How to play
Build roads. The blobs will automatically build markets (multicolored polygons) and houses (gray shapes that turn pink when they fill up) and farms (green/brown hexagons with a purplish barn on the left).
For a bit of havoc, click the Volcano button on the right! It will alter the terrain and set fires. Construct some watchtowers if you want blobs to put out the fires.
Builder blobs (carrying shovels) will move from site to site to build the things you want. Normally there will be one builder, plus one for each 100,000 population. However for this demo I’ve created extra initial blobs.
The game is mostly about water management. You want water near your towns to make the farms productive. But you also want water away from your towns to avoid flooding. Periodically there will be floods that will greatly increase the water coming out of springs (marked “S”). Watch where the floodwaters flow, then try to protect your towns. A wall blocks water flow but a large amount of water will go over the wall and destroy it; a trench (canal) captures water flow but will overflow if there’s too much water.
Water affects the economy. If you have high unemployment, you probably need more farms. Use Shift-4 to look at the water view and build roads to areas that have a supply of water.
Flowing water erodes the landscape where it’s flowing quickly and deposits silt where it’s flowing slowly. Over time, this can alter the landscape and cause your water management plans to fail.
If water covers your town it’ll eventually destroy it. You can use bridges to provide road connectivity over water, including over a trench.
Tip: Find the springs on the map (marked “S”). These are the source of water flow. Controlling the springs will give you lots of flexibility in how you design your towns. You may want double thick walls around springs, as the strong flow can sometimes break a wall.
Tip: Rivers normally want to go downhill as quickly as possible. Use walls and trenches to gently guide it downhill, along a meandering path. This will reduce erosion and also increase the land area that’s near water.
Tip: If you have too much water on your map, guide some rivers to the edge of the map, where they will flow out.
Tip: Farms need to be near water and roads. Houses want to be near other houses, but also like water. Markets need to be near roads but away from other markets. I have written more about the economic and environmental simulations in this blog post.
Tip: A gate is an odd thing: it allows a limited amount of water to go through. To use this, surround an area with walls and let it fill up. Then create multiple gates to allow water to evenly distribute itself among several channels.
Tip: sometimes you can’t build the wall you want because there’s too much water in the way. Build a trench nearby to capture that water, build your wall, then destroy the trench.
Tip: to handle floods you need to design overflow mechanisms. For example, if you build two parallel trenches with a one hex gap in between you can use one as the primary channel and the other to capture any water that overflows from the first. You can drain the overflow in a different direction to take it away from your towns.
Fires spread through forests. Watchtowers have firefighters inside. You can either set fires manually with the fire tool, or trigger a volcano or fire with the god commands. Try creating a few watchtowers, then trigger a volcano to watch them all swarm and put out the fires.
The blob scheduling algorithm is pretty bad. Something like Munkres-Kuhn would probably be useful but I didn’t know about it back then. If there are lots of blobs it can easily bog down the game.
The heights are hard to read. You get used to it but contour lines would have been nice. You can get some sense by pressing T to get the terrain view on the minimap. SimBlob 2 used 3d graphics (see screenshot and more screenshot links here) but I didn’t get very far with that project.
Try drawing shapes with walls and roads; I had some good algorithms for making pleasing shapes when you combined multiple tiles. For example if you draw 6 walls in a hex shape, it’ll draw as a circle.
Markets tend to be built near the city center (marked with a “*” on the map); houses tend to be built where there is easy access to markets; farms tend to be built away from cities. Well, that’s what the changelog says; I don’t believe it.
Another thing to try: shift-A to erase everything, then T to set the world map to show terrain, then 7 to set the game to ultra fast, then shift-L or shift-D to create some floods.