players who aren’t on your friends list. We’ve also added privacy settings, including Public, Private, or Friends-Only. If you set your city to Private, any other players currently in your city will be kicked and you’ll have your city all to yourself.
HSM: The scale of the game is simply massive. Will the types of buildings built determine how many can be built sort of the same way different items consume a different amount of ‘blocks’ in personal spaces?
Ben Lewis: You can construct as many instances of any given building as you like, as long as there’s space for them. The smallest buildings only take up a 1×1 tile on the grid, while the biggest ones take up much more space. There’s plenty of room for tons of buildings, and you can always expand into suburb cities for extra space.
HSM: How will players access Home Tycoon? Will a player’s Home Tycoon space automatically be added to the navigation menu upon release or will they have to visit the public space to at least get started?
Ben Lewis: Players can jump straight into their own city from our teleporter in the Hub, or head over to the Train Station from the Home navigator to visit other cities or travel to their own. Your city will show up in the database once you begin building it, though it won’t start rising on the City Navigator leaderboards until you reach some impressive numbers. It’ll be a race to the top at launch!
HSM: Firefighting looks great! Will fires break out independently of the fire-fighting mini-game that will prompt players to take action or are all fires activated by playing the mini-game? Will the fires destroy buildings if not put out in time?
Ben Lewis: We figured players would want to focus on building their city and completing other missions instead of constantly putting out fires when they weren’t expecting to, so the fires will break out only during the firefighter activities at the moment. Buildings won’t burn to the ground if neglected, but you will fail the activity and have to start again if you don’t extinguish the fires out in time, so it’s still a challenge.
HSM: Driving looks like a blast. Do all cars need to be driven by players or will there be an option for AI play? The car collision looks like it could lead to some laughable moments. Can cars flip completely over? Do cars feature any sort of damage indicators, visual or otherwise? Can players be pedestrians while other players are driving?
Ben Lewis: Driving is crazy fun in Home Tycoon! The physics system is intentionally far from realistic, so get ready to laugh once you’ve unlocked some faster cars.
There are some AI-driven car chase missions throughout the game, in addition to the usual AI cars driving around your city. You won’t see the cars get visibly banged up or explode, but there are damage indicators in certain missions where you need to smash into other vehicles to take them out of commission. Players can indeed be pedestrians while others are driving, but don’t expect to see any roadkill. Home Tycoon is an all-ages game!
HSM: One of the most impressive and exciting aspects of Home Tycoon is the day/night simulation. Will that be limited to player selection or is there an auto day/night option. If so, is the length of a day and night selectable? Does time of day have an impact on the functional aspects of the city?
Ben Lewis: Players have the ability to choose their time of day or simply let the day/night cycle progress naturally in their city. The time of day affects the lighting on your streets and in your buildings, but otherwise your gameplay won’t be affected.
HSM: I noticed a zoo with an animated giraffe in the trailer. Do buildings have player interactive elements or will they only affect the city’s statistical elements? Are there any aspects of the buildings that interact with one another? Such as, placing a residential build next to a power plant alters the effectiveness of the residence.
Ben Lewis: Most buildings will primarily affect your city’s statistics, which include population, employment, pollution, crime, happiness, and so on. We originally planned more interactivity between buildings based on proximity, but decided to simplify the system to make everything as accessible and easy to understand as possible.
HSM: Will there be regular challenges set forth by Hellfire Games for the community? In consideration of this idea, will players be able to purchase multiple Home Tycoon spaces or maybe save cities to start new ones? Will players be given a “start over” option to restart their cities from ground zero?
Ben Lewis: We’ve got leaderboards in place, so there’s plenty to compete over from the start, and we’re planning some fun challenges for players after launch. Stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter feeds for those!
Players can indeed purchase multiple “suburb” cities to expand their empire once they run out of space, but won’t be able to instantly wipe their current city. If you want to, you can use the Destroy command on individual tiles until your city is back to square one.
HSM: Finally, are there any Novus Prime interconnections players can expect with Home Tycoon?
Ben Lewis: Novus Prime fans should get a kick out of a particular mission series in Home Tycoon, and veteran pilots will earn some sweet Home Tycoon loot as payment for their service. Be sure to get your own city on October 3 to discover the connection between the two games!
Home Tycoon arrives in Home tomorrow, October 3. At last, the dream of user-generated content in Home is finally starting to become more of a reality. It’s time to build something together.