We have our first look at Line City a few weeks ago, which is Saudi Arabia’s bizarre plan to spend billions of dollars building a bizarre sci-fi city along the Red Sea. According to the two-minute video above, the city will be a long straight stretching 170 kilometers across the desert. The entire city will be the height of a skyscraper while only being 200 meters wide and entirely covered in mirrors. For reasons? Presumably, there are reasons.
While I think Line City would make a good location for a futuristic zombie movie where people have to make their way from one end of town to the other – by all means make this movie – it seems like a terrible place to house 9 million people without asking them first if they want to live in a weird, skinny city with mirrored skyscrapers. Without forgetting all the people who will be moved or worse just to build the stupid thing.
But ridiculous blueprints in real life sometimes make funny blueprints in video games, so I went ahead and built the longest, skinniest city possible in Cities: Skylines just to see if that would work. To avoid being sued or murdered, I call my creation Skinny City.
And I have to admit that Skinny City kind of worked. It’s not as tall as Line City, it’s not completely mirrored, and parts of it could have been considerably straighter if I’d put more effort into tracing my very long route. But it’s amazing how easy it is to build an incredibly stupid city when you have unlimited funds, that’s what I had using the Cities: Skylines infinite money toggle and what some princes have thanks to they are intelligent enough to be born of good parents. I also used a mod that allowed me to unlock every square on the map so I could build right to the edges.
To show off the glory of my creation, I took audio from the official Line City video above and created a trailer for Skinny City. You can watch it below (don’t forget to turn on the sound), though it makes a lot more sense if you watch the two-minute original “What is The Line?” video at the top of this page first.
As you can see I went with streetcars for local transport – Line City is a car free environment – so I drew my route with two way streetcar lines and used a mod that allows me to add a tram turn just so they don’t have to go across town just to change direction. This kept most cars out except for the endless parade of donut and hot dog trucks, so I didn’t really have any major traffic jams. Line City is also supposed to have a high-speed train that takes passengers from one end of the city to the other in 20 minutes. I went with a monorail for this. Total journey time: only 4 minutes (although Skinny City is 26 km instead of 170 km).
Water and electricity took the most work, for if it would have been easy to run pumps and windmills along the river and run them into town with pipes and wires, I felt like everything in Skinny City should be inside Skinny City, or at least so I used the terrain tool to dig a massive trench from the river to the edge of town and I stowed all my utilities there.
This immediately made everyone in Skinny City seriously ill because I was pumping sewage directly into people’s homes. Whoops !
I had to dig another huge trench from the riverbed to my town and install the water pumps there, and everyone started feeling better except everyone who died. (Line City doesn’t say what it’s going to do with its dead: probably drag them out of their living quarters with drones and pile them up in a beautiful, shiny cemetery skyscraper that’s only a five-minute walk away.)
If I’m not happy with one thing about Skinny City, it’s efficiency. Making my stupid city just one big line meant having to place a lot more service buildings, like cop shops and schools, because those operate on a radius of influence and in Skinny City , you can’t build things around things, you can only build things beside things. This means that while the universities in my city can accommodate 18,000 students, I currently only have about 250 enrolled. My crime rate is extremely low at 3%, but I must have tons of cops completely annoyed with so many stations in the city.
There’s also not a great place to put buildings that generate pollution, like garbage dumps or crematoriums or industrial buildings of any kind. I also don’t know where these things will go in Line City. Will there be garbage skyscrapers? Agricultural tours? The video, suspiciously, does not mention how Line City will manufacture anything. Skinny City certainly does not. City expenditures are currently $64,018, with a total revenue of $12 from transit fees. Seems doable.
Also, I can’t imagine myself living in the city and trying to give people directions to my house: “So turn left and go straight for exactly 21.36 km. I live at 464798590372 Skinny Road. You can’t miss it.”
And finally, I clicked on one of the monorails as it raced across town, and it said there was only one person on board, which I can only assume to be an extremely lonely driver. I guess my citizens just have no reason to travel across town unless I’m building something useful there. Like maybe a road to a town that isn’t so stupidly skinny.