Tropico Preview / How to Grow Digital Trees
12:12 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
Although Pop Top's dictatorship-sim Tropico won't be released until this Spring, this intriguing title continues to inspire online articles. Thresh's Firing Squad recently posted a preview of this empire builder, calling it "a study in colonialism." The preview covers most aspects of the game, including character behavior, personality traits and other factors that determine your success. There are also some extremely nice screen shots to check out, so be sure and check this one out if you are curious.
In other Tropico-related news, Computer Games Online has posted an editorial of sorts by Pop Top's Phil Steinmyer on the vegetation in the game, and its critical role in your success (or failure). Not only did they go out of their way to give the trees, shrubs and crops in the game visual realism, but they also included realistic behavior: forests replenish logged areas over time; crops grow, wither and re-seed for the next season, and weather and rain effect them as expected. Here's an excerpt from the column:
We wanted our trees to be not only look realistic, but behave realistically. How can trees 'behave realistically'? They grow. Sometimes they die. In places where other plants have died, new plants sprout up. In most games, once you cut down a tree or plant, it never regrows. If this were the case in real life, none of us would have to mow the lawn more than once in our lifetime. Of course, our lifetimes would be pretty short, because we'd die of starvation after the crops had been harvested once, never to regrow again.Included in this column are various opinions about the state of vegetation in games overall, as well as a selection of screen shots of Tropico's foliage. Watch for Tropico this March, published by Gathering of Developers.
Tropico's crops grow through five or more stages, ultimately reaching a ripe, harvestable state. If your farmers don't harvest the crops (because, say they're too busy fighting a rebellion against El Presidente), then the crops die and your people go hungry, leading to more rebellion, and if Ethiopia is to be our guide, a famine relief effort leading to a reunion of all sorts of 70's bands. (Do we really need to witness an Abba reunion? Please, don't let this happen in your game!)
Tropico Web Site
Tropico Preview at Firing Squad
On Tropico's Trees at CGOnline
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